Reading Wrap-Up: May & June 2017

Long time, no post. Let me clarify that not posting does not mean I haven’t been reading (or writing)! I completed Camp NaNoWriMo in April, finally getting down the first 50,000 words of my current WIP, and then went on an amazing vacation to Disney World in May. Then, my parents moved to the beach about 3.5 hours away, so we’ve been doing a lot of traveling. But a lot of traveling means a lot of audiobooks, so check out my reads in May and June, and stay tuned next week for an update from me!

Waters of Salt and Sin (Uncommon World #1), Alisha Klapheke – “A dangerous romance, a stolen sister, and the mythical treasure that could change everything.” This was a beautifully-written, action-packed fantasy read. The characters were developed and distinct. I rooted for Kinneret, worried for Avi, swooned for Calev, detested the amir, and snorted with laughter at Oron, who was easily my favorite of them all. But even better than the characters was the world that Klapheke built around them. It felt real, and the details about sailing were masterfully done. The author has a way with words, and a beautiful descriptive voice.

Claimed (Uncommon World #.5), Alisha Klapheke – You can get this free prequel to WoSaS by joining the author’s mailing list, which I suggest you do because she sends really cute animals-in-sweater pictures and awesome book deals in each email. Claimed is a fun short story and a quick read with some more from Kinneret.

The Diviners (The Diviners #1), Libba Bray – “Do you believe there are ghosts and demons and Diviners among us?” I listened to this audiobook and thank goodness, because it was a long one. Different than my usual reads, it’s a historical urban fantasy set in 1920’s New York with dynamic and diverse characters and a touch of magic. The multiple POV’s gave it a fast-paced feel and the world-building felt deep and authentic.

More Happy Than Not by [Silvera, Adam]More Happy Than Not, Adam Silvera – “Why does happiness have to be so hard?” The first part of this one is slow, but then . . . Wow! The twist! The other twist! The heartbreak! A poignant message told in an authentic voice. I’ll say nothing more to avoid spoilers, but if you haven’t, go read this book immediately.

The Fate of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #3), Erika Johansen – “As the suspenseful endgame begins, the fate of Queen Kelsea—and the Tearling itself—will finally be revealed.” Book #1 is easily one of my favorite fantasy stories, but neither of its sequels lived up to my high expectations. That’s not to say it’s not a good series, but I had high hopes that weren’t quite met. And the ending is pretty much exactly what people tell you not to do in all the typical writing advice. While a surprising and interesting ending, it was a little disappointing.

Still Life with Tornado, A.S. King – “A heartbreaking and mind-bending story of a talented teenage artist’s awakening to the brokenness of her family.” Most of the time I was reading this, I was asking myself, “WTH am I reading?” It was compelling enough to keep me going, and the final culmination was satisfying plotwise although I still didn’t get what was happening with her other selves. Also, maybe it’s just my age, but I found myself much more intrigued by the mother’s POV, though her chapters were few and far between.

The Crown's Game by [Skye, Evelyn]The Crown’s Game (The Crown’s Game #1), Evelyn Skye – “A thrilling and atmospheric historical fantasy set in Imperial Russia about two teenagers who must compete for the right to become the Imperial Enchanter—or die in the process.” Now this is a book I could get behind. Another historical fantasy with fantastic world-building. I really liked the dynamic between the two MC’s and the tension: who will live? Who will die? A really great read reminiscent of Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone series.

The Midnight Star (The Young Elites #3), Marie Lu – “There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.” I listened to this audiobook and regret it. Why did they pick this narrator for this story? She was very poorly-suited to voice these characters. A lot of my listening time was cringing at the sound of this voice. That aside, it was a conclusion I didn’t see coming, though it really couldn’t have gone any other way. That is the perfect kind of ending (take note, Tearling Queen). Adelina is at her darkest, but even then, I still want to love her and for her to redeem herself. Will she? You’ll have to read it for yourself.

The Winner’s Curse & The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy #1 & #2), Marie Rutkoski – “A story of rebellion, duels, ballroom dances, wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.” This was the next audiobook where I was not a fan of the narration. I was also not as engrossed as I thought I would be after reading the wonderful reviews, and I wonder if that isn’t something to do with the narration. I did ultimately enjoy the endings of each one, but I don’t think I’ll be finishing up the series.

Once and for All by [Dessen, Sarah]Once and For All, Sarah Dessen – “A richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story with humor, romance, and an ending that is so much more than happily-ever-after.” Dessen is one of those authors that I will read no matter what. To make my point, let me tell you a story: I went to UNC, and hidden deep in the depths of Davis Library is her senior workshop manuscript. I worked in the Davis computer lab, and spent a whole shift reading it. Sorry, Sarah. She’s talked about how awful it is at readings before, but I, of course, loved it. So, that said, loved this one. It’s a perfect summer read. Go pick it up now.

Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman – “Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerge these gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.” I read this in the spirit of research for my Viking-inspired fantasy WIP. It was a quick but enjoyable read with fun, accessible retellings of the Norse myths. And truly, the whole thing was worth the last line.

July TBR

In July, I really want to finish Claudia Gray’s Firebird series that I started a long time ago but never picked up the sequels. My library got in the audiobooks, so I’m excited to jump back into that word.

Also, my friend KM Tremills released her sequel, Warrior, which I look forward to diving into this summer.

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