What I’ve Been Reading

Long time no see, readers. School has been [INSERT TORNADO MADE OF PAPER]. But AP exams are over! (They went mostly well, if I pretend the English exam never existed.) And that means blog-time.

While I haven’t been writing much for the past many months… I haven’t been reading that much either. I’m reading Gideon the Ninth right now, which is an absolutely epic book that should’ve taken me a week to read, but I’ve been plugging away at it for a month and twenty days because of exams *groans*. I’ve read more in the past day-and-a-half than the three weeks before that.

There is a bright side to not reading much though (look at me, being an optimist). It’s super easy to review all of the books I’ve read this year in one post! (I mean review in its loosest sense. It’s been a while since I’ve read these so I can’t do in-depth reviews.)


The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic by RF Kuang

This is a super fun book. I love that it’s based on Chinese history and it’s really well written. I love Kitay and Rin’s friendship.

Five stars for both. I’m so excited for book 3.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

I read this one for school, and I appreciate the writing and the satire and all that, but I didn’t really like it. I felt more sympathy for the antagonist than the protagonist, so I couldn’t really get behind the protagonist. I thought it was weird that John Proctor the thirty-year-old slept with Abby the sixteen-year-old and then she was blamed for seducing him.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

It was okay. Too much romance for my taste. I didn’t care that much.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

This is currently my favorite book. I reread it two months ago and now I want to read it again. The plot is mindbending and the writing is beautiful, but I love this book for its characters. I love Dodger. I want to read it again. 💚

Rating: 5 out of 5.

There are actually six stars for this book.


Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

This series is written like a fairytale and I adore the writing style. It’s the definition of “whimsy”. 💜

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

This is the prequel to Every Heart a Doorway, although you could read it by itself. The writing style makes me swoon. This one’s even better than Every Heart a Doorway. I love the way it explores family relationships.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Okay, so I’ve read seven books these past five months, and three of them are by Seanan McGuire. In conclusion, read Seanan McGuire.

More Book Reviews!

Refugee by Alan Gratz || 3/5

Three different kids.

One mission in common: ESCAPE.

Josef is a Jewish boy in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world…

Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety and freedom in America…

Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe…

All three young people will go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers–from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But for each of them, there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, surprising connections will tie their stories together in the end.

 

I loved the plot of this book. It was amazing and I love historical fictions. I really liked how all the different character’s stories came together at the end.

But I didn’t really like the character development or the writing style.

Overall, it was a good book, but kind of unremarkable. I don’t have much to say about it.


Roar by Cora Carmack|| DNF

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

 

I really like the premise of this book and I was excited to read it, but I didn’t get far. The writing style seemed a bit off, but the main reason I quit was the main character, Aurora. She seemed lovely at first, but then enter the pretty boy, and she becomes an idiot. I didn’t want to read any more of the mushiness and stupidity. Especially since it says in the synopsis that there’s going to be another pretty boy later on.

I did get to meet the author (over Skype) and she’s an absolutely lovely person, but even she admitted that it’s a romance-inclined book, so I’m glad I decided to skip it.


The Pact by Jodi Picoult || 5/5

From Jodi Picoult, one of the most powerful writers in contemporary fiction, comes a riveting, timely, heartbreaking, and terrifying novel of families in anguish—and friendships ripped apart by inconceivable violence. Until the phone calls came at 3:00 a.m. on a November morning, the Golds and their neighbors, the Hartes, had been inseparable. It was no surprise to anyone when their teenage children, Chris and Emily, began showing signs that their relationship was moving beyond that of lifelong friends. But now seventeen-year-old Emily has been shot to death by her beloved and devoted Chris as part of an apparent suicide pact—leaving two devastated families stranded in the dark and dense predawn, desperate for answers about an unthinkable act and the children they never really knew.

 

This was an amazing book. I loved the characters and the twistiness of it. You never knew the entire story and your idea of what happened keeps switching as you get new bits of information.

The writing style was absolutely stunning and it was really quotable.

The part of this book that puts the sprinkles on this already-delicious cake of a book is the characters, who are all so complex and developed with their own stories and motivations. And Picoult is amazing at big reveals, which never hurts.


Far From the Tree by Robin Benway || 5/5

A contemporary novel about three adopted siblings who find each other at just the right moment.

Being the middle child has its ups and downs.

But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—

Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs.

And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.

 

Another AMAZING book with beautiful, developed characters. I loved the writing style and the neatness of the plot. All three of the main characters were vastly different, with their own lives and own problems and this was nicely portrayed. I was never confused as to which chapter was told from whose point-of-view, which is really hard to do.

The ending was a bit fast but other than that, I really liked this book.

I also got to talk to this author and she was amazing.


Leah On the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli || 3.5/5

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

 

Review of Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda.

So. I have mixed feelings about this book.

I feel like this book was not planned out from the beginning, so it didn’t really fit with the first book. There were inconsistencies.

  • Nick is a different person.
  • What happened to Leah’s huge crush on Nick?
  • LEAH WAS NOT BISEXUAL.
  • HER MYSTERIOUS (but entirely predictable) LOVE INTEREST WAS NOT BISEXUAL. DEFINITELY NOT.

I didn’t like it. Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda is better as a stand-alone.

Unlike the first book, there wasn’t much of a plot in this book. It was slow and it read like a fanfiction.

I LOVE Simon; Leah, I feel kinda meh about.

But.

I loved seeing Simon in this book. More Simon=happiness. AND there was a Six of Crows reference, which made me immeasurably happy.


A Note: I’m currently on vacation in Bangladesh until July 15, 2018, so I won’t be able to respond to comments until I get back.