Monthly Recs: 1 Year in Review!

Monthly Recommendations is a Goodreads group started by booktubers Kayla Rayne and Trina aka Between Chapters.  August 2016’s topic is celebrating 1 year of the group with a re-cap of the topics.  Here are my choices!

Underrated Book

17884103Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier

A YA urban fantasy with Hispanic main characters, and varieties of femininity.  I really like Natividad and her brothers, and the way their whole group comes together.

I’m going to make a sneaky second pick: London Steampunk, starting with Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster

This series (London Steampunk, not the cover pictured at the right) ticks all my boxes as a steampunk romance plus high political stakes. *Note: this series contains explicit sex scenes, so may not be for everyone.

Set in School

Harry Potter, because obviously.  I’m not that into school-settings and HP is probably my favorite one.  Also, it helped me understand the British school system so it has real-world application. 😉

(Also, Anne of Green Gables.  The slate scene.)

A Creepy Book

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Naughty John, Naughty John/does his work with his apron on/cuts your throat and takes your bones/sells them off for a couple a stones.  Alright, truth time: I didn’t really read the spooky murder chapters; I just skipped to the next chapter.  I don’t enjoy the feeling of being scared, and frankly the rest of the book had plenty of spooky creepy crawlies for me!

A Trilogy (a trio of trilogies)

His Dark Assassin Trilogy by Robin LeFevers

So, this one is only a trilogy for a little while longer, as LeFevers is writing another two books, though the series was originally conceived of as a trilogy.  Historical fiction with a twist of fantasy.  I’m not usually totally into politics and political intrigue, but these books have forced me to re-think that stance; I think that they’ve got to be something special for me to enjoy political intrigue.  These are so good!

18263469The American Fairy by Sarah Zettel

An exploration of mixed-raced identity during the Great Depression with a character who is caught between worlds as a half-human, half-fairy.  My favorite Seelie and Unseelie.

Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis

A 12-year-old girl gets herself and her family (and the country) into and out of magical scrapes.  Total feel-good-reads.

Others Should Read ASAP

The Agency series by Y.S. Lee6698199

The Agency books could also be in the underrated book category.  Lee is a scholar of Victorian literature, and gives an AMAZING setting to her well-though out mysteries (without being overly gritty and straight-up depressing; Victorian London was depressing).  Also, a good diverse character read, and Mary struggles with her mixed-race heritage.  Oh!  The Agency itself!  It’s a collective of women spies because women are easily forgotten and disregarded by men, making them ideal spies.  I think I may have convinced myself to re-read them.

Fantasy Book

The Silvered by Tanya Huff

Now, pretty much most of my selections for each month might be labelled fantasy, but this is one that seems to be very classic fantasy but also sucked me right in.  Although I feel like not a lot happened?  It was a physical journey which mirrors a personal journey for the main character.  Oh, if only Huff was interested in writing more stories in this world!

Little/No Romance

House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones

The final of the books set in the Howl world.  A grumpy, bookish protagonist, a crazy house that extends  and, of course, a cameo from the whole Moving Castle Crew.  And get some hot buttery crumpets ready before reading this book.


The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine

A nonmagical retelling of Twelve Dancing Princesses set in the 1920’s.  All the swoons for Valentine.

My original MR Standalones post here.

Favorite Survival Story

My choices are either The Hunger Games, These Broken Stars, or nope.  I got ruined on survival stories after a painfully protracted reading of Gary Paulson’s Hatchet in school.

Favorite Book Friendship

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

🙂 This friendship between Diana and Anne makes me feel lots of feelings, probably because I grew up with my own best friend at the same time that I grew up with this story.

Set Outside of the U.S. (or home country)

1379961People of the Book by Geraldine Brooke

The frame narrative of this follows a woman who is a rare-book expert as she studies a haggadah, a Jewish religious codex, and we then learn the stories of the people who are connected with the codex.  The book travels around Europe and gives a real sense of the history and setting of each place the book goes.  And for a little more travel points, Hannah, the book expert, is Australian.

Favorite Empowering Female Character

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey

Tiny ladies can shake the world.  (See also: my crush on gymnast Simone Biles.)

My original MR Empowering Female post linked here.


2 thoughts on “Monthly Recs: 1 Year in Review!

  1. Okay, so it’s amazing to hear that I am not the only one forever scared by my fifth grade experience of reading Hatchet? That’s strange, but I feel as though no one ever remembers that book. But I have heard amazing things about The Diviners and Lair of Dreams. I’ve had The Diviners on my shelf for probably a year now, so I need to read it!
    -Monica @ Tomes Project


    1. Seriously, it must have been THE book for 5th Graders at the time, but I am convinced that the way to ruin a book is to make kids read it aloud in school. I also still hate Tuck Everlasting. I can’t say if I would have been a fan of survival stories even if I hadn’t read Hatchet (which frankly, felt like it should have constituted a survival story, dragging through the text for 2-3 months), or if they are just not my thing, which made Hatchet feel even longer. I’m glad to know that I’m not alone. High five for Hatchet read-aloud survivors!

      I highly recommend The Diviners books. The audio is awesome, if you find that you need some extra oomph in getting going. January LaVoy won an Audie Award for Lair of Dreams (and was nominated for The Diviners), and she’s all around awesome. Except, I don’t love her voice for Jericho, but I can look passed that. Happy reading!


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