September In Review

I read 17 books this month guys!  Ok, well, I DNF’d 4, and listened to a whole bunch of others on audio, but it was quite a good reading month, I’d say.  6 of the 17 were books that I owned and were on my TBR, 10 were library books, and one was a re-read.

26873752Icon by Genevieve Valentine

3 Units.  I was really anticipating this after being totally caught up in the previous book, Persona.  However, this one just didn’t click with me and it felt like a bit of a chug.  Partially as evidenced by the fact that I started it in July (when it came out) and finished it in September.  It’s not a bad book, but just didn’t excite me.

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Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

1 Unit. I love stories that explore the idea of what it means to be human (like most readers),  specifically in that civilization vs. nature angle, which I think is some of why I like (the idea) of stories about werewolves and shape shifters.  This book is a fantasy romance set in a futuristic world where a Psy woman (emotionless, psychic) and a changeling man (leopard shapeshifter) overcoming prejudices to work together to hunt a serial killer and find romance with each other.

And, sadly, I didn’t find a new fave here.  I kind of DNF’d it.  The writing was a bit too overwrought for my taste.  The women who were murdered by the Psy were described as having “their lives stolen” or “robbed of life,” like they just got mugged and their life was something the mugger got away with, like a handbag.  This is what I don’t enjoy in romance, the overwrought wording.  I know the words need to be strong to make you feel the way the lead characters are feeling, to build up the tension in the scenes, but I was just not in the mood for this style of writing.  Maybe it wasn’t fair to read the finely (almost formally) worded Seraphina. I may have read too many things that were influenced by the story in terms of the “inner beast” descriptions.  And I do not enjoy possessive heroes.  I’m thinking of doing a post about why I’m so devoted to romance authors that I find I love.

19549841Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

5 Units!  This was one of my ebooks to read and I also listened to it when I wasn’t able to sit down and read.  Holy moly!  What a wonderful book.  It took me some time to warm to Seraphina, her voice, the world, the story.  I was about 20% in and felt like a lot of things were happening that didn’t really seem to lead to anything, but by 25% we were in it to win it as all those pieces started coming together.  I quite liked the romantic interest, I really liked the princess, Uncle Orma, and the dragons.  I even found the mind magicky bits pretty good, which is something I usually find dulldulldull and hard to picture.  And I didn’t mind the technical music description sections, as I learned in Passenger is not something I care enough about to read through in novels.  Brava to Hartman, and I am now in the leagues of people rabidly awaiting her next publishing announcement.

24611638Luke Skywalker Can’t Read by Ryan Britt

DNF.  Fine, but not what I was in the mood for.  Britt looks at geek culture in his essays, some of which were fun, but I wasn’t invested enough in them to keep giving the book my time.

10564967The Glass Swallow by Julia Golding

DNF. Another of my ebooks, but it felt like my middle school friends and I had published one of our not-very complex or mature writings.  I couldn’t get far into this one.

16085488Still Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub

3.5 Units. I heard about this from book blogger, Sharanya Sharma at Inksplot, who read a couple of books this summer which premised themselves as the sequel to Romeo and Juliet, where Benvolio and Rosaline are the main characters.  I wrote a terrible assignment in 9th Grade English class with this idea, so I’m thrilled to see it done properly.  This one was fine.  It didn’t rock my socks off, but it was fun and well-thought out.  Although I didn’t totally buy the romance. . .

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maase

2 Units.  A little dated and out of touch, but offered some interesting tidbits.  I can’t remember any of them, but I’m sure that’s alright.

27209239Bloodlines by Claudia Grey

DNF.  Very good, but too slow for my mood just then.  Lots of slow political maneuvering, senate talks, phone calls with Han, discussions about intrigue.  That said, I think it was really well done and matches the Star Wars world very well.  If you’re into Star Wars, it would be worth a try!  And narrator January LaVoy is my <3.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes PBK mech.inddThe Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

4.5 Units.  A collection of essays by a young mortician about her relationship with death and the death industry.  I found some of the essays informative, some a bit morbid, but taken all together, Doughty is trying to paint a picture of her path from morbidly interested 23-year-old to good death advocate for getting people involved with preparing the bodies of their loved ones and helping people prepare for and confront death in a positive way.  I’m a big fan of her YouTube channel, “Ask and Mortician” and could just hear Doughty’s voice in my head as I read this book.  I will certainly be picking her next publication.

9361589The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

5 Units.  My re-read via audiobook while working on mindless tasks.  Jim Dale reads this book, and it felt like Harry Potter/Pushing Daisies comfortableness.  I didn’t even find the present tense as jarring as I did when I first read it.  A lovely book to re-read.

16085457Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

4.5 Units.  An excellent follow-up to Seraphina.  We get to explore all the foreign countries, meet up with the other ityasaari, make wonderful new friends (Camba), everyone is in jeopardy, Seraphine continues to learn about herself and the world.  I particularly like how careful Hartman is to address all of her characters and side-characters in terms of their needs and investment in the action.  I would have liked all of this exploration to have happened a little more slowly, for example, I wish we could have spent much much longer in the Tanamoot (dragon lands), but I understand the purpose it served for Hartman’s story.  I’m looking forward to future books in this world!

13424032One Good Earl Deserves A Lover by Sarah MacLean

4 Units.  Who doesn’t love a romance author who clearly is having fun with her writing?  MacLean’s punny titles definitely make me want to pick up her books–and I am not a punner usually.  This one is a sweet romance, the sequel to A Rogue by Any Other Name, about heroine Penelope’s sister Pippa.  Smart Pippa is engaged to marry a dull, but kind man, but she feels nervous about the upcoming wifely duties, so decides to carry out some research via her brother-in-law’s business partners in the gambling hall.  Cross was a dear, Pippa was hilarious as the straight man, and I had a snuggly warm feeling reading this book.

Feral Nights by Cynthia Leitich Smith

3.5 Units.  Another from my hardcopy TBR.  This one is an author touted as a great Native author who writes fantasy.  I was hoping to love this one more than I did.  I liked Yoshi and the Cat shifters, and Clyde as the good boy Armadillo shifter.  I liked the diversity of the characters, and But, it did feel like a book where the world and the characters had already been introduced in a previous book, and while the writing was quick and clean, it didn’t connect me tightly to the characters.  I am not a big fan of urban fantasy, and I didn’t really like the big setting change in the middle of the book.  All of that said, I would definitely encourage libraries to have this book on their shelves.  The characters felt like real teenagers, and just because this book didn’t thrill me to my core doesn’t mean that it might be just the right fit for someone else.  Possibly someone younger than me.  #YAforyoung adults 😉

16240497No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean

3 Units.  I didn’t click with this one as much as One Good Earl, but maybe that’s because I have a soft spot for bluestockings.  Still fun, with orphans, lost memory, accidental murder accusations, and a not really revengey plot.  And a heroine who gets a good number of punches into the book.  Go  girl!

No Plot, No Problem by Chris Baty

3 Units.  It was fine.  Mostly just reiterated ‘get your butt in the seat and write’ which I may have to start taking seriously.

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Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Units.  What a surprise!  I had this to read in hardcopy, and I know a lot of people love it, but I didn’t find the sample of the first chapter all that enthralling when I first read it last year.  But, I saw Margot from Epic Reads name this as one of her most favorite fantasy series on the day I was picking out which book would be my next read.  Thanks, Margot!  It’s enthralling with a beautiful (and different) setting, with many secrets to sift through the pages.  I wasn’t sure which love interest we were supposed to be rooting for until halfway through, and I liked that it wasn’t all about the romancing, although it does start off with a wedding.  I love watching Elisa develop her own confidence (fake it ’til you make it, girl!) and I’m definitely going to track down the next book soon!

25893700The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington

Units.  Between having kids and being in grad school, my sleep habits have gone out the window.  I realized this spring that I don’t even listen to when my body is ready to sleep, so no wonder I feel terrible when I wake up.  I wanted this book to mostly underscore why I should prioritize my sleep, so that I will feel pushed to do so and crate some new good habits.  Huffington is whatever for me; I’m not in celeb culture or that of the extravagantly wealthy, so I don’t have much to say about her.  Although I’m not a fan of the narrator who seems to just be saying the words rather than reading them with any inflection.

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

DNF 2.5 units.  I don’t have a theater background, so a lot of the jargon and setting were going right over my head.  And I’m not interested in the love interests aspect of the story.  A cool idea that just isn’t for me, but will probably suit someone else very well.

 

Currently Reading:

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

The Mislaid Magician by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

 

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