April reading round-up

  • # of books read: 11
  • audiobooks listened to: 4
  • ARCs read: 1
  • total page count: 3,288
  • year total page count: 15,539

I didn’t finish a lot of books in April, but I did read a lot!  I swear!  For a full list, scroll down to the bottom – the links will take you to my Goodreads reviews.

This month brought in 2 hefty tomes that I’d had on hold: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor and King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard.  I love love loved Strange the Dreamer.  There’s a librarian protagonist!  And Laini’s usual lovely prose and world-building.  I was a little disappointed that the story ended the way it did, of course that only means I will need to read the next in the series!

As for King’s Cage, I was not as enamored of this one as I was with the first two.  It felt too long and slow in the beginning.  But I will still probably continue reading this series, just like I’ll be continuing to read the Throne of Glass series.

I spent most of the month reading Queen of Shadows (another 500+ pager), but it was more because of all the other big ass books that came in from the library that kept me from finishing it quicker, because it had a good pace and I really enjoyed it.

Another long one I read was Secret Windows, a compilation of various essays on writing by Stephen King.  I’d had this one on my TBR pile since 2009 (yikes) and since I had borrowed it, and it no longer fit on my shelf after I arranged it by color, and I’m well ahead on my reading goal, I decided to read it. Besides, I felt like I needed to read a book to inspire me on writing, since this month was Camp Nanowrimo. Unfortunately I had to slog my way through this one.  I had read many of the essays before.  One of them was over 100 pages long and was excerpted from Danse Macabre, and I hadn’t liked it the first time.  The transcriptions of some of the talks he gave were fun to read, and I did enjoy some of the pieces… but his On Writing is so much better, and covers many of the points he makes throughout all these various tidbits.  Plus editing.

I also had another book come in on hold, though it was on the shorter side.  I’ve been spacing out my holds and unfortunately this month it seems they all caught up with me.  Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist felt very timely and dealt with the riots in Seattle.  Not my usual genre, and something I think I found through trying to find the source of the title’s quote.

Two of the audiobooks I listened to this month were extremely similar in style and subject – and actually had the same narrator!  The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, deals with a future where aliens have taken over, and several teens are left trying to fight and survive.  The 100 by Kass Morgan, deals with a future where several teens (or, you know, 100 teens) are sent to a destroyed Earth, where they try to survive.  I had seen both the movie “The 5th Wave” and the first episode of “The 100” TV series, and hadn’t been super engaged with either of them.  But reading The 5th Wave made me want to go back and give it another chance, because the book was so enjoyable.  I also want to rewatch “The 100,” because there seem to be significant differences.  The book was okay, it was quick listen and the plot moved right along, though the characters weren’t as memorable or deep as those in The 5th Wave.

I received a physical ARC this month from Simon Pulse, the absolutely adorable When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon.  A cute summer romance that I zipped right through, made me want to listen to my Bollywood playlist again.  The book will be released May 30th.

Here’s a complete list of the books I read this month:

  1. Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman
  2. Secret Windows: Essays and Fiction on the Craft of Writing by Stephen King
  3. The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave, #1) by Rick Yancey (audiobook)
  4. Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa
  5. A User’s Guide to Neglectful Parenting by Guy Delisle (graphic novel)
  6. Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1) by Laini Taylor
  7. The 100 by Kass Morgan (audiobook)
  8. Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris (audiobook)
  9. Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4) by Sarah J. Maas
  10. King’s Cage (Red Queen, #3) by Victoria Aveyard
  11. Devil’s Pass (Seven, #6) by Sigmund Brouwer (audiobook)
  12. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (ARC)

reading list April 2016

This is about a week late, but I’m going to try to make this a monthly column, where I give a brief review of everything I’ve read that month – so here’s April!

Series Fiction

257762101There are only a handful of series that I’m really into.  The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs is one of them (her Alpha & Omega series is another!), and the 9th entry, Fire Touched, could not truly satiate my hunger, but it mostly filled me up… for now!    This is truly one of my very favorite werewolf series.  Mercy is a great character, and the other characters also quickly worm their way into my heart.

51-5ix9w9gl-_sx330_bo1204203200_I only just finished Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard in March, but I figured the 2-story prequel collection of Cruel Crown wouldn’t take too long to read.  I liked Red Queen more than I thought I would, but I was a bit divided on the stories here.  The first, Queen Song, I really loved.  It felt like a complete story to me, that was not dependent on information from Red Queen.  The second story, Steel Scars, actually skipped what I figured would be the climactic event because it occurred in Red Queen.  Still, now that I’m reading Glass Sword, I’m grateful for the extra background of both stories.  For those of you who haven’t read this series, it blends fantasy with a lot of the dystopian elements seen in YA literature over the past few years – the Red blood vs. Silver blood reminded me of Divergent, while the Queenstrial and the various fights to the death reminded me of Hunger Games – and also has a Cinderella-esque feel to it.

16000044Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes was a book I read for my teen book club over a year ago.  I had really enjoyed it, but waffled about getting the subsequent books, because series take time, and I have so many books to read!  I was stuck without an audiobook for my commute, so I went online and downloaded Rebel Spring (Falling Kingdoms #2) and I was surprised at just how easily I was transported back into this fantasy world and the cast of characters.  Normally I only listen to audiobooks in my car, because I have them on CD, but the downloadable audio gave me the opportunity to listen while I did household chores like cooking dinner or preparing my lunch for work, or folding laundry (although part of this was because the due date was rapidly approaching!).  As soon as I’m done Glass Sword I’ll be checking out Gathering Darkness!  I’ve been slogging through the 3rd book in A Song of Fire and Ice for about a year now, and I’ll just say that this has a lot of similarities to Game of Thrones but reads very quickly and easily.  The world-building isn’t overly complex or intimidating, and each character has such a strong agenda that I can’t help but root for each in turn, even the not-so-good ones (ahem, Magnus!).

Standalone Fiction

51v6koptydl-_sx331_bo1204203200_My enthusiasm for the standalone fiction I read this month pales a bit in comparison.  Two of these I finished reading while I was on a trip to Iceland.  Valhalla by Ari Bach was one I had downloaded and was super excited to read, based on some strong marketing.  I did not, however, enjoy it as much as I wanted to.  The main character, Violet, seems to have antisocial personality disorder of the serial killer type, which makes her difficult to relate to.  The world-building seemed to take up a lot of the story.  Considering that the characters undergo modifications that make them able to come back to life and not feel pain, I didn’t feel that there was much at stake throughout.  This is the first in a series, but I won’t be reading the rest, hence why it’s in my “standalone” section.

18166941Boy on the Edge by Fridrik Erlings was on my to-read list, possibly because it sounded like the story of a troubled, possibly suicidal boy stuck in a foster care system.  Then I quickly discovered that it was originally written in Icelandic and takes place in Iceland – what a coincidence!  While being in the country while the author is describing the lava fields and landscapes was pretty awesome, the story felt old-fashioned, probably because it was being told by an older man about his childhood.  The book was alright, but I doubt its appeal to modern teens.

The Wendigo by Algernon Blackwood is a classic short story/novella that in my mind I associated with werewolves.  Intellectually I knew that the wendigo as it is known to Native Americans is not the same as what wendigo has come to mean to popular culture, but still, I was under the impression that this was going to be a horror story.  Basically, this is the story of a group of explorers and traders of different nationalities (British, American, French Canadian, and one lone Native America who is described in the racist fashion of the times) who encounter a wendigo.  One of them is spirited off, and returns much changed.  Or, not really changed at all, other than raving about his burning feet, because apparently wendigos are just really big creatures with burning hooves that run around and don’t eat humans. Not exactly what I was expecting – or hoping for.

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Nonfiction

Nonfiction is a category I don’t often read, and it’s hard to really decide if I’ve “enjoyed” it, so it’s more along whether or not I found it “interesting” or learned something from it.

41ouqvxzgfl-_sy344_bo1204203200_As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been writing some fanfiction.  Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World by Anne Jamison is one of the few books out there about the culture of fanfiction (although it didn’t really get as deep into the “why fanfiction is taking over the world” as I would have liked).  This compiled a bit of the history of fandoms and fanfiction as it evolved over the centuries, which sometimes got a bit boring when it delved into fandoms I’m not a part of nor interested in (such as Star Trek, or even Sherlock Holmes).  This focused a bit heavily on the Twilight fandom, as that fandom has produced a number of published authors in recent years and fueled the debate over what is transformative fiction and what is copyright infringement. There were a few philosophical essays and bits that were really tedious and boring, but there were a number of great essays as well.

life-changing-magic-not-giving-a-fuckNow, I haven’t read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but I still wanted to read The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight.  The subtitle, A Practical Parody, really sums up this book.  It’s funny, but you can also use the advice contained within.  I found it really amusing that so many reviewers on Goodreads marked this book down for containing too many instances of the f-bomb – I mean, it’s in the title, what did you expect?  I, however, really enjoyed it.