Reading Retrospective: June

See, I told you I wouldn’t let another 6 months go by without a post.  I was still finishing up my first school year as a librarian in June, but my grad school classes and obligations were done, so reading began to pick up again around this time.  Here’s what I was reading in June:

51. Royally Lost by Angie Stanton-Impulse bought this for my Kindle when it was super cheap.  Not the best choice.  The main character was SO annoying-basically started off as the very definition of an ugly American.  So shallow, desperate for McDonald’s, not wanting to learn the history of anything, etc.  She got slightly better over time, but the best part of the book was the setting-I’ll read about vacations through Europe any day of the week.

52. Prodigy by Marie Lu-Second book in the Legend trilogy. More Day and June.  Despite it being a second book, I didn’t hate it, so I think that says a lot about the trilogy.

53. Champion by Marie Lu-Final book in the Legend trilogy.  I didn’t hate the ending.  I didn’t think it was too far-fetched or unrealistic, and it had a hopeful tone.  I’m having trouble remembering a ton of details now (though I did love the gamification of Antarctica), but definitely a solid trilogy.  I’d definitely recommend it over Divergent and the Maze Runner, maybe even The Hunger Games (only because I liked the third book a lot more).

54. The One by Kiera Cass-Final book in The Selection trilogy.  I know a lot of people don’t like this series, and it’s not without flaws, but I really liked America throughout the series.  Some of her thoughts and actions definitely irritated me, but I liked her less orthodox approach to many of the tasks with which she was faced.  And the romantic aspect ended relatively predictably, but I think that was to be expected.  I probably won’t reread the series, but I definitely liked it.

55. Free to Fall by Lauren Miller-I really liked the premise of the book, but then I thought the plot got more and more outrageous.  Nonetheless, it was enjoyable, if far-fetched.

56. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling-Back in the beginning of June, I had sort of a rough week, so I decided I needed some comfort reading.  Enter Harry Potter.  Still so good, despite repeated rereadings.  Made me long to be a wizard all over again.

57. Just One Night by Gayle Forman-I usually skip these little stories that happen before, after, or in between books in a series, because they’re not essential to the plot and I’d rather read a full-length story.  But I am SO GLAD Gayle Forman wrote this add-on to Just One Day/Just One Year.  It was so nice to have Allyson and Willem spend more time together, have a little more closure, and nice to have more time with Forman’s writing.

58. Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger-Interesting concept, slow read (for me).  Took a while for me to get through this, though I did eventually get to like the characters.  We’ll see how soon I pick up the second book.

59. Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter-This is the second book in the Heist Society Series.  Ally Carter just writes such fun books, full of action and unique characters.  I will read anything she writes (and actually can’t wait for her next series).

60. Pawn by Aimee Carter-At first I was worried that the premise of this dystopian series seemed a little derivative, and there are certainly aspects that are similar to other books.  However, I still found it to be an action-packed and enjoyable read, if you aren’t already suffering from dystopian fatigue.

61. If I Stay by Gayle Forman-Despite my deep and abiding love for Just One Day and Just One Year, the premise of If I Stay never appealed to me.  Even though I read rave review after rave review, I still wouldn’t pick the book up.  Then I happened upon it at a library book sale, one of those where you stuff a bag full for a small amount of money, and it found its way onto my shelves.  And on the heels of Just One Night, I decided I needed more Gayle Forman, and, what do you know, all those other reviews were right.  I continued to love Forman’s writing style and rich characters.  Definitely a favorite.

62. Breakfast Served Anytime by Sarah Combs-Another favorite for the year.  Anytime a book is set at summer camp or on a road trip, I’m pretty much guaranteed to pick it up.  This one was the former, and I loved it.  Then again, I love any time authors bring smart, complex teenagers to life, and that definitely happened in this book.

63. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson-Morgan Matson is another automatic read for me, but I was a little worried this one wouldn’t live up to her previous two novels, which I loved so much.  I still am not a huge fan of how the plot came about, because of the somewhat sinister implications that arise when someone ‘disappears;’ nonetheless, I liked the idea of the main character taking on challenges and pushing herself, and I always enjoy a little romance, so, while not my favorite Matson book, I did enjoy it.

64. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling-Well, after reading the first one, I couldn’t very well stop.  This books has always been, and continues to be, my least favorite in the series; that being said, the worst Harry Potter book is still better than a great many other books around.

 

And that’s all for June-July’s reads will be reviewed in another few days.

Reading Retrospective: May

Well, it appears I took quite the hiatus from the land of blogging.  There is much to catch up on, including a move to a new city, work at a new job, challenges and successes at said job, and new discoveries in the world of books and reading.  Since I didn’t quite keep up with the monthly reading recaps, I thought that during December, in advance of an end of year wrap up, I’d retrospectively fill you in on what I’ve been reading.  Since quite a lot of months have passed since I’ve done one of these, each one will get its own post, so maybe people will actually read to the end.  Anyway, without further delay, here is what I read in May:

40. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor-Wow, this book was enormous.  This trilogy is one of my favorites ever, and third books in trilogies are often disappointing, but Laini Taylor’s writing is so beautiful that even though this wasn’t necessarily my favorite book in the series, I was definitely happy with it.  I have to say that I love Ziri even more now, and am I wrong in thinking that the ending sort of left an opening for a spin-off series?

41. The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik-YA based on Persuasion by Jane Austen.  Definitely an enjoyable, sweet, read, if not super memorable.

42. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han-Oh my goodness, I LOVED this book.  I’ve read all of Jenny Han’s books, and I think she’s a good writer, but I’ve always been underwhelmed by her YA books-I’ve thought her books aimed at younger audiences (Shug and Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream) were superior.  Until now.  Lara Jean is an amazing main character, the book is hilarious and smart and I fell in love with the characters, and I am so, so glad there’s going to be a sequel.

43. The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer-You know how so many realistic YA books these days are advertised as perfect for fans of John Green or Rainbow Rowell, but it so rarely turns out to be true?  That was actually one of the first things I thought of when reading this-the smart, witty dialogue reminded me of John Green’s characters.  That being said, I started off really loving this book, but then there was a twist-type occurrence and it really sort of put a damper on my enjoyment of the book.  I did like that the ending of the book wasn’t necessarily all happy and resolved, but more realistic.

44. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner-Second book in the Maze Runner series.  I liked the first book in the series, but things went downhill from there.  I know dystopian societies are no picnic, but I found some of the gratuitous bloodshed and death to be really disturbing, and I didn’t like the premise of the task in this book or some of the puppetmasters’ (so to speak) actions.  Not a favorite.

45. The Death Cure by James Dashner-Despite the second book not being a favorite, I wanted to finish the trilogy.  I was equally unimpressed with this third book, and I found the religious symbolism of the ending to be a bit heavy-handed.

46. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson- I love Laurie Halse Anderson, I think her writing is great and she is willing to tackle big issues in her books.  I don’t think this is necessarily my Reading Retrospective: Mayfavorite of her books, but it was still a good read.

47. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins-I enjoyed the Hex Hall series, so thought I’d give this one a try.  I liked the premise better than Hex Hall, but didn’t find the romantic aspect as compelling.  That said, I do like Rachel Hawkins’ writing style, and after that ending, I feel like I need to read the next book to find out what happens.

48. Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley-One of my biggest YA pet peeves is terrible parents-those who don’t understand their kids, or are absent, or just really don’t have a clue.  I feel like this happens more frequently in YA novels than in real life.  And this book definitely has that.  However, I also think it’s an interesting look at how prominent blogging is these days.  Not a favorite of the year, but I still enjoyed it.

49. Now and Forever by Susane Colasanti-When I read the synopsis for this one, I thought it could end up being my favorite Colasanti book.  Then I started reading, and I just didn’t LIKE the main character.  I don’t know if it was the personality or the writing style, but it just didn’t sound like an authentic voice to me.  I did like the direction the book took in regard to one famous and one non-famous person dating-it definitely wasn’t your standard fantasy scenario, which was refreshing.

50. Legend by Marie Lu-Another dystopian trilogy, another main character who starts off thinking her society is good and just, then realizes how flawed it is.  Same old, same old…and yet I still loved this book.  June and Day were great characters, and I liked the plot so much better than some others in the genre.  I’d definitely recommend this one.

Well, that’s it for May.  I’ll be back again soon (for real!) with June’s reads.