You guys! I read FOURTEEN books in two months. Not only that, but they’re arguably the busiest two months of a school year, especially when you teach seniors. But I did it. And my GoodReads challenge is almost at 50% completion too. So I’m feeling pretty accomplished right now. But I am halfway through June and I’ve only read one book, and technically it was an audio-book so I can’t just rest on my laurels here.
The Wicked and the Divine: Year One: Okay so I read Volume 3 a while ago and while I was horribly confused because I hadn’t read anything else I knew I wanted to be very involved in this series. So when I got a galley from Image Comics I was THRILLED. Y’all I was a Religious Studies Major for a reason. I’m a huge nerd for mythology and religion and anything that wraps itself up in that world is my favorite and this series does not disappoint on that front. These books are so wildly imaginative and do a fantastic job of building a very complicated world full of history very quickly and very clearly. At times I felt like I was about to get lost but this book won’t let you, the writing and the art combined have ways of filling in the gaps that the other one leaves, like its so complimentary and they’re both such strong narratives alone. I know it seems obvious that a comic will have it’s art fill in the blanks, but sometimes you get art that’s just showing you the words, like a picture book instead of a complimentary narrative that a really advanced and well executed comic will give you. Loved this book.
Echoes Volume 1: I was uncomfortable the whole time I read this book. Which is the point, but so uncomfortable that I have no interest in continuing this series. If you’re into disturbing psychological thrillers, mysteries, and serial killer stuff, I’d definitely check it out because it’s well drawn and the short, chopped writing lends itself well to the narrative. But it was just way too much for me.
I Hate Fairy Land Volume 1: I thankfully read this immediately after Echoes and it did wonders to improve my mood and cleanse my palette. This was just straight up fun. It was inane, profane, and insane and I loved it. I love the conclusion of this volume and it made me really want to continue this series. I love the juxtaposition of the bright bubbly fairy land art and the narrative. It really speaks to the 8th grader who is obsessed with Johnny the Homicidal Maniac that still lives deep inside of me.
Paper Girls Volume 1: I did not know what to expect from this. I thought it might be a little Nancy Drew, but mostly just badass lady friends on their paper routes. And while yes those things are correct it shocked the hell out of me when I read it because it got to be SO MUCH MORE than that so quickly! I devoured this Volume because I just couldn’t wait to see what twists the story took next. Not only was the plot quick and fascinating but it also really took time to focus on relationships and develop the characters which is honestly hard to do in only five very short issues so I’m super impressed and this is definitely a book I’ll be on top of in the future.
Spells of Blood and Kin by Claire Humphrey: This book wasn’t as strong as I felt it could be and I’m kind of hoping she turns it into a series mainly because it read like a prequel that was written to a popular series. It all felt like background and context filler but the ending seemed so final I honestly don’t know where she would go from here. I almost think it would have made a really good TV show but not the best book. Too episodic, stakes weren’t big enough, and it didn’t really fit a satisfying narrative arc. Although on the up side the mythos that was woven into this story is fascinating! I loved how Humphrey used mythology that isn’t frequently talked about in most supernatural books. So overall it was really enjoyable but just not as strong as it could have been.
Haiku Princess by H.O. Tanager: Mehhh. It was a quick read. It was entertaining, It was fun. I think that’s all the author wanted from it and it’s all I got. Not a waste of time by any stretch but nothing to write home about. Although I did appreciate the use of puns and the formatting (hey haiku’s can be hard!) It was a fun gimmick book.
Thorn by Intisar Khanani: I wasn’t familiar with the story of The Goose Girl so this was a great way to get to know the fable. I think that as far as retold fairy tales go it was great. Totally inventive and new, touches on very very very tricky themes and I think they were handled with grace. This was more introspective than I thought it would be and even though it did a great job of having a plot in the outside world, I love inner world conflicts the most and this one delivers on that front.
A Stolen Kiss by Kelsey Keating: Another fairy tale! I LOVED THIS ONE! It was so fun! It was a quest and it had all the fun quest elements with all the characters you want in a book. Strong character development and strong fantasy elements. I loved the way the story unfolded and the way Keating would weave in clues along the way. The shapeshifter character was my favorite and I love how that all tied in together. Definitely a series I plan on continuing.
The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi: This book wasn’t what I was expecting it to be and it read almost like the dream world environment it was set in. It spent such a long time establishing the world and building the relationship I almost want to say the ending and actual climax and action of the book was rushed. But in reality and how it all played out it became obvious that the action was never the focus. I feel like I have to talk myself out of thinking negatively about books that aren’t revolving around the action. Which is weird because I love those books, but for some reason I really had to talk myself into understanding and appreciating this book.
Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke: This book is why you should TOTALLY read books for their covers. Such a new and weird narrative. It reminded me of Francesca Lia Block. It was like more structured stream of consciousness narrative. God I loved these characters. I loved their voices, I loved the alternating narrative, I loved the unreliability of all three narrators. This book seems simple at first but then you just keep digging past the fog and past the misconceptions and through all three versions of reality. Loved it.
An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet: I was surprised to find that this book wasn’t very highly rated on GoodReads. People didn’t like it because it was too exposition heavy, the action happened too late (so my complaint for Star Touched Queen) but I didn’t have the same problem with this book. I loved that the action wasn’t the focus and that it was anti-climatic. I loved that the focus was on relationships and characters and miscommunication. I’ve stolen the “Spite or Pride” line from this book already and I think about that relationship often. Definitely recommend it!
All the Feels by Danika Stone: I pretty much ran through this book, I couldn’t put it down! Not because it was super fast and furious in its pacing but just because it was fun! I smiled the whole time I read this. Sometimes I would get worried that it was going to be immature and self-serving (like a Mary Sue explanation and defense of fandom) because she definitely went there a few times, but then it ended up being a super balanced, mature coming of age story that yes, pointed out all the weird irresponsible things about fandom and how much it consumes you and (sometimes) is a waste of time, but then it also shines the light on how balance is possible, the community is fantastic, and if you don’t let it eat you alive then it is actually pretty great. I really enjoyed this book and I think it’s mandatory reading for every fanboy and fangirl out there. Just do it!
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas: I just want to write an all caps review of this that is also mostly cry face emojis and also lots of kissy face emojis and heart eye emojis and black heart emojis and EMOJIS.
But I won’t. Instead I will say that this book is a book about recovery, it’s a book about PTSD, it’s a book about finding comfort in people you can trust and developing bonds that are based in more than superficiality. Most of all it’s a book about self-confidence, strength, and being true to who you are. It’s also incredibly well written, interwoven, beautiful just freaking beautiful. The world building, character development, freaking writing. All of it is impeccable.
Now that i’m done with why this book is of literary merit I will say omg so much smut. Such smut. The most. SO GOOD. I couldn’t read it in public for fear of blushing too much. God Maas can you do no wrong? That girl can write anything. The relationship between Feyre and (*spoiler*) was SO SATISFYING. SO GOOD.
And I Darken by Kiersten White: Initially I was wary because someone said this was the new vampire book and I was like “ummm no thanks?” but I was hooked on the whole “What if Vlad Dracul was a woman instead?” and then I just went for it. IT WAS SUCH A GOOD DECISION! Not only does this book stand alone as an individual book but it does a damn good job of establishing a series without giving everything away. Like damn. So much intense world building, inner world building, just so intense. Once again alternating narratives (love it!) and really interesting sibling relationships. Can’t get enough. Check it out!