April 29, 2016

April Reading Wrap-Up, Part Two




On Wednesday I shared with you how I did with the books I planned to read in April. I read 4/7 of them, which isn't awesome. But! I did read another 6 unplanned books, for a grand total of 10, which is pretty great. Here are the ones that snuck into my month! A very high percentage of them were AWESOME books, which is why I let them sneak in and mess up my plans.


The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski was great. It's the final novel in her Winners trilogy, and I really enjoyed it. They're set in a fictional world where the dominant nation, Valoria, obviously reflects Ancient Rome. Kestrel, daughter of Valoria's most illustrious general, ends up falling for Arin, her Herrani slave. But then the Herrani revolt against Valorian rule, and Kestrel and Arin end up on opposing sides in a war. The books are quite poetically written, and I enjoyed the whole series. I gave this one 4.5/5.




Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard is actually quite good, it just pales a bit in comparison with all the AMAZING books I've read this month. I'm only about halfway through it, but I still have a day left in April, so I think I'll finish it. 3/5 (so far). 



A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. This was amazingly good. It's about a curmudgeonly old man with a heart of gold, and it made me laugh out loud so many times, and made me cry a lot, and you HAVE to listen to the audiobook. It's just so so so good. 5 out of 5 stars. Plus an extra credit star.



Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. I'd been waiting for the final book in the Raven Cycle for so long that the fact that it's publication date was FINALLY arriving, kind of caught me off guard! I'd meant to read the first three books again, but since I was short on time I just re-listened to BLLB. It's just as good the second time around - actually the hilarious interactions between Blue Sargent and her sort-of-aunt Calla and the teenage boys who are at the heart of the story were perhaps even better the second time around. I'm happy to report Stiefvater's brilliant way with words is equally delightful in print and on audio. 5/5



The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater. Guys, I'd had this book pre-ordered since March 4, 2015. It arrived at my house on April 26th... and I *said* I was going to try to savor it, but yeah. That didn't happen. I finished it in 4 hours. It's SO GOOD, and I want to say more. But I can't without MAJOR spoilerage. Let's just say it's about journeys and magic and evil and love and happiness and basically ALL THE THINGS. Seriously, if you've ever read this blog before, you've probably heard me raving about the Raven Cycle. I don't know what else to say - GO READ THEM. 5/5



My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl. This was a lovely read, as are all of Reichl's books. It's quiet, and full of delicious recipes, and a nice antidote to all the sprawling, epic fantasy I read this month. I was really tempted to buy this one, so as to have the recipes for later, but I might just snap a few pics of the library book, and actually make sure I like the recipes before I splurge on a hard copy. 3/5


Have I talked you into the Raven Cycle yet?


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April 27, 2016

April Reading Wrap-Up, Part One

Hooray! I did ok at meeting my April reading goals... considering that I originally forgot to account for the release of The Raven King, and a gazillion library holds all came in at once!



Spark Joy by Marie Kondo
Where I got it: From the library.
Did I read it? Yes! And I actually was surprised to discover how much I liked it. It's not as harsh as the first one; and she offers helpful and specific tips on how to get rid of items that don't spark joy; and how to better display items that do spark joy, to create a joyful home atmosphere.



The Rules of Love & Grammar by Mary Simses

Where I got it: From Shelf Awareness, for review.
Did I read it? Yes! As someone who has been known to point out typos on a menu... I can relate to the character of Grace Hammond. However, Grace's predicaments are super cliché (including an inevitable scene where a guy has to get close to Grace in order to show her how to properly hold a pool cue...) (eye roll). But, if you like books that are well-written, and not full of sex scenes, and you don't mind romantic tropes, you'll enjoy this.




My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
Where I got it: On audiobook, from the library, per my friend Meghan's recommendation.
Did I read it? Nope. I'll re-request it from the library though, I promise, Meghan! I ditched it in favor of relistening to Blue Lily, Lily Blue.



Modern Lovers by Emma Straub

Where I got it: From Shelf Awareness, for review.
Did I read it? Yes! It's a perfect light, summery beach-type read.




In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri
Where I got it: From the library.
Did I read it? Nope. Well, I read 20% of it. But I just didn't care that much, and since I had SO MANY other books to get to, I took it back to the library. I may try again later, we'll see.
 

Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin
Where I got it: From the library.
Did I read it? No. Again, did I mention that ALL THE HOLDS came it at once? And since I only had to wait about 2 weeks for this one the first time around, I figured it was a good candidate to re-request for later.



Son by Lois Lowry

Where I got it: From the library! After waiting SEVEN months for it. So I had to prioritize this one.
Did I read it? Yes! It was really good. This one and The Giver are the best in the series, for sure. Actually, I really think you could pretty much skip books 2 and 3, and just read this as the follow-up to The Giver.

In addition to those specific books, I also planned to read "something romantic" in April. I'd originally figured a Mary Stewart or Georgette Heyer reread, but then two teenage YA fantasy novels came in at the library, and they both had pretty strong romantic themes, so they scratched my romantic itch, so to speak. But since this post is already pretty epic, I'll fill you in on the rest of my April reads soon. Stay tuned! I had a couple of five star reads this month.


What have YOU been reading?

 
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April 25, 2016

When You Fail at Your Own Book Club - the 2nd RTFEBC Korea Link-Up


I know I don't host the #bookwormproblems link-ups anymore, but I feel like I have had so many bookworm problems this month! 

First, was the tyranny of the library. Then, I realized that I only had 10 days till The Raven King was coming out, and I'd initially planned to reread all the books in the Raven Cycle before that. I settled for a re-listen of Blue Lily, Lily Blue. Now I just have to find time to wedge The Raven King into my stack of library reads!

And finally, I totally failed at our Reading Together: Family Exploration Book Club pick this month! You may remember that last month I reviewed The Kite Fighters, our middle grade choice, but I didn't even get to When My Name Was Keoko. I fully intended to read it; but I mistakenly requested the wrong book by Linda Sue Park from the library - and didn't realize till the 17th that our library system didn't actually have it. And then I didn't want to buy a copy, because I'm already drowning in books, and I didn't think I'd have time. So, alas, no RTFEBC reading for me this month!

But, be sure to check out Sheila and Moira's reviews of When My Name was Keoko. And if you wrote a post about it, or wrote a review on Goodreads, link it up in the link up for this month!

Oh well, next month is a new chance! And we're moving on to a new culture - we're discussing Iran in May and June. I've already read Forty Fortunes and Persepolis, and I just requested Shadow Spinner at the library. So I'll be ahead of the game (for once).

In the meantime, although I failed on the book front, I think I'm going to continue the Korean theme by making this Slow Cooker Korean Beef next week, and Eleanor and I will use her stash of origami paper to make ddakji disks so that we can try playing ddakji!


Photo found here.