Category Archives: Reading

August 2016 Reading Recap

You may have noticed I skipped last month’s Reading Recap. I’m a little embarrassed to say that I only read one book last month. July was a hard month for me, so I didn’t really make a lot of time for the things that I enjoyed.

I did a little better in August, though! I only read four books, but that’s an improvement over last month! That brings me to a total of 33 books read this year, out of my goal of 52. I’m 63% done and am still on track to reach my goal!

Trigger Warnings by Neil Gaiman – 5/5 stars

https://d2arxad8u2l0g7.cloudfront.net/books/1415036119l/22522808.jpgI’m a pretty big fan of Neil Gaiman. I looooved Stardust and The Ocean at the End of the Lane, so this happened to be an audiobook that was available to be checked out from the library when I needed a new book to listen to.

This is a compilation of short stories, and as it’s all by Gaiman, it ranges from whimsy and fantastical to a little creepy and morose. They were all very unique and so imaginative and creative which is what I love so much about Gaiman as an author. Some are short, some are long – but I really enjoyed them all!

I also thought that it was a nice touch that he added an introduction for each of the short stories at the beginning of the book. It gives the reader a little more insight into what inspired him to write the story and some fun real-life situations that have happened to him.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne – 4/5 stars

https://d2arxad8u2l0g7.cloudfront.net/books/1470734340l/29069989.jpgI have been very impatiently awaiting for this release! My mother, so a few days later it showed up on my door step! If you’re unaware, this seventh installment is in the form of a screenplay and takes place 19 years after the Battle of Hogwarts.

Overall, I really liked the plot. There were some little plot loopholes (due to the use of the time-turner, I won’t go into more details though if you’re planning on reading it!) that bothered me a bit, but it was all very quick-paced and kept me turning the pages.

I did miss diving more into the characters thoughts and all the descriptions that you would normally get in a novel, but I understand that this was never intended to be a novel and that’s what you get with a screenplay. All the same, it was a quick, fun read that will indulge all Harry Potter fans with a deeper look into the wizarding world. Would recommend!

The Brotherband Chronicles (#4-6) by John Flanagan – 3/5 stars
The Slaves of Socorro, Scorpion Mountain, and The Ghostfaces

https://d2arxad8u2l0g7.cloudfront.net/books/1406246409l/21456821.jpgI finally finished up all the books that are published so far in this series. The series continues off where the third book ended, but I don’t feel like there is really a whole lot that is newly introduced in the last half of the series. The character development continues, and each individual book has its own plot which keeps it unique. But it also makes it feel a bit formulaic. It took me a long time to get through the sixth book since it really just all felt a bit stale.

I will probably read the future books that come out in this series, but I do hope that he brings something unique to them, because they’re becoming tiresome.

Anyone else read the Cursed Child? Thoughts?

Happy reading, friends! :)

May & June Reading Recap

Phew, these last two months have been busy. Between graduating, packing, hosting my family, and then moving home, unpacking, and getting settled in our new home, I missed out on last month’s reading recap post and I hadn’t read as much last month. So I’m going to recap both months here.

Over May and June, I read 8 books. In total, I’ve read 28 books this year, which puts me past halfway done with my goal of reading 52 books this year and 3 books ahead of schedule! Yay! The 8 books I read were mainly from two series – one I finished and one I’m still working on. So I’m going to divide this review up by the series, instead of by the individual book. I’ve included the individual books underneath for clarification.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer – 4.5/5 stars
(Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter)

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)This series was such a lovely surprise. It takes a classic fairy tale story and characters and transforms it into something fresh and unique. The series focuses on Cinder, a cyborg mechanic living in a world ravaged by a plague called Letumosis. The Lunars – the population living on the moon – are ruled by an evil queen who is just biding her time to intervene on earth. The fate of both worlds lie in Cinder’s hands…. *dun dun dun*

Meyer did a wonderful job creating and developing the characters in this novel. I also loved how each book introduced a new fairy tale and the subsequent characters. And all of the plot points fit the fairy tale theme, if you will, without seeming like stretching the story to fit. It was effortless.

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)Scarlet introduces Scarlet, who mimics Little Red Riding Hood, as well as the grandmother and Big Bad Wolf, who isn’t so bad after all. Cress introduces Rapunzel,  and finally Winter introduces Snow White and her story. But while each book introduces new characters, the story still focuses around Cinder, with each of the characters playing vital roles.

The ending was very fitting as well; it wrapped things up while still giving some room for the reader’s speculation. It was such a creative series, giving a fun spin on the fairy tale stories we’ve all grown up with. Yet, the series really stands alone and I would recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy and young adult novels. There’s plenty of action and romance, and of course a strong female lead. :)

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – 2/5 stars

The AlchemistI received this book as a Christmas gift last year and just got around to reading it. It was a short book – only 200 pages – but it still took me over a week to finish because I just couldn’t get into it. It reads like a parable, comparable perhaps to a book like Le Petit Prince or The Time Keeper. But unlike these novels, I was very underwhelmed by The Alchemist.

The story follows a simple shepherd boy who has a dream about treasures near the pyramids in Egypt. So he begins his quest, leaving everything behind to find this treasure, meeting different characters along the way.

While I suppose the author never intended this novel to carry suspense like a mystery novel, or action like an adventure novel, I feel like it didn’t have anything to go for it except for platitudes and other overgeneralized life lessons like:

Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you´ll find your treasure

As another reviewer put, “I feel like this book was trying to be deep but failed,” and I completely agree. This book is critically acclaimed and loved by many, many readers (including my brother who gave it 5 stars); however, I just didn’t get it. I felt generous giving it two stars.

Brotherband Chronicles (#1 – 3) by John Flanagan – 4/5 stars
The Outcasts, The Invaders, and The Hunters

The Outcasts (Brotherband Chronicles, #1)In middle school and high school – and still to this day – one of my favorite series of books is Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice. I was really disappointed when he finally concluded the series, but equally excited when I found out he would be writing a companion series that focuses on a different country and it’s people, called the Skandians, set in the same world. I was a bit skeptical of first, however, because while I liked Skandia – a land loosely based on present day Scandinavia, who present similar traits and qualities as vikings – I wasn’t enraptured. So, I went in with some low expectations and was, again, pleasantly surprised.

The Outcasts introduces us to our three main characters: Hal, Stig, and Thorn, the first two of which are young boys entering the brotherband training – the warrior and seafairing training that all boys enter in Skandia. It follows their training, which has Flanagan’s same trademark style from the Ranger’s Apprentice series. The Invaders and The Hunters follow Hal and his crew after they graduate from their Brotherband training and hunt down thieves who stole Skandia’s most prized treasure.

The Invaders (Brotherband Chronicles, #2)I really enjoy all of the characters. Each of them have distinct strengths as well as flaws, and Flanagan does a nice job developing them throughout each book. The plot remains interesting enough and Flanagan does a wonderful job developing the world and the different cultures and countries.

As children’s and teen books do, it does have some silly boy humor and some of the lines seem a bit contrived. There’s a fair amount of eye rolling and an unusually large amount of the phrase “pretty much” being used. But even so, I really enjoy the series and can’t seem to keep the books down for long. I don’t like them quite as much as the Ranger’s Apprentice books and they won’t hit my “favorite” shelf, but I still really enjoy them. I describe them as my “pre-teen boy” guilty pleasure, haha. ;)

Overall a pretty good couple months. Happy reading! :D