April 2017 Wrap Up

Quality over quantity—that is what I told myself once I realized I only read five books this month. I had enough free time throughout the month where I could have read more. But I have no idea what happened.

On the bright side, all the books I read this month were 4 stars or higher; three of them part of series I wanted to finish in 2017. I finally crossed them off my TBR and I am closer to finishing my priority list.

This month, I read:

 

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

4.75 stars

janesteele

Jane Steele is a retelling of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, but with the main character as a morally conflicted serial killer and a love interest ten times sexier than Mr. Rochester. I think it gave me a book hangover, now that I look back on it.

Jane Steele is over 400 pages, but the writing made it breezy. Lyndsay Faye creates a good-natured but complex young woman, Jane Steele, against the backdrop of a different side of Victorian London not always seen in modern literature. She introduced a new element to the story, a culture I knew little about, adding to the mystery of the plot. All the characters are likeable in their own way and, while the beginning dragged on a little, it proved to be worth it.

I wanted to give this book 5 stars, however, I was nit picking. The “big reveal” about a certain character’s past was not as frightening as the summary leads the reader to believe. Regardless, I still enjoyed Jane Steele very much.

 

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

4.75 stars

lilacgirls

Like Jane Steele, Lilac Girls gripped me from the first sentence. Set during World War II, the novel follows three women. The first is Caroline, a socialite working for the French Consulate in New York City when Hitler invades Poland in 1939. For the majority of the book, Caroline is swept off her feet by a dashing French actor while becoming more involved with the war efforts.

The second point of view is Kasia, a Polish teenager who joins the underground rebellion after the Nazi invasion. She is later caught and sent to a women’s work camp, along with her mother and older sister. There, Kasia, along with her sister and numerous other women, are subjected to horrible experiments by the Nazis.

The third and final point of view is Herta. She is a young, ambitious German doctor that is hired to conduct these experiments at the same camp Kasia is prisoner. Desperate to escape her situation at home, she takes the job, only learning the consequences until it is too late. Though she is devoted to the Reich, Herta’s morality, as well as her sanity, is tested as she participates in these experiments.

The writing was beautiful; I found myself rereading lines several times. I never would have guessed Lilac Girls to be Martha Hall Kelly’s debut novel. The characters were fleshed out; although, to be truthful, I found Caroline dull compared to Herta and Kasia. I wanted to give this book 5 stars but, again, I was picky. Most of Caroline’s chapters in the first half of the novel involve her romance with the actor, which I was not a fan of.

Still, Lilac Girls is a severely underrated historical fiction novel.

 

Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

4 stars

spiritbound

The fifth book in the Vampire Academy series, I felt a great deal of accomplishment when I finally finished this book. I’ve owned these books for far too long and have been reading this series for a few years.

Though Spirit Bound ended on such a cliffhanger that I immediately wanted to pick up Last Sacrifice, I don’t know if I would call it my favorite book in the Vampire Academy series. I would likely say Shadow Kiss is my favorite, although I really don’t know for sure. For me, the books are like Blondie brownies: really yummy and really addictive, but lacking any nutritional value. Vampire Academy are fun books that bring me back to the young adult novels I read in high school, but they cannot be compared to something like the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare.

 

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

4 stars

cityoflostsouls

The fifth book in another series I hoped to finish in 2017, The Mortal Instruments, I’m starting to see how much Cassandra Clare has improved as an author. I read her Infernal Devices trilogy before I picked up The Mortal Instruments, so I can easily see the difference in quality between the two series.

I can see why City of Lost Souls is everyone’s favorite book in the series. A lot goes on; there is more world building and action, whereas it seemed City of Fallen Angels was more focused on relationship drama. Sebastian Morgenstern is a fascinating villain. Simon Lewis is now my favorite character, after I found him whiny in the first two books. I am definitely looking forward to seeing how it all wraps up in City of Heavenly Fire.

 

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

4 stars

hallowed

The second book in the Unearthly trilogy, which took me forever to pick up again after I read the first book, Unearthly, back in 2015. While this book ultimately became the typical filler middle book, it did add more to the world of the novels, as well as set up for the final book.

While Hallowed is filled with common YA tropes, such as love triangles and the “irresistible boy the protagonist can’t help but fall for because he is just so hot” trope, it was not as cringey as I normally think them to be. The story dragged at certain parts, but the whole book was just too addicting for me to put down. I like Clara as a protagonist; she’s not too wishy-washy or reckless, and she is determined to make her own destiny. I like Christian, but I love Tucker more. His romance with Clara pulled at my heartstrings. As for the side characters, I like most of them, though the ones I really liked in the first book, such as Tucker’s twin sister and Clara’s best friend Wendy, didn’t get as much face time as I would have liked.

Overall, Hallowed was a good book and made me excited to finish up the Unearthly trilogy with Boundless in May.

 

What books did everyone read in April?

Book Recommendations: Hidden Gems

I’ve read some great books since the beginning of 2017, though none of them are particularly well known or popular. But they are all amazing and don’t nearly get the hype they deserve.

 

Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist

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Love and First Sight is about a boy named Will Porter, who was born blind and, when he enrolls in a public high school, falls in love for the first time. Then, he undergoes an experimental surgery that gives him sight; only to discover his girlfriend, Cecily, is not the beauty his friends said she was.

This book is perfect for fans of John Green. Will is a great protagonist and his romance with Cecily is adorable. Love and First Sight focuses on the pressures of traditional beauty and accepting people for who they are. Not only that, the writing was very good, witty and thoughtful, reminding me a lot of one of my favorite television shows, The Big Bang Theory.

 

All We Have Left by Wendy Mills

allwehaveleft

All We Have Left is the first novel I have read that is centered on the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It is told in dual perspective of two girls, Jesse and Alia. In 2016, Jesse is caught spraying graffiti on the Peace Center in New York City, acting out after years of living in the shadow of her older brother Travis, who was killed on 9/11. Alia is a Muslim girl in 2001 who goes to the Twin Towers where her dad works to talk him out of grounding her for a stupid mistake and gets trapped when the planes crash into the buildings. Both girls’ lives are intertwined.

I picked this book up in the last week of March. Once I started reading it, I could not stop. The writing was beautiful. Both Jesse and Alia have great character development. There are so many quotes about hate, ignorance, religion, family, etc. I can’t remember the last time I got so attached to a book.

 

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

janesteele

Jane Steele is a retelling of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, except Jane Steele is a morally conflicted serial killer that only kills child molesters and wife beaters. There are also references to the original story; Jane Steele’s favorite book is Jane Eyre. While it maintains the primary elements of Jane Eyre, Jane Steele is its own story. Plus, Charles Thornfield, the Mr. Rochester of the story, is ten times sexier than the latter.

Dare I say it: I think I loved Jane Steele as much as Jane Eyre, if not more so. The book was over 400 pages, but the writing made it fly by as if it were 200 pages. And I think I had a book hangover after I finished it.

 

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

lilacgirls

Set in World War II in America, Germany, and Poland, Lilac Girls follows three different women. Caroline is a New York City socialite that works for the French consulate when Hitler invades Poland in 1939. Kasia is a Polish teenager that gets wrapped up in the underground rebellion after Hitler’s armies invade and is then sent to a women’s concentration camp. Herta is a gifted surgeon blindly devoted to the Reich until she takes on a job that puts her moral code, as well as her sanity, to the test. The three women’s lives are intersected by an event in World War II history that has been forgotten in the wake of Pearl Harbor and the Holocaust.

This book was almost 500 pages and slow burning, but it was worth it. The writing made me feel all of the emotions. The author clearly did her research into the subject and her passion shows. I enjoyed all three of the main protagonists; all have their own personal struggles to deal with, but all have their own moral codes they try to stand by no matter what.

 

Have you read any of these books? What books have you read that you feel don’t get the hype they deserve?

A to Z Book Tag

I saw a few YouTubers do the A to Z Book Tag recently. I thought it looked like a lot of fun and I want to do more bookish tags for my blog. So, here we go!

 

Author you’ve read the most of.

The author I’ve read the most of is Meg Cabot. From middle school to high school, I was obsessed with her books. Unfortunately, I got rid of some a couple of years ago, to make space on my shelves. The ones I kept were books I could just not part with, like The Mediator series, or series I started but have not finished and I want to, like the Heather Wells Mysteries series. I would read more of her books, except I haven’t heard the best reviews of her recent publications. So, I don’t know if I will pick up any more of her books I have not already read.

cabot copy

 

Best sequel.

For me, that is easily A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir. This sequel was equal measure to the first, An Ember in the Ashes, with great storytelling and character development. A Torch Against the Night is huge, but I flew through it.

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Currently reading.

At the time I am writing this, I am 25% through Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, 20% through City of Lost Souls, book five of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, 11% through Spirit Bound, book five of the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, and just starting Hallowed by Cynthia Hand.

City of Lost Souls and Spirit Bound are parts of popular series whose previous books I enjoyed as well as ones I hope to finish in 2017. Hallowed is the second book in the Unearthly trilogy, which I started in 2015 and I’m surprised I have not finished yet because I loved the first book.

Lilac Girls is a historical fiction adult novel set in America and Europe during World War II. The story follows three women: American socialite Caroline Ferriday, who works at the French consulate and becomes involved with a married French actor with his own views about Hitler invading Poland in 1939; sixteen-year-old Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish girl who becomes entangled with the underground resistance; and, lastly, German Dr. Herta Oberheuser, who becomes a physician at a Nazi women’s work camp. Where I am right now, the women have not met yet. So far, though, it is really exciting and I want to keep reading.

currentlyreading

 

Drink of choice while reading.

Depending on the time of day, water or coffee. Typically on the weekends, I will have a cup of coffee with the book I am currently reading. I don’t like to eat while I read—I’m not that good at multitasking—specifically because I do not want to risk my books getting stained.

 

E-book or physical book?

Physical books, because I love the smell and feel of them. I own bookshelves full of hardcovers, paperbacks, and mass market paperback editions, although in recent months I have read some e-books and I’m considering branching out into Kindle.

 

Fictional character you would have dated in high school.

Thinking back to when I was 15 or 16, I likely would have said Derek Souza from The Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong or Jacob Black from the Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer. Another possibility is Jesse da Silva from The Mediator series by Meg Cabot.

jacobblack                                         derek&jesse

 

Glad you gave it a chance.

First book that comes to mind is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I have said this before, I think, but I only picked up this book because of the hype surrounding it. I expected a romantic chick-lit story. But if you have read Me Before You, then you know it is nothing of the sort. Not only is it a beautiful emotional roller coaster of a story, it also made me think about situations and questions I never gave much thought to before.

I’m also glad I gave the Saga graphic novel series by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples a chance. Prior to picking these up, I had little interest in reading books told in pictures. Then, I saw the Saga comics virtually everywhere on BookTube. I can’t remember what convinced me to finally decide to give them a try. I just know that I fell in love with the characters and the artwork, and the story is the first ever in science fiction not to go over my head.

gavethemachance

 

Hidden gem book.

All We Have Left by Wendy Mills is a book that does not get any of the hype it deserves. The story is based around the 9/11 terrorist attacks and follows two girls, Jesse and Alia, in alternating time periods. It contains so many beautiful quotes about hate, religion, ignorance, family, etc. The character development in both girls is some of the best I have seen in young adult literature. The author handles the subject with sensitivity, but still drives the barb home.

allwehaveleft

 

Important reading moment in your life.

This one was hard. But if I have to come up with an answer, an important reading moment would have to be when I was eight years old. I had finished reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume and, without warning, picked up a notebook and pencil and started writing my own novel. It was ten pages long and basically fan fiction for Dragon Ball Z, but I was proud of it. I kept up writing. I studied English and creative writing in college. It led to completing several story ideas, as well as a novella and a one-act play.

 

Just finished.

As I am writing this, the last book I finished was Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye. It is a retelling of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, where the character Jane Steele is a morally conflicted but ultimately good-natured serial killer and the love interest, Charles Thornfield, is ten times sexier than Mr. Rochester. While there were elements of the original story present, Jane Steele is its own novel. I dare to say I liked Jane Steele a little more than I liked Jane Eyre.

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Kind of books you won’t read.

Definitely dark erotica. I’m a far cry from a prude, but I draw the line at torture porn. There are novels out in the world where sex slavery and Stockholm Syndrome are basically romanticized, where the slave falls in love with or “tames” his/her master. That does not sit well with me at all.

Examples of dark erotica:

darkerotica1

darkerotica2

 

Longest book you’ve read.

The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio, which is over 900 pages. You might be surprised to learn, I actually did not have to read this for school. But my friend did and when the class was done, the bookstore wouldn’t buy it back from her. I asked if I could have it.

I know I skipped some of the stories if I did not find them interesting. Only I can’t remember what I did with the book now. I hope it’s in a box in the basement, still….

thedecameron 

 

Major book hangover.

I can’t recall if I ever had a “book hangover.” I’ve had reading slumps, usually around busier times in my life or I wore myself out from reading too much. If anything, reading five-star books generally spurs my reading on until I burn out.

 

Number of bookcases you own.

I own three bookcases, plus one floating bookshelf on my wall and two smaller shelves inside a closet space.

 

One book you’ve read multiple times.

Easily Men of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong. It’s the first of her anthology novels, centered on the werewolf men, specifically Clayton and Jeremy Danvers, from her main series, Women of the Otherworld. I haven’t read this book in years, though.

menoftheotherworld

 

Preferred place to read.

Surprisingly, I prefer to read at the library or on the train to work. Mostly because these are the places where I have little distraction other than reading. I like reading at my desk or in my bed, but the former gets uncomfortable after a while and the latter is too comfortable. I also like reading on the sofa in my living room, even if my dad is watching soccer.

 

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book.

An inspiring quote: “One must always be careful of books and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” Tessa Gray from Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. So many books have shaped me as a writer, a reader, and even as a person. Books are the writer’s tool to spreading a message that needs to be heard when everyone else has gone deaf.

A quote that gives me all the feels: “I love you,” he whispered, and kissed my brow. “Thorns and all.” Tamlin in A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. I KNOW everyone hates him, but, even after everything that went down in A Court of Mist and Fury, this quote still pulls at my heartstrings. And I can’t be the only one that feels this way.

 

Reading regret.

If I have to name a reading regret, I think I have to say Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling and Jack Thorne. It’s not that the book changed my feelings towards the original books, but it did change my feelings towards the franchise as a whole.

The Cursed Child was simply used as a moneymaker. It did not add to the story nor was it needed. Harry Potter needs to retire. His story was told and now he, along with the rest of the wizard world, need to be left alone. Harry Potter will never be forgotten because those who grew up reading his books will keeping reading them, as well as pass them down to their own children.

So, please, J.K. Rowling, stop writing Harry Potter stories.

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Series you’ve started and need to finish.

The first three series I started and need to finish are The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, and the Unearthly trilogy by Cynthia Hand. I also have Library of Souls from the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children trilogy by Ransom Riggs to read. There is also The Queen of the Tearling trilogy by Erika Johansen; I own the second book, The Invasion of the Tearling, but have not read it yet, and The Fate of the Tearling came out at the end of 2016, only I don’t own it yet.

seriestofinish

 

Three of your favorite all-time favorite books.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: Set in 1950s Barcelona, Spain, the story follows a young boy who becomes fascinated with a book by a mysterious author he discovered in a rare bookstore and finds his life is starting to mirror the writer’s. It was easily my favorite book of last year.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake: A ghost hunter falls in love with the ghost girl he’s supposed to kill and is targeted by an evil voodoo spirit. This is another book I read multiple times in high school and have not read for years. I want to re-read it again, but I’m afraid because it could turn out to be not as good as I remember it.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes: A severely underrated young adult novel about a girl who grows up in a cult that has her hands cut off by its fanatical leader and is later charged with his murder. While in juvenile detention and facing murder charges, she is forced to open up about her troubled past to a psychiatrist determined to help her. This book was so powerful and more people need to read it.

 

Unapologetic fan girl for.

If we are talking book-related, it would be Chaol Westfall from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. Seriously, people, no bashing—but I still love his character and I’m so excited for his novel this fall. Dare I say it: I’m more excited for Chaol’s book than I am for A Court of Wings and Ruin. Such as, I check Sarah J. Maas’s social media multiple times a week for any updates on this book.

As for non-book related, that easily goes to Ripper Street, a BBC television show set in Victorian London. I binge-watched the seasons available on Netflix a few weeks ago and I still can’t stop thinking about it. The story follows three men in law enforcement—Inspector Reid, Detective Drake, and Captain Jackson, a medical examiner—who solve crimes throughout Whitechapel while still haunted by the aftermath of the Jack the Ripper murders. Sometimes, the men are aided by Long Susan, a madam that runs a brothel in Whitechapel, and easily one of my favorite leading female characters on a TV show.

Netflix has not released the final season of Ripper Street yet and it is killing me slowly.

ripperstreet

 

Very excited for this release.

Aside from the Chaol novel and A Court of Wings and Ruin, an upcoming 2017 release I am excited for is Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh. A retelling of Mulan, it is a book I will try to hold off from reading right away. Most likely, though, I will give in because I love Renee Ahdieh and I love Mulan. The same goes for Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco, when it comes out in the fall.

 

Worst bookish habit.

I sometimes DNF books out of laziness. It’s not always necessarily because I’m not enjoying the book. Sometimes, I actually do DNF books I like because they are taking too long to finish and I have too much going on to really bother.

 

X marks the spot—count the 27th book on your shelf.

The 27th book on my shelf is The Rising by Kelley Armstrong, the third and final book in her Darkness Rising trilogy. Ironically enough, it is my least favorite of her works. The premise is interesting enough: kids with rare supernatural powers are on the run from evil scientists that want to experiment on them. Only it is not as good as the Darkest Powers trilogy in my opinion, and it is supposed to be a companion to that series.

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Your latest book purchase.

I went a little crazy in March, treating myself after landing my dream job at a library. My bank account hated my later, but it’s fine. I bought eight books in total:

Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

The Valiant by Lesley Livingston

Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Tales from Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman

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ZZZ—book that kept you up late at night.

The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova is a book that I distinctly remember straining to read by the weak light of my phone so not to disturb my college roommate while she slept soundly at two in the morning. I just had to finish it that night. I didn’t have classes the next morning and the final 100 or so pages is when the mystery was slowly starting to wrap up in the most agonizing, suspenseful way. It was worth it though.

theswanthieves

 

Hope you enjoyed this tag! If you have any suggestions for me to do future tags, feel free to leave a comment down below!

 

March 2017 Wrap Up

As I look at the books I managed to read this month, I realized three things.

One: I did not quite reach my goal of reading nine books this month, like I hoped to at the end of February.

Two: I read books that have been sitting on my TBR for a while.

Three: None of the books I read this month received lower than a 3 star rating.

Now that I have started a new job at a library and have a long commute on a train every day, it has given me a brand-new incentive to read rather than take out my phone. I imagine most of you understand the immense feeling of pleasure you get when you cross off completed books on your TBR list. Plus, I’m reading really great books.

In March, I read:

 

Half Lost by Sally Green

4.75 stars

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The third and final book of the Half Bad trilogy by Sally Green was an action-packed emotional roller coaster. This trilogy contains one of the best leading male protagonists, Nathan Bryn, in young adult literature. The magic system is its own, complex and fascinating, and nothing like Hogwarts. The romance in it is filled with angst. The storyline was traditional in YA—taking down a corrupt magical government—but it wrapped up nicely and not wholly perfectly. The more realistic approach, in my opinion.

Half Lost dragged for the middle portion of the book. However, the action picked up at the end, presenting a cruel twist of fate that ripped my heart out. If you have not read the Half Bad trilogy, I highly recommend you do. Read my series review of these books if you need more convincing.

https://jillianthebookishbutterflyblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/series-review-half-bad-trilogy-by-sally-green-spoiler-free/

Shadows of Life: A Collection of Poetry by Dr. Nazreen (digital book)

3 stars

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I received Shadows of Life from the author in exchange for an honest review. It is a collection of poetry written in free verse. The poems themselves cover realistic topics that anyone can relate to. It was a quick read, just the kind of book I needed to recover after finishing Half Lost. Some of the poems were long, dragging on in certain parts, but I chalked that up to my own personal preferences in poetry.

If you want to know my full thoughts, read my review. https://jillianthebookishbutterflyblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/11/review-of-shadows-of-life-a-collection-of-poetry-by-dr-nazreen/

 

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

4 stars

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Exit, Pursued by a Bear is a book I bought last month and have wanted to read since it came out in 2016. It was calling to me in the middle of A Court of Mist and Fury, and I knew then I had to start reading.

High school cheerleader Hermione Winters is drugged and raped while at cheerleading camp then becomes pregnant as a result. Refusing to define herself as “that raped girl,” she faces rejection and victim blaming with her fiercely loyal best friend Polly by her side as well as the most supportive community I have ever seen behind her. As a Women & Gender Studies student, I am all too aware of the discrimination against rape victims, who are often judged in the eyes of the public as much as their attackers, if not more so. But Exit, Pursued by a Bear gave me hope that society is changing; that we will do away with rape culture and give rape survivors the support they deserve.

If you want to know my full thoughts on this book, go check out my review. https://jillianthebookishbutterflyblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/19/review-of-exit-pursued-by-a-bear-by-e-k-johnston-spoiler-free/

 

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

  1. 75 stars

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FINALLY!!! I finished A Court of Mist and Fury this month and it is such a relief. I pre-ordered this when it came out May 2016, but I wanted to wait for the hype to die down before I picked it up. Only the hype has not really gone down, especially now since A Court of Wings and Ruin is coming out in two months. So, unfortunately, I was exposed to some spoilers long before I started reading ACOMAF.

Even if I hadn’t, though, I think my feelings would remain the same. I did not love it like virtually everyone else did, but I still enjoyed it. In fact, I compared it to my reading experience with A Court of Mist and Fury to reading Empire of Storms. If you have read both of these SJM books, you might guess why.

The main thing I took away from reading A Court of Mist and Fury is how refreshing it would be for any young adult or new adult heroine to not end up in a relationship. Meaning, she’s happy on her own and does not need a man to complete her. (Also, why do so many people want Feyre to be pregnant in ACOWAR? Doesn’t she have enough to deal with right now?)

Maybe I missed something, but I felt like Feyre was defeating the purpose of being on her own by getting into a relationship with Rhysand after Tamlin tried to lock her up for her own protection.

As for the High Lord of the Night Court…while I appreciate his feminist ideals, I’m not head over heels. Again, I chalk this up to being spoiled before picking up this book. Only I also have to take into consideration that I never warmed up to Rowan Whitethorn from the Throne of Glass series, although the progress of Rhysand and Feyre’s relationship made more sense to me than Rowan and Aelin’s did. I don’t necessarily want Feyre back together with Tamlin, but Rhysand’s arrogance was a turn-off for me personally. Despite that, though, I did enjoy his character and most of his interactions with Feyre as well as with his Inner Circle. I look forward to reading through his perspective, possibly, in A Court of Wings and Ruin.

            Regarding Tamlin: by no means do I approve of what he did in A Court of Mist and Fury. Only that does not mean I hate him or want him to die. In my opinion—which you may disagree with but DO NOT BASH ME—Tamlin was as messed up by Amarantha as Rhysand and Feyre were. While Feyre had Rhysand and the Inner Circle to help her through her PTSD, he got stuck with Ianthe. Lucien might have helped him, except he had his own depression issues to deal with. I do hope he has his redemption in ACOWAR, or even in the spin-off books SJM has promised.

Despite all this, I still loved the world, the Courts, the magic system, and the side characters. I like Cassie, Mor, and Azriel, but Amren is easily my favorite of the Inner Circle. As with the Throne of Glass series, I love the side couples more than the main ones, although we don’t get to see any of the relationships develop through their own eyes. That, to me, was the most disappointing. Someone on Books Amino speculated that Mor could be a traitor—for my boy Azriel’s sake, I hope not. And I would definitely love to see Tarquin the High Lord of the Summer Court again.

 

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

3.5 stars

psilikeyou

The first word I could use to describe this book is cute. High school junior Lily is bored in Chemistry class and writes song lyrics on her desk. The next day, she finds someone has completed the lyrics and she starts exchanging letters with a mysterious pen pal.

The writing was very good but nothing special. Lily is a funny character and I enjoyed her dialogue. The book is not over flowing with teenaged drama, which was perfectly fine for me, having been out of high school for five years. As for the pen pal, it was pretty obvious who it would be, but the character was still likable and the romance a little gooey, but still cute.

If they ever get around to it, I think P.S. I Like You would definitely do well as a film, either in the theaters or on Netflix.

 

A List of Cages by Robin Roe

5 stars

alistofcages

A book that absolutely lived up to the hype, A List of Cages is about two foster brothers, Adam and Julian, who are reunited in high school after five years apart. As the boys reconnect, Adam, the older of the two, notices something off about Julian and thinks his little brother is not being totally honest about his home life.

The writing was so beautiful, I never would have guessed this was Robin Roe’s debut novel. The plot was primarily character-driven and it worked for this story. As for the boys, I loved both of them. Adam is a funny, kind-hearted, and well-rounded senior with lots of friends yet totally ignorant of his popularity status. The kind of guy I know I would have wanted to be friends with in high school. Julian is a sweet boy. He has so much sympathy for people, even the ones who are cruel to him. His situation is horrible and I cried because I couldn’t protect him.

That’s how much A List of Cages affected me.

 

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

3.5 stars

theproblemwithforever

I had no idea I was reading another young adult contemporary novel about kids in foster care in the same month until I picked up The Problem with Forever. I’ve wanted to read Jennifer L. Armentrout for two years now and I think The Problem with Forever was a decent introduction to her work.

It follows Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, who goes to public high school after years of homeschooling and is reunited with her former foster brother, Rider Stark, who protected her from their violent foster parents they grew up with. As the two reconnect, she realizes that Rider is going down a dark path and it is finally time for her to speak up after a lifetime of silence.

While this book had its emotional parts, The Problem with Forever did not pull at my heartstrings or make me want to cry like A List of Cages did. I liked Mallory and Rider; both are great kids, strong in their own way. Mallory’s character development is some of the best I have ever read in young adult literature. I also liked how it focused on family, friends, and self-identity as much as romance, and covered some hard life lessons, like how some people are granted second chances while others deemed more deserving don’t always do.

All We Have Left by Wendy Mills

5 stars

allwehaveleft

I finished this book literally the last week of March. But I have wanted to read All We Have Left for a long time now. It is the first book I personally have read that is centered on the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The story is told in dual points of view: the first is Jesse, in 2016, whose older brother died in the towers and no one knows why he was there; the other in 2001, following Alia, a Muslim teenager who gets trapped inside the towers with a boy she has to depend on to survive.

The writing in this book was beautiful. There were so many amazing quotes on hate, ignorance, religion, family, friendship, etc. The characters were all great, too. Both Jesse and Alia had equally strong character development. They started out very different people than who they were at the beginning of the book. Fact and fiction were blended perfectly together, clearly showing the author’s sensitivity to other cultures and to the events of 9/11. Once I picked up All We Have Left, I had a very, very hard time putting it down.

This book is barely a blimp on the radar. We need to change that.

Overall, I can say I am pleased with the books I read in March. I look forward to the others on my TBR in the coming months.