Happy love month! I hope you celebrated with a good book or two. I, uh, definitely cried a little this month over characters that I loved, and I had a lot of fun doing it, haha. I was recently talking to my two roommates about enjoying a good cry, and the male one was like, “That’s a thing? Why do people purposefully watch/read something that will make them cry?” Honestly, I don’t know. It feels good? I also did not read as much as I did last month, and though I’m bummed about this, I’m still on track with my goal, so huzzah!
Edit: I usually write these throughout the month, and at the time I wrote that ^^^ (that I hadn’t read as many as I had in January), I was in something of a reading slump, so it was about the middle of the month, and I’d only read about four books. Now, instead of taking that out, I thought it’d be a nice look inside a reader’s mind that sometimes you’re not reading all the time, and that’s okay because don’t you worry, there’s chaos coming right around the corner shouting at you to readreadread.
What: Berserker by Emmy Laybourne
Review: This was so cute. The second I heard about this book, I knew that I wanted to read it, and I was so excited to finally buy it. I honestly haven’t seen a lot of novels about berserkers, either, so this is doubly cool. What is a berserker, you ask? If someone they love is threatened, the berserker goes into a fatal rage where they almost always end up killing the person who is doing the threatening. Laybourne’s novel follows four siblings that have left Norway in the hopes of hiding in America after their father is murdered. This follows their journey through the Midwest with an actual cowboy as their guide, and wow, if all that isn’t enough for you, I don’t know what to tell you.
Guys. Viking lore. Cowboys. A badass female lead. A dog! Come on. You gotta read this book. I did only give it four stars because the writing didn’t really blow me away, and sometimes I found it kind of meh, but the story was great, the characters were fantastic and all very individual, and I was left surprised at every turn. This was a quick, fun read, too, and has just a very tiny bit of romance in it that’ll leave you aw’ing your head off, so if you want a book to cozy up to in the cold weather (though there is quite a bit of snow in this), definitely give this a go.
What: Vicious by VE Schwab
Review: OH WOW. Just–wow. So much wow. Expect this one in my wrap-up of 2018 at the end of December. This is going in my top 10 favorites of 2018. This is going in my top something favorites of all time. I LOVE THIS BOOK. I love Victor Vale so much, holy goodness, it’s like a meaner version of Holland that storms around in all black and laughs at your pain.
Alright. Calm down. What is this book about? Villains. I’m not lying to you. There isn’t a good guy in this story, and it’s so damn good. Schwab’s dastardly novel follows two main antagonists (I love this book so much, I can’t), Victor Vale and Eli Ever.
OH THE NAMES They were once super good friends they were in loveeeee, and both super intelligent, so they started experimenting with near-death experiences in an attempt to give themselves superhuman powers. THIS BOOK. Of course, something goes wrong eventually, and they end up mortal enemies, so the story just literally follows them trying to get revenge on each other.
I can’t. I’m as happy as when I read Six of Crows for the first time. This bookkkk, you guys.
I’m not lying when I say this was easily one of the best books I’ve ever read, and holy magic, I need Vengeful (the sequel) like an actual burning need, like I’m going to wither away and die without it. The writing? Phenomenal. I mean, it’s VE, we already knew this, but come on. The characters? WOW. She just promised us that we’re going to end up liking Eli by the end of Vengeful, and let me tell you, V, that’s gonna be tricky af because man oh man, I do not like him. She equated it to when she made everyone fall in love with Holland (#hollandvosijkprotectionsquad), but I already did before the end of ADSOM, sooooo? Even beyond Victor and Eli, the secondary characters are so dang awesome. Sydney and Mitch are just–they have a small, beautiful, special place in my heart.
Just do yourself a favor, and read this book.
What: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Review: I have opposite feelings about this book than I do about Vicious. I try not to buy more than one book by an author at one time because sometimes it doesn’t end well. I accidentally bought two Schwab books the first time I found her, but alas, she’s now one of my favorite authors. Sáenz, not so much. The issue I have with him is that I really enjoy his stories, but his writing just kills me. I can’t get into it. And I know a lot of people really love his books, so this it not me knocking him, it’s just me saying that it’s not a style of writing that I enjoy.
However, this story was really great, and that’s why this got two stars and not one. It follows Sal, a boy who feels out of place in every way and is just trying to figure out who he is. He really is adorable, and I loved following along on his adventure through life.
What: Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser
Review: Someone asked me on day two of reading this book if I liked it, and my answer was that I’d already preordered the sequel. Even though I wasn’t done with it yet. So yeah, I freaking loved this book. I’m always a little hesitant when I begin reading something new in fantasy because I’ve read a lot of not great books over the last year and a half, but this was not one of those cases. Insta-love, man. I got through the first 25 pages, probably, before I was like, yeah holy crap this is beautiful, time for a reading binge! I honestly forced myself to read it slower because I wanted to savor it.
Tolcser’s debut (debut!) novel follows Caro on a seafaring adventure. It’s really more of a river, though. They get to the sea eventually. She’s been tasked with smuggling a box that she’s not allowed to open in exchange for her father’s life. Caro’s Caro, though, so she opens the box, and whoops, there’s a boy inside. From there, the world just falls apart. She finds herself accidentally smack in the middle of a war when all she wanted to do was save her Pa and keep her little wherry safe. It’s a fantastic journey of magic and discovery, and I love it to little, wonderful pieces.
What: Phantom Armies of the Night: The Wild Hunt and the Ghostly Processions of the Undead by Claude Lecounteux
Review: Oi. I’m disappointed mainly because I was so excited about this book, and thus set very, very high expectations for it. But honestly, even if I’d set very, very low expectations, it still wouldn’t have met them. I won’t say a lot about this because Pooh taught me to keep my mean words to myself. There aren’t a lot of books out there that explore the Wild Hunt, and this also does not, despite its title. It pretends to, but it doesn’t. At least, not the Wild Hunt from faery lore that is probably the most common story, but instead wanders its way through religious history and generally fails to give any detail whatsoever about the Wild Hunt that isn’t spattered with quotes that have no context and footnotes that are in a different language.
What: Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović
Review: Look at that cover. I’m such a sucker for pretty covers, and I’m always so overjoyed when the novel lives up to the cover. This month, I’ve had the pleasure of reading two novels that I preordered the sequels to while still reading–this one and Song of the Current. They were so wonderful that I knew, even before finishing, that I just had to read the follow-up. Popović’s debut novel spins a wicked tale indeed of three women, a mother and her twin daughters, who possess magic so beautiful that if they fall in love, their magic shines so brightly that anyone can see it, and their safety will be in jeopardy.
Magic. Wild women. Montenegro! Amazing foods, and descriptions with so much smell and taste in it, you’ll just die. Cool names, and even cooler powers. This has it all. It’s such a beautiful, detailed novel. I felt so immersed in the world that it didn’t matter that I’ve never left the East Coast. I felt like I was right there walking the streets with these characters. And really, the setting and the language is why this gets five stars. The characters are okay. All of them, put together, are pretty damn interesting, but separately, they’re just alright. They start to blend together in a way that leaves me forgetting who did what, and though I know that amazing things are happening, I can’t quite remember which of the badass names did it. But everything else honestly more than makes up for that. This is just such a decadent story.
What: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Review: Two things. I bet no one’s surprised that I’m reading this. And also, how have I never read it before? This is one of those books that I probably shouldn’t have read in public because my face is very expressive, and I honestly had to hide when I got to the part where Simon finally found out who Blue was. Like, that emoji with all the teeth smiling, but times a trillion. Just stupid grinning all over the place. And goosebumps. And giggles. It’s so bad. I love this book to pieces. I need to see the movie as soon as it comes out and several times after that.
What’s this about? Here you go: Love, Simon. I’m being lazy because it’s been thirty minutes since I finished it and my face is still doing this:
I don’t know, guys. It’s just something about boys in love. It renders me useless. Basically, I love this book so much, I’m probably going to reread it at least one more time this year and 85 times in the rest of my reading career, and I’m going to see the movie approximately six times in theaters, and who knows how many times outside of it, and I’m just ready to cry and laugh, okay, take all of my money, Becky Albertalli.
What: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Review: Sadly, this does not count toward my reading goal for the year since I’ve got the whole trilogy in one book, but I wanted to review each of the separate novels here. I’ve been really enjoying reading children’s and middle grade recently, so I had a fun time diving in here. It’s so interesting to see the differences between children’s/middle grade and young adult, and particularly to see how different it was back in the 60s in comparison to today. The first of the trilogy follows Meg Murry on a very wild adventure to find her father, whose gone missing while working with time travel. She planet-hops with three strange women known only as Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which, along with her little brother and friend.
I felt a little like I was reaching Alice in Wonderland. Not a whole lot of this made sense at times, but also made perfect sense. It was interesting and goofy at times, and even a little scary at times, and while I am really enjoying reading it, it’s also just not my jam all the times. It’s kind of like ASOUE. About half of the time, I enjoy it, and the other half of the time, I just want to be done with it. It is a cute little story, though, and I’m glad I’m reading it before the film comes out.
And that’s February! I have two preorders coming in the mail next month, and a whole slew of books that I want to try to finish before Erin arrives on the 30th and we end up buying more books. Which is a perfect segue way into something I wanted to start doing at the end of these wrap-ups. I’ve been kind of vaguely following a schedule with books that I want to read, so I thought it might be nice to try to hold myself accountable. So, for the month of March, my reading goals are:
- Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton
- Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton
- The Young Elites by Marie Lu
- The Paper Magician by Charlie Holmberg
- an astronaut biography
I’ll obviously end up reading more outside of that, but I’d like to be able to read all five of those books next month in addition to anything else from my TBR. The first two are my preorders, the second two are my only remaining YA from last year, and I’ve just been craving another astronaut.