Friday, January 31, 2014

Hedgie's Must Reads: January 2014

It's the end of the first month of the new year! Hard to believe it, but it's true! And with a new year comes new things! So I decided to try something a little different with this monthly feature. In the past, Hedgie's Must Reads has only listed the best reads of the month, but I've decided to turn this into a monthly reading wrap-up, as well as a way to share what Hedgie and I enjoyed most out of the monthly reads. So, sit back and enjoy.

January Reading Wrap-Up

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (3/5)
Hazel is a terminal cancer patient, and she's known for a long time that her days are numbered. But then she meets Augustus Waters at a cancer support group, and her life takes a turn she didn't expect. I'm not a cancer-story fan, nor am I contemporary fan or teen romance fan - all three of which this book is. But I found myself surprisingly drawn to the characters, the humor, and was pleased to find that this isn't your typical cancer story. Written with a lot of feeling and honesty, it's not inspirational nor is it a down-in-the-dumps story; it just is. Girl-and-guy read, seventeen-and-up (adults will also love it), great for fans of contemporary romances, sad stories, and John Green.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee (3/5)
When Ophelia's father takes a job at a curious museum in a city where it never stops snowing, she finds herself suddenly on a journey that forces her to question everything she ever believed. One day, when she's exploring the museum, she finds a boy locked in a room, who tells her an incredible story about magic swords and a Snow Queen. A very whimsical, charming kids' story; I thoroughly enjoyed it. Surprisingly creepy at times, utterly captivating, and written in a very pleasant style, I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for an easy weekend read, for themselves or for their kids or siblings/cousins/niece/nephew. An ideal winter read.

The Interrupted Tale by Maryrose Wood (3/5)
Book #4 in a series, The Interrupted Tale picks up where The Unseen Guest left off. Simon has gone to see his great-uncle Pudge and Penelope has discovered that the late Lord Edward Ashton may not be as "late" as everyone thought. And with the eve of her sixteenth birthday comes more twists in the tale of a plucky young governess and three children raised by wolves. This is a very enjoyable series, and Book #4 is no different. But I do want some answers and the overall plucky and optimistic feel of the story is getting a little old. Girl-read, great for fans of Lemony Snicket and The Mysterious Benedict Society.

Ashfall by Mike Mullin (3/5)
The first book in a trilogy. Alex is all prepared for a quiet weekend without his parents, gaming with his friends, when the Yellowstone National Park supervolcano erupts. The world as we know it is never the same again. Dropped into a world with no electricity, no cars, hardly any food, and an early and bitter winter, Alex begins a long trek to find his parents. Along the way, he meets people who help him, and other who would use him as an alternative source of food - and a young woman, Darla, who becomes his traveling companion. For a disaster story, it's good and rather believable. But it is long and begins to drag a big. Guy-read, seventeen-and-up, great for fans of post-apocalyptic and survivalist stories.

January Best Reads

Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes (4/5)
The three kingdoms of Mytica are now united under the harsh and cruel rule of King Gaius. With the building of a massive roadway through the Forbidden Mountains, discontent has sparked into rebellion in Paelsia. This series just keeps getting better and better. So many feels in this book, between the character deaths, Magnus' continued bad decisions, and everything else in between. I just love this book! There were many surprises and lots of world building. The only thing that turned my head was all of the romantic twists; too many! Girl-and-guy read, seventeen-and-up, fans of high fantasy, and medieval-like stories, and books with tons of characters.

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (4/5)
A retelling of Beauty and the Beast. For nine hundred years, the world of Arcadia has been under the cursed rule of the Gentle Lord. And because of a deadly bargain her father made with him, Nyx has known since birth that it is her fate to marry the Gentle Lord - and kill him. It is an honor, but it is an honor that Nyx resents her family for, most of all her unloving father. But Nyx isn't prepared for what she finds in the Gentle Lord's enchanted castle - and she soon finds herself having to choose between fulfilling her destiny and following her heart. This is one of my absolute favorite retellings of this particular fairy tale. It's unique, it's dramatic, it's mysterious, it's dark, and it's just purely beautiful. Nyx and Ignifex are both flawed characters, but I loved them. Girl-read, seventeen-and-up, great for fans of fairytale retellings!

Poison Dance by Livia Blackburne (4/5)
A companion novella to the to-be-published YA novel Midnight Thief, I thoroughly enjoyed it and am really looking forward to reading the "official" book. Poison Dance introduces us to James, a member of the Assassins Guild. One night he's approached by Thalia, a dancing girl, who wishes to hire him to assassinate a nobleman. But when James refuses, he instead finds himself training her to do the deed herself. There's some romance, of course, but it was sweet and didn't get in the way nearly as much as I thought it would. I liked both Thalia and James a lot, and I enjoyed this teaser glimpse into their world. Girl-and-guy read, seventeen-and-up, great for fantasy and medieval-world fans.

January Worst Reads

The Deception of Tara Magee by Kathy J. Scott (1/5)
When fourteen-year-old Tara Magee goes to bed one night in her East Coast home, she has no idea that she'll wake up someplace else: a mysterious field of daisies on the West Coast - and she'll have no recollection of how she got there. To complicate matters, she's mistaken for someone else - someone who looks exactly like her. Loved the premise - the sort of mystery I really like. But the writing style was blocky, the pace was slower than a snail, and the characters were two-dimensional. I am sorry to say that The Deception of Tara Magee did not make me want to read any further.

Champion by Marie Lu (2/5)
With Anden as the new Primo Elector of the Republic, things are looking better for the people - especially with June among the elite and Day in a prime military position, looking out for their welfare. But when a plague breaks out in the Colonies, war is imminent and peace once more becomes tenuous. I have to say that out of the three books, this one was the least painful for me. While still not a big fan of either Day or June, their full personalities were finally realized, the pacing was good, and I could even understand how fans found the ending emotional. Still not my favorite trilogy, though. Girl-and-guy read, sixteen and up, great for fans of Divergent and other like-minded dystopian series.

The Forbidden Stone by Tony Abbott (2/5)
When Wade and his stepbrother Darrell see a strange encoded email addressed to their father from their Uncle Henry, they have no idea that it's about to launch an adventure of a lifetime that will take them to Germany and across the globe, in search of twelve magical relics. I've read a lot of adventure stories, and this one wasn't the best. It wasn't awful, but it was full of cliches and villains that were not even remotely threatening. I didn't really connect to anyone and there was a lot of unnecessary dialogue. The plot, though, was rather interesting, and I am curious to see how the series ends. Girl-and-boy read, nine-and-up, great for fans of adventure stories like The 39 Clues.

Best and Worst Book of the Month


  1. I read Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy this month too, and rated it exactly the same as you! It was a lovely little read! :D This is a great re-cap Mara :)

    1. Wasn't it just a fun little read? I love children's whimsy; I don't think I'll ever grow out of it. :)


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