Monday, June 30, 2014

Hedgie's Must Reads: June 2014

It's that time of the month again: wrap-up time! June was a terrific month for reading; I got a lot done on my TBR list, and it makes me so happy! I was prepared for the author event on June 19 in time, and I read a bunch of other books I wanted to read, and then some, and yes - I'm very proud of myself for everything I read. Oddly enough, I had no "worst reads of the month" this time through! It was, overall, a very good reading month!

June Reading Wrap-Up

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne (3/5)
Book #1 in a trilogy. When a massive hailstorm hits, a school bus full of high schoolers and middle graders is forced to take refuge in a super store. And as disaster after disaster piles up, turning the world in to an apocalyptic landscape, the teens must learn how to survive, while still battling old high school grudges. While I didn't come to care for any of the characters, I did enjoy the overall story. I wanted to know what would happen next. It focuses a bit too much on teen angst and other high school stuff, but overall it was a quick, relatively enjoyable weekend read. Guy-read, eighteen-and-up, fans of post-apocalyptic fiction will probably enjoy this.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (3/5)
On a privately owned island, four very privileged teens have spent every summer together. They are the Liars. But one summer, something happens. Something that will change everything. I can't say much more about this book, because it really is one that you just have to go into not knowing anything about it. I didn't become attached to any characters, but this was a book totally made by the plot twist and the narration style. It's a very quick read, and it will have you hooked the moment you read it, because you will have to know what's going on! Not usually a contemporary reader, I found this one entertaining. Girl-read, sixteen-and-up, fans of contemporary with a twist.

The Stolen Herd by K. Madill (3/5)
Book #1 in a series. Mandamus is the last of his herd, the others having been enslaved by the queen's army. Now, he must travel far to fulfill an ancient prophecy, before the queen destroys everyone. This is a really fun Middle Grade/Early Teen animal fiction/fantasy read. The side characters are probably my favorites, though the protagonists are definitely likable as well. The world is interesting, though it's hard to tell what sort of time period it is supposed to be patterned after. And this being Book #1, there's a lot of setup for Book #2. Girl-and-boy read, ten-and-up, great for fans of horse fiction and fantasy.

Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne (3/5)
Book #2 in the Monument 14 trilogy. The kids of Monument 14 have split up. Niko and a large group, including Alex, are traveling to Denver Airport, where people are being evacuated. And Dean and Astrid have stayed behind, worried that the toxic air outside will turn them against their companions. Neither decision is without its consequences. Sky on Fire is more exciting than Monument 14, but I also wish it had been longer; that more had happened. I liked Alex well enough, but I didn't care about anyone else. Guy-read, eighteen-and-up, fans of post-apocalyptic and disaster stories will love this one.

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu (3/5)
Everyone knows that Alice slept with two guys in one night at Elaine's party. It's also a well-known fact that the star quarterback died in a car crash because he was sexting Alice. But is it really the truth? Four high school students - Elaine herself, Alice's former best friend, the next-door neighbor boy, and the survivor of the crash - tell all they know about Alice. But Alice is the only one who knows the truth about herself. If it hadn't ended the way it did, I wouldn't have cared for this book all that much. But it was short, it covered some interesting things, and in the end, I felt bad for Alice. Girl-read, eighteen-and-up, fans of contemporary that discuss important issues and it's all bubbles and gum.

June's Best Reads

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (4/5)
Book #2 in The Grisha trilogy. With the Darkling still determinedly on her heels, Alina and Mal are forced to return to Ravka and ally themselves with Nikolai, the younger prince who has his country's interests at heart, but may not be entirely trustworthy. And when Alina learns that the Darkling can now wield a new and terrible power, she must search out the companion amplifiers to her one, so that she can defeat him. But her quest may come at a price. I loved this one even more than the first, except for Mal. Mal was annoying. But I loved Nikolai, the world building is still awesome, and Alina becomes a stronger protagonist. Girl-read, seventeen-and-up, fans of fantasy!

Jackaby by William Ritter (5/5)
The first in a planned series. Abigail Rook has always longed for adventure, so when she packs her bags and leaves her home in England, she's determined to find it at all costs. Her travels take her to New England, where she meets the peculiar and brilliant R. F. Jackaby - investigator of the supernatural, magical, and paranormal. Abigail has no time to settle in as his assistant before they're odd investigating a very peculiar murder - one that Jackaby is convinced wasn't committed by entirely human hands. My new favorite book - and consequently my new favorite series! Sherlock meets Doctor Who - no more need be said! Except that Abigail is awesome! Girl-and-guy read, fourteen-and-up, great for fans of the above!

The Glass Sentence by S. E. Grove (4/5)
Book #1 in The Mapmakers Trilogy. It is 1891 and the continents of the world have been flung far and wide by the Great Disruption. Not only that, but each continent has also landed itself in another time period! When Sophia's renowned cartologist uncle Shadrack is kidnapped by strange men with grappling hooks and scars on their faces - called Sandmen - she and a boy she hardly knows, Theo, set out to find him. But the villains are also after Sophia; she has something they want. I just absolutely loved this book. The world is amazing, though it didn't always make sense. The characters were great, and the world building was blended in very well with the story telling. Girl-and-guy read, thirteen-and-up, fans of fantasy, alternate reality, and just weird worlds will love this!

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira (4/5)
Laurel is given an assignment for her high school English class: write a letter to a dead famous person. But Laurel doesn't choose someone like George Washington or Abraham Lincoln; she chooses Kurt Cobain, because her dead sister May loved him. Soon, Laurel finds herself writing several letters to more than just Kurt Cobain. And as she details her life in these letters, she finds she can't turn any of them in. Until, finally, Laurel faces the tragedy that took her sister away - and why she can't forgive May. I didn't dislike this book, but it unsettled me. It talked about a lot of very heavy issues, and it wasn't until the end that I started to really feel rather bad for Laurel. Girl-read, nineteen-and-up, fans of hard contemporary.

The Mirk and Midnight Hour by Jane Nickerson (4/5)
A retelling of Tam Lin. Violet Dancey has lost her twin brother to the Civil War, and now her father has joined up, leaving her with her new stepfamily and two troublesome cousins. And then Violet finds a wounded Union soldier in an abandoned lodge. She knows she should hate him, but she can't. But she's not the only one visiting Thomas. Someone has been tending his wounds. But it isn't out of kindness. This is second-best retelling of Tam Lin I have read. The characters are wonderful, the setting is wonderful, and the writing is just magical. Mostly a girl-read, seventeen-and-up, great for fans of Tam Lin, fairy tale retellings, and historical fantasy.


  1. I haven't read any of these, but a bunch of them look really interesting. Congrats on the great reading month!

    1. Even though I didn't really read that many books in June, I do have to say that the ones I read were very good.


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