Hedgie's Must Reads: August 2014
August has been a fun, but extremely busy, month! Summer never really seems to begin for me until August, and then it's over (so, really, I have a very short summer). I had lots of fun hanging out with friends, reading tons, going to the county fair and riding rides, seeing movies, and - best of all, and the highlight of every summer - attending the Renaissance Faire! With all of this going on, I'm amazed at how much I read. But it's also exhausted me. This may not be news to everyone, but I'm saying it again: September I'm taking a break from the blog. Hedgie and I will still be reading, but I'm not updating my blog for a whole month! After 4 years running, I think I deserve the break. So, enjoy this post, and I will see you again sometime at the end of September with at least a book haul.
August Reading Wrap-Up
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (3/5)
Book #1 in the Gemma Doyle Trilogy. When Gemma Doyle's mother dies under mysterious and heartwrenching circumstances, she is sent from her home in India to a girls' boarding school in London. There, Gemma is plagued with bizarre dreams that have a tendency of coming true. It is also there that she meets three other girls - and together they in motion events that could have terrifying consequences. It took me long time to get to this book, but once I did, I enjoyed it. There are no real sympathetic characters, but they all bring a special something to the story. And as things spiral further and further out of control, the book just gets more and more interesting. Girl-read, seventeen-and-up, fans of historical fantasy.
Savage Drift by Emmy Laybourne (3/5)
Book #3 in the Monument 14 trilogy. The kids from Monument 14 have made it to a safe camp in Canada - and just in time. But not all of them are safe. Astrid is pregnant, and the military doctors and scientists are showing too much interest in her baby. Meanwhile, Niko and Dean thought they had lost Josie for good. But then they hear rumors of her being in an internment camp for Os. An internment camp that is worse than a death sentence. In order to save both Josie and Astrid, they will have to leave their safe haven and venture out into the unknown once more. Probably the most uneventful volume in the entire trilogy, it was also my favorite. It was darker, and even though not a whole lot happened. it wasn't boring. Girl-and-guy read, seventeen-and-up, fans of post-apocalyptic.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling (3/5)
Book #1 in the Harry Potter series. When Harry Potter's parents were killed when he was just a baby, he was left on the doorstep of his horrid aunt and uncle's house. His life has been miserable ever since. . . .Until the day he receives an invitation to study at the Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft. For Harry Potter isn't just any normal English boy. He's the son of two very powerful wizards. And he was also the only boy who have faced the evil Lord Voldemort. . . .and lived. I finally buckled down and read Harry Potter. And it was a lot of fun. The writing is classic British, the characters memorable, and the world very engaging. Girl-and-boy read, eight-and-up, fans of fantasy and British childrens' literature.
Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau (3/5)
Book #3 in The Testing trilogy. Cia Vale has survived The Testing and has, so far, managed to pass all of her classes at the University. But now it's time for her take the reigns of the rebellion and end The Testing process for good. In order to do so, she'll have to trust some of her fellow classmates. And trusting the wrong one could end not only her life, but those of everyone she loves. I liked this final installment in this trilogy, and I wouldn't even call it disappointing. But I didn't really care for the final twist in the end; it wasn't needed and would have in fact made for a better book if it hadn't been there at all. Girl-and-guy read, seventeen-and-up, fans of dystopian.
Paws in the Piazza by Jerilyn McIntyre (3/5)
Harlem is just an ordinary housecat - and he's happy to be an ordinary housecat. Until the day he and his family take a trip to Venice. There, he meets Angela - the most beautiful Angora he has ever seen. And he's instantly, hopelessly in love with her. But things aren't as they seem. In this magical and ancient city, cats play a very big role in its history. And Angela and her ancestors especially are important to Venice and its other cats. But no one seems willing to explain what exactly is going on. A 96-page Middle Grade book, this is a fun animal fiction story about cats, the magic of Venice, and the adventure that hides just right around the corner. Girl-and-boy read, seven-and-up.
Forget Me Not by Shawn Martin (3/5)
Book #2 in the Shadowflesh series. Life has been good ever since Addison Wake - a three-hundred-year-old boy kept alive as a Shadowflesh - came back into Aileen McCormick's life. But it's all thrown topsy-turvy again when Aileen comes into possession of a cursed cameo that causes her to forget Addison. The memory is on the edge of Aileen's mind, taunting her. But if she ever remembers who Addison is, she will die. Though I didn't read the first book in the series, I still managed to enjoy this one pretty well. The characters are likable and the plot moves at a steady pace; neither too fast nor too slow. Girl-read, sixteen-and-up, fans of paranormal romances.
August Best Reads
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (5/5)
Book #1 in a planned trilogy. Kelsea has been raised knowing that one day she will inherit the throne of the Tearling. Yet, when her nineteenth birthday comes and with it her moment to ascend the throne, she is woefully unprepared. Her mentors have kept her ignorant of so many things. And it is during a time of trouble that the young queen takes her place, with few friends to aid her and plenty of enemies thirsting for her blood. Without a doubt this book has flaws. But an interesting world and amazing characters is not one of them. It started out slow, but picked up in no time, and I was totally swept away and transported by this book. Girl-and-guy read, nineteen-and-up, fans of high fantasy.
The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco (4/5)
Okiku is a hundreds-year-old ghost who was murdered when she was young girl. Now, she haunts our world, freeing ghost children from their killers. She keeps herself distant from the lives of the normal people she meets. Until one day she encounters a strange boy with even stranger tattoos. A boy who has a disturbing and malevolent presence about him. Okiku has no choice but to become involved. 100% horror story, and downright creepy. It will keep you up at night, but not to point of where you need the lights on. . . .all night. Just part of it. Surprisingly, though, you also come to really care about Okiku. The writing style is weird and takes some time getting used to, but you eventually do. Girl-and-guy read, seventeen-and-up, fans of horror.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (5/5)
Les Cirque des Reves arrives in the middle of the night. One moment it wasn't there, the next you see its black-and-white tents, its strange clock, and the promise of amazement. Against this backdrop is a rivalry between two magicians. Each has selected a protege, and the night circus is their chance to prove who is better. But the two proteges, Celia and Marco, are not willing players in this game. And they soon find themselves falling in love. But the competition must be carried out, and it will not have a happy ending for either of them. Imagine a feast made out of words; this is The Night Circus. Full of delectable descriptions, dreamlike quality, and complex characters, it is an absolute banquet. Girl-read, eighteen-and-up, fans of whimsy.
August Worst Reads
The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima (2/5)
Book #1 in The Heir Chronicles. Jack is just another teen dealing with high school, trying to make the soccer team, and live a normal life. The only difference between him and the average guys at school is Jack has had to take special medicine every day of his life for a heart problem he had as a kid. But then one day Jack forgets his medicine. And strange things begin to happen. I liked the overall concept of this book, but it was super slow, and I didn't really care about any of the characters. The world building was great, but could there have been fewer slow parts? Girl-and-guy read, sixteen-and-up, fans of urban fantasy.
Concrete Fever by Nathaniel Kressen (1/5)
When a prepschool rich boy decides to jump off the top of his apartment building roof after his father dies, he meets a mysterious girl dancing along its edge. "Gypsy" is like no girl he has ever met, and the two decide to play out an entire romantic relationship in one night. The catch? Well, there isn't one, except everything they say must be treated as if it is truth. Written in a style that isn't necessarily bad; just strange and hard to get used to, Concrete Fever wasn't the book for me. I had a hard time caring about any of the characters, and I couldn't see past the strong profanity, immoral behavior, and unsatisfying ending. Girl-read, definitely more appropriate for adults, though the protagonists are teens.
August Best and Worst Read