Friday, October 31, 2014

Hedgie's Must Reads: October 2014

Gasp! It's the end of October! That means Christmas is exactly one month away! Well, December is, at least, but to me the whole month of December is Christmas. :-) So October was a great month. It was busy; I'm so glad I took that break in September. Worked a lot, even wrote some in my new story, didn't read as much as I wanted to, but still found some good books! But enough with all that - let's get into the books! So technically, I read these in September, but they didn't get reviewed until October, due to my little month-long break.

October Wrap-Up

The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas (3/5)
A series of five novella prequels to Throne of Glass, telling Celaena's story of how she ended up in the salt mines and what happened to Sam. I enjoyed most of the novellas, wasn't a huge of the romance - and unsurprisingly Celaena - but it was terrific backstory that helped me understand Celaena better. I still don't like her, though. However, Arobynn Hamel, the Assassin King, makes this collection totally worth reading! Overall, I enjoyed it. Girl-and-guy read, seventeen-and-up, fans of fantasy!

When Ava Lavender is born with bird wings, her mother locks her away from the neighborhood in fear of what they might do. But Ava doesn't intend to be locked up forever; she wants to see the world. Determined to find out why she has wings, she learns that her ancestors weren't exactly normal themselves. And then tragedy strikes. This was a gorgeously written book, with lots of well-developed characters. But I also didn't like many of them, and the story overall left me feeling disturbed. Still mostly on the fence about how I feel about it as a whole. But the writing alone makes it worth reading.

Book #2 in the Harry Potter series. When Harry Potter receives a warning that he mustn't go back to Hogwarts, it only makes him more determined to escape the Dursleys. Once there, strange things start happening and whispers of the mysterious Chamber of Secrets having once again been opened begin to circulate. I can understand why this is a favorite with a lot of Potter fans. It's fun, it reads like a mystery, and we learn more about the world of witchcraft and wizardry - and about some character pasts! Girl-and-boy read, fans of fantasy!

The Minister's Daughter by Julie Hearn (3/5)
Set in a 17th-century English village, tragedy strikes and suspicions rise against the local cunningwoman when the minister's two daughters claim they are being tormented by a witch. This was a very short read, but also very good. Not a huge fan of writing style, though I very much enjoyed the authentic-feeling dialogue. The dash of real magic - pixies and faeries - threw me for a moment, but got used to it after a while. The ending wasn't disappointing, but I wish there had been more to this story. Girl-read, seventeen-and-up, fans of historical fantasy.

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (3/5)
Book #2 in The Mortal Instruments series. When someone starts murdering Downworlder children and the Soul-Sword goes missing, the Inquisitor of the Conclave suspects Jace. But Clary knows that Valentine, their father, is responsible, and she's running out of time to prove Jace's innocence. Once again, I really liked the world building and enjoyed the overall plot. It was exciting and fun. However, the romance is just awkward in this installment - even though I know "the twist." Girl-read, eighteen-and-up, fans of paranormal and fallen angel/demon fiction.

Best Reads of October

Love By the Morning Star by Laura L. Sullivan (4/5)
Anna is a common English girl who desperately wishes she were an aristocrat. Hannah is a half-Jewish German girl who is sent to England to live with her mother's rich family. Anna is sent there, too - as a kitchen maid. But their roles are quite unexpectedly switched - and then you throw in some romance. It's a hysterical mess. I loved this book so much. It was hilarious and well-written and just a touch dark. I couldn't stop laughing, even though none of the characters were necessarily the most likable. Girl-read, eighteen-and-up, fans of historical fiction and good romantic comedies (like The Importance of Being Earnest).

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
An adult historical fiction novel set in WWII-era France and Germany. This tale follows a blind French girl and a young German boy who becomes a protege when his skill with radios is discovered. Unbeknownst to them, their lives will intertwine when Germany invades France and the Wehrmacht starts hunting down a priceless, and possibly cursed, diamond. A surprisingly quick read, this is a very well-researched, moving, dark, and beautiful story that begs to end in tragedy. Girl-and-guy read, twenty-and-up, fans of tragic historical fiction.

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud (4/5)
Book #1 in the Lockwood & Co. series. Something has happened to cause all the ghosts in Britain to become very active. Nighttime isn't safe anymore, and ghost hunting companies are forced to hire kids to take care of the poltergeist problem, as children are more sensitive to supernatural activity. Through some unfortunate events, Lucy Carlyle is put in the employment of Lockwood & Co. - a ghost-hunting company run without adult supervision. Their reputation is slowly waning, and they're forced to take on England's most haunted house. This was equal parts hilarious and equal parts terrifying, with amazing characters to boot. Girl-and-boy read, twelve-and-up, fans of supernatural.

Worst Reads of October

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern (2/5)
Anne has been disabled her entire life. She's fiercely intelligent, but she can't talk and sometimes she can't control what her body does. Michael is a quiet, severely-OCD boy who was once brutally honest to Anne. Now he's been asked to help Anne around to her classes. What sparks between them is more than friendship. I liked this book up until a certain twist in the end that I just didn't understand the purpose for it. It kinda ruined the whole book for me. Girl-read, eighteen-and-up, fans of The Fault in Our Stars.

The Universe Builders by Steve LeBel (2/5)
Bernie is recently graduated from god school. Now, he just has to prove that he can build stable worlds. Unfortunately for Bernie, his old school rival Billie works in the same department as Bernie. And he's out for revenge. The premise was great, but the world building was rather dull, the characters pretty basic, and the dialogue a bit of a chore to get through. I was curious to see how Bernie was going to succeed in the end, since his case looked so completely and utterly hopeless. But overall, it could have been done better. Girl-and-guy read, fifteen-and-up. 

Best and Worst Book of October


  1. Looks like a lot of 3 stars, but that's better than tons of 2 and 1 stars, right? :)

    1. Absolutely better. I like 3-star books. Three stars, for me, means that the book was entertaining, enjoyable, and fun; it just didn't wow me.


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