January is over! And it was an amazing start to the new year! I got through so many good books this month; I am so proud of myself. So, so proud of myself! I can't believe I got through so many! A note to readers: while I am still going to do Hedgie's Must Reads, but I am also linking my Reading Wrap-Up videos at the end of these posts. These videos allow me to go a bit more in depth about what I liked about the books - and what I disliked. So enjoy this new(ish) feature!
January Reading Wrap-Up
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling (3/5)
Book #3 in the Harry Potter series. Harry is preparing for another semester at Hogwarts, but even this enchanted school of wizardry and witchcraft may not be safe for the young wizard. Sirius Black, the most dangerous criminal and Lord Voldemort's heir apparent, has escaped the magical prison of Azkaban - and he's after Harry. I really enjoyed Book #2, but this one of my favorite. Because we meet new characters - more specifically Professor Lupin - there's the terrifying dementors, we get even more backstory on Harry's parents and what happened during Voldemort's time, and there's lots of twists! I cannot wait to see what happens next!
Ticker by Lisa Mantchev (3/5)
Penny Farthing would have died from a rare heart disorder of the brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick hadn't installed a clockwork heart - a Ticker - to replace her failing organ. Penny is the first of the Augmented. But when Warwick is put on trial for mass murder - murders he committed in perfecting Penny's Ticker - the Farthing Augmentation factory becomes a target for terrorists and people who want to use the Augmentation technology for weaponry. When Penny's parents are kidnapped, it's up to her and a collection of friends to save them. I adored the characters in this novel, and the overall lack of seriousness. My only complaint? The world held a lot of promise, but wasn't as well developed as it could have been.
January Best Reads
Pennyroyal Academy by M. A. Larson (4/5)
Book #1 in a planned series. Evie doesn't remember who she is or why she's in the middle of an enchanted forest wearing nothing but cobwebs. She eventually finds her way to Pennyroyal Academy - where princesses are trained to fight witches, and knights are trained to fight dragons; the kingdom's two biggest threats. While Evie struggles with her lessons in being a princess, she also struggles with trying to remember who she is - and why one of the princes seems to know her. I loved, loved, loved the characters, the world, and plot - everything. It reminded me a tiny bit of a darker Princess Academy, but it has a lot of originality to it still. And the romance? Totally and absolutely adored it!
"Shouldn't You Be in School?" by Lemony Snicket (4/5)
Book #3 in the All the Wrong Questions series. The school children of Stain'd-by-the-Sea are in danger! But why? What is Hangfire up to? As always, I thoroughly enjoyed it; I always enjoy Lemony Snicket's novels. I continue to love Snicket as a narrator, and I love all of the other characters, and I love that we're slowly getting some answers for A Series of Unfortunate Events - especially where it concerns V.F.D. and what might have happened with the Great Schism!
Firefight by Brandon Sanderson (5/5)
Book #2 in The Reckoners trilogy. Steelheart has been defeated and Newcago liberated. But now a new High Epic is trying to get the Reckoners' attention: Regalia in Babylon Restored. She's been sending Epics to Newcago, and now the Reckoners are going to her. David hopes to get answers there, and maybe encounter Firefight - another Epic he has personal history with. But the Reckoners might be walking straight into a trap that Prof may not survive. Oh my gosh!!! This book! This book is just all kinds of wonderful! The world of Babylon Restored, the Epics, the twists and turns, the characters - ahhhhh!!!!
Beneath the Stone Forest by Jordan Quinn (5/5)
Book #6 in The Kingdom of Wrenly series. When Clara is given an assignment in school to visit a part of Wrenly she's never been and then write about it, she invites Prince Lucas to come with her to the Stone Forest. Unfortunately, Lucas's bratty cousin Princess Bella has to come with them, too. The Witch's Curse is still my favorite, but this one was really fun, too - as always. Loved the gnomes and the Stone Forest and the gem mines!
Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne (4/5)
Book #1 in a planned series. Kyra is a thief; the best in Forge. She is uncannily agile, better at seeing in the dark than most, and swift on her feet. But she's also struggling to meet ends meet. So when James, leader of the legendary Assassins Guild, offers her a job, she can't refuse - even though she knows she should. Tristam is a Red Shield with a promising career. Betrayal and shadowy deals throw these two unlikely people together, and they soon realize that working together might be better than being enemies in this world of broken promises and double-sided words. Loved this world and the characters and the twists and the writing - and everything!
The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio by Lloyd Alexander (4/5)
Carlo Chuchio is a dreamer - and his uncle has had enough of it. Carlo doesn't care, though. Because he's found an old map that promises to lead to unimaginable riches on the Road of Golden Dreams. So he sets off, gathering companions along the way, in the form of Baksheesh, the world's laziest camel-puller; Shira, a beautiful girl with a tragic past; and Salomon, an old man just on his way to the ocean - someday. I love Lloyd Alexander's books. They're full of adventure, comedy, magic, treasure, and a romance than you can root for. This one is no exception.
Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz (5/5)
In the aftermath of the Reichenbach Falls, where Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes plunged to their deaths, Pinkerton Detective Chase and Scotland Yard Inspector Athelney Jones are hot on the trail of a new criminal mastermind, who is determined to take over Moriarty's place in the criminal underworld and wreck havoc such as the world has never seen. Anthony Horowitz has, for me, proven his absolutely brilliance as a writer in this novel. He stays true to the Canon spirit and style, while creating his own story at the same time. And that ending. . . .I can't get over that ending. I didn't that coming from miles away. Can Moffat and Gatiss please hire him as a screenwriter for Sherlock?
January's Worst Reads
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (2/5)
Finch is on a bad road to self-destruction. Violet is suffering from survivor's guilt after her sister died in a car accident a year ago. The two meet on the roof of their high school when they're both contemplating putting an end to all the hurt. But when they're assigned as partners in a class project, they take a mini road trip of their state - and find a new reason to live. I think this book will appeal to most everyone, but for me it left me wondering, What was the point? I liked most of it, and I saw the ending coming - but it still left me feeling sad and sour inside.