So January was an awesome reading month. I was able to read 7 books so far this month and while I hope to add rereading Red Queen to that list by Tuesday, I doubt that will happen. So here are the books I read this month along with their ratings
Title: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda Author: Becky Albertalli Series/Standalone: Standalone Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Fiction Pages: 303 Publisher: Penguin Year Published: 2015 First Line: "It's a weirdly subtle conversation." "Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn't play wingman for the class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone's business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he's been emailing, will be compromised. With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon's junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he's pushed out- without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot of happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he's ever met." My Rating: 4/5 So let me start out with this book is cute. It's adorable. And you might not think that based on the description, but it's got a lot going for it. Blackmail, a secret pen pal, friend drama, etc. I think that this story is an important one about the pressure of coming out and how society has come to a point where we should be confident with who we are sexuality. That being said all over the world there are jerks, some places more so than others. I hope that in North America most people feel comfortable coming out with who they are, but with the change in leaders in certain may change that. Sorry to pour salt in the wound there America, but Canada's afraid too sooo...... Besides that, this book was cute. I enjoyed it and would read another book by Becky Albertalli. Thanks for reading, Sidny
So I'll start this in the only way I know how. This book was cute. There were parts of it that infuriated me. Like closed mind jerks and blackmailers, but overall I thought that it was a sweet read. And in the sweetness, there was a point, messages. How everywhere in the world there are people who will not accept someone's sexuality which is ridiculous, but sadly true. I thought that the setting of a high school in Georgia was perfect. It is known in the South there is quite a problem with acceptance overall. I don't know how accurate that is and don't want to claim that I'd know because I've never been, but it's rumoured I should say. I think that this story was incredibly sweet and interesting to read. Characters: Simon: I thought that he was an interesting character to read from. Someone coming out and figuring out how those around him will see him after revealing part of his life. I think he was a sweet character to read about, especially as we watch him fall in love with Blue and get to know who he really is. Bram: I loved how shy he was and how much we found out about him. He is so sweet, and I can't even imagine Simon with someone else. Perfect first boyfriend material. Nick: What an awesome guy! I do wish that he had been more intune with Leah's feelings. Abby:Super outgoing and fun? The perfect gal pal. Leah: I loved her attitude and understood her way of thinking. I think that she felt so much rejection that it was hard for her to deal with Simon coming out to someone new. Nora: She reminded me of my sister the way she is so quite and keeps to herself. It was kind of heart breaking but also amazing to see her be a rockstar in the end. Alice: Supportive older sister for the win. Martin: There is no excuse for the way that he was acting. It's crazy that he thought it was at all acceptable. Jerk! Moments to Remember: Final Line: "Maybe I want it to be." Thanks for reading, Sidny
Title: Walk On Earth A Stranger Author: Rae Carson Series/Standalone: The Gold Seer Trilogy (Book #1) Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Young Adult Pages: 436 Publisher: Greenwillow Books Year Published: 2015 First Line: "I hear the deer before I see him, though he makes less noise than a squirrel- the gentle crunch of snow, a snapping twig, the soft whuff as he roots around for dead grass." "Gold is in my blood, in my breath, even in the flecks in my eyes. Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend- who might want to be something more She also has a secret. Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it. When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California= where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey. The acclaimed Rae Carson begins a sweeping new trilogy set in Gold Rush- era America, about a young woman with a powerful and dangerous gift." My Rating: 4/5 Can we start off by talking about how beautiful the cover on this book is? I know it's wrong to judge a book by it's cover, but I'm also the type of person to do just that so judge if you want to, but I'll continue regardless. This book is a historical fiction that takes place during the gold rush era in America featuring strong characters, one with a tremendous power. I think that this story did an amazing job at using history in a creative and interesting way. The thrown in of magic didn't overpower the whole story and overall it had a more historical fiction feel, rather than a fantasy feeling overall. I also think this story did an amazing job of bringing up racism and sexism that were very prevalent during this time. I really enjoyed the story overall and hope to continue the trilogy with the next book shortly. Thanks for reading, Sidny
So this book is a historical fiction about a girl who can sense gold during the gold rush era in America. I really enjoyed it overall. I thought that while this book was magical it did it in a way that didn't outshine the history. It was realistic and gripping to read. The characters were incredible to read about, as well as the history was interesting. This book did more than speaking about magic and gold, it also spoke about sexism and racism that was huge during this time. I thought that it was important to see. That being said part of these books seemed a little rushed to me. For example, Leah immediately realising that her uncle was responsible for the murder of her parents. I found that frustrating, that being said let's talk about my favourite part of many books. Characters: Leah: I think that her point of view is very important. She is a girl in a time where being female wasn't something to be proud of. You were practically owned by the men in your life. Overall it seemed that she was able to do many things in her home, especially with her father being sick and unable to help take care of the homestead. This being said, she is an extremely hardworking and intelligent character. To disguise herself as a man to travel safely and to get away from her past was a good move. I do wonder what will happen with her and Hiram over time in California. Jefferson: He is one of my favourite characters. He has dealt with so much controversy with being multirace. Especially being Aboriginal and European which would have been common during this time. People still spoke of Aboriginal people as being savage and wild. Needing the "white man" to help them become civilised and while it was frustrating to read this in the book it was historically accurate. As much as it pains me to read it, I think it's important to remember our past in North America no matter who you are. This being said, we see Jefferson struggle throughout their journey as others speak poorly about him as well as his mother's people. Becky: I doubt that anyone loved her to start with but over time, she grew on you. She can't cook, she has to put up with an idiot of a husband during this time and take a crazy wagon ride while expecting a child. That's a lot of stress for a person. I do wonder about what she said about refraining from marrying. Did she not want to be married? I'm interested to know more. Therese: I won't lie. I teared up when she came back to the wagons. She sacrificed herself for her family and gave it all up in hopes that they would be saved. She was a sweet girl and I won't forget about her character going further in the series. Hiram: He's evil, but I wonder about his past with Leah's mother. Why didn't they get married? Why was her mother on the run? What else can he do to get her? Ugh creepy. Major: He's a strong man to be trampled and then has to have his leg amputated. I wonder what will happen now that they've reached California. Will he stay with the group? Reverand: What a creep to want to marry so soon after his wife past away. I guess he thought it was his duty but I wasn't sad to hear that his wagon split up from the others. Moments to Remember: Pg. 374 "Men. And their no-good, fool-headed proposals." Pg. 418 "He leans on his crutch. 'The rest of you are using two legs, but I'm only using one- I think that means I can walk twice as far.' He heads off after Becky before I can tell him that's the worst logic I've ever heard." Final Line: "'Let's go find us some gold.'" Thanks for reading, Sidny
Title: The Austere Academy Author: Lemony Snicket Series/Standalone: A Series of Unfortunate Events (Book #5) Genre: Mystery, Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction Pages: 221 Publisher: HarperCollins Year Published: 2000 First Line: "If you were going to give a gold medal to the least delightful person on Earth, you would have to give that medal to a person named Carmelita Spats, and if you didn't give it to her, Carmelita Spats was the sort of person who would snatch it from your hands anyway." "Dear Reader, If you are looking for a story about cheerful youngsters spending a jolly time at boarding school, look elsewhere. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are intelligent and resourceful children, and you might expect that they would do very well at school. Don't. For the Baudelaires, school turns out to be another miserable episode in their unlucky lives. Truth be told, within the chapters that make up this dreadful story, the children will face snapping crabs, strict punishments, dripping fungus, comprehensive exams, violin recitals, S.O.R.E., and the metric system. It is my solemn duty to stay up all night researching and writing the history of these three hapless youngsters, but you may be more comfortable getting a good night's sleep. In that case, you should probably choose some other book. With all due respect, Lemony Snicket." My Rating: 4.5/5 So when I read these when I was younger, this is where I left off. I thought that this book was kind of strange the first time I read it, but as an adult, I think that it was an opening point to see where the series is going. I enjoyed the ending and the research that was put into Count Olaf's character. The way that the author thought through the story so far amazes me. The foreshadowing and planning is incredible to me. The way it's written gives the reader so much more than the story of the Baudelaire orphans and I can honestly say I've never read any series quite like this one. I can't wait to venture into unfamiliar territory with this series and see where it goes. Thanks for reading, Sidny
Title: The Miserable Mill Author: Lemony Snicket Series/Standalone: A Series of Unfortunate Events (Book #4) Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy Pages: 194 Publisher: HarperCollins Year Published: 2000 First Line: "Sometime during your life- in fact, very soon- you may find yourself reading a book, and you may notice that a book's first sentence can often tell you what sort of story your book contains." "Dear Reader, I hope, for your sake, that you have not chosen to read this book because you are in the mood for a pleasant experience. If this is the case, I advise you to put this book down instantaneously, because of all the books describing the unhappy lives of the Baudelaire orphans, THE MISERABLE MILL might be the unhappiest yet. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are sent to Paltryville to work in a lumbermill, and they find disaster and misfortune lurking behind every log. The pages of this book, I'm sorry to inform you, contain such unpleasantries as a giant pincher machine, a bad casserole, a man with a cloud of smoke where his head should be, a hypnotist, a terrible accident resulting in injury, and coupons. I have promised to write down the entire story of these three poor children, but you haven't, so if you prefer stories that are more heartwarming, please feel free to make another selection. With all due respect, Lemony Snicket." My Rating: 4/5 I didn't like this instalment as much as the other books in the series. It seemed to be too straight forward other than the other books. That being said it is a nice short read for a Sunday afternoon and fit perfectly in my schedule. I also enjoy how this series takes a turn to make it more Young Adult rather than Middle Grade with it's themes. The characters as always stay true to who they are and continue to lead unpleasant lives. I can't remember what happens in the next book so I look forward to being surprised by the rest of the series and then I hope to binge watch the tv show. Thanks for reading, Sidny
Title: More Happy Than Not Author: Adam Silvera Series/Stand Alone: Stand Alone Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Fiction Pages: 300 Publisher: Soho Teen Year Published: 2016 First Line: "It turns out the Leteo procedure isn't bullshit." "In his twisty, gritty, profoundly moving New York Times Bestselling Debut Adam Silvera brings to life a charged, dangerous near-future summer in the Bronx. Sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto is struggling to find happiness after a family tragedy leaves him reeling. He's slowly remembering what happiness might feel like this summer with the support of his girlfriend Genevieve, but it's his new best friend, Thomas, who really gets Aaron to open up about his past and confront his future contentment. A revolutionary memory-alteration procedure, courtesy of the Leteo Institute, might be the way to straighten himself out. But what if it means forgetting who he truly is?" My Rating: 4/5 So I don't read a lot of contemporaries but I'm trying to read books that I normally wouldn't pick up and this one really caught my attention after hearing Jessie The Reader talk about it on his youtube channel. It deals with mental illness, poverty and coming of age. These themes are maintained throughout the book along with the idea of forgetting and remembering. Would it be easier just to forget things that have broken your heart? What would that do to you as a person? I thought about this a lot while I read this book and I can sincerely say that this book is one that will make you think. It will give you the feels and break you apart but overall it will make you wonder. I couldn't give this book a 5/5 because it just didn't feel right. I found the beginning of the book was slow and harder to get into so for that reason I liked it but didn't find myself loving it. Thanks for reading, Sidny
So this is my first contemporary read for 2017 and I'm happy that it was the first one I picked up. Maybe I'll start picking up more. I really enjoyed this book I thought thtat the premise was interesting. The idea of changing one thing about a person or being able to forget one aspect of your life is intriguing and I truly didn't think that Aaron had already gone through the process once. But I also thought the aspect of sexuality was important to bring up. I'll be the first to admit that I don't read many diverse book but I'm hoping to change that. And I think this book was a good way to start. I thought that bringing in a different lifestyle along with the orientation fo the main character was key in this story and Adam Silvera did an amazing job of showing how different people react to the coming out process not that acting with violence is good, but it's a sad reality for many. Characters: Aaron: I think in his 17 years he has seen a lot of shit. Let's be honest. He's put up with being bullied, hiding who he really was, violence in the home, poverty, and he's still coming out trying. By the end of the book, he broke my heart. To know that he might not ever get the happy ending he originally wanted breaks my heart but also knowing that he could be 100% who he was around his family was at least a little relieving. Thomas: I don't know if Thomas is straight or not and we'll never know because you can't tell someone's sexuality based on the way they act or look. I think that he and Genevieve will be happy together if they give each other a chance. Genevieve: I was more than a little upset when I found out that she knew he had the procedure done the first time and still got back together with him. I mean I guess they both thought that he would be "straight" but still to let herself fall so in love with him, it just didn't make a lot of sense to me. I hope that she finds happiness somewhere. Aaron's Mom: To do something to make your child happy even though you might lose them scares the crap out of me but she did it, almost twice. I hope that she doesn't blame herself for the side effects. Aaron's Dad: I'm going to presume that he was mentally ill, but that doesn't make it ok to abuse your family! Collin: I hope that he finds happiness someday, some how. Brennan: He can go straight to hell. Moments To Remember: Final Line: "Don't forget me." Thanks for reading, Sidny
Title: Deep Blue Author: Jennifer Donnelly Series/Standalone: Waterfire Saga (Book 1) Pages: 340 Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade Publisher: Disney Hyperion Year Published: 2014 First Line: "Deep in the black mountains, deep in the Romanian night, deep beneath the cold, dark waters of the ancient olt, the river witches sang." "Serafina, daughter of Isabella, Queen of Miromara, has been raised with the expectation- and the burden- that she will someday become ruler of the oldest civilization of merfolk. On the eve of the Dokimi ceremony, which will determine if she is worthy of the crown, Sera is haunted by a strange dream that retells the return of an ancient evil. But her nightmare is forgotten the next day as she diligently practices her songspell; eagerly anticipates a reunion with her best friend, Neela; and anxiously worries about Mahdi, the crown prince of Matali, and whether his feelings toward her and their future betrothal have changed. Most of all, she worries about not living up to her mother's hopes. The Dokomi proceeds. a dazzling display of majesty and might, until a shocking turn of events interrupts it: an assassin's arrow wounds Isabella. The realm falls into chaos, and Serafina's darkest premonitions are confirmed. Now she and Neela must embark on a quest to find the assassin's master and prevent a war between the mer nations. Their search will lead them to other mermaid heroines scattered across the six seas. Together they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood as they uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence." My Rating: 1.5/5 I don't think that I've ever given a rating that is this low so I'm going to explain before people get ticked off. I went into this book expecting a world of magic and girl power and I was left with juvenile characters and thoughts that seemed incomplete. I understand that this is the first in a series, but it seemed as though the author would come up with an idea and just throw it into the story without thinking through many ways to work it in so it flowed. I found that the flow of this book was off for me. I didn't care for the characters or for the world. I also found that the whole story just lacked a certain amount of magic. I will say that Jennifer Donnely's puns are on point. If you're in it only for the puns, you'll enjoy yourself. I will also mention that the characters felt extremely young to me. I understand that they are 16 for the most part but they seemed closer to 12 or 13 to me. So a younger audience may appreciate this book more. Needless to say, I don't plan on continuing the series at this moment. I would recommend thsi to a middle grade audience for sure. Thanks for reading, Sidny
So it's only the beginning of the year and I've already found a book that just wasn't for me. Off to a good start, aren't we? Anywho this story is the story of a princess mermaid who is one of 6 chosen ones. It speaks about girl power and attempts to create a magical underwater world. I did find that the history was in depth and interesting. I thought that that would carry throughout but it seemed to lack in the middle. I also found that the time line didn't seem to line up, it didn't flow as nicely as I had hoped. And here's what really got me down in this book, the characters were whiny and juvenile. Characters: Seraphina: Whiny and under developed. I found that this character did not act her age and wasn't ready to take over much of anything. I did empathize that she lost so much, but she didn't seem to care the Neela had also lost so much with her.. Just agravating. Neela: Her obsession with candy was cute at first but after time it was more frustrating than anything not to mention her slang. I don't have much else to say based on how little I really know about her from the writing style. Ling: I'm sure they would really just stumble on this girl in the middle of nowhere that's fine. Mahdi: She's going to end up with the bad party boy, in the end, won't she? I don't' even care to read to find out. Moments to Remember: Final Line: "In the time to see Vraja pick up a rock and smash the mirror." Just a quick note that these are only my opinions and I encourage everyone to make up their own minds about books. Even though this book was not for me, it doesn't mean that someone else wouldn't enjoy it. Thanks for reading, Sidny
Title: A Torch Against the Night Author: Sabaa Tahir Series/Standalone: An Ember in the Ashes (Book #2) Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance Pages: 452 Publisher: Razorbill Year Published: 2016 First Line: "How did they find us so fast?" "Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire. Laia is determined to break into Kauf- the Empire's most secure and dangerous prison- to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholar's survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom. But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene- Elias's former friend and the Empire's newest Blood Shrike.
Bound to Marcus's will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own- one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escpae... and kill them both." My Rating: 4/5 So for anyone who may be unsure. This is the second book in the Ember's in the Ashes's series. That means this book review will likely contain spoilers for the first book. Sorry... Now that that's out of the way. I really enjoyed this book. I considered not picking up the seoncd book in the series because I wasn't completely blown away by the first novel. I enjoyed it, I thought it was interesting enough, but not something that knocked my socks off. But this second book wasn't getting the best reviews either. Other's were saying that it was a disappointment compaired to the first book, so I thought since my opinions seem to be completely differentmaybe they would be. And I really enjoyed this book. I thought that the characters grew so much and became so much more flushed out. We learn so much more about the politics in this world.And the plot twists here and there were perfect. I would say that this didn't get a 5/5 because it didnt' pull me in right right away which might be because I wasn't sure about it going in. But that's just my little old opinion. Let me know your down below. Thanks for reading, Sidny
So if you've been here a while you may have seen my review of An Ember In the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. So I wasn't as pumped about it as so many others seemed to be. I didn't hate it I thought that it was fine. I didn't love it either though. I wasn't as drawn in as so many others were with the first book. I bought this book not sure if I would love it or even like it for that much. So when I started to really get into this book I was trash before I knew it. I loved the change of pace, being on the run from people who can track anyone who are trained to kill. A rescue mission and magic none the less. That being said it took my a little while to get truly into the story. I can't wait to see where the rest of this series goes and if more perspectives will come along or not. I'm enjoying the three we have so far but I'll mention more below. Characters: Elias: I love Elias, I know it's kind of messed up because he's now a Grim reaper type guy but he is so good. Too good to be a mask. To kill with no reason. To not care. He's got a troubled past sure thing but I'm expecting that Harper is going to come and stir up some shit that he doesn't even know about. I can't wait. Laia: I think that her character really changed as well. She started to see that people were taking her movements seriously. I thought that while some of her actions were rash, they were what she believed was necessary to save her brother. I'm curious about her powers and what she will do now that Darin has been saved. Helene: My heart breaks for her but she has truly been unmade. She will get through this because she is the strongest of them all. She's put up with being rejected, being lead by a psychopath and then watching her family be killed. I can't wait to see her next move. Darin: Is he going to be whole after what he went through? The Commandant: She's crazy if she thinks she can just overthrough everyone, but it makes sense that she would go for it. She's ruthless if nothing else. The Warden: I kept picturing him as a Crow from Game of Thrones but spookier. To experiment of prisoners is horrifying but he had true power in that prison. With the fear that those who walked it's halls must have felt. Keenan: Our should I say not Keenan ( I had a better lead up but I forgot it). The Nightbringer is coming and he doesn't give a single F*ck about anyone. He wants to free his own true, but he also wants to kill many for what they did to him. Marcus: The way he played with the Commandant makes me happy, but he has a lot more battles to fight to win the support of those around him, and hopefully those around him give him a hell of a fight right back. Especially Helene.
Moments to Remember: Final Line: "'Look at you.'" Thanks for reading, Sidny
Hey, guys, so like the go getter I am I decided to set my reading goal already. I plan to read 65 books this year. I read so many good books this past year and I can't wait to read even more this year so here is how I'm kicking of the first month of 2017. Currently Reading: