Last year I put together a list of books that I read coupled with my opinions on them, using my reviews from good reads. I decided to keep it going.
Avatar: The Last Airbender (Smoke and Shadow #3)
I got to read this one like way back in March thanks to tumblr lol. But I decided to wait until I actually got a physical copy to review it on here.
Any how 10/10 *was satisfied with the amount of Azula*
As always, I really enjoyed the comic as a whole, I really liked this story line. The whole fear based theme and the Kemurikage were wonderful. I'd really love to know more about those ladies.
Life Is But A Dream
This book wasn't exactly what I expected it to be, but it still earned 5 stars for sure. Part of the reason I adore it so much is because it really spoke to me; in some ways I could see a lot of myself in Sabrina. I could see myself in her in the way that she had her own little world that she liked to escape into; "I don't care I say to my parents I like the world in my dreams, it's a happier place here." The line "Puberty flicked a switch in side of them and dreams were replaced by hormones and varsity sports while I continued to look for faeries in the woods behind my house." Also really just stood out to me along side; "I had no idea at the time that our vacation to San Francisco would be the last really perfect trip we'd take. The others after it were okay, but not quite like that trip. In my memory I've often returned to that trip down the coast walking home from the bus freshman year I would recall all the details. Until the rest of the world dissolved and that one perfect car ride would last forever and the song we loved to sing would never end." I am a very nostalgic person and I took a little family vacation--just like in that line I didn't realize it but that would be the last truly perfect trip I'd take and I often find myself just thinking back to it.
Basically a lot of this book speaks volumes to me.
That aside I really loved the artsy poetic descriptions in this book from the glowy rocks to the water-color sky. James is wonderful with description. The two main characters were also really cool. I liked Sabrina a lot as a narrator.
And finally I like the ending. I would have been so pissed if it ended with Sabrina running away with Alec and what not...like I really did not want that. I'm so glad it ended with Alec growing up and stopping his feeding of her delusions. I'm glad she ended up righting things with her parents and such.
All in all it was just a beautiful breath-taking story really
Fairy Tail (Volume 2)
So I got this one for my birthday today. It wasn't as exciting as the first one was for me. But I still enjoyed it. Those maids though lol. And I'm glad we finally got to see Erza. She was one of my favorites in the manga.
I really enjoyed this novel. The world building was probably my favorite part. It was so clever and unique. Each zodiac house was very different from the next and had so much thought and detail put into it. I also enjoyed each of the characters and seeing how he/she aligned with his/her house. The concept of those born into the wrong house was also a concept that interested me. I was also super excited to see how Aries would be written seeing as that's my sign.
The only real problem I had was the amount of errors there were in the text; by this I mean that I found a whole sentence that was not spaced out itwaswrittenonthepagelikethisforawholesentence. I also found words that were stuck together likethis. And places where there were no capital letters where they needed to be. I mean once or twice doingthis I'm able to ignore, but this occurred more than five times.
I could also do without the love triangle. Like must every YA novel have one? On a more positive note I like Rho as a narrator well enough. Granted she was given all of this power and this special title but I don't think it was a Mary Sue type thing so that's a plus.
The Golden Compass
This was just such a wonderful book. I loved all the characters from Lyra to Coulter to Serafina. The concept of the Golden Compass was unique and beautiful and the writing itself pulled it all together. I remember when it was adapted to film...my family rushed to the theater.
Recently I re-read it and it's just as great as I remember...if not more so now that I have an adult prespective and understand the darker/larger concepts. I loved the imagery (especially regarding the Northern Lights). The entire concept of dust and deamons and the compass itself are just so unique. And then the religious undertones are thrown in and it becomes even more complex. Over all I just gotta give it a 10/10.
So I read this one for a college course. Not bad, not bad at all. I think all of the stories were very creative and very witty. Though my favorite had to be the first; Teenage Sniper. But all of them were very interesting. I enjoyed how Johnson expirmented with different points of view (1st, 2nd, & 3rd person) and I enjoyed how he took such out there topics like creating a death ray and made it seem so normal.
Antigone / Oedipus the King / Electra
I read this way back in high school and then once more just this year. Both for a class. Though it's not something I would have picked up and read on my own, I found it to be enjoyable enough. Likewise I wouldn't have picked it up again had my professor not have been like, "go on read it again, I incest." ;) But I liked it more than I did the first time. Mostly because I understood the themes and complexities more than I did when I was in high school.
Really awesome story. Murtagh it the shit! Anything with dragons has my attention. But this one, I've gotta say is the best dragon book ever. I loved the connection between the dragons and their riders. Loved the back story. And I loved the overall plot. Reading about the Empire and Eragon's general journey and whereabouts was neat. Though I could tell that this was a young author in that the descriptions weren't exactly top notch in a sense. But he definitely had a great start. This was the book that had me inspired to run around playing dragons back in 2005/2006ish.
Holy cow, this is probably the goriest thing I've ever read! I loved it. While I miss the air of mystery granted by the prison itself, this...this was great too. I really liked the descriptions of the necter. And it was cool to finally get some questions answered and see that showdown with the warden. Also loved how fast-paced the book was. Like action right from the beginning.
Holy cow, I love this book! It was just as amazing as the first book in the series. Honoria continues to be a wonderful character; there's just something about her that I really like. With that said, seeing her journal was really awesome. I also really enjoyed the introduction of the wild fade. Great plot twist, 10/10. The only thing I really didn't care for was Tobin's point of view. I liked him in Arclight but upon getting into his head, I found that I liked him less. He came off to me as a pretty big jerk.
This was first read to me in 5th grade as a class read aloud. I don't remember what caused me to remember it but I did so I decided to give it a re-read. It was definitely a fun read, I enjoyed all the sass. I think the re-starts were handled very well, despite the repetition it didn't get too repetitive if that makes sense. I actually really liked Andreanna, she was hilarious.
This book wasn't quite what I was expecting but it was still a pretty cool read. The last 40 or so pages were quite an adventure really. I really enjoyed how the two towns became so tied into each other and how the baseball--a seemingly small thing--was so crucial. There were a lot of very interesting and unique characters in this novel. Overall I enjoyed the book.
While I enjoyed Gray Wolf Throne I didn't enjoy it as much as the first two. I think that this may be because there was more on the politics of the world than there was action and imagery (the two things that satisfied me the most with the first two). But I still really love Fiona, Bird, Han, and Fire Dancer. Rai kind of started to annoy me a bit though. But overall, still a good read.
The Bad Beginnings
I got bored today and decided to pick up an old childhood book. I really do appreciate this one as an adult; this book tackles very heavy topics (that some children unfortunately have to go through) in a way children can understand but without being too frightened. Topics such as death, abuse, and general misfortune. Little quotes such as "you and I of course would never do this to any of our grieving acquaintances but it is a sad thing in life that when someone has lost a loved one friends sometimes avoid the person"(34). impress me the most. It's a way of teaching a good life lesson--to teach kids to support grieving friends and/or to realize that sometimes friends will be lost. Overall I think 'The Bad Beginnings' was very deep and thoughtful. Snicket is just a great author, he knows how to convey things that are hard for adults to swallow to a younger audience.
While this wasn't the worst book I ever read, I didn't particularly care for it either. It was just meh to me, probably because I had higher exceptions for it. The imagery was beautiful and the story line was great but the execution was just underwhelming to me. There was just something about Snowmelt River that didn't appeal to me. It was very slow paced which is not good for a book 700+ pages in length. I tried to just take a step back and enjoy the journey, visualizing myself in the new land, but even that didn't work. That said it wasn't awful enough for me to drop the book altogether--I did finish it. Though I admit to skimming at parts and skipping pages.
I think my main problem is that I was confused the whole time--and that was before I started just skimming. The reason I opted to skim was BECAUSE I knew I'd be confused no matter what. The strange thing is that I wasn't confused because I didn't know what was going on. Because I did know what was happening. I just didn't know WHY it was happening half of the time. Like the reasoning was briefly touched on but not enough for it to feel right. For instance the reasoning and what lead up to the first succubus encounter was very sketchy until nearly 200 pages or so later! And I feel like it just didn't work for the book. That said, I feel like this book had a very unnatural flow. And to me it had the literary equivalent of bad YouTube jump cuts. So yeah I knew what was happening but I didn't know how or why. And then there's the fact that certain plot-lines seemed to be forgotten all together or as the story progressed, seemed irrelevant in hindsight. I'm talking about Grimstone, namely his cross. There was a whole backstory on it and it was what initially connected the four to the other world. But after that Grimstone and the cross just seemed like a distant memory. Which could work because the four friends changed so much (an oh Ryan let us know that) but it's another thing that just didn't work. It didn't work because I was certain that Grimstone, or at least his cross would have more significance later on.
Similarly I feel as though a lot of information was dumped on me like the world names and character names. Normally this is not an issue for me when reading fantasy--especially since I read so much of it. The problem is that the characters themselves didn't really have much substance to them. Aside from maybe Granny Dew--who was a fascinating character to me and made the book worth reading for me. While I liked Mo and the Dark Queen, I still feel like they didn't really stand out. Again, none of the characters did. Alan was your typical cardboard cut out noble knight-like hero. Mark was the classic foil to Alan; the bad boy with a heart of gold. He reminded me of a less astounding version of Edmund from Narnia. Likewise Alan was a poor mirror to Peter. Hell, Kate reminded me of Susan and Mo resemble Lucy. That said Kate was probably the least remarkable to me, to the point where I wondered why she was even there at all. She hardly said or did anything of importance. Maybe she's to play a bigger role in the next book, but even so she should be important in the first book too. It got to the point where I hated her character; not because she did anything dislikable but because she was just so flat and boring. Mo was cool enough, her stammer was intriguing while it lasted--it made her distinguishable. But typically her defining character trait was wiped. Which wouldn't be a problem if she had other note-worthy characteristics. The Dark Queen was another character who had a lot of potential. We briefly got some background on her, but it was very rushed making her nearly as flat as the other 4. And the rest of the characters I really can't say much for because they just stood out to me so little. Heck some of them kind of just blended together in my mind.
Speaking of rushed. That was another issue with this book that I had. The friendship between the four just seemed so under developed. One day they just met and bam, friendship. One more minor annoyance I had was the constant repetition; 'metamorphosing' and 'matrix' are two of them. There has got to be at least one synonym for each that Ryan could have alternated between. And the whole "we're changing" mantra got so old after a while. We get it you guys are changing! We got it after the first 3 times! Perhaps those lines could have been swapped out for actual character development or plot explanation.
I don't know this book was just a 700 page let down for me. It had it's moments of glory, I'll give it that, but Snowmelt River is just one of those books I wouldn't recommend unless you have plenty of time to kill.
Fellowship Of The Ring
Fellowship of the Ring was a little slow paced but I still enjoyed it well and good. I'm fond of all the characters really; especially Gollum, Legalos, and Ganalf. The language was flowery and poetic and I enjoyed the nature-filled journey. My favorite part though was what took place in Moria, good action right there, very intriguing. I definitely think that this series deserves the praise it gets. It really does set a good bar for other fantasy novels.
First and foremost, after reading this one I regret not having picked it when it was presented as a reading option in high school. I found it to be much more exciting than Animal Farm. I thin Bradbury painted a pretty nifty image of what a world without books and knowledge would be like. A world dominated by abundant activity. A world where people are blissfully unaware of everything. This book also had so many memorable quotes like; "If you don't want a man unhappy politically don't give him two sides to worry him. Give him one. Better yet give him none," and "I often wonder if God even recognizes his own son the way we've dressed him up, or is it down?" Fahrenheit was also a very fast-paced page-turner. I was able to finish it in only a night--technically two days if you count reading it past midnight. Overall this was a wonderful read and I'm glad I didn't judge it for being a high school semi-mandatory read.
Kazunomiya: Prisoner of Heaven, Japan, 1858 (The Royal Diaries)
What can I say this book was just average to me. I didn't dislike it but it wasn't the most exciting either but I was able to tare through it in just over a day anyhow. I liked some of the descriptions and the story line was solid enough. I remember loving this one in elementary school. But overall I'm indifferent to what I just finished reading.
I definitely binge read this until 1 in the morning. I really really loved it because I adored the idea of the spawn of Bellatrix being the main villain. I love her as a character with her edgy silver and blue hair and her tattoo lol. I just thought she was a fun character and I really do feel bad for her considering the ending.
Albus and Rose kind of annoyed me. Albus with his teen angst and Rose with her butthurt. But I ended up being okay with Albus in the end.
Scorpius was cool too he was a dork but I liked his dorkiness.
As for the older cast I liked how they were written in Cursed Child too. They were pretty much exactly what I expected their adult versions to be. We're just gonna pretend that Umbridge didn't come back.
I was also really impressed by the storyline the leak made it sound like some kind of fanfic but it was handled very well.
I just have two questions; who looks at their kid and says 'yup that's dolphin I'm naming her dolphin *makes dolphin noises*' ?Apparently Bellatrix. And how the hell did no one realize Bella was pregnant!? Like my friend so kindly pointed out; Bella was literally on top of Hermione for the torture and Hermione didn't notice a baby bump? Idk you do you Bella
Pretty Little Liars
This is one of the few incidents where I liked the show better than the book--perhaps because I saw the show first. Don't get me wrong I liked the book, however there were some things that I didn't care for. Such as the amount of smoking I'm no prude but I question the logic of that many tweens smoking. I also really question the logic of so many of them being able to drink and NO ONE questions them??? But other than that the book was very fast paced and fun to read. I kind of hate all of the main 4 and Ali as they are all bitchy to me. But at the same time I like them and think they're well rounded characters.
Like the last book in the series I still like the TV adaption better where the girls are all kind of in it together. Probably because I've seen the show before reading the books. But I still enjoy what I read. Emily is probably my favorite of the girls. And I like Toby as well.
Whispers Of Peace
Guess this is the book I'm closing out my summer vacation with. It was a good last read of the summer. Really cute and light-hearted but also kind of heavy all at once. This isn't the type of book I'm usually into but it was a good one no less. Frankly I should probably stop saying that lol because I guess I end up liking a bit of everything. I really loved all of the characters really, they were each well written and deep characters. And they each had their flaws but nothing that made me hate them. My only issue is that the ending seemed a bit rushed and I think Vivian's romance happened way too fast. But other than that, I liked what I read.
Dragons Of Autumn Twilight
This is one of those books that's just alright. I didn't really have a strong opinion on it either way around. I loved the visual descriptions and there was a lot of action. It reminded me of Lord of the Rings but with (as mentioned) more action and less descriptions of the journey.
Great Tales Of Horror
Okay so I didn't actually finish this one but only because I had borrowed it from a friend and he finally wanted it back lol. But I really really did like what I managed to get through. I really loved Dunwhich and the Colour of Space. In general I loved the eerie feel to the whole collection. And his less-is-more type horror intrigued me especially in an age where outright gore is relied on. I ended up typing a few mini-reviews for some of the stories.
Call of Cthulhu
I have been meaning to read this story for a long time. Not gonna lie, mostly because of the Narwhal song. But also because I really love the horror genre and I’ve only heard good things about Lovecraft. Needless to say I wasn’t disappointed. He managed to write story that left so much to mystery that it was unsettling. It wasn’t scary or even creepy it was just eerie. And I think that that’s the best kind of horror. Especially when it’s ended on a note that brings you into the story in a sense….that applies it to you as a reader and almost brings you a real sense of danger.
The Colour of Space
The Colour of Space was more intriguing to me than Cthulhu though. This one was just even more disturbing. The imagery was on point and very chilling. The descriptions of the family slowly going mad. That thing in the well almost made Samara from The Ring a joke. I really liked reading about the comet and its weird colors and otherworldly ability to always stay heated.
The Lurking Fear
This story didn’t really catch my attention as much as the other two. It was alright and it had its moments (like I loved the stormy weather—gonna have to pick it back up during a storm and the part where the guy is killed by the window) but it was really just meh for me.
The Music of Erich Zann
The title of this one drew my attention immediately. I was almost gonna skip to it but decided to just read the book in order. And I did end up really liking this one. It was very interesting the way Lovecraft was able to spin a terror using music as the core focal point. His descriptions of the mad Erich playing his viola were amazing.
This one reminded me a lot of Cthulhu but shorter. It was an alright story. The stranded at sea theme is always interesting to see put into work. And Lovecraft did it masterfully.
I also really liked this one. It was very creative especially in the way that he described the paintings “that’s because the real artist knows the actual anatomy of the terrible or the physiology of fear, the exact sort of lines and proportions that connect with latent instincts or hereditary fears.” I just really loved this line.
Similarly to how I was drawn into Cthulhu, I was drawn into this story because there’s this band called Dunwhich that I really like. La Casa dell'Alchimista is an amazing song, I recommend it. And the album cover is my basis for visualizing the altar created by Lovecraft. This is one of my favorite Lovecraft stories (next to Colour of Space) the descriptions of the town and forest were neat. And the mysterious odor and substance were intriguing as well. I also enjoyed the character of Wilbur.
The Statement Of Randolph Carter
This is another very eerie and mysterious one that I enjoyed. It was so simple and to the point and left so much to mystery that it was enjoyable.
In The Vault
I think this one is my second favorite Lovecraft story, next to Colour of Space. I just thought it had a neat setting; I enjoy the classically spooky grave yard setting. And the idea of a clumsy, uncaring undertaker trapped with the bodies drew me in.
Cool Air was another good one. It started out slow for me, but by the time ‘the horror’ struck I was intrigued. The whole body preservation concept just sent chills down my spine, especially since the man was a walking cadaver .
Honestly this book was a bit lackluster for me. I didn't hate it but it was just kind of boring to me. It was one of those things where I couldn't really find anything wrong with the book but I still just couldn't get into it. To be even more honest I think that Rebecca was the only thing that kept it from being a 2 star rating. Though if I could I would have given this one a 2.5.
Orwell is an amazing writer. I'm glad that I decided to read this one outside of the classroom setting seeing as reading something for school and dissecting the ever-living hell out of it always ruins a good book. I think that this book had a very powerful message and it was amazing to see how things unfolded. All of the mind trickery and the big brother stuff.
Guardians Of Ga'Hoole
This one was a pretty quick read for me. I really liked Lasky's world building. It was very unique and I could easily follow the lore of the land. I thought the characters were pretty cute as well. And I like that bats were included. This book wasn't the kind of book I'd normally pick up but I enjoyed it well enough.
I remember back in high school one of my student teachers noticed that I liked to read and gave me this book. A really nice gesture; finally got around to reading it. It was an alright read. I liked it more in the beginning. On one hand it was nice to see a YA novel that didn't bash the Christian faith. On the other hand I could do without the "goths are weirdos who worship death" thing. And the whole "tattoos are bad" bit. Towards the end there it came off as a 'My Immortal' thing except from the side of teh prepz who hate those evil gofficz. I didn't really care for Molly or her friends either they were just so shallow. Beth's naive pureness kind of got to me too. But I liked Ivy, Gabe, and Xaviar. In other words I didn't hate this one but I didn't like it either.
A Little Bit OF Crystals
This was a very quick read (after I finally decided to focus on it as opposed to reading it on the side). I'm definitely no expert on gemstones after the read but it was very informative and kind of makes me want to start expanding my crystal collection more. Very useful and I'd probably go back and take a peek at it again once my collection grows.
Dancing In The Harvest Moon
I saw this one in a book drop off where people leave the books they no longer want for others to take and I'm glad I took it. I really enjoyed this book; one of the best I've read in a while after a line of 'meh' books--perhaps I'm just growing out of YA? I loved the imagery and the poetry of this one, it was very pretty. The story line really spoke to me; it reminded me of my summer days when I would go to my grandmother's for my summer job--right down to the lake and the forest. Everything about how Little Bear Lake brought Maggie memories of the best summer of her life reminded me of my fondness of that place I loved when I was younger. And the "she'd always imagined that the moon would wait for her, would encase itself in a gauzy cocoon of memories and wait." quote really hit home. Alongside the memories and the relateablility, this book gave me some serious wanderlust. I love a book that can make me homesick for the places I've never been. I loved each of the characters as well; none of them were foolish or did anything stupid and abrupt. Maggie put thought into things before making decisions. And Eliot put just as much in for her as she did for him. Good book, I highly recommend it.
I'm just gonna hide this entire review because of spoilers. I loved this book but holy crap everyone freaking died. Marn, Dementra, Kit, Faul, Faul's mate, Faul's son, Rose's mom. Everyone! Other than that I really liked the story line. It's the best YA book I've picked up in a while. The plot was solid and unique. And rarely in YA do great and unique plots seem to be well executed. But this one was. Rose didn't piss me off, she wasn't whiney and she got shit done. There was a love interest but the whole plot didn't revolve around it. In fact, to my surprise, the romantic sub-plot only took up about 10% of the book as a sub-plot should. So mad props to Janet for not fucking up a perfectly good story with overdone romance. Also props to her for showing both the good and bad sides of religion; usually novels like these paint out the religious as nutty and evil. While we had one of those, our main character also seemed a bit religious herself and wasn't nutty.
I really liked the in story lore about the dragons and their deal with humans. And I liked how Carey used the Merlin tale without over doing it.
I was also fond of the fact that in the end Rose gravitated/related more to the dragons rather than caving to her mother and changing who she was.
Story line aside, Carey is great with words. I adored her descriptions of the eggs, scales, and Rose's claw. Her metaphors were beautiful. And due in part to the vivid descriptions I cringed during that scene in Dementra's cave where they were trying to get rid of Rose's claw. And I mean that in a good way. More props to Carey. I'd read more of her books.
In other words, good book. Quality YA. A rare gem in the YA world these days.
Lost Years Of Merlin
I absolutely adored this book. It's probably one of my favorite versions of Merlin. It was so well written from start to end and I really couldn't put it down. Each and every character was unique and well developed. I especially loved the spider and Duoma (sp?) I really enjoyed the prospect of Merlin not yet knowing that he is Merlin and fearing his powers. And that plot-twist in the end, though! This book was just such a delight and I could vividly picture every detail in my head as if I were actually there. And for me that is super important in a fantasy novel/series. Barron is sublime author.
Seven Songs Of Merlin
This series continues to be one of my favorite Merlin tellings. Like the first book all of the new characters were so unique and thought out; even the minor ones. I was super excited to see Nimuae in this one too. I'm hoping to see Morgan's and Morgause as well.
The World Of Bats
I love bats very much so I was glad to find this guide book. The illustrations were beautiful and the information was captivating. I liked reading about the different types of bats out there. Very good and easy to follow.
Eight Grade Bites
I don't know, what can I say about this one? It wasn't bad but it wasn't good either. There were parts that were a bit cheesey like 'D'Ablo' and 'Edgar Poe', basically the character names lol. However it was entertaining enough plot-wise. I didn't want to not finish it or anything like that. Perhaps I didn't enjoy it as much because I just came from The Lost Years Of Merlin (which is one of the best reads I've had in a good while). No less I think that this book would be a good choice for someone who isn't a huge fan of reading, it's a quick read and it could possibly open the gateway to longer reads for those who aren't into books yet. Anyways I guess that's all I got; this book is just alright.
An Edgar Allan Poe Reader
Finally got around to reading this one. Just in time for the holidays and more books lol. It was a nice quick read. Naturally my favorite section was the horror section. Followed by poetry then mystery then psychological. I wasn't too into Poe's humor. But otherwise, great read. Poe is always dark and creepy and I like dark and creepy. The Raven and The Pit & The Pendulum were my two favorites. I'm also fond of Annabelle Lee and The Gold Bug. This book compiled a lot of his best works.
Last book of the year for me lol. Pretty good read; a little slow at times for me. But I liked the gothic aesthetic and the eerie atmosphere. I was really find of Mina. And I particularly enjoyed the bits with Lucy.
So here's to another good year of reading, hopefully 2017's book shelf will be just as great or better.