Monday, July 25, 2016

Pocket Book Reviews {July 2016}

I've officially surpassed my reading goal of 60 books! I knew I was going to reach my goal but didn't think I was going to read this many books this fast, so now I've upped my goal to 80 books. Ideally though I would like to hit 90, which would be the highest number of books I've ever read in a year. So far it's been a great year for reading! There are so many incredible books coming out in 2016.

I Am Princess X
♥ (5 stars)

Written by Cherie Priest;Once upon a time, two best friends created a princess together. Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the tales, about their heroine, Princess X. Then a few years later, Libby was in a car crash and died. Now May is sixteen and walking when she sees a sticker with Princess X. But no one else knew about the character. So who's creating the webcomic? Is Libby not as dead she May thought?

I LOVED this book! I turned the pages so fast and literally couldn't put this book down because I had to know what would happen and whether Libby really was alive. May goes on a hunt for the truth and I got so invested that I started to feel like I was May searching for the clues. What I loved about this book: it's mostly words, but also beautifully drawn purple comics; May is a loner and like words and is both brave and scared; Trick is funny and not as good at hacking as he'd like; they're dynamic works so well and I like how sassy they are to each other; the parallels between the real world and the comic were genius; the plot and pacing was amazing; and there was no romance! This whole book is about friendship.

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The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus #4)
 (3 stars)

Written by Rick Riordan; Annabeth and Percy tumbled into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?

I'm a little disappointed in this book. Percy and Annabeth and are stuck in Tartarus, which is essentially the underworld for Titans and Giants and all sort of bad monsters, so I thought it would be an exciting adventure. And sometimes it is. But it just seems to drag on forever. And I didn't care at all about what any of the other characters were up to. (Sorry, Leo! You're still the best!)

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Fortunately, the Milk
 (4 stars)

Written by Neil Gaiman; "I bought the milk," said my father. "I walked out of the corner shop, and heard a noise like this: T h u m m t h u m m. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road." "Hullo," I said to myself. That's not something you see every day." And then something odd happened.

Super amusing! This is a short book for children and I can imagine little kids laughing at what happens to this dad on this wild adventure when all he wanted to do was get milk for his kids. Since the audiobook is only an hour, I decided to listen to it and Neil Gaiman's voice is so soothing to listen to! Cute little read!

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Not Exactly A Love Story
♥ (3.5 stars)

Written by Audrey Couloumbis; It's 1977. Fifteen-year old Vinnie isn't having a good year. He's recovering from the worst case of galloping acne his dermatologist's ever seen. His girl moved to California without even saying good-bye. And the ink on his parents divorce papers is barely dry, when his mom announces that they're moving from Queens to Long Island. The silver lining in all this is that they move next door to Patsy—everyone's dream girl. Not that she'd ever notice him. But when Vinnie calls Patsy one night, it leads to a chain of anonymous midnight conversations. Under the cover of darkness, Vinnie becomes Vincenzo, Patsy's mystery caller, and the two share a side of themselves they would never reveal in daylight and develop a surprisingly real connection.

I liked this! It's cute and funny and a little strange. It's not all that memorable of a story, but I enjoyed listening to it and looked forward to listening to it during my drives to and from work.

This book is mostly conversations between Vinnie and Patsy at 12am. He calls her to make a prank call and they end up talking every night even though she has no idea who he is (and that he lives next door). It's funny to me that this story takes place in 1977 because most of the time it feels very timeless; it's just two people talking on the phone. There are only certain instances here and there where you recall the time period (no cell phones, no caller I.D., no internet, the references to Butch Cassidy). 

Sometimes the conversations between Vinnie and Patsy were weird to me. I couldn't really follow why their conversations would take a particular turn or why that little detail was important. 

But I enjoyed listening to Maxwell Glick's voice (he played Collins in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries!) because it lends itself very well to awkward and nerdy. Overall it's a fun story!

This Savage Song
♥ (5 stars)

Written by Victoria Schwab; Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father and August wants to be human—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. Soon, Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

This book is an absolute gem! It's dark, strange, scary, thought-provoking, and beautiful. The characters are what make this story sing (pun intended): Kate is fearless (mostly), tough, hardcore, and wishes she were a worse person that she really is; August is lost, torn between what he is and what he wants to be, sad, and kind. I would follow these characters anywhere! They're both fascinating, but their friendship is what made me keep reading. 

Once the plot started, it was like a gunshot went off and the runners in a race started. It couldn't stop and it was mesmerizing. The book has so many turns and twists and I couldn't stop reading.

My only complaint is that the beginning of the book is super confusing. What do the marks on August's skin mean? Why does a Sunai go dark? What does that even mean? What happens if someone kills in self-defense or by accident? All of these questions were answered eventually, but at first it made getting into the story a little tough. Overall, I LOVED this book and I can't wait for the second one!

Children of Icarus*
 (4 stars)

Written by Caighlan Smith; It is Clara who is desperate to enter the labyrinth and it is Clara who is bright, strong, and fearless enough to take on any challenge. It is no surprise when she is chosen. But so is the girl who has always lived in her shadow. Together they enter. Within minutes, they are torn apart forever. Now the girl who has never left the city walls must fight to survive in a living nightmare, where one false turn with who to trust means a certain dead end.

This book surprised me in many ways. I was expecting a dystopian-like society where they send their children into a labyrinth for some evil reason, I was expecting a love triangle, I was expecting a race to find the door that leads out of the labyrinth, but this is something entirely different. Something more mature than the YA book I was expecting. This book is hard; it thrusts you into this world with little explanation and you have to figure it out for yourself, much like characters in the book. 

The action is intense, the monsters are terrifying, and the people at Fates could be cruel. This all makes for a very interesting story. This labyrinth is strange and gruesome and no one is coddled. Everyone lives day by day and it made me think about what living in this giant maze would be like, living this bleak life.

However, it annoyed me to no end that the main character has no name (why???) and that for 75% of the book she does nothing to stand up for herself and barely talks. I know she's scared and I know I would be, but come on! She lets herself be humiliated and yelled at because she was too afraid to talk. I know I have some social anxiety, but parts of the book made me want to scream. 

For a book based on the tale of Icarus, I didn't find much connection to it or Greek mythology. I'm not very familiar with the story, but I thought this book was going to be based more on mythology than it was. The ending was fascinating and it made me want to know more. If there is a second book, I would definitely read it to see what happens.

*Thanks to Switch Press for sending me a copy.

Giant Days, Vol. 2
♥ (5 stars)

Written by John Allison, Whitney Cogar, Max Sarin, and Lissa Treiman; Winter is here, but that doesn't mean the drama will cool down for Susan, Esther, and Daisy. There are old foes, new boyfriends, and weird sports analogies. 

This graphic novel series is one of my favorites! It's laugh-out-loud funny, emotional, cute, and awesome! Susan, Daisy, and Esther are the best and I love how their friendship is growing and changing. I seriously can't pick a favorite storyline because they're all marvelous.

My Lady Jane
♥ (5 stars)

Written by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows; The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane gets to be Queen of England.

I loved this book from the first chapter! My Lady Jane is a mix of tweaked history, humor, and magic--and it's so well done. It sounds like an odd combination and yet it works so well because the three wonderful main characters: Jane is smart and bookish and doesn't want to get married; Gifford is awkward and a horse when the sun is up (literally!); and King Edward is young and naive and just wants to kiss a girl. I love how the writers took history, made some changes, and ran with it. I will admit it's pretty cliche most of the time, but I found myself not caring because this book is so fun and I laughed so much. A fantastic read!

Have you read any of these?
What did you read this month?

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~Sara ♥

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