The Mark of Athena – Rick Riordan – YA/MG Fantasy
Exciting, repetitive. There were a heckin lot of characters to keep track of, but the book had some good twists and turns. At times it was hard to tell some of the characters apart, especially because we read from so many different points of view throughout. The relationships were all sweet though, and Leo might be my favorite character. The cliffhanger it ended on was brutal! I’m glad I don’t have to wait a year for the next book to come out.
We Were Eight Years in Power: An America Tragedy – Ta-Nehisi Coates – Nonfiction
Enlightening, Heartbreaking. Coates looks back at the past eight years of Obama’s presidency through his own writing and tells a memoir of sorts about his rise to fame. I feel both smart and dumb when reading Coates because he is so smart, but I’m trying to comprehend his intelligence. He traces the rise of white supremacy in America as the backlash to Obama’s presidency. It both reminded me about the best of the Obamas and America and the worst of America.
Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo – YA Fantasy
Thrilling, Badass. The sequel to Six of Crows delivered on all its promises. The action was compelling, and we learned more about the characters Wylan and Jesper who had been glossed over in the previous book. Twisty plot things happened that were helped along by the changing points of view. The reader is put in the same position as people in town, not knowing what the different gangs are planning in their wars. I love the heist-esque political thriller sort of atmosphere this second book retained.
The Belles – Dhonielle Clayton – YA Fantasy
Intriguing, Plotless. A beautiful cover and beautiful writing, but the entire book felt like a prequel. Could the ending of the book have actually become the midpoint change? I was reading and found myself wondering what the heck the plot of this book was because everything took so long to happen. Unnecessary isolation of the main character, and her friends were dicks most of the time. Amber needed more redemption. And it felt like by the last half of the book things were just happening to the main character to stop her from doing something. She didn’t make decisions. I definitely will continue the series because things have been set-up to be interesting.
The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath – Classic
Important, Wonderful. I didn’t know what I was missing by not having read this. Truly a work of feminist fiction. Esther is such an interesting character; the description of depression and electro shock therapy was intense. The way men treated women in this book was indicative of the times, and unsettling. The whole book felt a little unsettling. Others have described it as the female Catcher in The Rye. I think that does a disservice to Plath’s work, but I understand the comparison. I will probably reread this book.
Lullabies – Lang Leav – Poetry
Juvenile, Terrible. Like seriously, I wrote better poetry in middle school. There are no concrete images to hold onto, no guessing, no symbolism or meaning. I felt nothing but exasperation. The poems are just sentences broken up to look like poems. Sentimental bullshit with no surprises or variation in themes. All the poems are about loving some deeply long after they have left.
RoseBlood – A.G. Howard – YA Fantasy
Gothic, Mediocre. This retelling/modern update of The Phantom of the Opera had some decent characterization of the Phantom, but the original characters were only alright. There was a soul-mate plot that made me roll my eyes sometimes. The main character Rune was boring, and the opera school plot was dull. Only in the last 100 pages did the pace really pick up. Not a terrible book, but not as good as I wanted.
The Wedding Date – Jasmine Guillory – Romance
Adorable, Sexy. Alexa and Drew’s relationship was super cute. It’s a fake-to-real relationship that only once relied on miscommunication in an annoying way. This dealt with long-distance relationships and race issues because Alexa is black, and Drew is white. It was realistic, but sweet. It focused on their lives, but the romance changed them both for the better. Also included steamy sex, but without all the play-by-play erotic stuff. This is the kind of romance I really love reading.