I’m Reading Short Stories and Using Them For My Goodreads Challenge, What Of It: Recent Reads #5

Well hello there.

I’m back!!

Sorry that I pulled a little disappearing act here on the blog this week, but honestly, school is KILLING ME with lots of work and I am barely surviving and thus, couldn’t make time to blog last week, which SUCKED.

This post was supposed to go up on Wednesday, but here we are.

So since it passed the mid point of the month, I’m meant to post my next installment of my Recent Reads feature. Because of my neurotic-ness, I really want to get to 150 books this year, which means reading 12+ books each month.

And since I know that reading 12 books in a school month is highly unrealistic, I decided to use the short stories I’m using in English to add to my Goodreads challenge. They’re all under 15 pages, so it could be classed as cheating, but I really don’t think so (or care about it that much, in all honesty).

In this installment, we’re talking about five books I read in the beginning of the month.

Without further ado, here are some of my thoughts on the books I recently read!

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The Hollow of the Three Hills by Nathaniel Hawthorne ★★★★☆

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Note: Since this is a short story (school reading), there is no synopsis as it would most likely unnecessarily give away major plot details.
This was such a dark and mysterious short story that I really enjoyed! It truly blows my mind on how good of a short story people can create in a few pages. This was definitely an interesting short story to analyse and had some instances of fantastic symbollism. I definitely really liked Hawthorne’s writing style and I would totally be interested in his other works, especially The Scarlet Letter.
It had some great parallels to A Christmas Carol (in my opinion) that I appreciated. And god, that ending? FANTASTIC. Also, I liked the contrast of the main characters and just found this to be a super interesting read and an intriguing short story to dissect.

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Legend by Marie Lu ★★★★☆

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SYNOPSIS (FROM GOODREADS):

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

I read this as a host for the Legend readalong, and honestly, I was genuinely shocked at how much I enjoyed this reread! Obviously, I was hoping to enjoy it, since I really did enjoy it the first time I read it (in around 2016, I believe) and Marie Lu is one of my favourite authors. This book is just SO much fun, an absolute thrill ride, and I flew through the audiobook. I literally kept listeningto it until I realized I had half an hour left, which blew my mind, and shows how bingeable it is. (one day before we were meant to finish the book, so … oops).

I think the world of the Republic was really interesting and the parallel of the Trials to the SATs, which is … certainly food for thought. Additionally, I really liked how solid her writing was, especially for a debut. Granted, it wasn’t the best thing since, I don’t know, sliced bread, but it was really great. She manages to write some great action scenes that I seriously appreciate so, so much.

I honestly don’t know what else to say about this except I am excited to continue my reread of the series!

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The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde ★★★★☆

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This was another incredibly interesting tale, and the second short story I need to study in English! Not gonna lie, I do prefer this tale over the other story I analysed for English, but goodness, was my class’s analysis for this story A LOT. We took three lessons (one lesson in 55 minutes and two of them was a double) and it is a SIX page story. It was great discussion, but a lot of work. I DIGRESS.
I really like Wilde’s cynical, satirical style of writing, his writing voice and how he subverted the typical fairytale and its conventions. I also think the themes are really worth something and just fantastic in general, with some morals that provide some good food of thought. And I really liked the tone of this one! Another solid short story in general.

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American Royals by Katharine McGee ★★★★★

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SYNOPSIS (FROM GOODREADS):

What if America had a royal family?

When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne.

As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America’s first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she’s breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn’t care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her. And then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson. If he’d been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.

The power. The drama. The intrigue. The Crown. New York Times bestselling author Katharine McGee imagines an alternate version of the modern world, one where the glittering age of monarchies has not yet faded–and where love is still powerful enough to change the course of history.

You all – this was SO entertaining! I honestly had so much fun reading this and I was shocked at how much I loved this one. Though it does say 5 stars, it leans more towards of a 4.75 star rating for me. And everyone going on about how addictive Katharine McGee’s writing is? YOU ARE SO RIGHT. It was so difficult to put this down and if I had a weekend and wasn’t being swamped by school, I think I could have binged this in a couple of settings.

I really enjoyed the complexity of the four female point of views. Sure, a bunch of them were incredibly unlikeable to the point of them being despicable – but my goodness was it too entertaining to reflect too deeply on this one. HOWEVER. I felt that the ending was extremely abrupt, rushed and done just to set up for a sequel, which is annoying. I’m actually DYING for the sequel and can’t wait to see what happens next! Can you tell I’m Royals trash.

I do want to give props to this book because the concept of this book could have gone sideways in many respects if it wasn’t done properly, and I would say for the most part it was done solidly, but take my word with a grain of salt, since I’m not an American reviewer (especially not a Native American reviewer!) I just loved the romances a whole lot, and I LOVED seeing how each character was entangled with another character.

I also do wish that we got to see ANY glimpse of Beatrice’s and Jeff’s relationship, because that definitely has potential. I’m really curious about it, so @Katharine McGee – can you grant my wishes for Book 2? PLEASE. It was just too good and I highly recommend!

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Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray ★★★★☆

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SYNOPSIS (FROM GOODREADS):

The longing of dreams draws the dead, and this city holds many dreams.

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. With her uncanny ability to read people’s secrets, she’s become a media darling, earning the title “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” Everyone’s in love with the city’s newest It Girl…everyone except the other Diviners.

Piano-playing Henry DuBois and Chinatown resident Ling Chan are two Diviners struggling to keep their powers a secret—for they can walk in dreams. And while Evie is living the high life, victims of a mysterious sleeping sickness are turning up across New York City.

As Henry searches for a lost love and Ling strives to succeed in a world that shuns her, a malevolent force infects their dreams. And at the edges of it all lurks a man in a stovepipe hat who has plans that extend farther than anyone can guess…As the sickness spreads, can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld to save the city?

In this heart-stopping sequel to The Diviners, Printz Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray takes readers deeper into the mystical underbelly of New York City.

This is probably one of the most consistent series I’ve ever read, especially characters-wise, and I am so incredibly glad that I actually made myself get back into the series. This series is one of the most unique series I have ever read and it is such a great reading experience. From the atmospheric 1920s setting to the delving into the darker side of 1920s America to the pure uniqueness of the concept, I don’t think I can stop raving about the series and especially those audiobooks. It truly baffles me that one person can pull off so many voices, and making each one sound distinct, while maintaining – or more so, enhancing, the creepiness of these books.

I just love the characters and am just so invested in their arcs. While there are your token white, straight characters, many of the main characters are not that. There is a Jewish MC, a gay MC, an African-American MC, a half Native American MC, a LGBTQIAP+, asexual Chinese-Irish disabled MC (the character hasn’t chose to identify with a specific label yet), and a MC with depression, to name a few.

Granted, I do much prefer the Diviners (and from what I’ve heard, I will like Before the Devil Breaks You more than Lair of Dreams) over this one, primarily because the plot wasn’t as engaging for me as the Diviners was. It could have been the pacing as well? It’s 600 pages and the longest book in the series thus far, and I think it could have been trimmed down a little. I still enjoyed my time reading this one though, and am DYING to read the sequel!


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What are some books you recently read, and what do you think of them? Have you read any of the books here, and do you agree (or disagree) with any of my opinions? Why/why not? I’d love to know.Screen Shot 2018-09-09 at 10.59.32 AM

 

3 thoughts on “I’m Reading Short Stories and Using Them For My Goodreads Challenge, What Of It: Recent Reads #5

  1. Using short stories isn’t cheating at all! In my thoughts, if a 900 page book and a 300 page book all count as 1 book, we can throw a few short stories in to even it out. :p I was also really surprised by how well Legend was put together for a debut. I haven’t continued the series, but I’m excited to!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh that’s great to hear! I’m definitely just using too many short stories, but we’re just gonna be sneaky & slide them in anyway 😉 I hope you love the rest of the series! In my opinion, they definitely got better per book and Champion is truly perfection. Happiest of reading, Alyssa!

      Liked by 1 person

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