A Strange Combination of Books // Recent Reads #8

It is I, back with (more) books I’ve read recently!

In the second half of October, I read 7 books, which was pretty cool, and since it was the time right before Halloween, I ~tried~ to read more spooky stuff/SFF, but yeah.

I’m going to shut up now since this post is 2.1k+ words, so here are the mini reviews for the books I read recently!

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Girls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper and Fire, #2) by Natasha Ngan ★★★★☆

SYNOPSIS (Spoilers for Girls of Paper and Fire):

In this mesmerizing sequel to the New York Times bestselling Girls of Paper and Fire, Lei and Wren have escaped their oppressive lives in the Hidden Palace, but soon learn that freedom comes with a terrible cost.

Lei, the naive country girl who became a royal courtesan, is now known as the Moonchosen, the commoner who managed to do what no one else could. But slaying the cruel Demon King wasn’t the end of the plan—it’s just the beginning. Now Lei and her warrior love Wren must travel the kingdom to gain support from the far-flung rebel clans. The journey is made even more treacherous thanks to a heavy bounty on Lei’s head, as well as insidious doubts that threaten to tear Lei and Wren apart from within.

Meanwhile, an evil plot to eliminate the rebel uprising is taking shape, fueled by dark magic and vengeance. Will Lei succeed in her quest to overthrow the monarchy and protect her love for Wren, or will she fall victim to the sinister magic that seeks to destroy her?

This was a really great sequel, and I had a good time reading it! I’m going to be having a full review of this up in the next week or two, as I read it as an ARC. Beyond grateful, and thank you to Julie from HBG and the publisher for giving me this opportunity! ❤

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The Custody of the Pumpkin by P.G Wodehouse (short story for school) ★★★★☆

  • This is one of the best short stories I’ve read from my curriculum
  • This was so funny and snarky and tongue-in-check and I loved it a lot
  • The writing was phenomenal and lots of fun, though it did drag a little
  • The plot and characters were alright, but the themes of class-ism and societal roles was great to see
  • This is an incredibly British story, so if you’re into that, I’d recommend this!

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Rebel (Legend, #4) by Marie Lu ★★★☆☆

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Respect the Legend. Idolize the Prodigy. Celebrate the Champion. But never underestimate the Rebel.

With unmatched suspense and her signature cinematic storytelling, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Marie Lu plunges readers back into the unforgettable world of Legend for a truly grand finale.

Eden Wing has been living in his brother’s shadow for years. Even though he’s a top student at his academy in Ross City, Antarctica, and a brilliant inventor, most people know him only as Daniel Wing’s little brother.

A decade ago, Daniel was known as Day, the boy from the streets who led a revolution that saved the Republic of America. But Day is no longer the same young man who was once a national hero. These days he’d rather hide out from the world and leave his past behind. All that matters to him now is keeping Eden safe―even if that also means giving up June, the great love of Daniel’s life.

As the two brothers struggle to accept who they’ve each become since their time in the Republic, a new danger creeps into the distance that’s grown between them. Eden soon finds himself drawn so far into Ross City’s dark side, even his legendary brother can’t save him. At least not on his own . .

This was a fun story, but I do have a major question – but was this really needed? The writing was great (it’s Marie Lu, after all), and I did enjoy seeing Ross City.

However, like,, three things happened and the plot felt super predictable, anti-climatic and just unnecessary in general. I would have liked to see characters like Tess play a little bit more into the plot.

And this one is a tough one, because Champion’s ending was so perfect – heartbreaking, but great. I LOVE June and Day and the angst here was painful, but fantastic. But I was super annoyed about not having June’s perspective, and I wanted to see June be fully fleshed out.

Eden as a character was … well, I don’t know. His arc as a shadow of Daniel was super interesting, and I do feel the love story of June and Day was great. But this felt more like a cash grab than an actual necessity, and I think it should have been left to the three book.

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The Taste of Watermelon by Borden Deal ★★★★☆

  • This was a great short story, and one I need to look into with a little more detail
  • I had such an enjoyable time reading this, though the plot and the characters weren’t anything special, but the writing and the themes were just so compelling
  • I think this was a great moral story with a lot to give, and I’m so excited to discuss this with my class

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Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid ★★★★☆

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Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

Since I’ve read this three times (I needed a quick audiobook), I’m not going to say too much about this. Overall, I felt that this was another great book and a fantastic audiobook. Taylor Jenkins Reid delivered with this one, and I love her and her work so much.

This has a lot of compelling, multifaceted characters – they are not particularly likeable by any means, and aren’t immune from doing despicable things and being horrible people, but they are so refreshingly, heartbreaking-ly human, which is what makes Taylor Jenkins Reid stands out. Every single one of her books has this, and she is so, so good at it.

I completely ADORE Taylor Jenkins Reid’s writing (can you tell?) and everything she comes up with. So many important things were said and covered in this book, especially by Daisy.

I still do prefer Evelyn by miles and bounds, but no doubt this is a great read. I cannot wait for Reid’s future releases and I still stan her.

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Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley ★★★☆☆

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SYNOPSIS:

This is a love story.
It’s the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets.
It’s the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea.
Now, she’s back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal and looking for the future in the books people love, and the words they leave behind.

This is a very cute, underrated and a beautifully quiet book. It is a book lover’s dream, and made me wish the setting of this book was real. Like, the Letter Library and the second-hand bookshop? *chef’s kiss*

One thing I liked about this book was how Aussie this book is. To give a bit of context – my very first school was an Australian international school (I’m hesitant to say where because if I state the country, it exposes my privacy, and frankly, I don’t want the Internet to know which schools I used to go to and all that), and where I spent most of my school years in. So I grew up surrounded by a lot of Australian kids, and therefore I’d say I’m pretty familiar with Australian culture, and it was a nice feeling. This was particularly driven home by the fact that this was narrated by Australian narrators, which was cool, but other than that, I suppose the audiobook wasn’t something super special.

In the book, one of the characters, Rachel, is a very unlikable character. A lot of this has to do with the fact that she is grieving the loss of her brother, and it was therefore realistic for her to be rude and upset, but I do think she did take it a little too far at times, and I’m glad it got called out. Also, Henry, the other main character, is a soft boy who loves reading, and yes?? We stan. This book features a love triangle between two girls and a boy, so if that’s something you’re interested in, well. I did really enjoy the side characters, especially George, Henry’s younger sister, who was an absolute delight to read about.

But what I think really bumped my star rating down was how I annoyed I got by some of the things in the second half of the book. I can’t remember what it was, but it did sour my experience with this slightly, which was annoying.

Overall, though, this is a super quick, unapologetically Australian read (the audiobook is under 6 hours) and with some great elements of literature, and I did enjoy it, though I had some issues with it.

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His Hideous Heart edited by Dahlia Adler ★★★★☆ (4.5)

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Thirteen of YA’s most celebrated names reimagine Edgar Allan Poe’s most surprising, unsettling, and popular tales for a new generation.

Edgar Allan Poe may be a hundred and fifty years beyond this world, but the themes of his beloved works have much in common with modern young adult fiction. Whether the stories are familiar to readers or discovered for the first time, readers will revel in Edgar Allan Poe’s classic tales, and how they’ve been brought to life in 13 unique and unforgettable ways.

Contributors include Kendare Blake (reimagining “Metzengerstein”), Rin Chupeco (“The Murders in the Rue Morge”), Lamar Giles (“The Oval Portrait”), Tessa Gratton (“Annabel Lee”), Tiffany D. Jackson (“The Cask of Amontillado”), Stephanie Kuehn (“The Tell-Tale Heart”), Emily Lloyd-Jones (“The Purloined Letter”), Hillary Monahan (“The Masque of the Red Death”), Marieke Nijkamp (“Hop-Frog”), Caleb Roehrig (“The Pit and the Pendulum”), and Fran Wilde (“The Fall of the House of Usher”).

When it comes to reading, horror isn’t one of the genres I’d typically lean towards (I’m a HUGE chicken), but this made me feel less against it, I suppose? Honestly, this was among one of the stronger, more cohesive anthologies I’ve read, and it was SO perfect for the ~spooky szn~ season.

I’m really glad I read this because I have been wanting to truly try out some of Poe’s work for years, and this was such a good dip into Poe’s work. A quick rundown: the first half of this book was the retellings, and the second half of this book was the original tales, which I think was brilliant and added such a nice touch, especially for readers like me, who have never read the majority of these texts. I only ever read Annabel Lee (which is basically my favourite poem ever), which was included here (pretty cool). I also found some amazing Poe short stories (shoutout to The Tell-Tale Heart!) and this was just great. I’m going to write up a full review of this either as a blog post or to post on Goodreads, so let me know if you want to see my full thoughts as a blog post!


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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

 

2 thoughts on “A Strange Combination of Books // Recent Reads #8

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