Monday, June 15, 2015

May and June Recap

Hello, everyone! I know y'all are busy and it's hard to keep up with various blogs & booktube channels, so as usual, I've created a recap post on what I've done in May & June. Let me know what y'all have been up to, what you've been reading & which books you've received :).

On the blog, I talked about my experiences at BEA for Day 1 (VIDEO), Day 2 (VIDEO), and Day 3 (VIDEO). Each day had a little something different about it, and the videos talk more about the experience whereas the blog posts are more typical recaps. In terms of book tags, I did the New Releases Tag (VIDEO) and the Extraordinary Means Tag (VIDEO). I fangirled about Books that (I think) You Should Anticipate (VIDEO) and my favorite YA heroines (VIDEO) and even read the first chapter from Black Iris, a very good book, after discussing my April book haul. I reviewed A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston, Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson, Dumplin' by Julie Murphy, Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn, Black Iris by Leah Raeder, Uprooted by Naomi Novik, and The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson. I only had two bookish rounds posts these past two months: edition 79 and edition 80. Hopefully I will be making one soon!

As you might be able to tell in the video... I've moved! Part of the reason why this blog has been so stagnant of late is because of my moving and needing to get internet and needing to do a lot of other things :P. But though I haven't been blogging as much, I have been reading a bunch! Here are some recommendations from yours truly.

A THOUSAND NIGHTS by E.K. Johnston. So, as I linked above, you can read my full review if you'd like. But if you want a few words: EPIC. Atmospheric. If there's one Middle Eastern inspired fantasy novel to read, it's this one. Find an ARC or pre-order. Can't wait to read more from E.K. Johnston!

SERPENTINE by Cindy Pon. FANTASTIC. Reminded me of older fantasy narratives, and I think that it'd be perfect for fans of THE HERO AND THE CROWN & Rae Carson. Features a wonderful main female friendship, sweet romance, and such significant growth for the main character.... plus the lush setting! Cindy Pon gives plenty of details that help to create an atmosphere of a distinctly different time and culture and to settle you into her fascinating world. Also, can I say how fantastic it is that the main character is the handmaid? LOVE when the perspective shifts like that (since so many fantasies are told from the PoV of the lost heir, etc.).

BLOOD AND SALT by Kim Liggett. I've never seen/read "Children of the Corn," but I kept wanting to picture this novel as a movie. The writing is quite cinematic, the setting, the atmosphere... creepy corn fields. Kim Liggett has also established her world and the culture of Quivira so well that it makes the plot quite unpredictable with its various twists and turns. Romantic horror *is* a good description of BLOOD & SALT. The first part is more traditional horror elements (e.g. crows, murders, etc.) and the second half gets more into the deepening stakes/consequences (e.g. love, betrayal, etc.), but neither gets to be too much as Liggett livens her narrative with little humorous tidbits in the MC's voice & jokes among the characters. One-of-a-kind seems like a good descriptor too, though I've not read enough horror to say that with authority.

People who blurbed this book: CARRIE RYAN, NOVA REN SUMA, KENDARE BLAKE, APRIL GENEVIEVE TUCHOLKE, MEGAN SHEPHERD, GRETCHEN MCNEIL. I haven't read books by the latter two, but the others feel so very appropriate. The old time-y feel of the setting in Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, along with the mix of those magical/paranormal elements - what's real? what's actually happening? The blood and gore, and spiritual background in Anna Dressed in Blood. The reservoir feeling *real* with its own history and sacrifice and sibling relationships in Imaginary Girls. The forbidden romance and hungry creatures just beyond the wall in The Forest of Hands and Teeth... And yet, even with these comparisons, it's also easy to say that Kim Liggett has created something that is entirely her own.

WRITTEN IN THE STARS by Aisha Saeed. Loved this. Can't remember who chose this from my book club, but can't wait to discuss it with them! I nearly sobbed while reading this - might actually be the hardest I've cried while reading a book - and that is a rare thing indeed. Aisha Saeed is a PRO at showing you Naila's journey step by step, so that it feels like you're living her nightmare as well. All the details, the emotions, the information - very important read and highly recommended.

INCARCERON by Catherine Fisher. I can't really judge this book accurately. I listened to it while moving/unpacking and doing the dishes, and while on my way to work. Unfortunately, dropping your shitty self-assembled IKEA furniture on the floor for the tenth time and then cursing does mean that you will then miss some details in your audiobook. I could've gone back, but I never do, so oh well. Cool concept, though, and a lot of interesting details, action scenes. I remember first being interested in this novel and its sequel, Sapphique, because Martina Boone had posted an excerpt of Sapphique's opening as an example of extraordinary introductions. Catherine Fisher does know how to build up tension.

DAUGHTER OF DEEP SILENCE by Carrie Ryan. The writing is so tight here, really helps with the revenge thriller vibe. This book reminded me of how I'd started reading THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH a couple years back, but something had distracted me from it. I've loved every one of Carrie Ryan's short stories that I've read - her atmosphere is always excellent. Looking forward to reading more from her.

SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo. If you wanted more world-building from the Grisha Trilogy, this is the solution to all your answers. Though I'm wary of GAME OF THRONES comparisons, a multi-perspective, high fantasy with many cultures interacting with one another meeting OCEAN'S ELEVEN feels like a very accurate description of this book. I can see this one becoming really popular, probably even more popular than the Grisha trilogy (which it accentuates perfectly, adding onto the storyline & world wonderfully. As a companion, this should make new readers eager to check out the first three books and the history referred to in SIX OF CROWS, but it's also readable for them, with the necessary information explained so that they're not left in the dust. It's also good for readers already familiar with GRISHA as it's expanding on the magical foundations of the world itself, and thus does not actually get into repeating the world-building you already know aside for a few tidbits.).

And I am now currently reading A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz with the lovely Mel at The Daily Prophecy :).

Books that I purchased: Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper (a children's fantasy classic that was compared to Phillip Pullman's The Golden Compass + Lord of the Rings in an essay from my kidlit class called "End of Magic") & The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer (described as an Icelandic mythology based Lord of the Rings).

So, what have y'all been up to this past month?! What have you been reading, purchasing, and so on? Are you looking forward to any of these books or have you already read them yourselves? Let me know!

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