Reading Wrap-Up | February 2015

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2015 has been a really productive reading year for me so far! I managed to read 11 things this month, two of which were graphic novels and one of which was an audiobook. Onto the books...

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin
Book One of the Earthsea Cycle
3.5 out of 5 stars.
A Wizard of Earthsea is regarded as a fantasy classic, and it reads like one. If I'd read this before having read a lot of other fantasy books, perhaps my reading experience wouldn't have felt somewhat redundant. There are a lot of really powerful moments, and times where Le Guin's somewhat distant and poetic writing style flourishes, but most of it felt quite slow. Overall it was good and did a great job imparting its themes on the reader, though some of the elements I expect from novels seemed to be lacking a bit - or at least seeming to be as any originality it might have once had has been mixed into numerous fantasy books over the years to the point of being cliché.

The Crown Conspiracy by Michael J. Sullivan
Book One of the Riyria Revelations Series
3 out of 5 stars.
This was a lot of fun! It's quite a straightforward and simple story, so it doesn't offer much in terms of originality or characters with a lot of depth... but for what it is, it's pretty great. Probably a good read for anyone looking for a fun fantasy adventure without all of the density that can come with these sorts of books, and also those inexperienced with fantasy and hoping to change that. Looking forward to continuing this series as I've heard the books get better as you go along.
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
4 out of 5 stars.
Brown Girl Dreaming is an award-winning memoir written in verse. It follows Jacqueline's experience as an African American child growing up in the 1960's/70's in America. I really enjoyed this but I think I would have loved it even more if I’d been able to read it when I was a part of its target audience, which seems to be children. The ending in particular was really moving and wraps up everything quite beautifully. Overall a really quick and enjoyable read.


The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Book One of The Bone Season Series
5 out of 5 stars.
This was a reread, and I had to give it the same glowing rating that I originally gave it when I read it in 2013. Even though I already knew how this book ended, I had to stay up all night reading this to get to the end. The Bone Season certainly isn’t perfect, but just works SO WELL for me. (I also forced my mom to read this, and she also loved it. We have quite different tastes in books but we do agree on some rare books.) Part of my reason for rereading this was so that I could write a review, since I didn't the first time I read it... but I realized I never wrote a review because all I can do when talking about this book is incoherently gush about it. So...

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
3.5 out of  5 stars.
Hyperbole and a Half is a collection of blog posts from Allie Brosh, who mixes really simple illustrations and text to discuss random topics... whether it be stories about her dog or her experience with depression. It was loads of fun! I think it could have been organized a bit better than it was - perhaps if the stories had been presented in a more chronological fashion it would have felt a little less scatterbrained. We get some stories from Allie's childhood and some from adulthood, but they're all mixed around haphazardly. Very entertaining though and I'd certainly recommend it if you've ever stumbled across one of Brosh's posts and enjoyed them.

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon
Book Two of The Bone Season Series
4 out of 5 stars.
Part of my reasoning for rereading The Bone Season was because its sequel, The Mime Order, was coming out. As much as I loved The Bone Season, you
know I had to preorder this and read it ASAP. This was a pretty great sequel, though I wasn’t invested in this as much as I had been with The Bone Season. I found this a bit predictable, and I didn’t think it had the same level of readability to me that The Bone Season had - where even though you know what’s going to happen, it’s still a thrill ride. Nonetheless a pretty great sequel and an ending that leaves you NEEDING the next book.

Avempartha by Michael J. Sullivan
Book One of the Riyria Revelations Series
3 out of 5 stars.
This sequel to The Crown Conspiracy was pretty equal to the first book, in my opinion. I think there were some improvements in the writing, but this still felt like a 3 star book to me. There were some very predictable parts and the characters are still a bit distant, even though I’ve now been with them for almost 700 pages. Nonetheless, I’ve heard fantastic things about the rest of the series and can’t wait to continue this. Just need the next book to hurry up and arrive in the mail!
Seriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen Degeneres
2.5 out of 5 stars.
Guess who tried listening to an audiobook! Me, obviously. (Who else would it be?) Unfortunately, not my cup of tea. This was a pretty quick one, but it felt kind of pointless. This book was a little all over the place... and as much as I like Ellen, wasn’t a huge fan of her narration. I kinda felt like she read it, for the most part, as if she didn't care which made me feel like I shouldn't bother caring either.

The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley
Book One of the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne Trilogy
4 out of 5 stars.
I’m working on a full review for this one, so keep your eyes peeled! I thought this was one of those fantasy books that just reads really easily, but it doesn’t sacrifice world-building to do so. The world Staveley created is a pretty cool one, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it expands in the next installments. This follows three POVs, all belonging to the children of an emperor who is murdered at the beginning of the novel, though it’s rather unbalanced and mostly focuses on the two sons and the training they’re going through away from home. If you’re not a fan of coming-of-age, training sequence stories, this probably isn’t your thing considering it’s basically two of those in one. Again, full review coming with more of my thoughts!

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
2 out of 5 stars.
Talk about a disappointment… I thought The Song of Achilles would be exactly my cup of tea, and boy was I really wrong. This was painful for me to get through. So much eye-rolling and "Do I have to keep reading this?" I thought this would be fantastic. Lyrical writing? Representation of non-hetero relationships? Mythological retelling? Count me in! Unfortunately, this just came of as a really annoying romance with uber flat characters. It left me feeling so betrayed that I didn’t want to read anything afterwards because of trust issues. *shakes fist at book*

Saga Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
4 out of 5 stars.
I don't know why I always think it's a good idea to read the next installment of this series while I'm at the library. Trying to hide what I'm reading whilst kids are frolicking around is REALLY AWKWARD especially when BOOM random depiction of oral sex comin' at ya.
Anyway, this is probably as good as the other volumes, which I typically give 5 stars, I've just been a little less generous with my star ratings recently. The story-line was good, the art is fantastic as always, and Ghüs is THE CUTEST THING OF ALL TIME. Still my favorite graphic novel series. Can only recommend to mature readers, however.

Those were all of the books I read in February! It was a pretty productive month, especially considering this was the month where I got a new full-time job which was a pretty massive change. Hopefully I'll be able to keep reading loads in March despite my now busier schedule. In terms of my to be read list for the next month, I'm hoping to read the four books I just picked up from the library, which you can see here, and the 3rd and 4th book in the Riyria Revelations.

What was the best book that you read this month? Did you have any really disappointing reads?

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