Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August Wrap-Up

Is it really the end of August? Because I'm pretty sure that it's the end of July at the latest. Time in summer can be weird like that.

This was my last month at home for a while, since I'm moving to college and my winter break is short enough that I'm probably not going to fly all the way back home. One of the most agonizing bookish things was deciding which books I'm going to take with me - I can't have my whole shelf! I'll have a post on that up soon.

The most exciting (and frustrating) thing that happened this month happened just a couple of days ago. My parents wanted to make dropping me off at college even more of an event than it is, so we went hiking in the Adirondacks for a couple of days. We found a book of allegedly short hikes, and we decided to go up Blueberry Mountain. In case anyone was wondering, 8 hours is not a short hike. And it was really difficult, too. But the view was amazing:

I mean, look at that. It's so gorgeous it looks fake!

On a very different note, I had a really good blogging month this month. In July, I was shocked when I put my wrap-up together that I'd only written three other posts that month, but this month, I have eight! Figuring out a schedule really helped with that - from now on, I'm trying to have posts up on Tuesdays and Fridays (although I'm giving myself a little flexibility, like with this). And I had a pretty good reading month, too - here's what I read!


STAR WARS: PRINCESS LEIA by Mark Waid: I don't think that the Star Wars miniseries have nearly the strength of the two ongoing series, but this was still a wonderful concept that I liked, even though the execution was a bit lacking in some parts. ½

ALANNA: THE FIRST ADVENTURE by Tamora Pierce (Alanna #1): Where was this book when I was in middle school? It would have been my favorite thing. I still really liked it, but not as much as I might have if I'd read it earlier. I doubt I'll ever get too tired of the girls-disguising-themselves-as-boys-to-kick-butt trope.

BOSSYPANTS by Tina Fey: This one was a bit of a disappointment for me. There were parts that I thought were really funny, especially the chapter about the cruise ship, but there were also sections that I just didn't care about and parts that I was really uncomfortable with, such as repeated use of the d*ke slur (note: I don't think it was used maliciously, but it's still a problem).

THE LUXE by Anna Godbersen (The Luxe #1): This is a book that I've been meaning to get to for ages. I really liked the format of the book - the first chapter took place a month after the rest of the book, so you pretty much know how it ends and you're trying to figure out how things got to that point. On the whole, though, most of the book was predictable enough that I was bored. I still haven't decided whether I want to continue with the series. ½

ME BEFORE YOU by Jojo Moyes: Firstly, I have to say that I'm very aware of the controversy surrounding this book, and I think that this tumblr post should be required reading for everyone who reads the book. (I read the post before the book, and it made me want to read the book to really understand the issue, but it did convince me that I was better off borrowing it and not contributing financially to the book and message). I don't support the book's message, but even so, it was well-written and had beautifully complex characters. I want to read more Jojo Moyes books, and I sincerely hope that they aren't as problematic as this one is.

THE KITE RUNNER by Khaled Hosseini: Sky @ Sky's Reading Corner literally bribed me with food so that I would read this in one sitting. And I may have thrown the book at her afterwards. It was a brilliant book - I absolutely loved the way everything came together at the end - but it was also a lot more emotionally heavy than I was expecting.

HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD by J.K. Rowling: Quite honestly, having low expectations really helped my enjoyment of this play. It's definitely not book 8, and it doesn't have the magic of the main 7-book series, but it was pretty good. Scorpius was undeniably the best part.

BEEN HERE ALL ALONG by Sandy Hall: I'm way too excited about this book because a) it's a happy queer book, of which there are far too few, b) it has the first queer Jewish character I've ever read about, and c) it's the first book that I read from NetGalley! There's a certain giddiness that comes with getting ARCs that I hope never goes away. You can read my full review here.

VIVIAN APPLE NEEDS A MIRACLE by Katie Coyle (Vivian Apple #2): I'm a firm believer that everyone needs Vivian Apple. Even if you don't know it yet, you need Vivian Apple. She faces the apocalypse with a sledgehammer and I love her. Both books in the series started off better than they ended, but I still loved it. It made me want to reread the first book, because I know I'll love it more this time! ½

THE WATER HORSE by Dick King-Smith: I vaguely remember seeing the movie for this a million years ago, and the book was a quick enough read. I didn't particularly like it, but the idea of a baby Loch Ness monster is so great that the book still made me smile. ½

RUINED by Amy Tintera (Ruined #1): I knew that I needed to get my hands on this book after Cait @ Paper Fury gave it a glowing review a few months ago. I would have liked a little more worldbuilding, but the plot was exciting and the characters were fantastic, so I'm very excited for book 2! Hopefully, that one will explain things a bit more.

NIGHTMARES by Jack Prelutsky: I rarely read poetry, and I don't think I've read a Jack Prelutsky book since I was about seven. But I picked this up on a whim and loved it! So deliciously creepy, and every line flowed so well.

SNUFF by Terry Pratchett (Discworld #39): This book wasn't bad, but it was a disappointment, especially the second half. It started out really well, but everything was resolved so quickly and haphazardly that it never really felt resolved at all.

ENDER'S GAME by Orson Scott Card (The Ender Quintet #1): I wasn't really sure what to expect from this except for space battles, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the world this was set in. The most interesting part for me was the computer games, but the rest of the plot was good, too. Unfortunately, the weakest part was the ending, and good books with bad endings really frustrate me. ½

LABYRINTH LOST by Zoraida Córdova (Brooklyn Brujas #1): WOW. I want mor books like this. Diverse fantasy with a completely unique world and gorgeous writing? YES. I'll have a full review up for this one closer to release day, so stay tuned for that!

A TALE FOR THE TIME BEING by Ruth Ozeki: I still don't know how I feel about this book. After I finished it, I'm pretty sure I just stared out the window for 10 minutes because I needed that much effort to even process that ending. Different from what I'd normally read, but I'm glad it was my required summer reading - definitely worth it.

DAVE BARRY TALKS BACK by Dave Barry: Something light and fun to wrap up the summer! Not my favorite Dave Barry book, but it still had me laughing out loud at a lot of the columns. It's been too long since I've read one of these!

Reread this month:
  • I SHALL WEAR MIDNIGHT by Terry Pratchett (Discworld #38, Tiffany Aching #4): This was one of my favorite books in middle school, and I'm thrilled to say that it's even better than I remembered. It's not the best place to start the Discworld series, but even with the length of the series, it's a worthwhile time investment.
  • PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (Peter and the Starcatchers #1): This book wasn't quite as great as I remembered, but I still enjoyed it. It's so imaginative, and such a great addition to the Peter Pan story!
  • PETER AND THE SHADOW THIEVES by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (Peter and the Starcatchers #2): This was a lot darker than I remembered. If a middle grade book is still legitimately creepy to an 18-year-old, you're either doing it right or potentially terrifying children.
  • PETER AND THE SECRET OF RUNDOON by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (Peter and the Starcatchers #3): Again, darker than I remembered. And a lot more emotional, too! If the ending were a couple of pages longer, I think I would have cried.
  • PETER AND THE SWORD OF MERCY by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (Peter and the Starcatchers #4): I'm so glad that this series was more than a trilogy. I loved seeing the characters from the first three books as adults (except for Peter, of course), and Wendy was brilliant. I still maintain that if George Darling hadn't grown into quite so much of a prat, most of the trouble could have been avoided quite pleasantly.

  • TOTAL BOOKS: 17 new, 5 rereads
  • LONGEST BOOK: The Luxe, 433 pages
  • SHORTEST BOOK: Nightmares, 40 pages
  • FAVORITE BOOK: Nightmares (and I Shall Wear Midnight, of course, but that's a reread)
  • LEAST FAVORITE BOOK: The Water Horse
  • DIVERSE READS: 9 (Star Wars: Princess Leia, Me Before You, The Kite Runner, Been Here All Along, Vivian Apple Needs a Miracle, Ruined, Ender's Game, Labyrinth Lost, A Tale for the Time Being)
  • NONFICTION: 2 (Bossypants, Dave Barry Talks Back)
  • COMICS/GRAPHIC NOVELS: 1 (Star Wars: Princess Leia)
  • POETRY: 1 (Nightmares)


What did you get up to this month? Did you do anything exciting? What was your favorite book that you read? Tell me in the comments!