Friday, December 2

Recently Read | September/October 2016

Friday, December 2
I'm not sure where November went, but ...

What did I read during the months of September and October?

Top Read


Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.



If you haven't read the first in the Six of Crows duology, Six of Crows, I implore you to do so. And although the books take place in the same "universe" as Bardugo's other series, The Grisha Trilogy, you don't have to read those to jump into this series (but I would suggest you do so as well).

Bardugo is a master at world building, and creating characters with both heart and spirit. The crew in Crooked Kingdom are glorious examples of her brilliant characters; they're misfits and criminals who do what they do for all the right reasons. And the story is wonderful, too. It's a heist tale with larger, life-changing implications plus a good dose of swoon.

I challenge you not to immediately fall in love with the characters in Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom, and Bardugo's unique writing style.


Honorable mentions


When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.



Going into this book, I wasn't sure what to expect. It's a magical realism novel that deals with real-life issues of gender and sexual identity and family ties. Not my typical fare—that's more science fiction and fantasy novels—but something about the description intrigued me.

That intrigue stuck with me throughout the book, and after I finished reading, I had to sit for a moment and try to process what I'd just read. When the Moon Was Ours is an absolutely lush novel that both broke my heart a little and gave me hope.


The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition—the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.



Full disclosure: I have a love/hate relationship with Stiefvater. I find her kind of insufferable in person, but her writing is a gift. I adore her Raven Cycle, and had heard many good things about The Scorpio Races, but hadn't found the time to check it out.

Until, that is, recently (obviously), when I chose it as one of my "for fun" reads on a flight. And, not unexpectedly, the book was an absolutely delightful read. The plot is set out of time and place, but it's also familiar and believable. It's so magical, and yet feels like it could actually happen/have happened. I so badly want to attend the Scorpio Races and hang out with Sean and Puck.


The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold #1) by Traci Chee

Once there was, and one day there will be. This is the beginning of every story.

Sefia lives her life on the run. After her father is viciously murdered, she flees to the forest with her aunt Nin, the only person left she can trust. They survive in the wilderness together, hunting and stealing what they need, forever looking over their shoulders for new threats. But when Nin is kidnapped, Sefia is suddenly on her own, with no way to know who’s taken Nin or where she is. Her only clue is a strange rectangular object that once belonged to her father left behind, something she comes to realize is a book.

Though reading is unheard of in Sefia’s world, she slowly learns, unearthing the book’s closely guarded secrets, which may be the key to Nin’s disappearance and discovering what really happened the day her father was killed. With no time to lose, and the unexpected help of swashbuckling pirates and an enigmatic stranger, Sefia sets out on a dangerous journey to rescue her aunt, using the book as her guide. In the end, she discovers what the book had been trying to tell her all along: Nothing is as it seems, and the end of her story is only the beginning.



I love a novel about the power of books, and characters who love books are the kind of people I want in my life. (Even if they are fictional.) Sefia is definitely one of those people, even if she's only just learning how amazing books are.

The Reader is a fun, engaging read that will take you on an adventure. And there are pirates involved!


Other reads


★★★★

Disruption (Disruption #1) by Jessica Shirvington | Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J. Maas | Iron Man: The Gauntlet by Eoin Colfer | Like a River Glorious (The Gold Seer Trilogy #2) by Rae Carson | The Masked City (The Invisible Library #2) by Genevieve Cogman | Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

★★★

Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice (The Austen Project #4) by Curtis Sittenfeld | Aerie (Magonia #2) by Maria Dahvana Headley

★★

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway | Secrets in the Snow by Michaela MacColl


If you've read any of these titles, I'd love to hear what you thought! And, have you read anything lately that you'd recommend?

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