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Monday, December 18

Recently Read | July + August 2017

Monday, December 18

In the last edition of this series, I voiced the thought that 2017 has beena year of playing catch-up. That was, apparently, a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts, as it's December, and I'm just now posting my July–August reads. (September–October to come soon, too.)

What did I read during the months of July and August?

Top Read

The Memory Book by Lara Avery

They tell me that my memory will never be the same, that I'll start forgetting things. At first just a little, and then a lot. So I'm writing to remember.

Sammie was always a girl with a plan: graduate at the top of her class and get out of her small town as soon as humanly possible. Nothing will stand in her way—not even a rare genetic disorder the doctors say will slowly start to steal her memories and then her health. What she needs is a new plan.

So the Memory Book is born: Sammie's notes to her future self, a document of moments great and small. It's where she'll record every perfect detail of her first date with longtime crush, Stuart—a brilliant young writer who is home for the summer. And where she'll admit how much she's missed her childhood best friend, Cooper, and even take some of the blame for the fight that ended their friendship.

Through a mix of heartfelt journal entries, mementos, and guest posts from friends and family, readers will fall in love with Sammie, a brave and remarkable girl who learns to live and love life fully, even though it's not the life she planned.

I read The Memory Book for the Forever Young Adult Book Club (see if there's one in your area!), and wasn't sure what to expect going in. I mean, I'd read the synposis, and the FYA review, but neither prepared me for the gut punch of the actual novel. Y'all—there were tears.

This is one of those books that I had to sit for a while after reading and let myself take it all in. It's equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking, swoony and silly. Avery's characters feel very real, and having Sammie be the main character, even while her situation is deteriorating drastically, is unique; she's an unreliable narrator, but Avery doesn't make it clear just how much Sammie's "changed the story" until the very end.

It's a hard book, and maybe one that I wouldn't have read had I not "had" to for FYABC. But I'm really glad I did!

Honorable mentions

Every Move (Every #3) by Ellie Marney

After the dramatic events of London, a road trip back to her old home in Five Mile sounds good (in theory) to Rachel Watts, with her brother Mike in the driving seat. But when Mike picks up his old buddy—the wildly unreliable Harris Derwent—things start to go south.

Back in Melbourne, Rachel’s ‘partner in crime’, James Mycroft, clashes with Harris, and then a series of murders suggest that the mysterious Mr Wild—Mycroft’s own personal Moriarty—is hot on their tail. When tragedy strikes, Rachel and Mycroft realise they’ll have to recruit Harris and take matters into their own hands …

I've mentioned this series before, I think, but I can't say enough good things about Ellie Marney's Every books. Every Move is the final book in the trilogy, and it bring a close to the high-stakes action mixed with crazy hot chemistry the series is known for.

In addition to some serious swoon and the ability to make you afraid for her main characters, Marney has a great gift for wolrd building. I've never been to Australia, but I feel like I have a good grasp of what to expect when/if I get to visit. But if I don't run into hot, tortured dudes solving mysteries, I will be a little disappointed.

Roar (Stormheart #1) by Cora Carmack

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

I'm a sucker for fantasy novels that star strnge female characters who don't realize what power they truly hold until later in the book. That sort of plot can turn really trope-y, fast, but with Roar Carmack did a great job of creating something fresh that didn't lean too heavily on all the similar stories that have come before but also didn't shy away from what makes those stories great. In this case: magic, action, and a good dose of swoon.

I'm also a fan of the unique form of magic Cormack has created for her world, and the way she created a "found family" out of a group of characters who otherwise might not seem to work well together. I love it when outsiders find their place. I'm definitely looking forward to future books in this series.

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

This is the second book I've read by Zappia, and she once again impressed me with her ability to create complex characters with "issues" who feel real, and not like stereotypes or plot devices. I also love her inclusion of fandom themes.

Additionally, the relationship between Eliza and Wallace is a unique one that stands out amongst YA relationships. It's a slow burn, but totally worth sticking around for.

Other reads


The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy #1) by Katherine Arden | Ready Player One by Ernest Cline | Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo


Blacklight Express (Railhead #2) by Philip Reeve | Shadow Run (Kaitan Chronicles #1) by AdriAnne Strickland and Michael Miller | Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee | What Goes Up by Katie Kennedy


Of Jenny and the Aliens by Ryan Gebhart | Secondborn (Secondborn #1) by Amy A. Bartol

Have you read any of these books? If not, what have you read lately that you'd recommend?

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