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Monday, April 30

Recently Read | January + February 2018

Monday, April 30

2018 has been flying by. I honestly don't know where the first four months went!

What did I read during the months of January and February?

Top Read

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is a whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex … Approximately.

Jenn Bennett is a treasure of the YA contemporary romance world. Her books are filled with sweet moments and characters who feel like real people. But Bennett's books aren't totally fluffy; they include some serious moments and issues that ground them in the realm of reality.

Also, I didn't realize until right now that this was a You've Got Mail retelling, but it totally is! So if you're a fan of that movie, or adorably sweet, swoony romances, I'd definitely pick this one up. Or any of Bennett's other books.

Honorable mentions

Annihilation (The Southern Reach Trilogy #1) by Jeff VanderMeer

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.

This is the twelfth expedition.

Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.

I picked up this book after a recommendation from a friend, and seeing the trailer for the movie. Although I didn't love the movie—and I wouldn't recommend reading this book too close to seeing it—I really enjoyed this book.

It's a very unique read that is both hopeful and disquieting. It's not full-out horror, but it's certainly suspenseful. I haven't read the latter two books in the trilogy, but from reading the synopses, I'm not sure they'll be as unique, but I hope they reveal more of the mystery. There's so much to uncover!

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman

Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the second novel of the chilling New York Times bestselling series from Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?

The first book in the Arc of the Scythe series, Scythe, was a top pick the year I read it, so I had high hopes for this sequel. It's honestly not what I expected, but it really packs a punch. Shusterman's created a near-future society that feels all too real, but is fascinating because of how scary it is.

And for a science fiction novel about the dangers of immortality, Thunderhead makes some poignant and important connections to modern-day issues that are impressive in their subtlety (or not, as the case may be.)

Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda

Set against a future of marauding space scavengers and deadly aliens who kill with sound, here is a frightening, fast-paced YA adventure from the author of the acclaimed horror novel, Shutter.

Tuck has been in stasis on the
USS John Muir, a ship that houses Earth’s most valued artifacts—its natural resources. Parks and mountains are preserved in space.

Laura belongs to a shipraiding family, who are funded by a group used to getting what they want. And they want what’s on the Muir.

Tuck and Laura didn’t bargain on working together, or battling mutant aliens who use sound to kill. But their plan is the only hope for their crews, their families, and themselves.

In space, nobody can hear you scream ... but on the John Muir, the screams are the last thing you'll hear.

I'm not a big horror fan, and Pitch Dark isn't exactly horror-horror, but it's a spooky, creepy read that I made sure not to read in the dark.

I enjoyed Alameda's debut novel, Shutter, in large part because of the way she wove disturbing and down-right-gross elements into the story. Pitch Dark is equally disturbing, but in a fun way? (Maybe I should read more horror.)

Other reads


Bloodline by Claudia Gray | Gone Rogue: Wires and Nerve (Wires and Nerve #2) by Marissa Meyer | Markswoman (Asiana #1) by Rati Mehrotra | Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George


Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart | Ink, Iron, and Glass (Ink, Iron, and Glass #1) by Gwendolyn Clare | Into the Bright Unknown (The Gold Seer Trilogy #3) by Rae Carson | The Lost Plot (The Invisible Library #4) by Genevieve Cogman


Shadowsong (Wintersong #2) by S. Jae Jones

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

Thursday, April 5

Happy First Contact Day!

Thursday, April 5

On this day in 2063, the human race boldly goes where no human has gone before.

Live long and prosper, nerds!

Sunday, April 1

Hey April | 2018 Man Calendar

Sunday, April 1

Desktop version:

Peep the rest of the 2018 Man Calendar here.