Tracking my TBR – March 2016

TrackingTBR
Last month: February 2016 | This month: March 2016

In Tracking my TBR, I look back on the prior month’s TBR progress; and, in this edition, I’m also featuring the books I’m currently reading, and a couple titles I’m most looking forward to picking up this month.


February was… ugh. So let’s jump right into it, shall we?

BOOKS READ IN FEBRUARY

A Gathering of Shadows Final Bands of Mourning CaptivePrince PrincesGambit KingsRising

Five books last month! One re-read, Bands; new reads were A Gathering of Shadows and the Captive Prince trilogy (AGOS was 5 stars, obviously; CP trilogy were 2.5, 3.5, and then 4 stars respectively).

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A Gathering of EMOTIONS—I mean, Shadows…

A Gathering of EMOTIONS—I mean, Shadows…
A Gathering of Shadows
Shades of Magic #2

Written by: Victoria Schwab
Published by: Tor
Release date: February 23rd 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 512
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Format: ARC
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository, Audible
Add on: Goodreads


** Spoilers for book 1 in this synopsis!! **

Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

My Thoughts

As I start writing this review, I’ve literally just finished this book, and I just… can’t. I can’t. I sort of just want to leave you with a screenshot of my Goodreads updates and leave it at that, but I won’t do that to you. I actually do need to get some words out. Because this book is amazing and I really need to tell you why. So here goes.

Where do I even begin…?

A Gathering of Shadows is the kind of book I adore — one whose driving force is the characters. I can’t say too much about the plot, because a huge chunk of plotty stuff is packed into the end — along with a SUPER COOL MAGICAL TOURNAMENT heck yes — with a lot of ominous lead-up to that plotty stuff along the way. Shadows isn’t slow, though, and a plot-heavy conclusion doesn’t mean that stuff doesn’t happen in the rest of the book. Oh man. Stuff happens. And so much of that stuff is my favorite thing — character-focused.

These bromances are my favorite.

So, here’s a bit of background: Kell is restless after the events of A Darker Shade of Magic, and he desperately needs an outlet to let off some magical steam. Kell’s discontent is rubbing off on Rhy thanks to their bond; and Rhy is also suffering a devastating amount of guilt over all the deaths that happened in his kingdom, which he sees as his fault. (Cue me clutching Rhy to my heart and protecting him for all time, my little cinnamon roll 😭)

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Tracking my TBR – February 2016

TrackingTBR
Last month: January 2016 | This month: February 2016

In Tracking my TBR, I look back on the prior month’s TBR progress — which books did I read? which books did I skip? — and feature the upcoming month’s TBR “grab-bag” (my version of a semi-scheduled TBR pile).


One month down, eleven to go — and I kicked off 2016 with re-reads. A bunch of them. …Okay, fine, exclusively them. (Don’t judge me.)

BOOKS I (RE-)READ IN JANUARY

TMTBR_Jan16reads

Re-reads: The Way of Kings, Shadows of Self, Mistborn: Secret History*,
Warbreaker, Written in RedMurder of Crows
New Reads: None…

I didn’t even read that many books in January, and they were all re-reads. Every. Single. One. Work was crazy, so I think I chose the bookish equivalent of “comfort-food” last month. And this month might end up being the same… We shall see. 😖

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This modern fairy tale’s writing blew me away.

I received this book for free from Dutton. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This modern fairy tale’s writing blew me away.
The Radiant Road

Written by: Katherine Catmull
Published by: Dutton
Release date: January 19th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Magical Realism, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Source: Penguin's FirstToRead.com
Format: eBook
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

A gorgeously written tale of magic, friendship, and self-discovery set in a dream-like landscape filled with fairies.

After years of living in America, Clare Macleod and her father are returning to Ireland, where they’ll inhabit the house Clare was born in—a house built into a green hillside with a tree for a wall. For Clare, the house is not only full of memories of her mother, but also of a mysterious boy with raven-dark hair and dreamlike nights filled with stars and magic. Clare soon discovers that the boy is as real as the fairy-making magic, and that they’re both in great danger from an ancient foe.

Fast-paced adventure and spellbinding prose combine to weave a tale of love and loyalty in this young adult fantasy.

A Few Thoughts

Honestly, I’m a bit speechless about this book. It wasn’t one I’d heard of before seeing it on Penguin’s First To Read website, but I snagged it there because fairies! Ireland! And then I decided to read it on a whim over my Christmas vacation last month, and once I got into it, I couldn’t stop reading.

I see the word “lyrical” thrown around a lot when describing books with beautiful writing — I think that word is overused, frankly. Beautiful writing isn’t necessarily the same thing as lyrical writing, nor does it need to be. But in the case of The Radiant Road, “lyrical” is the perfect descriptor. The Radiant Road is lyrical like a song. The writing feels like there’s a beautiful melody running along underneath it, that sweeps you into it as if you’re in a dream.

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A Cute Austen-inspired Contemporary

A Cute Austen-inspired Contemporary
First & Then

Written by: Emma Mills
Published by: Henry Holt & Co.
Release date: October 13th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Retelling, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 272
Source: Library
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon's cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

MyThoughts_v2

First & Then is a really charming, quick read. The comparison to Friday Night Lights and Pride and Prejudice in the summary is apt, as this is essentially a contemporary retelling of Jane Austen’s tale, with high school football (the players, the Friday night games, etc) as a focal point.

The main character, Devon, loves Jane Austen, which was a cute quirk — she compared pretty much everything to elements from Jane Austen novels. (Though, I thought it was interesting that Pride and Prejudice wasn’t mentioned until the end — considering Devon’s own predicaments mirrored that book pretty closely, the fact that she didn’t at least compare Ezra to Mr. Darcy was a conspicuous absence, for me. Granted, it probably would’ve been weird to have her notice all the similarities with Pride and Prejudice, but still.)

The relationships that I thought First & Then explored the best were actually not the romantic ones. This book does a great job exploring the relationship between Devon and her best friend (and secret years-long crush) Cas, through their ups and downs. And the book also has an amazingly touching relationship between Devon and her cousin Foster, who comes to live with Devon and her family when Foster’s own mom is deemed unfit to take care of him.

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This audiobook is a PERFECT way to re-read, but…

This audiobook is a PERFECT way to re-read, but…
Illuminae (audiobook)

Written by: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Published by: Listening Library
Release date: October 20th 2015
Runtime: 11hrs 41mins
Source: Purchased
Format: Audiobook
Buy: Audible
Add on: Goodreads


This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

My Thoughts

This review is incredibly late in coming, considering I listened to this audiobook back in October, but hey, better late than never!

There’s been a lot of buzz around the print edition of this book — for very good reason. Its format is beyond unique, and on top of that, the story is amazing, so I’d really urge you to check out my original Illuminae review if you’re interested in reading more of my thoughts about those things. But if you want to skip that, just suffice it to say, this is one of those books that completely lives up to the hype that surrounds it.

But what about the audiobook version? If you’ve already read the original book, you’re probably wondering how, exactly, they made an audiobook of it — the book isn’t written in normal linear narration.

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