Review-A Little Life

 

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A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
Published by Doubleday-March 10, 2015
720 pages
Source-Purchased

This was a rare case where I’m really glad I heard all the buzz I did, because I went in about as prepared as one can be for all of the emotional dark turns this takes. Ultimately, I’m calling it the best book I’ve read in a long time, in large part because of its ability to completely wreck my emotions, but also because it is written beautifully and constructed with such care.

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T5W: Least Favorite Books from Favorite Series

Wednesday came up before I knew it this week, so I’m rattling this one off pretty quickly. Definitely one of the more interesting T5W’s I’ve had the chance to do. I didn’t pick my top five favorite series, just five books I didn’t like as much as the rest of the books in a series I recommend as a whole.

Hallowed (Unearthly #2)

I remember strongly disliking this installment. A bit of a meander, it felt like what could have been a few short scenes in either the first or third book just got dragged out into an entire novel.

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) 

As much as I love Cassandra Clare’s world, I was definitely not over the moon about it when I picked up her first book. I predicted the big plot twist part way through and so the drama of the big reveal was lost on me. It was a few months before I actually ventured to pick up the next book in the series (the first five were out at the time) and I am very glad I eventually did.

The Fiery Cross (Outlander #5)

I read the first four books of this series in about 2 months and then spent almost 3 slogging through this one. Very little of import to the series happened in it and it felt to me like it was building up to a big confrontation that didn’t happen (until close to the end of book #6 anyway).

Mortal Heart (His Fair Assasin #3)

His Fair Assassin is more a set of companion novels than true series, so each primarily tells the story of its central character with some development of the larger plot. I enjoyed the first one, adored the second, but this third and final instalment was a let down for me. It wasn’t terrible, but it changed the atmosphere a lot from the first two and was just overall a disapointment.

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4)

Queen of Shadows was another hotly anticipated release for me that wound up being something of a disappointment, though not really a terrible book. There was a lot of good action and the plot moved forward but I felt like the characters really didn’t grow at all as individuals; they were just all thrown together into mostly new romantic pairs that just fell really flat to me.

Bonus: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Everyone’s talking about which HP book is their least favorite, so I thought I’d throw that one in there. HBP was a little slow, a little bit of reflection before book seven, but I do love the later half of the Harry Potter series overall; probably even more now than I did when I was younger.

Check out more T5W posts and future topics in the T5W Goodreads group!

December Reviews

I’ve now officially reviewed every book and graphic novel and trade paperback comic book bind up that I read in 2015. Mission accomplished! December was primarily a Diana Gabaldon fest–as so many months this year were. What will I do with myself when I’m caught up on the Outlander books in 2016?

1983168A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander #6) by Diana Gabaldon

I was on a tear through this series back last spring/early summer, but The Fiery Cross slowed me way down. Took me two months to finish, then I walked away for two more months just to have a break. When I finally picked this up mid-November, I read it in two weeks. It definitely meanders a bit, and, like The Fiery Cross, it really seems to be made up of a series of smaller episodes that could be individual stories or novels in series, some more interesting than others. But overall, I enjoyed this one thoroughly with it’s focus on the Fraser family and the neighbor turning on neighbor in the beginnings of the American Revolution.

6104759An Echo in the Bone (Outlander #7) by Diana Gabaldon

I enjoyed this one more than any Outlander book since the third one, Voyager. Those all dragged a lot in terms of plot, but this one seemed a lot more tight, probably primarily because we started following more characters. I loved the new characters and having the perspectives on either side of the war.

13634927A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows (Outlander Novella) by Diana Gabaldon

I read this between Snow and Ashes and Echo, which was a bad plan, it came out after the 8th book, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, and should be read after it, it seems. But I was excited to read it, since it covers the always tantalizingly mysterious back story of Roger’s parents and that piece of it was really excellent. I loved the return to a 1940’s setting and the according tension of the Second World War.

27264691Lifeboats by Diane Duane (Young Wizards Novella)

This nearly novel length installment between books 9 and 10 of the Young Wizards series was interesting in that it followed an apocalypse without action-movie like scenes of falling skies and screaming populace. Instead, we get a lot quieter conflict, overshadowed by a sky that is so evidently literally about to fall that it adds the tension without the melodrama and it was a really genius way to handle the situation. It did get a little too slow at parts, but overall it was a really cool story and I also highly enjoyed the extra adventure we had with the characters.

25422234Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik

Basically a cover buy for sure, but I wound up really enjoying the biography inside it as well. I’d been aware of the stir around RBG’s dissents from the bench several years ago, but I knew nothing of her early work and formative years and I found the passages on the sexism she faced and fought in the 1960’s and 1970’s really compelling. The book overall strikes a great balance between seriousness and irreverance (Annotated legal transcripts+the RBG workout!) and it was the best impulse buy I’ve made in awhile.

18630542Seconds by Brian Lee O’Malley

I really enjoyed the style of this graphic novel; visually it was really vibrant and laid out well. Story wise, I think it started out pretty strong with lots of convincing magical realism elements and an interesting lead character. However, I thought the romance was pretty flat and boring and the conclusion was too heavy-handed with a too-obvious moral. Fun and worth the read, but the beginning of it had me expecting more from the end than it ultimately delivered.

November Reviews

The reviews catch up continues with a summary of what I read in November–one nonfiction running memoir that I found on recommendation from a friend and the later half of the New Adult Addicted series by Krista and Becca Ritchie. As always, I link the cover photos to Goodreads, so if you’re looking for a summary or more info on a particular title, you can click there:

26204920Confessions of An Unlikely Runner: A Guide to Racing and Obstacle Courses for the Averagely Fit and Halfway Dedicated by Dana L. Ayers

I think the title of this one is just about as long as the actual book…it was a very quick read, which was perfect. (I kinda think any memoir by anyone under the age of 40 or so should be relatively short…) It was fun to read, Ayers is funny and her personality really shines through; making this relateable, whether you can run long distances or not.

Hothouse Flower (Calloway Sisters #2) by Krista and Becca Ritchie18308266

Hothouse Flower is the first installment in the series that really focuses for more than a scene or three on Lily’s younger sister Daisy and Lo’s older brother Ryke. Daisy is a pretty compelling character and Ryke impresses me as well, but they do both grate on me a bit and I was never quite able to get over the fact that Ryke was attracted to Daisy back when she was only 15 (she’s 18 in this book, but they talk about it and it gives me the skeevies). It’s assuaged a bit by the fact that we see the whole thing from inside his head as well as hers and it’s never particularly predatory, but it still rang a bit wrong to me.


18479451Thrive (Addicted #2.5) by Krista and Becca Ritchie

The really weird thing about this installment was that it primarily covered all the same events as the first two Calloway sisters books. It’s necessary to have so that the Addicted books can stand separately as a complete series, but if you’re reading the spinoff in the recommended reading order (which slots them in before this one) it gets repetitive. It’s still a good story, and I still enjoyed it, but you really have to love the characters to find the fun in watching the same scenes from different perspectives.


Addicted After All (Addicted #3) by Krista and Becca Ritchie18308270

One thing I haven’t mentioned is that all of these books are long–up around 400 pages or so, so by the time you reach the 5th novel featuring the trials and tribulations of two characters, the conflicts have become a bit ridiculous and scenes begin to feel overly drawn out. But because of all that time we spend with Lo and Lily, it’s plain fun in this one to see them dramatically improved from where they started in book #1 and to see them face new challenges as much better people.

22024901Fuel the Fire (Calloway Sisters #3) by Krista and Becca Ritchie

Fuel the Fire picks up around the same time as the end of Addicted After All with Lily’s older sister Rose and her husband Connor. They featured in the first book in this spinoff series as well and ended in a pretty solid place, so I wasn’t sure where this one would go in terms of conflict, but I wound up really loving it. Pressure comes from outside the relationship more than from within it, so they’re allowed to grow and change as a team, rather than pushing and pulling at each other. This installment definitely cemented them as my favorite couple to read in the series.

 

22024907Long Way Down (Calloway Sisters #4) by Krista and Becca Ritchie

We go back to Ryke and Daisy for the final installment in this whole super-series and I enjoyed this one quite a bit. The larger Calloway family–the parents and the oldest Calloway sister Poppy, features in this one a bit more, which I appreciated, especially since Daisy’s fraught relationship with her mother needed some more resolution. Ryke had some compelling conflicts in this too and overall it was another excellent character study mixed in with the excellent as always romance. A lengthy epilogue gives a glimpse at the future (and lots of warm fuzzies) so it’s a satisfying conclusion to the whole series.

 

October Reviews

 

I resolved in 2015 to write and post at least a short review of everything I read throughout the year, and I’m still determined to do it. So here are some reviews on the things I read when the leaves were still on the trees.

 

20829029The Martian by Andy Weir

I really highly enjoyed this one. For me, it was one of those all engrossing books that kept me up into the wee hours, perfectly balancing pacing and science-based exposition. I have always had an interest in space and space travel (and biology) and so the science-y bits made it all that much better for me.

Even with its small changes to the end; I loved the movie too. No matter the media, there’s something very real and very beautiful about the way humanity is portrayed in this story. We see resilience and bravery overcoming fear and exactly how much can be accomplished both by an individual working alone with limited resources and by a cooperative global community. Definitely recommend this one.

Satin Island by Tom McCarthy22543699

I had this resolution to read the Man Booker shortlist before the end of the year, and it turned out that this (the shortest!) was the only one I completed in that timeframe, but I own a few more that I’m sure I’ll get to sometime in the new year, but I digress.

Satin Island is experimental. A nearly plot-less series of snippets in the life of U, a social anthropologist trying to summarize the whole of society in one “Great Report”. There are some passages in this that I really thought about and found profound, but I mostly felt lost. I think it’s definitely the type of book that isn’t necessarily for everyone, but if you’re interested in putting in the time and effort to think through and make all the connections you can find, I think you might like it. At the time I read it, I just was in too much of a hurry to really want to do that,  but I’d like to pick it up again sometime.

16278318Armada by Ernest Cline (Full Review)

I did a full review on this, so I won’t go into a whole lot of detail here, but I thought this was a fun Sci-Fi tale of video games and alien invasion. Ernest Cline is an excellent comedian and the audiobook is pitch-perfect as well, with Wil Wheaton voicing it. I found the plot to be a bit predictable, and secondary characters in particular lacking in development, but I highly enjoyed listening to it.

23164983Hollow City (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #2) by Ranson Riggs

It had been two and half years since I read Miss Peregrine’s when I finally picked this up during the Dewey’s 24 hour read-a-thon and several months since I read the graphic novel adaptation, so it took me a bit to get into this, but I did quite like it in the end, though I feel a bit of a post-hype letdown about it. I found that the old photographs interspersed throughout the story didn’t really add anything to the experience. They usually just clunk up the plot with some side episode that was written purely around one of them,  and they literally interrupt the story with a full page spread of photographs.

But I do really like the way the story is going overall. This was a pretty solid second installment, with good pacing and development. I particularly liked seeing the peculiar kids navigate the wider world and how their extraordinary talents separate and even put them in danger of society at large and how that brings them closer together within their own group.

I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t read this series who wants to, but if you’re interested, definitely go for it. Ransom Riggs is a talented author and I’m happy he’s enjoying some success for it. I’ll be finishing the series at some point, though I haven’t yet.

16065004Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5) by Brandon Sanderson

It’s pretty clear to everyone at this point how much I enjoy all of Brandon Sanderson’s work. His Stormlight Archive books are still my top favorite, but what he’s doing with Scadrial–the setting for his Mistborn series of series is really fascinating. The Mistborn trilogy is a more traditional medieval (though urban) sort of fantasy setting. In this series, we pick up in the same place centuries later and technology has advanced accordingly. Politics are different, the characters are new, but we get to see the world grow and change along with the new cast and that is so interesting.

Shadows of Self is our second foray into the wild west/industrial revolution era series following Wax, a nobleman more interested in fighting crime than politicking as the remaining member of his wealthy house, and Wayne, Wax’s best friend, a rough around the edges master of disguise. As always, Sanderson weaves a plot that is delightfully unpredictable and entertaining, and I loved the subtle ways he developed his characters–particularly more secondary characters like Wax’s betrothed, Steris–as well as the Cosmere universe, in which most of his work takes place.

25233432Avatar: The Last Airbender-Smoke and Shadow Part One by Gene Luen
Yang

This is the fourth series in the post-Avatar, pre-Korra comic book series and I continue to enjoy the additional complexity and adventure it brings to an old favorite of mine.

Carry OnCarry On by Rainbow Rowell

I was so skeptical of this full-length tour of the Harry Potter knock-off Rainbow Rowell created in Fangirl but I wound up absolutely loving it. It plays with the fantasy concept of the chosen one in a way I found incredibly gratifying. And Rowell remains one of–if not my top–favorite romance writer. This love story was hinted at rather subltley early on and then had the kind of scenes I’ve come to expect from Rowell–relatively tame and quiet in their actual physicality but really heavy with emotion. Definitely recommend this one.

22296542Addicted to You Series books 1-2 (Addicted to You, Richochet, Addicted for Now) by Krista and Becca Ritchie

I was pretty skeptical about Addicted to You–the little bit of New Adult Romance I’ve tried I didn’t love, but this was free for Kindle (still is!) and highly recommended in a video by GingerReadsLainey, a booktuber who reads enough of the genre to seem to know what she’s talking about and I am so glad I decided to actually pick it up instead of letting it languish with the rest of my unread Kindle books.

It does require a bit of suspension of disbelief–the characters are unbelievably wealthy, the men unbelievably attractive, but overall the characterization is really excellent. Lily and Lo are majorly screwed up and pretty unrelateable on a surface level, but their insecurity and their undeniable love for each other make them believable, likable even.

20658510Kiss the Sky (Calloway Sisters #1) by Krista and Becca Ritchie

The Calloway Sisters series is a spinoff of the Addicted books, each book told from the point of view of one of two of Lily’s sisters and their corresponding romantic interest. This one follows Lily’s genius older sister Rose and her equally genius boyfriend Connor as Rose capitalizes on the recent media attention brought on their family by convincing all three sisters to star in a reality TV series.

The premise sounds ridiculous, I know, but since I’m writing this after completing the entire series, I can actually say that it’s my favorite of all the books. Rose is smart, focused, driven and confident in just about everything in her life and the microscope of the reality show combined with her realizations and development in her relationship with Connor really throw her off on all fronts.

7937843Room by Emma Donoghue

A moving read with a fascinating choice of narrator. Jack’s view of the world is so heartbreakingly narrow, yet the wonder he has for things and the willingness he has to experience things makes this story more uplifting than it first seems.

img_20151031_140429.jpgBookstagramming is a new favorite pasttime of mine (Instagram: @thestarlightshelves)

Top Five Wednesday: Things On My Bookshelf

Thought I’d try something a little new and do a Top Five Wednesday (Which was created by GingerReadsLainey on Youtube) in place of a Top Ten Tuesday. Both rock, but I liked this week’s top 5 Wednesday topic a ton. I don’t know how interesting mine will be, since the answer is basically just various knick-knacks, but this will be a fun one to watch/read. If you think so too, check out the complete list of T5W participants here.

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1. My Bookish Craft Project: So last summer, right after reading both available installments of Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series, I was looking around on Tumblr for relevant posts and fan blogs and things when I came across a quick tutorial for making a little lamp that looks like the magical, light, gemstone spheres that are so significant to that book. It was easy: glass jar, and beads and little LED lights from the floral section of the craft store. I love how mine turned out.

2. Dave: They opened up a little Dave&Buster’s style restaurant/arcade/laser tag place near where I grew up and I’ve gone there a few times with friends. Picked up a stuffed minion with my arcade winnings the first time I went and now he guards my TBR. I don’t know which minion he actually is, but I decided some time ago his name would be Dave.

3. My maybe dead lucky bamboo plant. I got this for free at an Earth Day celebration thing when I was a junior in college, so it’s like 3 years old. I transplanted it a few times until it grew to it’s current size and it was doing pretty well until this spring I thought it might like some more sun and left it outside for a few days. Basically bleached it completely white before I realized what was happening and I brought it back inside and trimmed off all the dead leaves. Now we’ll wait and see if it can come back.

4. Book boxes: Bought these at Michaels. They hold bookmarks and some miscellaneous papers.

5. Some other little knick knacks:  I got a painted clay horse as a gift from my mom shortly after I moved that I think she bought in Arizona and then there’s a little pegasus on a small slab of amethyst geode that I got at a rock shop in Estes Park, CO. I also have a few Willow Tree angels that I bought ages ago still love to have. The “Wisdom” reading girl is especially perfect for the bookshelf and is probably my favorite.

April Reviews

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5) by Marissa Meyer

I really don’t have very many feelings about this one. It was written well. It was interesting to see Luna and something from Levana’s twisted perspective. But I don’t know that it was a necessary addition to the overall story. It was extra, a behind the scenes peek at events we already knew about and an introduction to the character we meet next. I’m a little bitter, I suppose, because I’d rather just have had Winter on the spring publishing slate, but there’s nothing to be done about that and this was definitely an enjoyable one-afternoon kind of read.

Quinn (The Travelers #1) by Marie Evergreen

So Marie Evergreen is actually the Municipal leader for the NaNoWriMo group I’ve worked with the last two years and I was excited to see someone from the little consortium of  “weirdos who sit and the corner on their laptops and don’t talk to each other” (as we’re known at the local coffee shop) publish a book. She wrote this long before I knew her, but she was working on book 3 this year and the time travel premise sounded fascinating so I knew I wanted to buy it and check it out. This has a bit of a vignette style that I never like, and I didn’t like it here, jumping from time to time and place to place without a deep exploration of any character anywhere, but at the end of the day this was a fun read. Very creative with a strong and unpredictable action-packed conclusion. I look forward to later books in the series and watching Marie grow more as a writer.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I’d had this on my TBR for almost two years, wanting to read it before diving into the popular new television series, but during the Xfinity Watchathon week earlier this month I caved and decided to just watch the show… all 10 episodes in 48 hours and I freaking loved every minute of it. The book is also excellent. It’s just a really weird mix of things: famously historical and romantic with a little portal-fantasy twist, it’s also thoughtful and political and written strikingly well. I had some iffy feelings about the ending, but overall I’m loving this series so far.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

I found I had a lot to say about this, so expect to see a full review soon. The short version is I didn’t care for it mich at all; found it to be quite generic, predictable and underdeveloped. It was done well enough that I see why people love it, but it was way too overhyped for me to feel anything but disappointed about it.

The Goodreads Challenge

For the last two years I’ve set a number of books to read on the Goodreads reading challenge. For me, the goals were more of a “I think this is what I’ll get to” sort of number, rather than any sort of stretch goal. And both years I reached them at some point in November, no sweat at all.

But this year I’ve decided not to set one, simply because I’ve started to believe in quality over quantity. My favorite read in 2014 was over 1000 pages long and took me nearly a month to complete. A month! And I was trying to read 100 books by the end of the year! Could I have read the requisite 8.33 books that month and enjoyed them instead? Maybe, but if I had been behind on my Goodreads goal at the beginning of June, would I have ever ventured to pick up that chunky book? Also maybe. And that would have been such a shame.

So I’ll still do a few read-a-thons, because they’re fun and they make me prioritize reading time more than I do in my usual daily life. I’ll still feel a little pressure when more than a week has gone by and I haven’t finished a book, because that’s just how I feel sometimes. But I’m not going to set myself up to miss out on a book I might love because it might take a bit of time and throw off my whole quota for the year. Instead, I’m going to try to focus on the experiences, not the arbitrary benchmarks, at least for this year.

Not that reading more books is a bad goal to set, it’s just not necessary and not helpful to me anymore, but I’d love to hear your thoughts. Did you set your Goodreads challenge counter this year? What other goals are you setting?

Review: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas Published August 2013  by Bloomsbury 420 Pages (Hardcover)
Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas
Published August 2013 by Bloomsbury
420 Pages (Hardcover)

At A Glance

High fantasy fans who haven’t checked this series out yet seriously need to get with it! I liked the first one, but I loved this! The mystery plot line in this was much stronger than the one in Throne of Glass and the romance continues to run much deeper than a standard love triangle. Magic and dark intrigue abound in this even more than its predecessor and the stakes are raised in a big way. 4.5/5 Stars.

Summary (Here begin Throne of Glass Spoilers!)

Celaena has won the competition to become King’s Champion and is now working to eliminate those who pose a threat to the vast empire…or so the king thinks. Really she is leaving the rebels alive and struggling to decide how great of a role she will have in their fight; uncovering the reasons and machinations behind the banishment of magic while balancing her ever changing relationships within the castle.

My Thoughts

I am going to try very hard to talk about things without spoiling the plot, but it’s going to be challenging. Let’s see…

My biggest complaint with Throne of Glass was the predictability of the plot. There was one plot point that became very obvious to me early on (the one revealed explicitly at the very, very end, for those who’ve read it) so much so that it was probably meant to be that way, or at least I hope so. However, other than that, I found this plot to be a lot stronger in terms of surprising events. Celaena is challenged left and right, deciding who she can trust and how much she will give of herself to serve her country. The obstacles thrown in her path as well as her reactions to them are inspired. They hurt, in the best possible sense. Every other major character was challenged as well, by each other and by the trappings of their various positions. Again, as in Throne of Glass, the multiple perspectives serve the narrative extremely well

I continue to enjoy the romance aspect of this series as well. All three characters in the love triangle are fully formed and have pretty well developed relationships on all sides, though Dorian and Chaol didn’t have as much interaction with each other as I would have hoped, friendship-stressing events aside. Even more than the romance in this book, I look forward to seeing what happens in the next as the setting changes and some of the trio is separated from the rest.

My only problems with this book, and they are teeny-tiny problems, are some small confusion over the Wyrd and its role, though admittedly I was still reeling from events when it was explained, so that could be just me. The rebel group was quite mysterious as well. Partly for plot reasons, I’m sure, but I do wish I knew more about their motivations and ambitions. I’m assuming both entities will come into play more in the following book or books in this series, so I’m sure I will learn more in due time.

Wrap-Up

This is a very good fantasy series that I highly recommend. It’s got well-developed characters and a big, complicated world for them to operate in. Definitely check it out if it sounds even remotely interesting to you and enjoy the ride until you have to join the rest of us in waiting for more!

November Wrap-Up and December TBR

As I said in this post last month, I really like watching wrap-up videos by “Booktubers” on YouTube, but I usually review everything I read either here or on my Goodreads page, so in my wrap up posts, I let you know what I read and what, out of those books, I liked best. Last month I had three winners, so it’s not like it’s a cutthroat competition here, but it is kind of fun. Click the book titles for Goodreads links, so you can read what they’re about if you’re interested. I’ll also link my reviews to the books in parentheses, indicating if the review was here on The Starlight Shelves, or if it’s a little less formal, on my Goodreads page.

Books I Read in November:

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken (SS Review)

Bloodlines (SS Review), The Golden Lily (GR Review), The Indigo Spell (GR Review), The Fiery Heart (SS Review) by Richelle Mead

Dreamless (GR Review) by Josephine Angelini

What to Buy the Shadowhunter Who Has Everything (And Who You’re Not Officially Dating Anyway) (The Bane Chronicles) by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan (I wrote a GR Review, but all I said was “Awww. So sweet.”)

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (SS Review)

My favorite is definitely the Bloodlines series! I’m obsessed. I read so many fewer books this month in part because I did NaNoWriMo, but also because I was constantly just rereading all my favorite parts of those books. It was a pretty great month overall though: The Lightning Thief and The Darkest Minds are recommended reads as well.

My December TBR

2013-12-01 08.08.41Woo, that’s a big pile. I just went to the library and went a little nuts, plus I have left overs from last month.

The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman are on there from last month. I’m still planning on re-reading them, but I have to get through these library finds first.

The Book Thief is on there next, another old favorite I’ve been meaning to re-read, especially since the movie just came out. I’ve heard mixed things about the movie, but I still hope to see it soon. If you’ve seen it, let me know what you thought!

Last month I bought Foretold, a collection of short stories about foretellings, fate and destiny, edited by Carrie Ryan. I bought it only so I could read the story Homecoming by Richelle Mead, which takes place after the events of the Vampire Academy series and tells of Dimitri’s reunion with his family and another small adventure. I read it already and it was great, but I really should check out some of the other stories in there, since it’s got some really wonderful contributing authors.

Next is The Shadowhunter’s Codex by Cassandra Clare and Joshua Lewis. This is a supplement to The Mortal Instruments series, it’s meant to be the actual text of the Codex the characters reference and this one is printed like you’re reading Clary’s copy, complete with notes by her and Jace with interjections by Simon. It’s also full of art, from doodles and sketches meant to be Clary’s to the art of the Codex itself. I actually finished it this morning (so one down you towering pile of books!) and I should be posting a review sometime early this week.

The penultimate Bane Chronicle by Cassandra Clare is out this month as well. Last month’s was wonderful and I am looking forward to reading The Last Stand of the New York Institute so much, even if it’s not as Malec-packed as November’s installment (Because Alec, if he’s present at all, is like barely two years old in this one.)

I’ve heard good things about Holly Black’s latest: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown which I’ve heard is a cool take on vampires, so I’m in. Looking forward to reading it.

Next is another leftover from November. Goddess, the final book in the Starcrossed series. I plan on reading it soon, but I’m not that excited about it after being kind of disappointed by Dreamless this month.

I had Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas on hold at the library for a long time and I finally got it. I don’t recall what prompted me to try to get it, but it looks to be YA high fantasy, something I haven’t really read much of in the past month or two, not since I read The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy back in September.

I also managed to snag Rick Riordan’s Sea of Monsters, book two in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series from the local library. The Lightning Thief didn’t disappoint, even after a lot of hype, and I am excited to continue the series. Hopefully I can get my hands on The Titan’s Curse this month too, but we shall see.

I changed things up a bit on my last library adventure and spent some time browsing around the non-fiction section. First, I picked up Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer. I’ve read three other books by him (Into the Wild and Into Thin Air for classes in high school, and Where Men Win Glory on my own in college) and I was intrigued by this one.

On the bottom of the stack, purely for the humor, is The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. I was on my way out when I spotted this lying neglected on the shelf and I had to take it home with me, especially since I remember loving  Outliers.

I also expect that my long wait on the library hold list for Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep will end very soon, (I’m first on the list now and there’s a copy due back today!) so that monster will be added to the already precarious pile. This just got really intimidating….Check back in next month to see if I read all twelve! I’ve done it before, but it’s going to be a tall order for sure.