Tuesday, November 12, 2013

October Wrap-Up

This will be coming a little late, seeing as how it's already November, but I thought it would be a nice first post, since I read quite a few books in October!

Coming in with a grand total of 11 books: reactions, summaries and ratings under the cut.

1) Secret Letters- Leah Scheier 

This was a recommendation from a friend, and I needed something to get my out of my post-fangirl hiatus, but it also needed to be quick due to the impending release of House of Hades. This book was a perfect fit. Set in Victorian London, the plot revolves around a girl named Dora (who happens to be the daughter Sherlock Holmes never knew he had) and her highly amusing adventures in amateur detective work. Of course there's a dashing young man involved, as well as intrigue and scandal. I found myself enjoying the mystery as it unfolded, and it was a nicely diverting read. I rated it four stars on Goodreads, and I do believe it is to be a series, so I will be looking forward to future installations.

2 + 3) Re-read of The Son of Neptune and The Mark of Athena- Rick Riordan 
These are the second and third books in Rick Riordan's Heroes of Olympus series, which is a follow-up to his extremely popular middle grade series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians. If you haven't already jumped into these highly entertaining books, I have nothing to say to you until you have. They are easily two of my most favorite series. 

I had already reread The Lost Hero in September, but with the October 8th release of The House of Hades, I needed to speed read through books 2 and 3. I finished MoA with hours to spare, then moved right along to HoH.

4) The House of Hades- Rick Riordan 
**If you are unfamiliar with Riordan's demigod world, I would suggest you skip over this part of the Wrap-Up!**
I was definitely expecting a lot from the fourth installment in this series, and I must say, Uncle Rick delivered again. I have yet to be disappointed in one of his books, and House of Hades was no exception. I was extremely impressed, throughout the book, by the character development. There are 7 (arguably 8- Nico) main characters in this book, and all 7 have POV chapters. It would be easy to get lost in all the different characters, but this works in such a magical way. I have new respect for each one of these demigods. Not to mention my heart was wrenched. A lot. I don't want to go into too much detail, for fear of spoiling other books in the series, but know that House of Hades is a highly satisfying penultimate addition to the series. 

5) Taken- Erin Bowman 
In order to avoid a post House of Hades slump, I dove into this book, which I had impulse bought over the summer but never gotten around to. It was a quick read, and I liked the book, but there was nothing in it that wowed me. 
Basically, the story follows a boy, Gray, who is fast approaching his 18th birthday. Which should be an exciting time, except in the town where Gray lives, a village called Claysoot, every single boy is swallowed up into blinding light on his 18th birthday and never seen again. The town in which Gray lives has a Panem, district 12 feel to it, and it is surrounded by a mysterious wall. No one who climbs the wall survives, but as Gray's brother is Heisted and Gray is faced with some troubling information about his mother and the town itself, he must choose. The Heist or the Wall. 
After finishing this book, I wasn't fully satisfied. I felt like a typical dystopian with very few sparkling plot details or twists. Maybe its because it was the first book in a planned series, but the world, which had a lot of promise, eventually fell flat, and the characters were lackluster and simply ok. 

6) Invisibility- Andrea Cremer and David Levithan 
This was another summer purchase that I hadn't yet gotten around to, but I was excited to read this because these are two authors which I've heard amazing things about. The premise also intrigued me- a boy who has been invisible to everyone, all his life, and a girl who can see him. Simple enough, but there are so many complications that could arise from a situation like that, I wanted to see what direction the authors would take. It is written in dual perspective, with alternating chapters from our protagonists- Elizabeth and Stephen. 
I highly enjoyed this book- the tension, the foray into modern witchcraft and hexwork, I even didn't hate the instalove between the two main characters, until the end. The end was highly anticlimactic, and though I won't spoil it, I must say that I was left with a sour taste in my mouth. I don't believe this has any planned sequel, but the ending was open enough that it could be a possibility. 

7 + 8) Reread of Divergent and Insurgent- Veronica Roth 
Due to the 22nd's release of the final book in this dystopian series, I speed read the first two for a refresher course on the world and everything going on in it. The thing I love about these books is that the characters aren't exactly likable- they're killers and they've got anger problems and many other flaws, but you can't help but side with them anyways. If you haven't already heard of this amazing series, the basic outline is that Beatrice Prior lives in a futuristic Chicago where society is broken up into five factions, and you either live within the confines of a faction or are basically a homeless bum. The factions are Dauntless- the brave, Abnegation- the selfless, Erudite- the intelligent, Amity- the peaceful, and Candor- the honest. On one's sixteenth birthday, one must choose one's faction, and Beatrice has a difficult time with the choice and the ramifications of that choice. 
I adore these books, even the third time around. 

9) Allegiant- Veronica Roth 
Can I take a sidenote to say that one thing I love about these books is how beautiful their covers are? Yeah. I want to hug them all. 
*clears throat* Anyways! I had high hopes for the conclusion of this trilogy, and in some ways, my hopes were fulfilled, but in others, I was left a little disappointed. In the interest of no spoilers, I won't say much more, only that there are some shocking twists and also some times of action-drought. The reason that this book is rated four stars is because, though I was (overall) satisfied with this ending, I felt it dragged a little in the middle. It is still one of my favorite series, though. 

10) The Book Thief- Markus Zusak 
I first read this book when I was in middle school, and since it is now a movie, I thought I would reread. I remember thinking it was completely different and an amazing read, but not much else. I was not disappointed by the reread. 
 The Book Thief follows Liesel Meminger, a young girl living in Nazi Germany. She comes to a small town outside of Munich to live with a foster family when she is quite young. The book then takes place over the next couple of years, living with her foster family. She learns to read and write, learns to love what she reads and writes, and learns to steal things to read and write. Liesel shares her words with her loving foster father, her neighbors during bomb raids, and the Jewish man named Max, hiding in the basement. It is a powerful and moving story, and at the end I was bawling like a baby. 
I loved the uniqueness of the writing style, and because the book is narrated by Death, it is unlike anything else I've ever read. To me, this is a must-read, and I could spend hours unpacking everything I love about this book, but look for a more in depth post later. 

11) Doon- Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon 
As fluffy as this was to me, I thoroughly enjoyed the read. I'm a sucker for the Narnian-esque "escape from the real world into a magical dimension" thing, and Doon definitely delivers. Romance, Magic, Fate, and Danger intertwine to bring a highly readable story that I couldn't put down. 
Veronica and Mackenna are best friends, excited to spend a relaxing summer in Scotland, staying in Mackenna's great aunt's quaint cottage. Well, if relaxing means Veronica is seeing an imaginary, handsome kilted man wherever she goes. When the girls find two rings and a letter in a box of Mackenna's great aunt's things, they are unwittingly transported to the kingdom of Doon, complete with two handsome princes and a dark force threatening to take over. 
If you're looking for a quick, feel good read, I'd recommend picking up Doon and swooning a bit. Also, it's the first in a series, so there's more to come!

So October was a busy month! Look for a similar post at the end of November, but I doubt there will be this many in that one. (lol been stuck on the Raven Boys for ten days now) 



  1. ah heroes of olympus...i will get to you someday. planning a mythology month in the near future so we shall see :) love the wrap up! and the design!!


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