May 2016 Books

Looking back at the past month, I have no idea how I had time to read 8 books. Many of them were lighter reads, which tend to go faster and require little reflection. But still. I think I'd prefer more thoughtful books, rather than those that simply provide escape or entertaining consumption.

Worlds of Ink and ShadowWorlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WOW. Haunting, breathtaking, believable, complex characters that I cared about-- what an imaginative fantasy about such a talented and tragic family. Blown away by the beauty of this story. Five stars and will definitely read again. I will recommend this to anyone who loves the Bronte novels.

Lady Thief (Scarlet, #2)Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Good sequel. There were enough ultimatums and only-chances to make this interesting. It's important that there are mortal consequences for actions, and also moments of beauty (though I think most of the latter were in Scarlet's appreciation for Rob's physique).

Liked it, as sequels go. Would probably read the next, as a light diversion.

Lion Heart (Scarlet, #3)Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this blend of history and fiction. Great MC Scarlet/Marian. Satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. Nice light engaging read. Well done, debut author!

The Tombs of Atuan (Earthsea Cycle, #2)The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This has to get 5 stars. What an enchanting, haunting, heartbreaking story of Arha/Tenar. A girl born to a harrowing fate. Le Guin is a master at using such simple language in dialogue to show feelings, circumstance. How could a short book with so much darkness and labyrinth of the spirit be so piercing, fascinating? She makes the doomed destiny of a priestess riveting.

I'm hooked on Earthsea. Can't wait to read the next one.

NeverwhereNeverwhere by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Almost DNF. Such a passive MC that I cared nothing for. But the world of London Below was so unique and unconventional, it kept me going. Gaiman is a superb writer, though I wonder if males would be more sympathetic to Richard. Satisfying conclusion. Wouldn't read again, wouldn't recommend. But got some good nuggets out of it.

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was pretty good. Predictable, and yet nice layered characters with flaws and consciences. I liked that Kestrel wasn't a good fighter or a lovesick girl. I like that the principle romance is unrequited.

Some of the metaphors and language were cliché. But I might be willing to read the sequel. It felt... Realistic. Except for Idex. How often are spurned (male) lovers vengeful and sadistic? And yet, so many of them in YA.

It's more romance than action/adventure.

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was quite good. Some predictable plot twists, no surprises, but complex characters that I cared about. Also big points for raising important philosophic dilemmas about choice, consequence, beauty, significance, forgiveness, illusion, and desire. I'd maybe read the next one (10 years ago I would definitely have, but life is short and I'm eager to find my next 5-star read).

The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Haunting. No quick, easy solutions. Unsettling ending. I see why this has become a classic for study. I might read again if I had to get into the tortured mind of a prisoner... But otherwise will leave on the shelf and take with me a reminder of how human nature twists the best of intentions when they mix state with religion.

See all my Goodreads reviews