Sunday, February 14, 2016

January 2016 Wrap-Up

Hello readers and welcome back to another well overdue wrap-up. January is over and with that another crop of books has been read. Right about now I'm severely missing all of the vacations and winter breaks I got in school. There are never quite enough holidays as a working adult and never enough time to read. I did finish a decent number of books this month, so it's time for some reviews!
  • Mirrored by Alex Flinn

I decided to start out the month with one of the books I received for Christmas, not to mention one of my guilty pleasures: a fairytale retelling. As you can probably guess by the title, Mirrored is a modern retelling of Snow White. What sets this book apart is the fact that it has a dual narrative. The beginning part of the book is told from the perspective of Violet, our evil queen counterpart. You learn about her difficult childhood and the effect that the discovery of her magical ability has on her personality and her looks. The second half of the book is told from the point of view of Celine, Violet's stepdaughter, and the modern equivalent of Snow White. She has friends and beauty, but suffers at the jealous hands of Violet. This also wouldn't be a fairytale retelling without a bit of romance thrown in too.

As a whole, I thought that this was a pretty average book. I think I might have to start coming to terms with the fact that maybe I've outgrown ya books like this. Had I read the story 4 or 5 years ago I think I would have loved it. Now the characters just feel a little bit flat and cliche.
  • Soundless by Richelle Mead

Oh Richelle Mead, you've never steered me wrong before. What happened?! I was incredibly excited to read this book because it was advertised as being steeped in Chinese folklore and I was ready for something different from the usual bland love triangle dystopias released like clockwork. Sadly, the only aspect about this novel that is Chinese in any way are the characters' names. Other than that this is your usual love triangle dystopia. Our main character Fei lives in a village where everyone is deaf. They receive shipments of food from a mysterious source in exchange for everything they gather from the mines. The main conflict in this book seems to be the fact that the village's livelihood is at stake now that people are staring to go blind too.

Sadly this book follows all of the ya cliches and Fei becomes our chosen one. One day she wakes up and discovers that she can hear again. Once the shipments of food start to dwindle, Fei decides to travel down the mountain in search of answers. There is a love interest, but he is so bland and unmemorable that it isn't worth the effort to look up his name (since I've forgotten it already). There also isn't too much world building to ground the story, so...yeah. I wasn't really a fan. Next!   
  • Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Ah, yes. The last book in the Starbound series. This was probably the least interesting book that I read this month. I was hoping that this book would redeem the lackluster second book in the series, but it didn't. As the concluding book it just felt sort of meh. The two main characters/ love interests are Gideon and Sofia. Gideon is a notorious hacker and Sofia, well she's motivated by her desire to get revenge on LaRoux Industries. Out of all of the books this one spends the least amount of time on the romance. It felt like these two were slapped together and you were expected to just accept their insta-love. I also felt like the world building plateaued and the climax of the story was not nearly as exciting as I'd hoped it would be.

  • Proposal by Meg Cabot (Mediator #6.5)

That's right! One of my favorite Meg Cabot series, which I was obsessed with in middle school, is back!! I never knew how much I missed these characters until now. Proposal is the novella Meg Cabot decided to release before giving us the full sequel we have been waiting for. Jesse and Suze are back as their usual, but slightly grown up selves. Suze is in college and Jesse is on his way to becoming a doctor. The plot takes place around Valentine's Day where Suze struggles to subdue a Non-Compliant Deceased Person as per usual. The title and cover basically give the story away, which kind of sucks, but I enjoyed the story nevertheless.

  • Winter by Marissa Meyer

AHH FINALLY!! A finale book that doesn't disappoint. I needed this book in my life and it was what made my January so much better. Winter is the fourth book in the Lunar Chronicles Series, which is an awesome ya sci-fi fantasy series that blends together a futuristic space society with fairytale retellings. By far these are the best fairytale retellings that I've ever read. As you can tell from the title and the cover, this book introduces our Snow White charater, Winter, the Lunar Princess who is struggling with mental illness because she refuses to use her Lunar gift. Her romance is with Jacin, a royal guard who made his appearance in the previous book, Cress.  If I'm going to be honest this book really wasn't about Winter. It was about our whole cast of characters traveling to the Lunar kingdom, attempting to overthrow Levana, and becoming badass in the process.

This book perfectly wrapped up the whole story and despite its long length, every moment was captivating and action packed. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. I was so intrigued by the story that I read it during my breaks at work and ignored all human interaction. Not that I need an excuse to do that. Anyway, This book also felt so different from the rest of the chosen one dystopias out there. Cinder may be the rightful heir to Luna's throne, but she doesn't accomplish the revolution alone or in the span of a couple of hours. She has to have help and the support of the people. The end of the book also gives a great nod to the first book in the series and you really get the sense that the story has come full circle.

All I can say is you have no excuse for not reading the Lunar Chronicles. It is probably one of the best series I have ever read.
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes


Me Before You seems to be the "it" book of the romance genre right now, particularly since there is an upcoming movie adaption staring the ever handsome Sam Claflin. The protagonist is your usual bland female character that everybody seems to love, Lou, and Will, a quadriplegic who's haunted by the life he used to live. Lou is hired to be Will's caregiver and you already know where this is going. This book tries to distinguish itself by mixing a current medical debate (which I won't share because that would be very spoilery) with the romance. I can basically sum this book up with one sentence: Me Before You is just a slightly better written Nicholas Sparks book. There you go.

  • Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

When I saw that Serafina and the Black Cloak topped the Goodreads Best of 2015 nominations for middle grade novels, I had the strongest urge to read it. Every once in awhile I'm down to read a middle grade novel. As a whole, I wasn't blown away by the story, but I did find it interesting enough to stick around until the end. Serafina lives with her father under Biltmore Estate where she is kept a secret from everyone upstairs. She is brought out of hiding when she has an encounter with a man in a black cloak who consumes children. The premise of the story sounds great and it has a nice mixture of magical mystery. I just thought that the story took way too long to develop and when it did, the book was almost over.

Those are all of the books that I read in January. Right now I'm hard at work trying to make February a more productive reading month and as you already know from my TBR post, I've set aside some really great books to read. Not it's just a matter of finding the time to read them. Don't forget to stick around for my next post!