Sunday, April 5, 2015

March Wrap-Up

March was one hell of a hectic month. Between reading the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe and having a blast at it and writing my dissertation for uni, I've barely had time to post new material on the blog these past few weeks. Yet, despite how busy and crazy this month has been, I managed to read a total of 11 books which I'm quite happy about. 

So here's the list of the books I've read starting with the one to which I gave the lowest rating till the one I enjoyed most. As usual, I'm using the Goodreads star rating system, which you can read more about in my previous wrap-up

Let me know if there's anything here you've read! 

11. This one summer by Mariko Tamaki - 3 stars

This was probably the biggest disappointment of last month. I was really expecting more of this graphic novel, largely due to the hype it has been getting lately. The artwork was very beautiful with purple used for all the art rather than the customary black. The story though fell quite flat. It's basically the coming-of-age story of two girls as they spend summer at the beach. There's not much happening with the exception of the occasional drama which, in my opinion, felt almost forced sometimes. This graphic novel could have got a 2-star rating but earns a third star for the beautiful art.

10. Fragile eternity by Melissa Marr - 3 stars 

Wicked Lovely is a YA series about faeries and if you've read the previous month's wrap-up, you know I've been trying to finally put this series behind me. I've owned all the 5 books in the series for what feels like forever and was feeling kind of bad about it. So, I decided to slip a book from the series in each if my monthly TBR lists with the view of getting this over with very soon. This month I read the Fragile Eternity, which is book 3. I don't have much to say about this book other that it was a fast-paced read. Lots of faerie drama and angst. Not something I would recommend to YA fans. 

9. Ask the passengers by A.S. King - 4 stars
Astrid has questions. Lots of them. She just doesn't really have anyone to share them with. So she spends hours lying on the picnic table in the backyard and sends her thoughts to the strangers in the planes flying overhead. As she slowly falls in love with a girl, Astrid starts to question herself and the society around her, suddenly unsure of the very person she is and what it means to be different in a society as judgmental as the one she lives in. And in a town that could as well have been called 'gossip', things don't take long to get a little out of hand. 

I turned to this book hoping to find a light and quick read and was instead pleasantly surprised to discover a deep and very well written story. Astrid is a very relatable character and while her sexuality is indeed one major issue explored in the book, the story is so much more, with an array of characters each with their own issues. Unlike YA books when parents and siblings tend to fall somewhere in the background, here they are well fleshed out secondary characters with as much stuff to deal with as Astrid. Pick this up guys, you won't regret it.

8. The lion, the witch and the wardrobe by C.S. Lewis - 4 stars
The Narnia books are today classics of children literature and many of you have probably already read a few or all the books in the series. It's only now that I'm reading them though, largely due to the fact that I had been spoiled about the entirety of the last book a few years ago. The spoilers kind of took away my desire to read the books for myself and I would have probably not even thought about them again had I not watched Karina, a YouTuber, talk about them in her videos. Check out her channel, she's awesome. So I got my hands on book one and guess what? Yep, I loved it! Now, next time I watch the movie again with my sister, because it's one of our childhood favorites, I'm going to be looking out for details from the books! 

Onto the story now. It's wartime and siblings Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are sent to live with an old professor until things get better back at home. When Lucy, the youngest, accidentally stumbles into a magical world after entering a wardrobe, the children are dragged almost despite themselves into an adventure beyond their imagination involving talking animals, a land of eternal winter and an evil queen who also doubles as a powerful witch. Give the book a try guys. It's really worth it.

7. Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis - 4 stars

Prince Caspian is the second book in the Chronicles of Narnia. I can't really give much a plot for this one since it would spoil most of the first book's ending. Also note that the order of the books vary as per the publications but in case you were wondering, I'm going by the original publication order. I loved book one so much that I decided to pick up Prince Caspian and again, I ended up really loving it. In fact I loved this one better than book one, hence the slightly higher ranking. So far, the Narnia books have proven to be very fast-paced and enjoyable reads and I'm really excited to get to more of these in April. 

6. Matilda by Roald Dahl - 4 stars 

If you've read my full review of this book, you already know how much I loved it. Matilda is the story of a little girl gifted with a great intellect and who possesses an avid passion for books. The story follows her discovery of books as she learns to better understand the world and the people around her and stand up for herself when things get tough. To know more about this book, click here for my full review. 

5. The storied life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin - 4 stars

I also did a full review of this book, which you can read here. This book follows the story of a bitter and sarcastic bookstore owner who one day discovers an abandoned baby in his shop. What he chooses to do next not only changes his entire life, but also the whole community of his little town. If you love books, you're really going to really enjoy reading this because the main characters are as much book nerds as some of us (me included hehe) are. 

4. Poetry and Tales by Edgar Allan Poe - 4 stars

It would be hard to try and write a summary for this book since this is a collection of all the works of Mr. Poe. It includes both his poems and short stories at a page count of over 1400 pages. I wish I could say I own the book but sadly, I haven't been able to buy mine own copy yet. Instead I borrowed the book from my uni library and has spent the last couple of months slowly getting through it. The main things I'm going to retain from this book is that Mr. Poe was a very intelligent man and a great writer. With both a talent for horror and a very humorous streak whenever he felt like it, Mr. Poe has crafted unique stories that will sometimes make you recoil in horror and sometimes burst out laughing. It takes talent to juggle between genres like that so kudos to the guy. How I wished he had lived a little longer and wrote more amazing stories! I really loved it. I had to return my library copy before I could remember to take a picture so instead I have pictured here the edition in which I want to buy my own copy of E.A. Poe's complete works. Does anyone of you own this edition? Let me know!

3. A monster calls by Patrick Ness - 5 stars

This book was original developed by Siobhan Dowd but she died of cancer before she could finish her project and Patrick Ness was thus called in to finish her book. Mr. Ness is a very good writer and does Siobhan's idea justice in bringing to life, through his beautiful prose, the story of Conor, a young boy who is struggling to cope with his mother's sickness as she battles cancer. Conor's story takes a turn for the unexpected when one night, a real life monster comes to him. As Conor does his best to cope with his mother's failing health and the changes that this is causing in his life, the monster visits again and again, each time with a new story to tell Conor. Before the little boy can figure out the real reason behind the monster and his visits, things begin to unravel in his life. The beauty of this story genuinely took me off-guard. Read this book people and prepare to have your heartstrings seriously struck. With its dark illustrations and its beautiful writing, this is a book you will fall in love with before you even realize it. 

2. In real life by Cory Doctorow - 5 stars

I could write a whole post on the amazing graphic novel that is In Real Life which... I actually did. Check out my full review of it here, complete with images from the graphic novel. This book takes us into the gaming world, while keeping things simple enough for even non-gamers to feel at ease with the setting, and follows the story of Anda as she gets deeper into this new universe and encounters new people who will forever change the way she sees the world around her. An amazing story, awesome art and great characters... In Real Life definitely deserves 5 stars.  

1. Lexicon by Max Barry - 5 stars
I started off really wondering what I was doing reading this book and almost put it down for good. Then I decided to read some more and... ended up giving it 5 stars. If like me you've struggled with the beginning, mostly due to lack of information, don't give up on this book yet. It'll definitely end up blowing your mind away. In this story, there exist people gifted with the ability to use words as weapons to bend others to their will. They are called poets and hide their true identities by adopting the names of famous poets such as Charlotte Bronte or Virginia Woolf. The book follows two main characters, each seemingly unrelated to the other at the beginning, as we learn more about the poets and the power struggle that has been going on in their ranks. You really don't want to know too much before going into this as part of the magic of this book resides in figuring things out as you read on. Also, can anyone else can spot "Why did you do it?" written on the cover?? It's only now that I'm noticing it and I spent almost two weeks with this book!

So these are all the books I've read in March guys. Share your thoughts in the comments letting me know if there's anything here you've also read. 

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  1. I used to love reading the Narnia series and Roald Dahl's books when I was a kid! Great review!

    Shilah @ Paper Selections

    1. Thanks Shilah :) I'm really having fun discovering those books.

  2. Sounds like you've read some good books this month:D!

    Happy Easter:)

  3. I've always wanted to read the complete works of E.A Poe but I just have so many books I want to read and not enough time to read them. 11 books in a month. I think the most I've done is like 5 :(

    1. Hey so long you're enjoying what you're reading it's all fine ;)

  4. This Blog post makes me want to read! I have a bad habit on starting a book & neglecting my family.. hehe I can serious read a book in ONE day! its that bad. Im gonna give "Ask the Passengers" a try... Thanks for sharing!

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