Well, guys. Let me finish up a Master's degree, and I will dive head first into the pleasure reading! May was an awesome month for reading, what with all the freedom I now have. But yeah, my reading this month skewed heavily toward the lighter, escapist fare. Just what the doctor ordered after finishing up my heavy papers on Shakespeare and Jonson. So, let's begin!
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
Not as strong as Goose Girl, which I read last month, but still quite a delightful and fun fantasy/princess story. The setting was a bit different, with some interesting world-building, that I enjoyed, but the characters and story lacked a little bit. I was especially annoyed with Lady Saren's behavior, although I understand she was supposed to be suffering from some sort of depression or PTSD or something, so perhaps I shouldn't have been so annoyed. The ending tied up a little too neatly, but of course that's how I wanted it to end, so I can't complain too much. Just good fun.
Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
I really did enjoy this one, especially early on, but about half-way through I started to get impatient with the main character and how thick-headed she was at times. Also, I cannot express how annoyed I was with the oldest sister's love story. It's fine to go fall in love with some dark and brooding other-worldly vampire slave, but you don't have to starve yourself to death over it! Especially when he loves you back and is trying his hardest to be with you! Ugh. Anyway, it was a rather fun and creative fairy-tale retelling with just a few minor annoyances.
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
I actually listened to the bulk of this a few months ago, but didn't get a chance to finish before the due date (it's beastly long), so I finally got the audio version back this month and listened to the last bit of it. Okay. So personally, I really enjoyed this, but it's not for everyone. Not even my husband could handle it, and I thought it was going to be just his kind of fantasy. But you have to have a stomach for wandering and tangent-filled 19th century British prose. Clarke somehow managed to recreate that tone and style perfectly, but honestly, she should've showed a little more restraint. I think the story could've benefited from a lot of editing (I'm sorry, the Napoleonic battle scenes contributed next to nothing to the progression of the plot). That being said, if you love 19th Century British novels and magic and historical fantasy, this might be a good fit for you (no guarantees).
Downburst by Katie Robison
Not going to say much about this one here, because I've got some surprises coming up in my next few posts about this series. So stay tuned for more.
Coiled Snake by Katie Robison
Winter by Marissa Meyer
You guys, finally! I was on hold for this forever, and when it finally came in this month I consumed the whole thing in two days. So good! Such a strong finish to such a great series. It didn't necessarily end the way I expected, but it was still happy endings all around, some really great kiss scenes, and just so much goodness. If you like fairy-tale retellings, I cannot recommend this series (Lunar Chronicles) highly enough. It is the best.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Well, after hearing all the hype around this book, and all the people who loved it, I must say it was a bit of a let down. I mean, it was fine. It was just a bit lighter and fluffier in style than I was anticipating, what with how heavy the ending is. And I'm afraid I didn't connect with the characters the way I was supposed to. I went and watched the trailer for this after finishing, and guys, props to Emilia Clarke, because she made Lou's character seem so much more adorable and endearing than I found her to be in the book. I might just watch the movie (only after other people have seen it and vetted it as worth my time). While this book did get me thinking more about the issues surrounding assisted suicide (something I grant I haven't thought about much), I can't say I recommend it all that much. It's fine, I suppose, if you like fluffy contemporary romance with a dose of tragedy. Otherwise, don't bother.
Wild Things: the Art of Nurturing Boys by Stephen James and David Thomas
Here was my one foray into more studious, non-fiction reading this month. I picked this one up on a whim at the library because I'd heard it recommended somewhere before and because, hey, I'm raising a couple of boys. Couldn't hurt. So I wouldn't say this is a necessary read for parents, but I did learn some useful things. Turns out that despite being married to a man and having two sons, there's still a lot I didn't actually know about male psychology and physiology. Also, this book reinforced my opinion that teenage boys are really terrible people, but I now have slightly more sympathy for the hormones at work there. This book got me thinking about a lot of issues of masculinity, so I'll probably write a post on that some time soon. All in all it was good, useful, thought-provoking stuff.
Eight books this month! That's got to be a record for me, and while I doubt the pace will keep up, I sure am enjoying all my free reading time now. Have you read any of these? Plan to read any of these? I'd love to hear your thoughts on any of these books!