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The Dream Thieves and Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater – I’ve continued my rampant reading of Stiefvater with these, #2 and #3 in the Raven Cycle books. Stiefvater has a wild imagination and sometimes I get confused about everything in this world she’s created. But the characters are solid, interesting, and fascinating. Dream Thieves honestly lost me a little. But Blue Lily, Lily Blue was so good that I couldn’t put it down. The story really developed, and I’m excited for the final book in the series – and sad that it doesn’t come out until February.
Landline by Rainbow Rowell – After being enamored with Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, I felt pretty eh about Landline. Rowell does her best writing about young romance. She incorporates some of that here in flashbacks, but I never felt strongly about the relationship between Georgia and her husband. None of the characters are especially likeable. It’s readable and quick, but not anything I would really recommend.
As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley – I don’t know why I stopped reading the Flavia de Luce books without reading this one, the seventh and most recent (January 2015) book in the series. (P.S. In the tradition of J.K. Rowling, Bradley taught me in this book how to pronounce Flavia’s name. Flay-vee-uh. “The first part rhymes with ‘brave’ and ‘grave.’ ” Yep, I had been doing that one wrong in my head. Just like I thought Hermione was Her-mee-own.)
While it was interesting to see Flavia in another setting – another country, even – I missed the familiar characters of the rest of the series. And a body falling out of her chimney the first night she’s there seems too convenient, even for a murder mystery series. But still, I continue to be charmed by Flavia and will read any more books Bradley chooses to write about her.
The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski – I think I read about this book on Marissa Meyer’s blog. Usually Meyer’s YA recs have been stellar, but this one fell a little flat for me. The romance felt contrived and I honestly don’t care what happens in the rest of the story. The writing really is good, but the story just didn’t back it up. (Tell me if you loved it and what I am missing!)
Just One Summer by Nicole Deese, Tammy L. Gray, Amy Matayo, and Jenny B. Jones – I am not usually a fan of novellas. There just isn’t enough time to flesh out anything. But I was pleasantly surprised by this collection, which Jenny B. Jones’s publicist sent me to review. (I’m a huge fan of Jenny’s!) The collection features four best friends, all going into their senior year of college, as they spread out for the summer on adventures. My favorite story was actually the first one by Nicole Deese, about Joss, who goes back to her parents’ beach house alone as she tries to understand their recent divorce. I did like Jones’s story, too, and her obvious talent for family tales as well as romance shone. In fact, I liked all four stories, the four girls having different weaknesses and strengths and ways of falling in love. So although it’s not my normal thing, I really enjoyed this collection as a fun summer read.
Faithful Place by Tana French – I really wanted to love this book. Modern Mrs. Darcy (Anne) and Hollywood Housewife (Laura) both love Tana French, and given how highly I esteem their recommendations I was expecting to adore French’s thrillers. But somewhere in between the Irish dialect, the copious use of the f-word, and the not-that-mysterious mystery, I kind of gave up. Reading thrillers is a new thing for me, period; I haven’t read many except Gone Girl and the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. So maybe it’s just me. Probably.
So what have you been reading lately? One of these days, I’m going to tackle some nonfiction. Really. (Right now I’m reading Real Church by Larry Crabb, even.) I just love stories.