Hello everyone! I’m back with another set of mini book reviews!
I can’t believe I’m already posting part 8 on here. Especially because I was planning to read less this year to try to make time for other fun stuff, but if anything I’m going to blame these authors who keep publishing really cool books!
Note about my ratings: I’ve switched to using the StoryGraph to track and rate the books I’ve been reading. This site uses 1-5 stars, 5 being the highest, in 0.25 increments. Feel free to friend me on the StoryGraph – my username is StarringPamela there!
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
So in case you’re new, I started reading Clare’s books a while back because my sister is a fan and so are many bookish people with similar reading preferences to mine. Am I enjoying this journey through Clare’s universe? Not particularly if I’m being honest. I just feel like I know too much about the author, who is rumored to be quite a terrible person in terms of having plagiarized, so I feel like that’s impacting my thoughts on the books. I don’t particularly mind that though.
I don’t want to give away too much on the book itself because it’s the first part of it’s particular series but all of Clare’s books tie together in some way so I don’t want to accidentally spoil something. But I just didn’t really enjoy it too much. It’s not terrible, and I was pulled into the story towards the end of this book but it started way too slow for my liking in terms of the main character learning about this world. In fact, I had the ebook first, but then my loan expired before I could even really get into it. I had to request the physical copy instead and that’s what I ended up reading. Also, I feel like it is very much meant for a much younger audience so I’m sure if I had read them when I was younger I’d enjoy it more.
I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars.
Wintering by Katherine May
This was the January book club pick for my library’s nonfiction book club. I got it much later than usual, since the librarian who runs the club lets us pick the book and then she orders it for us. She’d meant to only get it for us to borrow but this book is quite popular right now because it focuses on dealing with difficult times, which the pandemic does qualify for. So instead she ordered it, the order took awhile to arrive, and we got it about two weeks before the book club. However, we specifically picked short books because we all still are somewhat traumatized after an exceptionally long Titanic book, so it was a breeze to get through.
I really, really liked this book. It relates the natural concept of winter, when nature takes a rest from growing, to the down times of our own lives. I certainly do feel like I had a big down time in my life for the past year and a half or so, only some of it was for the pandemic, so I really resonated with the message. I don’t think it was anything new to me though. I feel like through my own reflections I found that I related to a lot of the lessons in the book that May shared. But even so, it was so very powerful and reassuring to read that someone else experienced this, and I really felt validated in my own feelings too. There’s such a strong societal pressure to be at the top of our game at all times, and that’s just not realistic, healthy, or possible. I really recommend this.
I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.
House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
I’m a huge Sarah J. Maas fan, although I am, admittedly, not as up-to-date on her book releases as I once was. I only found out about this book when the booktubers and booktokers started sharing their thoughts on it. I got my hands on the e-book through my library. It was so long, just like most of her books, but I did really enjoy it. I think the start was a little confusing but it quickly got super interesting so I kept reading to learn more about this new world. I loved the character of Bryce and her complex friendships. I know this is part of a series, so I can’t wait to read more!
Oh, about the book real quick. Bryce is a hard worker at a sort of magic antique store during the day but a party girl at night. Then one day she comes home to find that a demon murdered her best friends. At first, she thinks that the killer is caught but when similar murders start to happen around the city she has to work with an enslaved fallen angel to try to find who the real killer is.
I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.
Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibanez
I’ve mentioned how I switched to tracking my reads in StoryGraph and something that this site does is ask what you want to read so it can give recommendations. I put in a few things and added in that I wanted to read more books by Latino and Latina authors. StoryGraph has delivered! They recommended this book, I checked out the ebook, and absolutely devoured the story. I loved it!
The story follows Ximena, who is a decoy for her people’s Condesa. When the king who overthrew the Condesa’s parents demands her hand in marriage, Ximena goes in her place with a goal to overthrow the king. I loved how the story unfolded and the characters were super interesting. I loved the Latino influences too, and it was such a charming story. The library didn’t have the second book of the series on Libby but I was able to request the physical copy through the inter-library loan system. I don’t think it’s released yet so I won’t get it for awhile but I did request it so once it’s available it’ll be sent my way.
I gave this book 4.25 out of 5 stars.
Layla by Colleen Hover
This was a recent Readheads book club pick. The Readheads, as I’ve mentioned before is a book club run by one of the sisters of The Morning Toast on YouTube, which I greatly enjoy. I don’t read every book club pick but I try to read most of them. My friend who sometimes reads these books too did say she enjoyed this one so I told her I’d read it as well. I ended up getting a physical copy through the library.
This book was about the main character, Leeds, and his girlfriend/titular character, Layla. Early in their relationship they go through a really traumatic event. Leeds decides to take Layla back to the place where they met, an old bed and breakfast. But Layla isn’t the same after the event and it’s up to Leeds to make a difficult choice that could either help or further harm Layla.
I really enjoyed the book even though it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. The Readheads alternate between which woman picks a book and the one who selected this one usually does really light, fun reads. This was the newest book of Hoover, who is that particular Readhead’s favorite author, and I think she said even she didn’t expect this. This book was much darker than I thought it would be and it was more of a thriller I think? I don’t typically read thrillers so I’m not even sure if it is part of that genre or not! But it was super cool and I might have to read more thrillers.
I gave this book 3.75 out of 5 stars.
Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner
This book was a middle grade book that I picked up at a library book sale awhile ago. I was so interested in the museum aspect of the book, so I picked it up. I did think it was a pretty good idea and started strong but I got bored towards the end unfortunately when I started reading this months ago. I finally decided to just finish this book but by the time I picked it up, I wasn’t too sure what was going on anymore and it dragged out for me. I do want to read more middle grade because I think it’s a category I have a book idea for, so I want to know more about that category.
Oh, and about the book! The book follows Goldie, a child who lives in a city where children are deemed to fragile to be unprotected. Goldie, however, is an independent child and resents the ribbon that she wears around her wrist. The ribbon is always connected to an adult, so she looks forward to the ceremony that would finally free her from the ribbon. When the ceremony is attacked, and the ceremony is cancelled because of the danger in the city, Goldie impulsively tears her ribbon and runs away to the magical Museum of Thieves.
I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars.
Native Writers: Voices of Power by Kim Sigafus and Lyle Ernst
I attended a presentation last November through my local library with Kim Sigafus, one of the authors of this book, about Native Americans in Illinois. I wanted to read Sigafus’ work and the librarian who was hosting the presentation mentioned that the library did have one of her books. I checked it out and saw it featured several Native American writers.
The book didn’t end up being what I expected. I thought that the point of the book was to introduce the writer and then maybe a snippet of their work so we could get a feel for their writing but it was only introductions of the author’s life.
I gave this book 3.25 out of 5 stars.
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
This book showed up in a lot of BookTok and BookTube videos I came across so I had to check it out. In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve fallen deep into the book world again! Anyway, this book was highly recommended over and over on the videos I watched so I got curious about it and checked it out! I did like the book though, since the main character was so cool. Also it was a pretty unique retelling that I haven’t experienced before.
This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling in which Harper is basically kidnapped from Washington D.C. and taken to Emberfall, a cursed land. Prince Rhen has basically lost all hope that he can break the curse and all Harper wants is to go home, but they start to work together to save Emberfall anyway.
I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
This book was very hyped up so I really was looking forward to reading it. I expected it to be longer, but I think it was the perfect length once I realized how the story was unfolding. The story follows Nora Seed, who is caught in the Midnight Library. The library exists in-between the worlds of the living and the dead, and the books can show Nora an infinite number of possibilities if she had made different choices. Nora starts with the “Book of Regrets” and then goes through living each of her regrets if she had made different choices.
I really enjoyed how this book explored the possible lives of Nora, and how it concluded too. I think this book is just really powerful and thought-provoking, and I loved it.
I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.
Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch
So I read the first book of the series Snow Like Ashes earlier this year (I think I talked about that one in part 6 of the mini book reviews?). In that mini review I mentioned that I liked the first book but wasn’t sure if I would continue the series.
I don’t want to spoil anything from the first book so I don’t think I’ll do a little synopsis of this one but I didn’t like the second book as much as the first. It was still good, and I like how Raasch tells stories, but I just felt like it was too much book for not a lot to happen this time. I felt like the first book was so plot driven and moved forward at a good pace, but this one sort of dragged along. In short, I found most of it, well, boring. I think the next book of this series isn’t out yet but if I come across it when it does, I would consider reading it just to find out what happens because the end was interesting. But overall it wasn’t as great as the first book, in my opinion anyway.
I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars.
So those are the ten mini book reviews part 8! I already started part 9 because I just read books like crazy in January. Let me know your thoughts if you have read any of these books!
Thanks for reading!
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