February 2018 Wrap-Up

Welcome to another month’s wrap-up! This one’s going to be a little different & a little more “me-focused” because I took a Twitter hiatus for some time of this month (Feb. 9th-21st) and probably missed a lot of awesome news. (Like all those gorgeous cover reveals happening!)

But just know that lots of things were happening in YA this month, and I tried to highlight the important stuff near the end (although I couldn’t catch all the cover reveals, unfortunately).

Books Read

28 days, 28 books. Take that, reading challenge! (not including Pete the Cat: Scuba Cat. because then I read 29.) Books above are in no particular order.

  1. When Light Left Us by Leah Thomas | 5 stars – LOVE LOVE LOVED THIS! Awesome parallels and I really enjoyed the format and style & also great family themes. Would definitely recommend, full review here.
  2. Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones | 4 stars – Very different from Wintersong, but still a really enjoyable read! I liked the new direction some of the plotlines went into (although barely any Goblin King :/), full review here.
  3. And I Darken by Kiersten White | 4 stars – A very fun fantasy read! (for fantasies, 4 stars is really good). I liked the writing style and will definitely be picking up book 2 once I find a copy! 
  4. Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills | 4 stars – A cute & fluffy feel-good read that I’d definitely recommend if you’re looking for a light, romantic contemporary! Claudia wasn’t my favorite, but I did enjoy reading! Full review here.
  5. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson | 3 stars – A good read, although a little too long, a little too whitewashed, and a little too privileged feeling for me to have tons of fun with. 
  6. Hunted by Meagan Spooner | 3.5 stars – Entertaining read, although Beauty & the Beast premises are always a little fishy & Stockholm syndrome-y. Still well written & had some of its own twists that I enjoyed.
  7. Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough | 5 stars – AMAZING feminist historical novel told in verse about a painter! There’s so many good themes in here and I absolutely LOVED this! It’s a new favorite & I totally recommend! Full review here.
    (Also, I passed this on to some friends and they also left awesome reviews, check them out here & here!)
  8. Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky | 1 star – So disappointing and felt kind of cruel to fangirl culture. Not super dark like I thought it would be, but still didn’t reach the dark comedy feeling either. Did not enjoy. 
  9. In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan | 5 stars – I HAVE SHIPPED THESE SMOL BEANS FOR THE BEGINNING YASS! Awesome book that I had so much fun with that played with gender roles in a fantasy setting as well as was just fun and all about growing up. A little messy/winding at times, but this can totally be overlooked.
  10. Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare | 2.5 stars – Somewhat disappointing and not matching up to what I expected it to be. Has an interesting premise, but execution fell kind of flat. Full review here.
  11. Little Monsters by Kara Thomas | 3 stars – Fun and interesting, although not as compelling as I thought it would be. Wasn’t the most thrilling thing I read, but a nice buffer between books.
  12. Public Relations by Katie Heaney & Arianna Rebolini | 3 stars – Thanks Seventeen for sticking this into a pile of YA book recommendations! (*frowny face*) New adult novel that was entertaining on some level, but overall uninspiring.
  13. Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman | 4 stars – This was definitely an enjoyable read–it honestly read more like a contemporary with all the coming-of-age themes and how Tess was on a journey, or a Road, I should say, to find herself. Full review here.
  14. Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne | 4 stars – A lot of fun with Jane Eyre–in space! Definitely would have appreciated it more if I, y’know, read Jane Eyre. Overall, a great sci-fi that I definitely enjoyed! Full review here.
  15. I Stop Somewhere by TE Carter | 3.5 stars – Had a rocky start that was very depressing, but continued on and ended up being pretty interesting for the last 2/3 with the interview & message. Full review here.
  16. Losing It by Cora Carmack | 1 star – Why do I end up with another NA (smut NA, I should mention) on a YA list? Way too obsessed with the construct of virginity and also just kind of cringey in general.
  17. Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen | 3.5 stars – A fun read, although not sure how culturally sensitive it was to set Mean Girls during WWII in a Nazi boarding school with a Jewish spy…
  18. Beloved by Toni Morrison | 3 stars – I like the message, although sometimes it just didn’t capture my attention or felt discordant.
  19. The Beast Is an Animal by Petrenelle van Arsdale | 3 stars – S’okay. I wasn’t too much of a fan just because it fell kind of flat, but it was better than those mediocre fantasies because I liked the fairytale & unromantic aspect of it.
  20. The Beauty that Remains by Ashley Woodfolk | 4 stars – An awesome book about 3 people and grief, love, and music. The POVs can get a little confusing, but overall a very profound novel! Full review here.
  21. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare | 2 stars – Ehhh. I sucked it up and read this so I could go through 12 more books before getting to Lord of Shadows & Lady Midnight. Why peer pressure, why?
  22. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline | 3.5 stars – Entertaining, but on a deeper level, somewhat racist in the inherent fact that the video game industry in the 80s and then is dominated by white heterosexual males. The only “deep” theme done right was the utopia.
  23. Ruined by Amy Tintera | 2 stars – Mediocre to annoying. An average fantasy that got on my nerves. Needs more justification/development/anything. Fuller review here.
  24. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo | 3 stars – For some reason, this one didn’t really float my boat over the high seas, although it was an interesting read! The first 100 pages were a little iffy for me and I wasn’t the biggest fan of the writing style. Full review here.
  25. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas | 3.5 stars – I’m surprised at how good this was after the disaster that was the first book? Wowow, SJM stepping up your game. The character development was great in this novel & I’m shook at how this one was better than the first. (Less toxic too!)
  26. Freshmen by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison | 3 stars – An entertaining read about freshman year of college, although took a little while to get to the plot & the MMC didn’t change as much as I wanted to.
  27. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas | 3 stars – Felt a little winding and discordant when compared to the second novel which was much better or the first which was more put together, but also more toxic. ACOMAF is still the star of the show.
  28. the witch doesn’t burn in this one by Amanda Lovelace | 3 stars – Felt overused/repetitive like a lot of modern poetry, but had a little more substance & played around with format more. Fuller review here.

Stats on the Books I Read

As you can see, I’ve read mostly backlist books this month, which I’m very proud of! (also because my library’s slow). I’m slowly working my way through my TBR which ended up growing this month? Why? How? Who cursed me to make this happen?

But, I think I’m doing a pretty great job of balancing new and old, although in retrospect, there’s like thousands of years of literature in backlist but 1 year of new book so maybe that backlist section should be bigger…

I think I’ll call this ‘Book Format’ in the future, but I thought it’d be fun to see the format of the books I read in relation to each other! As you can see, most of the ones I read are physical, ARCs are also physical. Ebooks are just harder for me to read & I read slower in that format, which might be another reason why this is the case.

In past months, that ARC section might not have existed, but I’m thankful for my luck in tracking them down because that means I can help support more authors by leaving reviews! Yay!

 

I’m pretty happy at how evenly this turned out (although I would have loved it to be only 5 stars)! Last month I didn’t have many OMG I LOVE NEW FAVORITE books, but this month I did get a few of those, plus a lot of enjoyable ones two (and a few bad apples).

Looking back, I enjoyed this reading month more than I did last month, even if the average rating might be lower (not sure). I think it was because of how leisurely I read that made it so much fun–I tried harder to read genres I was in the mood for.

More Stats

Longest Book: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (705 pages)

Shortest Book: Losing It by Cora Carmack (189 pages)

Posts This Month

Reviews

Your One & Only by Adrianne Finlay (Blog Tour)
Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi
When Light Left Us by Leah Thomas
American Panda by Gloria Chao (Blog Tour)
Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones (Blog Tour)
The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo
Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough
Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare
Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
I Stop Somewhere by TE Carter (Blog Tour)
The Beauty that Remains by Ashley Woodfolk
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Cover Geeks/Design

Cover Geek #23: Matches & Ashes
Cover Geek #24: Cover Twins
Washi Tapes: What They Are & Why Everyone Should Own Them

Book Recommendations

Most Anticipated February 2018 Releases
13 Diverse Romcom Contemporaries That Will Make You Aww
Awesome LGBTQ+ Novels that Won’t Make You Cry

Other

A Math Lesson: Why 5 Stars Does NOT Negate a 1 Star on Goodreads (& Vice Versa)
Long Books: A Good or Bad Reading Choice?
Bookish Confessions #1

News in the Bookish World

YA Twitter Drama

I’ve  been a little behind, but I know there’s been some serious discussions on Twitter lately, most notably the sexual harassment allegations & discussion on Twitter. After Anne Ursu’s post on sexual harassment in the children’s book industry, people have spoken up about their sexual harassers in the comments section of the School Library Journal as well as Twitter.

People have accused some ex-SCBWI members (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) of sexual misconduct such as Jay Asher and illustrator David Diaz, as well as other members of the kidlit community like Matt de la Pena, James Dashner, Tristina Wright, Sherman Alexie, and more.

The agents who represented James Dashner and Jay Asher have dropped them and three Penguin Random House imprints have stated they would not publish future books from Dashner.

Also, more controversy has arisen from the supposed rewrite of Keira Drake’s The Continent which sensitivity readers have added their input into but the editor at Harlequin Teen has seemed to not take to heart. Read more in the Vulture article “Can You Revise a Book to Make It More Woke?”.

Lani Sarem strikes again as the YA community detected an influx of 5 star reviews from blank accounts formed in February 2018 on Goodreads, as well as ones on Amazon. She accused Heidi Heilig of slander & threatened to sue.

much love, vicky

I might add more to this later or on a Twitter thread, but how was your month in reading? Did you read a lot of good books or find new favorites?

 

 

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