Monday, August 15, 2016

Reading Roundups | #1

Hi, friends! Even though I got back on track with reviews for a long while (at least on Goodreads), I've been seriously lacking in that department this past month and, as you may have noticed, even longer on le blog. I've kind of lost the mojo for long reviews, so I figured, why not just talk about the books I've read lately in a few sentences and fit them into different categories. This will probably be the review style for most of the books from now on, though the categories will very likely vary with each post. If I have any insightful or interesting reviews that I've read about these books or if I have a longer review written on Goodreads, I'll just link those to go with it. Sounds good? Hah, I sure hope so! Here goes:

Tiny Pretty Things duology by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton. Back when TPT released, there weren't that many reviews nor hype for it which is why it got lost in the endless backlog in my tbr. Then one of my good friends read it a few months ago and this particular line from Sue's review was what pulled me in: "Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton redefines the term unlikable heroines." WHAT? Ballet? Unlikable heroines? WHERE DO I SIGN UP was my immediate reaction. The first book is extremely brutal (and can be triggering, so please proceed with caution when reading), but it offers such great voices set in a cutthroat, lush ballet world. The sequel is even better and I cried buckets. There are some romantic elements, for those of you interested, my personal OTP is in the second book. Overall, this duology is poignant, beautiful, emotionally and mentally brutal, mysterious and on top of that it tackles so many important issues such as eating disorder, racism, sexual identities, bullying, abuse and more. If I could recommend these books a thousand times over, I would.

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Last year I finally devoured the Gallagher Girls books. Kudos to Eri for pushing them on everyone! This year I have read a few books with similar vibes, the first two books of The Naturals series among them. Naturals is a term for a group of naturally gifted teenagers who are recruited by the FBI to solve cold cases. Of course, there will be all sorts of maybem that will push our beloved Naturals to further develop their talent and will cause heartbreak, confrontations with their pasts and more. The second book was, like in Tiny Pretty Things duology, even better than the first and I absolutely can't wait to read the last two installments.

Map of Fates by Maggie Hall. If you're looking for a Da Vinci code sort of book about teenagers, look no further! It may have some clichéness going on here and there, but they're still very entertaining. As much as I enjoyed The Conspiracy of Us, Map of Fates steps it up about 100 degrees: the mystery deepens; there are some pretty darn epic plot twists, even higher stakes and, honestly, if you're into all the upper YA scenes, welllllll ;) If you thought The Conspiracy of Us had a few hot scenes in certain chapters, you have no idea what's in store for you in the sequel! *fans self* Also, I think it should be mentioned that this trilogy could be read solely for Stellan Korolev; no shame whatsoever. Super duper extra excited for the final installment!

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab. I read an ARC of this (which I still haven't reviewed rip, but I willll! Until then you can view my picspam here muhaha) and I already own a hardcover as well, because, let's be honest, I'm a trash for Victoria Schwab's writing, world building and characters. Her latest features a monster of a boy, who's longing to be human, and a human girl, looking for acceptance and approval from her father, a monstrous human. It's all about what makes a monster in its core; how thin is the line between good and bad. Plus the main characters are kinda sorta amazing.

Vicious by V.E, Schwab (Victoria Schwab). This book is extremely facinating and thought-provoking. It has villains and ... well, more villains; at some point not even so much morally ambiguous characters, but true villains and people who get caught up in the war between two ex best friends who now have supernatural powers. It's slow paced, but definitely worth the read, because it tackles Schwab's signature theme: what is truly good and evil, is there such, how do they differ from each other and how do magic and power corrupt one's soul.

A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes. This spin-off series is a definite must read for all Falling Kingdom fans. While FK books have been enjoyable (especially all the parts regarding my smol too-precious-for-this-world children Cleo and Magnus), three books into the series, they haven't hit me with extreme love. ABOS&T was a surprising read for me, because I enjoyed it more than the original series, while it has been the opposite for most people. It has an interesting concept where we're reading from three POVs: Crystal, a girl in modern day Toronto looking for a way to save her sister who has fallen into a coma after touching a magical book; Farrell, a heir in a powerful family and an extremely morally ambiguous character also in modern day Toronto; Maddox, a "ghost whisperer" in ancient Mytica (the world in which FK books take place). As you can probably guess, their lives become interwined, so it all unravels from there.

Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta. I've always been sceptical of hype books, and will probably continue this path, but Marchetta was one of the authors I was scared to discover. Last year, however, I picked up all of her contemporaries except Alibrandi and loved them, so the natural step was to explore Josie's story as well. It's authentic, poignant and wonderful; full of culture, family secrets, a heartfelt bond between a mother and a daughter; it's about exploring a tentative relationship between a father and a daughter, finding oneself and experiencing love and loss for the first time. Marchetta is the queen of capturing teen voices and writing heartfelt stories and Looking for Alibrandi is no exception.

George by Alex Gino. I sincerely cannot voice how important this book is and how essential it is for everyone to read George, including adults. This tale shows how often we dismiss children's voices, thinking they don't know, and how we want to (and do!) put labels on them, thinking we know better. It's a beautiful story about gender identity, acompanied by a well-written, endearing friendship between two girls. Don't let the Middle Grade label push you away, this book is so, so important and, even in its simple narrative, wonderfully thoughtful. (If you're interested, my friend Christina wrote a short, great review that you can read here. Couldn't have said it all any better myself!)

Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens. This was on my TBR even before it was released. For some reason I never got around purchasing it until a sale this spring, even though the ARC reviews were great. It's a poignant novel about stories that people are too afraid and unready to tell; it's a tale about coping, healing, moving forward and more. The friendships in this book are quite messy, yet realistic and endearing. I must warn you, and this is not a spoiler, because it's mentioned very early on, that this is a book about rape and a victim coming to terms with the fact that she was raped; that she isn't at fault that it happened, but the person who took advantage of her, is. There is also physical abuse and mentioning of suicidal thoughts, so please proceed with caution if these are triggering for you. I would wholeheartedly recommend Faking Nromal and, if you do read it, don't leave the author's note without attention. It's just as important as the fictional story between these beautiful covers.

This is it for the first roundup! What do you think? Should there be more of these kinds of posts or would you be more interested in traditional reviews? How about these books? Have you read any? If so, what were your thoughts? Let me know below :)


  1. Siiri, I love this roundup post!
    It's so perfect for when you don't want to post a lot of long reviews. If you like this format you should definitely continue because it's great. I read TPT earlier this summer and just loved it, now I just need to get my hands on the sequel. I want to know about this OTP you are talking about. I really want to read The Naturals and The Conspiracy of Us series, I need some danger and thrill in my life and I've only heard good things about these two. I have one of Melina Marchetta's books at home, On the Jellioce Road, but I still haven't read it. I'm cursing myself because I know I would love them. I'm going to add all of these books to my tbr pile now (as if that needed to be any longer haha). Lovely post Siiri!
    Hugs, Olivia

    1. Thank you Liv, I'm so happy you enjoyed the post! ASDFGHJKL,, SUPER EXCITED FOR YOU TO READ SHINY BROKEN PIECES IT'S SO GREAT! I think you'd really love The Naturals and TCoU + of course JELLICOE; READ ALL THE MARCHETTA LIV! I need to tell Lisa to work her magic on you hah, she'll turn you into a Marchetta fanatic muhahaha ;*

  2. I think mini reviews are awesome! :D basically = review however you want. ;) And omg SO MANY GOOD BOOKS HERE THO. I am absolutely Schwab trash these days omg. I just can't get enough and I'm now looking everywhere for her older books (which seem to be out of print?? like?? no????) because I just can't waaaait for more!! If she published 98 books a year I probably would still be asking for more. Ahem. THIS SAVAGE SONG WAS EVERYTHING. August was too adorable for words. <3
    I also really want to read the Tiny Pretty Things books. They sound kind of scary tbh? But I still want to read them.XD
    And yess The Naturals is AMAZING. I still haven't read the sequels, but bk 1 honestly blew me away. I wasn't expecting it to be quite that good. :D

  3. Siiri! I have missed you and your beautiful posts! I am of course so behind on reading right now that I have no reviews to share at the minute. But I'm hoping that will change soon and I will get back to my reading mojo. I so need to read Marchetta's Looking for Alibrandi, that and her Lumatere series. I also need to pick up something by Schwab soon, I've been hearing incredible things about her books!

  4. Hi Siiri! Welcome back! I've been writing shorter reviews (for the most part) too. Reviews have been tough for me to write and I think people are more likely to read a shorter review.

    I love Looking for Alibrandi! Marchetta's contemporaries are sooo good and usually pretty funny mixed in with serious. I have a few of Schwab's books and I need to get to them really soon. Wonderful post! :)