Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What I Read Last Month

April 2011

April was a fantastic reading month for me. I read TEN books--hey, that's a lot for me! ;) --and they were all really good! I hope my May reading is just as enjoyable and equally productive!

Here's a list of what I read last month and some brief thoughts.  Many of my comments below are exactly what I've said about these books on goodreads, so if you follow my updates there, I apologize for the duplicity.

Total books read: 10

Young Adult ....... 4
Romance ........... 2
General fiction .... 2
Graphic novel...... 1
Urban Fantasy ..... 1

1. Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan A

I loved this contemporary young-adult novel co-written by the dynamic author duo Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, both of whom so naturally and expertly capture the essence of teenagers, first loves and life lessons.

A truly insightful story about friendship and love. The love between friends and the friendship between lovers. Sometimes reciprocated, sometimes unrequited. I laughed and I cried and rooted for Naomi and Ely to find their true places in the world at every turn of the page. Highly recommended for fans of contemporary young adult novels.

2. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta A+

Jellicoe Road is a phenomenal book. It's a coming of age story and so much more. It breaks your heart with the weight and sadness of loss, confusion, loneliness, uncertainty... and puts it back together with the power and strength of friendship, purpose, love and hope. And a sense of belonging. A place of solace. And just like the people whose lives are intertwined by the Jellicoe Road, you will never be the same.

Jellicoe Road has received numerous literary awards, including the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature in 2009.

3. My Soul to Keep by Rachel Vincent A-
4. Reaper by Rachel Vincent B+

My Soul to Keep is the third full length novel in the young adult urban fantasy Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent. This one is probably my favorite installment in the series so far. The author expertly blends the typical modern day teenage experience with a unique and suspenseful urban fantasy story arc. This book ends on somewhat of an emotional cliffhanger for the protagonist and narrator, Kaylee Cavanaugh. I'm now desperate to read the next book in the series, My Soul to Steal to find out what could possibly happen next!

The background story of Tod Hudson, the teenage grim reaper in the Soul Screamers series is revealed in the novella "Reaper." This novella, along with the short story "Fearless" in the Kiss Me Deadly anthology sets the stage for the next book in the series, My Soul to Steal, on which I'm still trying to get my hands! The fifth book, If I Die comes out in July, I believe.

5. Frankenstein The Graphic Novel Classic Text by Mary Shelly A-
I have quickly become a fan of Classic Comics, original text versions of classic literature. Last month I read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and now this month, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, which was as equally thought provoking as it was heart wrenching.

Prior to reading the Frankenstein graphic novel, I admittedly knew very little of this classic literary work other than it was a story about a man who created a monster who gets loose in the world and frightens, torments and even murders innocent people. I did not know the characters, the plot or the thought provoking themes of the story including the moral implications of scientific and medicinal advancements and the responsibilities that lie therein. Nor did I have any inkling as to how very sad and tragic this story is. Before, I merely thought it a horror story.

This graphic novel version of Frankenstein also includes a brief, yet informative biography of Mary Shelley and an account of the immediate and long term success of Frankenstein from when it was first published in 1818 when the author was merely 21 years old to the present day. Nearly two hundred years later, Frankenstein is still widely known all over the world and has been adapted into countless retellings and productions on stage, in radio and film.

Frankenstein is an exceptionally insightful and expressive story. I highly recommend this graphic novel to everyone. You might just be surprised at how little you truly know about Victor Frankenstein and his creation.

 6. Knight of Passion by Margaret Mallory B

This is the third book in the All the Kings Men trilogy--a medieval historical romance. I enjoyed the romance and the politics of the time period, but didn't find it quite as engaging as the first book in this series that stole my heart. Still, it boasts intelligent writing and a solid romance.

7. River Marked by Patricia Briggs A

Once I've come to enjoy a series as much as I do this one, I find it more and more difficult to fairly rate the books. The quality of the writing, world building, and character development continues in its consistency and development. The story is creative, intelligent and entertaining. While there are other books in this series that may have been more nerve-wracking or heart pounding with regard to the suspense and action, River Marked is an excellent novel that provides fascinating insights to Mercy Thompson's geneaology and the mythology of walkers. The story is sure to please fans of this series.

8. Pieces of Paper by Jeannie Lin, novella B

This is a very short contemporary story about a young Asian-American woman who is visiting Tokyo and has a chance meeting with a young Anglo-American man who happens to be studying in Japan at the time. The story is semi-autobiographical, semi-romantic and simply an interesting anecdotal story about self identity. For anyone who has grown up in a country as a minority separated from the country of their origins, this story is insightful to feelings you may have felt about yourself--especially upon a visit to your "homeland."  If you don't fall into that category... this story still provides some food for thought about one's sense of identity and belonging. Pieces of Paper is available for download at Smashwords, Amazon for Kindle and iBooks for 99 cents, of which Jeannie Lin is donating all proceeds to the relief efforts in Japan. :)

9. Still Life With Husband by Lauren Fox B+

This book was the April selection for the online Authors by the Alphabet book club. It surprised me how much I enjoyed reading this one, given the book focused on infidelity. You can read my review HERE.

10. Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward A-

This is book nine in Black Dagger Brotherhood, paranormal-urban fantasy series by author J.R. Ward. What can I say? I confess I'm a sucker for this series and I loved this one. I could offer a slew of comments here, but am considering writing a commentary type review so we can discuss spoilers. Anyone interested in discussing?

And that's it! How was your reading last month? 

Did you discover any new favorites? 


  1. Ten is wonderful. I'm way behind of the BDB books. Too many great books to read.

  2. You might like a new author I discovered last month. Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison was a pleasant read and part of a new 'Elder' series.

  3. Linda, ten IS really wonderful. I don't usually hit double digits on the number of books I read in a month! lol And yes! You need to read more BDB. So flipping addictive.

    Brandy, you enjoyed too? It's been getting some really nice reviews on goodreads and I did add it to my wish list... but since you enjoyed it, too, I might just pick it up sooner rather than later.

  4. Some day I'm going to read the Mercy Thompson series.

    Nice list Christine. I always enjoy seeing it.

  5. Phyl, you don't read much urban fantasy, do you? This series is nice. It's UF ... but I don't know... really down to earth, if that makes sense.

  6. No I don't. I'm one of the few who didn't really enjoy The Iron Duke. But I did really like Briggs' Alpha and Omega novella which is an offshoot of the Mercy Thompson world, so I've been thinking about tackling these after I finally read KMMs Fever books.

  7. hmm.. based on what I know about your reading preferences, Phyl, I'm more inclined to think you'd enjoy the Mercy Thompson series more than KMM's Fever books. Although both are favorites of mine, I think Briggs is a more solid writer. I'd love to hear what you think of both, actually.

    Are you referring to the "Alpha & Omega" short story novella in the On the Prowl anthology? omg that novella is amazing--totally blew me away. So emotional and intense, and so cohesive for a story that comes in at under 80 pages!

  8. Yeah, that's the story. Yes, one of the best romantic short stories I ever read. And I suspect you're right about how I'll feel about the KMM Fever books. But I promised a friend I'd try them. She often follows my book recs, so I figure I owe her, lol!

  9. Time for the old payback, eh? haha!

  10. Ooh. You read JELLICOE ROAD. Yay! That book completely blew me away. I'm looking forward to re-reading it soon. :)

  11. Angie, I did! I do believe I first learned of Jellicoe Road from you. It must have been a year or two since you posted your review. Anyway, I'm so glad I finally read it. I absolutely LOVED it and plan on reading more of Melina Marchetta's books.

    By the way, are you going to BEA this year??

  12. Jellicoe!! and Eli and Naomi!!

    I think Jellicoe is one of my old time favorite books, I feel the urge to re-read it every so often

    Looks like you had a great reading month.

  13. Really, really good reading month, christine!! I'm jealous!

    I have the Naomi & ely's No Kiss List in my TBR pile... Am keeping it for emergency LOL. When I'm truly in a funk and need something to cheer me up.

    Haven't heard of Jellicoe Road, but might have to check it out :) Can you tell me a bit more about the story?

    Glad you enjoyed River Marked and it lived up to expectations :)

    and oh, the Jeannie Lin!! I'm probably going to give that one a try! too bad it's a short story :(

  14. Wow, impressive number of books! I started River Marked because I love Mercy Thompson, but I'm having trouble finishing it. I don't know if it's a little too dark and scary for my peace of mind at the moment, or what. I've been meaning to try Margaret Mallory since she's a chapter mate. I think I'll steer clear of anything with infidelity or the "weight and sadness of loss, confusion, loneliness, uncertainty." Oye. I only want to read happy happily-ever-after type books these days!

  15. Alex, I can totally see why Jellicoe Road is one of your all time favorites. It is now one of mine, too! I'm considering buying my own copy. Especially since I'm all but begging my daughters to read it, too!

    nath, Naomi & Ely would be a great emergency pick-me-up book! lol

    Oh gosh. Tell you a bit about Jellicoe Road... hmm.. it's kind of complicated to explain, but I'll try. The story is mostly about a teenage girl who was abandoned by her mother at a convenience store in this town several years prior. A woman in the community takes her in and she attends a private boarding school on Jellicoe Road. She's kind of finding her way and wants to know what happened to her mother. At the same time there is a this annual territorial war going on between the kids in the boarding school, the kids who attend the public school in town and a group of boys from a military school who spend part of their summer in "survival training" in the woods in the community. On top of that, there are snippets of flashbacks or memories of a tragic car accident that occurred on Jellicoe Road many years ago and how it affected the lives of those involved through to present day. Everything is sort of connected. I cried a lot reading this book--many parts are tragic, others bittersweet but I can tell you it has a nice ending.

    The Jeannie Lin story is very short and more anecdotal than a story--99 cent entertainment during your lunch hour!

    Ciara, I'm so sorry to hear your having trouble finishing River Marked. I didn't think it was as dark and scary as the previous books. Maybe you're right and it's just not the right time for you.

    You probably know this already since Margaret Mallory is a chapter mate, but she has a brand new release out right now in her new Highlander series, that I'm anxious to read. Maybe you can get your hands on that one?

  16. you're*

    ugh. There should be an edit function in comments. Especially for the owner of the blog... :/

  17. Apologies for the late comment - I've been online but having a headless chicken moment (so not really blog hopping the past few days).

    Anyway, great month! I moved River Marked down my TBR list because I thought I was going to overflow with library books (and even though I read LU I'm still not really in the mood for PNR/UF), but...hopefully I'll get to it soon.

  18. No apologies necessary, orannia! I have been having a difficult time keeping up with my blog hopping either.

    I'm sure you'll get around to River Marked at some point. You have plenty of time, too, because I don't think the next Mercy book comes out until 2013! I could be wrong, but I think that's what I read somewhere. So sad.

  19. *sigh* Sadly, I'm not going this year. Baby due that week, though I'm hoping it comes sooner. Any time now, really. :)

  20. Angie!! I can't wait to hear your new baby news!!! ^_^


Leave a comment! I love to hear what YOU think.
[I apologize, but I've had to disallow anonymous users to comment on my blog due to an influx of spam. I'll change it back as soon as I can. Thanks for understanding.]