I always feel like I should show every book the same level of respect – if I’m going to blog about one, I should blog about them all. But that idea becomes a bit too daunting when you spend more time reading than you do talking to other humans…
So here’s five mini-reviews of the best books I’ve read this June.
- I cannot gush enough over Amanda Bouchet’s amazing A Promise of Fire. To start, this was unbelievably good for a first book. Heck, it was unbelievably good for any book! It pulled me in after the first page and I loved how feisty Cat was. Amanda did a great job revealing Cat’s various powers and I liked the slow build to the romance. It was clear there was an insta-attraction, but the love story was a slow burn as you great to love Griffin through his interactions with his family, you learned about his plans for the future, etc. The core relationships was not only great, but I also loved the rich, thoughtful secondary characters – the relationships with the Beta team and the Circus performers – and have my fingers crossed for spin-off novels.
Recommendation: Rare gem of a fantasy romance. Great if you love Kyle Griffin, Amy Raby or Sarah Maas.
- I’ve heard a lot of buzz around Stephanie Garber’s Caraval and I think it was pretty well justified. Scarlett is an intriguing main character and you root for her to break through the self-imposed boundaries she created to keep herself safe. Garber takes the concept of a mysterious, magical circus-like place – which we’ve seen pretty often in other books – and makes it completely her own. I think Caraval is unlike any other setting I’ve seen and I love that it kept me guessing. I was surprised every time I thought I had finally figured out what Julian or Dante or Master Legend were really up to.
Recommendation: Excellent, unique YA fantasy.
- The Problem with Forever is another sweet romance from Jennifer Armentrout. This book diverges slightly from Jennifer’s usual books as it touches on serious emotional and psychological issues. Mallory and Rider were foster children in an abusive home and Rider always took care of his Mouse (Mallory) until they were separated on a tragic night. Their lives take very different turns, yet a twist of fate brings them to the same school and a romance ensues. There is an amazing depth to the relationship between these two characters and Jennifer does a wonderful job showing their growth and setbacks.
Recommendation: Touching romance that isn’t afraid to address serious issues.
- As Armentrout’s latest was a new take on her norm, so was Gayle Forman’s. Leave Me is the story of Maribeth Klein. Maribeth’s husband Julian takes her for granted, her twin children are incredibly demanding, her once best friend Elizabeth is now her glamorous boss, etc. Does this sound like a woman you know? Things reach a breaking point when Maribeth has a heart attack and is expected to, basically, resume her numerous jobs after only a couple weeks of recuperation. Tired of the utter lack of appreciation and support, Maribeth flees from her life. She takes this time to rediscover herself – there’s new friends, a pseudo-love interest, a search for her family (she’s adopted) and this path to discovery helps her appreciate her life and helps the people in her life learn to appreciate her. This sounds like the type of dramatic fiction that I would normally find wildly annoying and preachy, but Forman doesn’t focus on the “why did you leave me” side of things. Instead, she shines the spotlight on how we learn to love and appreciate one another.
Recommendation: Family drama and novel of self-discovery. Another heartfelt Forman novel.
- Chris Struyk-Bonn’s Nice Girls Endure is not the type of book I normally read. It’s about Chelsea Duvay, a shy, overweight teenager who faces some mild bullying at school. What’s interesting is that, while it seems like mild bullying at first – it’s mainly one boy who is particularly cruel to her – the constant judgement and belittling she faces is actually persistent, nearly unbearable bullying. I like the fact that the author never really makes Chelsea a character to pity and she doesn’t solve her problems by losing weight or suddenly realizing she is, in fact, amazingly beautiful. Chelsea learns to make friends, to express herself, to stand up for herself, to be happy with who she is. I think her story shows us the impact of our smallest choices and cruelties to one another and is inspiration for learning how to be happy with ourselves.
Recommendation: A story of personal journey that will touch anyone who has felt that they don’t fit in.
Ok, so maybe those reviews weren’t quite so mini, but I tried 🙂