Day 52

One of my goals for 2018 was to read more books, especially books that were released by the 2018 class of debuts that are sharing my panic and pride over our upcoming publication. So far, as of March 16th, I've managed to read and finish 17 books. Demographics on these are: 8 first novels that were published in 2018, 2 Middle Grade books, 13 books that I would consider YA, 14 books by women, 6 books written by PoC or religious minorities, 6 books featuring LGBTQ storylines, and 17 excellent stories. 

So, without further ado, I will give you a quick and dirty rundown of my thoughts on each, because I know you're dying to know, right?

AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS by Margaret Rogerson (YA)

Grade: 96% - A                                                             One word review: Delightful

One sentence synopsis: Art and inspiration fuel this story of an artist who becomes involved in the Fair Folks' court, bringing about a story of intrigue, romance, and finding confidence in yourself and your abilities.

WINTERHOUSE by Ben Guterson (MG)

Grade: 91% - A-                                                                One word review: Fun

One sentence synopsis: A young girl finds herself inexplicably deposited in a hotel full of puzzles, mysterious patrons, and questions that she isn't sure she wants the answers to.

BENEATH THE HAUNTING SEA by Joanna Ruth Meyer (YA)

Grade: 95% - A                                                         One word review: Magical

One sentence synopsis: Talia's life is ripped out from underneath her and she is sent into exile, where ancient myths and mysteries draw her deep into their grasp (and there's kissing).

YOU'LL MISS ME WHEN I'M GONE by Rachel Lynn Solomon (YA)

Grade: 90% - A-                                                          One word review: Emotional

One sentence synopsis: Twin sisters whose lives have already been irrevocably altered by their mother's Huntington's Disease must come to grips with their own genetic test results as they strive for futures that may prove impossible for them to attain.

BLOOD AND SAND by C.V. Wyk (YA)

Grade: 97% - A                                                                One word review: Riveting

One sentence synopsis: A warrior princess of Thrace, Attia is captured and sold into slavery in Ancient Rome in this re-envisioning of the Spartacus story.

THE BONE WITCH by Rin Chupeco (YA)

Grade: 94% - A                                                                One word review: Accretion

One sentence synopsis: In a land where witches are prevalent, Tea discovers her power lies in the misunderstood form of necromancy when she raises her brother from the dead.

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME by Andre Aciman (Adult)

Grade: 89% - B+                                                              One word review: Nuanced

One sentence synopsis: A 17-year-old boy explores his bisexuality as he embarks upon a summer relationship with a visiting doctoral student in 1980s Italy.

BITTERBLUE by Kristin Cashore (YA)

Grade: 92% - A-                                                                One word review: Swan-song

One sentence synopsis: In the final Graceling book, Queen Bitterblue must overcome her father's legacy of despair, as well as betrayal, an impossible romance, and all the history that was built up in the first two books. (I will add that while some reviewers felt that this book didn't do justice to the other two, as a whole, the Graceling trilogy, in my humble opinion, is a feminist masterwork.)

STARDUST by Neil Gaiman (YA)

Grade: 85% - B                                                                    One word review: Disappointing

One sentence synopsis: Tristran Thorn sets out on his very own, real-life fairy tale to recover a fallen star (who just happens to be a beautiful girl) for his beloved, beyond the wall to Faerie. (My review is misleading - on a whole, the book was good, but for once, I have to admit, the movie was better, and I watched it before reading.)

THE BELLES by Dhonielle Clayton (YA)                                             

Grade: 96% - A                                                                     One word review: Unexpected

One sentence synopsis: In a world populated by gray, colorless people, Camellia Beauregard is a Belle, with the power to control and grant beauty, in this book that takes the popular notions of fantasy heroines to an unexpected, softer place with a deeply embedded social message about race, femininity, and control.

FIRE AND BONE by Rachel A. Marks (YA)

Grade: 96% - A                                                                    One word review: Unputdownable

One sentence synopsis: Sage is a foster kid, living on the streets, when a group of Celtic demigods draw her into their machinations in this fast-paced, sexy urban fantasy that literally kept me up all night.

PEOPLE LIKE US by Dana Mele (YA)

Grade: 93% - A                                                                      One word review: Suspenseful

One sentence synopsis: Kay Donovan has everything she wants as a queen of her elite boarding school, until a girl is found dead and Kay receives an email from the deceased, forcing her into a series of misdeeds against her friends in order to protect the life she covets.

P.S. I MISS YOU by Jen Petro-Roy (MG)

Grade: 95% - A                                                                     One word review: Sweet

One sentence synopsis: Eleven-year-old Evie is distraught when her pregnant teenage sister is sent away, so she writes her letters that Cilla doesn't answer, in which she explores her parents' fervent Catholicism, her feelings for her sister, and her own budding attraction to a new girl at school.

THE THIEF by Megan Whalen Turner (YA)

Grade - 87% - B                                                                      One word review: Promising

One sentence synopsis: In the first book of The Queen's Thief series, Gen sets out on his hero's journey after being released from prison in order to steal the greatest treasure yet -- a sacred stone that is guarded by the gods, themselves.

THE BEAUTY THAT REMAINS by Ashley Woodfolk (YA)

Grade - 93% - A                                                                     One word review: Poignant

One sentence synopsis: Three indirectly-related teens must deal with loss and grief after the loss of three  separate friends that died, too soon, and come together to build something new from the ashes of their pain. 

DOWN AMONG THE STICKS AND BONES by Seanan McGuire (YA/Adult)

Grade - 95% - A                                                                     One word review: Bleak

One sentence synopsis: The second in McGuire's Wayward Children series, this book follows Jack and Jill through their portal into the Moors, a dark and violent world that they must adapt to and survive, and which tears them apart.

AND I DARKEN by Kiersten White (YA)

Grade - 93% - A                                                                      One word review: Ambitious

One sentence synopsis: The first book in White's Conqueror's Saga, Lada and Radu are the children of the prince of Wallachia, held hostage by the Ottoman sultan in this retelling of the tale of Vlad the Impaler that posits Lada, a teenage girl, as the future mythological villain. 

  

I've been very fortunate this year - there has only been one book that I started and didn't finish, and I'm choosing not to name it at this time because I think my aversion was due to the place where my mind was at the time, and not the book itself. Someday, I'll give it another try. In the meantime, support new and diverse authors. Buy their books. Support stories that portray a vast array of worlds. Request books at your library. Review the books you like at Amazon and on Goodreads. Support the works and authors that move you, so that you can read more of their work. But most of all, crack open a book and relax. Enjoy the ride.