January Reading Wrap-Up
This month was a pretty good reading month for me in terms of number of books/pages read. I'm pleased to have gotten off to a good start in the new decade! Below I've listed the books I read in order of my level of enjoyment. For any I already have thoughts/reviews on either here on the blog or goodreads will have a link you can copy and paste to find my full thoughts.
Books Read: 7 (6 new, 1 reread)
Total Pages Read: 2,675
Average Rating: 3.96/5 stars (approx.)
Average # of Pages per Book: 382 (approx.)
1. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim (487 pages) (Rated: 5 stars)
This novel feels like it was born of an affair between Mulan and Project Runway. It follows Maia who is an ambitious young woman who dreams of becoming the imperial tailor. This was my favorite book of the month. If you're interested in my full thoughts I have a review up on my blog for this book.
Pros: Rich world, wonderful romance, unique plot
Find the full review here: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/home/a-review-of-spin-the-dawn-by-elizabeth-lim
2. Ziggy, Stardust & Me by James Brandon (347 pages) (Rated: 4.5 stars)
A young adult contemporary romance following Johnathan, a gay high school student living in the early seventies when being gay is considered a sickness. The story follows Johnathan as he battles internalized homophobia (as well as a disapproving father determined to 'fix' him) and falls in love with newcomer Web. This story was heart-wrenching but well written and has a wonderful message about self-acceptance.
Pros: Wonderful message for young people, imaginative main character, good use of setting/time
Cons: Potentially triggering, abrupt ending
Find my thoughts here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3069398283
3. Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan (497 pages) (Rated: 4 stars)
The second book of the Girls of Paper and Fire series which takes place in the immediate aftermath of the events of the first novel. While not as flawless as its predecessor, it was still well worth the read. I have a full review for the book up on the blog if you're interested
Pros: Well developed characters, unique world expanded upon
Cons: Comic relief character undermines serious narrative, narrative interrupted with third person chapters
Find the full review here: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/home/a-review-of-girls-of-storm-and-shadow-by-natasha-ngan
Haven't read the first book yet? Find my full review on it here: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/home/a-review-of-girls-of-paper-and-fire-by-natasha-ngan
4. We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal (469 pages) (Rated: 3.75 stars)
A young adult fantasy set in a world inspired by ancient Arabia in which magic has been lost and an ominous, ever encroaching forest is overtaking the land. The novel follows huntress Zafira who is desperate to save her people and restore magic and Nasir, the sultan's assassin son who must hunt the huntress herself. The novel is rich in world with compelling main characters, but you have to slog through the first quarter before the plot really kicks in.
Pros: Unique world/plot, strong main characters
Cons: slow start
Full review coming soon! (Feb. 15, 2020)
5. Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin (513 pages) (Rated: 3 stars)
A young adult fantasy novel following a witch (Lou) and a witch hunter (Reid) who are forced to marry following a public stunt. I found the novel underwhelming and the main characters lacking chemistry, though I enjoyed the magical elements of it.
Pros: Interesting world/magic system
Cons: Unlikable characters with no chemistry, awkward pacing
Find my thoughts here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3126005582?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1
6. On Luna Time by Amber Crawley (197 pages) (Rated: 2.5 stars)
A historical fiction novel following Vanessa Marshall, a girl who comes from a family of women who possess the ability to travel through time. Vanessa discovers this secret just before her 18th birthday and travels back to 1949. The novel was a quick, easy read but it left me feeling as though it could have been so much more.
Pros: Interesting narrative (use of journal entries to explore characters)
Cons: Horrific grammar, too short, doesn't make good use of time travel gimmick
Find my thoughts here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3126157751
1. The Giver by Lois Lowry (165 pages (Quartet Omnibus edition)) (Rated: 5 stars)
This middle grade dystopian follows main character Jonas who lives in a world devoid of love, choice and color but also peaceful and empty of warfare and hunger. However, when Jonas is chosen for his career path upon his twelve year, it causes him to become increasingly disillusioned with his world. This novel grapples with the importance (and even danger) of individuality and choice). This is one of my all time favorite novels (as well as most reread) and is as gut wrenching as it is hauntingly beautiful.
Pros: Thought provoking world/narrative, well written, pretty much everything about this novel.
Cons: None. Go read it.