**Welcome to Weekly Reads! Each Monday I’ll share reviews for my most recent reads. For more reviews, please visit my page, The Reads: From A to Z.**
Happy Labor Day! Hope y’all are enjoying it!
This has been a great weekend for us – spending time with family, shopping Hastings’ closing sale, and finally getting our living room chairs, I couldn’t ask for anything more. 🙂
Between this week’s book haul and my growing collection of library books – I’ll definitely have plenty to read in the coming weeks. Hopefully I can get through a good number of them before the new September releases come out!
This week’s post is another long one, so grab a coffee (or cocktail) and get your TBR ready!
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
Verity is a city of monsters, a city of shadows where acts of violence breed actual monsters. Kate Harker is heir to the city, with her ruthless father in charge she’ll do anything to prove her worth, even if it means acquiring a monster-like savagery. August Flynn, on the other hand, is a monster, but not just any monster, a Sunai who can steal an evil soul with a simple tune. He’d do anything to hide his curse, to be more like a human. But when the truce between monsters and man is broken, they’ll have to work together to not only survive, but save the city.
“You wanted to feel alive, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re monster or human. Living hurts.”
Unique and inspiring, This Savage Song will easily be one of the best books of 2016. More than another YA fantasy novel, Schwab’s new series brings more to the plate than a cheesy romance hidden behind a fantastical world of monsters. That’s right, a YA fantasy WITHOUT romance – who could have imagined such a thing!? And what a world she spins! Verity is so unique, from the new caste of monsters to both Kate and August. While Kate does everything she can to prove herself cunning and ruthless, she struggles to conform to this role as she remembers her carefree childhood. She yearns to be normal and happy, but understands the world in which she lives would never allow it. August is a Sunai, the most ruthless monster of all, but also the most understood. More powerful than he knows, as a Sunai he feeds off evil souls, protecting the innocent from the spread of new monsters, and yet he struggles to accept his inner savagery. He longs to be human, to eat normal food, to not have to keep secrets… Together, their relationship is even more complex. On the edge of friendship, the state of the city throws the two into a necessary truce, and as more secrets are revealed, a friendship develops, ultimately showing the muddy differences between heroes and villains and the decisions that define us.
Rating: 5 Stars Goodreads
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne
Based on the original story by J.K. Rowling and written by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child takes the stage as Harry, now grown up and married with children, is working for the Ministry of Magic and learning the constant struggle of parenthood. To his dismay, his son Albus is sorted into Slytherin and friends with Scorpius Malfoy, no less! While father and son fail to relate, Albus and Scorpius take on the harrowing task to prevent Cedric Diggory’s death during the Triwizard tournament, hoping to prove, once and for all, their friendship and their worth. But a journey through time is anything but simple…
“In every shining moment of happiness is that drop of poison: the knowledge that pain will come again. Be honest to those you love, show your pain. To suffer is as human as to breathe.”
Stigmatized by many as glorified fan fiction, the latest in the Harry Potter series is starkly different than its predecessors. First off, it’s a play, and with that, much of the action and scenery is left to the reader’s imagination – growing up with Potter this was no problem, but new readers may struggle without Rowling’s magical descriptions of Hogwarts. My favorite part of the story is, of course, the friendship between Albus and Scorpius. Mirroring the friendship between Harry, Ron and Hermione, their unlikely friendship goes one step further to show the powerful bond of friendship and it’s ability to change your life for the better. This point is really accentuated when Scorpius is thrown into a world where Albus doesn’t exist, and even though he’s popular and highly esteemed by the wizarding world, instead of shamed or gossiped about, he does everything in his power to save Albus! That said, their are multiple conversations between Albus and Scorpius that hint to a deeper relationship than just friendship, but by the end of the play, Ron and Hermione’s daughter magically appears as a love interest for Scorpius and any feeling between them is immediately squashed… Why have any notion of a relationship between them at all if you’re just going to throw in a girl at the last second – I can’t think of a worst way to show an anti-homosexual stance. Not a fan. Between that, the strange relationship between Ron and Hermione, Hermione being a mean teacher (really?), Harry’s rude attitude throughout the story (no one should talk to McGonagall like that) and his ploy to break up Albus and Scorpius, plus all the plot holes created by the very IDEA that Voldemort could even have a daughter…. I enjoyed the story, but I could have done without.
Rating: 4 Stars Goodreads
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
On just another day in sunny Southern California, Julia and her family wake to find the world forever changed as the Earth’s rotation has suddenly slowed. The unexplained change has forever altered Earth’s gravity and climate as the days and nights are lengthened and the world plagued by extreme sun radiation, not to mention an unexplained sickness.
“How much sweeter life would be if it all happened in reverse, if, after decades of disappointments, you finally arrived at an age when you had conceded nothing, when everything was possible.”
I was pleasantly surprised by my reading of The Age of Miracles. Many readers have given the book poor ratings on Goodreads for the lack of science or explanation behind the Earth’s shift, but in my reading, I found the author’s focus to be on Julia’s coming of age, and not the world-ending science. The story is about Julia, about how, even in times of desperation, day to day life must (and will) continue. Beyond just finding food and surviving, family tensions and friendships are tested, dreams are pursued, and life goes on – it’s just different.
Rating: 4 Stars Goodreads
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Cinder is one of the most talented mechanics in New Beijing, but she’s also a cyborg. But when her step-sister becomes terminally ill, her life will take a surprising new turn as she befriends the Prince and suddenly finds herself at the middle of an intergalactic war!
“Vanity is a factor, but it is more a question of control. It is easier to trick others into perceiving you as beautiful if you can convince yourself you are beautiful. But mirrors have an uncanny way of telling the truth.”
A modern, fantastical take on Cinderella, Cinder is sparky, funny, and charmingly romantic – the modern retelling we’ve all been waiting for. Not only a cyborg, but shockingly a Lunar too, much of Cinder’s life is a mystery even to herself. Even though I saw the twist from a mile away, it wasn’t the kind of reveal I was ready to get over with, but a cheering triumph for a beloved character. My only complaint is the amount of time focused on the relationship between Cinder and the prince, especially while at the ball! She’s there on a mission and completely let’s herself be distracted by the oohs and aahs of dancing with the prince – with his life and the fate of the world on your hands, there’s no time for giddy romance. The amount of time spent on the romancing seemed detrimental to her character building, even if Cinder’s only a teenager. Still, I can’t wait to see how she escapes and where the story goes in the next installment, Scarlet! By the way, with the first book based on Cinderella, the second on Red Riding Hood, and the third on Rapunzel, has anyone else noticed the similarity between the series and Into the Woods??
Rating: 4 Stars Goodreads
What have you been reading lately?