January 21, 2013

Introducing: Recently Read

I read a lot of books, but rarely do I talk about them here. It's not on purpose, I just often have a hard time reviewing books in the traditional sense; I also read a lot of books that would definitely not be considered high literature.

Regardless, I do often read books that I'd like to share with y'all, and that's where this new feature comes into play.

My idea for Recently Read is to post photos of the books I've read recently (natch), along with a synopsis and a short review. (You can also always check out the books I'm reading on Goodreads, if you're so inclined.) I would also love to hear what you think, if you've read similar titles; I'm always looking for book recommendations.

So what have I read recently?

Matched, Crossed and Reached (The Matched Series) by Ally Condie

Here's the synopsis of the first novel in the series, Matched:
In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one … until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.
I read through this series in a matter of days. They're entertaining, but not super engrossing. I wanted to find out what happened with the characters, yes, but I found that everything was wrapped up a little too neatly in the end.

Genre: YA/Romance/Dystopian
For fans of: The Hunger Games, YA love triangles.

The Diviners by Libba Bray
Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult—also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer—if he doesn't catch her first.

I was really pleased when I started to read this book and found that it wasn't your typical YA romance. The main character took a bit of getting used to, but the way her story intertwined with the other stories in the books made for a great adventure. There's a lot of the unexplained in this book, both in the plot and in the "things left unsaid" behind the plot. It left me wanting more, but not so much that I will be pining for the next book in the series. (I'm just assuming there will be books to come.)

Genre: YA, thriller, supernatural
For fans of: Mysteries, CSI, the Roaring Twenties

Onyx and Opal (books two and three in the Lux series) by Jennifer Armentrout

Here's the synopsis for the first in the series, Obsidian:
Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don't kill him first, that is.
I read the first in this series last October, and then received the second two books for Christmas. I was originally interested in it because I read a review on Goodreads that mentioned it was reminiscent of Roswell (one of my most favorite shows ever). To be totally honest—the books are not well written or well edited. (They're similar to some better fanfics I've read.) But the story is really amusing, and the whole "will they/won't they" animosity-turned-love makes up for some of the terrible bits.

Genre: YA/Romance/Aliens
For fans of: Roswell, annoyingly cocky but super hot protagonists

So, friends, what do you think? Would you like more of my opinions on the books in future editions of this feature? What else might you like to know about the books I've been reading?


  1. I think this is a good new feature. I know books are something you get way into so it makes sense to do book reviews like you do movie reviews.

    I, uh, think I'll pass on the books listed here, but at least I won't have to wonder about them just in case I happen to catch sight of those super-sexy Lux covers in the store.

    1. Thanks, Wes! And I promise to try to read something other than YA romance novels from time to time. ;)

      But yeah ... the Lux novels are super ridiculous.

  2. Haha! My blog post today was book reviews as well! AND I talked about continuing book reviews on a more regular basis. Great minds?! ;)

    I'm currently reading Reached and I agree so far with your assessment of the series. I just want to find out the ending of the story. ;) Also, Obsidian is on my 'to read' list. Glad to know not to expect too much from the writing, but sometimes you just need a fun, cheesy story, amirite?

    1. I'd be happy to let you borrow the Lux books, if you like? :)

  3. I felt the same way about "Reached." Too neat and clean of an ending.

    The "Stork" series is kind of neat -- it relates to Norse Mythology.

    1. I'll have to check that out. I just read the first Percy Jackson, so now I'm ready to be all up in the mythology business.

  4. I like this feature. I like to see what people are reading. The Matched series looks interesting and I'll have to add it to my list of books to read.

    I just started reading Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone.

    1. Thanks, Melissa! I'm glad it's going over well. I'll try to make the posts less book-heavy in the future so that I can expand a bit more.

      I just read a synopsis of Three Parts Dead and I could totally see how that would be interesting. I shall have to add it to my list.

  5. OH MAN!!! I must read The Diviners! That sounds awesome. :D

  6. I'm a sucker for book review series. I have a hard time writing/reviewing books too - it usually just comes out as a jumble of "OHOKAYAYYYAAY BOOKS! Read this!", which I don't think sways anyone xD

    I'm looking forward to delving into this Libba Bray book. I liked her earlier stuff, so I'm kind of biased, but this sounds like it holds up. Matched is one I'm with you on; I feel like I'm reading it just to find out what happens because I already opened the cover. Honestly, I wasn't too impressed with the first book enough to want to read on (it was good, just not as enthralling as I had hoped/heard). So now I'm battling the "do I finish it just because/cause it didn't make me vomit" demons.

    1. I'd love to read more Libba Bray now that I've read The Diviners. (It was my first foray into her work.) I really like her style.

      The whole Matched series was decent, for sure, but it paled in comparison to the Hunger Games. It definitely wrapped things up much nicer than HG, but to me, dystopian literature can't be wrapped up so neatly for it to really resonate.

    2. *which is why HG resonated so strongly with me.

  7. yeah book reviews! i'm also a fan of "fluff novels". i loved the percy jackson series- some of them more than others- but i'm actually rereading them right now.
    if you haven't read it yet- the parthalon series by p.c. cast (the mother of the mother daughter duo that writes the house of night novels- which are also pretty interesting in their own right (even though they are dragging out the series something crazy!!!)). the writing is not the most fantastic, but it's vivid and you can picture everything so perfectly the way she details it. there are 3 books in the series and a couple of "spin off" novellas. if i were to have a literary crush it would be the "man" from this series.
    the blue bloods series is also entertaining but i would only read them if you can get them from someone or not pay a lot for them. the books have actually gotten shorter and less happens in them as they've gone on- in an effort to make more money i guess. i'm still reading them because i want to know what happens and the stories are well written... they could just be 3 books instead of 7.

    1. I just finished the first Percy Jackson and really enjoyed it! I need to make a trip to Half Price Books to find more.

      And I've never read anything by P.C. Cast, but I've hear her name a ton of times. I'll have to check the series out.

      Thanks for the recs. :D

  8. Oh my gosh! I've been wanting to finish the Matched series and didn't realize the other books were already out. I'm sad to hear that is wrapped up so 'neatly' but I think I'm definitely still going to finish it. It was a neat idea, but I agree (even in the first book) that it could have been fleshed out a little more. I need to get back into reading fiction (I'm an obsessive non-fiction reader). I'm trying to figure out what to read....I'll have to take a look at some of the ones on your list!

    1. It's not that it wasn't good, but it was a little tidy.

      And look away! There aren't that many on my Goodreads, but I'm going to try to be better about cataloging this year.