How are we already talking about books I read in January 2021? How is it already 2021? Time is going by so fast these days, my dears, and while the part of me who wants to hug people is totally okay with that, the part of me that needs to somehow complete a research project by April is less so. Along those lines, I was really afraid that I would not have any books to talk about this month. As evidenced by the stressed out side of myself, school is really ramping up in my second last semester so I have lots of work to do and lots of Freire to read. Maybe by the end of this semester, I’ll finally be able to explain to people what praxis means.
But, like we recently discussed, when life is heavy and when life is light a girl needs to take some time for herself. And in my “me” time, I do like to read.
Something that will be a little bit different this year – I’m following the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge. I typically read more books in a year than the challenge requires you to read so not all books will fit into a category for the challenge, but if a book does tick a box, I’ll let you know which one.
The Cousins by Karen McManus
I was so excited to read The Cousins – Karen McManus writes YA thrillers in a really approachable way that still keeps you crazy engaged all the way through. Her characters act like teenagers and, when they decide not to include adults in their adventures, the decision makes sense. (Teens acting like adults in YA fiction is my least favourite thing – give me a compelling reason to get the adults out of the way!)
The Cousins lived up to all my expectations. It tells the story of – you guessed it – three cousins from the Story family. These kids barely know each other due to family **drama** when they are mysteriously invited to spend the summer working at their grandmother’s isolated island resort. As you can imagine, secrets are exposed and thrilling adventures take place. Plus! A bonus – the book has parallel time periods. It was such a fun read.
POPSUGAR Reading Challenge: A book with a family tree
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
By contrast, I don’t think I could call The Hazel Wood a fun read, even if it is equally mysterious. Alice and her mother have spent their lives on the road, always followed by the “bad luck”. When her grandmother, a famous and reclusive author, passes away, it seems like the bad luck is finally behind them… but it’s just beginning.
The Hazel Wood is a throwback to dark fairy tales. It blends original fairy tales with the real world in a way that feels mildly reminiscent of Alice In Wonderland. Except it is very grown up. And Alice is not a particularly likeable character. There is a very very good reason for the darkness inside Alice – which she cannot understand – but I should warn you. You gotta wait through some angry, nastiness to get there.
POPSUGAR Reading Challenge: A book about forgetting
The Night Country by Melissa Albert
Obviously I was able to get past Alice’s darkness – I almost immediately read The Hazel Wood’s sequel The Night Country. I preferred this book. Alice is in a more accessible place – even if she continues to set fire to the world around her – and y’all know I love it when the world expands. Plus this book has one of my favourite fantasy things – parallel storylines! I absolutely love seeing how the characters come together.
There is also a book of the fairy tales from this series – Tales from the Hinterland. I cannot wait to see where the characters in these first two books come from. We hear hints of their “stories”, I want the whole thing!
Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell
Wayward Son is another sequel… and I haven’t written about the original on this blog so… um… how do I handle this?
I really enjoyed it. It’s a YA LGBT romance-fantasy.
Go read Carry On. Then just read Wayward Son right afterwards to see what happens to a Chosen One once the thing they were chosen for is no longer a thing. It’s like fanfiction, but by the author. Love it.
My Favourite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren
Christina Lauren is fairly prolific in the rom-com genre for their fluffy beachy reads. My Favourite Half-Night Stand is definitely a cute fluffy read, if fairly trope-y. (It’s a classic “secret identity” romance and the denouement happens through letters). I guess my only complaint is that I wish they had committed more fully to the bit? Like, a couple of times they show messages from a group chat and if that’s going to be a thing, I want it to be a thing.
But maybe I’m just thinking too much about my rom-coms.
Though I will admit, I literally started reading this book a year and a half ago. It took this long for me to actually sit down at finish it. So that says something.
POPSUGAR Reading Challenge: The book that’s on your TBR list for the longest amount of time