What I'm Reading in 2021
Working towards my 2021 Goodreads challenge of 52 books in one year. Tracking what I'm reading below as well as reviews! All books are linked to my Amazon Storefront!
A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir
Book four and the final installment of the "An Ember in the Ashes" series. For the record - I have absolutely loved this reading journey. The story follows three main characters fighting supernatural beings in a war torn world. Sabaa Tahir is incredibly gifted with words. The first book blew my mind and the next two were hard to put down. Unfortunately, I think this story could have been wrapped up in three books instead of four.
The fourth book came across as repetitive. A lot of wandering around the desert, a lot of scenes repeating, and not a lot of movement until the very end where it almost seemed rushed. I enjoyed the first few chapters and the last few, but the middle found me struggling to keep going. At some points I wanted to skip ahead. Stuck in his role of Soul Catcher, Elias for the most part had zero substance or personality. This was such a bummer because his character was my favorite and multidimensional - not having the full Elias was a book buzz kill. Laia had frustrating moments. Helene deserved so much better than what she got. And the Commandant was basically nonexistent in this book.
Still - the ending was satisfying and I highly recommend the series to anyone who loves bloody, intense, young adult-ish Fantasy.
The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman
Dear ladies: if you find yourself really digging a guy, don't sleep with him the first night you meet him. The phrase "hit it and quit it" exists for a reason.
This book would make a perfect cross over to movie land. Generations of sisters plagued by a supposed curse on the second sister that ultimately shapes their relationships with each other. Then one day, three second born sisters decided to break the curse together. The idea of this story is beautiful and captivating, but something just didn't hit the mark all the way for me.
I loved the travel scenes, and most especially I loved Aunt Poppy. If you read this book for only one reason, let it be to learn from Aunt Poppy. You're only bored if you're boring!
Mainly, I didn't find a lot of depth in the characters. Each was a bit of a stereotype and I never connected with any of them, except Aunt Poppy. The ending was beautiful, and I definitely cheered the characters on when they finally stood up for themselves - but I also found myself not super invested. Overall a sweet, if not super deep, easy read. (Once Upon A Book Club book of the month box.)
Among the Beasts and Briars by Ashley Poston
Three books into 2021, and I still haven't hit a 5 star book yet.
I was looking forward to this one as I love anything with magic and forbidden forests. Fairly quickly, it was apparent this is a middle-grade read with a few bits of dark gore (the only parts that kept me reading.) The 13 yr old me would have absolutely loved "Among the Beasts and the Briars," but the present-day me lost dedication when I realized the love interest was a fox turned human. I won't spend too much time working on this review. I just wanted to say it's an excellent option for a middle school reader who loves fantasy, magic, and fairytales. (Owlcrate book of the month box.)
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Finally! My first 5-star read of 2021!
Who among us hasn't looked back on our choices in life and wondered where we would be had we chosen differently? Good and bad.
The main selling point for "The Midnight Library," from my perspective, is that anyone can read and relate to the storyline. Matt Haig takes us on the journey of one woman who, in a desperate situation, is given the gift of a lifetime. She is able to go back through her regrets and try out new versions of her life had she chosen differently. Reading this reminded me that regrets aren't always as they seem. I devoured each page and finished feeling so grateful for every step of my life.
Also, thinking about the idea of multi-universes with parallel me's is wild. Wishing all my other selves the best of luck in life and a happy existence! (Once Upon A Book Club book of the month box.)