What I’ve Been Reading: Shadowhunters and Downworlders (and more)

I have read (and listened to) a lot of great books this month. To see them all you can check out my Read List on Goodreads. And if you’re on Goodreads too I’d love to be friends. Here are a few notable ones that I wanted to share with you.

Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader edited by Cassandra Clare (hits the shelves tomorrow 1/29/2013 or pre-order it now)

I have not been secretive about my love for Cassadra Clare’s shadowhunter books. Both her Mortal Instruments and the Infernal Devices series have homes in my heart. My love for her characters, world building, and storytelling made be super curious about this book. I was thrilled when I received an advance copy to review. The book is comprised of articles on topics written by some of my favorite YA authors.

This is a book about writing and reminded me in a fun way about my days studying philosophy. If are a fan of Cassie’s and like to take a step back (or in some cases a step further) to analyze stories and characters this is a good book for you. You should note that there ARE spoilers to all of the shadowhunter books that are currently out. The book starts with a forward from Cassie about the inception of her world and before each article she gives her two cents. I felt like I walked away with a much richer appreciation for many of the characters. See my full review.

 Wake by Amanda Hocking – Gemma seems to have it all—she’s carefree, pretty, and falling in love with Alex, the boy next door. He’s always been just a friend, but this summer they’ve taken their relationship to the next level, and now there’s no going back. Then one night, Gemma’s ordinary life changes forever. She’s taking a late night swim under the stars when she finds Penn, Lexi and Thea partying on the cove. They invite her to join them, and the next morning she wakes up on the beach feeling groggy and sick, knowing something is different. (from Goodreads)

I really enjoyed the story. The pace fit with my tastes, the story felt like a fun contemporary with powers (something I love), and the characters were relateable and enjoyable. It draws from Greek mythology for which we know I’ve developed quite a weakness. This is a fun easy read and I can’t wait to check out the rest of the series. See my full review.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner – When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every thirty days a new boy has been delivered in the lift. (from Goodreads)

This is one of the most recommended dystopian books.  I was eager to get to it. Unfortunately it just did not keep my attention and I had many other books I was anxious to read. Luckily I gave it a second chance this way via audiobook and I am SO glad that I did. This book is full of adventure I can see why it appears on almost every “if you liked The Hunger Games list” that I’ve seen. It is told from a boys point of view which is rare in YA literature. I definitely will be reading more in this series. See my full review.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray – The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner. (from Goodreads)

There was SO much hype about this book. People raved about it. The idea sounded really fun -beauty queens meet Lord of the Flies. Unfortunately I didn’t love this book. In fact I gave up on it but randomly after a few months decided to give it another go. Even knowing it is meant to be satire and tongue in cheek, to me it came off as irritating and almost preachy. The girls start out SO obnoxious and yes they grow and get better and there were some story lines and characters that made me smile, but really I don’t think I’d have missed anything if I didn’t finish this one. See my full review.

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