Mid-Year Reading Check, Part 2
This post is a continuation from last month’s, since it got so long. Here are the other six (fiction) books I read in the first half of this year:
Chalice by Robin McKinley
This book is awesome, full of deep meaning and symbolism but also just an enjoyable story. It’s kind of like Beauty and the Beast but different. The heroine is a beekeeper, and she uses honey to do magic. It’s hard to explain but really cool. I was waiting for more romance between her and the Master, but it was so subtle I almost wondered if it was there . . . and then at the end things were so short and swift, I was like “Oh.” Yeah, okay, good, but maybe a bit more romantic, please?? Hahaha, says the girl who doesn’t read a whole lot of romance. Well, maybe I read more of it (and like it better) than I thought. . . .
The Stolen Kingdom by Bethany Atazadeh
This is an Aladdin retelling, and the only one I’ve read so far. I enjoyed it, and I liked the spin the author put on the story. The main character, Ari (i.e., “Jasmine”), is a stronger and more developed character. The genie is quite different, too, not hilarious and zany but noble and honorable. If you’re the sort who cares about this: there are typos and misplaced modifiers and such; it’s self-published. It’s a lot better than many other self-published books I’ve read, though. It begins a series, which includes mermaids (an “Ariel” type character will be in it) and other Disney princesses, all in the same world and possibly joining their storylines.
The Blessed by Remy Apepp
This book is a sequel to Sand to Glass, and it comes out in September! I’m the proofreader, so I will be reading it (in physical form) a second time soon. It’s a dark literary fantasy, and it’s very poignant. It’s full of beautiful imagery and metaphors, as well as interesting, deep themes about life and death, what it means to be blessed or cursed, and it has fascinating glimpses into various forms of mental illness or neurodivergence. Like Sand to Glass, it’s engrossing and enthralling, and I would recommend it to people who like Anne Rice novels.
The Narrative by Katherine Vick
This is the third Plot Bandits book, and it comes out in November! It’s just as hilarious as the first two!! If you love Terry Pratchett books, you’ll probably love these ones too! Vick is brilliant at physical comedy, and you would not believe the amount of ways she can think of to have fun with a beheaded—yet still very much alive—character. (There’s no gore; it’s silly like Monty Python.) It’s good, clean fun and also has a great underlying social-justice type of message.
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
I loved this perhaps even more than Six of Crows! Although there’s something very sad near the end, so prepare to cry! Argh, why did she have to do that . . . Anyway, it’s another exciting, suspenseful book just like its companion; but instead of pulling off a heist, this time Kaz and crew are out for revenge. And they’ve got the whole city after them—the police, wealthy merchants, rival gangs—with all kinds of wrenches being thrown in the works, so Plan A has to go to Plans B, C, D . . . etc.! It kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat, and I definitely recommend it!
Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
My cousin recommended this book to me. It’s basically a Snow White retelling, but the heroine is not the fairest of all—in fact, she thinks she’s very ugly. But she does have the best singing voice in a kingdom that highly values music. It’s a slightly quirky, unique book—the characters sing a lot of their dialogue! I think this would make a good musical. :) I also love how the prince has a dog that follows him everywhere. It’s very sweet. You can always tell people are good when a dog loves them.
Well, that’s all the books I’ve read in the first half of 2022. I’ll do another blog post like this near the end of the year!
Happy summer, and happy reading!
P.S. – This summer has been quite busy for me, with—on top of my usual workload—making TikTok videos and selling Thinklings’ books at three different local comic cons! Check out this blog post and this one and this one for details on that and some fun pictures!
P.P.S. – If you enjoyed these book recommendations, why not sign up for Thinklings’ newsletter? I’m the one who writes it, and Deborah and I have similar (and very excellent ;) taste in books! Most of the recommendations come from her and me.
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Sarah Awa lives in Ohio with two hairy guys and writes books about werewolves.