2020 May Wrap Up

I might not have gotten too many books read in the month of May, but I enjoyed everything I picked up. For that alone, I consider my reading in May to be a success. In addition the the books I speak about below, I also participated in the Asian Readathon. Here’s my 2020 Asian Readathon TBR and Wrap Up

I’ll admit, I also spent a lot of this month spoiling my puppy. Yzma got a new outdoor bed and she not only loved it outside but wanted to sit in it inside as well. Playing in the sun with her was also a great way to spend some time. I hope that you’ve got some space to play with a puppy as well – it’s certainly a great way to spend time!

 

 

 

Without further ado, here’s my reading stats for this month:

 


 

For reference: Physical books, eBooks, and AudioBooks. Library books.

 

Total books completed: 4

Total pages read: 1978 pages (avg. 495 pages per book)

 

Completed Books:

  1. Stain by A. G. Howard (Goodreads)[5 stars]
  2. The Fallen Angel by Kenneth B Andersen (The Great Devil War, Book 5)[4.5 stars]
  3. The Story of My Life by Helen Keller (Goodreads)[5 stars]
  4. Fire Study by Maria V Snyder (Poison Study, Book 3; The Chronicles of Ixia, Book 3)[4.24 stars]

 


 

Dedicated Blog Posts:

  1. Stain by A.G. Howard
  2. The Fallen Angel by Kenneth B Andersen
  3. The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
  4. Fire Study by Maria V Snyder
  5. Storm Glass by Maria V Snyder

 


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2020 Asian Readathon Wrap Up

I am once again thrilled to have participated in the Asian Readathon. Just like last year I was able to discover new books and authors that weren’t on my radar beforehand. It has also encouraged me to try and participate in other Readathons throughout the year to see what novels I can find I might not have discovered or picked up on my own.

My eyes have once again been opened to the vast amount of literature I have yet to get to and has thankfully broken me out of the reading slump I’ve found myself in the last couple of months. I read some fantastic books during this Readathon – even though I didn’t get to as many books as I did last year – and look forward to picking up more books by Asian authors in the future.

Without further ado, here’s my reading stats for this month:

 


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Storm Glass by Maria V Snyder

Rating: 4.5/5 stars Storm Glass

Pages: 488

Series:  Glass, Book 1; The Chronicles of Ixia, Book 3

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Magic, Fiction, Magic, Magicians

Publication date: May 1, 2009

 

Within seconds of getting comfortable, I fell asleep. The wind whistled in my dreams as I ran from the waves. The sand sucked at my feet and hindered my movements before melting under me. I slogged through thick molten glass as a huge wave grew behind me. Riding on top of the waves was Blue Eyes. He beckoned to me. His voice echoes in my chest. “Finish the job.”

(Chapter 5)

Growing up as a glassmaker and becoming a magician-in-training has taught Opal Cowan what it means to survive trial by fire. When someone sabotages the Stormdance clan’s glass orbs causing the deaths of their most powerful magicians, the Stormdancers call of Opal’s unique talents to prevent it from happening again. But when the mission goes awry, Opal must learn to tap into a new kind of magic. As she delves further into the intriguing connection between glass and magic the more distorted things appear. Lives hang in the balance, forcing Opal to learn how to control her powers – powers that could lead to disaster beyond anything she’s ever known.

I absolutely adored the way that Snyder continued to expand the world in this series. While I’ve previously read the 6 books in the Poison Study series, I didn’t realize just how much I was missing by not reading the Glass trilogy. To prevent anyone from going through the same things that I did, I’d highly recommend reading Storm Glass after finishing Fire Study – basically, follow the Chronicles of Ixia order.

In Storm Glass, the reader is introduced to much of Sitia that we hadn’t yet explored.  Not only are you given a look at the Stormdance lands, you’re also taken on a tour of some of the other clan homelands. I certainly found this useful as a tool to understand the world that these characters are living in.

Speaking of the characters, I greatly enjoyed seeing a side of known characters – such as Opal and Leif – that we didn’t get to see from Yelena’s perspective, as well as getting to know new characters. Opal has already gone through a lot in her life before the events in this book, but Storm Glass just goes to show how strong Opal is and the lengths she’s willing to go to protect the innocent.

If you’re interested in a land filled with magic and mystery, you might want to give these books a try. Whether through Yelena’s perspective or Opal’s, you’ll learn a lot about the magic system in this world. Not to mention exploring magical talents the likes of which Sitia has never seen before.

 


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Fire Study by Maria V Snyder

Fire Study.jpg

Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Pages: 441

Series: Poison Study, Book 3; The Chronicles of Ixia, Book 3

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Magic, Fiction

Publication date: February 26, 2008

 

Magic made me lazy. And when I encountered a bad situation, I reached for it without thought.

(Yelena’s musings, Ch. 22).

Word that Yelena is a soulfinder is spreading like wildfire throughout Sitia and people are growing uneasy. Yelena’s past and her unusual abilities set her apart from other magicians, leaving the Council debating Yelena’s fate. When she receives the disturbing message that a murderous sorcerer she’s defeated before is plotting against her homeland, honour sets Yelena on a quest to stop him once and for all.

Without going into spoilers, I just have to share my love for Moon Man. No matter how cryptic he’s being or how much he’s frustrating Yelena, I absolutely adore this man. His sassiness speaks to me, along with his determination to do what’s right even when it’s not the easiest thing in the world.

Looking at the plot of this story, I think it was a great way to conclude this, the opening trilogy in the Chronicles of Ixia. Yelena has gone through a lot of growth; both as a person and as a magician. She’s learned what it takes to trust others and how to do what you believe in, even when it’s terrifying.

As with the first time I read this series, I’ve absolutely fallen in love with the world. It feels real, the necklace snakes a terrifying nightmare that could be a reality. The Avibian plains, a place filled with magic and mayhem, almost somewhere I’d like to get lost in.

Of course, things are even more difficult for Yelena and her friends in this book. One might think that facing the same villain for a second time would make them easier to beat, but that’s not accounting for all of the twists and turns Yelena and her friends find themselves dealing with this time around.

If you haven’t yet checked out Snyder’s work, I’d recommend it. So far I’ve read the six main books in the Poison Study series so far and am looking forward to completing the rest of the Chronicles of Ixia novels. I’ve grown to adore her writing and look forward to checking out her other books as well.

 

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The Story of My Life by Helen Keller

Rating: 5/5 stars The Story of My Life

Length: 240 pages

Series: N/A

Genres: Biography, Classics, Nonfiction, Autobiography, Historical, Inspirational, Disability

Publication date: May 1, 1990 (first published 1902)

 

It is with a kind of fear that I begin to write the history of my life. I have, as it were, a superstitious hesitation in lifting the veil that clings about my childhood like a golden mist.

(Ch 1, p. 1)

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Ash by Malinda Lo

Rating: 3.75/5 Stars Ash

Length: 264 pages

Series: Ash, Book 1

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, LGBTQ+, Romance, Fiction, Retelling

Publication date: September 1, 2009

 

“Every time you come near me,” he said, “you come closer to the end of everything.”
“It does not feel that way,” she said. “It feels like I am coming closer to the beginning.”

After her father’s death, Ash finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Filled with grief, the only bright part in Ash’s life is rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her.

The day she meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to changed. Instead of chasing fairies, Kaisa teaches Ash how to hunt. Instead of staring at the past, Ash learned to look at the future. But Sidhean has claimed Ash as his own, forcing Ash to choose between her fairy tale dreams and true love.

 


 

Asian Readathon Challenges Met:

1. Read a book written by an Asian author: Lo is Chinese.

3. Read a book featuring an Asian character or written by an Asian author who is different from you: Both of my parents are still alive and together so I’ve never needed to deal with a stepparent, let alone one that despises me. I’ve also never met a fairy in my life or made a deal with them, met royalty, or loved someone enough to risk everything for them.

 


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The Fallen Angel by Kenneth B Andersen

Rating: 4.5/5 stars The Fallen Angel

Length: 293 pages

Series: The Great Devil War, Book 5

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, European Literature, Danish Literature

Publication Date: May 28, 2020

 

Almost two years since Philip left Hell for good, things have changed – but so has Philip. Haunted by terrifying nightmares, he’s never felt so lonely or angry.

When the impossible happens and Philip finds himself back in Hell, he’s surprised to learn that it wasn’t the Devil but the Almighty himself that brought him there. The Great Devil War might have ended, but the worst is yet to come.

 


 

This amazing book comes out today, and if you haven’t yet picked this series up I highly recommend you do. Thanks to Andersen I had the chance to read this fantastic book before the release date, the latest installation in a series I’ve quickly fallen in love with.

Below are my quick, spoiler free reviews about this fantastic novel. I’d highly recommend picking the book – the entire series if you haven’t yet – up to read just how great a series this truly is. Then, once you’re caught up, come check back here in a couple of days so we can have a full, spoiler filled talk about the tale.

 


 

Spoiler free Review:

This book continues with what I’ve loved so much throughout the series so far. Andersen does an amazing job at creating and evolving his characters, to make them feel real. Their decisions feel like they actually have weight in a world I can imagine being in. Not that I’d love to be in Hell, but it’s fascinating to see how the world has changed and grown over the years.

Philip is still dealing with the consequences of his actions – has been doing so, alone, since his return. Everything he thought he did right, every change of fate he took, he’s now second guessing. Everyone he used to talk to about these things, gone. The people he trusted the most in the world – in any world, in fact – are lost to him.

And all of that’s just the consequences of the first four books in the series. In The Fallen Angel, Philip has to come to terms with consequences he didn’t even think about. His actions not only effected himself, but also those around him and the worlds themselves.

The war might be over, but that doesn’t mean things are fixed. On the contrary, things have escalated and Philip is needed once again. Finding himself in a world he never thought he’d see again, Philip has to overcome his anger and loneliness and fight back.

 


 

Reviews for this series:

  1. The Devil’s Apprentice (Book 1)
  2. The Die of Death (Book 2)
  3. The Wrongful Death (Book 3)
  4. The Angel of Evil (Book 4)

 

Subaru by Masahito Soda, Vol. 3 – 6

Five year old Subaru no longer has time for friends or play. Kazuma is dying and slowly forgetting everything, even his twin. Subaru visits him every day, talking and dancing all to try to make him remember her. And he always does by the end of the day. Encouraged by a friend to try a ballet class, Subaru does and falls in love with the dance.

 


 

Asian Readathon Challenges Met:

1. Read a book written by an Asian author: Soda is Japanese.

2. Read a book featuring an Asian character or written by an Asian author who you can relate to: Subaru is a ballet dancer and I took 16 years of dance classes (including ballet). She’s also clear in her distaste to compete while it took me a while to start enjoying dance competitions.

3. Read a book featuring an Asian character or written by an Asian author who is different from you: Subaru had a twin that ended up dying due to a brain tumor whereas I have never had a twin and my older sister remains in good health.

 


Continue reading “Subaru by Masahito Soda, Vol. 3 – 6”

Subaru by Masahito Soda, Vol. 1 & 2

Five year old Subaru no longer has time for friends or play. Kazuma is dying and slowly forgetting everything, even his twin. Subaru visits him every day, talking and dancing all to try to make him remember her. And he always does by the end of the day. Encouraged by a friend to try a ballet class, Subaru does and falls in love with the dance.

 


Asian Readathon Challenges Met:

1. Read a book written by an Asian author: Soda is Japanese.

2. Read a book featuring an Asian character or written by an Asian author who you can relate to: Subaru is a ballet dancer and I took 16 years of dance classes (including ballet). She’s also clear in her distaste to compete while it took me a while to start enjoying dance competitions.

3. Read a book featuring an Asian character or written by an Asian author who is different from you: Subaru had a twin that ended up dying due to a brain tumor whereas I have never had a twin and my older sister remains in good health. 


Continue reading “Subaru by Masahito Soda, Vol. 1 & 2”

Stain by A.G. Howard

Rating: 5/5 stars Stain.jpg

Pages: 516

Series: N/A

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings, Romance

Publication date: January 15, 2019

 

Scorch trotted up and snuffed her fuzzed head. He then sat on his hindquarters to gawk at her. “Humans are strange creatures. Moved to tears by emotions. Moved to laughter by physical exertion. And you, tiny trifling thing, are the strangest of all.”

(Ch. 17, p. 265)

Lyra, a princess incapable of speech or sound, finds herself cast out of her kingdom of daylight by her wicked aunt. Saved by a witch who steals her memories and raises her in an enchanted forest, Lyra is disguised as a boy known only as Stain. Meanwhile, the prince of thorns and night is dying. The only way for him to break the curse is to marry the princess of daylight as she is his true equal. But while Lyra is finding her way back to her identity, an impostor princess appears to steal her prince and crown. To win back her kingdom, save the prince, and make peace with the land of night, Lyra must be loud enough to be heard without a voice and strong enough to pass a series of tests.

I have yet to read an A.G. Howard novel that I didn’t love, and Stain is no exception. This novel brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion, yet at other times make me laugh out loud. I fell in love with the characters and felt heartbreak when they did.

While I won’t go too in depth on the subject because it would be considered a pretty big spoiler, there were two characters in this story that held my heart in their hands. I was instantly in love with them and wanted nothing but the best for each. Both of these characters sacrificed so much in order to bring the two kingdoms together and both of them managed to pull tears from me. While both challenging at times, they were two of the sweetest and most caring creatures I’ve ever had the pleasure to spend time with. I look forward to doing it all over again the next time I pick up this book.

Lyra goes through unprecedented challenges in her world, all to prove that she’s worthy – and all without knowing that she’s doing it. She must prove that she’s tough enough to sleep on a bed of nails and loud enough to be heard without a voice. Born a rose and stripped of her thorns, Lyra proves time and time again that though she might have been stripped of everything she’s ever known she’s still a strong spirit that won’t be broken.

While I found this book to be slow at times, every word is worth it. Those slow moments sometimes held the most important clues and only looking back on them did I see how truly impactful the scenes were. Howard is amazing with words and I look forward to reading anything else she writes.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who’s interested in twisted retellings of fairy tales. Stain is an amazing retelling of the Princess and the Pea, all while being twisted into something almost unrecognizable. Almost, but not quite. The unique spin on this classic tale is one of the things I loved most about it. And if you love this read, I highly recommend reading Howard’s other novels as well.

One of the things I love so much about Howard’s novels is that they’re so great to jump back into time and time again. Having first been introduced to her works through Splintered in high school, I can honestly say that I adore going back and reading everything I have by Howard. I’ll be here, shielding my heart for the emotional turmoil within Stain, until I’m again able to jump into this story and feel the emotions packed into its pages.

 


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