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May 1st, 2012

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June (2010)
Author: Robin Benway
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 282 (hardcover)
Series: Stand Alone

Summary (from Goodreads.com)Collapse )

Why I Read It: Back in 2009 I read and enjoyed Benway's debut, Audrey, Wait!. It's not one my favourite books ever, but it was fun and light-hearted. I found this novel in the bargain section at work and decided to give it a go (I was also entranced by the pretty cover).

REVIEW: no spoilersCollapse )

Final Verdict: I feel like this review was a little harsh, so I do want to say that I don't think this is a BAD book; the exploration of sisterly bonds was well done, and I did like most of the dialogue, which was sharp and witty and felt very authentic (even though I wasn't always super keen on the humour, but that's more of "it's not you, it's me" thing.) I wasn't, however, on board with the super-power facet of the novel which was never really explored with any depth and felt kind of superfluous to me. Yes, it does make this novel stand out from the slew of contemporary YA that comes out every year, but it ultimately felt like it hindered the novel. I also wish the secondary characters had been developed a bit more, and I wasn't super keen on either of the romantic subplots. I'm sad to say that I didn't like Benway's sophomore effort as much as her debut, but despite that, I do think I'll be checking out her future works.

Cover Commentary: I'm not usually crazy about photographs on book covers -- I usually prefer illustrations -- but this cover has always caught my eye. I love the gradient of the primary colours, I love the title font and how each name corresponds to a colour, and I like the models on the cover as well, despite them not quite looking how I imagined the protags (they all look too close in age, and also look too old I find.) The paperback is also super cute, though I'm not too sure why the photograph has to be so full of hands.

Monthly Round-Up: April 2012

GUYS, April is over which means I AM DONE MY ENGLISH LIT UNDERGRAD FOREVER. And this month was stressful as all get-out. I had four final essays to write (one which literally had me in tears -- NEVER AGAIN) and two exams. You'd *think* that would keep me from reading a lot of books this month, but reading was the only thing that calmed me down and kept me sane, so I ended up reading a lot more than I thought I would. It also didn't help that I was so stressed out that I hardly slept, which gave me plenty of time to read in the wee hours of the morning.

Anyway, onto the books!

Books Reviewed:
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
The Diviners by Margaret Laurence
The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancy
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
Everybody Sees the Ants by A. S. King
In Great Waters by Kit Whitfield
Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

Total Books Reviewed: 10

This month I suffered in reviews because of all the final assignments that had to be done. You can see that gap between The Diviners and The Monstrumologist, where I didn't post anything for twelve days straight. That time, my friends, was spent frantically writing essays, so I wasn't much in the mood for writing book reviews too. I also just didn't have time. I really made up for it at the end of the month though, where I've posted a review almost every day. :D

Books Read:
1. Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
2. Everybody Sees the Ants by A. S. King
3. Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse #2) by Charlaine Harris
4. The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June by Robin Benway
5. The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe
6. Friends With Boys by Erin Hicks
7. Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
8. Joe the Barbarian by Grant Morrison
9. On the Proper Use of Stars by Dominique Fortier (DNF)
10. My Beating Teenage Heart by C. K. Kelly Martin
11. Club Dead (Sookie Stackhouse #3) by Charlaine Harris
12. Anya's Ghost by Vera Brogsol
13. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
14. In Great Waters by Kit Whitfield
15. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
16. The Gates by John Connolly
17. Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse #4) by Charlaine Harris

Total Books Read This Year: 59 novels (1 DNF); 2 manga; 4 graphic novels

So, a fairly productive month. Four of the books I read were graphic novels which obviously raises the stack more quickly, but I've been meaning to read more graphic novels lately anyway.

Favourite: Hhmmm, I liked quite a few of the books I read this month, and I'm having a hard time picking a favourite. The only book to get five stars from me on Goodreads was Joe the Barbarian, so that's an obvious one to point out; it really was fantastic. Everybody Sees the Ants was also really good. Let's Pretend This Never Happened was just as funny as I was hoping it would be, and In Great Waters started out slow, but ended up winning my heart in the end. Anya's Ghost and Being Friends With Boys were also super cute and fun.

Most Disappointing: This one's easy: The Gates by John Connolly. I read Connolly's The Book of Lost Things back in 2009 and LOVED it. I found The Gates in the Bargain section at work and pounced on it so fast, and I was so excited to read it but I didn't like it AT ALL. The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June was also disappointing, though my expectations weren't nearly as high for it.

Books Bought and/or Received:

So 12 books is probably more than I should be buying on any given month, but I keep telling myself "At least they're mostly books I've already read!" That makes it a little better, right?

(All links lead to Goodreads page)

Where She Went by Gayle Forman
This recently came out in paperback and since I already own If I Stay, I may as well own this as well, even if it I wasn't quite as impressed with it as its predecessor.

The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
This book has been given favourable reviews by two blogs I implicitly trust (The Book Smugglers and Calico Reaction) and it was on my list of "Shiny New Books of 2012 I Want to Read". I've actually already started reading it and I find myself enjoying it quite a bit. :)

Pink Smog by Francesca Lia Block
I really like FLB and I especially enjoyed her famous Weetzie Bat series, which I read in 2010. This book is a prequel, so I had to get my hands on it.

In Great Waters by Kit Whitfield
I bought this one for calico_reaction's Theme Park book club, which I've already read and reviewed here.

Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
Seriously, who doesn't love that cover? It's what first caught my eye, though the synopsis is also pretty awesome. I've unfortunately read some less than positive reviews since I bought this, but I only paid $6 for it, so.. *shrug* We'll see.

Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente
I've been wanting to read this since forever, but since reading and LOVING her Fairyland novel, I NEED to read everything she's ever published that I can get my hands on. I found this in near-perfect condition at the awesome used bookstore BMV in Toronto.

Friends With Boys by Erin Hicks
I read this at work during my breaks and found it absolutely charming. The art and story are generally light-hearted but deal with real themes at the same time.

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brogsol
Ditto for this one.

Twenty Boy Summer and Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
I've owned TBS on my Kobo since last summer and I really enjoyed it, but was always on the fence about buying it. After reading also really enjoying Bittersweet, I decided to bite the bullet and just buy both her novels that are available in paperback at the moment. I haven't read Fixing Delilah yet and I'm not sure when I will, but it'll hopefully be sometime this summer.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
I read this one way back in October, and it really creeped me out but in a really good way. So I decided I may as well add this to my personal collection as well.

So that was my month! Hope you all had an equally fantastic one. If you do this type of "end of the month overview" shoot me a link and I'll check it out. :D


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