Thursday, 28 November 2013

Autumn '13 Gut Reactions

 I feel like I've belted through books this season. I had 14 in the schedule, but I've read 31. And as usual, here's my gut reaction summary (Nooo, no reviews as such. You know that isn’t how it works here.)

So, to recap the autumn pile looked like this:

The additional books were

How we met and other stories by David Levithan
Awaken by Meg Cabot
Abandon by Meg Cabot
The Other Typist  by Suzanne Rindell
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
The Sentinel by Holly Martin (MG)
Unsticky by Sarra Manning (Adult)
9 Uses for an ex-boyfriend  by Sarra Manning (Adult)
Connectivity by Aven Ellis (Adult)
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald (Adult)
Vixen by Jillian Larkin (YA)
Ingenue by Jillian Larkin (YA)
Diva by Jillian Larkin (YA)
Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner (MG)
Debutantes  by Cora Harrison (YA)
Debutantes in Love by Cora Harrison (YA)
The Girl in the Mask by Marie-Louise Jensen (YA)
The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory (Adult)
The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg (Adult)
The Clockwork Prince – Manga Version – Cassandra Clare
The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness (Still reading) (Adult)

Star of the List goes to;

The Dream Thieves. I’ve fangirled about Maggie Stiefvater often enough, but I felt that she stepped up a gear here with great word choices and turns of phrase. Mmmm. I preferred it to the first book even. How often can you say that with the second in a series? And yes there was a cliff-hanger, as there often is in second books, and amazingly I didn’t mind.

A close second to this was Sarra Manning's Unsticky. The  eagle-eyed of you will notice that this wasn’t in the original pile, but I had another of hers in there, where I enjoyed the voice so much that I immediately got hold of all her others. Manning’s books, adult and YA, are bold , honest and funny, and if I aspire to anyone's writing voice, it is currently hers.
Unsticky had two flawed, at times awful characters, but who I still rooted for. Clever. I read it twice.

The Sentinel by Holly Martin.  A fab adventure debut. I know Holly personally, so I might be biased, but honestly the action is unrelenting and a great choice if you are looking for a gift for a 12 year old girl.

How We Met and other stories, was just a perfect anthology of YA short stories. I already have another David Levithan related anthology on the shelf ready for the next pile. (See now, did you notice how I managed to write that without gushing about how much I love him? …Oh…)

Marie Louise Jensen seems to write books about places where I go. (OK, so I suppose it is possibly- probably- coincidence, but it amuses me. Small things, right?) Her debut Between Two Seas was set in Skagen, Denmark, and The Girl in the Mask was focussed on Bath, where I have a close friend and in fact was last weekend. I saw the streets she named. It makes a real difference when you know a place you are reading about.

Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robin Schneider. Really this book should feature below, as in “One of these books had an ending that disappointed me to the point of doing this.” However, up to the end I had been loving it. I bought it because the quote on the front said it was for peeps who like John Green and as we know, I would read his shopping lists. I'm not sure I would draw the same comparison, but it was an ace read, none the less. Until the end, when not so much.

The Heist. Janet Evanovich is a blast. She is funny, she can plot and she has a great set of characters in her Stephanie Plum series. This was a new scenario with an FBI agent and thief, and while it was fun and I'll read the sequel, I still prefer the Plum series.

The Ides of April by Lindsay Davis. This is a new series as a spin off from her Falco series. And a good start it was too. Sure, I saw the twists coming, but it was a fun journey.

Jenny Downham’s You against me, underlined her great YA Contemporary writing, after the brilliant Before I Die. The ending was a little rushed, or perhaps just needed a little more of something, but I’d get more of her books without hesitation.

I feel the same way about Laura Jarrett's writing. By Any Other Name was a s strong as her debut Skin Deep. Jarrett and Downham together are exciting new writers on the UK YA Contemporary scene

The Great Gatsby- I got it this time!

 And as always, the other thoughts;

  • One of these books felt like it was the last in a three book deal which should perhaps been a two book deal.
  • One of these books should have got a Brit to Beta read it
  • Three of these books, I skipped to the end as I got bored.
  • One of these books I picked up because I had read somewhere that the first proper kiss is amazing. And indeed it was nice, but I started getting bored soon thereafter...
  • One of these books has won prizes, and I can see why, but it didn’t rock my boat.
  • Two of these books are by an author I like, but I felt meh about them. I didn’t like the MC. She was just too self obsessed.
  • One of these books I still don’t get the title

Anyone read any gems or turkeys this season?

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