Whew! Thank you to everyone who recommended some books for me to read and review this coming April. I still have a couple of spaces to fill, and my list has changed a little bit.
I've started, but...this is quite the list. I'll get as far as I can. If nothing else, this has forced me to read a lot more than I normally would be reading right now. Here are some mini-reviews and thoughts, in case I don't have time later.
Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones: Fairy Tale Retelling/urban fantasy
This one was good, but...weird. In a surreal way. It took me a while to figure out what the ending meant. Also, the undercurrent of pedophilia was icky. Tom is set up as a father figure for Polly from the beginning, but then she has a crush on him, and he turns into a love interest after she's 19. And he says "at least I can ask you now," implying that he's had feelings for this underage girl for years. It wouldn't be so bad except that Tom's real age is never mentioned. Ever. And also the fact that his immortal ex-wife first "adopted" him when he was a child, eventually marrying him/casting a spell over him...and then he ends up in a relationship with a much younger person...So, it's evil when the Fairy Queen ensnares young boys, but it's OK for the main characters?
Also, he and Polly start out as pen pals whose fantasy world ends up coming true. Polly wrote in a romance between them in the fanfic of their lives, which ended up coming true. Would he have fallen in love with her if she hadn't done that? She basically did to him what his ex-wife did. The romance in this one is all kinds of fucked up. It's the only thing that kept me from completely loving this otherwise fantastic book.
The Lord of Opium by Nancy Farmer: YA sci-fi/dystopian
The House of the Scorpion (the first book) has been my favorite for years. I love it. The sequel, amazingly, did not ruin it. I really liked the sequel, too, despite the love triangle.
This book is ultimately hopeful, but also heartbreakingly tragic. It will stab you in the heart and then twist the knife a little just to hear you scream. BUT my favorite character didn't die!!! FOR ONCE. I wish some of the old characters got more "page time," but the new ones are great, too.
The Shining by Stephen King
I found this to be overly sentimental crap. Which is odd for a horror story. But the amount of screaming and running away is dwarfed by the amount of time characters spend crying and hugging each other and spouting life lessons and wisdom. It also uses several storytelling tropes that I despise -- but which, I'm happy to say, King seems to have grown out of in his later books.
Apollo Academy by Kimberly P. Chase: NA sci-fi
Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig: YA urban fantasy
Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
Mind Games by Kiersten White: YA paranormal/sci-fi
The stream-of-conscious writing makes it really hard for me to concentrate on this one.
Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence: Dark Fantasy
Basically a fantasy dystopia. Plot twist -- I bet it's Earth in the future. Or at least alt-Earth.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: YA high fantasy
I am honestly dreading the love triangle in this one so much that it makes me not want to read on.
William Shakespeare's Star Wars: The Empire Striketh Back Is "nerd heaven" a genre?
The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand: MG horror
I am over halfway through this one. It's really good. I like to see angry characters done well.
Despite the facetious title of this post, I'm enjoying all this reading. The point of reading is to lose one's mind/thoughts in a good book, after all. I think we all need a break from reality every now and then.