Hi y'all and welcome back to BB&B! I had so much fun taking part in the O.W.L. readathon in April. If you aren't famiar with the readathon, check out my previous blog posts. The cool thing about this one, is that the creator mentioned there will be a N.E.W.T. readathon in the coming months that you can take part in, and you can only take N.E.W.T.s that coorelate with the O.W.L.s you took in April. So there is actually a point to reading/completing the O.W.L.s that you chose. As I menitoned in my TBR post for the readathon, I would pursue a magical career as a Cure-Breaker, so I tried to plan my reading accordingly. So here is how I did!
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
I thought this book was okay. It's a YA dystopia fanatsy about a girl who has the power of mind control and ends up in, essentially, a concentration camp after a widespread genetic disorder wipes out a huge majority of children in the United States. The small population of remaing children are left with one of 5 powers and are either rounded up and put in camps or live on the run from the government. I think I really would have liked this book if I read it back when I was a big fan of the Hunger Games series or Divergent or the Blood of Eden series. I think my personal reading preferences have just changed and I'm less interested in YA now. But it was a fun ride and the world building was really interesting and really thought through. The characters are really diverse and the pacing was great as well. So I definitey would recommend this book to other people who enjoy YA and dystopia. It is also being made in to a movie that comes out in August and I'll probably go see it. So 3.5 stars for me.
The Relive Box and Other Stories by T.C. Boyle
I really did not like this book. And I so wanted to! It's a collection of short stories that take place in our world, but each with a futuristic/dystopian twist. It was described by some reviewers as very similar to Black Mirror (which is one of my favorite tv series). So I was all in and really wanted to love this. But with each subsequent story, I disliked it more and more. The writer is very clearly mysoginistic and every single female character is either highly sexualized or descibed as ugly, mean, or cruel for withholding sex. The plots were super derivitive and had a lot of potential, but were just so damn boring. Not impressed. 1 star.
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
So my reading was a bit of a rollercoaster this month, but I LOVED this book! It was so so so suspenseful and dark and creepy and mysterious and I loved every second of it. I'll write up a full review of this book in the next couple weeks. But 5 stars. It's fantastic. Read it now.
Care of Magical Creatures & Arithmacy:
Birthright Vol. 1 & 2 by Joshua Williamson & Andre Bressan
This is a graphic novel series from Image about a boy who goes missing one day while playing with his father in the park. He ends up getting pulled to a fantasy world where he is destined to defeat an evil king. He finds a way to get back home, but while it's only been about a year in our world, he is now a grown man who has spent close to 25 years in the fantasy world. His family is shocked by his reappearance as well as the story he brings with him. He claims there is evil leaking over from the fantasy world and he needs to defeat it before it causes irreparable damage. His guilt ridden father decides to go along with him on the quest and so the story begins. Bressen and Licas do a fantastic job with the art in these books and that's what got me hooked. The first volume was a little slow and did a lot of info-dumping and setup. But that was fine with me because the story really picked up in volume 2. I like the main character, Mikey, quite a bit and I thought he and the other main characters were really dimesional and interesting. The story mixed classic high fantasy in with our modern world as well as a twisting plot and I will at least continue reading through volume 3. 3.5 stars for volume 1 and 4 stars for volume 2.
Defence Against the Dark Arts:
Runaways Vol. 1 by Rainbow Rowell
I really just felt kind of meh about this one. It was entertaining, but I think maybe there were too many characters to feel really attached to any of them. I try not to judge graphic novels too harshly after just reading one volume though. If you haven't heard of Marvel's Runaways, its about a group of 5 kids who find out one night that their parents are all part of a supervillian cult. It's fun and has a lot of witty quotes, but I think it will take a couple volumes to get in to the real plot.
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
This book was horrible. It was a sappy, cheesy, cringey teen romance with way too many tropes to even count. I'm still not sure why I didn't DNF this book. Every line the main guy and girl said was just total garbage. It's about a girl who is obsessed with a wolf who saved her when she was attacked by his pack when she was a little girl. For 10 years she obsesses over this wolf that hangs around her home during the winter months and dissapears when the weather gets warmer. A boy that goes to her school gets killed by wolves so the townspeople go on a wolf hunt. Her wolf is shot during the hunt and runs to her front door where she finds him as he changes in to a human. They fall in love and a bunch of random, pointless things happen. Again, I know that this just isn't the kind of book that I like, but unlike with Darkest Minds, I really just could not justify recommending this book to even a teen reader who likes YA romance because the writing was so painful to read. I'm trying to think of any redeaming qualities to this book and the only think I can think of is that I kind of enjoyed the descriptions of the wolves and some of the scenery. So half a star for me, I could round up and give it 1 star, but I really don't think this book deserves it.
So I ended up completing 7 O.W.L.s and I'm pretty proud of myself. I read a couple not great books but I also read my favorite book of 2018 so far so I feel good about my reading month. I also read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (which I also gave 5 stars to) and I'm about halfway through Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett so total that's 8 and a half books, which is really good for me. I hope to keep that momentum going in May and knock out some more great books! s usual, I would love to hear from you if you've read any of the books I talked about. Did any of you take part in the O.W.L readathon? What courses did you complete? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @booksnbrooms and I'll see you in my next post!