Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: April 2014

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Every first Wednesday of the month, I’ll be posting a roundup of the month just gone, and writing about what’s to come in the next few weeks.

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Last month I read a total of twenty books, which sounds like a lot but many of them were graphic novels: After Dead (Sookie Stackhouse #13.5) by Charlaine Harris, Mass Effect Foundation: Volume 2 by Mac Walters, Red Country by Joe Abercrombie, Glow (Sky Chasers #1) by Amy Kathleen Ryan, Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1) by Morgan Rhodes, Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2) by Laini Taylor, X-Men Forever 2, Back in Action (X-Men Forever 2 #1) by Chris Claremont, Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men Volume 2 by Stan Lee, This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki, Civil War: Marvel Universe by Ed Brubaker, A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick, Behemoth (Leviathan #2) by Scott Westerfeld, Goliath (Leviathan #3) by Scott Westerfeld, Wolverine Noir by Stuart Moore, Wolverine First Class: Ninjas, Gods and Divas by Peter David, Wolverine First Class: Wolverine-By-Night by Fred Van Lente, X-Men Legacy: Emplate by Mike Carey, The Avengers: Volume 2 by Brian Michael Bendis, X-Men: Worlds Apart by Christopher Yost, The Kill Order (Maze Runner #0.5) by James Dashner.

I was so happy to finally finish the Leviathan series, and it’s now one of my favourite Young Adult series out there. I read some other great books this month: Days of Blood and Starlight was just as gripping as Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and Falling Kingdoms was a wonderful fantasy read. I also went crazy on the graphic novel front, ordering as many Marvel comics as I could through my county library service. And there are still plenty more to read! I also read most of Dragon Age Library Edition: Volume One, but unfortunately my ARC stopped about three quarters of the way through. I did email Netgalley, who contacted the publisher but sadly I haven’t heard anything and the title has now been archived. I will just rate and review it based on what I did managed to read.

 

Challenge progress:

  • I read five books towards the Avengers vs. X-Men Challenge, so unfortunately I didn’t do as well as last month, and I also didn’t quite manage to defeat April’s villain, Kingpin. Better luck next month! May’s villain is Bullseye, and he looks to be quite a challenge.
  • I’ve already beaten my goal of fifty books for this year on Goodreads. I’ve raised the goal to seventy-five, which I think will still be manageable – I may even reach that before August, and I can raise it again!

 

Currently reading:

>The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black The Quick by Lauren Owen

Off the blog:

The majority of April was fairly quiet, but this past week has been pretty busy. I’ve been off work since last Tuesday, although I’m back today. On Wednesday night I went to the Glamour Book Club to see Laini Taylor and Lauren Owen, and I also met up with some fellow book bloggers! I will cover the event in detail in a future post. My friend joined me in London, and she stayed until Tuesday. On Thursday night, we went to see Jace Everett in Bristol. It was a TINY event, with about one hundred people – but the venue put out chairs, so no-one was dancing and I felt like we gave off a bad impression. But despite that, I loved the music and got to meet the man himself afterwards, and get a CD signed. Then on Friday we went to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2 which I really enjoyed, Saturday was Free Comic Book Day which meant a trip to Forbidden Planet in Bristol, as well as Bristol Zoo because it was a lovely, sunny day. Oh, and a few weeks ago my Dragon Age: The World of Thedas book arrived, which my fellow Queen of Ferelden, Paola, convinced me to buy. I was just a *little* bit excited by its arrival, as you can see…

Some highlights from April 2014.
Some highlights from April 2014.

 

How was April for you?

 

Review

Review: This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki

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4 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

This One Summer is the story of two young girls, just coming into their teenage years, who meet up every summer by the sea. It is a tale of long, hot summer days and cool nights, crushes on older boys and that awkwardness that comes with initial contact, growing out of old habits and interests and most of all, growing up.

Rose is probably about thirteen or fourteen years old, and Windy a year and a half younger. The two of them have that innocence of the young, whilst showing interest in things beyond their years. In the day they play on the beach and in the woods, at night they secretly rent out classic horror films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Nightmare on Elm Street from the local shop, where they also (at least in Rose’s case) take an interest in the local boys. The story perfectly captures that time in life where everything is changing, and you’re sort of stuck in a limbo between a child and a young adult.

Beyond the idyllic seaside setting though, is a darker picture. Although at first it appears that Rose’s family is a close one, threads begin to unravel and the reader sees that her mother is withdrawn and sullen. Rose is not the only one having troubles: the story also follows a group of teenagers from Awago Beach (through Roses’s eyes), until the two stories end up twisting together in a heart-breaking conclusion. The carefree summer days are interspersed with tense moments, until the truth finally comes out toward the end of the book.

From the very beginning I loved the art-style, but I wasn’t sure about the choice of going for an all blue colour palette. However, it grew on me and actually worked really well within the story: I was reminded of the cool sea breeze, chilly summer nights and the salty ocean – all very fitting for this particular book. The fact that the older boy that Rose had a crush one wasn’t typically ‘handsome’ was also a good move: young adult books with movie star crushes seem all too common.

My main issue with the book was the rather open ending. It concluded some things, but many questions were left unanswered. As well as this, I felt the word ‘like’ was rather overused. I know it’s quite common for teenagers to overuse that word, but it gets on my nerves reading it! It could have been used less, and still given a similar impression.

Overall, a really lovely coming-of-age graphic novel that covers much of the awkwardness of that stage between being a child and a young adult – and it also covers and discusses some more adult themes. With some lovely art and interesting characters (and realistic), it could also be a great way for fans of contemporary to start with graphic novels.