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A Stack of Books, Part 16

Y’all, can you believe it’s supper already? I might have been a wee bit anxious about all the work around here that comes with the season, but the warmth is something I’ve found myself craving more and more every year! It’s hard to beat a blissful summer afternoon out under a tree with a good book, right? And I’ve got a STACK of books waiting for all those moments (don’t we all?).

Today I’ve got a pile of my latest reads, the ones that carried me through spring’s chill into these glorious days. Maybe you’ve read one of them? There are some real gems!

Dust by Kara Swanson

Dust — What a gripping story! So intricately woven between plot, pacing, and characters that, even though it happened to be a dreaded ebook, I didn’t put it down until my battery died and made the decision for me. This story spins a whole new light on the fairy tale of Peter Pan, not retelling it, but deepening the lore behind it and telling a new adventure far grander than the one Wendy, John, and Michael went on. It’s darker, bolder, brighter than I imagined it would be; Pan such a more complicated and complex person—with the same boyish charm we’ve come to know, but far from innocent. I’ve always wondered about that part of him, that shadowed, quieter side we see glimpses of now and then. His struggle with getting old, with adults, is so interesting and relatable. And then there’s Claire, who is so identifiable in so many ways that I wanted to befriend her and slap her all at the same time. This story is all about magic and hope, finding light in your dark places, belonging, and—yes—even a bit about growing up. Y’all, it’s awesome.

Mortal Sight by Sandra Fernandez Rhoads

Mortal Sight — This book was interesting, full of twists and turns, raw power, and young blood. It had a great premise, solid writing, and emotional draw. The concept of certain creatives developing the ability to see into another world and interact with it is neat, and not far from the less literal reality that artists do, in many ways, see the world differently. There was a nice build to the gripping climax, and promise for the continuation of the story. That said, it just didn’t click with me. I wasn’t invested in the teen drama, and Cera actually frustrated me more than anything else. In the language of tea, I’m a lapsang girl and this book was a jasmine. Good in its own right, just not my cuppa.

Reformed by H.L. Burke

Reformed — What a riot! I’m discovering more and more how much I like superhero stories, and this one was a great mix of classic hero action and mysterious villains, with wisecracking humor and a protagonist that waffles between villainy and heroism more times than a cat with a cricket—all set in a personally familiar place, which just amped the cool factor. I loved everyone on team Prism, how they worked together and played off each other, and I didn’t even mind the burgeoning romance. I laughed so much, reading this book, and the themes of second chances and redemption, finding something worth fighting for, are woven powerfully throughout the story.

Ruby Dragon Kingdom by Michele Israel Harper

Ruby Dragon Kingdom — Can’t say I loved this one. The story itself is an adventure with cousins through desert, ruin, and dragons with magic and mystery. All good things. But it read like a beginning reader’s chapter book, and I was not anticipating that. I had a hard time picturing children as young as eight riding horses, or more accurately, mounting and dismounting without help. It was logistics like that and the dialogue, which in no wise fit the setting, that threw me off. For what it is, it’s a good story with fairy-tale worldbuilding, suspense, and character building, but perhaps just a bit more juvenile than what I’m looking for in YA.

Blood of the Seer by C.M. Banschbach

Blood of the Seer — YES! FINALLY! I wanted to tear into this sequel to Oath of the Outcast the moment I finished it, but had to set it aside for a while because of reasons. This continuation of the story was awesome, full of danger and high stakes and battle and demons and dreams, betrayal, loyalty, some of the most heart rending wounds and one of the most heartwarming homecomings. There are strong themes of redemption and forgiveness, and that ending . . . Man, that ending. Splendiferous. The characters were intense and snarky all at the same time, well written, and with all the threatening smiles and allowances of eye rolls as before. Y’all, it was just so . . . so GOOD. Like a meal that leaves you satisfied yet wanting more because it tasted so fantastic. Definitely in the top five I’ve read this year so far.

Operation Grendel by Daniel Schwabauer

Operation Grendel — This one left me with an overall feeling of “Whoa”, in a mystified, awestruck kind of way. Military sci-fi in its glory, great dialogue, fantastic characters, action, snark, espionage, and a twist at the end that had my head spinning. Seriously, y’all, I did not see it coming in any way, shape, or form and it was super awesome. There is a lot packed into this book, and I’m probably going to have to read it again (aw, shucks) to better grasp everything. You know, like scarfing the first chocolate bar to satisfy the craving, then savoring the second. The concept of military journalism and the hunt for truth was fascinating, and the storytelling is superb. I loved it.

I gotta say, reading through these reviews paints for me a neat picture of my reading journey. I try to review each book as I finish it, and by the time I get to each Stack of Books post, it can be well over a month since I’ve read one, so it’s kinda fun reading though the ‘final impression’ I had after the last page. This episode definitely feels like a rollercoaster!

Have you read any of these? Which ones, and what did you think of them? Any pique your interest? Maybe you’ve recently read an absolutely AMAZING book and think the rest of the universe should read it? Shout it out! Book recs are awesome, and the primary way most readers find books for their TBR mountains.

Published inBook Stuff

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