Changeless by Gail Carriger

Changeless.CarrigerIt took me a lot longer to finish this second book in the Parasol Protectorate series than it did the first, and I’m not entirely sure why it didn’t hold my attention as well (vacation, friend visits, work, summer?), but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The same cast of oddballs and eccentrics returned with a few extra weirdos thrown in for good measure, and I’m still enjoying the world Carriger has developed wherein fantastical creatures are not only known, but accepted into Victorian society. Despite the fact that the penultimate scene wasn’t as twisty as intended (I saw it coming from miles—and months—away), and the big mystery reveal wasn’t nearly as revealing (or shocking) as it was in Soulless, the last three pages of Changeless has me itching to read number three.

No. two for no. 6 on my challenge.

 

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

RavenKing.StiefvaterI’ll say it again: Stiefvater truly is a magician of language. While I admit there were a few instances where it seemed a little like she was grandstanding for the big finale, this was most definitely a fantastic denouement for the Raven cycle. I am happy.

And seriously, I can’t get over how perfect this is:

“Once, when Adam had still lived in the trailer park, he had been pushing the lawn mower around the scraggly side yard when he realized that it was raining a mile away. He could smell it, the earthy scent of rain on dirt, but also the electric, restless smell of ozone. And he could see it: a hazy gray sheet of water blocking his view of the mountains. He could track the line of rain traveling across the vast dry field toward him. It was heavy and dark and he knew he would get drenched if he stayed outside. It was coming from so far away that he had plenty of time to put the mower away and get under cover. Instead, though, he just stood there and watched it approach. Even at the last minute, as he heard the rain pounding the grass flat, he just stood there. He closed his eyes and let the storm soak him.

“That was this kiss.”

Swoon.

The last for no. 2 on my challenge.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald

13062570_799297700670_1186347020_o

If I’d forgotten how incredibly talented the late great F. Scott Fitzgerald was, this gorgeous illustrated version of his most famous short story (thanks, in part, to Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett) reminded me post haste. Me thinks I’ll have to reread a few of old Fitz’s tales.

No. 16 on my challenge. Not technically a book, but he’s long dead, so I’m counting it.

Illustrations by Calef Brown.

Soulless by Gail Carriger

Soulless.GailCarrigerThough I did find a few plot points a bit tiresome (we get it, Alexia, your father is Italian, your nose is Roman, your best friends are a flamboyant vampire and a woman with horrendous taste, and your Victorian era suitor is a smoking hot Scottish werewolf Alpha who is the picture of a perfect gentleman despite spending an awful lot of time buck naked in your presence—accept this and move on, jeesh!), this novel is clever, steamy, fast-paced, and puts a welcome new spin on some relatively old worlds.

Take it for what it is and enjoy it to the fullest.

No. 6 on my challenge. And now I’m going to have to read all of the Parasol Protectorate series.

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

DreamThieves.StiefvaterThoughts

  • Thank heavens the second book was as good as the first. I would have been mighty disappointed were it not.
  • What a lovely scene between Blue and Noah.
  • I did not expect Adam Parrish to be such an enigma, but I’m looking forward to learning even more about his sacrifice.
  • For a boy who never lies, Ronan Lynch certainly carries around more than a few substantial secrets.
  • Who knew I’d be cheering for a hit man?
  • I almost wish that a fourth book wasn’t forthcoming—I want to know all the secrets right now.

Another for no. 2 on my challenge.

 

 

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

TheRavenBoys.MaggieStiefvaterStiefvater is really a fantastic writer. Her striking prose and a compelling plot alone make The Raven Boys a worthy read, but I was most intrigued by the bonds between the four Aglionby boys. They’re a brotherhood—constantly fighting for and against one another, always within the confines of respect, loyalty, trust, and solidarity. They rely and depend on one another almost completely (whether they like it or not), and they know their greatest strength (and conversely their greatest weakness) is each other. It’s the best depiction of male friendship I’ve read in a long time (dynamic, fortifying, honest—the type of platonic relationship frequently written for female best friends). And since it is cleverly hidden in a teen fantasy novel, it snuck up on me. I’m impressed, Stiefvater. Well done.

No. 2 on my challenge. Psychics and ghosts and ley lines, oh my!

Born Weird by Andrew Kaufman

BornWeird.AndrewKaufman.

Honestly, I’m not sure how he manages to do it—to weave magical realism so seamlessly with morality and truth—but he does it so convincingly that it takes a minute to understand what he’s writing about. He’s a genius.

No. 7 on my challenge. I only just discovered Kaufman last year, but he’s quickly become one of my favourite writers. Thank you, Kennedy, for the recommendation.

The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman

TheTinyWife.AndrewKaufman

I’m 100% convinced that everything Andrew Kaufman writes is pure gold. Absolutely genius. I don’t know how he’s able to say so much about love in such a short book, but he is incredibly successful in doing so.

No. 14 on my challenge. Thank goodness—it would have been terrible for Nancy if she’d had to run from that lion in the winter time.