Monday, June 30, 2014

June Wrap-Up

So, I went through a bit of a reading slump in June.  After doing two read-a-thons in a row, I just lost all motivation to pick up any books, and instead I read numerous pieces of Harry Potter fan fiction for the first two weeks.  And I don't regret a thing.

After I got over my bout of laziness, I managed to finish eight books and participate in the Rick Riordan themed #ayearathon.

The first books I finished this month were Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, vol. 1 and 2 by CLAMP.  This is a shōnen manga series that incorporates many other CLAMP worlds, particularly the xxxHOLIC universe.  And the whole series focuses on Syroan and Sakura, who are originally from the Cardcaptor Sakura shōjo series.  However, these two characters aren't just lifted from one universe and put into an alternate one; they are actually completely different people from their Cardcaptor counterparts.

Now, Syroan and Sakura are two of my favorite characters of all time, and I loved the Cardcaptor Sakura manga and anime.  I originally found out about this new series years ago, and I read the first three volumes, but then I left the States, and I kind of forgot about reading them.  But now I'm picking them up again and rereading the first three before I continue on with the series.  And I am loving them.

This is one of the prettiest mangas that probably exists.  I mean, look at how beautiful the illustrations are:

Even though it took awhile for me to return to it, I really enjoyed each volume - the story, the characters, the artwork - and I am excited to get through all 28.  I gave each volume 4 stars.

After that, I read The Lightning Thief and Sea of Monsters, which are the first two books in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan.  I read these for the #ayearathon read-a-thon, and I don't have too much to say about them.  I had already read The Lightning Thief once, but it was so long ago that I decided to reread it.  I enjoyed it, but I wasn't wowed by it.  I thought that the character development and world-building could have been stronger, but it still entertained me.  Sea of Monsters was much better, especially the pacing.  It was a much faster read, and even though I still couldn't relate to any of the characters, I thought the book was more entertaining.

What I do really appreciate about this series, however, is that Percy is not the average hero.  He has ADD and dyslexia, always gets into trouble at school, and very often fails, but all of his flaws are what make him unique and special.  I think that's a really important message for kids to be receiving, and I am glad that they have a character like Percy to admire.  I gave The Lightning Thief 3 stars and The Sea of Monsters 3.5 stars.

The #ayearathon really took effort to get through, as I was still feeling so unmotivated to read, so after finishing it, I picked up an old favorite, Something Under the Bed is Drooling, by Bill Watterson.  I have been reading Calvin and Hobbes comics for 20 years now, and they always remind me of being a kid and reading while stretched out on the carpet in the house I grew up in.  These are classics, and they will always hold a special place in my heart.  This gets 5 stars, all the way!

So, I had heard a lot of hype about Of Poseidon, by Anna Banks, on YouTube and on Goodreads, and I just got curious.  This is not the type of book I would normally pick up, but I wanted an easy, fun read, and I love mermaids, so I decided to check it out and just see.  I got exactly what I expected: an easy, fun, entertaining read that didn't try my brain or deeply affect me.  But, hey, there is nothing wrong with a light read!  The characters were eh, and the plot was ok, but I did really enjoy the building of mermaid mythology, which I've never experienced before.  I liked the book enough that I picked up the next in the trilogy, Of Triton, but that one is taking me much longer to finish as my interest has kind of petered out.  This got 3 stars because of how entertained I was by it.

After that, I read Jerusalem: A Family Portrait, which I wrote a full review on.  The final judgment: I loved it.  5 stars!

Finally, I ended my month with Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion.  I had been wanting to read this for a long time, and I really enjoyed the movie, so I decided that this was the time to cross it off my TBR.  It took me much longer to read it then I expected because the pacing was so slow.  It just didn't engage me the way I thought it would.  I know that it's more of a love story than an action story, but there needed to be more happening.  I found myself getting bored and putting it down for the rest of the day.  I liked R, but I didn't feel much for Julie.  And I had a serious problem with the lack of world-building.  I ended up giving it 2.5 stars because it just didn't satisfy me.

So, this was a really light reading month for me.  I don't mean this in terms of numbers so much as content.  Except for Jerusalem, these were all easy books that were fun but not deep.  Yet, that was exactly what I needed to get me through my dry spell.

July promises to be more stimulating as the #ayearathon theme is classics, and I have several adult novels on my TBR that I suspect to be quite substantial.

What books did you read this month?  Let me know in the comments below.