Bless past Adrienne for doing a wrap up halfway through August. That will make this post much less painful. So, picking up where I left off...
Superman: Dawnbreaker by Matt de la Pena - This book is the fourth book in the DC Icons series. I guess I didn't know these are origin stories. In this one, young Clark Kent is a teenger in Smallville, Kansas and trying to hide his growing powers from his friends and classmates. The town is all in an uproar due to some legislation brewing that would allow police to stop and search anyone for no reason. Also, undocumented Hispanics are suddenly disappearing. Clark and his friends figure out what's going on and save the day. I am not a huge superhero person, but it was pretty good, overall.
The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen - Fie is learning how to be a Crow chief from her Pa. The Crows are the lowest caste in the nation, but they are also necessary. If a member of a village dies of plague, the Crows come and get the body and burn it. This protects the other members of the village and they are required to pay the Crows. Needless to say, they don't love that they have to support the people they think are disgusting. The Prince and his bodyguard escape the palace by pretending to have plague and they get carried off by the crows. Then the band of crows agree to take them to safety. There is much betrayal and really horrible things visited upon the Crows. Not to mention the palace magicians that are after them. This book was really good. Fie is bold and strong and pretty badass.
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout - I read this about 10 years ago, according to Goodreads. It was pretty much as I remember it. Olive is an obnoxious retiree who has no idea how she affects the people around her. She's kind of awful. The book is a collection of short stories that either feature Olive or she appears in the background of the story. Each story is about someone in the village where she lives. I don't love it. I hate an obnoxious main character. Some of the other people were entertaining, though.
Rebel by Beverly Jenkins - When my husband saw me reading this book, he was like, "Are... Is that... Are you reading a romance novel?" This is not my typical fare, for sure. But I read it meet the Read Harder challenge to read a historical romance written by an Author of Color. It wasn't terrible. I can't currently remember the character's names. I'm the worst. Anyway, it's set in New Orleans just after the Civil War. Our lady has come from New York State to teach freed slaves to read. The main dude is a wealthy black man in town whose mother and brothers are also wealthy. They help our lady out and she falls in love. Once she discards her fiancee she was only marrying to cover his gayness, all is well. Ok, there are lots of uneducated, ugly, white, men who cause trouble, but they get theirs.
Cold Day in the Sun by Sara Biren - I was so surprised by this book! It's your basic teen romance about Holland who is the only girl on the boys' hockey team. She hates her team captain because she thinks he's a jerk. In the way of all teen romances, they fall in love, but not without troubles. Mostly in the form of people in town who grouse about a girl on the boys' hockey team taking away a spot from a deserving boy. Blah, blah, blah. That's not why I loved it. I loved it because the kids love heavy metal music. Like, music I listened to in high school. The book includes playlists! Swoon! Nice tough, Biren. Nice touch.
The Great Unknowable End by Kathryn Ormsbee - This was strange. It's told in two voices. First is Stella whose mother committed suicide when she was 9, and her brother left to join the commune outside of town 2 years ago. She wants to go to college, but she feels like she needs to take care of her little sister, since her dad is kind of clueless. The other voice is Galliard who is the first person who was born into the commune. At the beginning of the story, he gets denied the position in the commune he has always wanted in favor of the new guy. He decides to go out of the commune during the summer which is a right he has. It's kind of like the Amish Rumspringa. Anyway, he meets Stella in town. So far, so good, right? Then the town experiences pink lightning, blood red rain, and a digital clock above the city hall entrance that appears to be counting down. No one knows to what. The countdown is also in Stella's closet. It was fine. There was a lot of teen angst and finding of selves.
The Afterward by E. K. Johnston - There was so much in this book. All the main characters are women. They were once part of a group that went and vanquished the old god and acquired the god's gem to keep it safe from bad people. They are now exalted and praised throughout the land. That story is related in flashbacks in between chapters of the current story, which is narrated by two of the ladies from the group. Kalanthe is an apprentice knight who is renowned for her honesty and goodness. She is in love with Ulsa, the top thief, who was also on the quest. Unfortunately, she cannot marry Ulsa because she needs to marry a wealthy man to pay for her knight training. The story is about these two trying to deal with the fact that they cannot be together. Other stuff happens, but it is really just a side story to support the love these women have to each other. It was ok. I liked the feminist tone, but the story was so-so.
The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes - Holy moly. This book. Kira is a teen girl who lives with her foster mother and brother and helps train search and rescue dogs. She also happens to have been literally rescued by her foster mother and a SAR dog. She had been abused by her mother for years until her mother died and she ran to hide in the forest. She was there for weeks. Now she is asked to help find a little girl who walked away from her parents' campsite and disappeared in the forest. Rest assured this is highly triggering for her and she has to deal with that while figuring out who to trust in this new situation. At the end, it's pretty thrillery. This was just so, so good. Trigger warning: a dog does die, but it's not horrific.
Refraction by Naomi Hughes - This was very weird. It takes place on an island in the Florida Keys that is surrounded by a fog that holds monsters that destroy people. Also, you can access those monsters with a mirror. If you look at a mirror, monsters crawl out of it. Our main character has OCD. He is a mirror dealer on the island, so you can imagine that he is persona non-grata with the mayor. This and that happens and then he and the mayor's son get exiled. Then it gets really weird. Nothing is what the characters think it is, and it's not what you think it is. I don't know if I liked it. It was okay.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor - Finally. I finished it on the last day of August. I read it AAAALLLLL month. Strange is a little dude who works in the library of Zosma. He gets picked to go on a journey to Weep, which is a city that disappeared off the face of the planet 15 years ago, but now some emissaries have come looking for help. Strange doesn't have any abilities to help, but he can speak the language, so they bring him along. When the group gets to Weep, they find that the city is in the shadow of a huge citadel in the shape of an angel. It's made of a material that cannot be destroyed. Sarai lives in the citadel with four other demigods. 15 years ago, the guy that came looking for help to Zosma killed all the gods that lived in the citadel, except for 5 babies that were hidden. Those babies have grown up alone in the citadel and they each have a special power that has kept them alive. Sarai's power is that she can enter the dreams of the citizens of Weep and influence them. She meets Strange in his dream and they fall in love. That is a ridiculously truncated version of the actual book. If Charles Dickens wrote YA fantasy, it would be like this. There is a sequel. I am not ready to take that on, just yet. This one was over 500 pages.
And that's it. 10 books on this list. 16 books total. I am a machine. Do any of these sound interesting to you?