Last month I said March went by so fast, but March has nothing on April – probably because I was away for a week for the judges conference with my seven other judges to decide on the winners of the Australian Children’s Book Council Awards – 370 books we read (picture books through to young adult novels) and it took us several days to discuss, vote, write reports and generally work to whittle those 370 books down into shortlists, notables and winners!
The shortlists and notables were announced the next morning after our decision, so we were all still together packing up and getting a few media notes together. You can see the details here! Winners and Honour Books shall be announced on August 15th 2014.
During that time I also attended the Aurealis Awards night, as I was a judge and convener of the Fantasy Novel award – what a fantastic night, as it always is. The award for fantasy novel went to a self-published author, Mitchell Hogan. I highly recommend his book, A Crucible of Souls.
But onto the books I read during April. I managed to read 13 despite being busy, so I feel I can at least not feel guilty about how much I managed to read. 13 is okay.
Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood is set before ‘Wildlife’, but you can read the books utterly separate. Both books capture teenage life so well, and depict social pressures as well as dating, drinking and so on with perfect clarity, never seeming over dramatic or unrealistic. That said, I enjoyed Wildlife much more than this book, which is still pretty good.
When We Wake (When We Wake #1) by Karen Healey is a book I bought as soon as we were released from our judges conference. What a fantastic book! Dystopian set in Melbourne, Australia. Excellent characters who have a wide range of believable skills, who you really come to care for. I read this book so damn fast because I just couldn’t put it down.
While We Run (When We Wake #2) by Karen Healey is an excellent continuation, told from another character’s point of view, but not lacking in the slightest from this decision. Sometimes when a series does this you’re slow to move to the new character’s eyes, but here, I at least, fell directly into a comfortable reading position, unable to put it down. I can’t wait for the next one!
Debris (The Veiled Worlds #1) by Jo Anderton is a book I should have read in March for my genre challenge, but only managed to finish once I was home again. Jo is so lovely in person! I really enjoyed this once I got into it (by about 20%) and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next books. It’s really accessible science fiction, and has fantastic world and magic building within.
New Beginnings (Everyday Angel #1) by Victoria Schwab is aimed at middle grade, but I’ll read anything with Schwab’s name on it. This was nice and cute, taking difficult family issues and trying to make it a little easier to deal with. It’s also good to have a Spanish main character, and also deal with the stressors of a first day at a new school without making it laughably bad of everything that happens – it’s simply a normal day at a new school. Highly recommended for middle grade and Schwab fans.
Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis is a book I received to review, and I devoured it within two days. I was instantly hooked by the lines ‘Amara is never alone. Not when she’s protecting the cursed princess she unwillingly serves. She can’t be alone, because a boy from another world experiences all that alongside her, looking through her eyes.’ I wasn’t disappointed. Highly recommended, and for a debut novel, too!
Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy by Karen Foxlee is a book I read for April’s genre challenge – fairty tale or fable retelling. I should have read ‘The Wild Girl’ by Kate Forsyth which has been sitting on my bookshelf for a while now, but Sam flailed this book at me and I can’t resist her recommendations. And I wasn’t disappointed. Another middle grade read, but the writing and the characters are so fantastic it doesn’t matter.
The Very Best of Tad Williams by Tad Williams is a collection I received for review, and I requested it as I’ve had about seven of his novels up on my shelves, and a few more waiting on my kindle for a damn long time, and I just can’t seem to pick them up – part of my hoarding books I know I’ll love so now it’s time to hunt down more to hoard, it seems. Though this collection has quite a bit of religion in it, it’s still a very engaging read with nearly every single short in this highly enjoyable – not something you can always say about a collection of short stories.
Fool’s Assassin (The Fitz and the Fool #1) by Robin Hobb made my heart jump when first I saw it was available for request to review, and then again when I was approved, despite not being in their preferred country for requests! I just had to try, and I must have pleased someone because when I was away at the CBCA conference, I was notified I was successful. Though now that means that I have even longer to wait for the second book.
This book was utterly amazing. I went in with high hopes as I utterly adore her other work, and I wasn’t disappointed. Now I want to re-read everything else she’s done again! It’s fantastic.
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell makes me wish she wrote a series, because at the end of her books I always wish there were more! I enjoyed this book more than Fangirl for some reason, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Landline.
The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski is a book I requested on NetGalley and didn’t hear back from for a while. Then The Reading Room offered me an ARC and I accepted. Then I received approval on NetGalley, and still haven’t received the ARC from the Reading Room! It’s a topsy-turvy journey, but ultimately I read this novel in one afternoon and really quite enjoyed it. It had the chance to be epic fantasy and I would have adored it a lot more if it had taken that path, but it’s still a damn good book just being a regular YA fantasy-dystopian.
Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil is a book I read for CBCA judging, and decided I had to re-read it now even though it’s just been a few months. A highly enjoyable geeky book that’s simply slice-of-life and quirky. And we shortlisted it, so there’s that.
Some Fine Day by Kat Ross continues to prove the point that I can request anything from Strange Chemistry and be incredibly happy and spellbound by the book. Tough, female leads who are also intelligent continue on (it was a bit of a trend, this month!) This was so well written, and for a debut novel she’s surely one to watch.
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Currently I’m re-reading Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings as I received Words of Radiance ages ago, and just haven’t been able to get into it because my memory is just that awful. I have taken ages to pick up Way of Kings because as much as I love it, it’s still 1,000 pages to get through just so I can pick up another 1,000 pages!
Still, I am really, really loving it as I get into it again.
I do really need to try read more books from my ‘Books to read in 2014‘ post, though.
And Scott Lynch has posted a reading list that I would like to look into.
And i09 has posted a list of books coming out in May.
And friends are reading books they’re loving and argh! How are we supposed to cope? So much to read, and so little time :(