Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It's Road Trip Wednesday again, and YA Highway asked, "What was the best book you read in June?"

June has been so busy that I've fallen behind on my reading and blogging. But the best book I read this month was so good that I had to jump in and rave about it. My best book in June was Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.

Adapted from Goodreads:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters. When Alina Starkov's regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.

I picked up Shadow and Bone not because of the blurb, but because of the online buzz. Several agents, authors, and bloggers I respect had mentioned how amazing it was, and they were all right.

Shadow and Bone has everything I look for in a book. The writing flows effortlessly. The world is unique and captivating. The pace and plot are well balanced, even though the story takes place over many months. I also loved that it felt complete as a novel by itself, even though it's the first in a series. But the characters are what make Shadow and Bone great.

I connected with Alina immediately, and I felt her struggles and insecurities. I might normally say that I'm tired of love triangles, but this one kept me emotionally invested all the way through, with the perfect payoff in the end.

I highly recommend Shadow and Bone, and I know I'm not alone.

Music for today:  The Pit by Silversun Pickups

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

YA Highway RTW: The Best Book in May

May is always a huge month for new releases, and this year all the titles I'd been waiting for lived up to the hype. I read the 5 YA titles above and a few adult books as well. You can check out my reviews of Bitterblue, Insurgent, and Reunited for more info. I'd have to pick Insurgent as the best book of the month, which is really saying something for the middle child of a trilogy. City of Lost Souls was every bit as steamy as I'd expected, though I'll be glad to get a more finite conclusion in book 6. And The Serpent's Shadow was an excellent end to the series. I highly recommend The Kane Chronicles if you're looking for a good MG adventure.

In other news, I'm tacking on a belated response to last week's RTW. Thanks to skymiles and a very supportive husband, I am going to SCBWI in LA! I am equal parts excited and nervous, and I'd love some suggestions on how to make the most of it. I've been to smaller state conferences over the past few years, but nothing like SCBWI. Are any of you blogger-type-people going? I'd love to chat about plans for the conference, and it would be awesome to meet you in person!

Music for today: Not a song, but a very cool trailer for Muse's upcoming album.