Book Haul #44: A Lil’ More, a Lil’ Less

It’s my second book haul post of the year!! 😀 Lumping these hauls together is working out well because these days I purchase less books and borrow more from the library.

However, this particular book haul post might not illustrate that fact since it includes books acquired in March and April, one of which was my birthday month and I HAD to treat myself to some books. Also, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, and Book Outlet gave me coupons and I HAD to use them. There’s no way I’m gonna get a coupon for buying books and not use it. That would be crazy. And wasteful.

Well, this is a pretty great haul of books, so lemme stop blabbing and get to it.

**The book titles below are linked to Goodreads. If the book isn’t listed on Goodreads, it will be linked to whatever website I find that provides the best description of it. Any I’ve reviewed are linked to my review.**

Purchases/Gifts

NoVa YA Book Festival and Birthday

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Comics Roundup #21: “Pashmina”

I’ve had this book on my Goodreads TBR since last year November when I saw it advertised in one of the many bookish newsletters I’m subscribed to. The title caught my attention because I love pashminas and own several. It made me wonder what the story would say about the scarves.


Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

Genre: Fantasy

Goodreads summary:

Priyanka Das has so many unanswered questions: Why did her mother abandon her home in India years ago? What was it like there? And most importantly, who is her father, and why did her mom leave him behind? But Pri’s mom avoids these questions–the topic of India is permanently closed.

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“Tess of the Road” by Rachel Hartman

I was excited for this one. I’m a fan of Hartman’s Seraphina duology, which is a YA fantasy duology about a girl trying to accept who she is. That duology is set in a world where dragons can adopt human form, but in some countries in the world, relation between humans and dragons is quite tense.

I enjoyed those books for their detailed writing and for introducing me to such an interesting world, which we get to explore more in the duology’s second book, Shadow Scale, which explores more of the world as well as the region where the dragons live.

I was sad when the duology ended, but was excited and hopeful when I heard of Tess of the Road, a new book set in the same world. I once again looked forward to Hartman’s detailed writing and to explore more of the world. But sadly, I didn’t enjoy Tess’s book as much as Seraphina’s.

Goodreads summary:

In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can’t make a scene at your sister’s wedding and break a relative’s nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy.

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“Gilded Cage” by Vic James

gilded-cageHave you ever read a book that’s so compelling you can hardly put it down but is so annoying that you wish you could? That’s how I felt over the 8 days I spent reading Gilded Cage. I was curious about some of its plot points, but I had so many issues with it that I was frustrated the entire time I read it.

Quick summary:

Gilded Cage is a young-adult fantasy novel set in the present day, where some people (the Equals) have magical abilities (the Skill) and enslave those who lack such abilities (the Commoners). Some countries have improved their policies and allowed equal opportunities for both Equals and Commoners; however, in the U.K., where the story is set, slavery is still in effect.

When the story begins, one of our protagonists, Abigail, and her family are about to begin their slave days. Commoners must dedicate 10 years of their lives to being a slave, however individuals can choose when to begin. Parents can choose for children under 18, but all Commoners must begin before they are 60.

Abigail is 18 and is studying to be a doctor. However, she is willing to set her aspirations aside to start her slave days with her family, which includes her mom and dad, her 15-year-old* (I forgot his age, but it’s about there) brother Luke, and her 10-year-old sister Daisy. Abigail plans for them all to have an easy time working their slave days at the Kyneston estate, one of the most powerful Equal families in the country that is managed by brothers Gavar, Jenner, and Silyen Jardine. However, her family is ripped apart when Luke is taken to Millmoor, the harsh factory town that mistreats its slaves.

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“The Monstrumologist” by Rick Yancey

The Monstrumologist

Not a fan of the cover.

This is the first time that while online shopping I’ve had an experience akin to shopping in a bookstore. Usually I only purchase books I’m already familiar with online but this time, I picked up something new. Something I’ve never heard of. I didn’t even like the cover. It was the title that caught my attention. After reading the synopsis, I decided to get it. How far would Yancey go in his exploration of monsters, I wondered. Would he go so deep as to show humanity in monsters and monstrosity in humans?

Quick summary:

The story that makes up The Monstrumologist is relayed in the diaries of Will Henry. They were found after he died (sometime in 2007) and given to Rick Yancey. In this book, the first volume of his diaries, it’s 1888 and Will is the 12-year-old orphaned apprentice to Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, a monstrumologist, a scientist who studies organisms generally considered monsters and, in some cases, hunts them.

One night, Dr. Warthrop and Will receive a visitor with an unusual package — a monster that died while eating a young woman. The doctor informs Will that the monster is an anthropophagus, a headless predator that resembles humans in stature except its mouth is in its chest. They also receive another surprise — a baby anthropophagus within the body of the young woman. The doctor concludes that anthropophagi are in the area and makes preparations to uncover how they appeared on American soil and why in New England within the vicinity of a monstrumologist.

Their quest for answers and eventually to root out and kill the anthropophagi takes Dr. Warthrop and Will on quite an adventure on which Will learns that monsters come in many forms and sometimes fear helps as much as it hinders us.

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“Shadow and Bone” by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and BoneThis has been on my TBR list for a while, so I’m glad that I finally read it. Since I read this for the Bout of Books read-a-thon and was on vacation at the time, I got through it very quickly, in two days actually. I think that’s the fastest I’ve read a book this year. This was possible because Shadow and Bone is a quick read. It is fast-paced and there’s hardly a dull moment.

Quick summary:

Genre: young-adult fantasy

From Goodreads:

Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, she is sure of only one thing: her best friend, Mal — and her inconvenient crush on him. Until the day their army regiment enters the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. When their convoy is attacked and Mal is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power not even she knew existed.

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“Beautiful Creatures” by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Cover of "Beautiful Creatures"

Available on Amazon and at you local bookstore.

It took me a while to work up an interest in this book. I first watched the movie and because I enjoyed it so much, I decided to read the book. Unfortunately, when I first attempted to read it, I put it down almost immediately. I enjoyed the prologue but when the story began, I found the voice too dry to bear. But after reading The JK Review’s review of the novel and movie, I decided to give it another try and be patient. It paid off.

Quick summary:

I read this book a while back so the details of the story are a bit foggy but here is the gist of what I do remember. Beautiful Creatures is told from the perspective of Ethan Wate, a teenager in his junior year of high school. He resides in Gaitlin, a small town in the South Carolina, which he hates because he finds it too backwards. He can’t wait to escape its borders and explore the wider world. In the meantime, he escapes through books. He is an avid reader on account of his late mother being a librarian. When the story begins, he’s been having weird dreams of a girl and hearing a strange song on his iPod in the mornings. Soon the girl he sees in his dreams turns up at his school. She is the new girl in town—Lena Duchannes, niece of the town’s shut in.

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