Wow! It’s hard to believe that it is Week 4 already. Where did April go? I finished three more titles this week, bringing my total so far to 12. I also checked off two more lists, leaving just two from which I have yet to read a book – the Alex Awards and the Printz Award. I currently have two Alex Award winners sitting in my To Be Read pile and I should get to at least one of those this week. Choosing a book from the Printz Award list was more difficult. When I began the challenge, I decided that I would only choose books I have not already read. That eliminated Where Things Come Back and The Scorpio Races. I started to read Why We Broke Up in March, but I really didn’t care for it and never finished it. That leaves just two books for the challenge. So The Returning is also on my pile.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson.
This was one of those books that I kept seeing other people recommend. Each time I would think “I probably ought to read that at some point.” But I never did. I am SO glad that this challenge finally prompted me to pick it up. Once I did pick it up, I couldn’t put it down! Elisa is such a wonderful heroine. She feels inadequate, weighed down by other people’s expectations of her as the Chosen one. But as she struggles through pain and adversity, she rises to the challenge, surprising herself and everyone else with her inner strength. I can guarantee that I won’t put off reading the next installment in this trilogy!
From the opening words of the prologue, I was hooked. The premise of this book is scarily believable. In an America where Las Vegas has been destroyed by a nuclear explosion, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Defense Division recruits top teen hackers to protect the nation’s computer systems. But a new danger arises as more people begin to use neuro-headsets to connect their minds directly to their computers. Can that technology be used to manipulate people’s memories and control their actions? It takes a little while for Falkner to set up the scenario. But once the action begins, the pace is breath-taking! The writing is so vivid, I found myself tensing up, pulse racing, as I turned the pages. I am a bit uncertain how I feel about the ending. It seemed a bit too quick and clean. But the rest of the book is so good, I’ll gladly forgive that. Yet another book I’m glad to have read and that I can see myself recommending.
The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud, read by Simon Jones.
What can I say? I absolutely love the snarky djinni Bartimaeus. And Simon Jones does a wonderful job of bringing him to life. After having listened to The Amulet of Samarkand, also read by Simon Jones, when I saw this title on the list of Top 10 Audiobooks, I knew I had to listen to it. This time, the wisecracking demon is loose in the court of King Solomon. Under the supervision of Khaba, one of Solomon’s court magicians, Bartimaeus is part of the team building the new temple. When his bad behavior draws Solomon’s attention, Khaba and his demons are sent to the desert to hunt bandits. There they cross paths with Asmira, loyal guard of the Queen of Sheba on a secret mission to assassinate King Solomon. The Ring of Solomon is funny, action packed, and full of great characters with an underlying serious theme of slavery and freedom. I’m sure this is a wonderful book to read. But Simon Jones’ narration puts it over the top. I’m sure that if I were to read any of the Bartimaeus books now, I would hear Jones’ version of his voice in my head. And that would be an excellent thing.
Next week I’m hoping to get back to a couple of graphic novels. My husband is raving about Zahra’s Paradise, so I must get to that soon. I have started listening to Beauty Queens, but the first disc is damaged in spots. So I may have to put that off until I can get another copy.
YALSA The Hub Best of Best Challenge Week 4 Check-in