Oh my god, it was so much fun (and kind of painful 😅) reading my earliest reviews!
For this list I chose only books I actually wrote a review for. When I first started using Goodreads I would just rate the book and not actually write anything. All of these have at least a couple sentences.
Also, when I first starting reading/reviewing I would binge read series. So I decided to combine those so we can talk about more books 😊
1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
I picked this up after binging the first season of this on Hulu. My review is SO short for this. But weirdly enough, I still stand by it haha.
I love the overall story of this – the message totally resonates with me and world seems so possible and terrifying.
But the book overall was just okay to me. My biggest issue with this was some of Offred’s ramblings become so incoherent and difficult to follow. When she’s relaying conversations it was so difficult to distinguish what was actually said and what is her own commentary. So I found myself skimming a lot of the “conversations” and details.
2. In a Dark, Dark Woods by Ruth Ware
AW! I read this for my first ever readathon – Spookathon 😭 Again my review is embarrassingly short.
Overall this book was enjoyable. I liked the story and Ware’s writing. I didn’t find any of it very surprising and I pretty much saw the ending/wrap up coming from the start – which is why it didn’t get a higher rating. But it was a fun, quick read, especially to kick off October
3. The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
During this time, I read a single book at a time, and would read entire series from start to finish. Such simpler times 😂
I REALLY enjoyed this trilogy. I loved Leigh Bardugo’s writing and the world she created. The magic system was interesting and some of the characters were really great. I did have a few issues – the main one being the main love interest/characters. I didn’t connect with either of them or their “love story”. I found some of their interactions/issues to be immature and cliche. And I wasn’t a huge fan of the ‘After’ ending. But I enjoyed the rest of the story so much it didn’t bother me too much.
4. In the Woods by Tana French
Another Spookathon read! And sadly a least favorite book of mine…
This book was a bit of a flop for me. I couldn’t stand the main character/narrator and found myself grumbling out loud while reading his “reasonings” on why he’s acting like a piece of garbage. I just had a hard time listening or sympathizing with someone I disliked so much.
The overall mystery was interesting enough, but crazy slow. The book is only 430 pages but it took me a week to get through. No intention of continuing this series.
5. Everland & Umberland by Wendy Spinale
Oh man, this is the first instance of a review that definitely wouldn’t be the same today… I never read book 3 and have since unhauled the entire series.
I went into this with no expectations and ended up really enjoying the book. The steampunk, dystopian world was really original. And the way the Peter Pan characters/story was woven in was creative.
Overall the story wasn’t anything earth shattering though. The characters were very YA typical – meek, average girl meets attractive, strong-willed boy… And the I wasn’t totally buying into the love story.
But overall the book was a fun read. Definitely going to continue the series.
6. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Fun fact – this was my first ever one star review and is my least favorite book of all time (that I’ve read through entirely). This is also when my reviews started to get longer and more detailed! Go me!
There were very few things that I actually liked about this book.
The 4 main female characters are all attending preparatory school in the late 1800’s. The narrator, Gemma Doyle, discovers she has visions and the ability to enter other worlds. Her 3 of her classmates form a “friendship” and begin to enter one of these magical worlds. The idea of being able to cross worlds, see lost spirits, visit magical places where anything you desire becomes real, it a cool idea. Unfortunately that’s the last good thing I have to say.
The 4 lead female characters are catty, 1 dimensional, and completely unlikeable. They each have their one overarching characteristic and nothing more – the number of times it’s mentioned one of the girls is beautiful and one of them is fat is outrageous. Their interactions are infuriating and often offensive.
The “romance”, or closer to obsession, Gemma has with one of the Romani (which they refer to as gypsy throughout the entire book) makes absolutely no sense. It felt like a total half-assed, after thought because YA novels always have romance aspects.
Overall this absolutely read like an early 2000’s YA novel – cheesy, immature, and problematic.
This series is definitely not for me, so I won’t be continuing with the last 2 books. I just don’t care enough about the world or characters to find what happens.
7. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
I read all 4 main books as well as the novella and short story collection back to back. Past me was impressively dedicated 😂
I really loved this book! I loved the creative twist Meyer took on this Cinderella retelling. The cyborg/magic/futuristic aspect felt so original and totally captivated me in.
I liked the main character, Cinder. She had spunk and an actual personality. And her whole story didn’t revolved around how pretty she was or wasn’t (which can be hard to find in YA). And the love story aspect didn’t feel forced or make me cringe the whole book. But what really got me was the originality through the whole book – cyborgs, a second plague, moon people, an Earth reestablished post WW4… it was such a random collection and it all just worked for me.
The only down part, and the reason I gave this 4.5 instead of 5 stars, is the “twist” was insanely obvious – I think I figured out about 80 pages in. So I spent most of the book going okay… someone figure this out already.
But overall I’m loving this series. Can’t wait to start up the next book!
8. Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
My first ever Sanderson!! These spoilers seriously ruin the entire book… 🙈 Even though they’re hidden I feel bad and kind of want to remove them. What was I thinking??
I LOVED this book! Holy cow.
Sanderson weaves such an amazing story. Some of his twists were so well handled and I absolutely didn’t see them coming. (view spoiler)
Lightsong was my absolute favorite character. I loved his slow discovery of who he was(view spoiler).
This was everything I was hoping for from my first Sanderson read.
9. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
This is where it all began… 12 books later Maas has her own dedicated shelf in our library. I never would’ve believed it when I wrote this review 😅 Also, look! My review style is blooming!
This book had its ups and downs for me. There were definitely moments I enjoyed and was completely invested in. But then others I found a little cringe-y and found my attention wandering.
What I liked
-The challenge. This was a cool concept – testing and challenging a group of well trained criminals for chance to win their freedom.
-Nehemia. I really liked her character. She was witty and cunning. And her character didn’t revolve around how pretty she looked all the time. (view spoiler)
-The magic/wyrdmarks/etc. It was just starting to be introduced near the end of the novel but I really like the magic in this story. It’s what I’m most excited to learn more about.
What I didn’t like
**The CONSTANT reminder of how beautiful Celaena is. Jesus Christ was that annoying.
-The love triangle. The love interests. Hated it. Ugh.
-I wanted more from the challenge/trial. I feel like we didn’t get to see much of it and it was one of them most interesting concepts the book offered.
10. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Last but not least… I never rate this specifically anymore. I use half stars pretty frequently but this is overkill haha.
3.75 stars – I’m getting really specific with this one.
I love Alice in Wonderland and will give almost anything related to it a read. I had really high hopes for this book because I LOVED the Lunar Chronicles and it was a Queen of Hearts story. Unfortunately I was left a little disappointed.
My biggest issue was the first 200-ish pages felt painfully drawn out. We spent so much time hearing the same details over and over – how childish the king is, how ugly Margret is, the color of the jokers eyes, how delicious Cath’s baked goods are, what store they want to buy…. It got so long winded that I almost DNF’d this book about 3 times. My second issue was, overall the story was pretty 1 dimensional. The only thing that moved the plot along was the forbidden romance. And while certain details were really clever, (view spoiler) I wanted more from the story/characters.
BUT, the last half of the book totally captivated me. I became really invested and needed to know how the stories played out. And even though I knew the ending – evil Queen of Hearts – I still found myself rooting for Cath and Jest.
What were some of the first books you reviewed? Do you stand by your reviews? How has your style changed??