The Demon King - Cinda Williams Chima 2 star first 3rd, gradual build to a 4.5 star status, so about 3 on average. I wasn't into this book at first. The first few chapters weren't very well written, and it didn't grab me. I read it off and on, and spent more time reading random stuff on the internet. I considered abandoning it, but I didn't. About half way through, I started to feel intrigued by the world she was building. I liked the characters, and particularly enjoyed how their love lives were realistically teenage as opposed to I-Have-Met-My-One-True-Love-At-The-Age-of-15. A character might even fancy themselves in love with someone, but still enjoy the flirtation/kisses of another. Realistic teenagers! Not a contrived love triangle, just teens with normal teen feelings. Not that it's just a book about teens kissing each other, but the swoon factor is excellent. I started to get interested in the setup of the Fells, and the Seven Realms, and the history of the bloodlines. The book went from being generic fantasy stuff to a complex, well-thought out world. If it hadn't failed to grab me at the beginning, it would have been 4 stars for sure.By the time I got 3/4 of the way through, I was already scouting how I could quickly get the second book in the series because I didn't want it to end, and I went straight from the end of this to the beginning of the next one, which I'm loving so far. So, I rarely wholeheartedly recommend something to which I gave three stars, but this is an exception.
The Bone Season - Samantha Shannon I am uncertain why there is all the shouting about how she is the next JK Rowling. I don't understand the comparison. Yes, there is magic in both worlds, and yes, this is supposed to be a seven book series, like Harry Potter, but aside from some similarities in the way magic battles are written, I don't see what this has to do with Rowling.However, since the comparison has been made over and over, I can't help but compare the two. I liked this book quite bit. I didn't love it really, but I didn't love the first couple HP books either. Liked them, yes, but didn't really fall in love until book 3, so maybe this will be the same for me. There are some similar themes about friendship, loyalty and rebellion, and yes, magic, obviously. I think I would have consistently loved the main character if she weren't sometimes so stupid. Like, she's been told over and over that human weapons won't kill the Rephaim, and yet, she has to be told over and over because she just. . . forgets? This irked me, because Paige is smart and resourceful, and I can only think that the author thinks the audience can't keep up. Since Paige is our entry into this world, she has to "forget" things she has already learned so that the readers can be reminded of them, but the plot is hardly so complicated that we shouldn't be expected to keep up.I'm intrigued by the world and the characters, and will definitely read the next one to see what happens next. I only hope that the comparisons to Rowling prove apt in the sense that Rowling always worked hard to become a better writer, and you can see the progress in her work. If that happens here, then this series has potential.
The Rebel Angels - Robertson Davies I read Fifth Business by Roberston Davies maybe 20 years ago, and though I can't remember many details (something about a snowball?) I think of the book often. There is just something. . . indefinably odd about Robertson Davies. His books worm their way into your psyche without you noticing they are doing it. You'll be reading along, thinking, this is pretty good, and then at some point you discover that he has inextricably entangled you with his world.
The 5th Wave - Rick Yancey 4.5!
The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel - Neil Gaiman, Neil Gaiman I've read most of Gaiman's books, and this is his best. Maybe it should be five stars, but it's definitely at least 4.5. I know other reviewers have said this before me, but this book is childhood. I have never seen childhood, from a child's perspective, articulated so perfectly. It made my heart break for my own sons, and reminded me of where they are strong and where they are fragile and where they are a tangle of both.
Night Film - Marisha Pessl "Just when you think you've hit rock bottom, you realize you're on another trapdoor." - Night FilmSeveral reviewers have used this quote in their reviews because it is exactly what reading this book makes you feel. I have neglected all my responsibilities, unable to stop going through those doors, glued to this book for days. This is a book I will read again and again, a book that will be different every time I read it. I don't know how to tell you about this book without including spoilers, and you shouldn't have any of it spoiled. Stories within stories within the very nature of story - it's not a linear progression through the trapdoors, some lead you back to where you started, some jump you ahead. I had such high expectations for this book and it vaulted right over them into something I never could have dreamed it would be.
Special Topics in Calamity Physics - Marisha Pessl I actually read this years ago, but since I think of this book still, at least once every few weeks, I thought I'd pop over here to tell yet more people that they should read it. It is one of my favorite books ever.
Siege and Storm - Leigh Bardugo 4.5 actually. Can't wait for the third one.
The Isle of Blood - Rick Yancey Oh, Will Henry. I fear that it is too late for me to adopt you.
Star Cursed - Jessica Spotswood Since this is basically a YA Handmaid's Tale with magic, I hope all the kids are reading this series. Then I hope they all see what's going on in state legislatures across the US and rise up and fight.
Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway - Sara Gran Maybe 4.5, but why quibble?When I read Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead, I didn't know it would be a series. It hinted that it could be, but it stands alone. Bohemian Highway could stand alone too. Your introduction to Claire and her backstory certainly adds more layers to your understanding of her in the second book, but Sara Gran manages to tell you what you need to know without it feeling like a "previously on -" montage. You'd still be able to love it. If you have read the first book, you'll look back on it, your understanding of the story deepening. Not changing, but revealing more layers. I've always read a lot of detective fiction. I've read several things that attempt to define the detective story in a way similar to Gran's, but none of them were particularly memorable. I wanted something like this series. Claire DeWitt is the detective I've been looking for. When discussing the works of Sara Gran ( or Tana French), I tell people that it is doing them a disservice to think of them as genre books, but the fact that they are mysteries, or stories about detectives is not an accident. This isn't "just" a genre book, but the genre provides fertile ground for telling the story. It is a mystery, but I've always argued that most stories are mysteries at heart. The Claire DeWitt books reflect a similar philosophy. All the mysteries are connected. Cases are closed, but nothing is solved.From the manual of detection that has guided our heroine since her teens "The detective thinks he is investigating a murder or a missing girl but truly he is investigating something else altogether, something he cannot grasp hold of directly. . . . someday, perhaps many lifetimes from now, all will be explained and all mysteries will be solved. All knowledge will be free for the taking, including the biggest mystery of all - who we really are. Bur for now, each detective, alone in the woods, must take her clues, and solve her mysteries for herself"
The Dangerous Animals Club - Stephen Tobolowsky Very close to five stars. I have been listening to this book for over a week, and when it ended I found myself wishing that it would go on. It's not a memoir of his acting career (you might not recognize his name, but you would recognize his face) though it has many stories from his career, they are sort of incidental. I was impressed at the way he structured the collection. Though the stories are not chronological, there is a logic to the order in which they were told, and the structure of the collection is perfect. Humorous and honest, it's well worth a read or a listen.
When Patty Went to College - Jean Webster I almost just gave it three stars, because it is no Daddy Long Legs. It's a series of vignettes, and I wasn't driven to sit down and read it all in one sitting. On the other hand, it is still Jean Mother-Effing Webster, so it is sparkling and witty and contains many perfect moments. It surprises me how her books never seem dated. You recognize certain aspects of them as being from a past era, but people have always been, to an extent, the same. As always, the characters are charming and delightful, and she makes me wish I'd gone to a women's college.
Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir - Jenny Lawson I laughed my ASS OFF. I've read mixed reviews of this, and maybe it's not for everyone, but I was laughing so hard listening to this book that my 5 year old demanded that I either stop or explain what was so funny. If you have kids and get the audio, listen with the headphones on because there might be even more swearing than in the Cursing Mommy's Book of Days. There are definitely way more uses of the word "vagina". Do not, as the author suggests at the end, make a drinking game where you drink every time she says "vagina".
Promethea, Vol. 2 - Alan Moore, J.H. Williams III, Mick Gray 4.5 with potential to rate the series 5 as a whole.

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective - Kate Summerscale This is less the story of a murder than it is an examination of the public's relationship with detective stories both fictional and non. It's well researched, and pretty interesting if you're into that sort of thing, which I am.

Currently reading

The Orphan Master's Son
The Gray Wolf Throne (Seven Realms, #3)
Cinda Williams Chima