The Best Book I Read in June

A couple weeks ago, I had a conversation with my husband that went something like this....
Me: So I'm reading A Storm of Swords [the third book in the Game of Thrones series] and It. Is. Crazy.
Justin: I know, right? I told you to read that months ago, silly wife.  
Me: Yeah, well, this book is INSANE. There are characters dying left and right. Nobody is safe! Nobody! 
And then, Justin said something that warrants proper illustration: 


My husband speaks the truth!

So, yes, the best book I read in June was A Storm of Swords by George "Honeybadger" Martin. I can sum up this weighty novel in a handful of words:
Craziness. Death. Badassery. Oh no, he didn't! MOAR death. Wow.
Usually, I have a hard time getting into adult fantasy novels but this one totally sucked me in. Everywhere I went, I tried to sneak in a few more pages of the book: checking out at the grocery store, waiting for a movie to start, reading way past my bedtime. How did Martin craft such a great book?!

First, the constant shift in POV. Each chapter of this series is narrated by a different character, so the plot is always shifting, keeping you on your toes. Plus, if you find a particular storyline boring, no worries! In a few pages, you'll switch to someone's else perspective.

Second, George R.R. Martin has NO FEAR as a writer. He wants to tell a great story first and foremost so he's not afraid to make his characters suffer or introduce crazy plot twists. Or, you know, kill off major people. As a reader, this keeps you teetering at the edge of your seat, unsure what Honeybadger George will do next.

And third, the characters. Oh, Martin is superb at characterization! Every character is expertly crafted, expertly honed. Sansa, for instance, starts off in Book 1 as a spoiled, semi-bratty girl but she has developed into one of my favorite characters.

Can we talk about the Lannisters too? Cunning, ruthless, even incestuous. But somehow Martin manages to make us feel for them, which is crazy because I don't want to feel anything but disgust for Cersei and Jaime. They're awful creatures! But then Martin shows us Cersei's fierce love for her children and Jaime's experiences as a young knight and...lo and behold...maybe I do feel bad for them. (Just a little.)

Anyway, I am now reading the fourth book in the series and liking it a lot so far. Here's to hoping it's as good as the third!

So what are you reading now? Any recommendations? And be sure to check YA Highway for our "Best Book in June" blog posts!