Top Ten Books on my Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

It’s been forever since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my fall TBR, so this came at the perfect time. There are a lot of books that just give off a fall vibe that I’d like to read this season, and of course there are also my anticipated reads for the R.i.P XII readathon, so my fall TBR is sort of a balance between those two categories and new releases that I just absolutely have to pick up ASAP.

Deathless (Leningrad Diptych, #1)ThreatsHaemansBelzhar

These four books are probably at the top of my TBR for the R.i.P XII readathon. I’ve been meaning to read Deathless (and basically all of Catherynne M. Valente’s adult books) for years now, and I’ve decided that this fall is finally the time that I’m going to go for it.

I also have really high expectations for Threats by Amelia Gray; I read her collection of short stories, Gutshot, last year and went to a reading she did in my city. Threats sounds a bit more conventionally structured than Gutshot (pretty much anything is conventional compared to Gutshot) but still with a healthy dose of weirdness.

And then there’s Haemans by Nicoline Evans, which is a book that I bought at the author’s booth BookCon. It sounds dark and vampire-ish and also involves Russian royalty.

For a YA Octoberish read, I also have Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer. I actually don’t know a ton about this one, but it’s very short so I don’t want to know a whole lot. It has mixed reviews on Goodreads, but I tend to have unpopular opinions a lot of the time, so that doesn’t bother me.

SourdoughWhat HappenedOnly Ever YoursThe Stone Sky (The Broken Earth, #3)

I think ideally I’d like to also get to my most recent Book of the Month Club pick, Sourdough by Robin Sloan, this fall; it’s about bread-baking and foodies and it sounds sort of cozy and fall-ish.

Hillary Clinton is coming to my city for a signing of her new book What Happened, and unfortunately I have to work that day but my friend is going and is hopefully going to get a copy signed for me as well. I’m definitely planning on reading this one as soon as I get the chance, and I’m probably going to cry multiple times while reading it.

For a YA dystopian read, I have Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill, which has been called the YA version of The Handmaid’s Tale and is a possible read for me for Dewey’s 24-hour readathon in October.

Another new release I’d like to get to this fall is The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin. This is the final book in my favorite current fantasy series, so I’m almost hesitant to pick it up because then it will be over ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Gather the DaughtersThe Female of the Species

Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed is a book that just sounds like it’s right up my alley. I’ve heard amazing things so far, and all I know is that it’s about young women in a misogynistic cult who attempt to go against its teachings and escape.

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis is a YA book that has been on my radar for awhile; I don’t read a ton of contemporary YA, but this is supposed to be very feminist and well-done, so I’m intrigued.

 

What’s on your fall TBR? Feel free to link me to your Top Ten Tuesday post if you’ve done one!

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It’s Monday! What are you reading?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. ย It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog ย  and then was taken up by Sheila fromย Book Journey.ย Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at theย Book Date.

Thankfully, I’ve been doing a LOT better with my reading in September compared to August, so I’ve been inspired to do more currently reading-type updates.

What am I currently reading?

Among OthersThe GirlsThe Unearthly (The Unearthly, #1)

I’m in the middle of of a book that I think will become one of my favorite books of the year, if not ever. I’m hesitant to say something like that too soon, because what if something happens and I start hating the book, but I just get such a wonderful feeling every time I pick it up and I’m already thinking about how this will be a great one to revisit and re-read in the future. That book is Among Others by Jo Walton, which won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards in 2012 and is about a Welsh teenager who survived a tragedy and is now making it through her time at an English boarding school through a combination of SFF literature and communicating with fairies.

Audio-wise, I’m listening to The Girls by Emma Cline, which has been on my TBR since before its release. I’m very much at the beginning, but so far it’s intriguing. I’m also reading The Unearthly by Laura Thalassa, which is a YA paranormal fantasy set at a boarding school also where all of the students are supernatural creatures. Again, I’m very much at the beginning but liking it so far.

What did I recently finish reading?

The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo LanaganThe Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

My most recent physical read was The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan, which was a dark retelling of the selkie myth that was quite good. I also recently finished listening to The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls on audio, and it was very well-written and compelling but also extremely disturbing and hard to listen to due to its content. If it had been fiction, I might not have been able to finish it, but since it was nonfiction and I at least knew that Walls survived and became successful, I did.

What books might be up next?

SourdoughGather the DaughtersThe Natural Way of Things

After I finish The Girls, I’m going to need a new audiobook. If the timing works out (I get audiobooks through my library’s Overdrive app), I’m hoping to be able to start listening to Sourdough by Robin Sloan. And once I finish Among Others, I’d like to pick up a book on my list of 5-star predictions; I’m thinking it will probably be Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed or The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood, but I’m a mood reader, so you never know.

 

WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.ย 

My September reading is starting out strong! Let’s see if I can keep up this momentum.

What are you currently reading?

The Last OneVampire Girl (Vampire Girl, #1)The Brides of Rollrock Island

My currently reading pile is a bit of an eclectic mix, which is exactly how I like it. At the moment I’m so absorbed in my audiobook (I also have a physical copy that I might switch to at some point), which is The Last One by Alexandra Oliva. I’d really never considered listening to this one on audio, but while I was picking out potential books for the R.i.P. XII reading challenge, this arose as a book I’d really love to check out. The Last One focuses on Zoo (not her real name), a contestant on a wilderness-survival-themed reality show, and what happens when the structure of the show appears to start breaking down and there may or may not have been some sort of pandemic event while she was isolated in the woods. She has no way of knowing, however, whether this actually happened or if it’s just a part of the show. It’s SO absorbing; the perspective shifts from Zoo later on in the course of the show (she’s called that by producers because she works with animals at a nature preserve) and a third person account of the earlier days of the show and its fan response. It’s also a great read for R.i.P. XII, which I didn’t actually intend to really begin until October, but hey, I’ll take my library audio holds when I can get them.

Speaking of starting my fall reading challenge early, I started Vampire Girl by Karpov Kinrade on a whim when I needed something to read for a few minutes on my phone during my lunch break at work. I noticed this book because it was a Goodreads Choice Awards nominee last year (I LOVE following the GRCAs) and it contained the word “vampire,” so I figured I should at least check it out. I’m about halfway done and I will say that the quality of the writing is…not good. I would also say that the word “vampire” is used very loosely here and I would not at all classify it as a vampire book. That being said, it’s so fast-paced that I basically read half the book without even thinking about it, and it’s sort of a fun silly book that I do intend to finish. It just won’t be a good rating from me, unfortunately.

And! I’m still only about 40 pages into The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan, but I really love it. Lanagan’s writing is very lyrical, and I love anything that is sort of a dark retelling of some kind of myth/legend/fairy tale. In this case, Lanagan is tackling the myth of selkies, which I think will also provide a lot of commentary on misogyny, which should be interesting. It’s a slower-paced read, but I never feel like I’m lost when I put it down and pick it back up.

What did you recently finish reading?

Blue NightsAn Enchantment of Ravens

The first book I finished in September was Blue Nights by Joan Didion. This is my second Didion; I previously read The Year of Magical Thinking in 2015, and Blue Nights is very similar in topic, tone, and structure. Both are memoirs of grief; Magical Thinking focuses on the loss of Didion’s husband, John, and Blue Nights focuses on her daughter, Quintana. They both sort of drift from topic to topic, mimicking Didion’s patterns of thinking and memory; both are very sad and very well-written.

I then finished an ARC I picked up from the publisher at BookCon, An Enchantment of Ravens,ย and thoroughly enjoyed it. An Enchantment of Ravens is a YA fantasy by Margaret Rogerson, and it takes place in a town called Whimsy which is stranded in perpetual summer due to its connection to the world of the fae, or Fair Ones. The fae in Rogerson’s book are very far removed from emotions and their general humanity, but they covet human artwork and creations more than anything. Our main character, Isobel, finds herself sucked into the fae lands when Rook, the autumn prince of the fae, is furious at his portrayal in a portrait she painted. It’s well-written, self-contained, and in my opinion a perfect YA fairy-related read. It’s set to be released on September 26th.

 

What do you think youโ€™ll read next?

Gather the Daughters

Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed! I’ve nearly started this book about four or five times already in the past few days, but it just hasn’t quite felt like the right time and I’ve been waiting until I cut down my currently reading pile a bit. I actually won this book in a giveaway during the 24 in 48 readathon, which was such a wonderful surprise because it’s been at the top of my 2017 releases TBR. Gather the Daughters is focused on a cult and its misogynistic tendencies and has drawn Margaret Atwood comparisons, so it sounds right up my alley. After Gather the Daughters, I have absolutely no idea what I’ll pick up next. I do hope that my library hold on the audio of The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls becomes available soon, because I think I’ll be in the mood for another memoir by the time I finish my current audio.

 

Have you read any of these? Feel free to link me to your WWW Wednesday post as well!

August Reading Wrap-Up

Before I get into everything, here are my reading stats for August:

Number of books read: 8

#readmyowndamnbooks: 5

When did I acquire the books I read? August 2016 (Arcadia), June 2017 (Heating & Cooling), July 2017 (The Animators), August 2017 (Fierce Kingdom, Binti: Home)

Overall,ย  unfortunately, August turned into a disappointing reading month for me. I didn’t see it coming, especially since July was a FANTASTIC reading month (not only did I read a lot of books, but I read a lot of books that I just enjoyed the heck out of). I was actually super excited for my reading in August, since it featured two readathons that I love taking part in: Bout of Books and Tome Topple. And I still had a good time participating in those readathons, but overall the books I chose this month were disappointments in various ways, and I struggled finding motivation to pick them up for that reason.

So here’s what I read in August:

Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3)The Animators by Kayla Rae WhitakerArcadiaA Scot in the Dark (Scandal & Scoundrel, #2)Home (Binti, #2)Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly WomanFierce KingdomHeating Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs

Arcadia by Iain Pears (4.25 stars) – So, here’s the thing. When I decided to pick this book up for the Tome Topple readathon (and when I put it on my top 10 tbr list for 2017), I had this really solid conviction that it would end up being a 5-star read. It’s been highly recommended by several bookish people that I trust, and its premise sounded so fascinating–it’s essentially a genre mash-up compared to David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas that is set in a dystopian future, an agrarian fantasy world, and 1960s England simultaneously. And it was still a very good book, and I enjoyed reading it. It just wasn’t amazing.

The plot was very fascinating and intricate, and I really enjoyed picking up the little pieces and hints throughout to figure out what the heck was actually going on. But. The characters were very surface-level, and I wasn’t getting the deeper themes and meanings that I’d need for a five-star read.

So do I recommend this book? Yes. If you enjoy both science fiction and fantasy and enjoy a good plot-driven novel, you will definitely like this book.

Wildfire by Ilona Andrews (4 stars) – I love everything Ilona Andrews writes, and this was no exception. This is the third book in a trilogy (although if it sells well enough, it’s possible the series may be expanded *crosses fingers*) about magical family dynasties in Houston. It’s more paranormal romance than urban fantasy, but there is still lots of action, humor, and worldbuilding, in classic Andrews fashion.

Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs by Beth Ann Fennelly (4 stars) – Before picking up Heating & Cooling, I had actually never heard of a micro-memoir before. I had, however, heard of microfiction, which I tend to absolutely love; there’s something about a short format that requires an author to pack so much meaning and complexity into every word. I think that shorter pieces are much harder to create than longer pieces for this reason; you just don’t have room for anything extraneous, and you have to make every bit count.

It turns out that I enjoyed the short memoir format just as much as I enjoy very short stories. Every piece in this collection–especially the extremely short ones–was impactful and concise; Fennelly’s writing style doesn’t waste a word. Fennelly writes about a variety of topics–her marriage, her parents, her children, the nature of memory, the less shiny aspects of her childhood and hometown–yet things never feel disjointed. In turns, I laughed out loud and felt profoundly disturbed by what she had to say, and I frequently re-read sentences to appreciate her skill in conveying things so concisely.

If you’re a short story or microfiction lover and are interested in picking up a memoir, this would be a great choice; I’d also recommend Heating & Cooling for anyone who enjoys memoirs and appreciates honest and well-crafted prose.

*I received an ARC of Heating & Cooling from the publisher at BookCon

Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor (4 stars) – The sequel to Binti really built on the first book and also delved back into what wasn’t fully addressed in book 1–namely, Binti’s relationship with her family. Binti continues to unintentionally push cultural boundaries in a variety of ways, and this novella is building toward what I hope will be a really interesting conclusion.

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips (3 stars) – So the premise of this book is undoubtedly intriguing–it’s a suspense novel that takes place over the course of three hours, following a woman and her four-year-old son as they attempt to survive and escape a shooter who is loose at the zoo. And for the first third or so of the book, I’d say it lived up to my expectations; it was extremely suspenseful and made you want to keep reading while still devoting time to characterization. The problems for me came later in the book; without giving anything away, I felt that not enough really happened over the course of the book. If you’re going to write a short novel, you really need to make every conflict and scene count, and I don’t feel like that’s what this book did. It was too much buildup for not enough payoff.

Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud by Anne Helen Petersen (3 stars) – This book provided great commentary about and analysis of some of the most prominent female celebrities today, but it fell flat attempting to connect them into a broader statement.

The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker (2.75 stars) – I liked the characters and the premise, but the plot was really all over the place and the pacing was super inconsistent. I didn’t love a lot of the decisions about how the story progressed. I did think it was pretty well-written and I especially liked the discussion of how animation and the creative process of the characters worked.

A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean (2.25 stars) – The beginning of this book was so much fun, but things got SO repetitive after awhile, and the actions of the main male character were so idiotic and frustrating that I basically had to stop rooting for them as a couple.
I liked the concept a lot, but this book really needed more to happen plot-wise to justify the amount of complications to the romance.
I’d like to try another of Sarah MacLean’s books to see if things are handled better in others, because I feel like there’s much more potential than was utilized in this story.

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril (R.i.P.) Challenge Sign-Up & TBR!

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XII takes place from September 1st, 2017 through October 31st, 2017. Itโ€™s a low-key reading challenge hosted by Andi at Estella’s Revenge and Heather at My Capricious Life focused on completing different tasks (called โ€œperilsโ€) all focused on reading within the following genres:
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Mystery.
Suspense.
Thriller.
Dark Fantasy.
Gothic.
Horror.
Supernatural.
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I’ll be participating in Peril the First, which entails reading at least 4 books that fit into the R.i.P. categories. It’s possible that I could also end up accomplishing Peril of the Short Story or Peril on the Screen, but I’m not to hold myself to it.
ย .
For this reading challenge, I don’t like to set a solid TBR; instead, I like to find a bunch of books on my TBR shelf that could possibly fit the challenge categories so that I have a lot of wiggle room for mood reading and instead of a small pile that I definitely want to read, I have a bunch of books to choose from. And no, I am definitely not going to be reading all or almost all of these books, not even close! I tend to do most of my R.i.P reading in October, but I might pick up one or two of these in September, too, depending on how my reading is going!
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All the Missing GirlsFinal GirlsNight FilmHaemansSee What I Have DoneAgents of DreamlandDusk or Dark or Dawn or DayFever DreamVampire Girl (Vampire Girl, #1)Fearscape (Horrorscape, #1)ThreatsLailah (The Styclar Saga, #1)The Last OneZoo CitySunshineWhite Is for WitchingDeathless (Leningrad Diptych, #1)BelzharThe DevourersChime
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Who else is participating? I love this reading challenge ๐Ÿ™‚

Bout of Books Wrap-Up!

This round of Bout of Books has officially ended! Like several days ago, because I got way behind with my updates.

Before I get into my wrap-up, here are my Day 7 stats:

Pages read: 166 pages of Fierce Kingdom, 81 pages of Heating & Cooling

Books started: None

Books finished: Fierce Kingdom, Heating & Cooling

So! As you can see, I was actually able to accomplish the goals I set for myself for this readathon: to read three physical books and listen to one audiobook. Here’s what I was able to finish:

Home (Binti, #2)Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly WomanFierce KingdomHeating Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs

And I read some of these two also:

An Enchantment of RavensBlue Nights

Bout of Books total stats:

Books finished: 4

Total number of pages/audio time: 571 pages and 6.6 hours of audio

On Sunday, I was really determined to stick to the goals I’d set for myself, and I had a much less busy day planned so I was actually able to get a lot of reading done. I read a bit during the day in between doing things around my apartment, and then met up with friends for Thai food and an escape room in the evening. The escape room was One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest-themed, and it was a lot of fun–we actually ended up escaping much more quickly than we usually do, once we were able to track down the correct medication for the missing patient. Once I got back, I stayed up late finishing both Fierce Kingdom and Heating & Cooling. Fierce Kingdom actually ended up being a bit of a letdown, but I really enjoyed Heating & Cooling–it’s a perfect readathon read.

Overall, I’m glad I accomplished my goals, but it was such a crazy week for me that I didn’t even feel like I was able to read that much. I also didn’t stick that closely to my TBR, and I think if I had I’d probably have enjoyed those books more than some of the ones I ended up reading. August has been a bit of a lackluster reading month for me compared to July (which was wonderful, I read so many awesome things!). I feel like having a stellar reading month last month set me up for failure a bit this month, but oh well! There’s always next month. My wrap-up post for August with reviews will be up in the next few days. I hope those of you participated had a great Bout of Books!

Bout of Books Updates: Days 4, 5, 6

(Yep, I’m way behind with this update post! I got super busy this weekend and the blog updates went on the back burner. My wrap-up and day 7 update post will be up soon too!)

On Thursday (day 4), I was able to get a lot of audiobook listening done while commuting and cooking dinner; I finished Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman by Anne Helen Petersen and started a new audiobook, Blue Nights by Joan Didion. I’ve read one other Joan Didion book previously, The Year of Magical Thinking, which focused on the death of Didion’s husband and her subsequent mourning; Blue Nights is another memoir, which focuses on the death of Didion’s daughter.

Friday was a TERRIBLE reading day; I got absolutely nothing done! I went straight from work to dinner and drinks for a friend’s birthday and didn’t get back until late. Although it was a bad day for reading, it was a fun day in general ๐Ÿ™‚

On Saturday, I had plans to take a day trip for most of the day to a town about an hour away that is home to a spiritual community of mediums; it ended up being such a gorgeous day and we found this adorable “fairy trail” where people have set up tiny fairy houses all along paths in the forest. My friends got readings done with mediums there, and we explored the community and shops while enjoying the beautiful weather.

When I got home I met up with another friend I’d made plans with, but after that, I was determined to get some reading done! I couldn’t stand the idea of going two days during a readathon with absolutely no reading. So I read a decent chunk of Fierce Kingdom (I’d intended to finish it, but it didn’t end up happening; I wasn’t quite as invested in the story as I would want to be to binge-read the entire thing) and started Heating & Cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly; I had received an ARC copy from the publisher when I was at BookCon earlier this summer. I figured that Heating & Cooling would work well in a readathon because it’s extremely short and divided up into micro-memoirs, which range in length from a few sentences to a few pages. And I was right! It was the perfect way to switch up my reading, and I laughed out loud during several of the first few micro-memoirs.

Day 4

Pages read: 158 minutes of Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud, 16 minutes of Blue Nights

Books started: Blue Nights

Books finished: Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud

Day 5

Pages read:ย  None!

Books started: None!

Books finished: None!

Day 6

Pages read: 59 pages of Fierce Kingdom, 30 pages of Heating & Cooling, 17 minutes of Blue Nights

Books started: Heating & Cooling

Books finished: None

 

I write about nontraditional beach reads for nontraditional readers