R.i.P. XIII Readathon TBR

The beginning of September marks the beginning of one of my favorite readathons, Readers Imbibing Peril (R.i.P.) XIII. The R.i.P. readathon lasts throughout the months of September and October, and you can participate as much or as little as you want, by reading books from one of these categories:

– Mystery
– Suspense
– Thriller
– Dark Fantasy
– Gothic
– Horror
– Supernatural
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For more information, or to sign up, check out the site here. It’s very low-key, and if you want, you can participate in specific challenges, or “perils,” to get the most out of the readathon. I’ll be participating in Peril the First, which is to read 4 books from any of the above categories, and Peril of the Short Story, which is just to read a short story from any of the categories.
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Because R.i.P. is such a long readathon, I like to go a little crazy with my TBR by searching my shelves for anything that fits the six categories, and making a giant TBR pile that I can then choose from throughout the readathon. I definitely don’t plan to read all or even most of the books I have listed here, but it’s nice to have a bunch of fall-ish options.
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Here are some potential TBR picks:

 

The World of Lore: Monstrous CreaturesGreywalker (Greywalker, #1)White Is for WitchingLet the Right One InSunshineThreatsFoxloweThe DevourersSlade HouseGet in Trouble: StoriesOutDeathless (Leningrad Diptych, #1)Pretty Monsters: StoriesTill DeathAn Easy DeathThe Haunting of Hill HouseThe Bone Witch (The Bone Witch, #1)Stone Mattress: Nine Wicked TalesThe Drowning GirlZoo CityCertain Dark ThingsDreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories

I’m excited to kick off the readathon! In September, I know I’ll be picking up Charlaine Harris’s An Easy Death, since I was able to get an ARC at BookCon at an autographing session, but everything else is up in the air. I typically read the most R.i.P. books during October rather than September, because that’s when I’m most in the mood for fall-ish reads, so we’ll see.

Are you participating in the R.i.P. readathon? What books are you looking forward to picking up this fall?

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August Reading Wrap-Up

I’m a little late with my August wrap-up, since I was away for Labor Day weekend (I went to Montreal! It was really fun) and didn’t have a chance to finish it before I left or while I was gone, but here it finally is!

August was a prolific reading month, but I wasn’t able to find any new 5-star reads, which I’d have really liked to do. It was a really fun reading month overall, though; I’m especially proud that I finished all three of the books from the Make Me Read It challenge from Litsy. I finished some fun, summery reads, as well as some really interesting ones. I also participated in another round of Bout of Books, one of my favorite readathons.

Here are my August stats:

Total books read: 10

#readmyowndamnbooks: 6

audiobooks: 0

ebooks: 4

The Hating GameThe MothersThe Answers by Catherine LaceyThe Hazel Wood by Melissa AlbertHurts to Love You (Forbidden Hearts, #3)Torn (A Wicked Trilogy, #2)To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny HanBellwether by Connie WillisRoomies by Christina LaurenCirce

 

Bellwether by Connie Willis (4 stars) – Bellwether is about a sociologist/statistician who studies the history and origins of fads, from short hair in the ’20s to Barbie to the current “it” colors, and finds herself on the path toward a major scientific discovery alongside a chaos theorist, while being forced to deal with repeated and hilarious bureaucratic and administrative hurtles. It’s fast-paced and funny, written and set in the early 90s, and is my fourth Connie Willis book. I absolutely love her chaotic writing style and sense of humor; reading Connie Willis brings me a lot of joy, and I’d highly recommend this one if you’re looking for an entertaining science-related read.

The Answers by Catherine Lacey (4 stars) – I ended up really enjoying this deeply weird novel; my philosophy on books is generally the weirder the better. The Answers follows Mary, a woman suffering from an undiagnosed illness who finds the only way to alleviate her symptoms is through an expensive form of alternative medicine called PAKing. To pay for her treatments, Mary joins an experiment that a famous actor is putting together to attempt to find the secret to an ideal relationship. Women are given roles and scripts such as the Anger Girlfriend and Emotional Girlfriend (Mary’s role) while a team of researchers analyze their interactions. Things actually get even weirder from there! Overall I found this to be very unique and well-written; I’d recommend it to fans of literary fiction with a weird/speculative twist. I’ll be interested to read more from Lacey in the future.

The Mothers by Brit Bennett (4 stars) – The Mothers is centered around a black church community in Southern California, and we follow three of its young members, Luke, Nadia, and Aubrey, in alternating perspectives, interspersed by the voices of a chorus of “the mothers,” a group of elderly women whose lives now revolve around the church. Through these voices, we learn the intersecting lives and stories of Luke, a former college football recruit sidelined by an injury; Nadia, an intelligent, ambitious young woman reeling from the recent suicide of her mother; and her best friend Aubrey, who has an equally tragic family past and who copes by finding her place in the church. When the story opens, Nadia is pregnant at seventeen with Luke’s child, and the story follows her decision and their lives through the next several years. The Mothers is a relatively short novel, and it’s fast and almost addicting to read; it’s the type of book that could be read in a single sitting. Despite its fast pace, it’s really beautifully written, and each character is fully realized and easy to picture from the very beginning. It’s also a story very rooted in a sense of place, and the Southern California setting is one of the novel’s constants, even when its characters move to other places. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for an emotional literary fiction read that will hold you and not let you go until the end.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (4 stars) – Honestly, this book just made me really, really happy. I’m not a big contemporary romance reader; I basically didn’t read any contemporary romance at all until a few months ago, and I was skeptical about this book for that reason. After a few chapters, I was hooked, and started to absolutely love this hate-to-love romance. I’d absolutely recommend this to fans of The Kiss Quotient; I think it has a similar vibe even if the plots aren’t at all alike, and also to anyone looking for a great contemporary romance.

Hurts to Love You by Alisha Rai (4 stars) – This was the third and unfortunately the final book in Rai’s Forbidden Hearts series, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first two. This contemporary saga focused on warring families wrapped up nicely in Hurts to Love You, which focused the romance between Gabe, a tattoo parlor owner and the son of one of the families’ housekeeper growing up, and Eve, who grew up wealthy but is now trying to make her own way.

Circe by Madeline Miller (3.5 stars) – I definitely wouldn’t say that I disliked Circe, nor do I think it was a bad book in any way, but I also didn’t think that it lived up to the hype. I should start by saying that I’ve been a voracious reader of Greek mythology from a very young age, like a lot of bookish people. Because of that, I’ve read a lot of books of mythology and a lot of retellings, and although I absolutely understand Miller’s intent to put a feminist slant on Circe’s story, I just didn’t feel that I gained any new information or insights from this book. It was well-written and incorporated many different mythical “heroes” and deities; I was just expecting more from all of the rave reviews and 5-star ratings I’ve been seeing. By the end of the book, I still felt like Circe’s character development wasn’t fully realized, and that was disappointing, since feminist retellings are one of my favorite types of books. So many people loved this one, though, and so I still think that many people would enjoy reading Circe, but for me it was a bit disappointing.

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert (3 stars) – I have mixed feelings. The Hazel Wood follows Alice, a 17-year-old girl with anger issues who, along with her mother, has been constantly on the move around the country ever since she can remember. She’s also the granddaughter of the author of a cult classic fairytale collection–but she’s never even met her grandmother, or been able to read her stories, as they’ve become increasingly difficult to find. But then Alice’s mother goes missing, and more and more strange things start to happen, as Alice starts to wonder whether her grandmother’s stories might not be so fictional after all. The premise of this story sounded fantastic, but the execution didn’t go so well. I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style, which relied way too hard on similes and metaphors for my taste, and I felt like the most interesting part of the book–Alice’s grandmother’s collection of fairy tales–went unfortunately unexplored. We only get to hear two of her stories, and not even in their entirety; we get little hints of others, but I think this book would’ve been SO much stronger if we actually got to read these fairy tales rather than having characters constantly referencing interesting-sounding stories that we never get to know. It also makes our main character seem less competent and interesting since she doesn’t know them either. Overall there were aspects of this book that I did like, but it was inconsistent and the ending was rushed and anticlimactic, especially considering its meandering buildup.

Roomies by Christina Lauren (3 stars) – This was a cute, quick contemporary romance about Holland, the niece of a lauded Broadway director, who is living a sort of directionless life in New York, and Calvin, a young Irish musician whose visa has expired and is performing on the subway and in various bands to pay his bills. Holland decides that Calvin would be perfect for a star orchestral part in her uncle’s show, and the two fake a marriage in order to allow him to join the cast. Of course, they then develop real feelings for each other, and drama ensues. My issue with this was that I found both main characters really unlikable in a lot of ways, and although I found the book very readable, I was never really on board for their romance. My favorite characters were Holland’s uncles, and I found myself wishing that they were this book’s main characters instead. I did recently hear that it’s being adapted into a movie; maybe it will work better in that format. Personally, I’d recommend skipping this one and reading The Hating Game instead.

Torn by Jennifer L. Armentrout (2.5 stars) – This was the second book in Armentrout’s A Wicked Trilogy, which is an urban fantasy focused on the conflict between the fae and humans in New Orleans, and I definitely liked it less than the first book, Wicked. It went down a really dark and disturbing storyline, and I wasn’t in love with the series to begin with, so I’m not sure whether I’ll be picking up the third book.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (2.5 stars) – This month, I discovered the delightful and adorable Netflix movie version of this book, and enjoyed it so much that I immediately picked up the book version. Unfortunately, I didn’t like it quite as much as the movie, but it was still a cute read. I’m very much hoping the movie gets a sequel, though!

 

And here’s my August book haul:

Bout of Books Wrap-Up and Day 7 Updates

So, that’s a wrap on another round of Bout of Books! I’m a little behind schedule with this wrap-up, but better to post late than never. I’d say that I enjoyed this round of the readathon quite a bit; it maybe wasn’t as successful as some have been in the past, but all that really matters is that you read and have a good time.

First of all, here are my Day 7 stats:

Books started: The Only Harmless Great Thing

Books finished: None

Pages read: 110 pages of Circe, 23 pages of The Only Harmless Great Thing

Audiobook time: 53 minutes of No Time to Spare

The Only Harmless Great ThingCirceNo Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters

As you can see, I definitely got a good chunk of reading done on Sunday, in between getting brunch with a friend, going on an audio walk down by the waterfront, and getting ready for the week, but I wasn’t able to finish any more books. I definitely could have pushed myself and finished The Only Harmless Great Thing, since it’s a 90-something page novella, but I just wasn’t in the right mood.

And here are my stats for the readathon overall:

Total books finished: 2

Total pages read: 865

Total audiobook time: 1 hour 33 minutes

 

I’ll definitely be looking forward to the next round of the readathon, which goes from January 7-13th!

Bout of Books Updates: Days 4, 5, and 6

So, I won’t lie, Bout of Books has gone a little off track for me over the course of the week. I unexpectedly had an INSANE week at work and stayed later than anticipated every day except Friday. Because of this, I generally haven’t been reading as much as I’d wanted to, and my updates here and on Instagram have been more sporadic than I’d intended as well. That being said, I’m still glad to be breaking out of the reading slump I’ve been in for the past few weeks and have been enjoying my book picks for the readathon.

On Thursday (day 4), I was able to read little bits of a few books over the course of the day, but was having trouble focusing on anything for two long. Two of those were books I’d already started (Circe by Madeline Miller and Roomies by Christina Lauren), but I also read the first few pages of Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn, a science fiction book that I thought might help with my reading indecision. And then on Friday (day 5), my reading somehow was even less impressive; on my commute home from work I finally started the audio of No Time to Spare by Ursula K. Le Guin, but didn’t get any other reading done because I had dinner and drinks after work for a friend’s birthday. I had a lot of fun; the food and drinks were amazing, and the restaurant is part of a hotel that’s actually in a beautiful, almost castle-like building that used to be an asylum.

Saturday (day 5) I actually was able to get a not-embarassing amount of reading done, and I finished another book! I ended up feeling lukewarm about the book that I finished, Roomies; it was a fun, quick read, but I definitely had some issues with both of the main characters. Then, I dove into Circe for a bit as well, and got to 1/4 of the way through, which is a fair start if I’m still going to try and finish it by the end of the month. And then I took a break from reading to go out for tapas and spend time with my family.

RoomiesBannerless (The Bannerless Saga #1)CirceNo Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters

Here are my stats for the past few days:

Day 4

Books started: Bannerless

Books finished: None

Pages read: 7 pages of Bannerless, 11 pages of Roomies, 22 pages of Circe

Audiobook time: None

Day 5

Books started: No Time to Spare

Books finished: None

Pages read: None

Audiobook time: 10 minutes of No Time to Spare

Day 6

Books started: None

Books finished: Roomies

Pages read: 169 pages of Roomies, 52 pages of Circe

Audiobook time: 30 minutes of No Time to Spare

 

I hope everyone participating is enjoying Bout of Books!

Bout of Books Days 1, 2, and 3 Updates

Bout of Books is underway, and I’m really glad to be getting out of my reading slump and actually finding some books that I’m excited to read. So far, I’ve only finished one book, but more importantly, I’ve been really enjoying what I’m reading. Life-wise, it hasn’t been a super eventful week so far; I worked long days both Monday and Tuesday but was off on Wednesday, and I used my off day mainly to do some errands, clean, and work out, although I did also finally watch the movie Love, Simon, which was adorable. Despite getting home fairly late, I did get a decent amount of reading done on Monday, but Tuesday was way less impressive. And on Wednesday, I got a bunch of reading done and was able to finish my first book of the readathon!

So, remember the very lovely TBR that I made for the readathon? After I figured out what I thought I wanted to read, I immediately lost interest in all of the books in my stack, in a classic mood reader move. So then I needed to figure out something that I was actually in the mood to read. I went with Bellwether by Connie Willis, who has been an author that has busted reading slumps for me before, since her books tend to be funny and chaotic character-driven science fiction. Bellwether is actually set in the early 90’s and follows a sociologist/statistician researching the origins of different fads who works her way towards a scientific breakthrough with the help of a herd of sheep and a chaos theorist. This was the book I finished on Wednesday since it’s short (247 pages) and I ended up really loving it and giving it a solid 4 stars.

Also, while browsing my library’s Overdrive app I decided to check out Roomies by Christina Lauren, which is a contemporary romance that I’d heard about on BookTube, and was also recommended to me on Litsy after I read The Hating Game. It’s about a young woman living in New York whose uncle is the composer of the current “it” Broadway musical, and who meets a street musician who would be perfect for a part in the orchestra. Unfortunately, he’s in the country on an expired visa, but she decides that he’s so essential to the production that she marries him to get him a green card. I’m assuming that they then fall in love, since this is a romance, after all. It’s definitely cute so far, and I can see myself picking up more from this author.

BellwetherRoomies

Here are my stats for the first three days of Bout of Books:

Day 1

Books started: Bellwether, Roomies

Books finished: None

Pages read: 87 pages of Bellwether, 29 pages of Roomies

Audiobook time: None

Day 2

Books started: None

Books finished: None

Pages read: 8 pages of Bellwether, 15 pages of Roomies (eek, not great)

Audiobook time: None

Day 3

Books started: None

Books finished: Bellwether

Pages read:  152 pages of Bellwether,  180 pages of Roomies

Audiobook time: None

Weirdly, I haven’t yet started an audiobook, which is usually a key part of readathons for me, nor have I picked up the novella I thought I’d reach for first. It hasn’t been a typical start to a readathon, but since I’ve been reading more than normal and really enjoying the books I chose, I’d say it’s been pretty successful so far.

 

How is Bout of Books going for you? Do you tend to read more or less than expected during readathons?

Bout of Books TBR

grab button for Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 20th and runs through Sunday, August 26th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 23 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

It’s time for the next round of Bout of Books, one of my favorite readathons! I love this one, because it’s a week long and very low pressure–there aren’t any constraints or instructions about what to read or for how long, you just try to read as much as you can over the course of that one week. In the past it’s tended to be a pretty successful readathon for me; even if I don’t read a crazy amount, I generally read much more than I would in a typical week thanks to the extra motivation.

Bout of Books takes place from Monday the 20th through Sunday the 26th, which looks like it’s shaping up to be a pretty typical week for me; I’m working during the week, and will be celebrating a friend’s birthday during the weekend, but I’m not going anywhere or doing anything crazy. Since it’s still summer, I’m hoping to take advantage of the nicer weather and do some outdoor reading.

So, what am I planning on reading?

The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & MagicThe Only Harmless Great ThingDreadful Young Ladies and Other StoriesThe King of Bourbon Street (NOLA Nights, #1)CirceNo Time to Spare: Thinking About What MattersThe MermaidTo All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)

I tried to be strategic with my TBR; I wanted to have a good amount of variety and also choose books that fit into my typical readathon wheelhouse while not neglecting my overall TBR for the month of August. On that note, I’ve unfortunately barely started Circe by Madeline Miller, which was my top-voted pick for the Make Me Read It challenge over on Litsy, and which I absolutely have to finish by the end of the month. If I could get through a chunk of it during the readathon, that would be fantastic–it’s a book that I really think that I’m going to love, but I just haven’t been in the right mood for it yet.

Since shorter works are great for readathons, I’m looking forward to picking up The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander, which is a Tor.com novella that somehow connects the radium girls and the death of an elephant in the early 1900s. I’m generally a fan of Tor.com novellas, so this might be the first book I pick up for the readathon. I also set aside a short story collection, Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill, that I’d like to at least start reading during the week. It’s been awhile since I’ve read a short story collection (and the last two I read were disappointing) but I do think that it will help to mix things up during the readathon.

Another readathon standby for me tends to be YA, so I set aside two YA options that I think I’ll be in the mood for this week–The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths and Magic by F.T. Lukens and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (because I just watched the movie, which was so adorable I immediately had to get the book). I also threw in a contemporary romance that I’ve heard good things about (The King of Bourbon Street by Thea DeSalle) and a new fantasy that I picked up last month (The Mermaid by Christina Henry) for some more options, and of course I always like to have an audiobook option–this time it’s No Time To Spare by Ursula K. Le Guin.

There’s no way I’ll read all of these books in a week, but I think I have some solid choices, and I’m definitely excited to be diving into another readathon–even if I end up ignoring my TBR and mood-reading my way through the week.

 

Are you participating in Bout of Books? Let me know!

August TBR

It’s been a minute since I’ve posted a TBR on here! I’ve been giving in to my mood-reading tendencies a lot more lately, so I haven’t been setting as many actual TBRs.

But this month, I’m participating in a fun reading challenge that’s hosted over on Litsy by @TheReadingMermaid called #MakeMeReadIt. For the challenge, you had to make a stack of potential TBR picks last month and then have Litsy users vote on which book(s) you would commit to reading during the month of August. I set myself the goal of reading at least the top two vote-getters. Here’s the stack of my possible reads:

The winner, after a lot of voting, turned out to be Circe by Madeline Miller (by a mile). And then there was actually a tie for second place between The Mothers by Brit Bennett and The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert, so I’ll be picking up those three titles this month.

#MakeMeReadIt TBR:

CirceThe MothersThe Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood, #1)

Of course, that’s not all of the books that I’m planning to read this month. I’m going to be participating in one of my favorite readathons, Bout of Books, from August 20-26, and I’ll be posting a separate TBR for that which may or may not include a #MakeMeReadIt book or two, depending on where I’m at with that challenge, but probably also some shorter, quicker reads, which is what I prefer during a readathon.

I also have 2 books that I’m currently reading that I’ll look to finish this month:

The Hating GameThe Answers

Since I’m now apparently a contemporary romance reader (as of last month), I decided to pick up The Hating Game by Sally Thorne after hearing glowing recommendations from one of my favorite booktubers, ChelseaDollingReads. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at first, but once I got into the story I started to really enjoy it. I’m about halfway done now and I can totally see what the hype is about. It was recently announced that it will be made into a movie, so I’ll have to check that out when it happens.

And I was really struggling to find an audiobook that I was in the right mood for until I tried The Answers by Catherine Lacey. I picked it up on a total whim, but I’m really into it so far; it’s deeply weird and I have no idea where things are going, but that just makes me want to keep reading.

And then there are a few other books I might try to get to, depending on where I’m at with the books above. These might end up being part of Bout of Books, depending on what kind of reading mood I’m in. Both are actually the third books in series (the Forbidden Hearts series by Alisha Rai and the Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers):

Hurts to Love You (Forbidden Hearts, #3)Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers, #3)

 

What’s on your TBR for August?

I write about nontraditional beach reads for nontraditional readers