April Reading Wrap-Up

April is over and I read a bunch of great things!

I unexpectedly had a really stellar reading month in April: I read an unheard-of three 5-star books (what!), re-read a YA favorite, found a new YA series to follow, and found a new author that I need to now read all the things from (Kirsty Logan). I also participated in Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon, which was wonderful as usual. I’m really hoping that I can keep the momentum going in May, because there are SO MANY BOOKS that I want to read RIGHT NOW.

Stats:

Number of books read: 10

#readmyowndamnbooks: 7

Audiobooks: 1

House of LeavesBreath of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles, #2)The Cruel Prince by Holly BlackOn Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth CenturyThe GracekeepersA Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)The Unseen WorldI Crawl Through ItObsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3)Penance

Here’s what I read, ranked from most awesome to least:

The Unseen World by Liz Moore (5 stars) – This book had a lot of build-up, but the last 150 pages were very much worth it. I absolutely loved the direction that things ended up going (yes, I have to be that vague). The Unseen World is about Ada, a young teen in the 1980’s, whose brilliant computer scientist father begins to lose his memory. At the same time, Ada begins to discover that she doesn’t know her father as well as she always thought she had, and she has to confront these feelings while attempting to uncover her father’s secrets. It’s about growing up, and learning to shift your perspective when your worldview is suddenly altered, and about AI. Highly recommend.

I Crawl Through It by A.S. King (5 stars) – I was so surprised by how much I loved this book; I basically never give 5 stars to YA, but in this case it was so earned. I Crawl Through It is an incredibly relevant novel about a group of teens dealing with extremely difficult issues, but it’s so much more than that. It’s surrealist and uses magical realism elements to highly the absurd contradiction of teens being forced to function normally and take endless multiple-choice tests in a world where nothing is being done to protect them against school shootings and bomb threats. It’s about the ridiculous fact that people don’t pay attention to real issues happening right before our faces. It’s about how we have so much horror happening that it becomes our new normal, and how we can shock ourselves into challenging our sense of what normal is. It’s a book that’s difficult and strange but also makes perfect sense, and I think everyone should read it.

On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder (5 stars) – A very short and informative essay that’s essentially an instruction manual for resisting tyranny based on what historians have learned from the 20th century. A very important read in today’s political climate.

The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan (4.25 stars) – This was a really lovely novel set after the earth has become almost entirely covered by water, and prejudices between those that live on land and on the ocean divide the remaining population. It’s told in multiple perspectives, but our main characters are a “bear-girl” who performs a routine with a bear in a floating circus and a “gracekeeper” who is responsible for laying the dead to rest at sea. Their lives come into contact briefly at first and then they work to find their way back to each other. I really enjoyed the world-building and Logan’s writing; I’ll definitely be looking to pick up more from her.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (4.25 stars) (re-read) – This series remains the most enjoyable ongoing YA (ish) fantasy series I’m reading.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (4 stars) – A YA “it” book that lives up to the hype! I very much enjoyed this dark faerie story full of cruelty and revenge. Looking forward to the next book.

Penance by Kanae Minato (4 stars) – This mystery/thriller set in Japan is full of twists and told in multiple perspectives; I really enjoyed Minato’s previous book Confessions, and I definitely enjoyed Penance just as much.

Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet (2.5 stars) – Unfortunately I don’t think I can continue with this series; I still really like the worldbuilding, Greek mythology elements, and main character, but the terrible love interest and sexist behavior of literally every male character is just too frustrating, so I think I’m out.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (2 stars) – Well, that was disappointing. I should start by saying that I love weird books; the weirder, the better. I also love when books utilize alternative formats and modes of storytelling, because it can be really creative and interesting when done well.
BUT. Books need to have more than that. To be successful, you still have to have good writing, memorable and well-developed characters, and an interesting plot. House of Leaves fails on all three of these accounts, unfortunately making its alternative formatting the most interesting thing about it.
This was actually a book that I’ve looked forward to reading for years and years, and I hate giving books bad ratings, and I wanted to love it, but I just didn’t, at all. The Johnny Truant sections in particular were so cliche and lazy that it almost made me unable to finish the book. At first I was really into the faux-academic format of House of Leaves, with all of the made-up quotations and footnotes (I also love academic writing) but after awhile you start to realize that you’re being told everything about the characters and shown nothing, and that it takes away any emotional impact the book might’ve had. A book needs to at least be good enough to justify the way that the story is told, and it wasn’t. The end result of this book just felt hollow and dull, even though with its premise the book should’ve been anything but that.
I know that this is a very well-known and much-loved book, but it didn’t work at all for me, even though I went into it really wanting to love it. Would not recommend.

 

What did you read in April? Have you read or do you want to read any of these? Let me know!

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Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon Wrap-Up!

That’s a wrap on this round of Dewey’s! I had so much fun participating in the readathon after a pretty stressful week, and I felt myself relaxing more and more throughout the day, which was honestly the best part. Sometimes you just need to take a chill day and be bookish!

I started out the readathon at a decent hour–it starts at 8:00 a.m. my time but I never wake up right at the start time, as I always catch up a bit on sleeping during the weekends. I did wake up around 9:00, though, and started reading almost immediately, which was pretty good for me. I started off the readathon with Obsidio, the third and final book in the Illuminae Files trilogy, which I actually pre-ordered and received in March but have been waiting for the readathon to actually pick up. I knew that it would take me a decent amount of time to finish, but since it was what I was most looking forward to, that’s what I wanted to use to kick off the readathon.

I actually read all of Obsidio with only one short break to post on Litsy and eat a delicious salad for lunch, which is very unusual for me! It was definitely an enjoyable read, but I didn’t like it as much as the first two books in the trilogy as it didn’t get nearly as in-depth with any of the characters. After Obsidio, I took a break to go to the gym and shower, and then started in on Penance by Kanae Minato after reading the first page of all 3 of the shortest books on my TBR and deciding that one appealed to me the most. I took a break partway through Penance to order dinner (I got takeout! Turkey burger and sweet potato fries, because that was just what I was in the mood for and didn’t feel like cooking during a readathon) and watched an episode of Life Sentence. After that, I finished up Penance fairly quickly. It’s a short book (only 225 pages) and divided into 5 parts, one from each perspective of the women impacted by the murder of a child.

After I finished Penance, I took a long social media break to catch up with Instagram and Litsy, and found that I was not really in the mood to try to start and finish another book during the readathon, even though I did have two shorter books on my TBR that I could have probably finished if I’d really tried. I just didn’t feel like I would have been able to focus on the book enough to really get everything out of it that I normally could, so instead I went with a humorous YA fantasy, In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan, which fit my mood and level of alertness much better. Because I was getting tired, I only got through about 50 pages (with frequent breaks) before I was ready to fall asleep around 2:00 a.m. Throughout the day, I also listened to just a bit of The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer; I just wasn’t really in an audio mood. Overall, it was a great, relaxing, and productive readathon!

Dewey’s Closing Survey!

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

There was an hour in the middle of the afternoon when I got really off-track because I was trying to find tickets to see Avengers: Infinity War on short notice with a large group of people. All of the nearby theaters were full and so much texting was happening and it took me awhile, but I did end up getting tickets and getting back to reading.

2. Tell us ALLLLL the books you read!

I finished 2 books, Obsidio by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman (615 pages) and Penance by Kanae Minato (225 pages), and read from 2 others, The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer (24 pages) and In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan (50 pages). In total, I read 914 pages!

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3)

Penance

The Female Persuasion

In Other Lands

3. Which books would you recommend to other Read-a-thoners?

These would all make good readathon reads! Especially Penance, as it’s very short and fast-paced.

4. What’s a really rad thing we could do during the next Read-a-thon that would make you smile?

This year the mini-challenges were all given at once, as opposed to other years when they come out one hour at a time and last for only a few hours. I think I preferred the hourly mini-challenges.

5. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? Would you be interested in volunteering to help organize and prep?

Very likely! I will definitely be participating in the next round of Dewey’s on October 20th, and I like the idea of getting more involved by hosting a mini-challenge or donating a prize next time!

 

If you participated, how was your readathon??

Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon: Mid-Event Survey

Hi fellow readathoners! I hope everyone is really enjoying Dewey’s so far if you’re participating. I missed the opening survey because I was staying off of social media for the first few hours, but I’m back with my mid-event updates!

Unfortunately, my internet is being terrible and I can’t upload any pictures, but my instagram feed is linked in the sidebar.

Penance

1. What are you reading right now?

I’m currently reading Penance by Kanae Minato, which is a mystery/thriller set in Japan. It’s about how the unsolved murder of a young girl impacts the lives of her friends into adulthood, and so far it’s creepy/twisty/absorbing.

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3)

2. How many books have you read so far?

So far I finished one book, Obsidio by Jay Kristoff and Amy Kaufman, but it was a longer one (615 pages, albeit with alternative formatting so there’s less text on each page). I also listened to some of my audiobook of The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

After I finish Penance, I think I might start Furyborn by Claire Legrand or In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan because I like the idea of getting immersed in a new fantasy world. But also, I just really hope that I do finish Penance to meet my goal of finishing 2 books.

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

Yes! For the past few days I’ve been trying to figure out tickets for friends for Avengers: Infinity War and of course it took everyone until Saturday afternoon to figure out when they were free, so I spent awhile trying to find seats that aren’t too terrible. Thankfully, I did find decent tickets and I’m going to see it tomorrow!

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

I was surprised that I stayed off of social media for so long! Usually I like to check in a lot, even when I’m really focusing on a book, but I read almost all of Obsidio without checking in.

 

How’s your readathon going so far?

Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon TBR and Goals

It’s that wonderful time of year again–time for another round of Dewey’s 24-hour readathon!

If you aren’t familiar, Dewey’s is a readathon that takes place over 24 hours, and the way to “win” is to read the entire time. Many people, myself included, never read for the full 24 hours and that is also OK–you can participate as much or as little as you want. It’s a low-pressure and very social readathon that tends to get a lot of participation across many countries and platforms. If you’ve never participated, I highly recommend it–it’s a lot of fun! If you want more information or to sign up, check out the Dewey’s site here.

During the week leading up to Dewey’s, I usually spend a fair amount of time agonizing over my TBR. Dewey’s can be tricky to plan for since you don’t know what reading mood you’ll be in and you tend to need shorter, faster-paced books to carry you through. I actually made a stack of recommendations of books that I’ve loved that I think would make great picks for Dewey’s on my Instagram account (linked on the sidebar).

This time around, I don’t have any novellas or graphic novels on my TBR since I’m not in the mood for graphic works and I don’t currently own any unread novellas. It’s possible that this will cut into the amount that I’m able to finish, since those are typically what I use to keep myself motivated and break up the day. That being said, I’ve put together a pretty awesome TBR stack that I’m very excited to dig into. As always, I definitely don’t plan on reading all of these books, but I like to have options as I’m very much a mood reader. I’ve got a variety of genres: fantasy, both space-related and post-apocalyptic science fiction, realistic fiction, mystery/thriller, and a collection of horror fairytale retellings. These are all fairly new books; I’ve been making an effort to read from my backlist TBR shelf lately, but for the readathon I’m in the mood to treat myself to some newer things.

So, here’s my Dewey’s TBR!

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3)The Female PersuasionFuryborn (Empirium, #1)The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday HorrorPenanceBannerlessIn Other Lands

I would normally rank these in order of most to least likely to pick up during the readathon, but this time around I’m almost equally excited for all of them. The exception to this is Obsidio by Jay Kristoff and Amy Kaufman, which I pre-ordered before its March release yet fully intended on saving it for Dewey’s. The Illuminae Files series is perfect for a readathon; the books are chunky yet there’s not much text on each page due to their alternative formatting, and they’re extremely fast-paced so that you’re motivated for binge-reading. I’m planning to use this book to kick the readathon off and figure out the rest of my TBR after I finish it.

As far as longer YA books go, I have 2 other options on hand: I just won an ARC of Furyborn by Claire Legrand in a Litsy giveaway, and for awhile I’ve really been looking forward to picking up In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan. I’m more likely to pick these up after I finish both Obsidio and one of my shorter books (I think?) but I like the idea of starting a longer book during Dewey’s that I won’t necessarily finish during the readathon, but that I can carry on reading into May.

I have both the audio and the physical copy of Meg Wolitzer’s The Female Persuasion, which is the only book in this stack that I’ve already started. I’ve listened to about an hour of the audiobook so far and really love it; I’ll probably use the audiobook to help break up the day, or if the weather forecast magically changes and I want to go for a walk.

And in terms of shorter books, I have 2 novels and a collection to potentially pull from. I’m liking the idea of picking up either Penance by Kanae Minato or Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn after I finish Obsidio; both are less than 300 pages long and seem like they would be fast-paced as well as good. I feel like there’s a high likelihood of me reading at least one of them. And then I also have The Merry Spinster, a collection of fairytale retellings with a horror twist by Mallory Ortberg (who recently announced a transition to Daniel Ortberg but is listed as Mallory on the book). I think that even if I don’t read the entire collection, I might read a story or two in between longer books and then finish it later on.

Goals-wise, I’d like to finish 2 of these books and start a third. I think that’s pretty reasonable. I’d also like to keep up with posting updates throughout the day as well as checking in to see how everyone else is doing with their reading on Bookstagram/Litsy/blogs. Ideally I’ll take a reading break partway through the day to go to the gym; I would have loved to go on an audiobook walk or do some reading outside, but as of now my weather app says it’s supposed to be chilly and rainy, so it’ll likely be an indoor reading day unless I need a change of scenery and go to a coffee shop or something. I’d like to read for many hours (I have no idea how many, but “many” sounds good). And that’s it!

Are you participating in Dewey’s? What’s on your TBR?

March Reading Wrap-Up

March is over! I’m pretty sure it lasted approximately 1,000 years but it was also over in like 2 seconds. Not sure how to explain that; I don’t have all the answers, guys.

Anyways, I read some books! Not nearly as many as I thought I would or wanted to, but hey, it happens. I actually kicked off the month really strongly by reading 3 books that were all quite good 4-star reads, and I was fooled into thinking that the rest of March would be stellar reading as well. It wasn’t! I started reading (but didn’t finish before the month was over) House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, and it sucked up a ton of my reading time and also (spoiler alert) I hated it, so it wasn’t even really worth it. While trudging through House of Leaves, I did read a few other books, but honestly, nothing really blew my mind this month and now I’m desperate for another 5-star read. Desperate!

And in non-reading-but-still bookish news, I got to see Colson Whitehead give a talk at a local college, and he was amazing and funny and I bought The Underground Railroad and he signed it. So that was pretty awesome. And! And! At a separate bookish talk at a different local college, I got to see my hero/idol Margaret Atwood give a talk, and she was just the coolest.

March stats:

Total books read: 7

#readmyowndamnbooks: 5

When did I obtain the physical books I read? February 2017 (The Exile), April 2017 (American War, Purple Hibiscus), July 2017 (Made for Love), January 2018 (An Unkindness of Magicians)

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat HowardAmerican War by Omar El AkkadMade for Love by Alissa NuttingThe Exile (The Fae, #1)Bachelor Nation by Amy KaufmanA Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles, #1)Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

And here are some reviews!

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (4 stars) – This book was beautifully written, but very difficult to read due to the subject matter. It’s about a wealthy family in Nigeria whose extremely religious father severely abuses both his children and his wife while presenting himself as a good and charitable man to the community. When the children are able to go visit their aunt and cousins and get away from their father for a week, they are awakened to the fact that life shouldn’t be like this.

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard (4 stars) – The Magicians meets Gossip Girl meets Game of Thrones. This book is about a tournament between prominent magical Houses in New York to gain the rule of the Unseen World, or the world of magic. Our heroine, Sydney, is a badass magician with a traumatic past out for revenge. I enjoyed the heck out of this book and would recommend as an enjoyable modern fantasy with great worldbuilding. I could definitely see this as a TV series and wish the book had actually been a series as well. I did have some issues with the writing style, which isn’t perfect, and the fact that climactic action sequences typically only lasted about a page was an odd choice. But overall, I really liked this book.

Made for Love by Alissa Nutting (4 stars) – this was very weird and quirky and full of incisive humor about human nature and behavior. Some people may hate it, and I didn’t love the ending, but overall I thought the writing was great and I very much enjoyed the read.

American War by Omar El Akkad (4 stars) – another difficult read, because this deals heavily with war and its many horrific incarnations and aftereffects. It’s hard to say I “enjoyed” this one, because it was so difficult to read in some parts, but I thought that the worldbuilding was really interesting and this future a very terrifying one.

A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet (3 stars) – So, I really enjoyed the writing style, heroine, and Greek mythology-inspired worldbuilding of this book, but I was not a fan of the “alpha” male main character and the fact that he kidnaps the heroine and we’re all just supposed to get over it. I am going to continue with this series, but it definitely has its issues.

Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman (3 stars) – A very quick, entertaining analysis of the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise written by a fan who never shies away from the problematic aspects of the show. Kaufman moves from the history of reality dating shows to an analysis of how contestants are treated and why they act the way we see them on-screen to the modern implications of reality TV fame for contestants. If you watch the show UNreal, there’s nothing too shocking, but I did enjoy it, as you probably will too if you’re looking for a lighthearted, fun read.

The Exile by C. T. Adams (3 stars) – Great premise and ideas, but I wished everything had been fleshed out a LOT more. We could have used more of an introduction to the characters and the world, and the third-person narration with multiple POVs only served to distance me from characters I really wanted to get to know better, and could have done so through a sole main character (Brianna)’s eyes. I really just don’t think that having multiple POVs added anything to the story at all and I’m not sure why that was done. I liked Adams’s version of Faerie quite a bit, however.

And here are the books I purchased in March:

February Reading Wrap-Up

February started off with a bang and 2 five-star reads, which was awesome and unexpected! Both of these were nonfiction reads, and I read them right at the same time, which was also very unusual for me; unfortunately, after that, I did have a bunch of mediocre, middling-type reads that were only OK, before I wrapped up the month with a few better reads.

Here are my stats:

Number of books read: 9

#readmyowndamnbooks: 6

Audiobooks: 2

Wicked Lovely by Melissa MarrWhat Happened by Hillary Rodham ClintonNasty Women by Samhita MukhopadhyayInk Exchange by Melissa MarrThe Dark and Other Love Stories by Deborah WillisThe Perfect Stranger by Megan MirandaChildren of the New World by Alexander WeinsteinMy Lady Jane by Cynthia HandA Cure for Suicide by Jesse Ball

Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump’s America, edited by Samhita Mukhopadhyay and Kate Harding (5 stars) – YES. This is the type of nonfiction that makes me love nonfiction. This collection was powerful and full of diverse voices discussing the 2016 election, its aftermath, and how we can resist the coming issues.

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton (5 stars) – This book does a very thorough job of exploring what happened during the 2016 election. It’s also a collection of Hillary’s meditations on various issues and topics and a discussion of her life and background. I found it extremely powerful and teared up at several points, particularly the ending. I wish so much that she could have been our president.

A Cure for Suicide by Jesse Ball (4 stars) – a weird, short, dialogue-heavy novel with sparse prose and a strange premise. A man, referred to only as the “claimant,” wakes up with no memories and must be re-taught even the most basic parts of life by a woman referred to as the “examiner.” I enjoyed the oddness and the slow reveals about what’s going on.

Children of the New World by Alexander Weinstein (3.5 stars) – I’m picky about short story collections and the prose in this one was nothing to write home about; I also felt like all of the main characters were basically the same middle-aged dude. However, the science fiction concepts were really interesting and the different tech advances and their impacts on humans very well thought-out. Creative, but I wasn’t blown away.

The Dark and Other Love Stories by Deborah Willis (3 stars) – So, unfortunately this one ended up being a bit of a disappointment for me. It’s not a bad book by any means, but I think that the title being “The Dark and Other Love Stories” makes you think that you’re getting, well, dark love stories. And I wouldn’t classify these stories as dark so much as sad. They left me feeling sad and kind of disappointed, for the most part. I wasn’t that impressed by the writing and I was hoping for deeper meanings that just weren’t there. To be fair, the short stories I read are mainly magical realism, whereas this collection is realistic fiction, so the style isn’t what I’m used to. I will say that I really loved the story “Girlfriend on Mars,” which for me was by far the strongest story of the bunch. Most of the others just didn’t nearly measure up.

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda (3 stars) – Unfortunately, this one was a disappointment for me. I greatly preferred Megan Miranda’s other adult thriller, All the Missing Girls. I still enjoyed her writing style in this book, but the plot twists for me were just not very good; things weren’t explored and also didn’t make a ton of sense.

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (3 stars) – this is the first book in a YA UF/PNR series that I found at a library book sale for $1 and thought I would give a try. (It also fits into Fae-bruary, a readathon to read fae-related books in the month of Feb, which I hadn’t planned on participating in, but was just a nice coincidence) And I enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t say it was amazing. The writing is pretty good, and I liked that the Fae in this world are very cruel, which is my preferred version of Fae, but the book definitely had a lot of issues. There are 5 books in this series and I do think that I will try to read them all based on this one, but I’m not necessarily expecting anything earth-shattering, and this isn’t a new favorite series or anything.

Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr (3 stars) – this was the second book in the Wicked Lovely series, and unfortunately it had a lot of the same issues of the first book. It also got a lot darker in tone, and I did enjoy it, but I opted not to continue with the series afterwards.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows (3 stars) – Meh. I used to read a ton of historical fiction about the Tudor period, so it was interesting to see an alternate take on familiar historical figures, and I did like the twist about prejudice against animal shapeshifters replacing the religious conflicts of the era. Overall, however, this just kept getting too silly for me and it lacked any depth.

 

And here are the books I bought in Feb:

January Reading Wrap-Up

That’s a wrap on January! I definitely started off my 2018 reading with a bang: I participated in 2 readathons this month and had my first 5-star read of the year. It was an atypical reading month in that I read more YA and novellas than normal, but that can be attributed to the fact that I tend to pick those types of books up more during readathons. I also managed to pick up a book from my Top 10 2018 TBR, so that’s a good start as well.

Here are my stats:

Total books read: 10

#readmyowndamnbooks: 7

Audiobooks: 2

If We Were Villains by M.L. RioWitches of Lychford by Paul CornellThe Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnisWe Are Okay by Nina LaCourBeneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuireRhapsodic by Laura ThalassaNo Is Not Enough by Naomi KleinAn Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers SolomonEliza and Her Monsters by Francesca ZappiaThe Lost Child of Lychford by Paul Cornell

And here are my reviews, from most favorite to least:

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio (5 stars) – I had no idea that I would love this book as much as I did; I really don’t think it’s getting enough attention. If We Were Villains is about a group of seven tightly-knit theater students at a prestigious arts school whose bonds with each other begin to fray during their senior year. This results in our main character, Oliver, going to prison for ten years; the book opens with his release from prison and decision to finally confess what really happened to the police officer who arrested him. The story is told mainly in flashbacks and chronicles the relationships between these characters, who are typecast as certain characters in all of the Shakespeare that they perform, but whose roles begin to bleed into their real selves. I absolutely loved the characters in this book; you get to know them and feel for them almost immediately. They quote and reference Shakespeare constantly, which I was very into, and I liked that two of the main plays they focus on are Macbeth and Julius Caesar, two of my favorites. The plot never stops moving, and it’s definitely a book that sucks you in and doesn’t let you go. It’s one that will stay with me for awhile and that I’d definitely want to re-read in the future. Highly recommend.

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon (4 stars) – An Unkindness of Ghosts is set on a generational ship that has been fleeing a ruined Earth for centuries when the book opens, seeking an unknown refuge somewhere in space. During this time the ship has become a strictly stratified society based on racism and ruled by a tyrannical government called the Sovereignty. Our main character, Aster, is a brilliant healer living on one of the ship’s lower decks who, along with her friend Giselle, discovers hidden secrets about the ship among her deceased mother’s journals. Aster strives to figure out exactly what information her mother was trying to convey and what to do with that information alongside facing daily prejudice and abuse from a corrupt system and working with the ship’s Surgeon General, Theo, who she has complicated feelings for. I thought that this book’s premise was fantastic and the characters very realistic; Aster, Theo, and Giselle will stay with me for a long time. My only issues were that the plot and the writing both at times felt disjointed, and I felt that the ending was too abrupt. Overall, a thought-provoking, character-driven science fiction read that I’d recommend.

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia (4 stars) – I really enjoyed this one! Sometimes I feel like books get over-hyped and I have to wait until the hype dies down to really want to read them, which was what happened with this book. I’m glad that I ended up picking it up. It’s a really cute book with a great story-within-a-story; my main hope is that the author decides to publish a separate book or graphic novel of the webcomic in this book, because it sounds awesome.

Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire (4 stars) – I enjoyed the third book in the Wayward Children series just as much as the first two; definitely more than the second one. This series is just so enjoyable, and I loved that we focused on more of the children as a group. I’m very much hoping that the next book focuses on Kade, my favorite.

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis (3.5 stars) – there were definitely a lot of things about this book that I enjoyed (Alex’s character, the premise, her friendship with Peekay) but I HATED the ending and was really not a fan of her love interest.

Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell (3.5 stars) -I enjoyed this first novella in a series about modern English witches in a small town on the border between worlds. Things were definitely wrapped up too quickly and with not enough detail at the end, though.

The Lost Child of Lychford by Paul Cornell (3.5 stars) – The second novella in this series was just as strong, and I enjoy all three main characters.

No is Not Enough by Naomi Klein (3 stars) – I found this nonfiction book about resisting Trump’s agenda to be interesting, and I did learn a lot, but it was not as powerful as other similar works I’ve read. I listened to the audio version and did feel that things dragged a lot in the last few hours of the listen. Maybe it was just that I was tired of the book by then? Not sure.

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour (3 stars) – this was a prettily written YA contemporary that really never reached a deeper place with me, unfortunately. I did enjoy it and thought the audio version was well done, but I wasn’t blown away.

Rhapsodic by Laura Thalassa (2 stars) – Hm. I really wanted to like this book because it’s an indie, but unfortunately there were a lot of aspects that I found really problematic. I preferred the first half and did like both the main characters, though.

 

And these are the books I purchased in January, because I have no self-control when it comes to book buying:

I write about nontraditional beach reads for nontraditional readers