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!

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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 πŸ™‚

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:Β  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

 

Bout of Books: Days 1, 2, & 3 Updates

It’s officially time for Bout of Books!

Three days in, I’d say this readathon is going pretty well, even if I haven’t read quite as much as I expected to at this point (I never do).

I kicked off my readathon once it hit midnight Sunday night/Monday morning, which is how I prefer to start readathons, with An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson (I received an ARC at BookCon). So far, I’m all about it. There are fae, it’s creative, the main character is an artist, there are hints of darker tones and bits of darkness in fae/human interactions, and I like the writing style. I’m hoping this book will help tide me over until the next ACOTAR books start being released!

On Monday, I was able to listen to a bunch of my current audiobook, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman by Anne Helen Petersen, during my commute and lunch break, and when I got back from an absolutely insane/terrible day at work, managed to start reading Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor after watching Bachelor in Paradise. (I know, I know, but it’s such fun trashy TV.) The reason I started another book instead of reading more of An Enchantment of Ravens is that I’ve been specifically saving Binti: Home for this readathon, and since it’s very short I wanted to it to be the first book I’d finish during the ‘thon.

On Tuesday, I again audiobooked during my commute and lunch break at work, but ended up getting home later than I thought I would for the second day in a row. I’d intended on finishing Binti: Home on this day, but I was just too sleepy; I read another decent chunk of it before I had to give in and go to bed.

Wednesday is my day off from work, so I was finally able to finish a book (yay!) by completing Binti: Home. I actually liked this one a lot more than the original Binti; things became more complex and a lot happened in a very short period of time. It definitely is a big lead-up to the third and final novella, however, and does end on a cliffhanger. I actually hadn’t known when I started it that it would be a middle book, but that’s OK; I really like this series and will definitely pick up book 3, Binti: The Night Masquerade when it’s released in January.

I listened to a bit more audio while running errands, went to a library book sale (and bought soooo many books!) and then decided I was in the mood for something different, so I ignored my currently reading pile (which has 6 books on it) and my readathon TBR (because when have I ever stuck to a TBR?) and picked up my Book of the Month pick for August, Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips. It’s a fast-paced, shorter suspense novel about a woman and her four-year-old son trapped at the zoo with a gunman, and takes place over the course of 3 hours. I figured that the fast pace of the book would help me pick up my reading pace since I feel like I’m a bit behind where I wanted to be midway through the week.

An Enchantment of RavensToo Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly WomanHome (Binti, #2)Fierce Kingdom

Reading stats:

Day 1

Pages read: 14 pages of An Enchantment of Ravens, 27 pages of Binti: Home, 81 minutes of Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud

Books started: Binti: Home

Books finished: None

 

Day 2

Pages read: 57 pages of Binti: Home, 59 minutes of Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud

Books started: None

Books finished: None

 

Day 3

Pages read: 78 pages of Binti: Home,Β  49 pages of Fierce Kingdom, 65 minutes of Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud, 10 pages of An Enchantment of Ravens

Books started: Fierce Kingdom

Books finished: Binti: Home

 

How is everyone else’s Bout of Books going so far? Let me know in the comments!

Bout of Books TBR!

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 21st and runs through Sunday, August 27th 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.Β For all Bout of Books 20 information and updates, be sure to visit theΒ Bout of BooksΒ blog.Β – From the Bout of Books team

 

It’s almost time for Bout of Books, one of my favorite readathons!

August has been a super readathon-ish month for me. Usually I do only one readathon per month, or more usually none at all, but this month I’m going straight from Tome Topple, which focuses on reading books longer than 500 pages, to Bout of Books, during which I typically focus on reading several short books. This round, I’m really hoping to read at least 3 physical books and 1 audiobook. I think that’s a solid goal. I’m planning on posting updates throughout the week here and on my Instagram account.

Here’s my TBR:

 

Heating & Cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly (ARC) – I received an Advance Reader’s Copy of this collection of micro-memoirs from the publisher (W.W. Norton) at BookCon. It’s very short and I know very little about it, but I like the idea of jumping into something new during a readathon. I’ve never even heard of a “micro-memoir” before, but I like the idea!

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire – all I needed to know about this one was that it’s a Seanan McGuire novella about ghosts. Done.

Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor – I read Binti for a previous readathon, and found that the pacing, plot, and the fact that it’s YA made it a perfect quick read. This sequel is longer and focuses on Binti’s return home to Earth after attending school on another planet, something that’s forbidden where she’s from.

Children of the New World by Alexander Weinstein – I’m so interested in this science fiction short story collection and I hope I have time to at least start it next week. Short stories can be a great way to get in little chunks of reading during a readathon.

The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan – I’m at the very beginning of this book, which focuses on a small island where men steal selkies for their brides and is sort of creepy and dark fairytale-esque so far. I really like Lanagan’s writing style.

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson (ARC) – I received an advance reader’s copy of this book from the publisher (Margaret K. McElderry Books) at BookCon as a happy accident–I just managed to be at the right place at the right time to get in line for a copy of this fantastic-sounding book. It sounds sort of A Court of Thorns and Roses-esque in a very good way; it’s released on September 26th.

And an audiobook or two, TBD! It depends on whether or not I finish my current audiobook (A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean) and which of my library holds come in on time. Audiobook possiblities:

A Scot in the Dark (Scandal & Scoundrel, #2)The Rogue Not Taken (Scandal & Scoundrel, #1)Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman

 

Who else is participating in Bout of Books??? I’m excited!

 

 

 

July Reading Wrap-Up

I had an absolutely wonderful reading month in July. I’m so glad about this, because July is my birthday month, and to celebrate I took myself on a vacation and was able to get some lovely beach reading done during that time. Beyond that, I gave myself a lot of room to mood-read in July, and because of that I ended up finding a lot of fun and enjoyable books. Here are my stats:

Number of books read: 13

#readmyowndamnbooks: 8

When did I buy the books I read? March 2017 (Borderline), April 2017 (Bloodchild), May 2017 (ACOWAR), June 2017 (Everything Belongs to the Future, Down Among the Sticks and Bones, A Million Junes), July 2017 (The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, Phantom Pains)

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge tasks completed:

βœ“ 14. Read a book about war.
A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3) by Sarah J. Maas A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

βœ“ 15. Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.
Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2) by Seanan McGuire Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

White Hot by Ilona AndrewsOne Fell Sweep by Ilona AndrewsA Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. MaasEverything Belongs to the Future by Laurie PennyDown Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuireBorderline by Mishell BakerDear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieA Million JunesEleanor & ParkThe Dream-Quest of Vellitt BoeTalking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in BetweenBloodchild and Other StoriesPhantom Pains (The Arcadia Project, #2)

 

White Hot by Ilona Andrews (4 stars) – I think I liked this second book in the Hidden Legacy series even better than the first; honestly, I think I’d like just about anything that Ilona Andrews comes out with. This series is technically paranormal romance, as opposed to her Kate Daniels series which is more urban fantasy, but the world-building doesn’t suffer at all. This series is fun, smart, and has characters you can’t help but root for in this battle between magical dynasties in Houston.

One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews (4 stars) – Again, I think I liked this book even better than the previous ones in the series; this is technically the third in Andrews’ Innkeeper Chronicles, which is about an intergalactic inn in small-town Texas that hosts members of different alien species and attempts to hide their existence from the rest of humankind.

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (4.25 stars) – this series isn’t perfect, but I’ve enjoyed the crap out of reading it. I’m so glad to hear that the author is planning on further books starring side characters!

Everything Belongs to the Future by Laurie Penny (4 stars) – This science fiction novella packs a lot into 120-ish pages. I picked this up after reading about it on Tor.com; Tor is really the only publisher that I actively follow and if they publish a book, it makes me instantly more interested. Without giving too much away, this novella focuses on a future where anti-aging medication has been developed that allows people to delay aging by decades, even a century or two–but costs are so prohibitive that only the ultra-rich and privileged are given access to the drug. Needless to say, this causes a lot of social upheaval, and the book focuses on a group of artists gradually becoming immersed in social activism against this new source of division in society. It’s beautifully written and well-structured; I think it could also have been a great full-length novel, but then again, I tend to think that about any shorter work that I like. I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys plausible, near-future science fiction focused on social issues.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (4 stars) – I love the concept that Seanan McGuire set up in Every Heart a Doorway so much, but it does mean that you essentially know all of the major plot points in this one before they happen. That being said, I still love her worldbuilding, and the world of the Moors that the twins enter into is fascinating. I did have issues with the pacing of this novella; I understand that the backstory had to be set up, but then it felt like we dwelt on their early childhood for too long and then glossed over a lot of what happened once they got settled in their new world, which was frustrating. Overall, this was a fast, absorbing read with memorable characters, and I’m looking forward to the next book in this series.

Borderline by Mishell Baker (4 stars) – This was a great, unique, fast-paced UF read with a memorable and well-developed main character. Millie has Borderline Personality Disorder and became a double amputee after a suicide attempt; she leaves the mental health facility she’s staying at after she receives a job offer from the enigmatic Arcadia Project. A former filmmaker, Millie is easily able to adapt and confront the new world that the Project introduces to her–a world that encompasses not only humans but also the fey, who live among us and inspire creativity. The Arcadia Project exists to police the boundaries between the human and fey worlds and regulate travel between the two, as the fey can also be very dangerous to humans if they want to be. Millie quickly gets drawn into investigating the disappearance of a fey nobleman in L.A. while interacting with an intriguing cast of characters that I quickly got invested in. I’d say that this is UF that can work for people who aren’t even UF fans; it did a great job of addressing mental illness and depicting Millie’s struggles and persistence. It’s also a really quick read; I’m not sure when the last time was that I tore through a 400-page novel in a few days.

Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (4 stars) – Like We Should All Be Feminists, this is a concise, effective, clear feminist message that everyone should be reading and internalizing.

A Million Junes by Emily Henry (4 stars) – this magical realism YA novel isn’t my typical cup of tea, but I found it really atmospheric and enjoyable.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (2.5 stars) – This was probably my least favorite of Rowell’s books, and I sort of expected that, which is why I left it until last to read. I’m not the biggest fan of contemporary romance unless it’s really unique, and I just wasn’t wowed by this book. I felt incredibly sympathetic toward Eleanor’s situation, and that’s the part of the book that really stuck with me, rather than the romance, which is what seems to get emphasized mainly in most reviews I’ve read.

The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson (4 stars) – So, I have to admit that I’ve never read anything by Lovecraft, so I’m sure that I missed all sorts of references and commentary in this novella. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it; I thought Vellitt was a great, mature main character, and I admired her determination throughout her quest. It was very well-written and I absolutely loved the ending.

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham (3 stars) – this was a cute, quick memoir that I listened to on audio.

Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler (5 stars) – this short story collection was absolutely incredible. Everything Butler writes absolutely blows me away, and this was no exception. In addition to short stories, Butler also provides commentary on her inspiration and meaning, and includes two essays, one of which made me cry through basically the whole thing.

Phantom Pains by Mishell Baker (4 stars) – this sequel to Borderline was just as fun, and I loved getting more insight into Caryl, who is one of my favorite characters.

I also purchased a bunch of books this month, of course, due to my lack of book-buying self-control: