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!

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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?

July Reading Wrap-Up

So, where did July go? Seriously, guys. Anyways, it’s the end of the month, and we all know what that means–wrap-up time!

My reading in July was a little bit weird and out of the box for me (what else is new). I participated at least a bit in three separate readathons (!), dove headfirst into a new-to-me genre, and finished a book that’s been sitting on my shelf staring at me for over 2 years. I also went on a road trip to Portland, Maine and while there discovered my new favorite indie bookstore: Longfellow Books, which has an amazingly curated combination of new and used titles, along with bookish merch. Seriously, their used book section was the best I’ve ever encountered, with recent titles and everything in great condition. I may or may not have bought 8 books there, seven of which are used books.

To go into a little more detail about the readathon side of things, I kicked off July by participating in the Tome Topple readathon for what I think is the 4th time. I’ve had The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell on my TBR for Tome Topple literally every time I’ve done it, but I was never quite in the right mood for it so I always ended up reading something else. Until now! I feel so accomplished. Tome Topple focuses on books over 500 pages long, and lasts 2 weeks, but due to my mood-reading tendencies, it usually takes me more than the 2 weeks to actually finish the tome since I’m picking up other reads in between.

And then I also decided to participate in both 24 in 48 and the Reverse Readathon, even though I knew I wouldn’t actually have that much time to read during those weekends since I had other plans too. Basically, I just tried to read as much as I could and was in the mood for around what I had planned. In my opinion, as long as you read, you’re technically participating in a readathon, and even if I’m not able to fully commit I sometimes use it as motivation to help me read more than I would have otherwise. I spent the Reverse Readathon at a lake beach with friends, so I got in some nice beach reading during that one.  Usually I’d be doing separate blog posts for these readathons, but since my participation wasn’t super enthusiastic this time around, I didn’t. (I will be actually participating in and doing blog updates for Bout of Books in August, though!)

Anyways, here are my stats:

Total books read: 9

#readmyowndamnbooks: 6

Audiobooks: 0 (technically I listened to some audio for 2 of the physical books)

ebooks: 3 (a lot of ebooks for me!)

Iron and Magic by Ilona AndrewsNot That Bad by Roxane GayThe Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean WeirThe Bone Clocks by David MitchellOf Light and Darkness (Of Light and Darkness #1)Hate to Want You by Alisha RaiThe Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion by Margaret KilljoyWrong to Need You (Forbidden Hearts, #2)Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

And here are my reviews!

Not That Bad by Roxane Gay (5 stars) – Roxane Gay never fails to blow me away, and this anthology of essays examining different aspects of rape culture was no exception. A difficult read emotionally that should be required reading for everyone. I’d recommend spacing out your reading of this book; I listened to the audio all in one sitting (during a road trip) and it was really rough. If I could do it over again, I’d read one or two essays at a time over a few weeks.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (4.5 stars) – This book is long and complex, and reading it was a journey. I love long books, but they do require a big time investment, so I was very glad this one was worth it. I’ve only read one previous David Mitchell book (Cloud Atlas) and I’d definitely say I preferred The Bone Clocks overall. The Bone Clocks is about Holly Sykes, who we first meet as a rebellious British teenager in the 80s and follow through shifting perspectives and the frame of a mysterious psychic war that she becomes entangled in. It’s hard to talk too much about the actual plot without giving anything away, and I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll leave the summary at that. Mitchell’s writing is consistently strong and he’s so adept at switching perspectives that you never second-guess the authenticity of each new voice. I honestly can’t even imagine the amount of research and time that it must have taken to craft a story as intricate as this one and decide the best way to tell it, but Mitchell did an amazing job. That being said, I did of course enjoy some sections and plot twists more than others, and there were a few things that I wish were revisited a bit more closely toward the end, but overall this is a fantastic book and I’d definitely recommend it.

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (4 stars) – I received an ARC of Spinning Silver at BookCon at an autographing session; I will be posting a full review here in the next few days (I’ll link it here when I do), but I haven’t had a chance yet since I just finished it last night. Basically, I really, really enjoyed this historical fantasy novel told from multiple perspectives; I found it to be really well-written and to have a nice blend of magic, political maneuvering, and explorations of how women and marginalized groups were treated during the time period. The reasons it didn’t reach 5 star status were that I felt like 3 of the 6 viewpoint narrators really didn’t need to narrate (the story would have been better told by just the 3 main female characters) and the scenery descriptions tended to be overly long. Overall, though, this was great and I’d highly recommend it. It’s actually a really good and atmospheric winter read, and at times reminded me of The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden.

Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews (4 stars) – Ilona Andrews can do no wrong in my eyes, but I still had some skepticism heading into this new spin-off series featuring one of the villains of the Kate Daniels series as its main character. I shouldn’t have been concerned! They knocked it out of the park as usual with a whole new cast of intriguing, snarky, lovable characters, and there were some guest appearances from characters from the KD series as well. I never thought I would say this, but I really liked Hugh as an antihero, and Elara is an awesome new female lead. This book also has a ton of action, and as soon as I was done I immediately became super impatient for book 2. To summarize, Ilona Andrews crushes it every time, and I will continue to read every single book they come out with and love them. Oh, and I do not recommend jumping into this new trilogy without having read the Kate Daniels series–definitely read those first, because major spoilers.

Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai (4 stars) – I really enjoyed this contemporary romance (which isn’t a genre I usually pick up!). After reading The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang last month and loving it, though, I’ve been wanting to give more romance a try, and this one (the first in the Forbidden Hearts series) came highly recommended. It follows Livvy, a tattoo artist, and her ex-boyfriend Nicholas, who broke up ten years ago when tragedy struck both of their families and who have been secretly meeting up every year on Livvy’s birthday for, um, some fun. When Livvy moves back to town, all of the emotions they’ve been suppressing rise to the surface and they’re forced to actually confront all of their angst and family drama. All of the characters in this book–including all of the side characters, not just the two leads–are really well-developed, and I thought there was a good level of angst with all of the family conflict. I loved the central relationship as well, and I’m really looking forward to picking up more from Alisha Rai in the future! I’m so glad to find an author that lives up to the hype. I received a free copy of Hate to Want You from the publisher at BookCon.

Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai (4 stars) – I also really enjoyed the second book in Rai’s Forbidden Hearts series. I have to say that I wasn’t as much of a fan of the romance in this one compared to Hate to Want You, but I LOVED the female main character and her family. This one focuses on Sadia, a single mom whose husband died tragically a few years before the book begins, and Jackson, the brother of both Sadia’s husband and the main character from Hate to Want You, a chef who fled town ten years earlier after he was accused of a crime and condemned in the court of public opinion. I’m very much looking forward to picking up the third book in this series, Hurts to Love You.

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion by Margaret Killjoy (3.5 stars) – This is a novella set in the near future in an anarchist town that summons a guardian spirit, a three-antlered deer, for protection. Our main character shows up in town looking for information about the death of her friend, and discovers that the spirit may turn out to be more of a threat than a protector. It’s an interesting, unique premise, and there were some good eerie moments, but it did feel somewhat rushed.

The Book of Essie (3 stars) – This was a fast-paced read that worked well for me on audio during a road trip; the premise drew me in and I was absorbed throughout. I did, however, guess all of the major reveals very early on, and I had some issues with how certain things were handled later on in the book. It also felt a bit strange that this book was told in three perspectives; one of the storylines, the journalist’s, felt like it should have been its own separate novel.

Of Light and Darkness by Shayne Leighton (3 stars) – There were aspects of this fantasy novel that I enjoyed (especially the setting and concept) and that I didn’t enjoy (the characters and romance). You can check out my full review of this book here.

And here’s my book haul for July, which is mostly indie bookstore finds:

Have you read any of these? How was your reading in July? Let me know in the comments!