All posts by jaleenajo

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:

Advertisements

24 in 48 Readathon Wrap-Up!

I forgot to post a TBR or any updates, but this weekend I participated in the lovely 24 in 48 readathon; for more information, check out their site here.

Essentially, 24 in 48 is a fun, low-pressure readathon that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to participate in this round, seeing as how I just finished Bout of Books a few weeks ago. I just wasn’t sure that I’d be in the mood to readathon again so quickly! But it turned out that I was; I didn’t read an insane amount, or anything near the 24-hour goal (I never do; for me, a readathon is more just to read more than I normally would) but I picked up some lovely books and had a nice, partially bookish weekend in addition to seeing friends, working out, seeing The Shape of Water (I’m trying to see most of the Oscar-nominated movies), and making delicious enchiladas.

 

I kicked off the readathon with a YA novel, which is my favorite way to kick off a readathon. I had recently ordered Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia from BookOutlet, and it literally arrived the day before the readathon. Which was good, since it ended up being the perfect book for my mood. It’s a decent length but also has a lot of chat conversations and illustrations to break up the text, which makes it very readathon-friendly, and it’s a book you can quickly get absorbed in. I had also (luckily) gotten in my library hold just a few days before 24 in 48 for What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton after months on the wait list; I actually wasn’t anticipated doing a lot of audio listening during the readathon, but I got extremely absorbed in Clinton’s book and was able to actually do some cleaning and cooking with my hands free, so there was that.

I found myself in need of a shorter book when I felt my motivation lagging, so I picked up another new purchase, The Lost Child of Lychford by Paul Cornell. This is the second book in a novella series set in a small English town on the border between worlds and featuring three unconventional modern witches; I liked it just as much as the first novella. And I also was able to start reading (but definitely not get anywhere near finishing, since it’s over 500 pages long) The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera, the first book in a new fantasy series.

Here are my stats:

Finished: 1 novel, 1 novella

Eliza and Her MonstersThe Lost Child of Lychford (Lychford, #2)

Read from, but didn’t finish:

The Tiger's Daughter (Their Bright Ascendency, #1)What Happened

Total number of pages read: 573 pages

Total audiobook time: 4.75 hours

Bout of Books Wrap-Up (and Days 6&7 belated updates)

And that’s a wrap on this round of Bout of Books! I really enjoyed myself during this readathon, and it was a great way to encourage myself to read more at the beginning of the year. My readathon wrapped up nicely; over the weekend I was able to get a lot of reading done in addition to other things like seeing Pitch Perfect 3 (basically the same as the first two movies, which meant it was exactly what I was in the mood for), fixing stuff around my apartment, and working out a bunch.

Here are my overall stats for the readathon:

Books finished: 4

Witches of Lychford by Paul CornellThe Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnisWe Are Okay by Nina LaCourBeneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

Books started, but not finished: 2

An Unkindness of GhostsNo Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need

Total number of pages read: 690 pages

Audiobook time: 8.6 hours (516 minutes)

Not bad, right? On Sunday I did feel like I got a bit overwhelmed from all the readathon-ing and had to slow things down a bit, especially considering that I still have another readathon to participate in this month–24 in 48 is happening during the last weekend in January. I honestly have no idea what I’m going to read for 24 in 48, but I do want to participate. I’m thinking that maybe instead of a bunch of little books, I’ll pick one or two chunky fantasies to try and make a dent in.

And, because I like keeping track of these things, here are my updates for days 6&7:

Day 6

Books started: Beneath the Sugar Sky

Books finished: none

Pages read: 142 pages of Beneath the Sugar Sky

Audiobook time: 55 minutes of No is Not Enough

 

Day 7

Books started: none

Books finished: Beneath the Sugar Sky

Pages read: 32 pages of Beneath the Sugar Sky, 15 pages of An Unkindness of Ghosts

Audiobook time: 110 minutes of No is Not Enough

My 2017 Reading Wrap-Up!

I’m finally getting around to posting this–my 2017 reading year in review! I had an amazing reading year in 2017; it might have been my best ever. Here are my stats:

Total books read: 105

Total pages read: 31,245

Longest book read in 2017: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (705 pages)

Shortest book read in 2017: The Bone Knife by Intisar Khanani (35 pages)

Most popular book read in 2017: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Least popular book read in 2017: Phantom Pains by Mishell Baker

Average Goodreads rating: 3.6 stars

Highest rated on Goodreads: Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

#readmyowndamnbooks: 70 (67%)

Live author/bookish events attended: BookCon, including a panel with Charlie Jane Anders, Annalee Newitz, John Scalzi, and Cory Doctorow; Toni Morrison; Roxane Gay; Kelly Link; Margaret Atwood; Dave Eggers

Female Author vs. Male Author

Format

Genre

Adult vs. YA

Colorful Book Covers Challenge – I tried to read 3 of every color and almost made it…

Red Cover
Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9) by Ilona Andrews Final Girls by Riley Sager The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente

Orange Cover
Giant Days, Vol. 2 (Giant Days, #2) by John Allison Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles, #1) by Kresley Cole Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson

Yellow Cover
Giant Days, Vol. 1 (Giant Days, #1) by John Allison Alex + Ada, Vol. 2 by Jonathan Luna Girls Will Be Girls Dressing Up, Playing Parts and Daring to Act Differently by Emer O'Toole

Green Cover
Relish My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3) by Sarah J. Maas Heating & Cooling 52 Micro-Memoirs by Beth Ann Fennelly

Blue Cover
Men Explain Things To Me (Updated Edition) by Rebecca Solnit The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1) by Susan Dennard

Purple Cover
Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3) by Ilona Andrews Phantom Pains (The Arcadia Project, #2) by Mishell Baker Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Pink Cover
Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler Marlena by Julie Buntin Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman by Anne Helen Petersen

Black Cover
Sleeping Giants (Themis Files, #1) by Sylvain Neuvel Difficult Women by Roxane Gay All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

White Cover
Stiletto (The Checquy Files, #2) by Daniel O'Malley Hunger A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Gray Cover
Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2) by Seanan McGuire How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Brown Cover
The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband, and He Hanged Himself Love Stories by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Colorful Cover
Big Magic Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker

Bout of Books Updates: Days 4&5

It’s the end of Day 5 of Bout of Books, and I’m making some progress!

On Day 4, I had to work, but after work I went to a book sale at my library. I’m a former library book sale addict, but have actually been doing pretty well lately at not going overboard with my library book sale hauls, so I was sort of due for a splurge. I ended up finding 8 books for $10, and I consider that a success because all of the books I picked up were already on my TBR list, so I wasn’t just picking up random books that I’ll never read. When I got home I dove into The Female of the Species and was able to finish it; I also made dinner while listening to the audiobook of We Are Okay.

On Day 5, Friday, I again worked during the day, and we were hit with horrible weather–basically it rained all day, then got way colder which made the rain freeze into ice, and then it snowed on top of that. Since I really didn’t want to be driving in all of that more than necessary, I had a chill night in and finished We Are Okay on audio. After reading a bit of An Unkindness of Ghosts, which I hadn’t yet picked up during this readathon, I was in the mood to start a new audiobook, and decided to go with No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need by Naomi Klein, because Trump continues to be terrible in every way and I’d like to learn how to get more involved in resisting.

Here are my stats:

Day 4

Books started: none

Books finished: The Female of the Species

Pages read: 155 pages of The Female of the Species

Audiobook time: 62 minutes of We Are Okay

 

Day 5

Books started: No is Not Enough

Books finished: We Are Okay

Pages read: 16 pages of An Unkindness of Ghosts

Audiobook time: 113 minutes of We Are Okay, 14 minutes of No is Not Enough

Bout of Books Updates: Days 1, 2, 3

It’s Bout of Books time!

Technically, we’re already 3 days in (depending on when I’m able to post this) because I haven’t yet gotten my act together in terms of posting updates. Daily updates are too much; I don’t have enough time to actually get anything done!

So far, things are going pretty well. On Monday, I kicked off Bout of Books literally just after midnight by starting Witches of Lychford, which helped me get enough of a jump on things that I was able to finish it after work the next day. Kicking off the readathon by finishing a book (well, a novella technically, but still) on a day when I had to work was definitely motivating; I also started two other books (and by started, I mean barely started): The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis, which I have a hard copy of and also borrowed the ebook from my library to read when I’m on the go, and We Are Okay by Nina LaCour, which I borrowed from the library on audiobook.

Tuesday was a super crazy day at work and I got home late, so I didn’t actually get any physical reading done. I did, however, listen to a bunch of We Are Okay on audio and got very drawn into the story and writing style. On Wednesday, my day off, I had a few things I needed to do (like work out and finally see the new Star Wars movie) but reading-wise, I was able to get through a bunch of The Female of the Species, which I’m really liking–the writing is strong and I especially love Alex, one of the main characters, who’s a very unique YA heroine. I also again listened to a chunk of We Are Okay while driving places and doing things around the house.

Goals for the rest of the readathon: I’m really hoping to finish The Female of the Species before the weekend, although I’m not sure how realistic that is. My pre-order of Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire is due to get here on Friday, so I’m going to aim to finish that over the weekend. And I absolutely need to finish We Are Okay before my library takes it back in four days.

Here are my stats for Days 1, 2, and 3:

Day 1

Books started: Witches of Lychford, The Female of the Species, We Are Okay

Books finished: Witches of Lychford

Pages read: 144 pages of Witches of Lychford, 14 pages of The Female of the Species

Audiobook time: 12 minutes of We Are Okay

 

Day 2

Books started: none

Books finished: none

Pages read: none

Audiobook time: 68 minutes of We Are Okay

 

Day 3

Books started: none

Books finished: none

Pages read: 172 pages of The Female of the Species

Audiobook time: 82 minutes of We Are Okay

 

How is Bout of Books going for you guys?

Bout of Books Sign-Up and 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, January 8th and runs through Sunday, January 14th 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 21 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

It’s time for one of my favorite readathons–Bout of Books! I love Bout of Books because it’s low-pressure but usually does motivate me to read a lot more than I normally would in a single week. My TBR is a mixture of books I’m already in the middle of but don’t see myself finishing before the readathon starts, and some new, shorter books that I think will make for good readathon reads.

So here’s my TBR:

I’m currently reading these two books:

The Dark and Other Love StoriesAn Unkindness of Ghosts

I always like having a short story collection going during a readathon to help break things up, so The Dark and Other Love Stories by Deborah Willis should work well. I’ve read the first two stories so far and really enjoyed them; they’re stories focused on difficult relationships by a Canadian author. And I thought I’d still be reading If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio during this readathon since I’ve been reading it for the past week, but was able to finish yesterday. So instead I’m going to get started with An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon so that I can have a science fiction book to dip in and out of during the readathon; I’ve been craving some good SciFi for awhile.

And I’d like to pick these up:

Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children, #3)Witches of Lychford (Lychford, #1)The Female of the SpeciesWe Are Okay

In terms of books I have yet to start reading, I’ve got a few really good options in mind. I pre-ordered Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire, which comes out on Tuesday the 9th, and I’m really hoping I’ll get it in time to read it for the readathon. Usually books from B&N don’t ship until the release date, so fingers crossed that it comes in by Friday or so. I have another Tor novella, Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell, on deck in case it doesn’t, or in case I’m in a very fantasy novella-ish mood. I’m also very interested in starting The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis, which follows three teenagers, one of whom I believe has the urge to kill? Possibly? And deals with issues of feminism as well. Lastly, for an audiobook option, I checked We Are Okay by Nina LaCour out of my library; it’s only five hours or so long and deals with a friendship/romance while one of the main characters is coming to terms with her grief.

 

Is anyone else participating in Bout of Books? Let me know!