Category Archives: Reading Recaps

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:

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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:

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

December Reading Wrap-Up

That’s a wrap for December! I had a fantastic reading month in terms of quality of books, and I was able to catch up somewhat with my Book of the Month Club picks by reading three of them this month. Two of those even ended up being two of my favorite BOTM picks overall! And while I did only read one 5-star book, the quality of the 4-star books I picked up was fantastic, and December ended up hosting some of my most memorable reads of the year.

Number of books read: 7

#readmyowndamnbooks: 5

When did I acquire the books I read? August 2017 (The Bear and the Nightingale), October 2017 (Her Body and Other Parties, The Power), November 2017 (Turtles All the Way Down, Future Home of the Living God)

Her Body and Other PartiesTurtles All the Way DownAir Awakens (Air Awakens, #1)We Are the AntsThe Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine ArdenThe PowerFuture Home of the Living God

Here are my reviews:

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado (5 stars) – this short story collection absolutely lives up to the hype. If you like gorgeously written magical realism short story collections and you are also a feminist, I’d highly recommend this book. It’s unsettling and also beautiful. One of my favorites of the year, for sure. Machado uses magical realism to tell stories about women’s bodies and the everyday violence inflicted upon them; she explores what it means to be a woman in a variety of creative settings. My favorites of the collection were “The Husband Stitch,” “Inventory,” and “Real Women Have Bodies.”

The Power by Naomi Alderman (4.25 stars) – The Power won this year’s Bailey’s Prize, which first put it on my radar awhile back. Since then, I’ve been reading a lot of “meh” reviews that made me really hesitant to pick it up; I’m really glad that I did. I tend to be a fan of near-future female-centric SF, and this one ended up being no exception. The premise of The Power is that women evolve an organ that gives them the ability to deliver an electrical shock through their hands, not unlike an electric eel. This ability first arises in tweens, who are able to transfer the power to older women as well, and once it becomes widespread society begins to rapidly change. It’s told from multiple perspectives: there’s the daughter of a crime lord in England; the mayor of a city in New England; a foster child who becomes a religious prophet; and a male journalist from Nigeria. From each of these characters, we’re able to see gender roles flipped on their heads and an exploration of what would happen if all women were able to easily physically overpower men. It’s a fast-paced novel, and although there are many sentences and paragraphs that pack meaningful and emotional punches, I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s beautifully written. The other issue I had was that I kept thinking that this story could be told in so many different ways; you could take the premise of The Power and imagine hundreds of different ways the course of history could go. You could even take the exact same events of The Power but present the story differently by focusing on only a single character, perhaps, or with entirely different leads. I definitely thought this was a good book, but I’m just not certain that this was the best version of the story that could have been told.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (4 stars) – this is one of those books that I knew I’d like as soon as I started hearing about it. It’s a historical fantasy set in Russia that focuses on the clash between Christianity and the older folk religion of the region. It’s told in a mythical, fairytale-ish way and focuses on Vasilisa, daughter of a rural nobleman, who possesses magical abilities that set her apart from everyone around her. I really enjoyed it and will definitely be looking to pick up the next book.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (4 stars) – I’ve only read one John Green book previously (The Fault in Our Stars; none of his others have sounded that interesting to me) but I knew I wanted to read this one after I heard that the main character had anxiety and OCD. This is definitely the kind of book that has strength in the characters rather than the plot; I loved Aza, the main character, and I thought that Green wrote her very well. The subplot about searching for the missing billionaire, however, did not make a ton of sense for me, and I had a lot of issues about how certain things were handled. Overall, though, the strength of the writing and Aza herself carried me through the book, and I definitely enjoyed it.

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson (4 stars) – throughout this entire book, I just wanted to give the main character a hug. He’s going through a lot–his boyfriend killed himself, his father left, he’s being bullied at school, his grandmother has Alzheimer’s, and his brother treats him terribly. Oh, and he’s being repeatedly abducted by aliens, who are giving him a choice whether or not to save the world. The problem is that he’s so depressed because of everything else in his life that he just doesn’t really see the world as worth saving. Over the course of the story, he has to confront and work through various emotions and issues, and also meets an intriguing new love interest in the new kid in town, Diego. It’s a serious contemporary YA with a science fiction twist, and I thought it was very well-written; I rarely read contemporary YA, but this was great.

Air Awakens by Elise Kova (3 stars) – this is the first book in a romance-heavy YA fantasy series about elemental magic, and I liked it okay. The writing had a LOT of structural issues, but it was still fun and I liked the love interest, who sort of reminded me of Loki from the Thor movies. I’m not sure yet if I’m going to continue with the series, though, because although I enjoyed it, I definitely wasn’t blown away.

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich (3 stars) – In this book, Cedar, a pregnant young woman with Native American heritage who was raised by a white family, has to contend with the unbalancing of the world once evolution appears to start moving backward and pregnant women begin giving birth to genetic throwbacks from earlier types of humans. Unfortunately, this was mostly a miss for me. Louise Erdrich is definitely a very good writer, and I liked the family dynamics that she set up in this book, but the near-future SF premise is something that I’ve seen done so much better in other works. The plot was disjointed and full of plot holes; the worldbuilding in terms of what was actually going on was really under-developed. I really wish another author had taken this premise and written it in a better way, because it could have been so much more interesting.

And here are the books that I purchased in December:

November Reading Wrap-Up!

I participated in NaNoWriMo (for the first time!) this November, so I went into the month not expecting to get much reading done. I thought that setting aside time to write every day would cut into a lot of the time I normally spend reading, but I was really pleasantly surprised at how much I was able to read while getting a large chunk of writing done. Most excitingly, I read TWO five-star reads this month! I’m so picky that this is almost unheard-of for me, especially for a relatively lower-reading month. Don’t get me wrong, I’m impressed with how much I read this month, but it wasn’t quite as many books as I hit in a typical month. But TWO FIVE-STAR READS! Dang. I feel like a big part of the reason for that was that I didn’t set a big solid TBR for the month; I feel like maybe I read better books when I mood-read and don’t plan in advance. I’m going to be doing more of that going forward, although I did make a list of ten books I really want to get to this winter.

Number of books read: 6

#readmyowndamnbooks: 4

When did I acquire the books I read? March 2017 (Crosstalk), June 2017 (Norse Mythology), August 2017 (The Stone Sky), November 2017 (The Refrigerator Monologues)

CrosstalkThe Awakened Kingdom (Inheritance, #3.5)Norse MythologyThe Stone Sky (The Broken Earth, #3)Girls Will Be Girls: Dressing Up, Playing Parts and Daring to Act DifferentlyThe Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente

The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente (5 stars) – This book could not be more incisive or more timely. I don’t understand why it’s not more popular. Essentially, this book takes on sexism in the world of superheroes, by highlighting women whose lives (and deaths) have been used solely as plot devices to motivate the male main characters. If, like me, you really enjoy superhero movies and are also a feminist, this book will resonate with you. You don’t have to have extensive comics knowledge to enjoy this book or to get most of the references (I certainly don’t); I’m not familiar with every character they referenced, but enough of it is mainstream, like riffs on Batman and Harley Quinn, that you’ll get it regardless. The book’s premise is that in the afterlife, here called Deadtown and expressed as this gorgeously banal yet macabre city, women who have been involved with superheroes gather as what they call the Hell Hath Club and tell their stories one by one. These stories are interspersed with life in Deadtown, which on its own would make a great book. I really wasn’t expecting to love this as much as I did. I both laughed and cried while reading this, and it’s very short. Highly, highly recommend. I need to read more from Valente, stat.

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin (5 stars) – I definitely don’t want to give away anything about the plot of this book, since it would spoil the first two in the trilogy, but this was a very well-done and fitting end to the series. The world-building was incredible, and I was tearing up at the end.

Crosstalk by Connie Willis (4 stars) – this is a cute, funny, fast-paced, highly entertaining SF rom-com. It was a lot of fun to read; the dialogue is great, and you really end up loving the main characters. This was my third Connie Willis book, and my second of her “lighter” books; I have two others on my physical TBR shelf and a bunch more on my hypothetical one.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (4 stars) – I’ve always loved reading about mythology, although Greek mythology has always been my favorite, and this book was no exception. It was well-done and Gaiman also gave a great introduction talking about his connection to Norse myths. The parts about Ragnarok were particularly well-done.

The Awakened Kingdom by N.K. Jemisin (3 stars) – this novella takes place after the Inheritance trilogy, and the entire plot is a huge spoiler. It was cute and fun to read, but it wasn’t as awesome as most of Jemisin’s work tends to be.

 

And here are the books I acquired in November:

October Reading Wrap-Up

That’s a wrap on October 2017!

Overall, October was a really great and reading-filled month. I participated in two readathons this month: Dewey’s 24-hour readathon and Spookathon. Technically, I was also still participating in the R.i.P. XII reading challenge that encompasses both September and October as well, so there was a lot of themed reading as well as many books in a short period of time. Looking over what I read this month, I did give middling ratings to a bunch of books, but I did have a lot of fun with my reading overall and the books that were good, were very good. Unfortunately, I will be unhauling two of the books I read this month because I just really wasn’t a fan and don’t want them on my shelf. But overall, a good reading month! You can’t expect to love everything you read.

SourdoughNight FilmFever DreamFinal GirlsBelzharAgents of DreamlandThat Inevitable Victorian ThingLast Call at the Nightshade LoungeEnvy of Angels (Sin du Jour, #1)The Red Tree

Number of books read: 10

#readmyowndamnbooks: 9 (!)

When did I acquire the books I read? June 2017 (Night Film), July 2017 (Final Girls), August 2017 (Fever Dream, Belzhar), September 2017 (Sourdough, Agents of Dreamland, The Red Tree), October 2017 (That Inevitable Victorian Thing, Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge)

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin (5 stars) – stellar short novel about a woman lying in a hospital being questioned by a young boy. During the course of the novel, you figure out why. This book is creepy, unique, and ambiguously magical. Highly recommend.

The Red Tree by Caitlin R. Kiernan (4 stars) – I really got into Caitlin R. Kiernan this month; I wish I’d read her earlier and am glad that she has a lot of backlist titles that I can get to. This book was about an author who moves into an isolated house in Rhode Island which she discovers has a mysterious past; instead of trying to write a book, which she’s supposed to be doing, she obsesses in her journal about her ex-girlfriend and about the artist who comes to live at the house with her. She finds a manuscript from the house’s previous tenant, who killed himself, and the book includes excerpts of this manuscript as well as her diary. It’s atmospheric, creepy, and well-written; it was really the perfect October book.

Agents of Dreamland by Caitlin R. Kiernan (4 stars) – this was a Tor novella (I love Tor novellas!) about special agents investigating a cult mass suicide in the desert, that ends up being about a lot more than what it seems to be. I don’t want to give away anything more about the story, but there’s a lot packed into a very short book, and the writing is great.

That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston (4 stars) – this was a very nice alternate-history SF book about a world in which the British Empire never fell but instead strengthened itself through diversity and apologizing for its past mistakes and colonization. It delves into some interesting concepts while remaining very grounded in its three main characters. I found it really enjoyable and not at all dark, so ifΒ  you’re looking for a YA that fits those categories, I’d recommend this.

Night Film by Marisha Pessl (3.75 stars) – Night Film has a very cool premise–it’s about the mystery surrounding a famously reclusive horror movie director, Stanislas Cordova, after his daughter commits suicide. Our main character, Scott McGrath, is an investigative reporter who lost most of his credibility after publicly going after Cordova due to suspicions of criminality and then getting slapped with a lawsuit, after which the story he’s investigating completely falls apart. When Scott hears about Cordova’s daughter’s suicide, however, he’s drawn back into the dark and scary world surrounding Cordova, whose movies are so disturbing that the last few have been banned from distribution. As Scott delves deeper into the world surrounding Cordova, things get stranger and stranger and the lines between fantasy and reality seem to blur.

I’d say that I really, really enjoyed the first 2/3 of this book. The writing is solid (although WAY too many italics are used), and the author uses an unconventional format where she sprinkles in documents, photos, and newspaper articles along with the book’s regular text.

But.

I really did not like how the mystery wrapped up. Endings are crucial, and the ending of Night Film significantly reduced my rating. The writing in general seemed to get weaker towards the end as well.

So. I’d recommend this; I know that it’s a widely loved book, but personally, I was disappointed with how it ended. After the intriguing premise and great setup, the lackluster conclusion was a huge letdown.

Sourdough by Robin Sloan (3 stars) – this book was cute and fun, but not impactful. Nothing at all bad happens, and I liked the focus on the culinary scene in San Francisco, but it wasn’t a wow.

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger (3 stars) – fun, fast-paced UF read about bartenders with magical powers from alcoholic drinks battling demons in Chicago.

Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace (2.75 stars) – I got this ebook free for subscribing to the Tor.com newsletter, and it’s something that I had wanted to read for awhile. It’s a fun, fast story about chefs who cook for the world’s secret supernatural elements, and I liked it, but not enough to probably ever continue with the series.

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer (2.5 stars) – I expected a completely different thing from this book than what it actually was. That’s not the book’s fault–I really didn’t closely read the synopsis–but what the book actually was was not anything special. I did finish it rather than DNFing which I do with a lot of YA, but this isn’t a book that I’d really recommend to anyone, and it made me sad, but not in a good, Fault in Our Stars-ish way.

Final Girls by Riley Sager (2 stars) – I mean, if you want to read a book that’s supposedly a thriller but is actually really boring and barely anything happens until the very end, then this is for you. This book was coherently written and a few things were interesting (mostly the premise), but it really lacked dramatic tension and I didn’t care about any of the characters. A disappointment.

 

Has anyone read any of these? What did you think? Let me know!