December 2017 TBR

How is it already December?! I have basically lost all track of days and/or time lately. But, I’m going to try to get back on track for December and I figured a TBR would be the best way to do that. These aren’t in any particular order, just books I hope to get to this month.

  1. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green – I’ve been waiting for this book to come out for MONTHS but I haven’t gotten a chance to read it because I’ve been trying to blow through everything I have checked out from the library.
  2. The Power by Naomi Alderman – I am so excited for this book and I’ve heard good things. I got it as my Book of the Month pick in October and It’s been sitting on my desk ever since.
  3. Amberlough by Lara Elena Donelley – I bought this one as soon as it came out because Cabaret-style spy novels with queer rep sounded right up my alley. I started it and was really enjoying it and then lost all of my reading-during-my-work-shift time. I have it on audio so if I can master the art of reading things for content while listening to things, I can get through it pretty quickly.
  4. Bonfire by Krysten Ritter – This is another “omg I was so excited for this” book that I got from Book of the Month. I haven’t read a thriller in a while and I think this would be a good one to jump back into things with.
  5. The Diviners by Libba Bray – I’ve had this on my shelf for MONTHS since I picked it up for cheap at Book Outlet and I really love Libba Bray. I’ve heard amazing things but this one is a chunker.

Audiobooks:

So audiobook list is probably my secret shame. I own SO MANY audiobooks thanks to Libro.fm and Audible. I’m hoping to get through more now that it is giftmas knitting season and if I could stop watching booktube while I’m knitting I could listen to things instead!

  1.  As You Wish by Cary Elwes – I love The Princess Bride and a book about the making of the movie and it’s legacy narrated by the cast sounds amazing.
  2. Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham – I am also a Gilmore Girls fan (I know, I know, your favs are problematic, but let me have this!) and I think a autobiography from that time in Lauren Graham’s life has the potential to be fantastic.
  3. Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero – Scooby Doo meets Cthulhu meets John Dies at the End was enough to sell me on this book.

If I get through all of these in December I will be shocked. But I do also have some other stuff I’m in the middle of, and some stuff I have checked out of the library so things will change based on when things come off hold as well.

#ContemporaryAThon TBR

Because my job has been kind of kicking my ass lately I’ve been slacking on the posts. I’m sorry! Getting used to working a 10 hour shift and then almost breaking your ankle takes a lot out of a girl. ANYWAY. Today is the start of the ContemporaryAThon hosted by Chelsea over at ChelseaDollingReads and Julie from Pages and Pens. The main goal is just to read as many contemporary books as possible, but there are a few challenges if want to aim for those. The readathon goes from November 13 to November 19. Since doubling up is allowed, I’ve picked separate books for each category but most of them can fit multiple categories if need be.

1. Read the most recent contemporary book you purchased/acquired – Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

2. Read an adult contemporary – The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

3. Read a contemporary that has characters on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum – Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Abertalli

4. Read a contemporary that is 5 years old or older – Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

5. Read a contemporary that (to the best of your knowledge) is NOT set during the summer – Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon

6. Read a dark/taboo contemporary – The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller

7. Buddy read a book with someone OR read the group book! – The group book is Like Water by Rebecca Podos but I’m not sure if I’ll get this one from the library in time and I don’t really have anyone to buddy read stuff with (although if anyone is reading anything I’m reading, and wants to buddy read, let me know. I swear I’m friendly!)

Welp, there’s my list. Let’s see how well I do!

Top 5 Wednesday: Books featuring witches

It’s time for a new Top 5 Wednesday. In case you didn’t know, Top 5 Wednesday is a Goodreads group run by Sam at Thoughts on Tomes that gives a topic every week for your Top 5 lists, be it on your blog, youtube, instagram, tumblr, etc. This week’s topic is your favorite books featuring witches.

This topic was a little challenging for me to narrow down. When I first started thinking about it, I could only think of two books/series that had witches in them. But as I went digging through my goodreads shelf, I realized that it’s a genre I frequent. I did try to narrow it down to some series that I haven’t seen get a ton of attention, barring one. In no particular order, we have:

5. All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness – Each of the books in this series are a chunker and it tends to be fairly divisive, but I’m solidly in camp I-thought-it-was-fantastic. Part urban fantasy, part historical fiction, some time travel, and a healthy dose of Romance made it great for me. Diana Bishop comes from a long family of witches, but she wants nothing to do with anything magical herself. While researching for her newest academic presentation she accidentally calls up a lost alchemical manuscript, setting off a chain of events that ropes her back in to using magic and digging up family secrets. Sure, there’s some cheese factor and a healthy suspension of reality required for some things, but it was good enough that I read through all 3 books in about a week. And at 500+ pages each, that is no small feat.

4. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova – This was probably my favorite book I read last year and I am eagerly awaiting the rest of the series. Seriously, we need a pub date announcement now or I may explode of anticipation. I digress. Labyrinth lost is the story of Alex. Alex is a bruja, and probably the most powerful bruja in generations, but she just wants to be normal. At her Deathday celebration to accept her full powers, Alex tries to cast a spell to rid herself of her powers, only the spell backfires. Her whole family vanishes and she goes on a journey to Los Lagos to find and rescue them. The book is unapologetically Latinx, and there’s some fantastic bi rep. It’s not just about accepting who you are, but also about how family can both help and hinder that quest.

3. The Witches of Echo Park by Amber Benson – I originally picked this book up because I am a huge Buffy fan and I really liked another book series that Amber Benson was narrating. When I searched to see what else she had narrated this popped up and I couldn’t resist. Urban Fantasy with witches set in a city I’m really familiar with? There was no way I was passing that up. It turned out to be way better than I was expecting. I haven’t read the rest of the series, but they are on my TBR. Our main character is Lyse, a witch living a fairly mundane life in Georgia, who comes back home to Echo Park, California upon learning her great-aunt Eleanora is deathly ill. Once she’s back home, Lyse discovers a whole world of secrets her great-aunt was keeping from her. Danger, secrets, and a coven full of interesting characters makes this a great read if you’re a fan of witchy books or just UF in general.

2. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher – What list of witches (and wizards!) isn’t complete without The Dresden Files. Part detective story, loads of funny sidekicks, and a somewhat bumbling, incredibly snarky wizard put this right up there with my favorite series ever. With 14 books in the series there’s plenty to catch up on as well. In case you aren’t familiar with it, Harry Dresden is a private detective/wizard for hire in Chicagoland. Pay him enough and he’ll investigate whatever you want, while also occasionally working with the Chicago P.D. and breaking pretty much any tech devices he comes across.

1. The Line by JD Horn – One thing people should know about me is that I’m a sucker for Southern Gothic style books. This series is no exception. Mercy is the non-magical half of a set of twins in a powerful magical family. When things in the family go haywire and the Taylor family matriarch dies, Mercy finds out exactly how important her family is to Savannah and just how many secrets her family members have been keeping. If you like your witch stories with a little southern flair, this is definitely a series to check out.

 

Well, there’s this week’s top 5. What are some of your favorite books about/featuring witches?

September Wrap Up

Hello again friends! I’m sorry about the radio silence lately, but between a vacation, a cold, 2 training sessions at work, and a new position at work, I’ve been insanely busy for most of the month. I made it through all of one book! (I did read a little of the half dozen other books I am in the middle of, but I only finished one.) So, onward to my review!

Sourdough by Robin Sloan – 4.5 stars. I liked this book a LOT. As in, I finished it and brought it with me on vacation so I could shove it at a friend is normally 3000 miles away from me so she could read it too. Let me start off by saying that this is a weird, quirky, contemporary book, so if that is not your style you definitely won’t like this one. Our main character is Lois. She’s a stressed out, overworked programmer in San Francisco, putting in 80+ hours a week at her job and hating things. One day she comes home and finds a menu from a new place on her door. She calls and orders dinner and falls in love with the food. When the owners of the restaurant have their visas revoked and have to move back to their homeland, they gift Lois with the starter for their sourdough bread. She starts baking her own bread and quickly learns that there is more to the starter than meets the eye. Hijinks ensue, all the while poking fun at the bay area, tech companies, liquid food, and the culture of work needing to be the most important thing in your life.

As I have a lot of friends in the tech industry (and am tangentially in it myself) I adored the portrayals of tech bros, the pressure to work every moment of your life, and the idea that hobbies are weird things no one should have unless they can profit from them somehow. The kind of hipster food trends also get lampooned a fair bit and that was always good for a laugh too. There are some good ideas on finding things that make you happy and taking time for yourself to take away. If you are a foodie, getting some of the science on how starters work, and the best ways to make bread were fun too!

Overall, if you’re looking for a lighter read, some hilarity, and a sourdough starter with a mind all of its own, I highly recommend Sourdough.

August 2017 Wrap Up

August was a pretty productive month for me. I read five novels and three graphic novels for a total of eight books. Thanks library card for giving me deadlines and upping my reading. If there are any books you’d like a more in depth review on, let me know in the comments!

  1. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour (5/5) – This book. I can’t say enough good things about this book. I checked it out from the library and now it’s on my Buy-This-ASAP-to-Annotate List. The story takes place over a period of 4 days with flashbacks to the last year. Our main character Marin has left her hometown in the Bay Area of California for college in New York and has isolated herself from everyone. At it’s core it is a book about grief changes us and our relationships before and after something big. I saw so much of myself in Marin and I already want to reread this.
  2. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan (3/5) – This was an enjoyable, if slightly predictable contemporary novel. I have a total weakness for books about books and/or bookshops. I guess it’s my bookseller heart still. It was cute and fluffy and an easy to read in one shot book. The writing was beautiful at parts, but suffered from some “oh he’s rude, he likes me!” and a plot you saw coming from a mile away.
  3. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (5/5) – I was a little worried that this book wouldn’t live up to the hype, but it did. I have a mini review of it in my weekly progress post, but suffice it to say if you haven’t read this book yet, you need to.
  4. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (4/5) – This book also has a mini review on my progress page but it was a cute YA contemporary featuring two Indian-American teens. I listened on audio and both narrators were solid. The plot had some wonkiness in parts, but overall it was so stinking cute that I was willing to overlook things. It was also nice to get a perspective that isn’t seen often.
  5. Alex + Ada, Volume 1 by Jonathan Luna (4/5) – This was a reread for me. I picked up this volume digitally through a humble bundle about a year ago. Now one thing you have to know about me is that I absolutely LOVE robots and androids in pretty much any form. If there’s a robot or android in a movie it will probably be my favorite character. This story is set in a not too distant future where Alex has been given an android by his grandmother. These androids are so lifelike they can only be identified by their tattoo. Alex soon realizes he wants more than a perfectly compliant android and he finds a way to alter her programming to make her sentient. It’s a solid start to the series and I was left wanting to read more.
  6. Alex + Ada, Volume 2 by Jonathan Luna (3.5/5) This was a pretty decent follow up to the first volume. It follows Alex and Ada after Ada gains sentience and their relationship navigating the world after bans on android/robot sentience has been banned. There were some weaker parts to this volume and it kind of suffered from 2nd book syndrome but overall it was still enjoyable and I definitely wanted to finish the series to see where it wound up.
  7. Alex + Ada, Volume 3 by Jonathan Luna (4/5) The last volume in this comic had a lot to say about tech and AI and where is the line of personhood. I won’t spoil anything but I enjoyed the wrap up even if parts of it broke my heart a little.
  8. Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson (5/5) – I was looking forward to this book so much. I read Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson last year and it was one of my favorite novels. I didn’t love this book quite as much. but it was still a solid showing. It is set in the nearish future but parts of the story take place in the past as well. Our main-main character, Adri is a teenager who is getting ready to be shipped out to help colonize Mars after America has suffered the effects of climate change. She gets sent from her hometown of Miami to Canaan, Kansas to stay with her elderly aunt, who is her last remaining family member before her journey. She finds correspondence in the home from the owners in the 1930s and starts diving in to who these people and how they fit in with her and her family. It was a solid story and a good luck at how important knowing your history can be.

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Bromances edition

 

Top 5 Wednesday is a Goodreads group that gives a topic every week for your Top 5 lists, be it on your blog, youtube, instagram, tumblr, etc. This week’s topic is your top 5 favorite bromances.

 

This topic took a bit of digging back through my read list. I know of and enjoy a lot of female friendships in my novels but not so much bromances. At least not bromances that tip over into the full on romance scales. Without further ado, here are my top 5 favorite bromances (in no particular order).

Mikey and Jared in The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness – This is just a lovely friendship and it was one of my favorite parts of the book. Mikey doesn’t care that Jared is gay and there’s none of that “OMG HE MIGHT HIT ON ME AND THAT IS GROSS” posturing that is so typical with straight guy/gay guy relationships in any form. Jared is supportive of Mikey and tries so hard to make him feel better when his OCD spirals. It’s just so touching.

Locke and Jean Tannen in The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch –  If you haven’t read this yet, the first thing you should know is Locke will do pretty much anything for his friends. You don’t fuck with them if you aren’t looking for some serious hurt. His friendship with Jean Tannen is amazing and hilarious. Jean Tannen is basically the long suffering straight man to Locke’s crazy antics and I love them both so much.

Harry and Bob in  The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher – This is the one friendship on this list where I was a little unsure about adding it. I mean, TECHNICALLY Harry owns Bob. Either way, the interactions with Harry and Bob are some of my favorite parts of these books. I love the snarky back and forth between them and Bob’s love of romance novels cracks me up.

Will, will, and Tiny in  Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan – Ok, first off, Tiny is one of my FAVORITE characters. Yes, he is somewhat problematic in his being kind of a stereotype of the fabulous gay man, but he reminds me so very much of my friends Anthony and Keith in high school. Both of them were amazing, wonderful, fabulous, out gay men. They were both a little over the top despite getting a metric fuckton of shit for it because this was high school *mumbles* years ago. I digress. Tiny’s friendships with both Wills are great, but let’s be honest, Tiny would be the greatest friend to anyone and this book should just be about him.

Ethan and Link in The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl Ethan/Link – Since I’m currently on a re-read of this series, this bromance is still fresh in my mind. Link is the best. He deals with his batshit DAR-loving Mom, the fact that his best friend wants to tank their popularity by hanging out with the one person everyone in town hates, and the fact that his best friend kind of does that shitty thing where he ditches Link when for a girl. Despite Ethan being kind of douchey to Link for the first part of Book One, Link still loans his car, sticks up for Ethan, and hangs out with him even though it is socially disadvantageous. Ethan definitely wises up by the end of Book One and they go on to have a glorious friendship despite the supernatural shenanigans that happen.

Weekly Reading and Finished 8/28/17

Last week wasn’t exactly the most productive reading wise since I was training at work and couldn’t read for half my shift like I normally do. I still managed to finish two books, and I loved both of them.

  1. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon – I started out listening to this on audio but when my digital check out from the library expired and I couldn’t renew it because of the hold list, I swapped to the ebook. I highly recommend both but the audio is particularly well done. It’s also great because you don’t have to stop and google search how to pronounce the Hindi phrases that pepper the book.I loved Dimple and her act first, think later, somewhat bitchy personality. Rishi is essentially a precious cinnamon roll too perfect for this world.  The book is an adorable read, with some insight into living your truth even if you’re afraid your family won’t like it. I highly recommend if you’re a fan of YA contemporary.
  2. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – This book. I almost don’t know how to put into words how I feel about this book. Despite many, many sources telling me it was amazing and the 13 house auction it went through to get published, I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to the hype. It so did. It’s important and I only hope the movie does it justice. I read the ebook, but I really want to listen to the audio as well at some point. Starr was so well written and the depiction of PTSD that sadly often happens to most kids who grow up in bad neighborhoods witnessing horrible things. If you’re looking for something to show you how these horrific things affect a community and how the people who witness them are forced to deal with them, then I can’t recommend it enough.

Currently reading; Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson, Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (audio, reread)

Immediate TBR: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff, Stephanie Brown Batgirl trades by Brian Q Miller, and Alex + Ada by Jonathan Luna

 

What about you? Has anyone read any of these, if so, what did you think?

My Top 5 Most Anticipated Books of Fall

Even though I struggle to get through books in the fall and winter due to not always feeling well, there are a few titles I’m excitedly awaiting.

  1. Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss. I don’t have words for how excited I am about this book. History of Love is one of my favorite books ever. I’m just hoping that either the bookstore in my local airport or the one in Orlando has it because I am going to Disney World the day that this is released.
  2. The Living Infinite by Chantel Acevedo. This historical fiction novel is about a rebellious princess, the Chicago World’s Fair, and a visit to revolutionary Cuba. What’s not to like?
  3. Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan. I imagine after the success and acclaim of A Visit from the Goon Squad, this will be on all the must read lists and I can’t say that I blame anyone. I am always interested in books on The Great Depression as I grew up listening to stories from my grandmother about her childhood.
  4. We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Coates is one of my favorite essayists and I loved Beyond the World and Me so much. I bought multiple copies and shipped them to friends who I felt needed to read it (and then felt slighted when they didn’t respond about whether or not they loved it, naturally). I’ll be picking this up on audio for sure.
  5. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. Despite the unending amount of shit I get for being a John Green fangirl, I steadfastly remain a John Green fangirl. I preordered this as soon as it was announced and I absolutely cannot wait for this teenage detective story with a neuroatypical heroine.

Honorable Mentions:

  • One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
  • They Both die at the End by Adam Silvera
  • A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  • Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray
  • Warcross by Marie Lu
  • Remember Me Always by Renee Collins
  • Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
  • This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis
  • Bonfire by Krysten Ritter
  • Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi
  • Artemis by Andy Weir

All I can say is with a list like this, I am hoping for some serious bookstore gift cards for the holidays!

Mid-Year (ish) check in

Since I am in the process of moving things over from other sites to this one, please bear with me. I decided having one spot for everything books and knitting was infinitely easier than having 3 blogs that almost never updated. PROGRESS.

Anyway. on to the books since presumably that’s why most people would be here. Due to Real Life being Real Life, I set my Good Reads goal at 52. I’m coming out a little ahead of the game so far this year. I’m up to 35 with only one book that I’ve DNF’d. So far my top three books of the year are:

  1. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
  2. The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
  3. Dead Little Mean Girl by Eva Darrows**

We Are Okay may be short, it is only 234 pages of a smaller hard cover book, but it packs a huge punch. It’s primarily a grief novel about how sometimes we push people away even if they only want the best for us because things are too hard. As someone with cptsd I related to this so much and spent half the book in tears. If you don’t mind a darker book that depicts grief in a way that it usually isn’t then I highly, highly recommend it.

The Love Interest is part spy novel and part romance with a whole lot of trope subversion. Love Interests are assigned to people the agency deems important. These can be geniuses, athletes, influential people, etc. The agency sets up a love triangle and whichever Interest loses the battle for the target’s heart is killed. Things don’t go exactly as the agency plans and the classic love triangle trope is turned on its head.  Action, espionage and a very sweet romance put this one on my top list.

Dead Little Mean Girl is a grief novel and mean girl trope subversion in one. Emma’s step-sister Quinn is your garden variety mean girl. She terrorizes the school, Emma, her mom, and pretty much everyone she comes in contact with. When Quinn dies, Emma has to deal with grieving for someone she hated and who did awful things, while learning that there may have been more to Quinn than met the eye. It hits you hard even while you’re laughing and gives you a lot to think about.

 

** Disclaimer: I know and am friends with Eva Darrows but my copy of DLMG was purchased by me and I legitimately love the book and have foisted it upon people of my own accord.

2016 Book Wrap Up

So my posting got bricked in 2016 because I was sick for most of the year, but I did manage to hit my GoodReads goal of 52 books. Barely. The last two I was finishing up on NYE. I even came really close to finishing the BookRiot Read Harder Challenge too. I got through 20 of 24 tasks on the list. Here’s what I read last year. Bolded titles were my top books for the year.

  1. Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
  2. Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge
  3. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman
  4. Normal Gets You Nowhere by Kelly Cutrone
  5. Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
  6. The StoneKeeper (Amulet #1) by Kazu Kibuishi
  7. This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
  8. Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
  9. Anatomy of A Misfit by Andrea Portes
  10. Trinkets, Treasures, and Other Bloody Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge
  11. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
  12. Fuck Love by Tarryn Fisher
  13. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  14. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
  15. Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
  16. Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
  17. Curio by Evangeline Denmark
  18. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
  19. The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane by Kelly Harms
  20. Shakespeare by Bill Bryson
  21. One of those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones
  22. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  23. Used & Rare: Travels in the Book World by Lawrence Goldstone
  24. The Fireman by Joe Hill
  25. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
  26. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
  27. The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan
  28. The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
  29. Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
  30. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
  31. Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire
  32. Church of Marvels by Leslie Parry
  33. All Involved by Ryan Gattis
  34. Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
  35. Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn
  36. Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
  37. Love, Loss, and What We Ate by Padma Lakshmi
  38. Everyone Leaves by Wendy Guerra
  39. The Moment of Everything by Shelly King
  40. Spinster by Kate Bolick
  41. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
  42. The Disappearance of Melody Dean by Alexis Sugden
  43. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
  44. A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
  45. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
  46. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
  47. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
  48. The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland by Rebekah Crane
  49. Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
  50. My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
  51. The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
  52. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay