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.

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.

Mid Year Progress

Well, the first half of this year kicked my ass health wise and along with it went all my beautiful plans of blogging, but such is life with a chronic illness. On the bright side, I got lots of reading done and a fair amount of knitting too. I figured I’d take a look at what I’ve read so far this year and see what I’ve enjoyed, what I’ve not enjoyed and see how I stand on my challenges.

  1. Belzhar – Meg Wolitzer 3.5/5 – BR Challenge – Read a book with a main character with a mental illness.
  2. Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic – Meghan Ciana Doidge 4/5
  3. Why We Broke Up – Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman 4.5/5
  4. Normal Gets You Nowhere – Kelly Cutrone 1/5 (DNF)
  5. Assassination Vacation – Sarah Vowell 3/5 – BR Challenge – Read a book about politics
  6. Amulet: The Stonekeepers – Kazu Kibuishi 3/5 – BR Challenge – Read a middle grade novel
  7. This is Where I Leave You – Jonathan Tropper – 5/5 – BR Challenge – Read a book adapted to a movie and then watch the movie. Debate which was better. I’m going with book, though the movie was quite good for this one, especially if you were a fan of Arrested Development.
  8. Illusions of Fate – Kiersten White 5/5
  9. Anatomy of a Misfit – Andrea Portes 4/5
  10. Trinkets, Treasures, and Other Bloody Magic – Meghan Ciana Doidge 4/5
  11. Me Before You – JoJo Moyes 2.5/5
  12. F*ck Love – Tarryn Fisher 4/5
  13. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath 5/5
  14. Rebel Belle – Rachel Hawkins 3/5
  15. Warbreaker – Brandon Sanderson 4/5 – BR Challenge – Read a book over 500 pages
  16. Trigger Warning – Neil Gaiman 4/5
  17. Curio – Evangeline Denmark 1/5 (DNF)
  18. The Walls All Around Us – Nova Ren Suma 4/5
  19. The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane – Kelly Harms 3.5/5
  20. Shakespeare: The Word as Stage – Bill Bryson 3/5 – BR Challenge – Read a Biography
  21. One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies – Sonya Sones 5/5
  22. Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng 4/5
  23. Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World – Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone 3.5/5
  24. The Fireman – Joe Hill 5/5 – BR Challenge – Read a dystopian/post apocalyptic novel
  25. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz 1/5 (DNF)
  26. The Sea of Monsters – Rick Riordan 4/5
  27. The Titan’s Curse – Rick Riordan 4/5
  28. The Battle of the Labyrinth – Rick Riordan 5/5
  29. Unbreakable – Kami Garcia 3/5
  30. The Disappearance of Melody Dean – Alexis Sugden 5/5 (There was a kickstarter for the printed trade paper book of this webcomic so I got to read the whole thing already :P ) – BR Challenge – Read a non Superhero Comic debuted in the last 3 years

Overall I’ve enjoyed most of what I’ve read so far this year, with only a couple books that I’ve given up on. I’m 30 out of 52 on my yearly goal of books read and only 8 out of 25 of the Read Harder challenges, so I guess I’m really going to have to step those up for the latter half of the year. I’m in the middle of a few more Read Harder challenges, but I’ve not gotten much reading done in the last couple weeks. I’ll do a more detailed breakdown on what I’ve read and my thoughts on the books in the next post!