June Book Haul


As usual, I didn’t think I was going to buy a lot of books this month.

As usual, I was wrong.

This month, I discovered bookoutlet.com, which has somehow been hiding from me all this time. I blame Bookstagram entirely for my bookish purchases this month, as almost all of them (all except the Ferrante books and Among Others) were from Book Outlet and the only reason I heard of the site was from looking at book haul posts. The prices on this site are ridiculously good, so I don’t feel too guilty about my binge-buying; I’m so excited about the books I was able to find, several of which are difficult to find in bookstores. I pretty much want to read them all immediately, but since I’m in the middle of 5 different books right now, that’s probably not a good idea.

So here’s what I picked up!

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante – I started reading this at the beginning of the month and am on pause until I get back in the Ferrante mindset. The perils of being a mood reader!

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante – I caved and bought the last Ferrante book so that I’ll have it to start when I finish book 3 and also work up the courage to see how this emotionally gripping quartet ends.

Among Others by Jo Walton – I read my first Jo Walton book (The Just City) earlier this year and loved the originality of its concept. She’s a really prolific writer and pretty much all of her books sound amazing; Among Others got a lot of hype a few years ago when it won both the Hugo and Nebula awards for Best Novel. From the Goodreads review, it’s “at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.” Sounds perfect.

The Weird edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer – this is an anthology of weird fiction that I’ve been coveting ever since I saw it on a shelf in the Strand a few years ago. It is absolutely gigantic and the cover features red octopus arms holding a book in some sort of stone cathedral.  The $30 price tag scared me away, but then I saw it on Book Outlet for under $7 and I had to go for it. Also, it’s edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer; Jeff Vandermeer is the author of the Southern Reach trilogy, which I loved, and they are both highly respected SF&F editors.

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente – Valente is on my list of “authors I think I will love but haven’t actually read anything by yet,” and this book, which is a retelling of a Russian folk tale, sounds so intriguing. From Goodreads: “Deathless, however, is no dry, historical tome: it lights up like fire as the young Marya Morevna transforms from a clever child of the revolution, to Koschei’s beautiful bride, to his eventual undoing. Along the way there are Stalinist house elves, magical quests, secrecy and bureaucracy, and games of lust and power. All told, Deathless is a collision of magical history and actual history, of revolution and mythology, of love and death, which will bring Russian myth back to life in a stunning new incarnation.

Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link – I’ve read two books of short stories by Link so far and loved both of them. Her style of writing is odd, creepy, and endlessly creative; this is technically a compilation of YA stories, but some of these overlap with the stories in her adult books.

Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor – this is a first-contact-with-aliens story that takes place in Lagos, Nigeria, and I’ve been hearing nothing but awesome things about it. The premise from Goodreads says: “When a massive object crashes into the ocean off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous and legendary city, three people wandering along Bar Beach (Adaora, the marine biologist- Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa- Agu, the troubled soldier) find themselves running a race against time to save the country they love and the world itself… from itself.

Afterparty by Daryl Gregory – I may use this book for the “read a book about religion” task for the Read Harder challenge. It’s set in the near future after the “smart drug revolution” where people can now design and create their own drugs. Someone eventually creates a drug called Numinous that simulates religion and kicks off what looks like a crazy story.

Out by Natsuo Kirino – From Goodreads, “Natsuo Kirino’s novel tells a story of random violence in the staid Tokyo suburbs, as a young mother who works a night shift making boxed lunches brutally strangles her deadbeat husband and then seeks the help of her co-workers to dispose of the body and cover up her crime.” Sounds intense and absorbing.

Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill – I think I heard about this book on Flavorwire and have meaning to get to it for awhile; I’ve been really into short story collections lately. Goodreads says, “Powerful stories of dislocation, longing and desire which depict a disenchanted and rebellious urban fringe generation that is groping for human connection. (Or, more simply put, the angst of people-who-wear-black.)

The Quick by Lauren Owen – I mean, I’m really down for anything involving vampires, but I really hope this one’s good. It’s set in the 1890s and centers on a woman’s search for her brother through the mysterious underworld of London; I’ve heard mixed reviews but I want this to work for me.


Has anyone read any of these? How did you like them? And what book did you buy in June? Let me know!

WWW Wednesday


WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words (https://samannelizabeth.wordpress.com/).

Right now, I’m in the middle of two quartets of books and really engrossed in my current audiobok (Men We Reaped). In other bookish news, I heard that Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace is being made into a miniseries! The more Atwood, the better, in my opinion; I haven’t heard any news lately on the Maddaddam TV series, so I hope that’s still in the works.

Currently reading:

Men We ReapedThe Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (The Neapolitan Novels, #3)

So far, Men We Reaped is really incredible. Jesmyn Ward’s writing is somehow both clear and layered at the same time, and she’s so good at creating a sense of place. The story she tells is traumatic, and I’m amazed that she found the strength to tell it.

I’m over halfway done with The Dream Thieves (the second book in the Raven Cycle) and it’s really good. I’m so glad that I started this series; it’s been awhile since I found a good YA series that I can really get sucked into. The characters in this series are what keeps me  hooked (although the plot is definitely weirdly good as well) and I think Ronan might be my favorite. Although Blue is a great protagonist, and it’s pretty impossible not to love Gansey.

I’ve stalled a bit on Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay; it’s not that it isn’t great, but I’m having a little reading ADD and YA seems to be really working for my reading mood at the moment. I’d like to dive back in and finish it by the end of the month, but we’ll see.

Recently finished:

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)

The Raven Boys (4 stars) and The Cuckoo’s Calling (3 stars).

What’s next?

The Girl Wakes: StoriesBlue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)LagoonThe Book Thief

I’ve been wanting to get to The Girl Wakes by Carmen Lau for awhile–it’s a book of short stories focused on dark feminist fairytale retellings, and it’s pretty short, so I’ve been waiting until I get a stretch of time to read it in one sitting. I’ll probably start the third book in the Raven Cycle (Blue Lily, Lily Blue) after I finish The Dream Thieves, and I already checked it out from the library in preparation. Also, with all of this series reading, I’d really like to pick up a good standalone next; I’m thinking maybe Lagoon and/or The Book Thief.


What is everyone reading right now???

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite 2016 New Releases, So Far!

11a7d-toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish (http://www.brokeandbookish.com/p/top-ten-tuesday-other-features.html).

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is favorite new releases of 2016 (so far). I only made a top 5 list; so far I’ve read 8 new releases in 2016, but only 5 of these felt worthy to go on any kind of favorites list. Also, this is possibly the shortest post I’ve ever done.


  1. Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt (4.5 stars). I think this will end up on my overall top 10 books for the year; I highly, highly recommend this very weird book.


2. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (4 stars) – perfect for fans of portal fantasy. I also liked that the main character was asexual, something that is rare for YA.


3. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (4 stars) – it’s hard to blend science fiction and fantasy, but this book really made it work.


4. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (4 stars) – wonderful romantic, escapist fantasy.


5. Roses and Rot by Kat Howard (3.5 stars) – an absorbing fantasy perfect for creative types who like some creepiness with their fae stories.





Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated New Book Releases

11a7d-toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish (http://www.brokeandbookish.com/).

I haven’t done a Top Ten Tuesday in awhile, but as we approach the halfway point in 2016 I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to focus my reading for the second half of the year. (Upcoming post about this and the first half of 2016 in review will be up in the next few weeks.) This also got me thinking about what books I’m still waiting to be published this year and what I’ll be drawn to pick up and/or buy asap; there are a few of these that I’m absolutely going crazy with anticipation for. These are posted in order of release date, according to Goodreads, not according to how excited I am! I’m also really excited to check out everyone else’s posts and see what books I’m missing 🙂

So here are my top ten anticipated book releases for the second half of 2016:


Stiletto (The Checquy Files, #2)

The sequel to The Rook, a supernatural spy thriller with a lot of humor that I read earlier this year, is actually being released today! I have some skepticism about the fact that this sequel will be told in multiple perspectives instead of just the wonderful Myfanwy’s, but I’m definitely still going to pick it up.

Saga, Volume 6

The sixth volume of this impressive graphic novel series about love and a family attempting to escape war will be out on July 5th. This series turned me from someone skeptical about graphic novels into someone who is really impressed by the gorgeous artwork and emotions evoked in the storytelling.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

It’s out on July 31st, but most of you probably already have that marked on your calendars :). I wish I could see the play in London, but I am really interested to read the script (and to knock out another one of the Book Riot Read Harder challenge tasks). I’m also planning on avoiding spoilers like the plague.

The Last Days of New Paris

I’ve read two previous books by China Mieville (Perdido Street Station and The City and the City) and I love the creative weirdness and intense worldbuilding he brings to his storytelling. This new book has a ridiculously intriguing premise; one of the summaries calls it an “intense and gripping tale set in an alternative universe: June 1940 following Paris’ fall to the Germans, the villa of Air-Bel in Marsailles, is filled with Trotskyists, anti-fascists, exiled artists, and surrealists. One Air-Bel dissident decides the best way to fight the Nazis is to construct a surrealist bomb. When the bomb is accidentally detonated, surrealist Cataclysm sweeps Paris and transforms it according to a violent, weaponized dream logic.” It’s out on August 9th.

The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth, #2)

I NEED THIS RIGHT NOW. But I have to wait until August 16th :(. The Fifth Season, the first book in N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth series, was one of my favorite books of 2016; the book starts with the end of the world and backtracks from there in three separate perspectives. I’ve ranted about it a lot on this blog and on Goodreads, but basically if you like creative fantasy with intricate worldbuilding and human stories,  you need to get into this series immediately. I have no doubt that the sequel will live up to the premise and am fascinated to see where Jemisin takes the story next.


This is a middle-grade release from Tahereh Mafi, the author of the Shatter Me series, which is one of my all-time favorite YA series (and has possibly my favorite YA love interest). I don’t read middle-grade at all, but I’m a huge fan of Mafi’s writing (and this will knock off another Read Harder challenge task for me). It’s about a young girl searching for her father in a magical and dangerous land, accompanied by a boy she can’t trust, and it’s out on August 30th. Also, how beautiful is that cover? Tahereh Mafi seriously gets the most amazing cover art for her books; I love the eye motif on the Shatter Me covers.

Once Broken Faith (October Daye, #10)

Out on Sept 6th, this is book 10 in Seanan McGuire’s UF series that follows Toby, a half-fae, half-human who solves mysteries and problems in the magical realms around San Francisco. The last book I read in this series I was pretty lukewarm about, but I do want to see this out to the end. (This is not the last book.) I like a lot of things about this series (especially the characters) but it’s not my favorite.

Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9)

I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK I’M ALMOST AFRAID TO READ IT. It’s the 9th book in the Kate Daniels series, which is an incredibly well-done UF series set in post-apocalyptic Atlanta, where the world vacillates between being controlled by magic and technology. The humor, action, and romance is this series are all fantastic, and this book is the penultimate in the series, which means things are going to get intense. The problem is that I’m so invested in these characters that I won’t be able to handle it if anybody dies. It’s out on Sept 20th.

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)

Six of Crows was one of my favorite books of 2015, and I’m so anxious to see how things fall together in the sequel. Since this is only a duology, not a trilogy, there’s a lot that needs to happen in this book; I can’t wait to return to the amazing characters we met in book one. Especially Kaz. It’s out on Sept 27th.

Hag-Seed (Hogarth Shakespeare)

From Goodreads: “Hag-Seed is a re-visiting of Shakespeare’s play of magic and illusion, The Tempest, and will be the fourth novel in the Hogarth Shakespeare series.” Margaret Atwood is an auto-buy author for me, so I’ll definitely be checking this out when it’s released on Oct 11th.

And…there’s no release date  yet, but I’m really anxious to read Roxane Gay’s memoir as well, which is supposed to come out sometime this year.

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body



What books are you looking forward to? Let me know!

It’s Monday! What are you reading?


It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme currently hosted by The Book Date. It’s a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week, and add to that ever-growing TBR stack.

I recently finished reading:

Citizen: An American LyricA Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett

I decided to branch out beyond my nonfiction audiobook niche by listening to Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine, which is a short book of prose poems about different aspects of racism in the U.S. I thought that a lot of Rankine’s writing was extremely powerful and there were several lines that gave me chills, but it seemed like some passages were just so much stronger than others. I also found audiobook a difficult format for poetry; I was constantly rewinding to make sure I was fully appreciating the words.

I also finally allowed myself to finish A Court of Mist and Fury, after savoring it for about a month. This series is so romantic and dramatic; it was a fantastic sequel that definitely surpassed the first book. Recommended for fans of romantic fantasy.

The Color of Magic was a disappointment for me. I’ve read two other Discworld books (Mort and Small Gods) that I enjoyed, but this one unfortunately got really…boring. It started out well, with humor and an interesting setup, but then went rapidly downhill. I know that this is the first book in the series and isn’t widely considered one of the best, but I was still disappointed–particularly with the book’s treatment of female characters. I understand that Pratchett was satirizing a lot of aspects of fantasy literature, but it’s still really unnecessary, and in my opinion a turnoff to a lot of female readers, to have literally every female character be naked in this book.

I’m currently reading:

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (The Neapolitan Novels, #3)The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)

I’m about 1/4 of the way through Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (the third book in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels), which so far is surpassing the previous book in intrigue. We’re getting more and more hints toward the future of the relationship between Elena and Lila, and things are happening really quickly. Also, in a not-so-shocking turn of events, I ordered the fourth book, The Story of the Lost Child, on B&N.com.

Also! I am 100% on board with The Raven Boys. I complain a lot about my pickiness with YA, but this book is hitting all the right notes for me. I purposefully didn’t read anything about the plot or characters before starting it (I picked it up entirely on recommendations from bloggers and bookstagrammers) and I think that was a really good decision. I love all of the characters, the setting, and the fantasy elements. It’s really unlike any other YA I’ve read before. I’m about 1/3 of the way through and already putting the second book on hold at my library.

And for audio, I picked up The Cuckoo’s Calling again after abandoning it about 2/3 of the way through this winter. I wasn’t in the right mood for it before, but I’m enjoying it more now, particularly as the plot is finally starting to pick up. Finally. I’m definitely going to finish it this time, but I doubt I’ll read the rest of this series.

Up next:

Men We ReapedThe Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)The Story of the Lost Child (The Neapolitan Novels, #4)

I think my next audiobook will be a book I’ve had my eye on for awhile: Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward. I’m really in the mood for some nonfiction, and this sounds so powerful yet personal. Here’s the Goodreads blub: “In five years, Jesmyn Ward lost five young men in her life—to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that can follow people who live in poverty, particularly black men. Dealing with these losses, one after another, made Jesmyn ask the question: Why? And as she began to write about the experience of living through all the dying, she realized the truth—and it took her breath away. Her brother and her friends all died because of who they were and where they were from, because they lived with a history of racism and economic struggle that fostered drug addiction and the dissolution of family and relationships. Jesmyn says the answer was so obvious she felt stupid for not seeing it. But it nagged at her until she knew she had to write about her community, to write their stories and her own.”

As far as print books go, I can see myself jumping right into the next books in the Raven Cycle and Neapolitan Novels next. It’s so weird–I feel like I NEVER read already completed series, and it’s such a nice feeling not to have to wait until the next book is released. Not that this will ever stop me from reading unfinished series, but it is quite nice.


What are you all reading this Monday? Feel free to link to your posts!



Bookish Reminiscing: On Childhood Favorites and Old-School YA

I have a constant, ongoing search for YA novels that I can get lost in. I’m extremely picky, and have a harder time finding a book I can connect with in YA than in most other genres. But when I find it, that magical book (or series, let’s face it, it’s usually a series if we’re talking YA) I become completely obsessed and reread it an absurd number of times because YA, when it’s good, is just so, so good.

YA didn’t explode as a genre until recently. When I was growing up, I never thought of books as being “YA” or “middle-grade;” I asked for recommendations from my parents, teachers, and librarians for what to read. Occasionally I’d glance at the back of the book where a “reading level” was listed that was supposed to roughly correspond to grade level, but usually I just wandered the library and picked up what looked appealing to me (which, for some time, meant anything related to either sharks or Greek mythology).

My best book-finding memory from childhood, however, was when my beloved babysitter, leaving for college, stopped at my house with a car trunk full of her childhood books. She’d wanted to pass them on to someone who also loved to read and who would love the books as much as she had. So much of what I read when I was younger was found in those cardboard boxes that I watched her and my mother carry into the house, while I literally leaped around with excitement. It’s no mistake that a lot of them ended up in this post.

I started thinking about this amazing gift that my babysitter had given me, and how different the reading community is now compared to when I was growing up. And that lead me to think about the books that meant the most to me as I was discovering myself as a reader; the books that, even now, I think about all the time. I hope that people are still reading these books, and I hope that one day I can make a bookish contribution to someone the way that my babysitter did to me.


The Message (Animorphs, #4)

The Animorphs series was, for me, my first foray into bookish obsession. Starting in about second or third grade, I began to devour these books; they are a perfectly curated combination of action, humor, heart, and friendship; they’re immersive and addicting while never shying away from the realities of war. They’re sort of the emotional precursors to the Hunger Games series in that way. The premise of the series is that a group of teenagers are given the power to transform into animals by a dying alien prince in order to combat the insidious and secret invasion of Earth by a race of mind-controlling aliens called Yeeks. I loved all of the characters so much, but Marco was probably my favorite; his mom died when he was young, and he turned to humor as an emotional coping mechanism. The group ends up depending on him as the comic relief, even when he’s tearing himself up inside. I’m not sure if these books are still being stocked in bookstores, but it makes me so sad to think of a generation of kids growing up without the Animorphs. I may do another post later entirely about this series and my favorite books from it, so I’ll stop myself here, because just I have way too many thoughts about them.

Island Of The Blue Dolphins

I pretended I was Karana so much after reading this book. Did anyone else do this as a kid? Island of the Blue Dolphins is a survival story about a  young woman alone on an island in the Pacific Ocean, but that’s such a simplified synopsis of what this book is. It’s inspirational and a really sad yet beautiful story. I also read Zia, the sequel, but it did not quite have the same the magic of this one. I did not realize until I looked it up on Goodreads today that this book was published in 1960; I’m glad it’s endured so long.

A Wind in the Door (Time, #2)

I loved the entire Wrinkle in Time series, although the books I read the most were probably A Wind in the Door and Many Waters. These books were so creative, but I don’t think I realized how fully weird they are until I started thinking about them recently; in A Wind in the Door, the protagonist journeys inside her little brother’s mitochondria to save his life; in Many Waters, the identical twins who were previously the more normal members of the Murray clan go back to Biblical times, fall in love with the same girl, and get into all sorts of issues with seraphim, nephilim, manticores, and miniature mammoths. (Yes. This is an actual plot point.) My favorite thing about this series was Meg, the main character, who sees herself as pretty ordinary but is actually impressively strong and devoted to protecting her family.

The Egypt Game

In The Egypt Game, a group of friends devote their free time to learning as much as possible about the culture of ancient Egypt and acting out its ceremonies and rituals in their spare time. It makes you embarrassed for all the time you most likely spent watching TV as a kid, as you could have been doing something as awesome as this.

Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, #1)

Tamora Pierce writes adventurous, female-driven fantasy the way that I wish more authors would. Her world of Tortall is a fully realized fantasy society, and Alanna emerges at a time when no women have been knights for centuries. She disguises herself as her twin brother and devotes herself to winning her shield; her adventures kick off several subsequent series with heroines who are just as badass and likable.

Julie of the Wolves (Julie of the Wolves, #1)

This is another book that I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read it. Julie escapes a teenage marriage and an abusive husband into the wilderness of Alaska, where she learns to become part of a wolf pack to survive. She’s a strong, intelligent, admirable protagonist facing what seems like an inescapable position in society who then battles the odds to live in one of the world’s harshest environments.

Ella Enchanted

Ignore the movie version, as it doesn’t even come close to capturing the spirit of this story.  I think this was my first exposure to fairytale retellings, which have since become one my favorite genres. You can’t help but sympathize with clever, spunky Ella, cursed with obedience by a fairy who thought it was a gift, and who manages to remain fiercely independent of her circumstances despite everything.


A sad and powerful story of a rape survivor in high school who feels unable to express herself after her assault. I get chills thinking about this book; the writing is detailed yet emotional, and I became so emotionally invested in helping the main character regain her voice.

The Music of Dolphins

There are a lot of dolphin-related books on this list, but that can never be a bad thing. In this book, Mila has been living as a member of a pod of dolphins since she was stranded in a plane crash, and only experiences humanity when she is found by a team of dolphin researchers.

Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls (The Baby-Sitters Club, #2)

The Babysitters Club was about friendship and young teenagers learning to deal with all sorts of issues; my favorite was always Claudia, who was obsessed with fashion but struggled in school. This series went way past #100 and I had to have read at least fifty.


As I look over this list, I can see some themes emerging; female protagonists, for one; survival stories; science fiction and fantasy. I tried to include the covers of the books that I actually owned instead of any redesigned covers. I think it’s important to look back at what we read as children to see how it shapes our reading lives; I can see evidence in this list of my current reading tastes and characters that I will never forget.


Do you see any of your childhood favorites on this list? What books did you love as a child that I left out? Let me know in the comments!

June TBR!



It’s officially time for summer reading! Even though I read year-round, there’s something special about reading in the summer. I always tend to spend a lot of time reading and relaxing in the sunshine and seem to get through more books during this season than the others (although I’ve never really kept track; it might just feel like I read more). I already laid out my top 20 books to get through this summer in my last post, but here is a more specific breakdown of my TBR for June. This month, I plan to finish the Neapolitan novels, continue my streak of listening to nonfiction audiobooks with no DNFs, and pick up a bunch of books I’ve had on my TBR stack for too long. I figure that it’s OK to be ambitious–it’s summer!

So here’s what I’ll hopefully be reading this month:

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante – book 3 of the Neapolitan novels and, to me, the one with the most beautiful title and cover. The last book ended on a pretty major note (don’t worry, I wouldn’t dream of spoiling anybody) and I’m so intrigued by the direction the story is taking. I feel like once I dive into this, though, I’ll have to set my other books aside for awhile and then snag book 4.

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante – book 4. I feel pretty confident I’ll get to this book as well this month, but it depends on whether I want to savor the Ferrante books and postpone reading it.

And Again by Jessica Chiarella – I won this in a giveaway from Tor.com earlier this year (the first and only book I’ve ever won in a giveaway!) and I’m really interested in the premise: it’s a literary science fiction standalone where four people are given new, physically perfect versions of their bodies and then struggle to fit back into their lives.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot – I started this audiobook in May but now am super frustrated: my Overdrive account only lets me take out an audiobook for a week at a time, and after I had to return this book, I was bumped back to fifth in line. Fifth! So now I might have to find a new audiobook for June…really annoying, since I was getting really into this one. I really like some things about Overdrive, like how easy it is to use, but right now none of the books I really want to listen to are available 😦

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas – I paused this for awhile in May due to a severe case of Ferrante fever, but I will definitely finish this month. I’m over halfway through and it seems like a solid enjoyable 4-star read.

The Girl Wakes by Carmen Lau – feminist fairy tale retellings in short story form that I cannot wait to jump into this month.

White Teeth by Zadie Smith – from the Goodreads blurb, “Epic and intimate, hilarious and poignant, White Teeth is the story of two North London families—one headed by Archie, the other by Archie’s best friend, a Muslim Bengali named Samad Iqbal.” I’ve heard such amazing things about Zadie Smith, and I keep meaning to read this book but haven’t done it yet.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – I have a bad track record of getting frustrated with and DNFing YA books, but I’ve heard such positive things about this series, and its premise seems pretty mysterious, so I’m going to give it a shot. Fingers crossed! I have DNFing, but I don’t shy away from it; I want to be reading books that I like!


What are you all reading in June??


May Reading Wrap-Up!



Total books finished: 7

#readmyowndamnbooks/#SmashYourStack:  4 (!)

Audiobooks: 2 (!)

Library books: 1

Read Harder Challenge tasks completed: 1

✓ 6. Read a biography (not memoir or autobiography)
Notorious RBG The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon

Severity of Ferrante Fever: high

So, I had decided to participate in the #SmashYourStack challenge for May and challenge myself to take down books from my physical TBR. I actually did OK on this challenge–I read hardly any of the books I thought I would, but I did manage to read 4 books that I actually own. (Although I totally cheated by buying the first 2 Ferrante books and then counting them for the challenge.) Overall, the quality of the books I read this month was fantastic–I added 2 books to my ongoing list of my top ten reads of 2016 (of course, it’s all subject to change, since 2016 isn’t even halfway done yet).

I also listened to 2 (and a half, since I started Citizen: An American Lyric this month too) audiobooks this month, which is crazy for me. Bout of Books gave me a lot of audiobook motivation, and I feel like I’ve really found my audiobook niche with nonfiction.

The Story of a New Name (The Neapolitan Novels #2)My Brilliant Friend (The Neapolitan Novels, #1)Death My Own WayMr. SplitfootRoses and RotNot That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned"Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

So here’s what I read in May, ranked in order of awesomeness:


My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (5 stars) – If you haven’t read this series yet, prepare to become obsessed. It opens with a mystery and the two main characters in their sixties, then flashes back to their fascinating and violent childhood in a poor neighborhood of Naples. The relationship between the two main characters is constantly fraught with emotion in different ways, and the world of 1950s Italy is alien and immersive. I highly, highly recommend this for anyone in a reading slump or looking for a new series to become addicted to–I honestly think anyone would enjoy these books, even if, like me, you typically steer clear of realistic fiction in favor of science fiction/fantasy.


Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt (4.5 stars) – this quickly became one of my favorite reads of 2016 so far. I loved the dual narrative structure and the consistent weirdness of this book. Highly recommended for anyone interested in weird fiction.


The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante (4.25 stars) – Although I liked My Brilliant Friend more, this was still incredibly well done–especially the whirlwind last 200 pages and the OH SHOOT ending. The middle had a long plot section that I wasn’t a fan of, but once it transitioned out of that, it went back to amazingness. It’s the perfect springboard into the third book, which I started this morning.


Death My Own Way by Michael Graziano (4 stars) – I picked this book up at the Buffalo Small Press book fair as part of my effort to read more books from independent publishers, and found that it was a perfect entrancing book to read in one sitting. It’s a philosophical take on life, death, and art set in a single night in Central Park. Recommended for anyone looking for a short, thought-provoking read.


Roses and Rot by Kat Howard (3.5 stars) – This book was released last month and got a great review from Neil Gaiman, which is how I heard about it. It came in as a library hold and I only had a week to read it; I was nervous about finishing in time so I ended up reading it in 2 days! That kind of binge reading has been rare for me lately due to work, but it was a great feeling to just dive into a book and barely come up for air. This is a dark fairytale/fantasy about two sisters, a writer and a dancer, at an artist’s retreat after escaping an abusive mother; it’s about the love between siblings and the devotion to art.
I loved the setting, the concept, and overall liked the plot and characters, but I found the writing style to be way too simplistic for my taste. I needed a lot more detail and description, and although the characters were interesting, they could have been much more fully drawn. I also found the love interest very boring.
If you enjoy dark fairytale themes, then you’ll probably enjoy this; for me, it was good, but just not amazing.

Not that Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham (3 stars) – I liked this audiobook a lot more than I expected to, although I found the quality to be very inconsistent. I like Lena Dunham’s delivery, and found her very easy to listen to.

Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik (3 stars) – I loved hearing more about the amazing RBG, but didn’t love the structure and writing style of this audiobook. The narrator was also not awesome.


What did everybody read in May???