December Reading Wrap-Up


I’m a little early with this December reading recap, but I’ll be out of town for New Years’ and am trying to get a jump on my blog posting before I leave. In December, I managed to read three of the four books from my Tome Topple Readathon TBR list (which I totally failed at reading in November) and also read a bunch of very popular books, with varied results. There are technically three days left in December, but it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to finish another book before then–I’m right at the beginning of The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, which is a very long book, and I’m listening to Lab Girl by Hope Jahren very, very slowly. I’m also re-reading Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Mist and Fury, which is a very wintery read.

Total books read in December: 6

#readmyowndamnbooks: 5

Audiobooks: 0 (I wasn’t in an audiobook mood! Although I did start one audiobook, Lab Girl by Hope Jahren)

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge tasks completed: 1

✓ 5. Read a middle-grade novel
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1) by Catherynne M. Valente The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2)Crooked Kingdom by Leigh BardugoGemina by Amie KaufmanThe Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own M... by Catherynne M. Valente

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers (4.25 stars) – this was a wonderful story about two people discovering who they are: an AI who is given her own body for the first time, and a girl born in a world that only wants to use her as a slave. Like Becky Chambers’ previous book, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, the themes here are universal and well-portrayed, and although I did think it was really good, it didn’t quite live up to its predecessor. I’m absolutely planning to continue with the series; according to Goodreads, Chambers has a third book set in this universe coming out in 2017.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (4.25 stars) – So, I loved Six of Crows, and this book was one of the books I was most excited about reading this year. Maybe that was why I was underwhelmed with the first half of the book; things were seeming forced (especially dialogue and character interactions, which was really disappointing) and things just didn’t feel quite right. But! It got wayyyy better in the second half when the action really ramped up and things started feeling back to the awesomeness that I remember from the first book. The ending was very, very satisfying in pretty much every way. It’s sad that this is only a duology, but honestly things ended on such a perfect note that I’m glad there were only two books.

Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman (4 stars) – The sequel to Illuminae, the ridiculously exciting unconventionally formatted science fiction book that I devoured during Dewey’s. I’ve been so pleasantly surprised by this series. Gemina, like Illuminae, was very suspenseful and a quick read, but I actually really preferred the two main characters of this book to the main characters of Illuminae–especially Nik, our new male main character, who is a good-hearted guy who happens to be part of an organized crime family. On a space station.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (4 stars) – this was a really lovely middle-grade book about a girl named September who travels to Fairyland and discovers that things aren’t quite what she had expected. She befriends a wyvern and goes on a quest, which gets more complicated after the evil ruler of Fairyland gets involved. I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed this; it’s very well-written and has a good amount of originality. I wish I had younger siblings or cousins that I could pass this along to; I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a middle-grade read for anyone.

The Final Empire by Brandon SandersonA Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (3 stars) – I was not a big fan of this book. I know that a lot of people really love it, and it wasn’t that I thought it was terrible, but it was just…not great. There were so many way-too-convenient plot twists and tropes galore; I can be OK with either of these things in fantasy if the writing is really good, but unfortunately, it really wasn’t. I’m not saying this book was bad; the premise was interesting and there were some fun moments, but overall it wasn’t unique enough for me.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (3 stars) – This book was okay…I’d say it was a pretty solid 3-star read, but I’m not sure why it gets so much hype. I did like the concept of multiple Londons; I found the power-hungry White London especially interesting, and I liked Prince Rhy, who seemed by far like the most interesting character. Unfortunately, neither of these really got enough page time for me, and I found the two main characters’ actions to be really frustrating for the majority of the novel. I did like Kell, the main character, but for someone who’s supposed to be a super-powerful magician, he sure forgot to actually use his magic pretty often. Lila really grew on me by the end of the book, but it definitely took awhile. I probably won’t be continuing with this series.

Top 10 Favorite Books I Read in 2016


Here they are, after much debating and an awesome year of reading…the ten best books I read in 2016! To be clear, these weren’t all published in 2016, although a few of them were, and they aren’t necessarily ranked in order of how much I loved them. My favorites of 2016 include an essay collection, two short story collections, a historical fiction novel, a retelling of a classic novel, the next book in one of my favorite fantasy series, a beautiful science fiction novel, the first book in a sensational quartet, a genre-bending story with dual narratives, and a collection of poetry. I read a LOT of books this year, and it was hard to choose just ten to represent all of 2016, but these books all touched me in some way, and I’d highly recommend them to everyone.

The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth, #2)Bad FeministThe Girl Wakes: StoriesThe Passion

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin (5 stars) – this is one of the rare cases where the second book in a series is just as amazing and mind-blowing as the first. N.K. Jemisin always impresses me, but the world she’s created in the Broken Earth trilogy is so fully realized and its characters so engaging that this has become my favorite fantasy series of all time, and it’s not even over yet.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay (5 stars) – this essay collection was so good that I had to buy my own copy, since my first reading was from a library book. Roxane Gay discusses feminism, racism, pop culture, and her life in a way that’s complex yet very accessible. It’s a book that I can’t wait to start lending out and will need to re-read myself at some point in the near future. I’m anxiously awaiting her memoir about her relationship with food, Hunger, which comes out in 2017.

The Girl Wakes by Carmen Lau (5 stars) – I loved every page of this book. It’s a very short collection of microfiction focused on dark fairytale retellings with feminist themes, and it’s amazing. I found it at a small press book fair last spring, and I hate the fact that if I hadn’t noticed its enticing cover on a table, I might never have found it. Reading this book really highlighted the importance of reading small press and lesser-known books, because there are incredible things to be found. The story that lingers the most in my mind is about a girl in a relationship with a vampire, but it’s not a romantic, Twilight-esque story; the vampire barely has the strength to stand, and the girl continuously murders people in order to bring him food. The shocking things that she does and the way her life descends into darkness mirrors the trajectory of an abusive relationship, and it’s shocking, heartbreaking, and extremely memorable, despite lasting only a few pages.

The Passion by Jeanette Winterson (5 stars) – this was one of the first books I read in 2016, but it’s endured as one of the very best. This was also my introduction to Jeanette Winterson’s writing and made me want to read everything she’s ever written. It’s beautifully crafted historical fiction that follows a young man who joins Napoleon’s army and a bisexual Venetian woman, both becoming entrenched in different types of passion that may or may not consume their lives. It’s about the nature of love and obsession, and it’s heartbreaking yet beautiful. And the prose is just gorgeous.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)My Brilliant Friend (The Neapolitan Novels #1)Wide Sargasso SeaMr. Splitfoot

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (5 stars) – this book hits almost every note that I look for in science fiction: the writing is wonderful, the focus is on character-building and the interactions between different types of beings in a complex universe, Chambers hits upon universal themes yet approaches them in a unique way, and the world-building is detailed and well-thought-out. I’ve found a new favorite author in Becky Chambers, and I’m currently reading the companion novel to this one, A Closed and Common Orbit, which is also wonderful.

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (5 stars) – I was so skeptical about Ferrante’s work, but I understood the hype almost immediately after I picked this up. The storytelling is beautiful and artful, and the focus in on two fully realized characters and their fraught, complicated relationship. It’s not at all my typical type of book, but it didn’t matter, because this book was so completely absorbing and addicting.

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (5 stars) – this retelling of Jane Eyre from the perspective of Mr. Rochester’s wife made me completely rethink the entire story and its narrative. The prose is dense and lush and you feel like you’re falling into a trance every time you pick up the book. It’s bold and profoundly disturbing, intensely feminist, and it completely blew me away. Read it. Just read it.

Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt (4.5 stars) – this 2016 new release is about cults and ghosts and family and love, and it’s told in this wonderful dual narrative that builds more and more tension throughout the book, ultimately culminating in a can’t-put-it-down finale.

Gutshotmilk and honey

Gutshot by Amelia Gray (4.5 stars) – This short story collection was completely, perfectly weird. A lot of the stories are microfiction, which I am a huge fan of because it depends on the author being able to cram a ton of meaning and emotion into only a few pages. I was not expecting to be so impressed with this collection when I picked it up, and now I’m planning on reading much more from Amelia Gray in the future (I’ve already picked up a copy of her novel Threats). The most striking stories in this collection included one about a giant snake that appears and physically divides a town in two, which highlights its already-present divides, and one about a woman trapped inside a house’s ventilation system.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur (4.5 stars) – This is my preferred style of poetry to read – short poems in free verse with huge emotional impact. The middle two sections of this book absolutely blew me away. I read each poem at least 2-3 times because it’s impossible not to savor her words. This is the type of book I’d absolutely re-read, and you can’t help but feel deeply when you read Kaur’s words.


So, there they are! I’d love to hear about your favorite books of 2016–let me know in the comments what yours were and if any of them overlap with mine!

2016 Reading Goals: How Did I Do?

I’m currently working on my reading goals for 2017 and debating with myself on how I want to focus my reading in the coming year. I’m almost overwhelmed by the sheer amount of books on my TBR and I feel like I want to read everything at once and dive into a million different directions. But before the 2017 reading extravaganza can begin, and before I post my full-on 2016 wrap-up post (because 2016 isn’t over yet!) I wanted to look back and see how I did on the reading goals I set for myself for 2016. So, here they are: my 2016 reading goals, and whether I succeeded or failed on these eight different challenges.

Reading Goal #1: Read more long books.

I definitely didn’t pick up every long book on my TBR shelf in 2016 (not even close, actually), but overall I didn’t do too badly on this goal. I did read a bunch of longer books, although those did tend to be fantasy and/or YA, which are faster reads for me, and I didn’t challenge myself by reading any long classics or anything like that. The longest books I read in 2016 included The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (1107 pages), A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (624 pages), Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (659 pages), and Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (647 pages).

Reading Goal #2: Read some older books, including at least 2 classics

Complete failure on this goal. I read zero classics in 2016 (I mean, I read Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” published in 1892, but I wouldn’t count that as a full book) and I’d say I read very few “older” books. The oldest books that I did read in 2016 were Love Poems by Pablo Neruda (pub 1952) and Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (pub 1966).

Reading Goal #3: Make a dent in my TBR shelf

Um. Well. I did read a pretty decent number of books on my physical TBR shelf, but I also bought a LOT of books this year, so a dent was definitely not made.

Reading Goal #4: Read more books I think I will love, and fewer books I think I will like

This goal was a tricky one; basically I wanted myself to not hold back from picking books that would be challenging yet rewarding, and not default to picking up silly books that I already sort of assumed in advance would turn into lackluster 2-star reads. I think overall I did better at this in 2016 than I did in 2015, but I think that in terms of those challenging-yet-rewarding books I hope to do even better in 2017.

Reading Goal #5: Discover new favorite authors

I’d say that this goal was a success! New favorite authors I discovered in 2016 include Amelia Gray, Jeanette Winterson, Becky Chambers, Jenny Lawson, Carmen Lau, Elena Ferrante, Samantha Hunt, and Cheryl Strayed.

Reading Goal #6: Read books I haven’t read by authors I know I love

I think I did pretty well at this goal; in 2016, I picked up books by previously-loved authors Kazuo Ishiguro, Octavia Butler, Leigh Bardugo, Sarah J. Maas, N.K. Jemisin, Jhumpa Lahiri, Seanan McGuire, Patrick Rothfuss, and Neil Gaiman.

Reading Goal #7: Participate in at least one Dewey’s Readathon

Success! I participated in both rounds of Dewey’s this year, and they were both wonderful.

Reading Goal #8: Continue with my favorite book series

Again, success! I read subsequent books in these series in 2016: the Kingkiller Chronicles, the Broken Earth trilogy, the Court of Thorns and Roses series, and the Six of Crows duology.


Do you set reading goals for yourself? How did you do on your 2016 goals? Let me know!


Bout of Books 18 Sign-Up, Discussion, & TBR

Bout of Books 18

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 2nd and runs through Sunday, January 8th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 18 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

The timing for this round of the Bout of Books readathon is really perfect–it kicks off on January 2nd, so that you can start your reading year strong in 2017. Since it’s a week-long readathon, Bout of Books is less condensed than Dewey’s or 24 in 48, and the past few times I’ve participated it’s worked really well as a reading motivator. In the past I’ve talked about how I prefer to read shorter books and graphic novels during readathons, and I think I’m mostly going to stick to this tradition for this round of Bout of Books. I’ll be out of town during New Years’ Eve weekend, so I’m posting my TBR a bit early so that I don’t forget!

Because it’s so early, my TBR could, of course, end up being a total lie depending on my mood and what I read between now and the challenge, but most of these are books I’ve had in mind as good readathon picks for awhile now, so I actually think it’s going to be pretty accurate.

So Much for That WinterKissing the Witch: Old Tales in New SkinsPull Me Under: A NovelThe Stranger

So Much for that Winter by Dorthe Nors – this short book is actually two novellas with unconventional formats: the first one is told in lists and the second in headlines.

Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue – I’m really looking forward to this short story collection of unconventional fairy tale retellings, and the only way I won’t be reading this during Bout of Books is if I get too impatient and pick it up beforehand.

Pull Me Under by Kelly Luce – I’ve been hearing that this Book of the Month pick tends to be a really immersive read that is impossible to put down, so that should work well for a readathon.

The Stranger by Albert Camus – I’ve been meaning to read this short existentialist novel approximately forever, and this seems like the perfect time.

Giant Days, Vol. 1 (Giant Days, #1)Alex + Ada, Vol. 2Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

Graphic novel-wise, I’ve picked out a few options that I think might end up being fun, including the second volume of Alex + Ada by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn, a series focused on artificial intelligence; the first volume of Giant Days by John Allison and Lissa Trieman, which is about a group of girls going away to college for the first time; and Relish by Lucy Knisley, which is a graphic memoir focused on food.


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

I Finished the 2016 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge!

Time to celebrate! For the second year in a row, I’ve finished the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge! *parties*

I definitely was cutting things close here by finishing at the end of December; last year I was much more on top of my game. Oddly, the challenge task that I found most difficult was reading a middle-grade novel; I’ve had the rest of the challenge finished for over a month, but I just couldn’t find a middle-grade novel that really interested me. I actually ended up loving my choice (The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente) and am really grateful to the Read Harder Challenge for making me pick it up. Other highlights from this challenge for me were Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay (essay collection), The Passion by Jeanette Winterson (historical fiction set before 1900), and Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (book featuring a main character with a mental illness).  My least favorite book of the challenge (because you can’t love everything, unfortunately) was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play), which was basically just a huge disappointment. It’s probably my own fault for not branching out more with that challenge task.

So, here’s what I read for the 2016 Read Harder Challenge:

✓ 1. Read a horror book
Fledgling by Octavia E. ButlerFledgling by Octavia E. Butler
✓ 2. Read a nonfiction book about science
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca SklootThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
✓ 3. Read a collection of essays
Bad Feminist by Roxane GayBad Feminist by Roxane Gay
✓ 4. Read a book out loud to someone else – I actually don’t know the name of the picture book I read out loud to my baby cousin. It was about a fancy dog who goes to visit a farm. That’s all I remember!
✓ 6. Read a biography (not memoir or autobiography)
Notorious RBG The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin CarmonNotorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon
✓ 7. Read a dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel
Enclave (Razorland, #1) by Ann AguirreEnclave by Ann Aguirre
✓ 8. Read a book originally published in the decade you were born (1980’s)
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo IshiguroThe Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
✓ 9. Listen to an audiobook that has won an Audie Award
Bossypants by Tina FeyBossypants by Tina Fey
✓ 10. Read a book over 500 pages long
The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2) by Patrick RothfussThe Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
✓ 11. Read a book under 100 pages
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins GilmanThe Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
✓ 12. Read a book by or about a person that identifies as transgender
All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane AndersAll the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
✓ 14. Read a book by an author from Southeast Asia
Sorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal, #1) by Zen ChoSorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
✓ 15. Read an historical fiction book set before 1900
The Passion by Jeanette WintersonThe Passion by Jeanette Winterson
✓ 16. Read the first book in a series by a person of color
Binti (Binti, #1) by Nnedi OkoraforBinti by Nnedi Okorafor
✓ 17. Read a non-superhero comic that debuted in the past three years
Nimona by Noelle StevensonNimona by Noelle Stevenson
✓ 18. Read a book that was adapted into a movie, then watch the movie. Debate which is better. (Spoiler alert: both were bad.)
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy FowlerThe Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
✓ 19. Read a nonfiction book about feminism or dealing with feminist themes
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieWe Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
✓ 20. Read a book about religion (fiction or nonfiction)
The Daylight Gate by Jeanette WintersonThe Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson
✓ 21. Read a book about politics, in your country or another (fiction or nonfiction)
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (The Neapolitan Novels #3) by Elena FerranteThose Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante
✓ 22. Read a food memoir
Yes, Chef by Marcus SamuelssonYes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson
✓ 24. Read a book with a main character that has a mental illness
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean RhysWide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Now that I’ve finished the 2016 challenge, I’ve started looking ahead to the 2017 Read Harder Challenge, which looks really interesting. Several of the tasks are pretty specific, but the Goodreads group has been a really helpful resource for finding ideas for each task, so I’m not too concerned. I’ve generally been able to complete the majority of the tasks without really trying to because I tend to read a pretty good variety of books; this year, though, it may not be so easy. But that’s why it’s called a challenge!
Did anyone else participate in the 2016 challenge, or are you thinking about joining in 2017? Let me know!

November/December Book Haul, Part 1


So, December is going to be an intense month for book hauling. My Black Friday online book purchases came in and I joined the Book of the Month Club, so I thought I’d post this haul before the holidays and before my stack gets too out of control. I also un-hauled (aka donated) two large bags of books to my local library this month, so at least there’s that! Anyways, I’m crazy excited to read all of these, and my 2017 TBR is exploding.

All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld – this mysterious book about a woman living alone on an island with her dog and flock of sheep has been on my mind for awhile; apparently things start to get creepy when her sheep start disappearing and her past comes back to haunt her.

Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue – this is one of the books that I absolutely can’t wait to pick up. It’s a collection of fairy tale retellings that was recommended to me on Bookstagram and it looks AMAZING.

The Unfinished World by Amber Sparks – I actually don’t know much about this fabulist short story collection, but it was highly recommended on BookTube and I’ve been very into short story collections lately.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler – one of my favorite reads of 2015, this was on sale on Book Oulet on Black Friday and I decided I really needed it on my shelf.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay – as this was one of my absolute favorite reads of 2016 (spoiler alert for my upcoming top ten books of 2016 post), I decided I really needed my own copy.

The Vorrh by B. Catling – this was really my sole impulse buy on Black Friday. How could I resist a book with a Goodreads description like this: “Next to the colonial town of Essenwald sits the Vorrh, a vast—perhaps endless—forest. It is a place of demons and angels, of warriors and priests. Sentient and magical, the Vorrh bends time and wipes  memory. Legend has it that the Garden of Eden still exists at its heart. Now, a renegade English soldier aims to be the first human to traverse its expanse. Armed with only a strange bow, he begins his journey, but some fear the consequences of his mission, and a native marksman has been chosen to stop him. Around them swirl a remarkable cast of characters, including a Cyclops raised by robots and a young girl with tragic curiosity, as well as historical figures, such as writer Raymond Roussel and photographer Edward Muybridge.  While fact and fiction blend, the hunter will become the hunted, and everyone’s fate hangs in the balance under the will of the Vorrh.

Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente – Yes, I already have 2 unread Catherynne M. Valente books on my shelves. No, I could not resist buying another one, because I still have this feeling that she’s going to become one of my favorite authors. This one is set in a fantastical city and was nominated for a ton of awards in 2010.

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee – I picked up this book as an extra from Book of the Month; it’s the dramatic story of an opera legend whose hidden past comes back in the form of a mysterious opera that appears to be written about her life.

Not on Fire, But Burning by Greg Hrbek – this book is about a mysterious explosion at the Golden Gate Bridge that leads to America’s Muslims being forced onto reservations and the country to be broken down into territories. The main character believes that his sister was killed in the explosion, but his parents are denying that she ever existed. Goodreads says “Not on Fire, but Burning is unlike anything you’re read before—not exactly a thriller, not exactly sci-fi, not exactly speculative fiction, but rather a brilliant and absorbing adventure into the dark heart of an America that seems ripped from the headlines. But just as powerfully, it presents a captivating hero: A young boy driven by love to seek the truth, even if it means his deepest beliefs are wrong.

Pull Me Under by Kelly Luce – my first ever Book of the Month pick! I’ve been eyeing all of the bookish social media posts about Book of the Month Club for awhile now and was gifted a subscription as an early Chrismakkuh present after the Black Friday deals were too good to resist. It’s about a woman who moves across the world to escape the scandal surrounding a childhood trauma, and who must later return to face what she has done.

A Cure for Suicide by Jesse Ball – I’m going to let Goodreads explain this one: “A man and a woman have moved into a small house in a small village. The woman is an “examiner,” the man, her “claimant.” The examiner is both doctor and guide, charged with teaching the claimant a series of simple functions: this is a chair, this is a fork, this is how you meet people. She makes notes in her journal about his progress: he is showing improvement, yet his dreams are troubling. One day, the examiner brings him to a party, and here he meets Hilda, a charismatic but volatile woman whose surprising assertions throw everything the claimant has learned into question. What is this village? Why is he here? And who is Hilda? A fascinating novel of love, illness, despair, and betrayal, A Cure for Suicide is the most captivating novel yet from one of our most exciting young writers.

And…I may have picked up a few books at a library book sale as well:



Most Anticipated New Releases of 2017 (so far)

I love when it gets to the end of the year and I can start list-making: my favorite books of the year, the books I’m most excited about next year, my new and improved reading goals. Since December’s not over yet (thank goodness, since I love December), I thought I’d get a jump on things and start with some 2017 new releases that I’m super excited about. These are all books by authors I already love or new installments in series I’m already a fan of, so it’s definitely not an exhaustive list. I’ll do a post later on about other anticipated releases that I’m excited about from unfamiliar authors, but for now, here’s what I’m already impatiently waiting to read in 2017.

The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth, #3)

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin (anticipated release August 15th) – the final book in the Broken Earth trilogy is out this summer and I absolutely cannot wait. The first two books were some of the best books I read in 2015 and 2016, and I’ve loved every single thing I’ve read by N.K. Jemisin. If you like fantasy and aren’t reading this series, this is the perfect time to join. It’s set in a world that experiences repeated devastating natural disasters; some characters have the ability to manipulate the earth and are persecuted and controlled for their abilities. There are also mysterious beings essentially made of stone. The heart of the story, though, is about a mother’s search for her daughter amidst the chaos.

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

Hunger by Roxane Gay (no release date set) – reading Gay’s Bad Feminist was one of my most significant bookish experiences of this year and it left me wanting to read much, much more by this author. This book was actually supposed to come out in 2016 but the release date was pushed back; while Bad Feminist was a collection of essays that hit on so many different topics, this is a memoir focusing on Gay’s relationship with food and her body. I have no doubt it’s going to be amazing.


Borne by Jeff Vandermeer (anticipated release September 7th) – I fell in love with the fascinating weirdness of Vandermeer’s writing with his Southern Reach trilogy a few years ago, and this sounds like it will be just as wonderfully strange. Apparently, it’s set in the future and is about a woman named Rachel who finds a mysterious genetically engineered creature that she names Borne; meanwhile, her city is ruled by a genetically engineered bear (?) and there is a mysterious Company doing all of this genetic engineering. I just need to read it. Like right now.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2)

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (anticipated release June 13th) – this is a companion novella to Every Heart a Doorway focusing on two of its many interesting characters. This series (is it a series? I hope so, because I’d love more insight into a few more of its characters) is about children who enter magical lands in Narnia-esque ways and have difficulty adjusting to the real world once they return. Some are able to eventually go back to their fantasy worlds and others aren’t, but they all long for those places where they felt most like themselves. The characters in this novella are twin sisters who went to a world similar to that of Frankenstein, which also contains vampires, although the two of them loved it for very different reasons–one because she was fascinated by the science, and the other because she was fascinated by the vampires.

White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2)

White Hot by Ilona Andrews (anticipated release May 30th) – I KNOW. This cover is TERRIBLE. It’s a good thing I’m planning to get this on ebook, because wow. This is the second book in a duology focusing on a world where families inherit different types of magical powers, and the most powerful of these families essentially control society. Our main character has the ability to tell truth from lies and gets entangled with an extremely powerful billionaire sorcerer dude. It’s more romance-focused than the Kate Daniels series, and I don’t love it as much as Kate, but it’s still Ilona Andrews and I’ll read anything that she comes out with.

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (anticipated release May 2nd) – this is such an enjoyable escapist series; I hesitate to call it a guilty pleasure because I try not to feel guilty about my reading choices, but that describes it pretty well. It’s set in a fantasy world with fairy tale retellings intertwined with the narrative and focuses on Feyre, a formerly human huntress who is learning to control her abilities and deal with a series of threats to her world. I enjoyed the hell out of the last book, A Court of Mist and Fury, and I hope that this one will be just as good (although for some reason I feel like it won’t be, but maybe that’s just me).


What books are you excited for in 2017??

November Reading Wrap-Up

So, like so many other people, I fell into the post-election reading slump this month and had a hard time getting into what I was reading. It’s not like I didn’t get any reading done, but I definitely didn’t read as much as I wanted to or was planning to. I fell into the trap of starting a ton of books, getting about a third of the way through, and then deciding I needed to start another book before finishing any. I had a really strong reading month in October, and sometimes I tend to follow really good reading months with sort of meh reading months, so that could have played a part as well. It doesn’t look like I’ll be hitting my secret, unstated goal to finish 100 books this year (I kept my actual Goodreads goal low at 50 books to keep the pressure off and leave room in case I wanted to tackle a bunch of really long books; since I haven’t yet hit 90 books and there’s only one month left, it doesn’t look like 100 books will be going down) but that’s okay.

I also participated in (and sort of failed at) the Tome Topple readathon this month. I was unable to finish a single tome (book over 500 pages) in November, although I did start two. I ALMOST finished Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, but I couldn’t quite get there, and I read about a third of The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson.

So, here’s what I did read in November:

Sorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal, #1)Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear SugarSex ObjectLet's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed (4 stars) – this is a perfect example of a book I’d never have thought to pick up if I hadn’t heard a great review of it on BookTube. It’s a collection of advice columns written by Cheryl Strayed, who wrote Wild (which I haven’t read and now absolutely have to read) and at first glance that doesn’t sound at all like something I’d like. But it’s so much more than that. This book is more like short, intensely personal essays that just absolutely gut you when you read them. Strayed’s philosophy when writing as Sugar was that of “radical empathy,” and this book does nothing if not make you feel that, deeply.

Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (3.5 stars) – I’m so glad to have found Jenny Lawson; she’s really perfect to listen to on audiobook and I’ve highly enjoyed both of her memoirs so far. She’s funny, but her writing can also get extremely sad and touching at points. This one focuses more on her early life growing up in rural Texas, as well as her early married life with her husband Victor once they decide to move from the city back out into the country.

Sex Object: a Memoir by Jessica Valenti (3 stars) – I liked this book, but it doesn’t speak well that it’s been less than a month and I don’t remember a whole lot about it. I listened to the audio on a road trip and thought it was a good audio choice–it’s very short and definitely holds your attention–but it wasn’t mind-blowingly memorable.

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (3 stars) – I was a little disappointed in this book. It was really awesome to have actual diversity in a fantasy story set in historical England, and for the most part I liked the three central characters (although Mak Genggang, a badass witch who pops up throughout the book, was clearly the best) but for me the plot in this book was really lacking. Certain reveals took way too long to happen and the book’s sort of frothy, old English style of writing was what carried me through reading it, rather than what was actually happening in the story.

Gutshot by Amelia GrayYou by Caroline Kepnes

Gutshot by Amelia Gray (4.25 stars) – Amelia Gray actually came to do a reading in my city this month, which pushed me to pick up her book of short stories that I’d been eyeing for awhile. Gutshot is microfiction, it’s weird, and it sticks with you. I loved it, and I’m so glad that I snagged a copy of her novel Threats while at the reading as well so that I can get another Amelia Gray fix soon.

You by Caroline Kepnes (1.5 stars) – I do not at all understand why this book is so popular. It’s not unique, it’s not interesting, and it’s completely predictable. I kept thinking that because it was so popular that it would have a more creative ending, but no. It doesn’t. I recommend skipping this one.