Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon Wrap-Up

That’s a wrap on another round of Dewey’s! I had a great day reading, and I think it really helped me to de-stress a bit.

Dewey’s Closing Survey:

  1. How would you assess your reading overall?

I’m really happy with the amount of reading I got done during the readathon, and I’m even happier about the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed everything that I read.

I finished 3 books (technically 2 novellas and one novel) during the readathon, all of which I really liked and rated 4 stars:

A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. HarrowOnce There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghyThis Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar

I also read from but didn’t finish 2 other books (one audiobook and one physical book):

The Anthropocene ReviewedThe Heart Principle (The Kiss Quotient, #3)

Overall, I read a total of 623 pages and listened to 2.5 hours of audio.

2. Did you have a strategy, and if so, did you stick to it?

I did! I had this idea of starting and ending the readathon with novellas, and that definitely worked well for me.

3. What was your favorite snack?

I’d made tabbouleh the day before and enjoyed snacking on that during the readathon.

4. Did you add any new books to your TBR/wishlist after seeing what everyone else is reading?

I saw that another reader had We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry in their stack, a book on my October TBR that I didn’t pick up during the readathon, which reminded me that I really need to get started on that one!

5. What was your favorite book or experience from this readathon?

Although I gave all 3 of my finished reads from Dewey’s 4 stars, I’d have to say that my favorite was Once There Were Wolves. I thought that the writing was excellent, I really liked the environmentalism themes, and it kept me thoroughly intrigued the entire time reading. Also, even though I only read the first 50 pages of The Heart Principle, I am absolutely LOVING IT so far. I love Anna as a new protagonist and I just find her chapters feel so realistic and immersive in her experience.

Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon: Mid-Event Survey & Updates!

We’re already halfway through Dewey’s 24-hour readathon! I’m always surprised by how fast the readathon goes by, but I’ve really been enjoying it so far.

Mid-Event Survey:

1. What are you reading right now?

The Anthropocene ReviewedThis Is How You Lose the Time War

I’m currently listening to the audiobook of The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green (essay collection) and also just started This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (science fiction novella).

2. How many books have you read so far?

A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. HarrowOnce There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

So far, I’ve finished 2 books, A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow (fairytale retelling novella, 119 pages) and Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy (fiction, 256 pages). I’ve also listened to about an hour and a half of the John Green audiobook, and read the first 26 pages of Time War.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

Good question. I’m always more productive during the first half of the readathon compared to the second, so I’m not actually sure that I’ll have a chance to finish another book after Time War, if I even do finish it. I’m kind of thinking I’ll want to read The Heart Principle next, which I’ve been really excited for, but I’ll honestly have to see where my mood and energy levels go.

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

I slept later than intended (until around 9:30, when the readathon had already been going on for an hour and a half) because I somehow woke up at 4am this morning and it then took me awhile to get back to sleep. But ever since I actually woke up and started reading I haven’t really been interrupted.

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

I’m surprised at my reading productivity! It’s been awhile since I’ve binge-read like this, and I felt like I was focusing much better today than in the past few rounds of Dewey’s. The fact that I finished 2 books that I thoroughly enjoyed is more than I expected for the readathon as a whole!

Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon TBR

It’s time for another round of Dewey’s 24-hour readathon, one of my favorite bookish events of the year. I particularly like the October readathon, because it combines my love of fall/spooky season books with readathon-ing. Dewey’s is a fun, social, low-pressure readathon where the premise is to read as much as possible during a 24-hour period, which begins at 8am Saturday morning my time. I’ve never read for the full 24 hours (not even close!) but I do tend to find a lot of fun and stress relief in challenging myself to read as much as I can during one specific day.

It feels like it’s been so long since I’ve done a Dewey’s readathon; I have no idea what to expect in terms of how much reading I’ll get done, but I’m definitely looking forward to the mental health break. Here are some of the books I’m considering picking up during the readathon:

Novellas:

A Spindle Splintered (Fractured Fables, #1)This Is How You Lose the Time WarThe Monster of Elendhaven

I love reading novellas, and since they’re short, I tend to save them for readathons. I’m actually thinking of starting and ending the readathon with novellas, depending on my mood. I’m hoping to kick off the readathon with Sleeping Beauty retelling A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow, and might try winding down later in the night with spooky-sounding dark fantasy The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht. I’ve also heard great things about futuristic F/F romance This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, which I’m thinking I have a good chance of getting to during the readathon.

Novels (short-ish and all happen to be 2021 releases):

Once There Were WolvesThe Heart Principle (The Kiss Quotient, #3)The Memory Theater

My typical readathon plan usually involves 1-2 novels that I’ve been really looking forward to; this year I’m thinking about environmental mystery Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy, contemporary romance by a past favorite author The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang, and a book I’ve already started, dark fantasy The Memory Theater by Karin Tidbeck.

Audiobook

The Anthropocene Reviewed

I always need an audiobook option for readathons, and audiobooks have become a much larger portion of my reading in general in recent years. I started John Green’s new essay collection The Anthropocene Reviewed this week and plan to continue it during Dewey’s; I also have access to the audiobook for The Monster of Elendhaven via Scribd, so that’s a possibility as well.

Short story and poetry collections:

Of This New WorldLife on Mars

I don’t think I’ve ever actually picked up a short story or poetry collection during Dewey’s, but I think it would be a smart choice if my energy or attention starts lagging, so I’ve added a few options to my TBR.

 

September Reading Wrap-Up

I loved my reading in September. I started focusing on what I think of as fall reading–dark academia, paranormal, dark fantasy–while still picking up a few contemporary romances.

Total books read: 10

ARCs/review copies: 2

#readmyowndamnbooks: 6

Walking in a Witchy Wonderland (Stay a Spell, #3.5)Half Truths by Claire ContrerasEmpire of Wild by Cherie DimalineThicker than Water by Tyler ShultzWitch Please (Fix-It Witches, #1)A Cathedral of Myth and Bone by Kat HowardThe Charm Offensive by Alison CochrunA Deadly Education by Naomi NovikTwisted Circles by Claire ContrerasSatisfaction Guaranteed by Karelia Stetz-Waters

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik (5 stars) – To be honest, I was blown away by how much I loved this book. I expected to like it, sure, but I didn’t expect it to read it so quickly and immediately need the sequel. It hits the sweet spot of one of my favorite super-specific subgenres: books that simultaneously critique and pay homage to classic fantasy tropes, in this case the Chosen One narrative as well as magical schools. A Deadly Education is set in a magical school, sure, but not one you’d ever actually want to visit–its denizens are constantly trying to kill you, to the degree that less than half of its students survive to graduate, friendships are much rarer and less important than strategic alliances, privilege dictates your survival even more inside the school than out of it, and the class’s hero, Orion Lake, is protagonist El’s least favorite person, since he committed the cardinal sin of saving her life multiple times. This book is full of dark humor, which I’m a sucker for, and has a beautiful and unlikely friendship at its core. El has a magical affinity for powerful dark spells but steadfastly refuses to use them, even as her grumpy attitude makes everyone assume she’s evil anyways. She’s layered, and epitomizes the fact that you don’t have to be a likable protagonist to do the right thing. I will say that this book is very exposition-heavy, and although I loved it because I liked learning all about the world and the different creatures, it may frustrate some readers that there’s more description than plot at times.

A Cathedral of Myth and Bone by Kat Howard (4.5 stars) – A collection of short stories (and one novella) centered around contemporary feminist retellings of myths and lore, which I absolutely loved. Some of the stories were 5 stars and some were 4 stars, which is why I’ve settled on 4.5 stars. Kat Howard has a style that’s lyrical and fabulist yet very approachable, and I’d recommend her work to both fantasy and fabulism fans. My favorite piece was the novella, Once, Future, which is a modern-day King Arthur retelling set on a college campus that also ruminates on the enduring power of myth.

Half Truths by Claire Contreras (4 stars) – An ideal fall read and my second Claire Contreras book of the year, after really enjoying Fables & Other Lies, a contemporary Gothic myth-inspired supernatural romance. Half Truths is a dark academia/suspense romance set at a fictional Ivy League school inspired by Cornell and Ithaca, NY. It’s full of secret societies, mystery, romance, and intrigue, as well as a smart, badass aspiring journalist protagonist. I ordered the sequel before I even finished this one, which should be a good indicator of how much I enjoyed it.

Walking in a Witchy Wonderland by Juliette Cross (4 stars) (eARC) – Returning to the world of the Stay a Spell series (which follows a family of witch sisters in charge of the New Orleans supernatural community) in this short story collection was an absolute joy, and this eARC arrived at exactly the right time to cheer me up. I highly recommend reading the first three novels in this series before picking this one up (or else several things will definitely be spoiled!) but otherwise, please do pick this up if you’re looking for a book to put you in a better mood.

Although I enjoyed all of the contemporary paranormal romance stories in this collection, my favorites were probably the return to Evie/Mateo/Alpha from the first book in this series, Wolf Gone Wild, and the much-foreshadowed friends-to-lovers story of JJ and Charlie, two side characters who appear in all of the books, as they’re close friends with the Savoie sisters. Juliette Cross does a great job of mixing sweet romance with spicy scenes, and this collection also made me even more excited than I already was for the next three books in this series (particularly Livvie’s enemies-to-lovers romance with a rival Grim!).

I received an eARC of Walking in a Witchy Wonderland from the author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thicker Than Water by Tyler Shultz (4 stars) – A short audiobook focusing on Tyler Shultz’s experiences working at Theranos and then becoming a whistleblower and source once he realized the unethical practices the company and its founder were involved in. I’m obsessed with the Theranos story, and with the ongoing trial of Elizabeth Holmes, I’ve been looking for more insight into everything that happened (I’ve already read Bad Blood, watched the HBO documentary, and am currently listening to two podcasts covering the trial…told you I’m obsessed) and I thought that Tyler did a great job telling his story. The tone is conversational and accompanied by acoustic guitar, which I also enjoyed. If you want a more comprehensive look at the Theranos fraud, definitely read Bad Blood, but this is a good accompaniment.

Satisfaction Guaranteed by Karelia Stetz-Waters (4 stars) – A sweet, funny F/F contemporary romance between Cade, a buttoned-up New York art gallery owner, and Selena, an artist, who are thrown together when Cade’s aunt’s will prescribes that they work together to attempt to save her flagging feminist sex toy store in Portland. I really enjoyed the romance, as well as the characters’ support for each others’ growth and endeavors; I also laughed out loud several times while listening to this audiobook.

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun (3.5 stars) – This book has become a bookstagram favorite, but it didn’t work quite as well for me as it seems to for everyone else. It’s set on a Bachelor-esque show, with a romance developing between the “prince,” Charlie, a tech entrepreneur, and his handler, producer Dev, who is a steadfast believer in true love despite what he sees behind the scenes of a reality TV show. I thought that the discussions of mental health in this book were great–Charlie is dealing with OCD, anxiety, and a panic disorder, while Dev is dealing with depressive episodes, and both were handled well with plenty of support and discussion. The romance was also very sweet, but I struggled with the plot and the pacing–both dragged for me, and I wish it had been tightened up a bit.

Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline (3 stars) – A First Nations myth-inspired story of a determined woman’s search for her missing husband, who reappears with a seemingly new identity and no memory of her. A very interesting premise, but I found the execution lacking and the ending unsatisfying.

Twisted Circles by Claire Contreras (3 stars) – I really enjoyed Half Truths, the first book in the Secret Society series, for its dark academia vibes, mystery, and great romance. Unfortunately, Twisted Circles didn’t work nearly as well for me–I felt that both the romance and the mystery just weren’t as well-executed. The relationship was more instalove, without any real tension or suspense, and I didn’t like the direction that the plot took.

Witch Please by Ann Aguirre (3 stars) – Unfortunately, I did have some issues with this one.

On the plus side, I enjoyed the small-town, Sookie Stackhouse-esque vibes and tone of the book; the writing style often reminded me of Charlaine Harris’s. Witch Please is a sweet and lighthearted romance, which is sometimes very necessary, and I also enjoyed several of the side characters and the emphasis and family and friendship dynamics alongside the romance.

What didn’t work for me was the lack of plot; it felt like there was really only one main conflict in the book (one protagonist is a witch, the other is a mundane, and so they aren’t supposed to be together) without any other real hurdles, so the book often felt repetitive. I also had some serious issues with the lack of communication between the protagonists, some of which are spoilery, and the “resolution” at the end didn’t sit well with me. I also wish there had been more magic and general witchiness–for a book about witches, I thought the supernatural elements were lacking.

I received an eARC of Witch Please from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.