Category Archives: Books

April Books

I ended up on a bit of a paranormal kick in April. I love the Three Mages and a Margarita series, and will continue to read/reread them. While Tori can be annoying at times, she’s annoying for making decisions that anyone of us would do in real life, but don’t want to see our heroines do in books. The Mystic Bayou series is also fun, as is Touched by an Alien (read it four times) series. Kitty is sarcastic and intelligent, and for some reason, constantly underestimated by most of the other characters in the series.

From the land of Audible, I listened to eight books and only added ten. I know I DNF’d a few, but didn’t make a note of how many. I also read/DNF’d 32 Amazon books, and added 43. Not horrible, but not helping me read down the lists. I’ve been trying to avoid reading posts about new books.

Audiobook Fiction (19) / Nonfiction (1)


Novels (7) / Novella (1)

Graphic (8) / Graphic Nonfiction (1) / Manga (4)

Hub Challenge 2019 (plus Feb & March reads)

YALSA caught me off-guard this year with their reading challenge. I was expecting a March 1st start date like last year, but instead it began on February 12th. Sneaky, sneaky. As with previous years, there are some great books listed. Multiple books are on my Amazon TBR, such as Circe, Educated, and Damsel. And there are other books that will take me out of my comfort zone, such as Speak: The Graphic Novel and Hey Kiddo.

Because I’m getting this out so late, I’ve rolled my February reads into this post:

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
I love the epic-ness of Children. The world-building, rules of magic, the characters (both their growth and dynamic between them), and the storytelling were fast-paced and fascinating. I am looking forward to both the sequel and the film adaptation.

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
The story itself was sweet and earnest, and I loved the dynamic between Frances and Sebastian. The climactic scene was both silly and heartwarming, and the whole thing left a nice warm fuzzy (and this is coming from a person is generally cynical).

…and also my March reads because I am now REALLY late getting this post out:

Silver Spoon, vol 1-4 by Hiromu Arakawa
I’ve come across this manga before, but never thought much of it because a city boy going to a rural ag school isn’t my cup of reading tea. That being said, I love it when I am pleasantly surprised by enjoying a story more than I thought I was going to, and Silver Spoon was definitely more engaging and earnest than I was expecting. While Yuugo’s initial motivations were less than positive, he slowly found his place (even though he slid into it sideways). Watching him figure things out ranged from sweet to silly.

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
This is the second time I’ve read Akata Witch, and I was able to pick up on more of the details. I love the dynamic between Sunny and her friends, and the fact that at times they are truly tested – no safety net and the potential for death. The rules of magic and the magical society are also interesting.

#murdertrending by Gretchen McNeil
The premise of this book is what hooked me – convicted criminals are sent to an island to survive against government sanctioned executioners. However, main character, Dee, was convicted of a crime she didn’t commit, and when she arrives on the island, ends up kicking over the anthill. Overall an entertaining read, though it didn’t grab me as much as I was hoping it would.

Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin
Illegal definitely pulled on my heartstrings. The obstacles Ebo overcomes to reunite with his brother, the journey they go on together in order to find both their older sister and a better life, the tragedy suffered (it’s a punch in the gut), and finally the reunion – it was very well-written and well-illustrated story.

The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees by Don Brown
I don’t have a lot to say about this one other than it could have been better. It felt disjointed and gave a somewhat superficial view of people’s realities in leaving/staying in Syria. It was hard to emotionally connect with some of the experiences as it felt like the readers were barely dropped in before being whisked off again.

2018 Manga / Graphic Novels (Second Half)

I didn’t read very many graphic books in the second half of 2018, and what I read ranged from very good (Delicious in Dungeon and Monstress) to holy cow that was just horrible (Snotgirl).


Delicious in Dungeon, vol 1-5 by Ryoko Kui
Even though the motivation for the characters’ adventure is tragic – rescuing one of their own who was eaten by a dragon while they were adventuring in a dungeon – and even though they face some serious obstacles, the story is humorous and pokes fun of the characters, their personalities, and reactions.

Manga (6)

Graphic (6)

Bean’s 1st Quarter Books 2019

Bean blew through 50 books in the first quarter of 2019. All but two were audiobooks. Her tastes have been changing since she’s starting moving from middle grade to YA books, becoming interested in Victorian era books with strong heroines and plot twist mysteries. Both my sister and I have been trying to keep up with book recommendations, but it has been somewhat complicated by the fact that she does not like reading book books, and not every book is available in audio format.

Her favorite books were: Illuminae trilogy, Hunter trilogy, Madman’s Daughter trilogy, Stalking Jack the Ripper/Hunting Prince Dracula, Hotel Ruby

Fantasy / Science Fiction (27)

Horror (10)

Historical – Fiction / Nonfiction (5)

Contemporary (6)

Graphic (2)

March Books

For my March reads, 26 out of 39 books were from my Amazon TBR lists. One was from Audible. In a very unhelpful move, I added 118 books to Amazon TBR, and six to Audible.

Only somewhat related to books, I watched Dumplin’ on Netflix, and have to say it was a rare movie I liked more than the book. I enjoyed the book, but the movie added more drag queen and got rid of most of the romantic drama. I hope they turn Puddin’ into a movie as well.

Audiobooks Fiction (11) / Nonfiction (4)

1000 beginnings akata witch akata warrior ice-cube dark descent trail of lightning

Novels (6) / Novellas (2) / Nonfiction (1)

labor of love dream quest vellitt boe #murdertrending

Graphic (9) / Manga (6)

ice cream man 1 ice cream man 2 heavy vinyl
mae unwanted

PopSugar – February 2019

I ended up downgrading my February reading ambitions for PopSugar (my March ambitions have also been downgraded) from 8-10 books to only four. My four books were a mixed bag, ranging from absolute love (Unmarriageable) to only finished because it was for a challenge (Where’d You Go, Bernadette). Three were from my Amazon TBR; two were audio.

March Books: Labor of Love (#29) ; Blackfish City (Adv #1) ; The Guineveres (Adv #10) ; undecided (#XX)

bernadetteWhere’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
#1 – Becoming a movie in 2019
I know this is satire, but it was incredibly grating – the narrator added negatively to this. If I wasn’t reading it for a challenge, I would have DNF’d it in a heartbeat. The entitled elite were annoying; the characters were annoying. Admittedly, there were parts later on in the book that were entertaining, but it was not worth the slog for those few bits.

Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? by Alyssa Mastromonaco
#16 – Question in the title
I agree with the description of this book being written by your funny older sister. The tone definitely pulls no punches about the reality of a high stress job (and learning how to adult at the same time), but does so humorously.  Mastromonaco is self-aware of her own flaws and strengths, and I love that she gives important life advice using her own misadventures as a building block.

josh and hazelJosh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
#21 – Two female authors
It took a while for this book grow on me. In the beginning it felt like the focus was on how quirky and original Hazel was. I found that somewhat of a turn off, though it could be because I don’t like being around people who enjoy being a focus of attention. Ultimately, I liked the dynamic between Hazel and Josh, and I liked how the story ended.

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal
#34 – Includes a wedding
This is an extremely good retelling of Pride & Prejudice. Aspects of the story copy the original, but there are also some divergent elements (Sherry/Charlotte’s story was my favorite). Being set in Pakistan adds an additional dimension with the push and pull between tradition and modernism/feminism.

February Books

In February, I spent a decent amount of time listening to Abbey Road and Wish You Were Here on repeat, so I didn’t bang though as many audiobooks as I normally would. Out of the 38 books I read in February, 28 were from my Amazon TBR; two were from my Audible TBR. Of course, I ended up adding 27 books to Amazon and three to Audible, so they ended up cancelling each other out.

Audiobooks Fiction (11) / Nonfiction (3)

Regarding the non-challenge books (though not all of them), The Shallows was interesting – looking both at how advances in technology have changed how humans think, and how current technology is causing another seismic shift in how our brains process information. Muse of Nightmares was somewhat of a let down after Strange the Dreamer. Pretty much nothing happens during the first half of the book, and almost all of that half could have been axed without a loss of quality. Smokejumpers was a fascinating read. A dangerous job, but a resource that if utilized more seems like it could lessen the severity of forest fires.

Novels (8) / Nonfiction (1)

Ash & Bramble was an interesting reimagining of Cinderella. It was a fast read and decently written. I’ll probably pick up the sequel at some point. Rock with Me was an entertaining romance. I liked both characters, and the story as a whole wasn’t overwhelmed with nonsense drama. That being said, I’m glad I read it before Come Away with Me (the first book in the series). That book overused the word “baby”, and even if the story itself was fine, there were too many sex scenes – to the point that I would sigh, roll my eyes, and start skimming. The Ghost Network was an existential/philosophical mystery, and not necessarily for the faint of heart. I enjoyed it, but ended up skipping the majority of the foot notes.

Graphic (13) / Manga (1) / Picture Book (1)

Spill Zone: The Broken Vow was a solid conclusion to the duology. My Boyfriend is a Bear is out there, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Definitely worth the read. Both The Flintstones and Exit Stage Left surprised me with their political and social commentary. The cartoons of yore, they are not. Be Prepared was a bit painful to read, but that was more because I was also a social outsider as a child, and it can be hard to watch characters experience comparable tribulations. The Woods is amazing. A high school is transported from Earth to an alien planet, and the teachers and students have to figure out what is going on. It is definitely creepy, and I definitely cannot wait to keep reading.