Category Archives: Monthly Readings

July Books

Audiobooks (20)

Most of these books are from my Amazon TBR list, and will have a separate post. Pears and Perils was a fun, fluffy book – win a vacation via a fast food company’s contest, end up on a tropical island and inadvertently get pulled into a god’s quest to regain his freedom and corporeal self. I finally got around to reading Magician’s Land, and it was a good ending for the trilogy. I must admit that I like these books better than Harry Potter. I’m aware that both series are for completely different demographics, but Magicians has no Hagrid, which is a blessing. Island of the Lost was a fascinating look at two separate groups of men who were shipwrecked on opposite ends of the same island at approximately the same time. It is amazing how different their experiences were, and a lot of that stemmed from how the ship captains reacted and their leadership styles.

Novels (10) / Novellas (1) / Nonfiction (1)

I finished the Court trilogy by Sarah J. Maas, and while ACOTAR and ACOMAF were amazing, ACOWAR was only alright and was by far the weakest of the three books. The story was dragged down by too much talking about doing things and not actually doing them. At the Edge of the Universe was a good read. I love how Hutchinson handles mental illness and the reality his narrators exist in. We live in their reality and have to try to figure out how much of it crosses over into the realities the other characters exist in. I Woke Up Dead at the Mall was another good read. For all that it’s about a girl trying to solve her own murder and save her father, it read fast and fluffy. The writing isn’t perfect, but it was enjoyable.

Graphic (2)

Two different graphic memoirs about the Vietnam War, both from differing perspectives. Such a Lovely Little War was from the viewpoint of a child whose father was diplomat for the Republic of Vietnam, and The Best We Could Do was from the viewpoint of a child whose family had to flee after the fall of the republic because her family came under suspicion by the new government.

Read Alouds (3)

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June Reads

I don’t have much to add to what I’ve written below – less books read in June than May, book burnout is subsiding, and summer is here with all the trips and projects and planning it entails.

Audiobooks (12)

*Homo Deus was interesting, but not as good as Sapiens. It spent too much time repeating the  concepts of Sapeins and not enough time on “the history of tomorrow”. I did like his discussion of human evolution, how technological advancements could potentially affect how we evolve, and how the divide between the “haves” and “have-nots” will increase exponentially.
*I’ve had multiple people recommend Red Rising to me, but wasn’t that enamored of it. Maybe I’m burned out of dystopian storylines. The concept was well-done, but I just didn’t care.
*Frankenstein has been on my TBR list for decades. I think maybe I read it in high school, but can’t remember. It was a bit of a shocker to realize how drastically different the book was from the popular culture concept. The book also read like it was written by an overly emotional teenager – which it was. I appreciate Frankenstein’s place in literary history, but it’s too flowery and emo for my tastes.
*Chronicles of St. Mary’s series by Jodi Taylor was surprisingly fun and well suited for audio. I love time travel books, and liked how the potential to disrupt historical events was handled. The tone and humor is reminiscent of the Tuesday Next books, but not as tedious.
*The Fold reminded me of the Crestomanci universe all grown up with a dose of sci-fi. It’s more a book up my husband’s alley than mine, but I enjoy some sci-fi as well. The Fold is about scientists mucking about with reality while not understanding what they’re doing, or how they’re affecting it, and the ramifications of their actions once they learn what’s actually happening.
*Kiss of Steel, First Grave on the Right, and Kill the Boy Band were all rereads. KtBB has turned into one of my favorite books. The audio narrator is spot on with the slightly crazy, slightly unreliability of the main character. The humor is black, black, black, but oh so funny. You know you shouldn’t be laughing, but you can’t help it because the scenario is just so outlandish.

Novels (11) / Nonfiction (2)


 
 

Romance novels can be hit or miss, especially with the historical ones. I have a hard time suspending my knowledge of reality when it comes to a woman leaving the lower class to marry a duke. Earls Just Want to Have Fun was alright, but found Marlowe to be a bit annoying. I plan on attempting the sequel because I liked Susanna. I had to push myself to finish Ever After. I had absolutely no connection to Olivia and her activism. Royal Bastards would have been much better if it didn’t have so many anachronisms. Medieval setting/technology + modern teen sensibilities/slang = kept getting kicked out of the story because it was so incongruent. When Dimple Met Rishi was cute. It was a fairly straight forward love story, and both Dimple and Rishi were believable and enjoyable characters. Seanan McGuire is an author I’m somewhat ambivilent towards. I’ve read the first two InCryptid books and found both of them rather meh. I ended up DNFing her first October Daye book. That being said, I absolutely LOVE her Wayward Children series. Her fairy tale voice is amazing. The stories are dark, and a balanced mix of sparseness and lushness. And finally, Sarah J. Maas. Each book in her Throne of Glass series is better than the last. And A Court of Thorns and Roses is one of my favorite dark comfort reads, and I needed that escape after a crappy week at work (the biggest drama monger at my office is a man 10 years older than me, and he was in fine form).

Graphic (3) / Manga (2)

 

Princess Princess Ever After was cute, if too short and lacking in substance. It would have been so much better if it had been longer with more details. The illustrations of Nightlights were gorgeous. The story was a bit shaky at the end, but the illustrations more than made up for it. Tokyo Ghoul is Tokyo Ghoul, and there isn’t much more to say than it is an amazing manga series. Spill Zone was interesting, but somewhat vague. This is not a criticism because the vagueness was handled well. It made me want to learn what was going on. I am especially curious about the doll Vespertine. Orange: The Complete Collection, Vol 2 was meh. I wasn’t that impressed with the first volume, and the second one didn’t wow me either. The ending was completely unsatisfying and left so many questions unanswered. It felt like a cop out.

Read Alouds (5)

    

We finished up reading the Notebook of Doom series (based upon what our library has). It was popular with both of my littles. We started on Eerie Elementary after that, though Max is more interested in it than Bug. I don’t find it completely painful to read either, though I keep saying “San Antonio” instead of “Sam and Antonio”, when I read the boys’ names. George’s Marvelous Medicine is a beloved childhood book of mine, and I thought the kids would like it. Bean did when I read it to her several years ago. Bug loved it, but Max was ambivalent. Mainly because it took time away from Eerie Elementary.

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May Books

I managed quite a few books in May, and many of them were unrelated to reading challenges. Challenge burnout has been setting in, and I really, really want to work on my Amazon wishlist, which is sitting at over 1100 books. I should probably also work through the 50ish books on my Kindle. My reading eyes are bigger than the time I have, and someday I’ll get caught up, but it sure won’t be in the next five or so years.

Audiobooks (10)


I was excited to listen to Clinton Kelly read I Hate Everyone, Except You, but it ended up being really disappointing. You can tell he loves his family, but at the same time, some of his essays were surprisingly crass. I have no interest in listening to him go on and on about a a weird spot on his penis. ~ Hell Divers is not my usual fare, but it was interesting and I didn’t want to stop listening to it. ~ I have been waiting for Awaken Online: Precipice for a while. I absolutely LOVED the first book. This one wasn’t quite as strong, but still wonderfully morally ambiguous. ~ Another sequel I’ve been waiting for is For We Are Many. The Bobiverse is awesome. There is no strong central plot, but instead multiple smaller plots that can intersect. It’s akin to a multigenerational saga.

Novels (20) / Nonfiction (4)

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My non-challenge books ended up being on the darker side, minus the three romance novels. Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph were surprisingly entertaining. I wasn’t expecting to get sucked into reading them to the point that had to go to the library in order to get my hands on the sequel as quickly as possible. Assassin nuns fighting evil, but the world around them is morally ambiguous (I like morally ambiguous). Not fluffy reads. ~ Hunter was an alright retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Not my favorite, but not the worst. ~ Wintersong was better than expected. As soon as I heard it was a riff on Labyrinth, I had to read it. And while it is, to a degree…it also isn’t. It started out somewhat meh, but picked up once Liesl saved her sister. I liked the mythology behind the Goblin King, and I’m curious as to what happens next. ~ Daughter of the Pirate King was also a good story. Alosa was on the annoying, eye-rolling side at first, but once the story got rolling, she became less obviously obnoxious.

Graphic (1)

I love how Neil Gaiman modulates his words and voice, and he does it beautifully with Hansel & Gretel. And while I did not listen to the story, I heard his voice in my head.

Read Alouds (9)

 

My younger two, Bug and Max, have been on a Notebook of Doom kick. We’ve been ignoring other books, such as The Princess and the Goblin, in order to plow through these. The stories are creative and fun, and I like the pages dedicated to showing facts about various monsters. I don’t hate reading them, which is fairly high praise. Bean and I have been slowly making our way through The Witch of Blackbird Pond. It’s hard to make time to read to her because of the younger two. Also because we’ve been watching Poirot on Netflix.

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April Reads

I had a slight dip in reading this month – 27 books. Only five books were unrelated to any of my reading challenges (The Medieval World, The View from the Cheap Seats, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, The Witches, and The Notebook of Doom: Rise of the Balloon Goons). I managed to complete Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge – Tetris: The Games People Play, being the last needed book. One challenge down, multiple challenges left!

Audiobooks (11)

     

Novels (8) / Nonfiction (2)

   
  

Graphic (4)

  

Read Alouds (2)

 

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March Books

I started losing reading challenge steam in March; burning myself out in the first two months of 2017. Over half the books I read  had no bearing on any of the challenges I am participating in.

Audiobooks (14)

Anne Bishop’s The Others was the first of two series that distracted me from challenge reading. I managed to listen to only the first one in January, but no dice after I finished the second book, Murder of Crows. I had to keep listening. It’s been a while since a series sucked me in enough that I couldn’t tear myself away. Etched in Bone was the weakest of the five, but even though the story focused on the utter reprehensible Jimmy, it was a necessary story in that it shaped how the Others will deal with humans in the future. One thing I’ve noticed in reviews is the common complaint that there’s no real heat between Meg and Simon. There is heat, but it’s latent, and the thing to remember is that the five books encompass less than one year. That’s not a long time in the whole scheme of things, especially when one partner is non-human who  doesn’t know how to interact with humans on a friendship/relationship level; and the other is a physically and psychologically scarred human who was most likely regularly sexually assaulted before escaping the compound for cassandra sangue. We Are Legion (We Are Bob) was a surprisingly fun sci-fi story. Bob and his replicants were intelligent and entertaining. My only issue was how the various subplots were handled at the end of the book. Not cliffhangers necessarily, but some of them weren’t really at good stopping points. The final two books in the Wayward Pines trilogy were good as well, even if the science wasn’t completely plausible. Wayward was the weakest of the three in that it was pretty much set up for The Last Town.

Novels (2) /Nonfiction (2) / Poetry (1)

All five books were for various challenges.

Manga (12) / Graphic Novels (5) / Picture Book (1)

Diary of a Tokyo Teen was alright. It was interesting to read a travelogue from the perspective of a teenager, but it felt like she kept her thoughts to the surface level without really getting into anything. Tokyo Ghoul was the second of two series that derailed my challenge reading in March. I binge read 11 volumes, and they are still amazing the second time around. Yes, it can be violent and gory, but I love the commentary about relations between humans and ghouls that underlines the series. I can’t wait to read the final three volumes, and I hope that VIZ Media will print the sequel series, Tokyo Ghoul:re.

Read Alouds (3)

Both Dealing with Dragons and James and the Giant Peach were read aloud rereads, though this time I read them to Bug and Max. Bug adored DwD, while Max wanted to skip it and read picture books (so I read him a picture book first and then read DwD to Bug). Both children loved JGP and would always beg for one more page. I read Half a World Away to Bean. Realistic fiction is one of her preferred genres, and I thought this one might be interesting to her. The story was about a boy who was adopted, but didn’t really attach to his adoptive parents. At the start of the books, his parents were at the end of the adoption process for a second child, and family was off to Kazakhstan to bring the new baby home. We ended up having multiple conversations about attachment, poverty, and children who have special needs.

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February Books

Audiobooks (9)

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The Casquette Girls was a good spin on the vampires in New Orleans sub-genre. Adele was a strong character who thought on her feet and didn’t do obviously stupid things (other than dealing with vampires). I will listen to the sequel when it comes out later this year. Written in Red has been on my TBR for a few years, and I finally got around to reading/listening to it. I ended up liking it more than I thought I would. Meg was well-written, and while she she was guileless, she wasn’t an idiot, and her lack of awareness of how things are supposed to be served in her favor. Sam and the ponies were my favorite characters.

Novels (13) / Novellas (4) / Nonfiction (1)

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Ghostly Echos was a decent book, but Jackaby is still the best. The writing this time around wasn’t nearly as strong – the wit and banter between Jackaby and Abigail was missing and the plot was weak. I will read the final book (with the strong hope of resolution between Abigail and Charlie). The Eyre Affair was supposed to be for a challenge (PopSugar, #7 – Story within a story), but only around 30 pages of the book fit that requirement. It was still a fun book and a quick read. I loved the details that showed the story takes place in a parallel universe. A Midnight Dance was only meh. It was a bit light on plot, and leaned a bit much on characters exclaiming in French to show that they were in France. The positive was that Sabine was a strong lead, stood up for herself and her family, and didn’t let herself get pushed around. A Thousand Pieces of You was my February Bookish choice (love story). I liked the concept, and I liked the characters. However, I don’t have an interest in reading the rest of the trilogy. Beauty and the Beast by Vivienne Savage was awful. I finished it only because I love B&B retellings, and hoped that at some point it would redeem itself. The whole thing lacked depth and substance, and for an adult romance, the writing was very juvenile. Anastasia was a total Mary Sue, and everything just sort of fell into place without any real conflict or tribulations. Add in the pseudo-Scottish aspects of the Beast, and I’m surprised my eyeballs didn’t get stuck in the back of my head.

Graphic Novels (11)

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Paper Girls Volume 2 was interesting, and the complexity of the plot increased immensely. I can’t wait to see where it goes. Nextwave, volumes 1 and 2, was entertaining, though it was incredibly crass and sarcastic. The whole thing being a superhero satire focused on the rejects and delinquents of the superhero world.

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January Books

After feeling burned out at the end of last year, reading fever kicked in on January 1st. I want to get these challenges done! Las year, I allowed myself to get distracted by non-challenge books, and ended up finishing PopSugar at 10pm on December 31st. Not gonna happen this year. Once I get all major challenges taken care of (or at least mostly taken care of), then I can focus on other books without guilt (and possibly other non-book projects as well).

Audiobooks (11)

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Nine of the books are for various challenges, so they’ll be written about in future posts. The Queen’s Poisoner was a disappointment. There wasn’t a cohesive plot, Owen was wishy-washy and kind of weak, and Elysabeth Victoria Mortimer was incredibly annoying. So very annoying. The author also couldn’t make up his mind of King Severn was evil or just misunderstood. I have no interest in reading any other books in this series. One Good Dragon Deserves Another was a decent listen. It dragged on a bit in the beginning, but the wheels started turning, and now I’m looking forward to listening to book three.

Novels (9) / Nonfiction (3)

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Every single book in this section is for a reading challenge, so they will be written about in future posts.

Graphic (5)

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The first four books are for various challenges, so more will be written about them in future posts. Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening was the lone “read for the fun of it” graphic novel. The illustrations were lush and complex, as was the story. I’m looking forward to reading the next volume.

Read Alouds (2)

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Bug (my 6-year old) liked the first Never Girls book, so we gave the second one a try. They are only minimally annoying, which is good for me. I read Stories from Hawaii to all three kids because of their curiosity about Maui after watched “Moana” in the theater (very catchy songs). This was the only book on Hawaii my library system has. The writing was a bit simplistic and redundant, but the kids enjoyed the stories.

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