August reading summary and September TBR

I didn’t get much reading done in August because I was working on writing projects and busy with my actual work. I’d wanted to read more romance this month, but it ended up being a very sci-fi heavy month instead.

Here are the books I read in August (links go to Goodreads):

  • Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi (Kindle, library) — This one took me forever to read. I just couldn’t really get into it. I don’t blame it on the book at all. I did push through to the end but, I never got invested in the story. The characters were cool, but I think that the majority of the the plot happens to them instead of the other way around. It didn’t help that the plot had a few holes that left me a little frustrated and pulled me out of the story.
  • The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden (Kindle, library) — This book was wacky and entertaining. I really loved the characters and the setting and the creativity of the world building. I would have given it five stars, but the plot kinda went off the rails a bit at the end. Everything leading up to the huge climax scene at the concert is excellent. After that, things get a bit muddled. I think it’s because the villain’s ultimate goal and underlying motivations are a little murky. But, if you can squint past that, it’s a great read. I really enjoyed it.
  • A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers (Kindle, library) — This was, hands down, my favorite book I read this month. I really liked the first book (A Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet), but thought it felt a little more like a series of related stories than a cohesive novel. This one is much better in that regard. There are still a lot of very obvious world-building “data dumps” that feel contrived at times because they are completely unnecessary for plot/character development. But, I really enjoy learning more about this world, so I don’t mind (much).

I’m almost finished with one more, but I wasn’t able to find enough time last week to finish it before the end of the month. I’ll probably finish it tonight or tomorrow.

As for September, I’m not really making a TBR. I’m setting more of a reading goal than a TBR this month. I want to cross off at least two Read Harder challenge tasks, but other than that, I’m dedicating this month to reading romance. I scrolled through all the books on my Kindle and tried to identify which ones might be considered “romance” and put them all on a list. I’m planning to just pick and choose based on what sounds good to me at the time.

Here’s my Romance Reading List for September:

There’s a good mix here of sci-fi romance, fantasy romance, historical romance, and contemporary romance. If you see anything on here that you’re also planning to read this month, let me know. Otherwise, I’m probably going to start with A Promise of Fire because it’s been on my Kindle for just over a year now (purchased 8/6/2016), and I’ve heard good things about it.

Happy Reading!

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July reading summary and August TBR

I have been so busy since returning from RWA. Seriously. Last week was a blur. I spent most of it working on polishing up “Eve of the Fae” to submit to Pitch Wars. Plus, it’s been a very busy week at work. I’m hoping things calm down a little this week so that I have a little more time for reading.

Most of what I read in July was read on vacation. I miss vacation.

Here are the books I read in July (links go to Goodreads):

  • Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (Kindle, library) — This book was so good. I loved Every Heart a Doorway, her first book in this world, and I think this one is even better. If you grew up reading portal fantasy like The Chronicles of Narnia, and you haven’t checked out these books yet, you’re missing out. Run, don’t walk to your nearest library (or bookstore of choice) and get yourself a copy of this one and the first book.
  • Hold Me by Courtney Milan (Kindle) — I had no idea what to expect here except that I liked the first book in the series (Trade Me), and I love anything by Courtney Milan. So, no surprise, I guess, that I *really* enjoyed this book. Also, the heroine’s internal conflict hit home with me and unexpectedly hit me pretty hard in the feels.
  • Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee (Kindle) — I waited to read this until I had a solid chunk of time to immerse myself in this world because I’d heard it took a little effort to get into it. For me it wasn’t that different than any hard fantasy/sci-fi with good, immersive world-building, and I loved it from the start. But, then again, I’m also a fan of military space opera. This was possibly my favorite book I read this month. I can’t wait to read the next in the series.
  • One Was a Soldier by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Kindle) — For the past several years, I’ve been reading these romantic suspense books while on vacation in the Adirondacks (where these books are set). Unfortunately, I think this is the second to last one in the series. I’m saving the last one for next year, but unless the author decides to write more in this setting, I’m soon going to have to find a new romance series set in the Adirondacks for my vacation reading. So sad. I’m going to miss these characters.
  • All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (Kindle, library) — Prepare for unpopular opinion time…I didn’t love this book. I know it’s winning all the awards, but it just didn’t sit right with me. I feel like it leaned a little too hard into literary tropes, and the writing felt like the author was trying to “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” poke fun at the SFF genre. I got a strong “look, I’m writing *literary* SFF” vibe from this book and it took away from my enjoyment of what, based on the premise, should have been a story I enjoyed.
  • Letters to a Solider by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Kindle) — This shouldn’t even really count, but I’m adding it here anyway. It’s bonus material from the author, meant to go along with One Was a Soldier. I read this first, but I think it might have got more out of it if I’d read it after One Was a Solider.

Now, on to August…How is it already the last month of summer? It’s “Fogust” here in the Bay Area, aka perfect reading weather. Unfortunately, my schedule this month is not leaving a lot of free time available.

Ignoring the realities of available reading time, here are all the books I put on my August TBR:

In general, there are WAY too many books on my TBR this month. This is a ridiculously ambitious list. Many of these have been featured already in previous TBR posts. So, I’m not even going to give you a breakdown. Instead, I’m just going to say that the priority this month is going to overdue library books (A Closed and Common Orbit, The Prey of the Gods, Raven Stratagem) and books for my Read Harder Challenge tasks (Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free, Falling in Love with Hominids, The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost, Signal to Noise). I’d like to work a little more romance into the rotation, especially fantasy romance (Nice Dragons Finish Last, A Promise of Fire, Heiress Without A Cause), but it will depend on how much time I have and what sort of mood I’m in. And damnit, when am I going to have time to read Our Dark Duet?! Not to mention the fact that (not pictured here) The Stone Sky comes out this month…

As always, so many good books to read, and so little time for reading. Oh, how I miss summer vacation…

Rosemary Contest Winner for Petals and Runes!

I just got back from the 2017 RWA contest. It was AWESOME! I got to meet so many people I only know from the internet. Everyone was so nice and welcoming. I learned SO much. The RITA awards and Golden Heart awards were so inspiring. The post-RITA dance party was a blast. And…possibly the best part: I’m coming home a winner in the speculative category for the YA RWA Rosemary Contest for my YA fantasy novel “Petals and Runes!”

All that awesome had to be counterbalanced with some less than awesome stuff… for example, I killed my phone. It died via the dreaded infinite boot loop on Thursday morning, leaving me with no social media or ability to text/call anyone for the remaining three days of the conference. Then, my flight was delayed by six hours coming home last night. But, even those inconveniences couldn’t put a dent in how much fun I had at the conference.

10/10 I would totally do this again. Already looking forward to next year!

#NaNoWriMo Night of Writing Dangerously

Yes, I am completely aware that it’s mid-July, and there are four more months until NaNoWriMo and The NaNoWriMo Night of Writing Dangerously. That doesn’t dampen my excitement one bit.

I’ve already set up my donation page to attend this year’s event. If you can attend, I highly recommend it. It’s one of the most fun writing events I’ve attended, and I look forward to it every year.

Even if you’re not a writer or not able to attend this year, I’m hoping that you might consider a donation to support the NaNoWriMo organization (and my fundraising campaign).

If you’ve already donated, THANK YOU! Your name has been added to my “reward” list. I haven’t figured out what the reward is going to be yet, but stay tuned. I’ll make sure it’s awesome.

I know there are countless worthy causes out there hoping to get their hands on your charitable donation budget. Here’s why I encourage you to make (even a very small) donation to NaNoWriMo:

  • NaNoWriMo does inspiration like nobody else. It’s so inspiring that it’s been the catalyst to me writing 4 novels during past Novembers. With the magic and inspiration of NaNoWriMo 2017, I plan to do it again.
  • The money from donations is used to provide children and adults the encouragement, structure, and inspiration they need to achieve their creative potential.
  • Proceeds from the event will fund National Novel Writing Month’s free creative writing programs in hundreds of schools and communities around the world. For an example of what that looks like in action, watch this video:

So please, if you like my blog and want to support my writing while also supporting an excellent organization, click through to my donation page and consider a $5 or $10 donation. Anything helps. My goal is to reach $275 raised by the end of July. So, help me out? Pretty please?

Vacation Reads from my summer vacation

This is a short, post-vacation teaser post to share what books I read while on vacation…

I’ll share my thoughts on these in my July wrap-up post at the end of the month. In the meantime, I have to figure out how to return to the “real world” now that my big summer vacation is over. 😦

Before I go, I will add that I’ve now read half of this year’s Hugo nominees for best novel and my favorite so far is still The Obelisk Gate. But, Ninefox Gambit is a close second. I’ve already put Raven Stratagem on hold at my library. I’m hoping my hold on A Closed and Common Orbit comes up soon so I can read that one as well before the awards are announced. I didn’t get it in time for vacation, and I was pretty bummed about that because I’m really looking forward to reading more in that world.

That’s all I have time for tonight, but I’ll be back soon with more! Hope you are all enjoying your summer!

June reading summary and July TBR

June turned out to be a pretty good reading month for me. Overall, it’s been a pretty stressful month. But, I made plenty of time for reading (and swimming) to help me manage and remain as chill as possible.

Here are the books I read in June (links go to Goodreads):

  • Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (Kindle, library) — This was a satisfying conclusion to this two-book series. Overall, I really enjoyed it. I like the first book better, but I enjoyed seeing how these characters and this plot found resolution. The statute on spoilers for this series is probably over, but I still don’t want to say too much in case folks haven’t read it yet.
  • Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleze (Kindle, library) — I really, really wanted to like this book, and I did like it. I just didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. Space opera is possibly my favorite genre, but there were just too many loose ends and coincidences in this book that kept making me fall out of the story. I will say, it is jam packed with action and gets my full respect for pacing, tension, and structuring chapters to keep you turning pages. If you can squint past the plot issues, it’s a great read.
  • Ms. Marvel, Vol. 3: Crushed by G. Willow Wilson (trade paper) — This comic is the cutest. I love it. I especially love that this volume ended with a special issue of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. comic that paired Jemma Simmons with Ms. Marvel. I love Jemma, and I love Ms. Marvel. And this now reminds me that I *still* need to get caught up on the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show.
  • Lux and Lies by Meg Collett (paperback) — This is the most recently published book written by a friend I met at Madcap Retreats earlier this year. She’s awesome. This book is action packed. The world is imaginative and intriguing. It definitely sucked me in and kept me wanting to know how the mystery would be resolved. So impressed! Yay, Meg!
  • When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (Kindle, library) — This is seriously the cutest romance I’ve read in possibly ever. It’s adorable. And set in San Francisco in the “tech” community. Some of the tech stuff is a little less than realistic, but overall this is such a good read. If you like contemporary YA, definitely pick up a copy and read it at the beach/pool or on vacation this summer.
  • Kraken by China Miéville (Kindle) — Read this if you’re looking for a wacky romp through a well-imagined and highly creative urban fantasy world. But, if you’re here for a gripping mystery plot and/or fast pacing…well, like me, you may be disappointed. It was a slog of a read for me, but I stuck with it because the world and characters were so creative and vividly portrayed.

Six books isn’t shabby but, as I mentioned in my mid-year stats post, I didn’t put much of a dent in either my backlist of ebooks on my Kindle, or on my Read Harder challenge tasks. Not to worry, though. I have a LOT of reading time on the calendar for July.

I’ve been agonizing over my July TBR, and I almost didn’t make one, because I have not one, but TWO vacations planned for July. Both of these involve long plane rides and should allow for plenty of reading time, and I want to keep my reading options open.

So, I compromised and made a TBR of the books I really want to try to finish before the end of the month. Three of them are Hugo nominees. The awards are announced in August, and I really want to read as many of the “best novel” nominees that I can before then. The other three are books that are also on my backlist of Kindle books. Two of them will help me cross off two more Read Harder tasks. All of them, I think, will make excellent “summer reads.”

Here they are…the books on my July TBR (links go to Goodreads):

  • All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (Kindle, library) — This one is at the top of the Hugo nominations. I’m not sure if that means it got the most votes, but it already won the Nebula for best novel, so it’s probably pretty darn good. Somehow this one wasn’t really on my radar until the awards nominations started rolling in. So, I’m excited to see what the fuss is about.
  • A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers (Kindle, library) — This one also made the Hugo best novel short list, but it was already on my TBR because I read (and really enjoyed) the first book by this author set in this world (Long Way To A Small Angry Planet). The Hugo nomination just means that I’ve bumped this companion novel to the top of my TBR.
  • Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee (Kindle) — Also bumped to the top of my TBR due to its Hugo nomination is this hard sci-fi novel. I’ve had this one for a while on Kindle, and I keep hearing amazing things about it. I also keep hearing that it’s really hard to get into at first. So, I’m hoping some dedicated vacation reading time will let me sink into this world long enough to get sucked in and see what all the fuss is about because it definitely has some of my reader catnip in the descriptions and reviews.
  • The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman (Kindle) — I picked this up to read for the “travel memoir” task in my Read Harder challenge. Since I’m already feeling the vacation vibes, I think it’s a good time check off this task.
  • Hold Me by Courtney Milan (Kindle) — Another one I’ve been meaning to get to for a while, this will also help me check off a Read Harder challenge task. Plus, everyone needs a little romance on their vacation TBR.
  • A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet (Kindle) — I can’t resist a good sci-fi / fantasy romance, and this one comes highly recommended by the Smart Bitches. Seriously, they don’t throw around their “A” ratings lightly. I’m really looking forward to finally getting a chance to read this.

I think this is a nice, well-rounded TBR with a lot of books on it that I’m really excited about reading. I can’t wait to get started. What’s on your “summer reading” list?

Some mid-year book stats and favorite books read (so far) in 2017

So far this year I’ve read 31 books. Technically, I haven’t finished that 31st book, yet, but I’m anticipating that I’ll finish it by the end of the month, so I’m counting it here. Even if I didn’t count it, I can still safely say that I’m comfortably past the halfway mark to my goal of reading at least 50 books/year.

I’d given myself a few fun challenges at the start of the year. For one, I wanted to actually complete the Read Harder Challenge this year (2017). I’ve participated the last few years (every year they’ve had one), but I’ve never actually finished all 24 tasks before the end of the year. I think the closest I came was in the first year (2015) when I completed 21 of 24 tasks. This year, I’m on track but a bit behind schedule. So far I’ve completed 10 of 24 tasks, which is exactly how many I completed in all of last year (2016). I think I’m going to be able to catch up and complete all the tasks, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a nail biter, up to the last minute, sort of affair.

I also wanted to “bust my backlist” of Kindle ebooks. I have over 100 unread books on my Kindle. Some were free, others I got deeply discounted, and a handful (my “hotlist”) were purchased full price but I still haven’t read them. I put myself on a backlist book buying ban this year, meaning no buying new books unless they are new releases and I intended to read them right away. For any other books, I needed to leverage my library’s extensive ebook collection. This has definitely cut back on my book purchases, but I’ve leveraged my library a bit more that I’d initially anticipated. So, I’ve only managed to read 10 books off my backlist so far. Not bad, but not great considering that’s less than a third of the total books I’ve read so far this year.

Since I’m starting a new BuJo in July, I made this cool spread to keep track of my reading challenges:

The top section is for tracking my Read Harder Challenge tasks and the bottom section is for checking off books on my “hotlist” because those are the most guilt-inducing of my backlist of purchased books. My goal is to read at least 8 before the end of the year. As you can see, so far I’ve read 3.

If I haven’t put much of a dent in my hotlist (or backlist, for that matter), what have I been reading? Well, I’ve definitely been reading a LOT of new releases. 13 of the 31 books I’ve read were published in 2017. The rest were either books I borrowed from the library, comics, or writing craft books.

In general, my reading has been pretty evenly spread between YA (58%) and adult books (42%). As usual it’s been pretty heavily weighted toward fiction (90%) vs. non-fiction (10%). The genre split shows that almost half of what I’ve read so far have been fantasy novels (unsurprising). But the full breakdown is:

  • 45% fantasy (14 books)
  • 19% realistic (6 books, 3 fiction and 3 non-fiction)
  • 16% sci-fi (5 books)
  • 6% comics (2 trade volumes)
  • 6% writing craft (2 books)
  • 3% romance (1 book)
  • 3% health (1 book)

Out of the 31 books I’ve read so far, these have been my favorites:

Oddly enough, all but one are new releases. More surprising (to me, at least) is that 3 of these 6 (HALF!) are contemporary YA books, not sci-fi or fantasy! I guess this has been a good year for contemporary YA…or, more likely, I’m just finally finding ones that I like to read.

If forced to stack rank them, I’d put them in this order (links go to Goodreads):

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas — contemporary YA fiction with one of the best narrative voices I’ve read
  2. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor — YA fantasy with a strong “gods or monsters” theme
  3. The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin — strong second/middle book in an excellent and unique adult sci-fi/fantasy series
  4. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi — adult space opera done exactly the way I like it
  5. Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy — contemporary YA fiction with characters that leap off the page and into your heart
  6. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon — possibly the cutest contemporary YA romance I’ve read in… well, ever

We’ll see how they stick with me and hold up against whatever books I read in the rest of this year, but I definitely think at least a few of these will make my “top 5” end of year list.

How are you doing on your reading goals for this year? What have been your favorite reads so far? Anything I should definitely add to my TBR?

Experiments in Bullet Journaling #BuJo

Because I recently posted about my current notebooks on Instagram…I thought I’d do a longer post about my adventures in Bullet Journaling in case anyone reading this is also a bullet journal fan.

I’ve always been the kind of person who keeps a journal. I’ve also always been the kind of person who prefers to have a paper calendar instead of a digital calendar (though that has changed a bit in the past few years and now I have a more hybrid approach).

Don’t believe me? Here’s a photo of my 2 boxes of archived notebooks. The box on the right are old planners and work notebooks. The box on the left are old journals. The ones balanced on top in the middle are some of my stash of blank notebooks.

With this as evidence, it should be absolutely no surprise to anyone that for the past several months I’ve been messing around with this whole “bullet journaling” craze. I haven’t gone so far as to get special markers or decorate with washi tape or try my hand at fancy lettering. I’m just trying to keep it simple. In general, I use my notebook to keep track of my personal life and “hobby projects” like writing, reading, and swimming. I don’t use it to keep track of stuff for my salaried work.

After trying a bunch of different styles, I think I’ve landed somewhere between the original, utilitarian concept and the super crafty and creative BuJo spreads you can find on Instagram and YouTube.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept, here are the basic components to bullet journaling:

  • Index
  • Future Planner
  • Month at a Glance
  • Daily (or Weekly) Tracking
  • “Collections”

I’ll talk a little about how I am (or am not) using each of these components, and what I’ve found works for me.

Index (needs help)

I have completely botched this up with this first journal. I think I wrote down every page and what’s on it. I ran out of room in my allotted space and had to continue it in the last pages of my journal. Whatever I did is absolutely not working. I need to go watch some videos on how to index properly. If you have pointers, please share them with me!

Future Planner (needs help)

I made one in my journal, but it’s pretty empty, and I’m constantly forgetting to use it. Clearly, I need to figure out how to use this space. I thought about abandoning this entirely when I start a new BuJo, but I think I’ll still need a place where I can park things that aren’t due or scheduled for months, and this does seem to be the easiest way. If you have suggestions for alternative Future Planner layouts, let me know in the comments, please!

Month at a Glance (love it!)

I use a pretty basic one like they show in the “how to” video on the bullet journal website. On the page facing my month-at-a-glance, I list out my goals and the titles on my TBR for that month. I’d show you a picture, but I don’t have a blank one right now.

I am big on goals, and I really like having a place to write out all the things I want to accomplish each month. Recently, though, I’ve been struggling to accomplish very many of my monthly goals.. I think this is because, even though I wrote them down, I sort of forget about them part way through the month.

This month, I plan to use my monthly goals in combination with that section of my newly adopted weekly spread format where I write out my “top three things.” I’m hoping that will help me stay focused on what really needs to get done each week.

Daily vs. Weekly Tracking (still dialing this in…)

I started with daily tracking, switched to weekly tracking after a few months, then switched back to daily tracking for a month, and now I’m back to weekly tracking using a weekly layout that I saw on Boho Berry‘s YouTube channel. It seems to be everything I need to keep track of what needs to get done and when each week.

I took this photo before I filled in my “habit tracker legend.” These are the four things that I’d ideally do daily. What qualifies for coloring in the daily square changes from time to time. Right now “Swim” is basically my cardio, “Write” depends on what my writing goal is for that week, “Read” is almost always “at least 30 min/day,” and “Zen” depends a lot on what’s going on but meditation, or yoga, or a walk all usually count for coloring in that box.

One thing I liked about daily tracking (vs. weekly tracking) was that it helped to remind me to slow down and take one day at a time. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and a little stressed between work commitments and personal goals. I feel like I’m not accomplishing everything I want to accomplish fast enough. When I have a space to note progress on a daily basis, it forces me to acknowledge my incremental accomplishments, which I almost never do.

I feel like this spread is a good compromise between daily and weekly tracking. I may eventually switch back to daily tracking, but for now, the daily boxes on my weekly spread seem to do the trick.

Collections (still dialing this in…)

I’m not sure this is a thing that they talk about in the original bullet journal concept, but it’s a big deal with BuJo enthusiasts. I have a few collections (basically a one or two page spread) that I use to track writing goals, swimming workouts, and my monthly reading TBRs.

I’ve moved all of my swim workout and TBR tracking to my BuJo, and it’s nice to have this as an analog system for when I’m offline, traveling.

Still a work in progress… 

One thing that I’ve not yet figured out how to deal with is actual journaling. I’ve basically ended up having a separate journal for that which seems counter productive. Again, if you have thoughts on this, let me know.

Even after almost a year messing around trying to find a way to adapt bullet journaling to meet my planning needs, I’m not sure I have it completely figured out yet. But, I’m finally ready to commit to a new journal… my first REAL BuJo!

I’ve busted it out of the wrapping and decorated it with a few stickers. Now I’m getting ready to start adding content. When I do I’ll take some photos and post them.

I expect that I have just enough pages left in my current journal to get through June. That means that I’ll get to start this one at the halfway point of 2017. I’m so excited! New journals always make me happy. 🙂

Do you use a bullet journal? Post your recommendations and favorite “how to” videos in the comments, if you have any suggestions!

What I want from #WonderWoman

Since I can’t go see Wonder Woman until tomorrow, and I’m trying to stay off Twitter to stay spoiler-free, I thought I’d do a post here to jot down some things I’m hoping to see in this movie.

First, let me mention, I don’t really know anything about Wonder Woman as a character, or her backstory, etc. I was too young to watch the Wonder Woman TV show, but old enough to know one existed. I never really got into any of the DC comics. I’ve skipped most of the Batman and Superman and Spiderman sequels, but I love the Avengers, and I was reading X-Men comics before they were making X-Men movies. 

That said, I’m REALLY excited for this movie.

Overall, I really like super hero movies and watch almost all of them, eventually. However, I will say I’ve been suffering a little from super hero overload ever since Marvel and DC started trying to one-up each other with their movie franchises.

Still, I’m REALLY excited to see this movie.

In general, I’ll also say that I tend to prefer my super heroes either relentlessly optimistic (ex: Super Girl, Captain America) or fairly angsty and not exactly thrilled to be doing the whole super hero thing (ex: Deadpool, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones). I have no idea what to expect with WW, but that hasn’t stopped me from getting chills every time I watch the trailer.

Did I mention that I’m REALLY excited to see this movie? 😜

In a perfect world, this movie would be perfect. I know it won’t be perfect, but here are a few things I’m really hoping for (in no particular order):

  • Chris Pine as “damsel in distress” — I’ll admit, Chris Pine is my favorite Hollywood Chris. But, I really hope that his role in this movie is basically like Natalie Portman’s in Thor. Or even Chris H. when he was in Ghostbusters. Eye candy. Love interest (maybe, though not required). Regular dude. No saving the world. (But it’s okay if he helps a little.)
  • Diverse casting — We already know that our hero and heroine are white. I’m really hoping that this film isn’t completely whitewashed. I’ll be especially salty if all the ladies where WW comes from (already forgot the name of that place) are white.
  • WW is unique but not special — Please don’t give us a female super hero that’s “not like all the other girls.” I’m so over that trope.
  • Passes the Bechdel Test — This should be an easy one, but you never know. Since it’s a low bar, I’m going to add to the “two women talking about something other than a dude” requirement and say “also something other than battle/fight tactics.” Female friends. It’s not a tough concept. Model it on screen in a healthy way, that’s all I’m saying.
  • Be something I can take my nieces and nephew to see — I know. It’s an adult movie and they’re still in elementary school or younger. But, I really want this to be something I can share with them. They need female super heroes. Preferably more than one at a time / one per movie. But, baby steps.
  • LGBTQ+ friendly — I mean, it is Pride month. Could this be the first blockbuster super hero movie with cannon queer characters (Bucky and Cap fanfic aside)? That would be nice.
  • That this is not the last female-led super hero film (or action film, for that matter).

    If you’re already seen the movie, I have two things to say to you. 1) Lucky! And 2) don’t spoil it for me (or anyone).

    If you haven’t seen the movie yet, comment and let me know what you’re hoping to see on the screen! 

    Wishing everyone a very excellent WW Day! 

    May reading summary and June TBR

    Lately, I feel like all I can think about, all I want to think about, is books and writing. Seriously. I’ve become a bit obsessed.

    Here are the books I read in May (links go to Goodreads):

    • A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (Kindle, pre-order) — I hate to say it, but I was really disappointed in this book. I had a LOT of issues with the first book in this series. I LOVED the second book in this series. And this one, the third book (but, oh no, not the last… why not? why do we need more? ugh.) disappointed me. I never felt like any of the characters were in any real danger. There wasn’t a lot of tension. The plot was incredibly linear with no real surprises. Even the “surprise betrayal” at the end wasn’t really a betrayal, or even a surprise. I don’t know. I think I’m just done with SJM for a while. She does what she does well, but I’m just not that into what she does anymore, and I think there are others out there who may be doing it better, or at least taking this type of story in new directions. I think it’s time for me to go find those books.
    • Act Like It by Lucy Parker (Kindle, library) — This one took me a while to get into. The voice is very British (it’s set in the London theater scene and the characters are British), which I enjoyed, but it took me a minute to adapt. Also, I know almost nothing about the theater, so all theater references were completely lost on me. Still, this is a really well written romance novel and, once I got into it, I devoured it and really enjoyed it.
    • The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi (Kindle, library) — Oh, man did I ever love this book. I loved it more than I thought that I would, and it gave me the worst “book hangover” after I finished it. All I wanted to read was more books with these characters set in this world and that doesn’t yet exist, which completely bummed me out. In case you were wondering, (unsurprisingly) Kiva Lagos is my favorite character. And, if you’ve read the book and loved it, you should check out this “fan-casting” post for an excellent take on who should play what part in the inevitable movie version of this book.
    • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (Kindle) — I am so late to the party on this book. I’ve had it forever, but never got around to reading it. I still haven’t read her Shadow and Bone series that came before this and is set in the same world. It was a good choice to follow The Collapsing Empire and helped pull me out of my “book hangover” because it’s a very good heist novel and adventure story with excellent characters. I immediately reserved the companion book from the library so I could find out what happens next.
    • Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy (Kindle, library) — I really, really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. There’s so much to enjoy here, the characters are well crafted, the setting is vivid and unique. But one thing I was particularly pleased by was the swimming. I’m always nervous reading books that feature characters who are swimmers. But, I have to say, as a competitive swimmer through high school who now participates in Masters Swimming, the author did a GREAT job with the swimming stuff.

    I certainly crammed a lot of reading into this month. Over 2,200 pages, if you count my in-progress books. Nice work, me!

    I will say that having a relaxing beach vacation in there with no internet connectivity and a hammock in the shade really helped. Alas, I have no beach vacations planned for June. Oh well.

    At least having several days without internet helped ween me off my obsessive Twitter addiction. The downside is that I am feeling like I have no idea what’s going on in the world. The upside is that I don’t really mind taking a bit of a break from knowing what’s going on in the world… and also, more reading time.

    Assuming that I can continue to steer clear of internet distractions, I’d really like to check off some more of my 2017 Read Harder challenge task list in June. Plus there are so many awesome new releases that I’d like to read. But, rather than list all the books I *might* read in June, I tried to narrow my TBR down to just the books I think it’s very likely that I’ll read in June.

    So far, these are the books on my June TBR (links go to Goodreads):

    • Kraken by China Miéville (Kindle) — I started this for #TomeTopple back in April, and I’ve been chipping away at it since then. I’m enjoying it, but it is NOT a fast read.
    • Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (Kindle, library) — I started this but didn’t have time to finish this before the end of May. It’s a library loan, so I need to finish it before Our Dark Duet comes out on 6/13 or else I won’t be able to take my Kindle off airplane mode to get my pre-order on release day. (#ReaderProblems)
    • Lux and Lies by Meg Collett (paperback) — I met Meg at Madcap earlier this year. She’s awesome, and I’m so excited to read this first book in her new series that just released in May. It’s being pitched as “Mr. Robot meets UnReal in a story of celebrities and anarchists,” and it sounds fantastic. I’m hoping I have time to sneak this in between Crooked Kingdom and Our Dark Duet.
    • When Dimple Met Rishi (Kindle, library) — I requested this from my library, but I’m not sure if I’m going to get it this month or not. If I don’t get a notification soon, I may just break down and buy a copy because I really, REALLY want to read this book.
    • Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab (Kindle, pre-order) — This one is going to be a “drop everything and read immediately” book. I am SO excited for this companion book to This Savage Song, which was one of my favorite books I read last year. Oh, and in case you didn’t notice, it’s written by one of my favorite authors.
    • Bitch Planet, Vol. 2: President Bitch by Kelly Sue DeConnick (Trade paper) — I’ve been waiting FOREVER for volume 2 of this comic. I *think* it’s finally going to ship this time. Fingers crossed, it arrives on 6 June. Woo hoo!

    Basically, June looks like it’s going to be a big month for new releases. There are a few more that I haven’t even listed here that I’ve requested at the library. I’m hoping that I get them, but I won’t know if they ordered them or not until after release day. Somewhere in here I also have to squeeze in some more backlist books to check off Read Harder tasks. I could seriously make a full time job of reading. And writing. 🙂