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. 🙂

Recommendations needed for what to read from books on my ebook TBR

One of my reading goals for 2017 was to stop buying more books (especially ebooks on sale) and put a dent in the backlist of books already on my Kindle.

So far, I’m doing pretty well with the book buying ban. Of the 16 ebooks I’ve purchased this year, only 5 are unread. One is a new release that I’ll probably read in June. The other four I bought on sale, but will almost definitely read this year.

But, because I’ve been reading (and buying) a lot of new releases, I haven’t put much of a dent in my backlist of ebooks. I’ve been pulling from my backlist wherever possible to meet my 2017 Read Harder Challenge tasks. A few of the books below are ones I plan to read for to-be-completed tasks, but there are still almost 100 fiction books on my Kindle TBR.

So, I’m putting the question to you, dear readers. What do you see below that is jumping out at you? What’s on here that, knowing what you know about me from my blog (or IRL), you can’t believe I haven’t read yet and absolutely need to read next? What am I going to love?

Comment below (or respond on Twitter) and tell me your thoughts on what I should read next and/or what I should put onto my upcoming vacation TBR. Alternatively… tell me which ones I can skip without feeling bad. 😉

April reading summary and May TBR

April started off great and then went downhill fast at the end of the month. I got really sick last week, and I haven’t had energy for reading or writing or pretty much anything. I’m still recovering and that means my birthday month is not off to a great start. More on that in a bit. First, let’s recap what I did manage to read before everything went sideways.

Here is what I read in April with my very brief assessment of each (links go to Goodreads):

 

  • A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi (Kindle, pre-order) — I liked this even more than her first book. I think that is because I liked the hero and the heroine more (their banter is great) and because I’m a sucker for a good quest/adventure story. As always, Roshani’s world-building is magical and her writing full of lush descriptions.
  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (Kindle, pre-order) — I love, love, loved this book. Laini Taylor is #WritingGoals for me when it comes to world-building and telling stories that play with that grey area between “gods” and “monsters” (aka: what you think is good vs. what you think is evil).
  • Gemina by by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Hardcover) — I finally got around to reading (devouring, more like) this sequel to Illuminae. I liked it at least as much as the first book, if not more. I really enjoyed the characters in this one, and I can’t wait to read the next book in this series!
  • George by Alex Gino (Kindle) — Middle grade books are not my jam, but I really wanted to read this one to learn more about the experience of transgender kids (I’m pretty sure it’s written by #OwnVoices). I’m also using this one to count for my Read Harder challenge for the “read a frequently banned or challenged” book task.

I have several more in-progress books that I’d planned to finish last week. Now that I’m starting to feel better, I’m hoping I’ll get a chance to finish them. But, other than finishing in-progress (and library loan) books, I’ve decided that I’m not making a TBR for May. Instead, I’m planning on reading exactly what I feel like reading this month, when I feel like reading it.

So far, these are the books I’m interested in reading/finishing in May (links go to Goodreads):

 

  • Kraken by China Miéville (Kindle) — I started this one during Tome Topple, thought I’d finish it in April, but then I got sick. Now I’m planning on finishing this one in May. It’s different than what I usually read, which is good, and I’m enjoying it so far.
  • The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi (Kindle, library) — I meant to start this one last week (after I finished Kraken), but that didn’t happen. Since it’s on loan from the library, I’d really like to finish this before I have to return it.
  • Act Like It by Lucy Parker (Kindle, library) — I requested that my library purchase this on Kindle, and they just notified me that they did and my loan is ready to read. I wasn’t really expecting that, but I think this will be a light, fun, fast read, just the sort of thing to read when you’re not feeling well.
  • A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (Kindle, pre-order) — I’ve been looking forward to this book, even though SJM has been squarely in my “problematic faves” category of authors since at least ACoTaR, if not before. I could write an entire essay on my issues with her books (and it’s why I’ve been putting off reading Empire of Storms), but I really want to know what happens in this series. So, I’m reading this, but I’m definitely not pre-ordering any more of her books.

Here’s hoping that May starts to get better soon. I think the universe may be telling me that I need to just chill a bit more. I’m planning on taking the hint and taking it easy this month.

March reading summary and April TBR

March has gone by in a blur, filled mostly with work, but also with visits from friends, some editing, and a lot of reading.

Here is what I read in March with my very brief assessment of each (links go to Goodreads):

 

  • Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (Kindle, library) — This was a short and entertaining read — exactly what I’d expect from master storyteller, Neil Gaiman.
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Kindle, pre-order) — The voice, the characters, the family dynamic… everything about this book was amazing, and I LOVED it. Highly recommend.
  • The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin (Kindle) — Every once in a while you find a book/series that you just love so much that you want to shove it into everyone’s hands and make them read it because you want everyone to love it as much as you do. That’s me with this series.
  • The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman (Kindle, library) — I know I said I was giving up on this series, but I forgot to release my hold at the library. Lucky for me, I liked this final book in the series much better than the first two books.
  • Freedom’s Landing by Anne McCaffrey (Overdrive, library) — On a whim, I decided to re-read this favorite from my teenage years. The story definitely holds up, but the prose felt surprisingly old-fashioned at times.
  • A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab (Kindle, pre-order) — I’m glad I held off on starting this until I could savor it. Even though I ended up spreading out my reading over a full week, it still ended too soon (but in a very satisfying way). I’m going to miss this world.

I’d thought I’d have time to read A Crown of Wishes as well, but this week has been a blur of activity with very little time left for reading. So, that will be the first book I read in April, instead of the last book I read in March. As for the rest of my April TBR…

I wasn’t going to create a TBR for April because I’m planning on participating in Camp NaNoWriMo. It’s a more casual version of the real thing where you set your own word count goal for the month. I’m setting a goal of 30k words, which I think should allow me to finish the first draft of the novel I started back in November.

Writing 1k words/day on average isn’t that hard for me, once I get going. On a good day, that’s only about an hour of writing. So, I’m hoping I’ll still have time to read this month. The problem is, once I let myself start thinking about what I wanted to read, my TBR got a little out of hand…

Before I get into my list, let me reassure you, I have absolutely zero intention of reading ALL of these books in April. I fully expect that a lot of these will be flowing over into next month’s TBR. I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to use the #TomeTopple Readathon (books over 500 pages read during 4/7 thru 4/20, midnight to midnight in your timezone) and the 2017 Read Harder Challenge task list to help me bust some of my Kindle backlist.

Here’s what I put on my TBR for April (links go to Goodreads):

  • #TomeTopple TBR (listed from longest to shortest):
    • Reamde by Neal Stephenson (Kindle) — This book has been on my TBR forever. Seriously. I bought it on 7/30/2013. But guys… it’s over 1050 pages long. This book alone is equivalent to 2 Tome Topple books. It could take me the entire time just to read this one book, and there are so many others in this section that I really want to read. I’m not sure if I start with this one or save it until after I’ve read one or two of the others…
    • Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (Kindle) — I pre-ordered this and then never had a chance to read it. I started it and got a little frustrated because I was struggling to remember who everyone was (so many new names I’d forgotten!), and I set it aside. I plan to tackle it during Tome Topple, and maybe resort to Wikipedia if my memory doesn’t kick in and remind me who’s who after the first few chapters…
    • Gemina by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff (hardcover) — This is another that I’d pre-ordered and never got around to reading, mostly because
    • Poseidon’s Wake by Alastair Reynolds (Kindle) — Oh, hey! Another pre-order that I didn’t ever read when it came out. (This is partly why I made new rules about buying books this year.)
    • Kraken by China Miéville (Kindle) — I got this one for Christmas from “Santa Mom.” I’m hoping I have time to get to it, but it’s definitely in the second half of my list for this Readathon. So, it may roll over into next month.
    • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (Kindle) — I pre-ordered this, but it came out the same day as A Crown of Wishes, and I had to make a choice. So, I decided to save this one for Tome Topple.
  • Books for the Read Harder Challenge:
    • The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (Kindle) — For the “Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative” task.
    • The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown (Kindle) — For the “Read a book about sports” task.
    • Hold Me by Courtney Milan (Kindle) — For the “Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel” task.
    • Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor (Kindle) — For the “Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location” task.
    • Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Kindle) — For the “Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author” task.
    • George by Alex Gino (Kindle) — For the “Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+” task.

The books I’ve selected for the Read Harder Challenge are all ones that I already own (some that I purchased a LONG time ago). They’re all ones that I really want to read, and many come highly recommended, but I’m not 100% sure which to start with, yet. To that end, if there are any on that list that you think I should start with because they are your absolute favorite and you think I’ll love it, please let me know in the comments.

And that’s it for March. Bring on the spring!

February reading summary and March TBR

I read (almost) everything on my February TBR! And I went to a writing workshop, plus edited a huge chunk of my novel… AND I started a new job (same company) this month! So, overall February was a major win for me.

Here is what I read in February with my very brief assessment of each (links go to Goodreads):

February2017

  • Writing the Other by Nisi Shawl and CynthiaWard (kindle) — excellent tips and writing exercises, highly recommend this for all writers
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (hardcover, signed special edition) — sweeping multi-generation saga with fantastic writing, definitely lives up to the hype
  • Home (Binti #2) by Nnedi Okorafor  (kindle) — starts off a little slow, but gets really interesting when Binti gets into the deep desert, left me wanting more
  • The Book Smugglers’ Quarterly Almanac: Volume 2 edited by The Book Smugglers (kindle) — this is so full of excellent essays and short stories all relating to the theme of amazing, powerful, and diverse women, highly recommend buying this
  • Playing in the Dark by Toni Morrison (kindle) — insightful and thought provoking literary critique on the role of African Americans in “classic” American Literature

Next month I’m planning on catching up with new books and pre-orders. I have one roll-over from February, two that I bought last month but didn’t get a chance to read, one new book out on library loan, and two pre-orders that will show up at the end of March.

Here’s what’s on my TBR for March (links go to Goodreads):

March2017TBR

  • The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth, #2) by N. K. Jemisin (kindle, pre-order) — My one hold over from my February TBR. I switched gears from reading to writing after the writing workshop, and before I knew it, the month was over. I am dying to read this, but I really want a chunk of uninterrupted time to read so I can immerse myself in this world I love.
  • Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (kindle, library) — Somehow I managed to get this from the library within weeks of its release date, on kindle. I’m slightly shocked. I haven’t started it yet, but I’m not about to let this opportunity slip out of my hands. However, I definitely need to read this before the end of March due to some incoming pre-orders that will require my kindle to be off airplane mode.
  • A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic, #3) by V. E. Schwab (kindle, pre-order) — It’s the last book in this series! Book 2 ended on a bit of a cliff hanger, so I’m anxious to see what happens. It took all my willpower not to just dive right in, but I really want to savor this one. So, I’m making myself wait until I’m done with my edits…
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (kindle, pre-order) — I’ve been following this author and book since she got her agent. I am so excited to read this book that I think I will likely dive into this one before all the others.
  • Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1) by Laini Taylor (kindle, pre-order) — I just talked about this one in my Mar/Apr pre-order post, so all I’ll say here is that I’ve been waiting for this one for a long time, but I still might hold off a few days so I can devour it in one go over the weekend. If I do, that will technically roll this to my April TBR, but whatever.
  • A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen, #2) by Roshani Chokshi (kindle, pre-order) — I also talked about this one in my Mar/Apr pre-order post. This happens to come out on the same day as Laini Taylor’s book, which is going to make for some hard decisions for me… BUT, I think I may dive into this one first. I have a feeling this is going to be one I won’t want to put down, which means I’ll probably be reading on the sly on my phone when I’m supposed to be working. Shhh…

Against my better judgement, I’m getting a little ambitious with my TBR this month. Realistically, I’m never going to have enough free time to read all these books before the end of March. Maybe I would if all I wanted to do is read (which is sometimes the case). But, I finally had a break-through on something that was bugging me about one of my novels after getting feedback from a freelance editor. Now I’m in the middle of frantically revising, trying to finish before I lose the thread. That alone will likely take most of my free-time in March. I also have two other writing projects I want to work on, plus I’m in the middle of ramping up on my new position in my day job. So, yeah. March is going to be a busy month, but reading (and swimming) is what keeps me sane. So, as usual, I’ll find (make) time for everything.

January reading summary and February TBR

I only managed to read 4 books in January, and one of them was a novella. But, it’s not bad for a month where my brain was highly preoccupied with work/life decisions and politics.

January2017

Here is my very brief assessment of each (links go to Goodreads):

  • Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton (kindle) — I am such a sucker for books set in the dance world, and this did not disappoint. If you also love books about dancers, and/or YA psychological thrillers, you’ll probably also enjoy this book.
  • Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire (kindle) — This one wasn’t really my jam, but if you like ghosts and witches, you may really love this novella.
  • The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (kindle) — I enjoyed this one and read it really quickly. But, it contained a few elements that aren’t really my favorite. I’m not a big fan of “underworld” settings, and I’m not a big fan of the fantasy trope where the hero is keeping a great big secret that he can’t tell the heroine and she just has to trust him (like Beauty and the Beast). If you’re into those types of stories, you’ll probably really love this book.
  • Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski (kindle, library) — This is the book that they should use as a reference text in sex ed classes. I was a little bummed by the fact that it’s very much a “pop” science book. I probably would have enjoyed slightly less “pop” and slightly more “science,” but there are footnotes galore for anyone looking to follow up and get more science. Overall, I think this is a very important book (even if you think you know everything about your body and your sex life is great) that more people need to know about.

What I plan to read in February…

February2017TBR

I’ve decided to include as many books by black authors as much as possible on my February TBR in honor of Black History Month. Here are the books I’ve selected to read this month (links go to Goodreads):

  • Writing the Other by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward (kindle) — This is an essay based on a 1992 Clarion West Writers Workshop that I’m reading in preparation for the world-building workshop I’m attending this month. So excited!
  • Playing in the Dark by Toni Morrison (kindle) — This is another short non-fiction work I’m reading in preparation for the world-building workshop I’m attending this month. So excited!
  • Home (Binti #2) by Nnedi Okorafor (kindle) — This one just came out on Tuesday. I had it pre-ordered, but I had to wait until I’d finished my (overdue) library loan before I could turn my Kindle off airplane mode and pull down this novella.
  • The Book Smugglers’ Quarterly Almanac: Volume 2 by various authors (kindle) — I started this over Christmas break, and I’ve been skipping around, reading the various essays and reviews. I haven’t got to the short fiction yet, but so far everything is top notch. Just like the first volume.
  • The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth, #2) by N. K. Jemisin (kindle) — I’m so excited to read this follow up to what ended up being my favorite book I read in 2016.
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gaasi (hardcover) — I’ve had this on my TBR for WAY too long. Months ago, I got about 50 pages in and had to put it down. Yesterday, I re-started it from the beginning. Now I’m about 1/3 of the way done with it, and I plan to finish this by the end of this week. My delay in reading this has nothing to do with how much I like it. It’s purely a form-factor thing. I just have limited time available for reading hardcover books.

Since several of these are shorter length pieces, I think this is a totally do-able TBR for February. And, since I’m working on setting more realistic goals for myself, that’s a good thing. Maybe more on that in a future post… Until then, Happy Groundhog’s Day! I hope you have plenty of good books to read to get you through the six more weeks of winter predicted by that lovable, marmot mascot, Phil! 🙂

My December TBR is out of control

I didn’t finish any books in November. I tried to read a little bit, but between NaNoWriMo and the election, I just couldn’t make much progress reading anything except Twitter. As a result, I have quite a bit of catching up to do if I hope to meet my 2016 Goodreads challenge goal of 50 books.

Current status:

GoodreadsChallenge2016-DecStatus

I have 6 books to go, and I’m 2 books behind schedule. And let’s just ignore the fact that some of those 44 books read have actually been novellas and comics trade volumes. For some purists, those wouldn’t even really count. But, I’m counting them. And, with Christmas vacation coming up, I think I’ll be able to achieve my 50 book goal.

However, I’ve definitely given up on my other 2016 reading goal, the Book Riot Read Harder 2016 Challenge. It’s just not happening. I wasn’t officially participating this year, anyway. So, no big disappointment there.

What have I learned from all this? Oh yeah, the same thing I learned last year. No. More. Reading. Challenges.

But, I mean it this time. Seriously.

Well… except I will maybe still do the Goodreads Challenge next year… but I’m dialing my goal back to 3 books per month, average. More on that when I post about my 2017 goals.

This post was supposed to be about my December TBR. So, let’s get back to that.

It should come as no surprise that I have an enormous TBR pile at this point. There are SO MANY books that I really want to be reading right now. I made myself narrow that list down to 12. There is no way I’ll read that many books in December, so I’ve prioritized them into two batches.

These 6 are at the top of my list:

December2016TBR-part1

  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi — I started this book, loved the first chapters, then had to put it down to do other stuff. I am dying to get back to it, and I am determined for that to happen before the end of this year.
  • Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin — I’ve not done my “best of 2016” list year, but I think it’s safe to say that book one in this series is definitely going to be on my top 5 list for books I read this year. I am so excited to dive into this next book.
  • Alterations by Stephanie Scott — This one just released today, and it’s a modern, YA re-telling of the movie Sabrina. I love that movie (the original more than the re-do), and I can’t wait to read this book. Plus, I know the author from Twitter, and she seems super cool.
  • The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi — I’ve wanted to read this book for a while, but it’s recently been moved to the top of my list due to reasons that shall be explained later…
  • The Magician King by Lev Grossman — I am rediculously, crazy excited for season 2 of The Magicians on the SyFy channel (starts in January). If you liked this series and aren’t watching that show, you should be. I’m determined to at least read book 2 before season 2 starts, even though I think there are major deviations between the books and the show (in a good way).
  • Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff — This is the sequel to Illuminaewhich I loved. I pre-ordered this one, and I’ve had it for almost two months now, but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. Because of how the story is told (through found documents, same as the first book), I bought the hardcover edition (again, same as the first book). But (like the first book) the hardcover is enormous, and I haven’t wanted to drag it with me on the bus. So, it’s coming with me on Christmas vacation instead.

As if that wasn’t enough end-of-year reading, I also really want to read these:

December2016TBR-part2

  • The Year of the Crocodile by Courtney Milan — a Christmas themed novella featuring the hero and heroine from her novel Trade Me that I read earlier this year and highly recommend.
  • Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton — I’ve owned this for months and it’s been on my TBR even longer. It’s a dance book. I can’t believe I haven’t read it yet.
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo — This went on sale recently, and I bought it. I still haven’t read her first series, but I’ve heard such great things about this book, I may start here.
  • Nuts by Alice Clayton — I grabbed this one when it was on sale after hearing great things about it. Seems like a fun diversion.
  • Bedmates by Nichole Chase — I loved her Suddenly Royal series, and I’ve heard good things about this first book in her new series.
  • Rebel’s Honor by Gwynn White — There’s a really long story behind this one… Short version is, this is by the wife of Andrew St. Pierre White of Overland Expo and 4xOverland fame. My husband is a big fan of Andrew’s videos, and we met Andrew and Gwynn back in April. I am really curious to read this book because it’s a strange coincidence Gwynn and I apparently write in the same genre.

But before I do any of that, I need to finish the book I’m currently reading:

NovReading Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho — I started this in November, but haven’t made much progress. It’s good, but it’s just not capturing my attention the way I thought it would. I can completely understand why this book is getting so much attention. It’s good. It deserves all the praise it’s getting. It’s just not quite what I’m looking for right at this moment. But, I’m enjoying it, and it’s on loan from the library (I had to renew it). So, I’m going to finish it before moving on.

Beyond all those, I still have the remaining stack of books that I either pre-ordered this year, or that I received from my Indiespensible subscription, but haven’t read yet:

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  • Poseidon’s Wake by Alastair Reynolds — This is the third and final book in this series that I am really enjoying
  • Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas — This is book five in this series. Normally I would have devoured this one already, but early reviews were less than gushing. So, I’ve been letting it sit for a while.
  • City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg — This book is enormous. I got it from my Indiespensible subscription box and probably wouldn’t have otherwise picked it up.
  • Best Boy and The Boy Who Went Away by Eli Gottlieb — Both of these also came from Indiespensible and probably weren’t ones I’d have picked up otherwise.
  • Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg — Also from Indiespensible and also something I probably wouldn’t have selected on my own, but the blurb and reviews have piqued my interest.
  • Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt — Another Indiespensible selection, but one I am really looking forward to reading.
  • A Doubter’s Almanac by Ethan Canin — More Indiespensible that I probably wouldn’t have noticed but the blurb and interview with the author make me really want to read it.
  • Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee — I’ve heard this one is really hard to get into, but every review I’ve read puts this squarely into my sci-fi wheelhouse. So, I’m determined to give it a shot.
  • Barkskins by Annie Proulx — Recieved this from Indiespensible and my husband grabbed it to read. I think he’s only halfway through, but enjoying it.
  • Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer — Another Indiespensible pick. I worried this was yet another “white guy literary book,” but the blurb and the reviews have me thinking that may not be the case. So, I’m tentatively interested.
  • Hold Me by Courtney Milan — This is the second book in this series and everything I’ve heard about it so far makes me really want to read it. I just haven’t had a chance to get to it yet.

So, yeah. I need more reading time. And I probably need to stop buying new books. To that end, I’ve canceled my Indiespensible subscription. It made me sad to do it, but I just can’t keep up (clearly). I do have some books on my Christmas list (more about that in a future blog post). But I’m going to try even harder next year to stick to reading what I have or getting books from the library.

Given that I have so much to choose from here — and really, this only scratches the surface of what I have unread on my Kindle — is there anything jumping out at you? Anything you’ve already read that you’d highly recommend me pushing to the top of my list? Anything you want me to read so I can report back and let you know if it’s any good?

If you have thoughts, let me know in the comments…

#TopTenTuesday: ten books I’ve added to my TBR list lately

While I’m busy adding words to my NaNoWriMo project, enjoy this Top Ten Tuesday post featuring a list of the ten books I’ve added to my TBR most recently…

RecentTBRAdds-Nov2016

  1. Thick as Thieves (The Queen’s Thief, #5) by Megan Whalen Turner — YAY! We’re getting another book in this fantastic series! But, we’re not getting it until May of next year… in the meantime, I went out and bought the existing books on Kindle so that I can re-read them. It’s been a while, but this is one of my favorite series.
  2. A Change of Heart by Sonali Dev — I still haven’t read her second book yet (Bollywood Bride), but I loved the first one so much, and the premise for this one sounds like there might be some magical realism involved. I’m intrigued.
  3. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman — Neil Gaiman plus any type of mythology is pretty much my kryptonite. Neil Gaiman plus Norse mythology has me basically just standing here with a fist full of money trying to decide between Kindle and hardcover. At least I have a little time to decide because it doesn’t come out until February…
  4. Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple — I loved her first book (Where’d You Go Bernadette). So, of course this one immediately went on my TBR list. It sounds like it will be very similar, but that’s okay by me.
  5. Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children #2) by Seanan McGuire — I have to wait until June for this one… it’s a follow-up to one of my favorite novellas I’ve read this year (Every Heart a Doorway). I am so excited for this book!
  6. Revenger by Alastair Reynolds — One of my favorite sci-fi authors wrote a sorta, kinda (according to some people) YA sci-fi novel! If that’s supposed to turn me off on this book, it did not work. I think Alastair Reynolds writing YA is a great idea, and I can’t wait to read this one!
  7. Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, #1) by Kendare Blake — I keep hearing great things about this book, and the premise (three sisters who have to fight to the death to become queen) has me super curious. This one is high on my list for my post-NaNo reading binge.
  8. A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2) by Becky Chambers — This one is a follow up to A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, but this time we get a deep dive on the AI stuff… this was one area where I felt like the first book fell a bit flat for me. So, I’m interested to see where they go with this… but, I’m thinking I’ll get it from my library instead of buying it.
  9. Kraken by China Miéville — I can’t even remember anymore where I heard about this book. I think it was on one of the podcasts I listen to… Anyway, myth plus magic plus London plus a giant squid sounded so freaking amazing that I just had to add it to my TBR. I’ve never read anything by him, but I’ve been meaning to for some time now. I’m hoping this is a good place to start.
  10. The Queen of Blood: Book One of The Queens of Renthia by Sarah Beth Durst — This is another one that I can’t remember how I found out about. I think maybe it was the comparisons to Uprooted and Name of the Wind that got my attention, but the premise sounds just different enough than all the other fantasy I keep seeing over and over again out there, that I added it to my TBR. Something about this book makes me think I might enjoy it more in paperback, but we’ll see.

If you’ve read any of these, or have any thoughts you’d like to share, leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

October TBR

I took a long, hard look at the books on my Kindle, and the TBR pile on my bookshelf, and had to make some hard decisions about what I wanted to make sure I read before the end of this year.

The priority for October is to finish the two books I want to read in preparation for NaNoWriMo this year. The rest of my October reading list is made up of books that I’ve shuffled to the top of my TBR for a variety of reasons.

I’m not planning on doing much, if any, reading in November. So, whatever I don’t read this month will probably end up getting pushed to December.

October2016TBR

  • Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel by Michio Kaku (paperback) — I just bought this one to do a little pop science research for my sci-fi WIP that I’m planning to write in November. Not sure if it will help, but it looks promising.
  • Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates by David Cordingly (paperback) — I’ve been meaning to read this for a while now for writing research. Now time is running out and I need to read it before November.
  • The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin (Kindle) — I bought this a while ago (July?), and lately everywhere I look there is a glowing review about this book. It’s time. I need to read it before the end of this year. And then I need to read the sequel.
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Hardcover, signed special edition) — I still haven’t been able to find time to read this book. This is what happens when I have a hardcover and I do most of my reading on my Kindle during my commute.
  • The Magician King by Lev Grossman (Kindle, library) — I may or may not get to this one this month, but I do want to read it before the TV series starts up again in January.
  • Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas (Kindle, pre-order) — This is another one that my have to get pushed to post-NaNoWriMo. I wanted to read this right away when it came out, but writing is the priority for October and November. So, as much as I want to dig into this and read it before everyone else has and spoilers have invaded the internet, this may have to wait.

September in Review

September did not exactly go as planned. This is the first time in a long time that’s happened. I’d created some fairly ambitious goals for September, and I accomplished ~3/5, barely.

You may not be able to tell from this blog, but I’ve been pushing myself pretty hard this year. It’s gone beyond “burning the candle at both ends.” Between work stuff, writing stuff, and personal stuff (swimming, reading, social, etc.), it feels like I’ve cut the candle into a bunch of smaller pieces so I could burn each of those at both ends. As a result, this month I may finally have snapped.

Mid-month, I decided to dial it way back and re-set my expectations about what I want to accomplish for the rest of this year. More on that (maybe) in a future blog post. This one is just meant to be a September wrap-up.

Let’s recap each of my goals (since I posted them for ya’ll to see…)…

1. SWIM at least 4 x 3300 yards per week

This would have resulted in ~52.8k yards swum in September. I actually ended up swimming 15 days for a total of 53k yards. So, I did okay on the yardage, but 15 days isn’t quite 4x per week. Still, I’m considering this one accomplished, but just barely.

2. READ at least 1 book per week on average

There were four weeks plus three days in September, and I read three novels, one short non-fiction book, one comic trade, and one “quarterly almanac” of short stories and book/movie reviews. So, I’m calling this one accomplished as well, but also just barely.

Here’s what I read this month (links take you to my Goodreads reviews):

September2016

 

  • This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (Kindle, pre-order) — Supposedly this is VES in her “YA” mode. It’s the first of her “YA” books I’ve read. That said, it didn’t really feel much more “YA” than her Shades of Magic series. This may have something to do with the fact that it had that gritty almost-real-world feel to the world-building, plus the dark complexity around what makes someone a hero vs. a villian that Vicious did. So, yeah. I loved it and want more, please.
  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (Kindle) — This book is like if you took the anthropological world building of an Ursula Le Guin book and crossed it with the TV show Firefly. I had a few small quibbles with parts of this book when I thought about it critically (see my Goodreads review for more on this, if you’re curious). But, overall, I loved it and I can’t wait to read more stories set in this world. Apparently, there is a new one coming out in October! Woo hoo!
  • A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab (Kindle, library) — Book two in the series, and it ends on a massive cliff-hanger. Most of this story takes place around VES’s equivalent of the “tri-wizard tournament” in Harry Potter. In the process, we get to know our main characters better, and we learn a little more about magic in this world. I’m looking forward to the final book in this series, and I’m bummed that I have to wait until next year for its release. NOTE: my Goodreads review contains spoilers. Don’t click on the link above if you don’t want to be spoiled.
  • Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates (trade paper) — I know nothing about Black Panther except that he was in the latest Captain America movie. I do know that I really like Mr. Coates’s writing (I took note of his articles in The Atlantic and started following him long before Between the World and Me). This comic was really dense and satisfying because of that. There is definitely a much more complex story building here than I feel like you usually get in most Marvel comics. This feels more like volume one of Bitch Planet or The Wicked & The Divine than any of the recent X-Men volumes I’ve been consuming. This is a good thing. Our superhero stories could use more depth.
  • Making It Right: Product Management For A Startup World by  Rian Van Der Merwe (Safari Books Online) — I’ve been thinking about my day-job a lot and realizing more and more that what I really want is to get closer to the engineering side of the world. I should have been a software engineer. I may still, someday, become a software engineer. But, in the meantime, I wanted to learn a little more about the difference between Program Managers and Product Managers. This book did a great job explaining what makes a great Product Manager and what great Product Managers do to ship great products. Highly recommend this one if you are considering becoming a Product Manager.
  • The Book Smugglers’ Quarterly Almanac: June 2016 edited by The Book Smugglers (Kindle) — This collection had a “superhero” theme. It included some excellent reviews for some books I want to read and some superhero movies (one I saw and one I skipped). Plus, there were a few short stories and essays. All were very good, a few were fantastic. The only hang-up I had was the copy editing. For some reason there were a ton of copy edit errors in my Kindle version.

3. NaNoWriMo Prep

Well, I picked which project I’m going to work on. But I didn’t write a plot synopsis for any of the ideas I was considering. So, I should maybe just get partial credit for this goal. I’m pretty excited about this idea though… and I’m excited to dive into prep and research in October. It feels good to be back in “creation” mode again after months and months and months of editing.

I’ve also been working hard on getting my region ready for NaNoWriMo. I’ve been scheduling write-ins and the kick-off and TGIO parties. I’m working on prizes and prep sessions. I’ve already hit my first fundraising goal, and now I’m trying to see if I can raise a little more so I can bring a guest. I’m probably completely over-committing, but I’d rather start strong and see how it goes. I think I can make it work. It’s just a month. How bad could it be? (Famous last words…)

4. Re-read “Falling” and decide next steps

I didn’t even try to do this. I had too much else going on and decided that I didn’t want to try to push another project through before NaNoWriMo starts. I decided that I needed a break. So, all non-NaNoWriMo writing projects are officially on hold until January.

5. “Good clean living…” (no sweets, no alcohol except for one “cheat day” per week)

Yeah…. this did not happen. I bailed on this one pretty early. I don’t know what I was thinking. September is my husband’s birthday month, and if he was eating pie and drinking a beer, I certainly wasn’t going to just sit there and watch him! Plus, I had no real solid motivating factor here to keep me on the wagon. It’s not like I’m trying to lose weight or anything. This activity is best reserved for January as a post-holiday “cleanse” of sorts.

Oh, and this wasn’t exactly in my goals, but I totally bailed on that Instagram challenge (#IGAuthorLifeSept) that I said I was going to do in September.

Still, for a month where nothing seemed to be going as planned, I got the important stuff done. And, I definitely learned my lesson. Sometimes you just need a month to relax and re-group. I’m making a note of this and mentally scheduling December as my next “relax and re-group” month. After NaNoWriMo, I have a feeling I’ll need it!