Wrap Up: January 2019 or I am bingereading.

January was tough, work wise. I had a ridiculous amount of stuff to do – and I did not feel like reading anything that challenged me in my free time. What also suffered from my month of hell was blogging in general – I have neither written very many blog posts nor have I read very many of other people’s (which is something I am truly sorry for but which cannot be helped at the moment. I really am drowning in work.).

Books I read in January:

 

  1. The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy #3) by Katherine Arden: 5 out of 5 stars (Review)
  2. Visions of Heat (Psy-Changeling #2) by Nalini Singh: 2 out of 5 stars
  3. Caressed by Ice (Psy-Changeling #3) by Nalini Singh: 3,5 out of 5 stars
  4. Mine to Possess (Psy-Changeling #4) by Nalini Singh: 3 out of 5 stars
  5. Hostage to Pleasure (Psy-Changeling #5) by Nalini Singh: 2,5 out of 5 stars
  6. Branded by Fire (Psy-Changeling #6) by Nalini Singh: 4 out of 5 stars
  7. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid: 4 out of 5 stars (Review)
  8. Blaze of Memory (Psy-Changeling #7) by Nalini Singh: 2 out of 5 stars
  9. Thick by Tressie McMillan Cottom: 4 out of 5 stars (Mini-Review)
  10. 300 Arguments by Sarah Manguso: 3 out of 5 stars (Mini-Review)
  11. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng: 4 out of 5 stars
  12. Bonds of Justice (Psy-Changeling #8): 3 out of 5 stars
  13. Play of Passion (Psy-Changeling #9): 4 out of 5 stars

Favourite of the Month:

The Winter of the Witch was an absolutely stunning conclusion to a series I have loved immensely. I cannot wait to read everything Katherine Arden comes up with next.

I also really enjoyed binge-reading the a large chunk of Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series. There is something about her writing and her world-building that I particularly enjoy. The whole is also better than the sum of its parts and I don’t see myself stopping reading this series anytime soon.

Continue reading “Wrap Up: January 2019 or I am bingereading.”

Book Postscript 2018 Tag

I have not gotten around to write a proper wrap up post for this year – but I got tagged by the lovely Rachel for this tag (created by Adam @ Memento Mori on Booktube) and figured this is the perfect way to wrap up.

1. The longest book you read this year and the book that took you the longest to finish.

12591698The longest book I read this year was Caliban’s War, the second book in the Expanse series by James S. A. Corey (review here). I did not read very many long books this year. Part of that has to do with reading less High Fantasy, part has to do with me often picking up shorter books that I can read quicker. I also really love short books because they can pack such a punch.

35099035The book that took me the longest to finish was Red Clocks by Leni Zumas; it took me more than three months to read its 369 pages. While I appreciate the book, I was just never inclined to pick it up once I put it down. It’s not a bad book by any stretch and it is cleverly done for the most part – just not something that excited me (review here).

2. A book you read in 2018 that was outside of your comfort zone.

Probably the first two books of The Expanse series – I do like science fiction but I rarely read those that are very military in tone. While I am glad to have read two of those books, I bailed while reading the third one. It just could not keep my interest.

3. How many books did you re-read in 2018?

Zero. I am not the biggest rereader. I do sometimes reread parts of books but very rarely the complete thing. Maybe I should be doing this more – but I also really like reading new books.

4. Favorite re-read of 2018.

Well.

5. A book you read for the first time in 2018 that you look forward to re-reading in the future.

What is it with all those rereading questions?

But, nevertheless, I do actually have an answer. I do so very much look forward to rereading the first few books in the Kate Daniels’ series. I sped through them at a ridiculous pace (I needed to know all the things) and think I want to savour them the next time. Because, god, I loved that reading experience.

6. Favorite single short story or novella that you read in 2018.

16158505My favourite short story of the year is Safe Passage, the very first story in my favourite short story collection of the year, A Guide to Being Born by Ramona Ausubel. The story is just pitch perfect in its dark whimsy laced with melancholy.

 

34417038My favourite novella was The Murders Of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson. Spooky, intensely readable, super thought-provoking. I read more novellas this year (it was part of my reading resolutions) but found that the length often does not work for me – but this darkly twisted horror tale really impressed me.

7. Mass Appeal: A book you liked and would recommend to a wide variety of readers.

36356614Huh. Good question. I am not sure my favourite books have mass appeal (I am not saying mass appeal is a bad thing!). I think I will go with There There by Tommy Orange which I found just impeccably written and still accessible in its structure.

 

8. Specialized Appeal: A book you liked but would be hesitant to recommend to just anyone.

37590570The Pisces by Melissa Broder is the obvious answer here. I seriously adored this book (it did top my best of the year list after all) but I can see how it is not a book for everybody. Reactions for this book are all over the place and the average rating on Goodreads is shamefully low. But for me, it sparkled.

9. Reflect on your year as a bookish content creator (goals met, good/bad memories, favorite videos blog posts you made, etc).

This is the first full year I owned a blog. I am quite pleased I stuck with it and I am also pleased I realized that sticking with a schedule does not work for me at all. I have written reviews for the vast majority of the 115 books I read (so many words!). I have read widely and differently while also keeping a part of my reading just fun.

10. Tag some fellow bookish content creators.

As I am super late with this, I am not tagging anybody. But if you do decide to take part, please let me know!

Wrap Up: December 2018 or there goes the year.

I cannot believe the year is over. It feels like it went both super quick and super slow. My reading in December was a bit erratic because the first half I felt mega burned out (mostly due to work) and could not concentrate on anything difficult, then there was Christmas were I did not get any reading done – and then I had a few days to wrap up all the books written by men I was still reading.

Books I read in December:

  1. Vita Nostra by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko: 5 out of 5 stars
  2. Dopesick by Beth Macy: 5 out of 5 stars
  3. Angel’s Blood (Guild Hunter #1) by Nalini Singh: 3 out of 5 stars
  4. Archangel’s Kiss (Guild Hunter #2) by Nalini Singh: 3 out of 5 stars
  5. Archangel’s Consort (Guild Hunter #3) by Nalini Singh: 3 out of 5 stars
  6. Archangel’s Blade (Guild Hunter #4) by Nalini Singh: 3 out of 5 stars
  7. Bad Blood by John Carreyrou: 4,5 out of 5 stars
  8. Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels #10) by Ilona Andrews: 4 out of 5 stars
  9. The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #1) by Theodora Goss: 3 out of 5 stars
  10. Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling #1) by Nalini Singh: 3,5 out of 5 stars
  11. New Suns ed. by Nisi Shawl: 2 out of 5 stars
  12. Doggerland by Ben Smith: 3 out of 5 stars
  13. Lies Sleeping (Rivers of London #7) by Ben Aaronovitch: 4 out of 5 stars
  14. Heavy by Kiese Laymon: 4 out of 5 stars

Favourite of the Month:

I adored Vita Nostra – every single second of reading this was a pleasure. Dopesick was another book that I appreciated immensely – it is wonderfully researched and impeccably told. Both books made my best of the year lists.

Continue reading “Wrap Up: December 2018 or there goes the year.”

Final Update: How did I do with my Bookish Resolutions?

I set myself 10 reading resolutions this year; something I did absolutely enjoy but which did not always work as well as I thought it would. As the year is rapidly drawing to a close, I think it is time to give a final update on my progress.

Read 100 books.

As of writing this post I have read 108 books – so I absolutely achieved that goal. I did read a lot of short books and a ridiculous amount of UF (a genre that I read particularly fast) but with an average of 308 pages per book I don’t think that number is too shabby at all.

Read at least one author’s complete work.

Well… I did not do this in the slightest. I am so bad at this resolution! Hopefully, next year will be the year when I finally tackle the unread books on my shelves by authors whose work I have adored.

Keep writing reviews for every book you read.

I fell of the waggon a bit during the second half of the year. Part of this has to do with the speed with which I raced through some of the series I read, never pausing in between the installments, part of it has to do with the ridiculous amount of stuff going on in my life. I did write reviews of the majority of books I have read though and still have not lost hope that I might go back and write the 10 or so reviews that are still pending.

Read more women; especially WOC.

I did not do much better at this than I did last year (when I read around 60% women): 68% of the books I read were written by women. But to be fair, only 19% were written by men. Around a third of the books I read were written by authors of colour – a percentage I absolutely want to improve on next year.

Read some of the books that have been on the TBR forever.

I did not do that. Only four of the books I read had been on my shelves for more than a year. I am really not great at prioritizing books that I bought ages ago.

Only request books if a) you really really really want them and have been looking forward to them or b) you have reviewed all other ARCs you had.

I got a lot better at this. Still not perfect but as I am sitting comfortably at around 90% feedback ratio on NetGalley I am fine with the way I am doing this.

Finish at least one unfinished series.

I did not do this in a proper sense. All the series I had unfinished before the year started are still unfinished. Maybe next year.

Read only YA that comes highly recommended.

I did it! I only read three YA books this year and enjoyed them all.

Read more Science Fiction.

I read nine proper sci-fi books and four dystopian novels. I still gravitate towards fantasy a lot more but I did enjoy my foray into the genre. I will keep reading sci-fi from now on out.

Read more novellas.

I tried, I really did. I read a few novellas and even enjoyed some but mostly the length left me unsatisfied. I don’t think I will pursuing this any further from here on out.

How did you do on your reading resolutions?

Have I read my most anticipated releases of 2018?

I have written about my most anticipated releases twice this year, for the first and for the second half of the year. Let’s see how many of those I have actually read (and which I have enjoyed).

In my first post, I named 13 books that I was super excited to get to.

  1. Brave by Rose McGowan. I have neither read nor bought this book because before I could, she started showing TERFy tendencies, which I just cannot support. I have since seen some reviews that make me think not reading this was the right decision.
  2. Heart Berries by Terese Mailhot. I loved this book so very much.
  3. Folk by Zoe Gilbert. I read this before it came out and it was ok. And now I cannot really remember much of it, to be perfectly honest.
  4. Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. Again, I loved this book. I knew from the very first chapter that I was in for something extraordinary.
  5. The Sea Beast Takes A Lover by Michael Andreasen. This collection of short stories did not quite work for me, but I did enjoy some stories.
  6. Not That Bad ed. by Roxane Gay. Of course I loved this.
  7. The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh. This has possibly my favourite cover of the year and I really enjoyed this interesting book.
  8. Florida by Lauren Groff. She is becoming one of my favourite authors and this collections was no exception.
  9. Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch. I have not yet read it but will definitely do so before the end of the year. I have waited too long for this book to not pick it up soon.
  10. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. I loved this just as much as I thought I would. Slow-paced, wintery fairy-tales are my jam.
  11. Sick by Porochista Khakpour. Biggest disappointment of my reading year.
  12. The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden. The release date was moved to January but I have an ARC and want to get lost in this wonderful world, possibly during my (short) winter break.
  13. Vengeful by V. E. Schwab. I had so much fun reading this and it made me excited again for Schwab’s writing in a way I hadn’t been in a while.

I actually did okay here. There are only three books I haven’t read yet (and one of those is no longer on my TBR), I also enjoyed the majority of the books on my list, with four of them getting five stars.

Let’s take a look at my second list, with only eight titles on it.

  1. Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennet. I enjoyed this a lot but it did not reach the heights of his Divine Cities trilogy yet. Still, I am excited to see where he takes the story next.
  2. Heavy by Kiese Laymon. I am embarrassingly enough still reading this. I started it at a really bad moment and while I think it is brilliant, it also deeply sad and I cannot quite get myself to pick it up.
  3. All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung. I am still super excited about this but the book is only out in hardback and still very expensive. It will be one of the next books I buy though.
  4. Small Spaces by Katherine Arden. Another book that isn’t out in paperback yet and a bit too expensive.
  5. Rosewater by Tade Thompson. I really enjoyed thisĀ even if it confused me.
  6. Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss. I did not love this and I am unsure whether Moss’ writing is quite for me.
  7. Trail of Lightening by Rebecca Roanhorse. I loved this and it started my binge-reading of Urban Fantasy. I cannot wait for the next one!
  8. Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri. I got an ARC of this the day it released and I am super excited still. But I am also drowning in arcs at the moment. Hopefully I’ll get to it before the end of the year though.

Again, around three books I have not got to which isn’t too bad considering how absolutely abysmal I am at setting myself TBRs.

How did you do with your most anticipated releases of this year? Did you manage to get to them?

Wrap Up: November 2018 or Genre Fiction is the best

I had a pretty horrific month, personally. But my reading recovered from the abysmal month that was October, which is at least something; within 10 days I had read as much as I had read in the whole month before.

Books I read in November:

  1. The Outcast Hour ed. by Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin: 3 out of 5 stars
  2. Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson: 4 out of 5 stars
  3. Vengeful (Villains #2) by V. E. Schwab: 4 out of 5 stars
  4. Binti (Binti #1) by Nnedi Okorafor: 2 out of 5 stars
  5. Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy #1) by Ilona Andrews: 4 out of 5 stars
  6. White Hot (Hidden Legacy #2) by Ilona Andrews: 4,5 out of 5 stars
  7. Wild Fire (Hidden Legacy #3) by Ilona Andrews: 4 out of 5 stars
  8. Broken Magic (Chronicles of Amicae #1) by Mirah Bolender: 3 out of 5 stars
  9. The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein: 4 out of 5 stars
  10. Be With Me Always by Randon Billings Noble: 3,5 out of 5 stars
  11. Sadie by Courtney Summers: 4 out of 5 stars

Favourite of the Month:

Continue reading “Wrap Up: November 2018 or Genre Fiction is the best”

Wrap Up: October 2018 or that was a pretty bad reading month.

This was not my best reading month, especially during the last half. I really hope November will be better.

Books I read in October

  1. The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker: 4 out of 5 stars
  2. Young Skins: Stories by Colin Barrett: 3 out of 5 stars
  3. Ongoingness: The End of a Diary by Sarah Manguso: 4,5 out of 5 stars
  4. Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant #1) by Ilona Andrews: 3 out of 5 stars
  5. Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson: 4 out of 5 stars
  6. A Guide To Being Born by Ramona Ausubel: 5 out of 5 stars

Favourite of the Month:

I loved A Guide to Being Born – definitely the best short story collection I have read this year.

I also adored Ongoingness; it’s one of those books that make me want to read every single thing the author has ever written. Continue reading “Wrap Up: October 2018 or that was a pretty bad reading month.”

Wrap Up: September 2018 or that was a three star kind of month

I had a surprisingly good reading month, numbers-wise – normally September is not that brilliant for me, but this time around I actually read ten books. Most of them were middle of the road though.

Books read in September:

  1. The Fire This Time ed. by Jesmyn Ward: 3 out of 5 stars
  2. The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon: 3 out of 5 stars
  3. Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski: 3 out of 5 stars
  4. Red Sister by Mark Lawrence: 4 out of 5 stars
  5. Rosewater by Tade Thompson: 4 out of 5 stars
  6. Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9) by Ilona Andrews: 4 out of 5 stars
  7. The Corset by Laura Purcell: 3 out of 5 stars
  8. River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey: 2 out of 5 stars
  9. Vanishing Twins: A Marriage by Leah Dieterich: 4,5 out of 5 stars
  10. March: Book 1 by John Lewis, Andrew Yadin & Nate Powell: 4 out of 5 stars

I also DNFed The Sisters of the Winter Wood because I could not get on board with the prose, the poems, or the structure of the story. The thought of having to pick that up and reading another 400 pages made me very unhappy; so I put it down.

Continue reading “Wrap Up: September 2018 or that was a three star kind of month”

Wrap Up: August 2018

I had a good reading month but a quite difficult work month. I struggled a whole lot with my PhD the second half of the month and buried myself in quick and easy reads to avoid thinking about it. But I had a meeting with my thesis supervisor last week and now I am feeling like I am on the right track again (for the first time in months, I might add).

Books read in July:

  1. Foundryside (The Founders #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett: 4 out of 5 stars
  2. Monstress Vol. 2: The Blood by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda: 5 out of 5 stars
  3. Can You Tolerate This? by Ashleigh Young: 3 out of 5 stars
  4. The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner: 4 out of 5 stars
  5. I Hate Fairyland Vol. 2: Fluff My Life by Skottie Young: 3 out of 5 stars
  6. There There by Tommy Orange: 5 out of 5 stars
  7. Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood #1) by J. R. Ward: 2,5 out of 5 stars
  8. Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood #2) by J. R. Ward: 2 out of 5 stars
  9. Everything Under by Daisy Johnson: 4,5 out of 5 stars

Continue reading “Wrap Up: August 2018”

Wrap Up: July 2018 or that was a binge read.

As you can see below I went a bit over-board with the Kate Daniels books but I could NOT stop reading them. For most of the month I was more or less up to date with my ARCs and as such could just read what I want to read and apparently I wanted to read pretty much a whole series in a month. And then I went on a requesting spree on NetGalley (so my reading will be a bit more balanced next month).

Books read in July:

  1. Magic Burns (Kate Daniels #2) by Ilona Andrews: 4 out of 5 stars
  2. Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels #3) by Ilona Andrews: 4,5 out of 5 stars
  3. Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels #4) by Ilona Andrews: 4,5 out of 5 stars
  4. Swimmer Among the Stars by Kanishk Tharoor: 3 out of 5 stars
  5. Magic Slays (Kate Daniels #5) by Ilona Andrews: 4 out of 5 stars
  6. Suicide Club by Rachel Heng: 2 out of 5 stars
  7. Delicate Edible Birds by Lauren Groff: 4,5 out of 5 stars
  8. Magic Rises (Kate Daniels #6) by Ilona Andrews: 3 out of 5 stars
  9. Magic Breaks (Kate Daniel #7) by Ilona Andrews: 4 out of 5 stars
  10. Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels #8) by Ilona Andrews: 4 out of 5 stars
  11. Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires: 4 out of 5 stars
  12. Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss: 3 out of 5 stars
  13. Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race: 3 out of 5 stars

Favourite of the month:

I mean, the obvious answer is all the Kate Daniels books. I had so much fun reading them and I cannot wait to finish the series. It might not be the best thing to have ever been written but I am enjoying it so much and I am so very invested in everybody’s journey. (My mini-reviews for the first five books can be found here.)

I also really enjoyed Lauren Groff’s Delicate Edible Birds; her stories are intricately structured and wonderfully human. I now own all her books and will have to get to her two remaining novels soon.

Stats(ish):

I have read the ridiculous amount of 13 books (with 3916) pages this month, which is the most I have read in I don’t even know how long. Of these 13 books, one was written by a man, five were written by women, and seven were written by a husband and wife team. I read seven fantasy books, three short story collections, one essay collection, one dystopian novel, and one literary fiction novel.

Currently reading:

Books I should get to next:

I have a few ARCs I want to get to this month, most importantly City of Lies by Sam Hawke and Can You Tolerate This? by Ashleigh Young. I also hope to read Everything Under as soon as I finish The Mars Room. I also finally caved and bought myself a copy of Red Sister by Mark Lawrence and won’t be able to hold off reading for much longer. The rave reviews for this one are serious.

(Some of the) blog posts I loved:

I adored Teagan and Jess’ review for Dragon Actually.

Zuky’s list of authors whose next book she is impatiently awaiting is a topic I will have to steal – I love it.

I do like it when people talk about the books that did not quite work for them – if you do as well you should check out Ally’s list of books she thought she would like more than she did.

Laila’s review of The Fire This Time (ed. by Jesmyn Ward) reminded me that I really need to get to this book soon.

Alice wrote a great review of My Brilliant Friend, a book I have been wanting to read for ages, and made me even more excited for it. Talking of which, has anybody read the German translation? Is it wort reading or do I better pick up the English version?

Hadeer’s review of Mr. Darcy, Vampire is just beyond brilliant.

If you are as excited about the Man Booker Prize longlist announcement you should check out Rachel’s and Elle’s thoughts on the list. (PS: If you talked about the Prize somewhere, please do let me know, I want to read everybody’s thoughts!)