I’ve also added one non-romance book with bone magic to my TBR (The Bone Maker by Sarah Beth Durst). Plus one dark academia book (Babel by R. F. Kuang). I may also add The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik, but it depends on whether or not I get it from the library in time to read this month.
There are a few other (non-spooky) books I’m hoping to read this month as well. I mentioned the others in my reading journal set-up video, if you’re curious. But I have a feeling I won’t be able to get to them all.
If you have more witchy small town romance books that you think I should check out, definitely let me know in the comments. Those are my favorite fall reads.
As you may have guessed from the title of this post, I found another readathon to participate in during the month of September! This one was created by Becca and the Books, and it’s based on the game Monopoly. Be sure to check out her video for the full description of the game board and rules and whatnot. It looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun.
It sounds like there are two ways to play the game. Either you can pre-roll your entire TBR to select however many books you think you will read in September. Or you can roll as you go.
I’m going with the roll as you go option. If you want to see my board set-up and find out what my first book is going to be, check out my reading journal set-up video.
I mostly chose the “roll as you go” option because I am not sure how much reading I’ll be able to get done this month. I have had two really excellent reading months in a row, so I feel like I may be overdue for a slump. I really hope that doesn’t happen, but it’s possible.
Also, I am trying to finish up edits on my new writing project so that I can send it to beta readers before the end of September. So I’m not going to have as much time for reading, and I’m probably going to focus on reading outside the genre I’m writing in while I finish edits. That means digging into the fast-paced contemporary, historical, and mystery options on my TBR.
Now that I’ve mentioned my writing project, I suppose I should also mention that, if you want to be a beta reader (aka someone who reads an early draft of the book and provides feedback on character, plot, and world-building), please sign up for my monthly newsletter, because that’s where I’m going to be giving folks all the info about beta reading and ARC opportunities for Heir of Gods (the first book in my new series).
Because I’m “rolling as I go” for this readathon, I am planning on doing more frequent reading updates this month. Kind of like back when I used to do the weekly “Inbox / Outbox” posts. Whenever I finish reading a book, I’m planning to do a quick video of my next roll and book selection. I’ll probably post them as reels on Instagram, but I’ll also post a quick “Just finished… / Now reading…” post here on the blog as well. So that should be fun!
Are you playing Bookopoly this month and participating in Bookoplathon? Let me know in the comments if you pre-picked your TBR or if you’re rolling as you go.
I’m a little sad that the Orilium Autumn Equinox Readathon is over. But, the readathon really got me reading more than I might otherwise have in August! I finished all my required reading for my calling, and I even finished a couple of quests!
My month started off strong. I finished three novellas in the first week. Then I caught the evil plague and really wasn’t feeling up to reading for a few days. When I was finally feeling like I had enough focus to read again, I decided to jump back in with the childhood favorite re-read prompt. It turned out to be an excellent way to ease back into my TBR. After that, I just kept on reading, and finished almost everything on my TBR!
Here’s a recap of my course prompts:
O Level: Read a childhood favorite –> An Acceptable Time by Madeline L’Engle — Oof. Well, I remember what I loved about this book (basically the grandparents’ indoor pool is still #goals), but there was also quite a bit of cringe. Just going to shelve this under “did not age well” and moving on….
O Level: Book with colors similar to my country’s flag –> A Spindle Splintered by Alix Harrow — A nice twist on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. I liked it.
Q Level: Story featuring betrayal –> Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire — Another solid addition to the series. I liked this, but I the ending felt off to me based on the themes in the rest of the book. Or maybe it just ended too abruptly?
D Level: Book with a desert setting –> Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri — Both main characters suffer a lot of really awful abuse throughout most of this book, which was hard to read. But the magic and the world-building was really cool, and once the plot got moving, the second half was great.
Psionics & Divination
O Level: Story featuring time travel –> Alice Payne Arrives by Kate Heartfield — This had a lot of similarities to This is How You Lose the Time War, which I didn’t expect. I think TiHYLtTW did it better, but this was good, and if you liked one you might also like the other.
Q Level: Book with the same word in title as your last read –> The Past is Red by Catherynne M. Valente — I liked this more than I thought I would. It’s an interesting take on the post-apocalyptic genre, and I liked what it had to say (the grass is not always greener and returning to “normal” should not be the obvious and automatic goal) and how it said it (the POV character voice).
I also finished my buddy read quest (She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan, which was excellent). And I finished the morally grey characters quest (Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard, cool story that felt more like a snippet than a complete novella).
I started The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen, but only got about halfway through it before bed last night. I finished it today, so I can report that I loved this book. But, I can’t count it for the “Amphibian Wranglers” quest (author name starts with B or F) because I technically didn’t finish it before the end of the Readathon. So, I guess it counts toward September, but I’m including it here anyway because you should definitely read it if you like fantasy romance. Especially if you like T. Kingfisher’s fantasy romance books.
Speaking of September… I am putting a few finishing touches on my reading journal set-up and planning to participate in another readathon. More on that tomorrow (probably).
How was your readathon adventure in August? Did you finish your prompts and achieve your calling? Or did you prioritize questing instead?
July was a great reading month for me. I read eight books and one short story! EIGHT books!
Here’s what I read in July:
It Takes a Villa by Kilby Blades — This was a fun travel romance with a mystery subplot. I enjoy contemporary romance when there’s more going on in the story than just the romance, and that’s always the case in Kilby’s books. Made me want to go back to Italy and spend a lot more time there.
How to Find a Princess by Alyssa Cole — So glad I finally got around to reading this book. I really enjoy this series (and her other series that is connected to this one). The characters and the unique setting were what made this book extra enjoyable for me.
In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire — It’s been a while since I read the first three novellas in this series. Prior to reading this, Jack and Jill were my favorites, but I think Lundy’s story may be my new favorite in this series.
“Juice Like Wounds” by Seanan McGuire — This is a short story that tells what happens on a side quest that takes place during In An Absent Dream. Definitely worth reading if you liked that book.
Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon — Finally got around to reading this book. It was mostly what I expected it would be. What I didn’t expect was that there was going to be an attempt at sci-fi world building. Most alien romances like this don’t spend much time trying to make the world make sense, so that was cool. At it’s core though, this is basically a Beauty and the Beast trope, which is why I think it really appeals to a lot of people. Unfortunately, it’s just not really my jam.
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir — I finally finished reading this. I almost definitely wouldn’t have if I hadn’t decided to do the Hugo nominee reading project. I’d started it once and bailed because I didn’t like the main character or the amnesia plot device. I still don’t like the main character, and the more I read it, the more I got frustrated with the story because I never once believed that this mission was actually at any risk of failure. Every obstacle was pretty easily and quickly overcome, which made it just seem like the whole thing was an elaborate excuse to watch someone do science. Which, if you like that, awesome! You’ll probably love this book. It just wasn’t for me.
A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark — I really enjoyed this mystery. The world and the characters were great. My only complaint was that I feel like the detectives should have figured out the mystery sooner than they did. The “whodunit” should have been obvious to the detectives given the experiences of those characters. That said, it was really cool to read something that was like the inverse of all the John Bellairs mystery novels that I enjoyed when I was younger.
Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire — I was really looking forward to returning to the Moors with two of my favorite Wayward Children characters, and this novella didn’t disappoint. I think this was a solid ending to that arc of the story that is unfolding in these novellas.
The Galaxy and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers — I described this novel to someone as “cozy alien anthropology with a side of infrastructure collapse,” and I think that’s a pretty solid summary. I enjoyed it more because I’ve read enough of this author’s books to expect that it’s just going to be a bunch of different alien types talking about the similarities and differences in their cultures and getting over their preconceived notions about others and dealing with interpersonal conflict. But she does that really well, and this is a really good cozy, slice of life, fantasy novel.
Now, it’s time to get back to my Orilium Readathon TBR! I have another eight books I want to finish this month. So, we’ll see if I am lucky enough to have two really great reading months back to back!
If you’re also reading the Hugo nominees for best novel and/or best novella, which have been your favorites so far? Let me know in the comments.
It’s time! The Orilium Readathon is back in August for the Autumn Equinox session, which means my August reading journal set-up got done early this month!
If you want the full flip through and discussion of which books ended up on my TBR and why, check out the video linked below.
If you don’t want to watch the video, here’s a sample of what one of my TBR pages looks like:
Originally, I’d planned to finish the rest of the Hugo finalists for best novel and best novella in July and August. Last month, I mentioned that I was going to try to get through some of the novellas in July. However, once I remembered that the Autumn Equinox edition of the Orilium Readathon was coming, I thought it might be better to focus on the best novel finalists and save the novellas for the readathon. I just hoped that I could make them match up with the prompts I needed to complete in order to achieve my Story Weaver calling.
I have six levels across three courses that I need to complete in order to achieve Story Weaver, and I have five novellas and one novel I need to read to complete my Hugo finalist project. I managed to do a pretty good job getting the two aligned, but I did have to add a few non-finalist books to make it work. I think I’ll be able to fit the other two in under one of the readathon quests.
Here’s what I have planned:
O Level: Read a childhood favorite –> An Acceptable Time by Madeline L’Engle — This was the first book that came to mind when I read this prompt. I debated using this one for the time travel prompt, but I don’t want to do two re-reads in a month when I have a lot of other new-to-me books I want to get through.
O Level: Book with colors similar to my country’s flag –> A Spindle Splintered by Alix Harrow — This is one of the books I need to read for my Hugo finalist project, and it happened to have red, white, and blue on the cover. So I’m using it for this prompt.
Q Level: Story featuring betrayal –> Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire — This is another Hugo finalist that I wanted to get onto my TBR this month. I am going off the synopsis for this one, which made it sound like there was a friend betrayal as part of the setup for this story. If I’m wrong, oh well, I need to read it anyway, and I’ll pick something else that better fits this prompt.
D Level: Book with a desert setting –> Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri — I have been meaning to read this book for a while. So, when none of the Hugo finalists looked like they’d work for this prompt, I decided to go with this option. I’m pretty confident that I will enjoy it. The only risk is that it will make me want to immediately read the second book, and I don’t have that one on my Kindle (yet).
Psionics & Divination
O Level: Story featuring time travel –> Alice Payne Arrives by Kate Heartfield — None of the Hugo finalists fit this prompt, and I really REALLY struggled to find something I wanted to read that did fit. I am really picky about time travel books. In general, I don’t like them. The ones I can think of that I like are all more multiverse than time travel (except for An Acceptable Time, oh the irony). I did some browsing and found a few books that I might like to read, but this was the only one that was both short and available at my library. It was not my top choice (that was Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel), but I’m putting my trust in the magic of the Tor.com novella. They haven’t failed me yet. Let’s hope that trend continues.
D Level: Book with the same word in title as your last read –> The Past is Red by Catherynne M. Valente — This one is going to be mostly about timing. In order for this book to work (which I need to read for my Hugo finalist project), I need to read it directly after Across the Green Grass Fields. Yes, I’m using “the” as my same word.
There are also quests that you can get points for in this readathon. I talk about my plans for those more in my set-up video. Based on the first set of open-to-everyone quest prompts, I think I should be able to get points for most, if not all, of the other Hugo finalist books I want to read this month, AND earn some extra points for the Mind Walker guild.
Let me know in the comments if you’re participating in the Orilium Readathon in August and what’s on your TBR.
My July reading journal set up video is posted on YouTube! If you want the flip through, the video is linked below.
Because this is going up so late in the month, and I neglected to film the final July cover page and outbox spreads until today (!), I end up revealing the first two books I read this month at the end of the video. Just skip that part if you don’t want spoilers for my end of month wrap-up. But really, does anyone care about spoilers for a reading wrap up? I can’t imagine that’s an actual thing.
If you don’t want to watch the video or if you just want the non-spoiler version of my July cover page and don’t care about my Hugo nominee spread or the weird little TBR pockets I made, here’s a photo for you.
While I didn’t really mention any specific reading plans in the video, I did mention my plan to read the Hugo nominees for best novel and best novella. I also showed how I’m going to track and rank them. I just never said when I planned to read them.
I don’t plan to fill my entire TBR with Hugo nominees this month, but I do want to make a large dent in that reading list before August.
Roughly, these are my reading goals for July:
Don’t waste time on books that are bogging me down! If I feel like I *have* to finish them for some reason (like the Hugo nominees), then set a daily page count target and alternate with something fun and fast paced at the same time.
It’s an ambitious reading plan, but I think I can work through the novellas pretty quickly, and I like quick wins.
If I can manage to check off all my goals this month, then I’ll only have two best novel nominees left to read in August. One of those is kind of intimidating, but it is the novel I think I will end up liking best of the bunch. The other is one I definitely expect is going to drag for me (given how I’ve felt about other books I’ve read by that author). So the more I can read this month, the better.
That said, the priority for the month is that first goal. I want to be immersed and enjoying what I’m reading as much as possible. The theme for the month is beach vibes after all!
What are your reading goals for July and/or the second half of this year?
Yes, I know. We’re over a week into July, and I’m just now getting a chance to post my June reading wrap-up.
I meant to get this out earlier, but after my book release in June and all the series promo stuff I was doing, I just really needed a break. I ended up taking the first week of July as a pseudo-vacation. Or maybe it was more like a “stay-cation?”
After a very active (for me) month of social media in June, I just had that moment where I was like, “Hey, I just want to do stuff without telling the world about what I’m doing.” Shocking, right?
So, I played tourist in my own town (with my mom, who was visiting) for the week, and I read a LOT. I mean, no spoilers for my July wrap-up post, but I’ve already finished two books this month! And they were books that I started *and* finished in July! This clarification is important because I started a lot of books in June, but I only finished reading three. Which brings me to…
What I read in June:
Engaging the Enemy by Elizabeth Moon — This is book three in the Vatta’s War series. I’m still really enjoying this series, but I felt like this book was a little slower paced than the first two books. The narrative is split between several perspectives. One is Ky’s badass fly-fishing great-aunt who is still back on their home world and going all Arya Stark on the Vatta family’s enemies. The other is the continued story of Ky and her cousin Stella (mostly told from Ky’s perspective) who are out in the universe trying to rebuild the Vatta empire. Because of that, the story felt a little scattered at times, and it took me way longer to finish this one than either of the first two books in the series. I’ll definitely be reading book four, but I decided not to start it right away after finishing this one.
The Elf Tangent by Lindsay Buroker — This is the first book I’ve read by this author, and I really liked it! The characters and the world were great, but I did struggle with the pacing a little bit. I think that’s because the “promise of the premise” for me (based on the blurb) was that the math-geek, puzzle-solving heroine was going to spend more time using her brains to help save the elves. But the road trip section of the book (getting to the elf kingdom) seemed to drag on way too long compared to the puzzle solving / kingdom saving part, which felt really rushed. But the slow burn romance was really good (even if I did figure out the hero’s big secret WAY before the official reveal). I definitely want to read more in this series, and I may even check out the other stuff she’s written (but probably not until after I finish my Hugo nominee reading project).
Writing and Marketing Systems by Elana M Johnson — This was the non-fiction craft book I read in June. In case you didn’t know, I’m a process geek. This is the first book I’ve found on setting up writing and marketing systems for authors, and I had to check it out. There’s a lot of info here. It’s kind of like the productivity classic, Getting Things Done, but specifically for authors. I definitely picked up some things that I wanted to try right away. But there’s so much that I think I’ll have to continue to revisit this one as I work set up my own systems based on what I learned.
Not mentioned above (because I didn’t finish reading them, yet), are the other three or four books that I started in June and got about halfway through before the end of the month. I will probably finish most, if not all, of them this month, if I can keep my non-work time focused on reading. After a week of just chilling with a good book, I’m definitely feeling my urge to devour books returning.
I have more to say about my July reading plans, but I’ll do that when I finally post my July reading journal set-up. I already filmed the set-up video (back a the end of June). Now I just need to edit it and post it to YouTube. I’m going to try to get that blog post up this weekend. In the meantime, let me know in the comments what you’re reading this weekend!
I missed my opportunity to read the Nebula nominees before the Nebula award ceremony because I was busy writing and editing, but I’m planning on taking a bit of a summer break before diving into writing and editing my next series. So, I’m setting myself a little summer reading project.
I’ve done this for the last couple of years because I was signed up to participate in the conference and vote. However, this year I’m just going to do it for fun. I’m also motivated by the fact that all the books look fantastic, and most were on my TBR anyway.
I guess this means I’m going to have to make a Hugo TBR spread for my reading journal, huh? I’ll be sure to add that to my July reading journal set-up.
Just for fun, I’m going to make a couple of predictions about which book in each category will be my favorite before I’ve read them all. Then I’m going to make an initial guess at which one will win each category. Once I’m done reading them all (or at the very least, before the ceremony on 4 September), I’ll post an update.
I’ve already read two of the nominees for best novel (Light From Uncommon Stars and A Desolation Called Peace). Both were really good, and I liked them a lot! I started Project Hail Mary and abandoned it because I just wasn’t in the mood for that particular narrative voice at the time. And I’m currently reading A Master of Djinn and enjoying it. So there are only two here that I don’t really have a sense for (She Who Became the Sun and The Galaxy and the Ground Within).
My prediction is that my favorite of the best novel nominees is going to be She Who Became the Sun. Even though it’s one of the two I haven’t read/started, I just have a feeling based on the synopsis and the little bit of buzz I’ve heard that this one has strong potential to be my favorite of the bunch. Plus the blurb reminded me a lot of The Tiger’s Daughter, which was a book I really liked.
The novella category is a bit more of an open field for me because I’ve only read A Psalm for the Wild-Built. The two I’m most excited about reading based on the blurbs are A Spindle Splintered and Fireheart Tiger. If I have to pick one, I’d guess that I’m going to like Fireheart Tiger the best of the bunch, but we shall see…
Regardless of what I like best, as of right now I think Project Hail Mary will win best novel and A Psalm for the Wild-Built will win best novella. I’m basing this mostly on their current Goodreads ratings (4.52 and 4.28 averages respectively). We’ll see if I change my mind on this after I’m done reading.
I’m curious, which of these do you think I’m going to like best? Which were your favorites and/or which ones do you think will win?
✨ Happy book birthday to Ash of the Fae, book five in the Modern Fae series! ✨
If you’re new to my series, you can grab the first book on sale right now and binge your way through contemporary fantasy stories with all your favorite tropes, like forbidden love (book 1), enemies to lovers (book 2), forced proximity (book 3), and second chance romance (book 4), to get to this fake relationship where there’s only one bed (book 5)!
As of right now, this is the last book in this series. However, I did leave a tiny door open to revisit this world in the future if folks enjoy it and want more. In the meantime, I’m going to work on finishing up and publishing some other in-progress projects. If you want to know more about what I’m working on, get cover reveals and other exclusives (like free stories and samples from my work in progress), then sign up for my newsletter. It’s like my blog, but it’s a once a month email from me delivered right to your inbox.
We’re (almost) halfway through 2022, and that means it’s time for a book freakout!
Wait. No. It’s time for the mid-year book freakout tag, which is a thing that a lot of booktubers do over on YouTube and that I sometimes do here on my blog. If you’re curious, here are the links for 2021, 2020, and 2018.
Now let’s get to the questions…
Best book you’ve read so far.
I just made a “First Half Faves” spread for my reading journal with my favorite book I’ve read from each month so far this year. June isn’t over, yet. So, for the purposes of this post, I’m picking between my faves from January through May. They were all really good books, and it was really hard to pick just one, but I think I’m going with Legendborn by Tracy Deonn, because I feel like I’m constantly referencing it.
Hahahahaha sob. Yeah. So many. BUT! I am very proud to report that I HAVE read my answer to this question from last year’s post (Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa), and that turned out to be one of my “First Half Faves.” So no pressure to this year’s selection, which is… Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree. I keep seeing this book everywhere, so I really want to see what all the hype is about. Plus, it sounds like a cute cozy fantasy novel.
Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.
There are so many good books coming out in the second half of 2022! How am I supposed to pick just one? I’m really excited about Bloodmarked (book two in the Legendborn series) and Seasparrow (another new book set in the Graceling world). But really, the one that I’m probably going to drop everything and read is Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell. Winter’s Orbit (set in the same world but with different characters) was one of my favorite books I read last year, and Ocean’s Echo has mind readers working for a space military that have to fake a relationship and end a war. I mean… I don’t think it’s possible to engineer a more perfect premise for me.
I think I have to go with Aurora’s End by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff for this one. I didn’t have super high expectations going in. The first two books in the series were fun reads, and I mostly just wanted to see how the story ended. But this book, which should have been a fast-paced read, just dragged for me.
Paladin’s Grace! I had no idea this was going to be such a delightful fantasy romance mystery novel! And featuring older protagonists, too! If you want to know more of my thoughts on this one, I gushed about it in this post.
Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)
My favorite debut author is the author of my favorite book I’ve read so far this year, Tracy Deonn. I’m still blown away by the fact that Legendborn was her debut novel! Wow. Just, wow.
Newest fictional crush.
Look. I know I’m basically a broken record at this point, but it has to be said. Sel from Legendborn. Also, have you seen the cover of Bloodmarked? So excited.
Newest favorite character.
I had to think about this one for a while. Then it dawned on me. The crew from The Atlas Six. I think Nico and Parisa are my favorites.
Book that made you cry.
Probably Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki. I went into this book expecting a space opera for some reason, but it turned out to be a contemporary sci-fantasy novel with heartbreaking characters and a whole lot of violin geekery. I loved it.
Book that made you happy.
Definitely The Bounce Back by Addie Woolridge (who also earned this spot last year with her first book, The Checklist). There’s just something about reading a contemporary romance written by a friend that feels like getting to hang out with them while they tell you a story. It makes me happy.
Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)
I don’t know if this book is as pretty in print, but I love the cover of The Elf Tangent by Lindsey Buroker. (Which also happens to be what I’m currently reading.)
What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
All of them? But, seriously? At the very least, I want to finish the ones I’ve already started reading. It’s a low bar. I’ll admit it. But right now I have like seven books in-progress…
I also want to read all the Hugo Award nominees for best novel and best novella that I haven’t read yet. I’m working on a TBR post about that. And a TBR spread for my reading journal. I’ll post more about that soon.
Until then, here’s a sum up of my mid-year book freakout tag books:
If you did this tag, let me know in the comments. Or tell me your favorite book you read in the first half of 2022 so I can add it to my TBR if I haven’t read it already!