July 2019: Reading Wrap Up

Summer is officially winding down. I’ve been reading like crazy and also getting lots of writing done, but I still didn’t hit all my reading (or writing) goals in July. I’m not that bothered about it, because I’ve been really enjoying my summer.

Before I jump into my July reading recap, I wanted to mention that I decided to change up the format a bit. I’m going back to an “Inbox/Outbox” style summary. I’m also going to continue to provide status on my Read Harder challenge, but I’ve dropped all my Kindle backlog reading tracking. I’ve decided that it’s just not that important to me anymore.

Part of the reason for dropping my backlog tracking is that I’ve accomplished what I set out to accomplish in terms of changing my book buying habits (and shifting more to library usage). I am still keeping a list of the new books I’ve purchased this year, and I still intend to make every effort to read all of them before the year is over. But, I’m letting myself off the hook on reading through my virtual TBR, at least for the rest of this year. Maybe I’ll take another stab at it next year, but (as I’ve said before) I want to read based on interest rather guilt. If I never read all the cheap ebooks I’ve been hoarding on my Kindle, it won’t be the end of the world.

Now that you’re up to speed, let’s get into the recap, shall we?

Outbox: What I read in July

I met my goal of reading all the Hugo finalists for best novella. You can read more about my thoughts on those in my previous blog post. I’m not going to rehash them again here. The ones I read this month were (in order of read/finished) The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard, Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson, Artificial Condition by Martha Wells, and The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark.

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to finish reading all the finalists for best novel. I came close, though. Rather than including my thoughts on Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers, which I read in July, I’m going to hold off until I’m done with the rest. When I finish, I’ll post my stack ranking and recap of the Hugo finalists for best novel. The awards are on the 18th of August, so it would be nice if I manage to get that wrapped up and posted before the then, but I’m not making any promises.

That leaves Thick As Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner. This was the first book I finished in July, and the timing would have been perfect if the release date for book six in this series hadn’t been moved out to 2020. Luckily, this book didn’t really end on a cliff hanger. I enjoyed getting the perspective of a character who is from the enemy empire, and I enjoyed the return of a previous point of view character. My only gripe was that I wish the author would have made the relationship between those two characters clear. Every time I thought there might be romantic tension, it was diffused in a way that felt a little like “queer baiting.” I’m really hoping that’s not the case, but I guess I’ll have to wait and see what happens in book six.

 

Inbox: What I bought/borrowed

I only bought one book this month, Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells. Technically, I pre-ordered this book. So I “bought” it months ago, but the release date was 7/30. That’s why I’m counting it as a book purchased in this month. I made an exception to my book buying rule because I know the author (we were at Madcap together), and I was a beta reader of an early version of this book. So, I’m really excited for her, and I can’t wait to see how the story has changed since I last read it. I think this is the only traditionally published book that I’ve beta read and where I knew the author before she had a book deal. Obviously, I wanted to support her, even though I probably won’t get around to reading it for a few months.

 

Read Harder Challenge Status:

Tasks completed this month:

  • Task #3: A book by a woman and/or AOC that won a literary award in 2018 (Artificial Condition)
  • Task #6: A book by an AOC set in or about space (The Tea Master and the Detective)

Total tasks completed: 14

Total tasks remaining: 10

And that’s a wrap on July! Now it’s time to get started on my N.E.W.T.s reading. I’ve started a post over on Twitter where you can follow along with what I’m reading. If you want to help me decide what to read first, let me know in the comments which of the four books below you think I should start with (The Queen of Blood, The Gilded Wolves, You’d Be Mine, or Our Dark Duet).

Book covers for The Queen of Blood, The Gilded Wolves, You'd Be Mine, and Our Dark Duet

Until next time, happy reading!

June 2019: Reading Wrap Up

The first half of 2019 is over, and it’s time to change up these monthly reading wrap-up posts. I’m rethinking my format for my recap, so if you have thoughts on what you’d like to see here, let me know in the comments.

What I read in June:

I started the month off hot and steamy with Sinner by Sierra Simone. This is the second book (I think) in her Priest series. If you don’t like to mix religion and erotica, this probably isn’t for you. The heroine is planning on becoming a nun but wants to see what she’s missing first to see if she can be tempted away from what feels is her calling. What I love about this series are the contradictions. This is erotica where one of the subplots involves a character’s mother dying of cancer (decidedly NOT sexy). Plus, even though it might seem from the blurb like the author is using religion as a plot device and the “message” will be either anti-faith or that sex is dirty, it’s actually quite the opposite. I’ll warn that if you’re hard-core atheist, this may not be the book for you. It might also not be the book for you if just the idea of mixing faith and sex gives you hives. Because, don’t be fooled, this book is very sex-positive and hot. Oh, and the hero is the best friend of the heroine’s older brother, just in case you’re into that trope.

Did I scare off all my readers by talking about erotica in the first paragraph of my summary? If so, too bad, because they’ll be missing out on what might be my favorite book of 2019, so far. I had some travel planned for the first part of June. So, I got Space Opera by Catherynne Valente on audiobook to keep me entertained on my travels. I’d started reading this book on my Kindle shortly after its release, but couldn’t get into it. So, I didn’t have high hopes for this book, but I’d met the editor (Navah Wolfe) at Futurescapes, and she was contagiously enthusiastic about this book. I already knew the origin story for this book (a back and forth conversation on Twitter during Eurovision viewing), but hearing her tell it again reminded me of all the reasons I thought I’d like this book. Plus, it’s a finalist for the Hugo for best novel of 2018. So, I thought I’d give it another try. Wow, am I glad that I did. First off, audiobook is the way to go with this one. The narrator is awesome. Second, this may have edged out The Calculating Stars for my pick for best novel. The world-building and the dry humor in this book are fantastic. I’ve never read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but I imagine this is like that, but more queer and diverse and thoughtful. So good. Highly recommend checking this out.

Next up, I finally got around to reading Vengeful. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know how much I love Vicious. It’s my favorite book by Victoria Schwab. You probably also know how much I’ve been looking forward to reading this sequel. Unfortunately, Vengeful disappointed me. It bums me out to say that, but sometimes that happens. It took me a very long time to finish this book. I got bogged down in the time hopping. I didn’t feel like it served a purpose or enhanced the story. Plus, I feel like the potential of the two new female EOs (June and Marcella) was wasted. I think I’d almost have preferred if this entire book was just the June and Marcella story with nothing about Eli and Victor in it at all. There could still be the link to Sydney that ties the two stories together, but I was not at all engaged in the Eli and Victor aspects of the plot. Will I be back for more if there’s more in the series? Probably. Is VES still an author hero of mine? Of course. Liking books is subjective.

I knew I needed to squeeze in a couple of books to keep up with my Read Harder challenge. So, I went with some easy and short options for June. One was a children’s book (La Princesa and the Pea) and the other was a middle grade comic (The Backstagers). Both were cute and fun and I would definitely give them to the kids in my life to read, if they haven’t read them already.

That leaves the other surprise hit of the month, No Walls and the Recurring Dream by Ani Difranco. I listened to this one on audiobook because it was read by Ani Difranco. I highly recommend that medium for this book. I enjoyed it enough that I’m considering buying myself a copy of the book when it comes out in paperback. There’s a lot to think about here, and I think I might want something to refer back to and re-read from time to time. We’ll see if I’m still thinking about this book when they eventually release the paperback version. I suppose I should mention that I’m not really an Ani Difranco fan, so that’s not really why I read this book. I never really listened to her music for two reasons. One, I’m not a huge fan of folk music. I like it, but not for general purpose listening. The second reason is because at the height of her popularity, I was still going through my boy-crazy college years. It was the tail end of the 90s when calling yourself a feminist meant that you were seen as a man-hating bitch. I suppose some people still think it means that, but I feel like the majority viewpoint on this has shifted. Honestly, I cringe to think of younger me and how feminist I actually was while completely denying it lest it make me unattractive to guys. Oh, silly younger me who didn’t realize that the guys it made me unattractive to were exactly the ones I shouldn’t be dating anyway… sigh. Anyway. There’s a lot to enjoy in this book, but the thing I liked the most was her thoughts and reflections on her art and creative process, as well as why she decided to go indie and stay indie. I tend toward pragmatism but am filled to the brim with passion, so I really value hearing from people who confidently and unapologetically follow their dreams at all costs. I feel I have a lot to learn from them.

 

What I bought:

This was a close call. I was very tempted by several books. But ultimately, I didn’t buy any new books this month! Again! That’s three months in a row. Go me.

 

Net impact on my Kindle Backlog:

Total Kindle backlog books read in 2019: 5

Total new *unread* Kindle books in 2019: 7

Getting closer to net zero, but still need to read some more backlog in order to catch up to what I’ve already purchased (and haven’t read yet) this year. Assuming that I catch up by the end of next month (as I plan to do), I’m definitely dropping this section of my recap in July.

 

Read Harder Challenge Status:

Tasks completed this month:

Total tasks completed: 12

Total tasks remaining: 12

Looks like I’m still on track with this goal. I’m seriously shocked that I actually might finish the challenge this year. Did I purposely choose two of the easiest (and shortest) tasks to complete this month? Yes. Yes, I did. Will that make completing the twelve tasks that remain more difficult? Maybe. But, I’m not going to worry about that. I’m just going to keep chipping away at this challenge and see what happens.

Of course, I still need to find a book I want to read for Task #20 (read a book written in prison). So, if you have a recommendation for that one, let me know in the comments, please!

 

First half 2019 TBR Status:

Total TBR: 33 books

Books read to date: 30

Books remaining: 3

I am absolutely stunned that I managed to get so close to completing this TBR. I’m rounding up a bit here because I’m in the middle of Thick As Thieves and wasn’t able to finish it before the end of the month. Still, I’m counting that one as “read” for the purposes of this list.

Of the books that remain (Our Dark Duet, The Queen of Blood, and Stories of Your Life and Others), I’m rolling two onto my second half of 2019 TBR (to be announced soon). But, I’m dropping the book of short stories (Stories of Your Life and Others) off my TBR. I’d planned to read that one for Futurescapes and didn’t read it in time. I plan to get back to it at some point, but not in the next few months.

And that’s it for June. What was your favorite book you read in the first half of 2019? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time, happy reading!

May 2019: Reading Wrap Up

And just like that, my birthday month is over. I had a lot of fun with friends and family this month, and I got some excellent new books to read! I’ll have to do a birthday book haul post soon. I’m just waiting for a couple that I ordered with my gift card to arrive in the mail.

Meanwhile, my stack of physical books is growing and threatening to topple off my nightstand. But, we’re not planning on traveling much this summer, so I think I may be able to work through a few if I start sitting outside in the sunshine each day for a little reading break. The spring weather here in the upper left corner of the US has been perfect for that kind of thing, and if it gets too hot, there’s always our nice shady deck to hide out on and read.

Before I get too far ahead of myself making future reading plans, let me jump into my May reading recap.

What I read in May:

I started the month with Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne. This was exactly as fluffy and fun as I’d anticipated. I love it when that happens. You can tell that Alexa used to write fan fic because she does a great job with tension and angsty romance. The world-building was a little more “hand-wavy” than I like in my sci-fi, and I the ending didn’t feel quite right to me, but other than that, I really liked this book and am looking forward to reading her next one.

After that, I switched gears pretty dramatically. I’d forgotten that I’d put a hold on the audiobook for The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight. This was a book that I’d planned to read for the Read Harder Challenge. It’s short and funny, a parody on The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (which I haven’t read). The audiobook turned out to be the perfect thing to listen to it on my walks. The author reads her own book, and I enjoyed hearing her words in her voice. I know this is meant to be funny, but there’s some good messages in here for people like me who still haven’t mastered the art of not caring what other people think about them. I’m half-tempted to go buy a copy so I can refer to it for reminders when needed.

Somewhere in there, I decided to dive into The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton. I’d been meaning to read this forever, and I’m so glad that I finally did. The world-building is really interesting, and I’m curious where the story is going to go from here. But, I don’t think I’m going to continue with the series. I’m just not that into fashion and beauty. Since the entire theme of this series has to do with beauty, there are lengthy descriptions of in-world fashion from clothing to make-up to hair and everything in between. This is critical to the story because it’s all about how the Belles have the power to create whatever image is requested by the regular people in this world and what that means for their world. It’s really well done, but my eyes start to glaze over after too many descriptions of fancy dresses. I much preferred the political maneuvering.

I needed a quick read after finishing The Belles. Something that I knew would be a page turner, either from romantic tension or from plot. So, I decided to check off another Read Harder Challenge task and picked up The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan. I loved the first book and the two novellas I’ve read enough to guess that this is a series I could pretty much devour in a week. . Because of that, I’ve been rationing the remaining books because I don’t want to be done with the series. As expected, I really, really liked this book. Something about the internal conflict for both the heroine and the hero really struck a cord with me. I highly, HIGHLY recommend this series, even if you think you don’t like historical romance. It’s not the genre I usually turn to for a variety of reasons, but Courtney Milan is an excellent author. Conveniently enough, the ebook box set of the series happens to be on sale for $2.99 on Kindle right now. So, if you’re reading this shortly after I posted it, you should go buy the set.

And, last but not least, I got caught up on my Queen’s Thief re-read and finished A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner. Of the first four books, this was the book I liked the least when I first read this series ten-ish years ago. I think that’s because there’s just a lot of political maneuvering in this book. There’s some action and some romance, but Sophos isn’t as naturally charismatic of a character as Gen. This story is all about him learning to become a leader. It’s a lot like story of The Lion King in that way. In fact, come to think of it, there are a lot of similarities between A Conspiracy of Kings and The Lion King. Huh. I definitely liked this book more on the re-read. Now I’m really excited to get to the first “new” book in this series (released last year).

 

What I bought:

I didn’t buy any new books this month! Again! Amazing! But I did pre-order my friend Rebecca’s book that’s coming out in July, Shatter the Sky. Because she’s awesome, and I read an early version of the book and can’t wait to read it again and see how the story has changed. If you like dragons, you should go pre-order this book, or request it from you library.

 

Net impact on my Kindle Backlog:

Total Kindle backlog books read in 2019: 4

Total new *unread* Kindle books in 2019: 8

Getting closer to net zero, but still need to read some more backlog in order to catch up to what I’ve already purchased (and haven’t read yet) this year. Assuming that I catch up by the end of next month (as I plan to do), I’m going to drop this goal in July and just add any remaining unread new books to my second half of 2019 reading list.

 

Read Harder Challenge Status:

Tasks completed this month:

  • Task #4: Read a humor book. (Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck)
  • Task #16: An historical romance by an AOC (The Heiress Effect)

Total tasks completed: 10

Total tasks remaining: 14

Looks like I’m still on track with this goal. Go me!

 

First half 2019 TBR Status:

Total TBR: 33 books

Books read to date: 26

Books remaining: 7

Turns out that I miscounted last month. I forgot that I had swapped out two of my Read Harder Challenge books for two different books than what were on my original list. So, I actually wasn’t as far off as I thought. It appears that I have four more “backlog” books to read, plus two more Read Harder books, and one book of short stories that I meant to read before Futurescapes. I might be able to finish all those in June. We’ll see…

I’m also starting to think about my TBR for the second half of 2019. Right now, I’m planning to include the following:

  • Six more “backlog” Kindle books…
  • The final twelve books I need for the Read Harder challenge…
  • Any new books that I bought in the first half of this year and haven’t read yet (as of 1 July)…
  • Three books I’m planning to read for a buddy read…
  • Plus any books I haven’t read yet (as of 1 July) in the Hugo award categories for best novel, best novella, and best YA novel…

It’s looking like that list will end up somewhere between 30-36 books, just like my first half of 2019 TBR. That’s another five or six books per month, on average. Hahahaha. Yeah. Not leaving myself much room for spontaneous reading in the second half of the year. Plus I have a whole lot of writing planned for this fall, which means less time for reading.

Someday maybe I’ll be slightly less ambitious with my reading goals. Maybe. There are just too many books I want to read. And I keep finding more that I want to buy or borrow. This year, the TBR list seems to be working for me. It’s keeping me focused on the books I have wanted to read for a while, but that keep getting shuffled to the bottom of my stack as I bring in bright new shiny books to read.

Having a TBR is also helping me stay on track with the Read Harder challenge. For the first time, I think I may actually be able to finish all the tasks by the end of the year. So long as I can manage to find books I want to read for the following three challenges:

  • Task #20: A book written in prison
  • Task #21: A comic by an LGBTQIA creator
  • Task #22: A children’s or middle grade book (not YA) that has won a diversity award since 2009

So, if you have suggestions and recommendations for me that would help me check these tasks off my list, please leave them in the comments.

Until next time, happy reading!

April 2019: Reading Wrap Up

April was not a good reading month for me. I didn’t have as much time to read as I thought that I would, and I found myself in a bit of a slump towards the end of the month. I think I’m going to have to change some things up for May, but first… let’s talk about what I read in April.

What I read in April:

The month started off really well. I tore through Alyssa Cole’s Can’t Escape Love. It’s a novella in her Reluctant Royals series, which we’ve already established that I’m very much enjoying. This one was another fast and fun read. I loved the characters. The plot was perfect for a novella and well paced. The romance was fun and believable. Overall, loved it. Ready for the next book in the series.

After that though, things slowed down a bit. I started Updraft by Fran Wilde and I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells because I was going to be meeting both of those authors at Futurescapes. Turns out that Updraft was the perfect book to be reading for me at a pivotal moment as I’m working on revisions of one of my older WIP novels. Fran does a great job with using language to enhance world-building (which was also the topic of her workshop that I attended at Futurescapes). The world in this book also has these “laws” that are roughly equivalent to what I’ve been trying to do with the legends and folklore in my WIP novel. So it was nice to see how she handled that, from a craft perspective. The characters and plot were good, too, but what really stood out for me in this book was the world.

I didn’t have as good of luck with I Am Not A Serial Killer. Unfortunately, I started this one on audiobook and the narrator was just not working it for me. I finally ended up ditching the audiobook about half-way through. I wasn’t sure I’d finish it, but I had the book on my Kindle as well. So, when I got back from my trip, I tried picking up where I left off. I’m glad I tried again in a different format because it’s a compelling thriller. I ended up speeding through the last half because I wanted to know how it ends.

Somewhere in the middle of all this I started reading Mercenary Instinct. This ended up being the book that gets the credit for putting me into a reading slump. I had issues with the world-building that kept me from getting into the story. Most of that had to do with unrealistic space travel science stuff that maybe wouldn’t have bothered me years ago, as I discussed in yesterday’s post. I also had a really hard time getting on board with the plot and the romance aspects of this book. My biggest issues were that there was way too much use of the threat of rape as a plot device, and the entire premise was built on a huge plot hole. The bad guy placed a bounty on the heroine and her crew, sending a bunch of mercenaries after them and putting their lives, and work, at risk, when he clearly had more than enough money and resources to just buy their company and/or research and no good reason to take this convoluted path to get it. Under normal circumstances, I would have just DNFed the book, but it was the Smart Podcast Trashy Books first book club pick, and I really wanted to read it before listening to the episode where they discuss it. If you’ve listened to their recap episode, I’m pretty well aligned with Carrie’s and Elyse’s opinions.

More than being frustrated by the time I spent reading this book when I have other books I’d rather be reading, I’m actually disappointed because I wanted to enjoy this book. I still haven’t found the sci-fi and/or fantasy romance author that does for that genre what Courtney Milan does for historical romance and Alyssa Cole does for contemporary romance. If you have recommendations, please let me know in the comments (and don’t say Rachel Bach/Aaron or Amanda Bouchet because I’ve tried both of them already).

So, yeah… after that disappointment, I’m determined to change things up in May. I think it’s time to get into some of those books that I think I’m going to love but have been putting off reading because I’m scared they won’t live up to the hype. And I’m going to get aggressive with the DNF, if it comes to that. There are just too many books I want to read and never enough time to read them all.

 

What I bought:

I didn’t buy any new books this month! Crazy, right? But I did do a *major* library book haul. More on that below…

 

Net impact on my Kindle Backlog:

I realized I’ve been doing the math wrong on this section for months now because I forgot that since I’m adding new books I bought to my original list of 124 books, I should also be subtracting them after I’ve read them. I’ve gone back and fixed it in previous posts, but going forward I’m changing how I tally this “score.” Here’s my new breakdown.

Total Kindle backlog books read in 2019: 1

Total new *unread* Kindle books in 2019: 8

If you remember, the goal was to only buy if I’m going to read them right away and to read more backlog books than I buy and leave unread. So, right now, I’m failing at this goal because 8 > 1.

 

Read Harder Challenge Status:

Tasks completed this month:

  • Task #23: Read a self-published book. (Mercenary Instinct)

Total tasks completed: 8

Total tasks remaining: 16

Looks like I’m still on track with this goal. Go me!

 

First half 2019 TBR Status:

Total TBR: 33 books

Books read to date: 20

Books remaining: 13

Uh oh. I have two months left to read 13 books. Yikes. I am decidedly behind schedule on this goal. Better get reading.

 

My massive library book haul:

This has been brewing for a while, and it’s finally time. I took my Kindle off airplane mode and loaded it full of books I’ve had on hold at the library. Here’s a look at my (virtual) book haul:

I have no intention of reading all these before they’re due, but that’s okay. My Kindle’s back on airplane mode. Mostly, I just wanted to clean out my library holds so I could make room for new books that are coming out later this year.

May is my birthday month, so I’m going to make it a point to only read books that I’m loving. If I’m not loving it, I’m going to set it aside for later. And I think I’m going to start with one of the six “backlog bust” books that I put on my first half of 2019 TBR. If you don’t remember, that’s these books:

And since Mercenary Instinct left such a disappointed taste in my mouth, I think it’s time to bust out Brightly Burning next. Let’s see if that sci-fi romance can snap me out of my reading slump. If not, I’m reaching for Vengeful and/or The Belles. Those are the three that are really calling to me right now.

What are you reading this month? Let me know in the comments, especially if you’re reading (or have read) any of the books I mention in this post.

March 2019: Reading Wrap Up

It’s been another big reading month for me! I’m just plowing through the books this year. But, I’m also getting a ton of writing and editing done. So, don’t worry. Book two in the Modern Fae series is on schedule to be released in June, and I have some other fun stuff in the works as well. But this isn’t a writing blog, it’s a reading blog. Let’s talk about books.

What I read in March:

In addition to the books pictured above, I also read 1 book for the RITA contest preliminary round of judging. So, I finished seven books, total in March. That brings me to 25 books total for the first quarter of 2019. That’s half my Goodreads goal for the year, and we haven’t even hit the summer vacation months! I have a feeling this is going to be a big reading year for me.

Most of what I read was off H1 2019 TBR reading list. I started and ended the month with books two and three in Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series (The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia). I really love these books. I’d forgotten how much, but I’m having a great time enjoying these stories for a second time.

I also finished a couple of writing / publishing craft books. The specifics about various marketing techniques in Discoverability were a little dated, but the general advice (ex: the best thing you can do for discoverability is write the next book) was solid. I think this is still a valuable read for authors who are writing for the love of the books. It’s more about building a sustainable career than becoming a best seller. Since that’s my goal, I found it to be a very valuable read.

The other writing craft book I finished was The Artist’s Way. I’d been reading this a chapter a week for the twelve weeks of this self-directed course on reconnecting with your creativity. I enjoyed it, and I didn’t think that I would. I assumed this would be way to “woo woo” for me to take it seriously. But, there’s a lot of good content in here for people who are reconnecting with their “inner creative” after stuffing it in a closet or burying it for most of their life to pursue “practical” things. I didn’t do every exercise and follow the whole thing to the letter, but I think it’s a good resource and recommend it if this sounds like something you might be interested in but may have been scared off (like me) by the spiritual aspect to it.

I also spent an afternoon reading Get Jiro! by Anthony Bourdain because it’s a favorite of my chef brother-in-law, and I borrowed it from him on his recommendation. It’s a weird little comic with lots of gore where chefs are sort of the top of the food chain (so to speak) in a new near-future society. If you like Kitchen Confidential, you might also like this comic. I enjoyed it.

But, the book I enjoyed the most this month (of the new-to-me books, not counting the re-reads), was The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal. This one reminded me a lot of Hidden Figures because it’s an alternate history of that same time period (the 1950s) and the main character is a computer (the human kind, who did all the math before modern computers were invented, and even for a while after). She’s also a pilot and was one of the WASPs during WW2. Now she’s trying to become an astronaut. There’s a lot of real-world history and science worked into this novel, and the author’s note at the end is fascinating and gives a ton more resources. I’m really looking forward to continuing on with this series. I’ve already got the second book on hold at the library. I highly recommend checking this one out.

 

What I bought:

I nearly got through March without buying any books… Then Alyssa Cole’s Radio Silence went on sale, and I decided to grab it. If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that I’ve been loving her “Reluctant Royals” contemporary romance series. I knew she also wrote this sort of post-apocalyptic series in addition to her historical romances, and I’ve been meaning to try it for a while now. Unfortunately, my library doesn’t have it on ebook and hasn’t purchased it (yet), despite my requesting it. Oh well. Now I “own” it (as much as you own any of your Kindle books…).

The other book I bought is one I’ve already read (in an early draft form). Bless Her Dead Heart by my friend Meg Collett launched in February! It’s set in “Righteous, Tennessee” and is the first book in her new southern paranormal series. It’s really good. Check it out. I just love her voice in this series. And book two is already out, so you don’t have to wait to see what happens next. Since I’ve already read this one, I’m not counting it toward my total books bought this month.

Net impact on my Kindle Backlog:

Books purchased on Kindle this month: 1

Kindle books read from my backlog list: 0

New Kindle backlog total: 134 (+1)

Ugh. Good thing I have the O. W. L. readathon coming up in April. Maybe I can get this back under 130 by the end of the month…

 

Read Harder Challenge Status:

Tasks completed this month:

  • Task #9: A book published prior to Jan. 1, 2019 with fewer than 100 reviews on Goodreads (Discoverability)

Despite a publish date in 2014, at the time of this blog post, this book only has 94 ratings and 27 reviews on Goodreads. I don’t review stuff on Goodreads anymore. So, I didn’t add to the review count, only the ratings number.

Total tasks completed: 7

Total tasks remaining: 17

Yay! I am one book ahead of schedule on my Read Harder challenge for this year!

 

First half 2019 TBR Status:

Total TBR: 33 books

Books read to date: 16

Books remaining: 17

I’m close enough to half-way on this goal that I’m going to count it as on-track. And a lot of this list is going to get read during the Magical Readathon in April. I’m very much looking forward to that.

Here’s what’s queued up next on my TBR:

My stretch goal is to finish all these by the end of the upcoming weekend. Five books in seven days. We’ll see how it goes. I also have novel revisions I’m working on this week. I’m trying to get them done so I can get the story out to my critique partners before I leave for the writing workshop I’m going to in April. But, I think I’ll have time to do both the edits and the reading because these are all pretty short books. The average is only 250 pages per book.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve read any of these books (the ones I finished in March, or the ones I’ve got queued up for April), and tell me what you thought.

February 2019: Reading Wrap Up

February went by super fast, I accomplished a ton of stuff, and I still managed to finish two books a week, on average. I think all those snow days may have helped. We got hit by a winter storm and ended up with over ten inches of snow, which is very unusual for the little island we live on in the Pacific Northwest. So I had a great excuse to stay inside and snuggle up with a book. I loved it. I’m also really glad the snow is mostly gone, and that it’s finally starting to feel like spring!

What I read in February:

In addition to the books pictured above, I also read 4 books for the RITA contest. So, I finished 8 books, total in February. That’s pretty great considering it was a short month, and I had some pretty ambitious writing goals for the month, like finishing the first draft of book two in my Modern Fae series and releasing a novella. Both of which got done. Yay!

I started the month with a book of poetry (Felicity by Mary Oliver), then I pushed out of my comfort zone with some violent, unsolved true-crime written by an author who died while writing the book (I’ll Be Gone in the Dark). I counter-acted any potential nightmare fuel by reading a short and entertaining Reluctant Royals novella (Once Ghosted, Twice Shy), and then I devoured book three in a series of books that may be my new favorite Sherlock Holmes retelling (The Hollow of Fear). Overall, it was a pretty good reading month.

What I bought:

So…I’m beginning to regret that whole “no buying books” reading goal already, and it’s only the beginning of March. Sigh. I do this every year. Technically, I only purchased two of these books in February. Another is one I just bought today, and the other three are all pre-orders.

I bought Mercenary Instinct because it’s the Smart Podcast Trashy Books book club selection for this quarter, and it was already on my wish list of “someday / maybe” Kindle books to buy on Amazon. Unfortunately, it wasn’t available on ebook from my library. The good news is that I think I can use this for the “read a self-published book” task in the Read Harder Challenge.

I bought The Queen of Sorrow because I own the other two books in the series, and this one went on sale for $1.99. I think I also had digital credits for choosing “no-rush shipping” that covered the purchase price. I plan to binge this series this year, now that it’s complete. Another totally justified purchase.

Then I had some more digital credits, so I bought The Phoenix Empress. The credits weren’t going to expire until the end of the month (I think these were for some non-shipping-related reason), but apparently they were burning a hole in my pocket. I decided to splurge on this book because I own the first book in the series, and it was one of my favorite books I read last year. Plus, I haven’t been able to get this on ebook from my library because of Tor’s new library ebook policy (which I hate). Maybe my library will buy it when it becomes available, but it’s less likely they’ll pick this up than book two in Scalzi’s Collapsing Empire series (which I’m also waiting for). We’ll see.

Two of the three pre-orders are from Alyssa Cole’s “Reluctant Royals” series. I like that she seems to be offering these for lower prices during pre-order, so I keep buying them that way rather than waiting and getting them from the library like a responsible owner of way too many ebooks.

Finally, I decided to go ahead and pre-orderYou’d Be Mine because it’s a debut book by an author I’ve been following for a long time on Twitter. I really like her and want to support her book launch. Plus, I think her book sounds great (even though it’s contemporary, which is not usually my jam).

Net impact on my Kindle Backlog:

Books purchased on Kindle this month: 6

Kindle books read from my backlog list: 1

New Kindle backlog total: 133 (+5)

Hahaha…I should just give up. But I’m not going to. I’m determined to make a dent in this now that I’m (almost) done with my RITA reading (only one left), and I have a few months off of actively drafting a novel.

Read Harder Challenge Status:

Tasks completed this month were:

Poet Mary Oliver died. I had no idea who she was until authors I like started talking about her death and the influence her work had on them. She sounded like a cool lady. So, I grabbed her most recent book of poetry from my library and read it. I’m just as shocked as you are that I actually completed the poetry task for Read Harder, and that I did it in February. I thought this would be the last task I completed for the year and that I would hate it. I guess it’s just a matter of finding the right poetry for you.

The other two were books I already wanted to read and found a home for on the task list. So, win-win. I can’t believe I’m actually ahead of schedule to finish the Read Harder challenge this year! And I’m enjoying it!

First half 2019 TBR Status:

Total TBR: 33 books

Books read to date: 11

Books remaining: 22

Let’s see…33 books in 6 months means I have to finish 5.5 books on average per month. I guess that means I’m exactly on track. Fantastic! For March, nearly everything on my TBR is from this list, and my Kindle is on mandatory airplane mode until at least mid-April. Time to cross some books off the backlog.

Here’s a look at what’s currently at the top of my TBR:

I’m almost done with my re-read of The Queen of Attolia. Oh, man! I love this book. I’m thinking I may want to continue and just roll right into The King of Attolia as soon as I’m done. But these other books are also calling to me, especially Skyward and The Calculating Stars.

I’m taking a month off from writing new words (but there will still be editing happening). So, I expect I’m going to make a huge dent in my reading lists this month. Now if I can just keep my finger off the “buy it now” button…

Let me know in the comments if you’ve read or bought any of these books and what you think. Until next time (like maybe Wednesday…), it’s time for me to get off the internet and go read!

January 2019: Reading Wrap Up

I read a LOT in January. A ridiculous amount. And, I even took a week off from reading. But, I also may have flunked one of my reading goals for the year, before the month was even half over… Before I get to that, let’s talk about the good stuff. Check out all the awesome books I read!

What I read:

The first book I finished in the New Year was Planetside by Michael Mammay. I love it when I find a new sci-fi author and their book lives up to the hype! This was a great military sci-fi book. I highly recommend it, especially if you like a little bit of a “who-done-it” alongside your military sci-fi. I think anyone who enjoyed Lock In by John Scalzi and/or Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty would enjoy this book, too.

I also started my re-read of The Queen’s Thief series and finished the first book, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. I’ve talked about this series a bit already in recent posts, but this was a formative YA fantasy series for me as a writer. It’s definitely the sort of series that I would love to be able to claim as a comp for my writing, but this first book was written over twenty years ago, so it’s definitely not eligible for comp title status on query letters any more. It’s still a great book, though.

January always brings with it an urge to read “self-improvement” books for some reason. To that end, I read The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll (the guy who invented the craze) and The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. Both were really useful books. It was helpful to hear the whole story of how the Bullet Journal system was created and how it was intended to work. I came at it through other people’s interpretations of the planning method, and Ryder’s website didn’t have much on it to explain the intricacies of how to use his method. I like to know how things are supposed to work before I start adapting them to fit my own needs. So, this gave me a lot of good ideas about how to improve my own Bullet Journaling.

The Power of Habit was an excellent companion to the Bullet Journal book. It had a ton of great information about how habits are formed, how to make them stick, and how to change habits you already have. It’s full of really fascinating science and interesting example stories. I also managed to find Read Harder tasks that applied to each of these books. So, they were useful in hitting one of my reading goals as well!

I also managed to finish Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot. This is a memoir that I found because of the Powells Staff Top Five Picks from  2018. I don’t usually read memoir (as I mentioned in that post), but I really enjoyed this book, especially after reading Jane Doe. I know that may seem like an odd connection to make, but parts of this book read like they could have been written by the best friend being avenged by the main character (Jane) in that thriller. And that’s not even the most interesting thing about this book. There’s a lot going on in this short memoir. I think it would make a great book club pick. And, it turns out that the author is currently a fellow at Purdue (where I went to college) and she’s going to be one of the authors at our 2nd annual Orcas Island Lit Fest happening in April. Pretty cool coincidences.

In addition to novels and non-fiction, I read a couple of novellas, Girl Reporter by Tansy Rayner Roberts and Tikka Chance on Me by Suleikha Snyder, and a trade paper volume of comics, Paper Girls Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang.

That would already be a HUGE reading month for me, but I managed to squeeze in two of the books I needed to read for the contest I’m participating in as a first-round judge. And that’s all I can say about that.

So I read TEN books in January. That’s crazy. The only problem with all this reading is that it somehow also resulted in a lot of ebook buying. I’m not sure if there were just a lot of ebook sales post-Christmas, or what, but the Amazon gift card I received got depleted pretty quickly. And, I added six more books to my Kindle backlog…

Here’s what I bought:

The first book I purchased in 2019 was Tikka Chance on Me by Suleikha Snyder. I turned around and read it almost immediately. But still, I didn’t even last three days without buying an ebook, folks. In my defense, this was only $.99 and I had a dollar free credit on Amazon for choosing the “I can wait” shipping option. I can’t exactly remember what prompted this purchase. It might have been a Smart Bitches post.

The book I’d thought was going to be my first purchase of 2019 was the novella I had on pre-order, Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole. This is set in the same series as A Princess in Theory and A Duke by Default, which were two of my favorite romances that I read last year. I’d intended to read this one right away, but I’d forgotten about my contest reading commitment. So, this is going to have to wait a bit.

I’d also pre-ordered The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi. This sounds like it is going to possibly be my favorite book by her so far, and I’ve read all her books so far. I can’t get to it right away because of the contest stuff, but I’m definitely going to read this in the next couple months.

In line with the “self-improvement” theme for January, I’d borrowed The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron from my library. Only, I didn’t realize it was a thing you’re supposed to do over twelve weeks. I was interested enough in the first half of the book that I decided to just buy a copy so I could return my copy to the library. The reviews all said it was very “woo woo,” but I’m actually finding it to be pretty traditional as far as the spirituality stuff goes. I’m not as interested in that aspect of the book, but it’s not as off-putting as the reviews made it out to be.

Then I saw that one of the YA space opera books I had my eye on went on sale. So, I snagged Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan. Could I have got this book from the library? Probably. If not now, eventually. Was I planning on reading it immediately? Uh…nope. Reading goal fail. Oh well.

After I bought that book, I swore that was going to be it, but then one last ebook on sale caught my eye, Sinner by Sierra Simone. It was $0.99, and it’s not the sort of book that my library is inclined to purchase (self-published, erotica where the heroine is getting her sexy times on before planning to become a nun). I’ve read Priest by this same author, and I like that her books are hot but also have a story. I could justify this purchase by using this book for the self-published Read Harder challenge task, come to think of it.

I suppose we should have a look at the math on how I’m doing against my Kindle backlog reading goal, huh?

Net impact on my Kindle Backlog:

Books purchased and left unread on Kindle this month: 5

Kindle books read from my backlog list: 1

New Kindle backlog total: 128 (+4)

Yep. I’m not off to a great start on this reading goal. But, it’s only the first month of the year. Plenty of time to develop new book buying habits and improve this stat.

Speaking of reading goal stats, let’s also have a look at how I’m doing against my Read Harder Challenge goal.

Read Harder Challenge Status:

Tasks completed this month were:

  • Task #8: An #ownvoices book set in Oceania (Girl Reporter)
  • Task #13: A book by or about someone that identifies as neurodiverse (The Bullet Journal Method)
  • Task #17: A business book (The Power of Habit)

Three down and twenty one to go, which means I’m ahead of schedule on this one. Go me!

That leaves that massive first half of 2019 TBR to check in against. Let’s see how I’m doing on that one.

First half 2019 TBR Status:

Total TBR: 33 books

Books read: 5

Books remaining: 28

Not bad. Looks like I’m on track on this goal as well. Phew.

Huge reading months make for really long recap posts. I guess some might say that this is a lot to keep track of, but I’m enjoying what I’m reading and how I’m tracking and tackling my reading goals so far this year. It’s actually a little bit of a relief to know that I’ve got a checklist for all this stuff so that I don’t have to stress about forgetting to read something that I really wanted to get to. Maybe this year of reading is going to be a little much, but I’m determined to plow through that Kindle backlog so that I don’t have to do this again next year.

As for what’s next, I’ve already finished reading my first book in February. I have a feeling it’s going to be another good reading month. How about you? How are you doing toward your reading goals for this year? Did you also go on a book buying binge in January, or was it just me?

December reading summary and 2017 reading wrap-up

First day of the New Year and time to wrap up what I read in December and see how I did on my 2017 reading goals…

First, here’s what I read in December (links go to Goodreads):

  • Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher (audiobook, library) — I enjoyed this. There are so many things I didn’t know about Carrie Fisher. I loved the stories and her dry sense of humor. And I especially love that she narrated the audiobook.
  • The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown (Kindle) — I bought this on Kindle on 7/1/2014. It’s taken me 3.5 years to finally get around to reading it. If not for the “Read a book about sports” task in this year’s Read Harder Challenge, it might have remained unread on my Kindle for who knows how much longer. That would have been a shame. As I expected, it reminded me of my 4 yrs as coxswain for Purdue Crew and brought back so many great memories. It’s fascinating to see that not much has changed from the 1930s to the 2000s in the sport of rowing.
  • Jane, Unlimited by Kirstin Cashore (Hardcover) — It took me a while to get into this book. There were so many aspects that I loved (the house, the characters, the sea stuff, the umbrellas, the spies and the art…). But, I started this over the Thanksgiving holiday, got about a quarter of the way into it, put it down, and didn’t feel an overwhelming urge to get back to it. I think maybe just didn’t give myself enough time to get immersed in the story, because when I finally picked it up again (on the second to last day of the year), I finished it in nearly one sitting. It’s clever and also cute. If you read Kirstin Cashore’s blog, you can see so much of her personality (or at least her blog personality) in this book, which is charming.
  • 1984 by George Orwell (Kindle, library) — I read this for the “Read a book published between 1900 and 1950” Read Harder task. This book was published in 1949. So, it just makes the cut off. Plus, since people keep talking about it, and I never had to read it in school, I wanted to read it anyway. Unfortunately, I can’t say that I loved it. It pretty much falls into that genre of “polemics in the form of a novel” like The Circle which, as we’ve already established, are not my jam. The entire first quarter of the book is basically a world-building dump. Plus, at about two thirds of the way in, the main character reads two chapters from “the book” that are included verbatim in the story, serving up another hefty world-building info dump. This would NEVER fly in modern fiction. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the world. I just was expecting there to be more of a story set in the world, rather than a massive info-dump of world-building with a tiny bit of story.

In-progress (unfinished):

  • Information Doesn’t Want to be Free by Cory Doctorow (Hardcover) — I’m reading this aloud with my husband. So, even though it’s a short book, it’s going very slowly.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas (audiobook, library) — This audio book is nearly 50 hours long. I’ve manage to listen to about 10 hours, but I’m nowhere close to being done. I’ll have a chunk of commuting time in January where I think I’ll be able to finish it. But, it’s going to have to wait until then.

I really hate leaving books unfinished at the end of the year. I always try to finish everything in-progress before midnight on New Year’s Eve. Plus, I was reading both of these for Read Harder Challenge tasks. So, not finishing them means that I don’t get to check off those tasks either. Double bummer.

So, for the purposes of my end-of-year stats below, I’ve included the hours of audiobook I’ve listened to so far. (I’ll include the remaining hours in my 2018 stats, assuming I finish it next year.) And I’ve given myself partial credit in the total books read.

Here are my overall reading stats for the year:

  • Number of books/comics read (total): 53
  • Number of pages read: 17,840 pages
  • Hours listened: 3 hrs
  • Books published in 2017: 19
  • Published before 2017: 34
  • Read Harder Challenge tasks completed: 20 of 24 (83%)
  • Format: 45 digital, 7 print, 1 audio
  • Owned vs. borrowed: 19 of 53 borrowed from the library
  • Fiction vs. Non-Fiction: 46 fiction and 7 non-fiction
  • Genre: 58% sci-fi and fantasy, 25% realistic, 8% romance, 4% comics, 5% other
  • Age category: 57% adult, 40% YA, and 4% MG
  • POC authors/artists: 36% (19 books)

Not bad. I finished slightly better than my goal (50 books), but didn’t quite complete my Read Harder Challenge. As usual, fiction and ebooks dominate my reading life. But, there are a few surprises to be found in the stats. I’ll have to go back and check previous years’ stats, but I think I read a lot more adult books this year than I’ve been reading in the past few years. I was also a little (pleasantly) surprised to see that I made excellent use of the library this year. Over a third of my books read came from the library! And, over a third of my books read were written by POC authors! It’s not a full 50% yet, but it’s heading in the right direction.

And that wraps up another year in reading! Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year, and hoping that your reading in 2018 takes you on delightful adventures!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New books I’ve pre-ordered for May and June 2017

There are SO MANY excellent books coming out in May and June. Most of them are books that I’ve been waiting for FOREVER.

Here are the new books that I’m impatient to get my hands on and have pre-ordered (either thru Amazon or my local library, links go to Goodreads):

 

  • A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (2 May) — I had some serious issues with ACoTaR (and the TOG series, tbh…), but I loved ACoMaF which ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. So, I’m very excited to get back to this world/story and see what happens next.
  • Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy (9 May) — When I read the description and found out that one of the main characters is a swimmer and swimming laps was important enough to the story that it made it into the blurb, I knew I had to read this book. Plus, Julie Murphy is AWESOME, and I’ll read anything she writes.
  • Thick As Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner (16 May) — I’ve waited so long for another book set in the Queen’s Thief world by MWT, and now it’s here! This is one of my all time favorite fantasy series.
  • When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (30 May) — I’ve heard nothing but great things about this book. It’s set in SF at a coding camp and the romance sounds super sweet. Can’t wait to get my hands on this one.
  • Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (13 June) — This one is a sequel of sorts to Every Heart A Doorway, and I’ve been waiting for it eagerly ever since I noticed that they put a “#1” series designator on EHaD. This one features two of my favorite characters from the novel. I can’t wait.
  • Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab (13 June) — The first book in this series was possibly my favorite YA book I read last year, and if you read this blog regularly, you probably already know how much I love everything VES writes (though Vicious is still always my favorite, and you’ll be able to hear my squeeing from miles away when the sequel finally comes out). I love these characters, and I can’t wait to dive back into this world.

May is going to be the best birthday month ever.

If I missed an awesome book coming out in May or June that you think I’d love, please add your recommendations in the comments. I always enjoy learning about new books that should be on my reader radar.