The first is the companion novel in a YA space academy duology (Supernova by Kass Morgan). I picked up the first book a while back because “space fleet academy” is one of my favorite tropes and Kass Morgan wrote The 100 (which I never read but did watch and enjoy as a television series…at least for the first few seasons).
The other sci-fi book I’m reading is book three in an adult space opera adventure (Engaging the Enemy by Elizabeth Moon). The first two books were really good, and so far, I’m really enjoying book three.
I did not read as many books as I thought I was going to read in March. I had wanted to read one for every line in my rainbow, but alas that did not happen. On the bright side, I really liked everything I read.
Here is what I read in March:
Hunt the Stars by Jessie Mihalik — This book gave me serious Firefly vibes. There’s a crew of mercenaries. The Captain falls for the alien who hires them for a job. I enjoyed it, and I think I liked it better than I liked her Consortium Rebellion series. If you’re looking for some sci-fi romance that’s not of the blue aliens kidnapping Earth women variety, you should give this one a try.
The Misfit Soldier by Michael Mammay — This book was great. The author has become one of my auto-buy authors, and I think I liked this book even better than his first series. Currently, this is a stand-alone. I could totally see this becoming book one in a series (and I hope that it does). The voice of the main character had me laughing out loud. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I was practically giddy when I realized that this wasn’t just a military sci-fi mystery novel. Another, somewhat unexpected genre has been sandwiched in here, and it’s done very well. This one is definitely my favorite that I read this month.
The Bounce Back by Addie Woolridge — Another REALLY good novel. Again, I think I liked this one even better than I liked her first novel. This book is funny and heartwarming, and there is so many wise nuggets about day jobs and sibling relationships and female friendships. I highly recommend checking out this book, even if you haven’t read The Checklist (but you should totally read that one, too).
If you want to watch the flip-thru video, you can check that out here:
I am still working on adding some background music to my April set-up video. Once I get that figured out, I’ll get that posted, too! Until then, happy reading!
April why do you have to be so full of events I want to participate in? The first few days of this month (and the last few of last month) have already been so jam packed with stuff that I’m late getting this post up. Somehow I don’t think that the pace is going to let up this month, on either the work or leisure side of the life equation.
Something is going to have to give in order for me to make that happen, but that will be a problem for me to figure out when I sit down to plan my month. Today we’re going to pretend like I have all the time in the world for ambitious reading TBRs. Ready? Let’s go.
When making my TBR for April, I started with the Magical Readathon prompts because I am super into the whole Orilium thing that Book Roast has created. In the process of picking books, I added a couple of chucky tomes (books over 500 pages) that will also allow me to participate in Tome Topple, which is happening in the second half of the month (15-28 April).
Part of me thought it might be too much to try to do both events. I considered skipping Tome Topple (again), but I have tomes that are piling up and desperately need toppling! I need the added incentive of this event to tackle those long reads. Plus, I kind of had to pick one long one for one of the Magical Readathon prompts, so there’s that, too. You’ll see what I mean when I get into the TBR, below.
Here’s what I picked out and why:
Paladin’s Strength by T. Kingfisher — This is my buddy read book for the month, and it also fits the prompt of “book with a trope you like” to check off my “Art of Illusion” Orilium coursework. Judging from the description, I believe this book has at least three of my favorite tropes: a fake relationship, forced proximity, and competence porn! So excited.
Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa — This is my “intimidating read” for my “Inscription” coursework. As I hinted at above, basically the only books I tend to think of as “intimidating” reads are the ones that are over 500 pages (aka “tomes”). Books considered “classics” and anything non-fiction can also be intimidating for me, but I don’t have any “classics” on my TBR at the moment, and I like to stick with sci-fi and fantasy reads during the Magical Readathon events. I was debating between this book and Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton, but ended up going with this one because I have it in both hardcover and ebook. Sometimes I’m picky about format with longer books.
Legendborn by Tracey Deonn — This is another tome that has been hanging around at the top of my TBR for a while. I’ve tried to fit it into my reading schedule for the last couple months and never quite got to it. Now I’m kind of glad I didn’t read it yet because it works perfectly to fulfill my “Mythology Inspired” homework for the “Lore” course. I’m don’t really have another good option for this prompt, so I’m really hoping I can manage to read two tomes this month.
Goldilocks by Laura Lam — This book “set in the future” was my pick for the “Psionics and Divination” coursework. But, there was a last minute change of plans this morning. Now I am pretty sure that I’m going to be changing this to Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha. My buddy read friends wanted to read that next, and it just so happens to work for this prompt, so I think I’m going to switch.
For those of you who are interested, I did film my reading journal set-up, but editing that is taking forever, and has been keeping me from getting this post up. So, that will be posted soon. Keep an eye on my YouTube channel if you want to watch that.
That’s all for now. I will be back very soon with my March reading wrap-up post. Until then, happy reading!
We’re already several days into the month of March, but don’t worry. I didn’t forget about posting my reading journal spread. This post just took a bit longer than usual to write. You’ll see why in a bit.
I have been messing around with my friend’s Canvas lamp. (Side note: She’s awesome and you should go check out her art!). I saw an ad for the Canvas lamp (which is like a ring light that has a phone holder and clamps to your desk), and I was considering buying one when I found out that Zoe had recently received one as a gift. So she’s letting me test it out while she’s busy with other stuff. I have mixed feelings about it so far. I think I can take better photos without the lamp (the one above was taken with the lamp, then “enhanced” a bit on my phone before uploading). So if that’s all I am going to do with it, I can buy a cheaper desk lamp for my office. But…
I did play around with making a video flip-through of my reading journal set-up. You can check that out below.
I think I need more practice if I’m going to make more videos like this. But I’m willing to give it a few more tries. If you want me to make more set-up and/or flip-thru videos, please let me know by liking my video on YT, and/or subscribing to my channel, and/or just leaving a comment over there or on this post. If there’s enough interest, I’ll do a March wrap-up flip through and a set-up video for April where I actually film the me-doing-art part.
If you watch the video, you’ll get to hear me talking about my plans for the Mini-Magical Readathon in March. I made a few spreads to help me keep track of my reading prompts and options. I have to read a minimum of two books. One to earn my magical conduit and another to determine my legacy. I’m putting off picking books to go with the prompts until closer to the start of the event (14 March).
In addition to participating in the Mini-Magical Readathon, I have a few other reading goals for this month. I didn’t make specific pages for these in my reading journal. I am just sharing them here for accountability, and so I can remember to report back on how I did when I do my wrap-up post at the end of the month.
Aggressively DNF! — I really need to stop feeling guilty about not finishing books that just aren’t clicking with me. Usually, it’s not the book’s fault, which makes it even harder to just put it down and pick up something else. The problem is, if I’m forcing myself to read a book that I’m not clicking with, it takes me at least 2x as long to read it, and I risk putting myself in a slump. So, this month I’m going to be aggressive about DNFing anything that I’m not enjoying. If it’s not a “hell, yes!” then I’m setting it aside and saying “maybe later.”
Read at least one non-fiction book — I have a stack of non-fiction that I want to get through this year. The trick is going to be picking one that doesn’t violate my “aggressively DNF” goals.
Read at least 60 pages of one book from my physical TBR (then finish or DNF/donate) — This goes nicely with my “aggressively DNF” goal. I set myself a sixty page evaluation point because most of the books in my physical TBR stack are around 300 pages, and if I’m not into a book by the ~20% mark, then it’s probably not happening. I don’t need to horde books that I’m not interested in reading anymore, especially ones I got from subscription boxes. So, the goal is to pick one, read 60 pages, and decide if I want to keep going. If yes, I’ll try to finish it before the end of the month. If no, I’ll donate it, pick another, and repeat until I find something that sticks.
So that’s what I have planned for March. What are your reading plans? Are you participating in the Mini-Magical Readathon? If so, which guild did you get sorted into? Any fellow Mind Walkers out there?
Would you believe me if I told you that this spread was shaping up to be a hot mess before it ultimately ended up becoming something I don’t hate?
There is a lesson for the New Year somewhere in here, I think… But somehow I managed to take some leftover wrapping paper scraps and a bunch of miscellaneous stickers and create a nature inspired cover page for the first month of the New Year. #FeelingCrafty
Wondering what’s in the reading pocket for this month? Placeholders, mostly. I’m still finishing my last read of 2021. Tomorrow I’ll decide what I feel like reading next.
Happy New Year! Hope your first read of 2022 is a five star favorite! 💖
We’ve been having a week of cold and stormy weather where I live. So I’ve been home, hanging out by the fire, and working on setting up my reading journal for 2022.
Despite my ongoing love/hate relationship with my reading journal, I’ve decided to continue using it next year. Some of that decision has to do with the fact that I’ve only filled half the pages in this notebook. But also, I am starting to prefer tracking my reading in my journal to tracking it on Goodreads. Plus, I think I’ve finally figured out how I want to use it to track notes about the books I’ve read.
So, keep scrolling if you want to see how I’ve set things up for 2022 and what I’ve kept and changed from last year’s set up.
I don’t like the placement of that quill and ink bottle sticker on my cover page, but other than that I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. Like this year, the Tombow marker color I used for the genre is marked on the book spine, and I’ll be using this color coding when I draw in books on the book case in the following spread.
I liked the year overview bookshelf that I did this year, so I decided to do it again. I only made a few changes. The stripes of black that serve as the base of the shelves are a bit wider this time, and I wrote the month under where I’m going to draw in the books instead of above. Also, I figured out that one of the rectangles on the ruler / stencil combo that I have is the perfect size to use as a book spine. I doodled some in on the May / June shelf just to test it out, and then I added a sticker for decoration.
I haven’t quite finished this spread, yet. I’m still working on what data I actually want to keep track of (aside from number of books read). This year I kept track of things like book format, age category, and books written by BIPOC and/or LGBTQIA+ authors. I will probably do something similar in 2022, but I’m going to wait until I have my reading goals sorted out before I draw in any more columns. For example, what’s the point of tracking what format I read in (ebook vs. print vs. audio) or where the book comes from (owned vs. library vs. gift) if I don’t have a reading goal associated with that data? I mean, it’s interesting information. But maybe I can just make a note of that on the page of book notes and not track it here? I don’t know.
I’ve always enjoyed Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge. I’ve participated on and off every year since the first one. But in 2021 I pretty much ignored the challenge completely. I put the prompts into my reading journal at the start of the year, just in case I changed my mind part way through and decided I wanted to participate. But I’m pretty sure I didn’t do any of them, even accidentally.
I’m putting the prompts in again for 2022, but this time, after looking over the prompts, I think I may end up participating at least a little bit. And maybe on purpose? We’ll see. I do think it’s a great list of prompts if you’re looking to diversify your reading (which is always one of my reading goals).
I love all the read a genre book by a BIPOC and/or LQBTQIA+ prompts, especially the “read a book in any genre by a POC that’s about joy and not trauma” prompt. Possibly my favorite of the prompts for 2022 is “read a romance where at least one of the protagonists is over 40.” My least favorite of the prompts is definitely “read an award-winning book from the year you were born,” because I think it’s going to be very hard for me to find a book I’m excited about reading that fits that prompt.
Aside from casual participation in the Read Harder Challenge, I don’t plan on doing any other official reading challenges, and I am not making a “22 books to read in 2022” list because that was an utter fail this year. I think I read maybe three of the books I put on that list?
I do have a couple of reading projects that I’ve set for myself. The first is a re-read of all the novels and novellas that I’ve published to date in my Modern Fae series. I want to complete this in January, if possible, before I dive into developmental edits on book five. So I made this spread to track my reading progress.
I also have a selection of writing books and a short list of non-fiction books on anti-racist and social justice topics that I want to read in 2022. Those are going to be incorporated into my goals, I think. I may also make a spread to track them. Other than that, I’m going to continue to resist the urge to make TBRs in 2022. Instead, I’m going to try to follow my reading whims where they lead.
I have one more book (maybe two?) that I want to try to finish before the end of 2021. Then I can do my December wrap-up and my 2021 reading stats posts. I also need to set up my cover page for January, once I decide what sort of cover image I want. And finish my 2022 reading goals. So stay tuned for more reading journal posts, coming soon.
And if you want to join in my Modern Fae re-read, I’m starting with Eve of the Fae on the first of January, and I’ll be posting progress over on Instagram.
In the meantime, do you have a reading journal or are you starting one for 2022? Are you setting any reading goals for 2022? Are you participating in any challenges or setting any reading projects for yourself? Let me know in the comments.
This post took me forever to write because I kept putting off drawing my cover page I had everything else done, but I just wasn’t in the mood to draw. Luckily, I found some time and inspiration yesterday, so I can share this with you today!
I scrolled through the Draw So Cute winter holiday art tutorials and decided on the snow globe. I think all this rain we’ve been having is kind of making me hope that it eventually turns to snow, at least for a little bit. The weather has recently turned a bit colder, and there’s been a little bit of snow up in our mountains, but nothing down where we live, yet.
I added some sparkle to the cover page, but it’s really hard to see in the photo. Also, now that I’m looking at it, I’m realizing that the right hand page doesn’t really coordinate well with the left hand page. Probably because I did one of them weeks ago and one of them yesterday. Oh well. I still like it.
So, did you notice those little book covers sticking out of the pocket on the right hand page of the spread? Well, I might have made a TBR for this month… But it’s not really a TBR. It’s more like a book buffet. I’m thinking of it like an extremely delicious selection of all the yummy books I might want to devour this month. None of these are “have to read” books.
I’ve divided them into different categories in the photo and in my summary below. Or, if you want to continue with the buffet metaphor, you could think of them like different food groups. No group is more important than any of the others, and you could nearly make a meal on any one of them.
I grouped them because I want to read according to what I’m in the mood for at any given time. So, if I just want to eat dessert, maybe I’ll just eat dessert. I’m a grown-up. I can do what I want.
This way, if I (for example) get really excited about holiday stories and just want to keep reading more of those, I’ve already picked out a bunch and don’t have to go looking for more. Or alternatively, if I read one holiday story and decide that’s plenty, I can move on to another group based on what I’m craving.
My first grouping is the new (sort-of) releases. Here’s why these, specifically, are at the top of my list:
Fated Blades by Ilona Andrews — I just finished The Kinsmen Universe anthology specifically so that I could read this new release which I’m very excited about because I’m into the “ballgowns in space” right now.
Graceling (graphic novel) by Kristin Cashore and Gareth Hinds — Graceling was maybe my first favorite YA fantasy book. I love the whole series. So, of course I have to read the graphic novel version that just came out.
The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon — I knew this was set in Seattle, but I just found out from a friend that that there’s a section set on the island where I live (which is NW of Seattle), so this got bumped up to the top of my TBR.
Next are books by friends that I’m really excited to read:
Forrest for the Trees by Kilby Blades — It’s been a while since I’ve read one of Kilby’s books, and the premise for this one is really calling to me. The hero is a fire marshal and the heroine is a park ranger, and there’s a mystery! Plus, I think it’s a grumpy / sunshine pairing, which I love.
The Bounce Back by Addie Woolridge — This is Addie’s follow up to The Checklist which came out earlier this year. I really enjoyed it. I will be looking for any signs that my secret ship (the socially awkward tech exec and the best friend from The Checklist) might get together in an upcoming book. (Addie, if you’re reading this, I’ll settle for a novella.)
House of Scepters by Anne Zoelle — I’ve been trying to get to this one all year! Anne is one of the few in my writing group who also writes fantasy romance, and I can’t believe it is taking me so long to read her latest series. Especially when all our friends can’t stop saying how good it is!
Then we have our selection of holiday romances:
Under A Winter Sky by Kelley Armstrong, Jeffe Kennedy, Melissa Marr, L. Penelope, and Grace Draven — I’ve already started reading this one. The only author in this group that I’ve read anything by is Grace Draven, and I think her story is the shortest of the bunch. But I bought this last year because what better way to sample the writing of a group of fantasy romance authors I’ve been interested in checking out than to read an anthology of their winter holiday themed novellas? I’m only about half-way through, but I’m already loving it, and I know I will be adding more books by these authors to my TBR.
The Heart of Christmas by Mary Balogh, Nicola Cornick, Courtney Milan — I can’t remember where I heard about this anthology. I think it was a podcast, maybe? All I remember is that I added it to my TBR earlier this year with the plan that I would read it during the holiday season. I’ve heard great things about Mary Balogh and will read pretty much anything by Courtney Milan.
Christmas With Holly by Lisa Kleypas — I’m pretty sure this got made into a Hallmark movie, but that’s not why I picked it up. I picked it up because it’s set on one of the islands where I live! I borrowed it from my library last year, then never got around to reading it. So I’m trying again this year.
And the next up in my two current favorite cozy mystery romance series:
Miss Moriarty, I Presume? by Sherry Thomas — I don’t think this one needs any explanation. If you’ve been reading my blog, then you know how much I love Lady Sherlock and know how excited I am to read this new release.
An Unexpected Peril by Deanna Raybourn — I’ve been dragging my feet on this one because it’s the last before I have to wait for a new one to be released (in spring 2022, I think). But, I’m still on my cozy mystery kick, so I may finally get to it this month.
And finally, one last book off my 21 for 2021 list (which I am definitely not carrying over or recreating for 2022, but I’ll talk about that more when I do my 2022 reading goals):
Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake — This is the last book in this series, and I keep forgetting about it, then seeing it on my TBR and kicking myself for forgetting. I think maybe I got frustrated with the last book I read in this series (book three?), but I was really liking it for the first two books, and I do want to see how it ends, but the reviews have me thinking that I will be disappointed, so I don’t know. It may be now or never.
And that’s my set up for the last month of 2021! What are you reading this month? Have you read any of the books on my book buffet for this month? Let me know in the comments.
Until next time, I hope you are having a happy holiday season and that you have lots of good reading to cozy up with!
This wasn’t an amazing reading month for me. I suffered from a big reading slump at the start of the month, then eventually read some stuff that I enjoyed, but nothing really knocked my socks off. But, hey! Look! I completed my Goodreads challenge goal!
So that’s cool! Now let’s talk about what I read in October…
Rather than make my usual “outbox” spread this month, I just put the book covers below my book list. I didn’t think three books necessitated a full two-page spread. Plus it’s all super color-coordinated! That’s a cool coincidence, right? And, for the second month in a row, everything I read happened to be published this year! Who even am I reading all these new releases?
Here’s what I read in October:
The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik — This was the book that pulled me out of my reading slump. I tried reading the first chapter of a selection of books, and when I got to this one, the grumpy voice of the main character hooked me. El reminds me of Murderbot in that way, and it was just a good fit for the mood I was in at the start of this month. I enjoyed the story, but I’m still annoyed about the ending. I didn’t realize there were going to be more books in this series, and was not prepared for that massive cliff-hanger ending.
First Comes Like by Alisha Rai — After the evil cliff-hanger, I picked this up for a quick, fun read at the recommendation of a friend, and it was exactly that. I trust this author to write a heartwarming romance, and she always delivers. Of course, I also forgot that I never read book two in this series, so oops! It was fine, though. The books in this series all feature different couples in a friend group, and the heroine of this book is one of the sisters from the author’s Forbidden Hearts series. Even though the timelines of each book are consecutive, I had no issue reading this one out of order.
A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers — This is a novella in what looks like a new series from this author. I went into this expecting that it was going to be a character-driven story with no plot, and that’s what I got. So, expectations met. I did enjoy it, and if you like other books by this author, you’ll probably love this one. I appreciate her writing, but her books are really just not for me. I realized this when I finally noticed that it was taking me weeks to finish a 160 page novella. As much as I enjoy her worlds, I need plot.
I also updated my 2021 bookshelf in my reading journal. Only one shelf left to fill in…
That reading slump at the start of the month caused me to reflect a bit on my reading life. I think I’m moving in the direction of becoming more of a mood reader. Because of that, I’m also getting better at DNFing books. Or at least putting them aside and admitting that they’re just not a good fit for me right now rather than wasting weeks of my life avoiding reading anything because I feel like I have to finish the book I already started before I read anything else.
I’m also figuring out how to use my reading journal. For most of this year, I had this idea in my head that I needed to write these deep thoughts about the books I was reading and rate them according to this system where I gave each book a score for character, plot, world, intrigue, and enjoyment. Then I averaged those scores to come up with a final rating for each book. But that’s all way too much work and is turning out to be not helpful in achieving what I ultimately wanted this reading journal to achieve. So I changed things up this month, and it worked SO MUCH BETTER!
Now I’m using my notes pages to identify the universal fantasy elements in the book, any tropes, and what MICE elements are included in the story, in addition to the very basic idea of “did I like it and why/why not?” This is WAY more helpful in identifying story elements that I gravitate towards and love vs. the ones that are just not for me. SO MUCH BETTER! Why didn’t I think of this before?
Anyway, that’s my October reading wrapped up. Overall, no new favorite books, but a lot of good new ideas. I’m pretty satisfied with that.
Tomorrow is a new month, and that means it’s time to make a new cover page and book list in my reading journal. This week, I was feeling the fall vibes, so I went with a cozy winter owl theme.
Once again, the drawing is from a Draw So Cute tutorial. Except she went with a brown owl and added some wind and leaves falling. I decided I preferred a grey owl and color scheme that reminds me of my dad since November was his birthday month, and I always miss him the most at this time of year.
As for my November reading plans, I just downloaded a bunch of books from the library. Possibly the one I’m most excited to read is Dial A For Aunties. I’m also crossing my fingers and hoping that I’ll get the new Lady Sherlock book that comes out on the 2nd of November. I have it on hold, but I’m not first in line.
I really leaned into the spooky season vibes with my reading journal set-up for October.
I love the way this turned out. I ended up using this video from Draw So Cute to make the haunted house and this video from Amanda Rach Lee to do the font for “October.” Then I added my usual book list summary to the facing page, and that’s it. Reading journal set-up done.
I’m not expecting this to be a big reading month for me. I know I say that almost every month, but it’s going to be hard to find time for reading this month and next month, because of NaNoWriMo. However, I’ve already committed to a buddy read of Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir and there is going to be another round of Tome Topple at the end of the month. So, I’ve been thinking about maybe trying to squeeze in time to read one tome during the final two weeks of October.
If I do decide to participate in Tome Topple, I’ve picked out a few tomes that are calling to me. Then I split them into two options. I’ll pick one or the other (or neither) depending on how I’m feeling when the readathon starts.
The first option for this round will be to read one (or more) of these books:
The Phoenix Empress by K. Arsenault Rivera — This is the sequel to The Tiger’s Daughter, which I really liked. I put this book (and the third/final book in the trilogy) on my “21 for 2021” reading list at the start of this year. I haven’t made a ton of progress on that list, and there are only three months left in the year, so I think I better get moving on that.
The Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa — This is a much anticipated read for me. Also, I have it on ebook and in print, so if I’m craving a paper book, I can read this, and still be able to switch to Kindle if I’m reading before bed.
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn — This book has been at the top of my TBR for a while. I had hoped to get to read it for one of the prompts in the Magical Readathon last month, but I ran out of time. If I only have time for one book during this round of Tome Topple, this one is probably going to be it.
Option two for this round will be to read the remaining books in the Throne of Glass series, starting with Empire of Storms, which is where I left off when I abandoned this series back in 2015. Once upon a time, I really loved this series, but I kind of grew out of it and now I’m not sure if it’s even worth finishing. BUT I did put all three of these on my “21 for 2021” list. So, maybe? It’s been so long that I’m going to need to read several recaps in order to remind myself what happened leading up to book five.
What’s on your October TBR? Are you planning on participating in Tome Topple? Are you feeling the spooky fall vibes? Let me know in the comments. Happy reading!