Yesterday on my Bookstagram (linked in the About Me page), I posted my tentative February TBR.
But as I mentioned in my January Recap post, I am definitely a mood reader. So this list, even though I wrote it 6 hours ago has already changed. Obviously before I read Lovecraft Country I should probably read some of the HP Lovecraft collection that I have, and before I read Reaper at the Gates I have to finish Torch Against the Night. All of the books listed are either books I’ve started already or books that currently fit the mood I’m in.
The potion bottles were purchased with the Patronus Potions Year 2 mystery box.
Last year, between the New York shut down and the reduced in person hours at work places, there was a lot of time to read. During this time, I joined Alexandra Bracken’s Brackfast Book Club (link in currently reading), and the books we read were voted on by everyone in the group. This led to us reading things that I wouldn’t normally have read on my own and it was an interesting way to analyze how I read different types of books. It was fascinating to see how my brain tackled series verses standalones, and how tracking my reading differently changed the way I was reading.
Most trackers focus on the number of books finished in the month but for me, I have trouble focusing on just one book at a time. So, I decided to start using my Happy Planner as a way to track pages and books read in a day.
This way of tracking and reading came about because of the book club. Specifically, with standalones and binging series, I kept getting bogged down with all of the information going into my brain at once. So, I started reading side books to break up the reading for the book club. But that also put me behind the book club’s pace and made me feel like I couldn’t keep up. Tracking the books differently wasn’t going to make me read faster, or help me keep up, but it made me reevaluate my goals and expectations for myself and experience less burn out. This is how it worked out for January’s tracker:
This month I was trying to finish We Hunt the Flame from the book club, but it’s just too much world building for me to speed read. So, I focused on a couple of other books that I had been meaning to read instead and got pretty far in all of them. Tracking this way had not only given me a more visual representation of my accomplishments, but also a way to make time to slow down and process what I was reading. I even wrote notes on the books for reviews.
In the end of the month I had made it 25% of the way through We Hunt the Flame, 15% of the way through The Naming, 15% of the way through This Time by Azaa Davis, and 17% of the way through Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith.
This wouldn’t be a recap without a brief description of the books I read so:
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal follows Zafira and Nasir in the kingdom of Arawiya. Zafira is a woman in a society that doesn’t value their contributions beyond being in the home and working under men. But she desires more, and has lost much to get it. Nasir is deadly, but his actions are not his own. They are sent on a mission, both to seek, one to kill, one to survive. This book has the feel of The Hunger Games.
The Naming by Alison Croggon follows Maerad from her life in slavery, to her daring escape with her rescuer Cadvan. Along this journey she discovers that she is from a line of very powerful Bards, and her destiny may be more important than that of a simple slave. This book has the feel of Tamora Pierce’s Immortals Quartet.
This Time by Azaaa Davis (free copy for review) follows Nadira, a demon hunter who wakes up in a strange place and is unsure of how she got there or how long she had been there and once she escapes is shocked to find the answers she’s looking for. This book has the feel of Supernatural and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
So that was my January 2021, I didn’t finish any of the books but that’s okay, I’m sure I’ll finish some eventually and it’s the reading that’s important not the pace.
Tomorrow kicks off the Witchlands Boxed Set blog tour, and I will be participating. This is the first blog tour I’ve ever been a part of so I’m really excited for it! My date on the tour is tomorrow so look out for my post.
The tour is being hosted by Adriyanna Zimmermann over at Life Writings of a Reader. So you should go over and check out her blog for any news or interesting information. The post that I’m putting up tomorrow will be a review of Truthwitch and then later in the month when I finish reading Bloodwitch I’ll probably do a series recap.
The boxed set comes out October 8th, 2019; and you can pre-order from most of the usual places. But based on a recent twitter thread I’m going to include only certain pre-order links below.
So after writing up my July recaps I
decided to also write up an August TBR list and an August To Try Out List.
However, life caught up to me and so I’m still going to post it, but I’m going
to edit it into a recap of sorts instead. So let’s kick things off with my TBR.
These first books on the list were the books
that I had started in a previous month and just wanted to finish this month if
I had the time.
Windwitch By Susan Dennard
I had started this book last month immediately after finishing Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. By the end of July, I was just about halfway through the book so it wasn’t hard to finish this one. I am now so invested in this world that I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of reading about it. Since finishing this book, I have also started Sightwitch which is the short story in between Windwitch and Bloodwitch. Sightwithch was not initially on this TBR list because I didn’t at the time have the book since it was an ebook only.
This book is really big so I’m just sort of reading it in pieces. As much as I can get through in each month. I didn’t read any of it for this month so it will definitely be on the September TBR list that I post on the 1st.
I started reading this as soon as it came out and before the Barnes & Noble Book Club night. But I never quite absorbed the full ending of the book because of how fast I was reading it. I was forcing myself to rush for the Book Club and I wanted to finish the book quickly. But now I went back and restarted and started reading it slowly this time. But then I started reading The Witchlands series. So this also did not get finished this time.
That was my short list for August, and
the progress that I made on them. Obviously, my To Read List is much bigger and
will continue to grow. So September’s will build off of that. Here are some things
I had wanted to try out in August:
You-ology Exfoliating Mask: I had hear that exfoliating masks are really good for your face and getting rid of gunk that has seeped into your pores. Now, my day job is really dirty. Boxes are disgusting. So I really need something to take care of my face. The Bioclarity that I use is very good at keeping my face clean and hydrated but I needed something a little more aggressive to combat all of the layers of gunk on my face. I’ve only used this product three times so far and it has helped make my face softer and smoother. But I’ll keep you posted as I keep using the product.
Relics and Rarities: This is a show by Geek & Sundry, and it’s another RPG campaign stream. It is a fascinating concept. It basically arcs the story around what artifacts they choose at the beginning of the episode, and there’s a new guest star every week. They are still trying to complete an overall goal, but it’s not the same set up as Critical Role is. It’s very quirky. I like it.
Webtoon: This is an app that allows you to read online comics. An author I follow on Instagram (Alexandra Bracken), had mentioned that a webcomic called Lore Olympus existed that might mean her latest novel title might have to change. When she mentioned it, I immediately googled it to see what she was talking about because the description sounded like something I had seen pictures of online. So I signed up for the Webtoon app and I was not disappointed! Lore Olympus is SO GOOD! I would definitely recommend this webcomic if you haven’t read it yet.
Chokers by Paparazzi Accessories: Paparazzi came out with some pretty cute chokers recently and I really want to get some. I’m just not sure which one to get. I sort of want the cute silver ones, but I also want the corded ones. So I’m not sure which one I’m going to get. But I definitely want one.
Calisto6: This is another RPG stream that I wanted to start watching but I never got fully into it. It’s set in a futuristic sci-fi version of L.A. It’s a very different concept, from the description. So it will go on into my September TTO list.
So I always see people online talking
about their favorites for the month. So I thought I’d take the time to write
out a few of mine. I think at the end of this post I will also make an August
To Try list and an August TBR. But maybe that will be a separate post. I
haven’t decided yet. This might just be a summary of what I’ve used the most.
It’ll be broken up into different parts.
Part 1: Books
Dune by Frank Herbert
The first one I started reading back in June, but continued reading in July, is Dune by Frank Herbert. I know that everyone is going to say that I’m only reading it because of the movie and that I’m not a real fan. But this book came out 31 years before I was born so I would say the fact that it has still captured my interest after all this time is quite a feat. If we’re being honest though, this book as been on my “To Read” list since I saw it on the shelves in my bookstore a few years back. But it was the movie that finally got me to read the book. It’s not that I didn’t want to read it before, I just was reading other things that my friends wanted to discuss at the time and that is really what drives me to read something or see something. I need someone to discuss things with. So that’s why Dune was book number 1 of the month.
This book is the first book in the Witchlands series by Susan Dennard. While reading this book I achieved one of the fastest read times I’ve had in a really long time. If I had read this straight through, I could have finished it in less than 1 day. It’s also such a cool concept for a book. It’s got its own cool lore and plays off of the environmental witch type of magic set up but with a twist. It’s really quite interesting and I can’t wait to write a review for it. It also relates to book 3 of the month.
This is the second book in the Witchlands series by Susan Dennard and I had only just started this book towards the end of July so it definitely is the first on my August TBR. So far it is a little slower than Truthwitch was. But it’s still keeping me captivated.
“A Hole in the Plan” Critical Role |Campaign 2, Episode 42: Geek and Sundry
I have finally made it to episode 42 of Critical Role Campaign 2. This series is so good. You don’t really have to watch Campaign 1 in order to be invested in Campaign 2 but I would highly recommend both. This is an online D&D Campaign that is live streamed. It features Matthew Mercer, Travis Willingham, Marisha Ray, Liam O’Brien, Sam Riegel, Laura Bailey, and Taliesin Jaffe. All of their characters are so easy to get attached to. They’re funny and interesting, moody and heartfelt. You grow with them as they go through each new task. It’s basically just like listening to an audio book but with the characters acting in real time. SPOILERS AHEAD: In this current episode, they are with a band of pirates on a quest for a magical orb that grants special powers to its owner. It’s really interesting, it has spurred most of my other recent interests. From getting me hooked on Loot Crate, to introducing me to Tor Books, and even rekindling my interest in writing, reading, and blog posting. It’s really been a good creative boost for me.
So this is a new thing for me at least, and I think for most of the internet. Susan Dennard is the author of the Witchlands series, and the Something Strange and Deadly series, and she has started a Twitter “Choose Your Own Adventure” for one of her books that she was going to publish. It is amazing. It’s such a good story, I’m invested. This story has me going back to Twitter everyday to check this thread. It’s so fun to see where it’s going to turn, to see what is going to divide our decisions. It’s so fun to interact with other fans, other participants, to read their comments and join discussions. It’s really such a good community. I love it so much.
So this is Part 1 of my July recap. The
rest will be in part 2 it’s just less organized and more of a Miscellaneous Stuff
kind of post. So that will be Part 2. Then will come the August TBR/TTO List with
products I want to try in August or things I’m going to read in August. This
took way longer to write than I thought it would so everything’s behind. September’s
will be much more put together. You can also expect more reviews from me in the
near future assuming that the classes I’m taking again won’t interfere. See you
soon for Part 2.
This book follows Beka Cooper, a sixteen-year-old woman (most would say girl but if you read the book, she deserves the term woman), who is training to be a Dog. Now, in this world that is the same as the State police from what I can gather from the explanation of its structure. She started out living in the streets after her parents could no longer support her and her siblings. So the Lord in charge of the district ended up taking her in.
This Lord is also the head of the Provost’s Guard which contains the Dogs. This gives Beka an advantage most don’t have. She has both the knowledge of the lower city and the basic training that any one needs to survive on the street. But those aren’t the only resources Beka has. Armed with a magical cat and some unconventional informants, Beka solved some pretty horrendous cases.
This book was fast paced for the most part with some lag in the middle where the case took a back burner. The first-person narrative really draws you into the story and the cases. You feel what Beka feels. You learn things as Beka learns things. It keeps you guessing until Beka finally puts all of the pieces together at the end.
I mentioned in my previous post that something about it seemed safe and comforting and I think that’s the fact that and I think that’s the fact that it’s like I have a friend. The journal style of writing makes you feel like you are reading the journal of a friend or a letter from a friend.
Beka is also someone with severe social anxiety and the whole journey of her training to be a Dog was sort of also her trying to overcome that.
I think having a character who doesn’t really interact with people very well who has a feline companion to help her get through life is a really good idea in this current climate. It brings awareness to something that people don’t really know how to address still. It discusses having a mental illness without it having a name while still validating it and not letting it hold the character back.
I feel like it’s especially useful for the age demographic the book is “intended” for. This book came out when I was in middle school and is geared towards the YA age group. They are the ones who usually have the beginnings of mental illness symptoms and don’t know how to discuss them or are uncomfortable with doing so.
This book isn’t just good because of its background social commentary it has other elements that make it a really good book. For me those elements are: Interesting characters, minimal focus on love interests (this is good for the type of book that it is), and a fast paced and interesting plot. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book, to anyone not just YA. (A fight for another time)
In my previous post about Tor Books I stated that a book came out March 16th, 2019. This is incorrect. The book The Tesla Legacy was actually due to be published tomorrow March 12th 2019. The tweet confirming is quoted below.
Only 1 day until you get to meet my kickass scientist Lucy Phelps!
If you want to know what Bruce Banner would be like as a high school girl, then you need THE TESLA LEGACY in your life!
started with an advertisement on Facebook for Tor Books “Free eBook of the
Month Club” and who could resist a free eBook every month? The first book of
the month was V. E. Schwab’s A Darker
Shade of Magic. I had heard about this book from friends and my Goodreads
feed, but I hadn’t really heard much about it plot wise just that it was a good
book. But then I started reading it and I was hooked. Not to mention look at
this great cover:
The cover alone is like a summary of the
book. And with this as my introduction to the imprint how could I not be
excited to discover more books curated by them? So, I followed their Instagram.
I hadn’t really finished a book by them,
or by anyone really, because I was in sort of a reading funk. But between
Stephen King’s It which consumed most
of last year, and Tamora Pierce’s Tempests
and Slaughter I finally felt like my reading slump had ended. But what to
read next? I didn’t want to pick up A
Darker Shade of Magic again just yet. Not because it’s not a good book,
just because it wasn’t the type of book I was craving. It was too real world
still, I needed a complete escape. Enter Mistborn
by Brandon Sanderson, another book with an AMAZING cover:
This cover is just so gorgeous and
interesting to look at that I couldn’t help but be drawn to it when I first saw
it. But that’s not why I had picked up this book. I had first heard of Brandon
Sanderson’s books from Critical Role and Tor Books sponsorship of them but I
had never known where to start with them. Mistborn
was exactly what I was looking for in a book because it was short enough to
read in a couple of months (as opposed to taking me an entire year) and it was
enough out of this world for me to escape into its setting. And that’s what I
needed at the time.
Darker Shade of Magic
was just too grounded in reality still to accomplish that task. But that’s part
of what makes Tor Books so perfect to me. They have books that cover every
level of real-world grounded settings. Mistborn
is one that has minor similarities to the real world where you can see the
influences that historical background has had. But that’s about it as far as real-world
similarities. A Darker Shade of Magic
has London as its real-world tether with side worlds that are less connected but
still based on the standard society.
But Tor also has books that just twist the
real world slightly. I just received an ARC from a give away I entered called The Tesla Legacy by K.K. Perez and I am
so excited to read it. It seems to treat Tesla like Sanctuary does, but with a twist and it is most definitely grounded
in modern day America/World (I haven’t gotten far enough to determine a
definite setting. Once I do, I will definitely do a review). The cover on this
one is just as gorgeous as the rest:
And I just have the ARC. So I can’t wait
to see what the finished product is like.
This book comes out March 16th,
2019 and it’s ARC give away and the free ebook are the only ways in which I was
“compensated” for this review and they had no idea I was going to write this to
begin with. As I’ve said in the past, nothing I write about on this blog ahs
anything to do with sponsorship. They are all things I genuinely like and enjoy
and Tor Books imprint is no different. They have books I love, they have great
editors from what I’ve seen (you’d think this wasn’t important as long as the
story is good but I’ve found that to be very untrue), and their cover designers
So, in conclusion, I 10/10 would recommend
Tor Books as an imprint to check out, as well as each of these books I have
mentioned in this post.
This past weekend it snowed about two feet at my house, making the outside an undesirable place to be. Luckily, Hulu and Netflix have many many things that I have placed on my Watchlist. Unfortunately for my Watchlist Castle Rock was not one of them, meaning that Watchlist is still just as big as it was before. Now, Castle Rock hadn’t been on my watchlist previously because I hadn’t thought to put it on once it had come out. But on Friday someone had mentioned watching Castle Rock, thus started the weekend binge. I finished this series in two days, the fastest I’ve ever finished a series.
The series starts out with a sheriff of a small town searching the woods only to find a young boy standing in the middle of a frozen lake. The town the sheriff is from: Castle Rock, Maine; the year: 1991. Now, fast forward to 2018, it has been 27 years since the scene with the forest and we are now follow a man get ready for his day. He is retiring today, but his secret won’t let him. But he is not the focus of the story; his secret is. Can you believe that this is just the first half of the first episode?
This show definitely does suspense very well. But what do you expect from a series based off of the works of Stephen King? It keeps you captivated and intrigued the entire time. It keeps you guessing and makes you gasp. You will always think you know what’s going on but then suddenly be confused. It is very good at making you think. That being said, it’s not an easy series to understand on its own. If I hadn’t spent the entirety of last year reading It, I wouldn’t have understood most of what was going on. I also have background from other Stephen King Stories that I’ve either read, or watched as a show or a movie.
Without this background I wouldn’t have understood anything having to do with the hotel episodes.The episode where they brought in the rift and world traveling barely made sense as it was. Three entire character backstories would have made no sense at all. I’m still kind of confused by the episode about Henry’s mother. (It was cool that she played Carrie in the original movie though.) So over all I think that it’s a good show for the right audience but I don’t think it’s a show that anyone could watch and immediately get into.
This opinion is more solidified by the Syfy network show Haven (currently on Netflix). When I had started watching Haven I had just barely heard of Stephen King. I hadn’t read any of his books and I had only ever seen two of the movies made based on them. But when I watched Haven I wasn’t confused at all. Haven was its own story that could be followed without any other story. It was fun to try and find references to the other stories, but they weren’t an integral part of the main plot. (I almost made a terrible pun there, be proud that I didn’t.) It was a good introduction to the Stephen King universe.
I feel like I have a million posts titled Updates. But I’m constantly updating things and being creative with these titles just takes away from all of the other things that I’m doing.
As you can probably see there is a new page title up at the top called Currently Reading which is intended to be a more real time status update for what books I’m reading and what books I’m reviewing. It will have the book I am currently reading, my thoughts, and the most recent quote that has gotten stuck in my brain. It will also have the book I just finished, just the title unless I have comments that need to escape my brain. And finally it will have the book I’m reviewing, whether or not I will do a full review or just a tiny one on Goodreads, and what the progress of the review is.
So that’s the run down of the new page, now for the run down of what’s currently there. I just finished The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken and my brain is so full of nerd comments that I’m not even sure where to begin. I would like to do a full review on this book because it was just so good but if I don’t have the time or the second book ruins the vibe I’m feeling with this one. It’s such a good book, at least for me right now in my current state of mind.