Mini-Review Recap

February Recap

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Late, as per usual.

Okay, I read 6 books in February, and 20 comics, but I was in a slump. I almost kind of still feel in a slump. Most of the books I read felt like they took FOR-EV-ER to get through. Oy. Anyways, here’s what I read.

Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching by Mychal Denzel Smith – This is Smith’s recounting of how he grew up to be the black man that he is – the culture he immersed himself in, how he was raised, and how he became more and more aware of socioeconomic and discriminatory issues. I loved that he talks about his realization that most of the media he was consuming were by and about men, and that he needed to seek out the female perspective. And he’s about my age, so I got almost all his pop culture references and reminisced along with him when it came to big musical artists (Outkast!) and Kanye telling us on TV that the president didn’t care about black people.

Bad Idea by Damon Suede – I read this for the Read Harder challenge – an LGBT romance, and I made sure it was by a gay author as well. Romance blooms between a comic artist who lacks confidence and a FX make-up guy who has swagger to spare but really has that charming good-mannered Southern boy thing going on. I loved Trip and Silas – their relationship evolved in an entirely realistic way without some of the ridiculous shenangians that romance novels tend to get bogged down in.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah – Oh em gee you guys, you need to get this audiobook. Trevor talks about growing up in South Africa before and after apartheid – he’s insightful and serious, but also hilarious. The accents he does for the little boy version of himself and his mother are just awesome. I don’t re-listen to audiobooks often, but this is definitely going to be one I come back to.

A Movie in My Pillow / Una pelicula en mi almohada by Jorge Argueta – This is a kid’s book of poetry in English and Spanish, about the author’s experience coming to America from El Salvador and remembering things about his home country. Probably a great book for kids. I read this for the Read Harder challenge (read a book of poetry in translation about a theme other than love) and I totally admit I went the kids book route because I dread poetry a bit.

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn – This was my re-read for the Read Harder challenge because it is DELIGHTFUL, re-reads are great when you’re in a reading slump, and the sequel comes out this summer. I can’t wait! If you like bad-ass women who fight demons and books that focus on lady friendships, this is the book for you.

The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp – I’m so easily sucked in by cool covers. This is a relatively new book, and I grabbed it on sale for the Kindle a while back, and finally read it. It’s about a douchey, druggie famous guy who is out to write a book about how the paranormal doesn’t exist. It’s weird and mysterious and then gets extra creepy halfway in, and now I’m a little paranoid about going in my basement. So it was entertaining, but I’m kind of mad I read it now because I’m ridiculous. (This is why I don’t watch horror movies.)

Alrighty, so lets see how February added up.

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 6

Female authors: 1 (17%) what how did that happen??

Non-white authors: 4 (67%)

Format breakdown: 2 print, 3 e-book, 1 audiobook

STATS – COMICS

Issues read: 20

Female authors/illustrators: 3

Non-white author/illustrators: 3

Format breakdown: All print.

So yeah. Um clearly I need to read more ladies in March, and I need to take better advantage of having Marvel Unlimited, dammit. When I do this next month I better have more digital comics in my numbers (and more ladies and POC too). I know part of the problem is I’m reading a TON of Fables right now. I’m on Volume 16 right now – I’ve been flying through them and I’m determined to finish the whole series this year. OH and also it’d be great if I wrote some damn reviews or something. I’ve been seriously slacking on that.

Anyhoo – how was your reading last month?

 

 

January Recap

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I basically kicked January’s ass. I read 9 books and 34 comics. Whaaaat??? I know, crazy. My goal for the year is 60 books, so I mean… that’s a pretty big dent.

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Be Not Afraid by Alyssa Cole – I bought this at BRL and Alyssa Cole signed it for me! This was my first read of the year –  two black protagonists who are on opposing sides of the Revolutionary War fall in love. Some serious topics packed into this short little romance and it’s great.

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All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai – This comes out tomorrow, and if you like interesting time travel mishaps this will be right up your alley.

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Battle Hill Bolero by Daniel Jose Older – Conclusion to the Bone Street Rumba series! Except I kind of refuse to acknowledge it’s the end because I don’t want to leave these characters.

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The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles – So this is a m/m romance, but reads more like a dark, gritty regency fantasy novel. And I’m pretty sure the author is a straight woman, so even though the story was good, the sexy bits felt a bit off. I re-read a couple paragraphs trying to figure out the sexual logistics of what she was describing. I’m not going to count this for “LBGTQ romance” for the Read Harder challenge, I’m going to find something #ownvoices instead.

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Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Y. Davis – I’m not sure a collection of speeches and essays was the best intro to Davis. But basically we need to connect with movements on an international level, G4S is evil, and she’s very pro-Palestine (which I don’t know nearly enough about to have my own opinion on yet).

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Breasts by Florence Williams – This was both terrifying, funny, and informative. Definitely highly recommend, even if it now has me second-guessing myself every time I put lotion on or use scented body wash or basically do anything that could affect my ladies in the slightest.

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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – One of those really hyped up books that sounded like basic chick lit and I let it sit on my Kindle for 2 years, but it turns out it was kind of worth the hype. I was surprised as how much I got into it.

Sweet to the Taste by Alyssa Cole – Listen, you basically need to read ALL the Alyssa Cole, okay? Especially if you find diversity sexy (and if you don’t I’m not sure you’re in the right place).

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Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – CNA is a bombshell. This focuses on four people, all connected in some way, as they make their way through the Biafran War, AKA the Nigerian Civil War. I was totally sucked into the minutiae of their lives. This is definitely my second fave CNA novel (first being Americanah).

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 9

Female authors: 7 (78%)

Non-white authors: 5 (56%)

Format breakdown: 5 print, 4 e-book

STATS – COMICS

Issues read: 34

Female authors/illustrators: 8

Non-white author/illustrators: 10

Format breakdown: 33 print, 1 digital

So yeah, off to a pretty strong start for 2017! I need to read more comics on Marvel Unlimited, I have it for a year and I’m totally not using it enough. I also need to write more actual reviews… I’ve been writing review blurbs on Litsy but that’s basically it. On the other hand, I wrote hardly any reviews and read a bunch of books… so maybe that’s where my time is better spent. We’ll see.

Mini-reviews because I’m way behind

Y’all I’m behind and there’s no way I’m catching up, so let’s do some mini-reviews! These are all books I read in December, so I guess this would be my normal monthly review/recap post, except I’m not going to talk about stats since I already did my 2016 wrap-up. Anyhoo, I read a lot of good things at the end of the year! So if you’re somehow still holding on to bookstore gift cards that you got for Christmas, you might want to consider using them on some of these.

I’m Judging You: A Do Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi – This, like many recent books by funny ladies, is a worthwhile humorous read in which Luvvie talks about how her friend’s need to choose better boy toys but also how we need to be better people in general – less homophobic, less racist, etc. There were some pieces that absolutely cracked me up and I highlighted and read out loud to people, but one of the bits that sticks out in my mind the most is when she talks about the teachers and kids in her (mostly white) school basically refusing to learn how to say her name (Ifeoluwa), and how her last name gives people so much trouble they barely try, but yet we can all pronounce Schwarzenegger with no trouble. I didn’t read this on audio, but I heard it’s GREAT, so maybe you should do that.

The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla – This is a collection of essays by British immigrant and POC authors about their experiences. Since I live in the US, the conversations and news about race are usually centered on American experiences – and weirdly, trying to Google to find out the race issues that other countries are struggling through doesn’t turn up much useful information. I’m so glad I got to read this, which gave me insight into some of the prejudices and microaggressions that are ingrained in British culture. This isn’t available to purchase in the US, even on Amazon, but you can get your copy from The Book Depository easy peasy.

Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare – I haven’t loved a Regency historical romance this much in a long, long time. Charlotte is trying to avoid being thrown in front of eligible bachelors by her match-making mama, because she just wants to go on a traveling tour with her bestie. Piers is a marquess but also secretly a spy, who certainly has no interest in marriage unless it’s necessary to keep his cover from being blown. One night Charlotte and Piers are caught alone in a room together and mistakenly taken to be secret lovers. They’re engaged, unless Charlotte can prove who the real mystery lovers are. I giggled SO MUCH reading this, and actually really liked Charlotte and Piers – the character-building was fantastic and the romance was realistically built up. I can’t wait to read more Tessa Dare (if you’ve read more of her novels PLEASE give me recs on which ones to read next.)

How to Make White People Laugh by Negin Farsad – I saw Negin speak at Book Riot Live and immediately went to buy her book. She is an Iranian-American-Muslim lady, and her book talks about her growing up and wanting to be involved in activism and advocacy, and how she does that by trying to make people laugh. She discusses being a “hyphenated” person in a white-dominated society, and her work to use comedy to combat the irrational fear that some Americans have of anyone who identifies or looks Muslim. I really want to watch her documentary The Muslims Are Coming! soon.

The Wangs vs The World by Jade Chang – This totally deserves all the praise it’s been receiving. Chinese immigrant Charles Wang was a massively successful businessman who made his fortune in make-up- that is, before the recession of 2008 hit. Now the once-wealthy Wangs are broke and on a road trip across America, and it’s a bumpy, funny, heart-warming ride. The Wangs are flawed but quirky and I had a great time with them, and was sad when the book ended.

Ghost Girl in the Corner by Daniel Jose Older – This is just a short little novella, but if you enjoyed Shadowshaper then it’s a must-read (especially since it’s only 99 cents.) I’m not going to go into any details because it’s such a quick read, but figured I’m mention it here in case you like Daniel Jose Older’s other books but didn’t know about this.

Have you read any of these?

November Recap

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Alright, November was awesome for a few reasons (trip to DC, trip to NYC for Book Riot Live, Thanksgiving, etc) but it was not awesome in terms of reading time. I was hella busy and I managed to read 4 books. And I finished the fourth one, the audiobook The Clancys of Queens, at like 9 pm on the last day of November which I was happy about but then led to a heated discussion between me and the honeyman about whether or not that “counts” as reading a book. I may or may not have threatened to stab his kneecap with the pen I was holding.

Anyways, let’s see what I read!

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The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey – Such a surprisingly lovely book about zombies! There are zombie children in this book that function like normal children except you know, they have a hunger to eat people. I thought it was great and I really enjoyed reading it. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I have some feels about the race-switching in the casting.

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Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley – I read this, my first Walter Mosley, partly because of Luke Cage and partly because I knew he was going to be at Book Riot Live! I missed him at BRL, but this was a really great read. Mystery isn’t so much my jam, but I enjoyed Easy Rawlins and the social commentary in the book enough that I’m definitely going to be picking up the second book.

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Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole – Pretty sure I already had this e-book, but I bought the print copy for Alyssa to sign at BRL (she was so sweet!) and I sat down to read it over a relaxing Thanksgiving weekend. Wonderful, short little historical romance about an interracial couple falling in love and fighting for civil rights. I think I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Sofie and Ivan.

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The Clancys of Queens by Tara Clancy –  I saw Tara speak at a panel at BRL and she was just SO great and made everyone laugh and then cry a little bit (myself included) and so I grabbed this on audio ASAP. It’s about her growing up in wildly different environments as a child – working class and kind of broke most of the time, but also spending weekends in the rich Bridgehamptons. It’s very much a love letter to her big, crazy family and so many of them reminded me of my family (I have Italian family members) and you should definitely listen to it on audio because her voice is distinct and she’s a great storyteller.

 

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 4

Female authors: 2 (50%)

Non-white authors: 2 (50%)

Format breakdown: 2 print, 1 e-book, 1 audiobook

STATS – COMICS

Issues read: 1 (This was the Adulthood is a Myth collection of comics by Sarah Andersen, ALSO from Book Riot Live.)

Female authors/illustrators: 1

Non-white author/illustrators: 0

Format breakdown: Print.

 

Okay then! I’m just realizing how BRL-influenced my reading was this month, holy crap. I can’t believe I didn’t read basically ANY comics this month. My stack is over-flowing, I tell ya.

September Recap

 

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I don’t know what it was, but I kicked September’s ass. I read 8 books and 21 comics. I even reviewed most of the things I read. Maybe it was my super low expectations? Or my tendency to choose reading over unpacking/cleaning/doing anything active or productive? Who knows, but it was awesome. 

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Playing Dead by Elizabeth Greenwood – She kind of lost be when she started talking about whether or not Michael Jackson is still alive, but the parts that focused directly on pseudoside were was kind of fascinating and it’s great on audio.

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The Rise of Io by Wesley Chu – More action-filled awesome from Wesley Chu. I can’t wait for the next one.

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Here Comes by Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn – Really engrossing but also very heartbreaking, seeing these female characters struggle through life and how hard tourism impacts life in Jamaica.

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The Hike by Drew Magary – Weird and delightful, had a little bit of a video game quest vibe going on. But I like the other’s other novel, The Postmortal, better.

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You Can’t Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson – Phoebe tackles racism and sexism while talking about her own experiences as a young black female comedian, and she does it while making you laugh out loud. VERY psyched she’s going to be at Book Riot Live in November!

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Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina – Nora’s growing up in NYC during the Son of Sam’s reign of terror, but the things she’s dealing with at home – an increasingly violent brother, and a mother barely scraping by – are almost as horrible. Nora is one of the better depictions of those turbulent teen years that I’ve seen in YA.

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The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins – Absolutely bizarre and a little creepy. I don’t think it lived up to the hype I heard, but it was a decent read.

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The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer – I am really pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this. I’m hoping to do a full review soon, but it was funny and poignant. Awesome on audio.

 

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 8

Female authors: 5 (63%)

Non-white authors: 4 (50%)

Format breakdown: 2 e-book, 2 audiobook, 4 print

STATS – COMICS

Issues read: 21

Female authors/illustrators: 0  😦

Non-white author/illustrators: 2

Format breakdown: All print.

This is such a late update, but man September was awesome. So far October has not been so awesome – more busy, less reading. But my focus is basically to read ARCs and books by authors that will be at Book Riot Live in November.

How was your September?

August Recap

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I read 4 books in August, same as July… So I’m glad that I managed at least that, even with moving and stuff. In all fairness one of them was a short play, but still. Oh, and 19 issues of comics.

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Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova – This YA novel just came out this week, but I read the e-galley. Honestly, it didn’t live up to my high hopes, but maybe the sequels will strengthen it a bit?

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling – I liked Scorpius, but otherwise this didn’t really feel like a HP story. I would’ve been okay without it.

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Signal Boost by Alyssa Cole (Off the Grid #2) – Second in the author’s post-apocalyptic romance series, this focuses on John falling for the man trying to steal from their vegetable garden. Looking forward to starting the third book!

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The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – Damn, I still haven’t gotten around to writing an actual review of this. Basically, I went and bought the hard copy before I even finished reading the e-galley. It’s fantastic. This is my third Whitehead novel and he rocks.

 

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 4

Female authors: 3 (75%)

Non-white authors: 3 (75%)

Format breakdown: 2 e-book, 2 print

STATS – COMICS

Issues read: 19

Female authors/illustrators: 7

Non-white author/illustrators: 4

Format breakdown: All print.

Some goals for September – read at least 5 books (almost done with my 2nd, so should be possible) and catch up on blogging things. Now that my book room is all set up at home, and I have a new laptop, this should be a breeze.

How was your August?

July Recap

So, July was alright! I didn’t read a lot, but I probably should’ve seen that coming cause dude, I’m busy. I read 4 books, 1 graphic novel, and 8 issues of comics.

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Being Jazz: My Life as a Transgender Teen by Jazz Jennings – Funny and interesting and eye-opening, and I particularly recommend the audio version.

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon – My ongoing Outlander series re-read is going swimmingly. And Voyager was perfect for the super hot weather we’re having, because high sea adventures and pirates.

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson – Interesting and a little haunting. The main character really wears her grief.

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The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – Such a pleasant surprise – it’s sci-fi and set in space and the crew members are a varied bunch of humans and aliens and it was just great. Listening to those Book Riot recommendation/new books podcasts really pays off.

Something New by Lucy Knisley – Her graphic memoirs are just the BEST. And having gotten married myself earlier this year, I was super into it.

 

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 4

Female authors: 4 (100%)

Non-white authors: 1 (25%)

Format breakdown: 1 audiobook, 1 e-book, 2 print.

STATS – COMICS

Issues read: 8

Female authors/illustrators: 2

Non-white author/illustrators: 2

Format breakdown: All print.

 

So – not great, but not terrible… I’m glad I finally read a memoir by a transgender person and want to read more – can any one recommend other transgender authors? Non-fiction or fiction?

How was your July?

~Sarah

June Recap

Go June, you rock! I read 8 books and 52 issues of comics. Woot! So I have some bite-sized blurbs about what I read:

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The Fireman by Joe Hill – Probably my least favorite Joe Hill so far. It had some good elements but I was glad to finish it.

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn – SO fun and feisty and superhero-y and I’m already looking forward to a re-read. (Released today!)

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Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean – Fun and fluffy romance, likable main character, but I will forever remember this as the “he ate her face” book.

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande – This was actually a quite fantastic read about growing old, quality of life, and dying. I didn’t review because it hit a little close to home on some stuff and I couldn’t separate that when I tried writing about it.

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In the Country We Love by Diane Guerrero – Awesome on audio, memoir about how when she was 14 this actress’s parents were deported and how that shook up her life.

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Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – SO SO GREAT. Sad and infuriating and hopeful and will probably end up on my top ten of the year list.

Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy – A little juvenile, which makes sense it’s a YA title. If you like the manic pixie dream girl thing, this is for you. (Also out today!)

The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race by Jesmyn Ward – A wonderful collection of essays about race in America by a wide range of authors including Daniel Jose Older, Claudia Rankine, Kiese Laymon, Garnette Cadogan, and many more.

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 8

#Readmyowndamnbooks: 1 (13%)

Female authors: 6 (75%)

Non-white authors: 5 (63%)

Format breakdown: 1 audiobook, 5 e-book, 2 print.

STATS – COMICS

Issues read: 57

Female authors/illustrators: 5

Non-white author/illustrators: 3

Format breakdown: All print.

So June was a pretty great month! I need to catch up on some review-writing – apparently my ability to stay on top of reviews gets a little worse the more books I read in a month? I’ll try to get better at that, but I’m a busy lady.

How was your June?

~Sarah

May Mini-Review Recap

May was a pretty great month, for a lot of reasons. But also, I read 7 books and 15 issues of comics, so. And I even managed to review most of the books! Getting back in my groove this year and it’s awesome.

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Maestra by L.S. Hinton – Tries to be mystery and erotica, but was a fail for me due to the constant art and designer clothes blather.

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My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix – New book similar to Horrorstor, fun for the graduation time of year or for Halloween.

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The Days of Tao by Wesley Chu – I love the Tao series! This novella focuses on Cameron Tan, really enjoyed it. Totally want more.

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern –  I finally got around to reading this super popular book and yeah it was pretty damn good. I hope they make a movie out of it, because I want to go there.

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Grunt by Mary Roach – Mary Roach tackles military life in her new book out this month, and it’s super interesting. Hearing loss and penis transplants and stinky smells, oh my.

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Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger – My favorite of the month. It was fun, fast-paced, and original. Plus it comes with drink recipes! I’m really looking forward to reading more by this author.

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The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips – I remember this being kind of buzzy a while back, so I grabbed it when I saw it at the library. Read it in one sitting and it was interesting… but probably not something I’d recommend. Not my kind of weird.

And now to the juicy stuff – stats.

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 7

#Readmyowndamnbooks: 1 (14%)

Female authors: 4 (57 %)

Non-white authors: 2 (29%)

Format breakdown: 2 e-book, 5 print.

STATS – COMICS

Issues read: 15

Female authors/illustrators: 5

Non-white author/illustrators: 3

Format breakdown: All print.

I think this is the lowest percentage for POC authors I’ve had in a while, but still not too bad. It’ll be back up a bit in June. And a relatively new thing this month is that 3 of the 7 books were ARCs or review copies. Getting back into the NetGalley thing, so.

There will probably be a higher number of digital comics in June too – I’m in the 30-day trial for Comixology Unlimited so I’m going to try a few series I’ve been eyeing. Reading this month should be verrrrry interesting.

~Sarah