autumn reads

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

I don’t even know what I just read.

The Library at Mount Char starts off with Carolyn walking down a stretch of road – she’s bloody, she’s holding the knife she just used to murder someone, and she’s smiling. She lies her ass off to a concerned driver, and goes about her business. Carolyn is actually pretty likable. She’s a Librarian, not really in the traditional sense, and she’s looking for her Father. He’s gone missing, and her and her adopted siblings – all taken by Father years ago and raised together in their particular specialties – are trying to find him. But Carolyn knows that with Father gone, the Library is up for grabs, and she has a plan to take claim over it and therefore all of existence.

I know, this doesn’t make a lot of sense. This book doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s written in a way to be kind of a mindfuck, and halfway through the book I was still saying “Geez, this book is bonkers”. I really liked the bizarre aspect of it that constantly kept me guessing. I liked Carolyn a lot – she’s not a character you’ll probably fangirl over, but she has a steely core about her that appealed to me. Steve, a kind-of friend of Carolyn’s, develops a sweet bond with a lion and I love strong human-animal relationships like that. People are killed but never really stay dead and there are basically human puppets running errands and the Librarian siblings can all work some funky magic that they say isn’t magic. Basically, this was a crazy, crazy ride and kind of perfect for fall/Halloween reading if you’re into that kind of thing.

But… I’m still not sure how I feel about this book though. It was good, it was weird. But I’m not sure if it’ll be one of those books that really sticks with me after another week or so. You don’t get to know most of Carolyn’s other siblings too well, and I think the author probably could have cut a few of them and been just fine. There were at least three that are mentioned once or twice but otherwise don’t really play a part, and their “specialties” didn’t really seem to add to the plot. The ending kind of gave the illusion that there could be a sequel if the author feels like it, and I don’t know if I’d be into that. I already ended this book with a little bit of a “what was the point of all that” kind of feeling.

So yeah. It was a good, but not my favorite. If you’re going to read it, I totally suggest doing it now with the cooler weather and falling leaves and spooky mood everyone tends to get in around now.

Things I’m Looking Forward to This Fall

August is a big old mess. We’re moving at the end of the month to a bigger apartment and I am excited about that, but that means that my focus and time for reading are super limited and I’m busy and just ahhhh I can’t wait for the month to be over. 

I know I’m going to miss the summer once it’s gone, but here’s what I’m looking forward to in the fall…

 

New apartment – Well duh. A two-bedroom townhouse with a basement and everything. GONNA HAVE TO MUCH MORE ROOM YESSSSSS. And we’ll be getting a washer and dryer, like adults dammit!

Reading outside – Our new place has a deck right off of the kitchen. I am so looking forward to reading on the deck, even if it means being bundled up in sweaters and a blanket and drinking coffee or tea.

Non-fiction November – I ALWAYS forget about this, but not this year! I have an Amazon wishlist going of non-fiction books to choose from for November and I am so excited about it.

Rebecca Schinsky of Book Riot. I hope she doesn’t mind me using this.

Book Riot Live – One of my goals for this year was to go to Book Riot Live and I’m about 90% sure that I’ll be buying tickets soon. So if you are going, PLEASE TELL ME SO WE CAN SAY HI!

Book Riot Live reading – I also made an Amazon wishlist to keep track of the authors that will be there and their books, so I can attempt to read some before going. Very excited about the line-up so far.

The election being over – I am terrified that Trump will win, but at the very, very least the anticipation and worrying about the results will be over.

Chicken pot pie – I only make chicken pot pie from September to March/April. Also looking forward to chili, stews, etc. COMFORT FOOD!


Decorating for Christmas – Since we’ll be in a bigger place, I can bring my really big Christmas tree back out again. It’s been 3 years. Last year I didn’t even put up the little tree because it seemed like too much work for such a small space. 

Luke Cage – September 30th, baby! Gonna binge watch the crap out of it.

And I’m sure there’s more, but this is a pretty fantastic list right here. What are you looking forward to once fall hits?

~Sarah

October Monthly TBR

September and I got on pretty well, at least on the reading front. I finished 7 books and 23 comics (technically I’ve read more comics than that, because I’m re-reading The Walking Dead: Compendium 1, but I’m not going to add it to my spreadsheet until I finish it). And I’ve really liked a lot of the stuff I’ve read! Good month.

Andi at Estella’s Revenge is hosting a #15in31 challenge in October, and I’m crazy enough to have signed up. There isn’t a single month so far this year where the number of books I’ve read has been in the double digits, so I’ll consider it a success if I manage 10 and an uber-success if I manage a whole 15. Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon is October, 17th, so hopefully that’ll give me a nice boost.

Anyways, here are my mega TBR piles! I’m trying to focus on digital reading this month, because man it’s out of control.

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On the Kindle:

  • Please Do Not Taunt the Octopus by Mira Grant – A kinda new Newsflesh novella. Totally saving this for the readathon.
  • Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah – Had this on my Kindle for a literal age now, and I’m finally gonna read it! It’ll satisfy one of the categories for Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge anyways.
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – I wanna re-read this just cause it’s that time of year. The e-book was like a dollar and the Audible narration with it was three bucks I think, so I might listen to it on audio. (Back-up plan – re-watch the movie with Tom Hardy. Won’t count as a book read, but still.)
  • The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan – Why does the Kindle version have this ugly color instead of the normal pretty blue one with a big ring on it? Anyways, I’ve heard fabulous things and got this on a good sale a while back.
  • When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James – Giving this a shot, to fulfill the “fairy tale retelling” category for the RH challenge. Happy that Overdrive had it.
  • Cybersexism by Laurie Penny – One of those $1.99 short ebooks, I’ll probably save it for the readathon. Penny is a feminist writer that I follow on Twitter and a while back I saw some vicious, horrible, sexist tweets to her that were INFURIATING. I haven’t actually read any of her books yet, so hoping this will be a good intro to her published work.
  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor – This novella just came out, excited to read it but will probably hoard it for the readathon (seeing a pattern here?)
  • Cujo by Stephen King – Because Halloween season, and I need to read more King.
  • More Than Human by Ramez Naam – A book about the future biological enhancements and stuff. I like Naam, and have had this idling for a while. And I desperately needed some non-fiction here.

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On my physical to-read shelves:

  • Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Because I loooved Americanah by this author and really want to explore her backlist.
  • Season to Taste by Natalie Young – Seemed seasonally appropriate as it’s about a woman who kills and cooks her husband. A little bit of murder and comfort foods!
  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling) – This is the second Cormoran Strike book. I really liked the first, and the third comes out later this month, so I should probably dive in already. I was holding out to see if the ebook would become available on Overdrive, but no such luck, so I guess I’ll read the hardcover copy THAT I ALREADY HAVE. (I am ridiculous.)

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On Scribd:

  • Edward Scissorhand comics – I added these to my list when I first got Scribd, so I’m gonna finally read em. Also, seasonally appropriate.
  • A Leaf On the Wind of All Hallows by Diana Gabaldon – I’ve read this short story before, but it’s on audio so I may just listen to it again. I miss Outlander.
  • Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness by Rebecca Walker – A group of essays about black culture. There is probably a more in depth way to describe it but I haven’t read it yet, but that seems to be the basis.
  • Zoo City by Lauren Beukes – I’ve heard fabulous things about Beukes’ other novels, but this one was available on Scribd so that’s the one I’m starting with. Something about a girl in South Africa who writes scam emails to make a living but then gets hired to find a missing person because she has a supernatural gift for finding things? Whatever, I’m in.
  • Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi – This is the sequel to Shatter Me, which I just read this month. It’s a YA novel about a girl who is basically Rogue from the X-Men, but it was interesting, and definitely a quick read.
  • Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi – An even quicker read, as this is a novella told from the POV of a bad guy. Fun!

Holy shit that was a lot of books. And clearly my TBR piles are always subject to change – I’ll probably ditch a few and pick up some other random stuff (I mean, I think there’s a new Rainbow Rowell out this month too, so…)

What are you looking to read this month?

~Sarah

Top Ten Tuesday: Autumn TBR

the broke and the bookish

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

Ahh, what a nice and easy topic this week – Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR. This is kind of perfect, because I’ve been looking at the Read Harder Challenge and checking what I still need to cross off, so I have a good idea of what I want to seek out soon.

1 – Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho – I heard about this on the Book Riot podcast, and I got the sample on my Kindle. It sounds super amazing – a Victorian kind of setting in an England in which the magic is disappearing, and the kind of “head” magician is a black man, and it’s his job to try to bring the magic back. And he apparently finds out that women’s magical abilities are being suppressed, which is nuts because they need all the magic they can get and women should be able to freely practice magic, and it just sounds feminist and fabulous. I ordered a paper copy from Amazon (because screw you publisher, I’m not paying fucking $12.99 for an e-book) and I’m about 80 pages in so far and it’s GREAT.

2 – The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma – I had this out from the library at one point but didn’t get around to reading it before it was due, and I’ve been regretting it. And now I’ve been hearing extra buzz because it’s shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. I really gotta get my hands on it again.

3 – On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss – This checks off the “indie press” category, and I’ve had the audiobook from Audible for a long while now but haven’t got around to it.

4 – Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff – This book is BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW and guess who grabbed a copy at the library? That’s right. And it wasn’t even on the express shelf. Hell yeah. I actually have already kind of forgot what it’s about, but I remember hearing excitement about it and it’s on the NBA longlist, so it should be good, right?

5 – When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James – I tried reading an Eloisa James book before but got really annoyed with the main characters and DNF’ed. But, this one will count for the “fairy tale retelling” category and I’ve hardly read any romance this year, so why not. Better not ruin Beauty and the Beast for me though.

6 – Severed: A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found by Frances Larson – This sounds like it could a fun, disturbing, weird read and perfect for the “microhistory” category.

7 – Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah – I have had this on my Kindle for AGES. I’m going to focus on trying to read mostly digitally in October I think, so this will work for that and the “written by an author from Africa” category. I’ve read Beah’s memoir and that was really good. It’ll be interesting to see how his fiction is.

8 – The Dinner by Herman Koch – A book that got a lot of praise and that I have sitting on my shelf. It has an unreliable narrator… and that’s all I really remember from the description. It’ll cross off the “originally published in another language” category since it first came out in Dutch.

9 – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Alright, so one of the categories on the RH challenge is “book published before 1850”. I have never read Frankenstein, so I might FINALLY give that a go. I also kind of have Wuthering Heights in mind for this, but I don’t know if it counts since it would be a re-read. It’s been a couple years so I might re-read it anyways, I kind of miss it.

10 – Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan – This sounds like it might be a really fun read, and it’ll work for the “takes place in Asia” category. The dynamics between the old and young, and mainland Chinese and American-born Chinese, sound really interesting. I added it to my holds list on Overdrive.

Is there anything in particular you’re excited to read this fall? A new release, or something just perfect for the season?

~Sarah

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril IX – Yeah, I’m doing RIP again.

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Reading Laura’s post reminded me – It’s RIP time! Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings give us all an excuse to read those horror/mystery/thriller/dark fantasy books that we’ve been meaning to get to. It runs from now until October 31st. My lack of reading time is a concern, so I’m going to aim for Peril the Second, which means I’m going to aim to read two books. If I read more than that, then hooray for me.

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My possible reads (some pictured here, some not):

  • Misery by Stephen King – I was planning to read this in September anyways.
  • Red Planet Blues by Robert J. Sawyer – It’s a detective story that takes place on Mars. Win.
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – Because I STILL have not read this, and hey wouldn’t it be nice to finally make some progress on that Classics Club list? Yes it would be.
  • Bag of Bones by Stephen King – Another King novel I’ve heard great things about and should really finally get to. I believe it was on my pile last year, but I never started it.
  • Locke & Key comics by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
  • Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
  • random Joe Hill novellas / short stories I have on my Kindle (are we seeing a pattern here?)
  • The Walking Dead comics by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore
  • Kill City Blues by Richard Kadrey (part of the Sandman Slim series, I really need to catch up on it)

Well, I’m going to try! We’ll see what I can fit in. This along with some pumpkin lattes should get me in the mood for autumn 🙂 Are you signed up?

Any other creepy books or comics I should try out?

~Sarah

Giving in to the peer pressure & signing up for R.I.P. VIII

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R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VIII is an annual challenge kind-of thingy that happens in the fall – it’s hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings, and literally EVERYBODY and their mothers have signed up for it. At least it seems that way. I mean I’ve kind of seen bloggers participating in past years, but this week I’m pretty sure sign-up posts have gone up for about 75% of the blogs that I follow. And everyone’s so excited about it, which got me all excited about it, which led to this.

The point of R.I.P. is to read horror, mystery, thriller, paranormal, spooky, gothic, and other various darker genres of books between September 1st and October 31st. It’s a way to get in the mood for autumn! Which I’m kind of digging right now – tall boots, sweaters, cider, and spooky books all sound pretty nice right now. There are different levels (“perils”) that you can sign up for, and of course I’m going for Peril the First (read 4 books) because go big or go home, right? Right.

So here’s my stack.

Readers Imbibing Peril VIII

 

  • Murder is Binding by Lorna Barrett – I’ve been meaning to try this cozy mystery series for ages. The author is local to my area, and this copy is signed! Need to read.
  • Bag of Bones by Stephen King – Because I hear that this is a good King novel? And I’m trying to dip my toe into the King waters this year, I suppose.
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison – No lie, I started this book about 5 or 6 years ago and stopped because it was freaking me out. Like put-it-in-the-freezer kind of freaking me out. Time to put on my big girl panties and try again.
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins – WILKIE! And I missed the epic readalong for this 1.5 years ago because my grandma passed away, and I think that’s kind of why I haven’t tried reading it since. But it seems like a perfect fall read, so I’m gonna do it!
  • Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach – This is actually non-fiction, but I’ve been wanting to try out Roach for a long time, and it’s about DEAD BODIES. So that should totally count.
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – I just bought this at the library for $2, and it seems appropriately dark and creepy.
  • Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith – I STILL haven’t read this or seen the movie. If I do both, then I’d technically be participating in “Peril on the Screen” as well, so yay there.
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – The hype for this one had better be worth it. I actually have no idea if it’s dark or creepy, but I saw it on some other R.I.P. lists, so I’m adding it.

Is it wise to add MORE reading to my already overflowing stacks for the upcoming months? Probably not, but I’m doing it anyways! And I’m psyched to start, just as soon as I finish Empire Falls, which admittedly is KILLING me right now.

Ummm so I don’t know how this works exactly – I’m going to aim to read some of these books, and if I do I’ll tag them with “R.I.P. VIII”. I’ll maybe do a wrap-up post in the beginning of November? How do you guys usually keep track of this sort of thing? Is there a Twitter hashtag or anything that we use? Tell me stuff, I’m new at this.

So, does reading some spooky stuff to get in the spirit of autumn sound cool to you? Of course it does! Join in the peer pressure. Do it.

~Sarah