January

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.

All Our Wrong Todays

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.

January Monthly TBR

December was, as predicted, not a stellar reading month – I managed to finish 7 books. I was SO CLOSE to finishing my Harry Potter re-reads by the end of the year, but I still have about 55% left in the last one. Ah well. I’ll finish it today.

January is usually one of my best reading months. How this January will turn out, I have no idea. On the one hand – I’m really excited about this month’s books, and the Bout of Books readathon is happening from 1/5 to 1/11. On the other hand – the honeyman is leaving for basic at the end of the month, so a lot of free time will be spent with him instead of with my face buried in a book. We shall see. Let’s look at the pretty stack!

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From top to bottom:

  • Adulthood Rites by Octavia Butler (Kindle) – The second book in the Xenogenesis Trilogy, and because BUTLER.
  • Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Kindle) – A space opera that has been getting a lot of buzz lately – I’m so in the mood for some good sci-fi right now.
  • Salsa Nocturna by Daniel Jose Older (Oyster) – This is a collection of interconnected short stories of the ghost noir variety. I’ve already started it, and I’m REALLY enjoying it.
  • Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi – This was in the most recent Book Riot Quarterly box, and I’m excited to try it. I’ve heard a lot of great things about Oyeyemi.
  • The Institutionist by Colson Whitehead – I’ve never heard of this author before, but I heard this mentioned on the Book Riot podcast last month, and spotted it in my used library bookstore for $1. Can’t beat that 🙂
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson – I know every one has been raving about this, and then that incident happened at the National Book Awards, which is really what prompted me to buy the book, rather than get it from the library. I wanted to show my support for Woodson with my dollars.
  • PRO: Reclaiming Abortion Rights by Katha Pollitt – Been waiting to read this for about two months now. I know lots of ladies who have read and loved it – can’t wait to dive in.
  • Black Science volume 1 by Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera – I’ve been eyeing this comic series for a while, and I’m told it’s good, despite me never really hearing anything about it. It was on sale when I was using up my Christmas gift cards, so I grabbed it.
  • Watson and Holmes volume 1 by Karl Bollers and Rick Leonardi – I have been wanting to get my hands on this ever since I heard the premise; Sherlock and Holmes, but taking place in modern-day Harlem.
  • Deadpool Classic volume 2 by Joe Kelly, Pete Woods, and various artists – AWWWWW YEAH.

I’m trying to curb my spending a bit these next few months, but if I can get my hands on the newest volumes of The Manhattan Projects and Saga, those will be read ASAP (plus, you know, whatever comes in on my pull list). I’m also currently listening to Undeniable by Bill Nye on audiobook, but it’s almost 10 hours long and I only really listen on my commute, so who knows if I’ll finish that this month or not.

Another note: out of the seven books listed above (not counting comics for now, I guess) – 5 out of those 7 are by non-white authors, and 5 out of those 7 are by women. Diversity is going to be on my mind for all of my monthly TBRs.

Alright, I’m off of work today and excited to start digging in! What are you guys looking to read this month?

~Sarah

January Mini-Review Recap!

Total books read in January: 13!

when you find the perfect outfit

Yay me.

BTW, sorry this recap is a bit late. I ummm, kind of forgot about it. Oops.

I am super psyched that I read over a dozen books in January, even if they were a lot of graphic novels, but it’s depressing to me that we’re now a little over a week in February and I’ve only finished 1 book and 2 short graphic novels. Le sigh.

Anyways. Let’s see the teeny tiny thoughts on what I read!

Kinslayer

Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff – This is the sequel to Stormdancer, and it was really intense and there were some parts that made me crack up, and some really exciting new characters. I can’t wait for the third book (which is due out in September, I believe).

A Matter of Life, Jeffrey Brown

A Matter of Life by Jeffrey Brown – Short and well drawn, and I related to the author’s shift away from religion and more towards science as a thing to believe in. This was a tad disorganized though.

Buck

Buck by M.K. Asante – Absolutely brilliant memoir about the author growing up in Philadelphia. It was disturbing and beautiful, and I HIGHLY recommend it.

Boxers and Saints

Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang – I loved the concept of this companion graphic novel set, and really liked the art, but I was underwhelmed by the books in general.

Chew

Chew: Volume 1 by John Layman and Rob Guillory – I LOVED THIS. It’s about a guy who gets physic impressions from things he eats, and it’s set in a world where chicken is outlawed and there’s a chicken black market, and it was just so weird and fun. Can’t wait to read the entire series.

Smarter Than You Think

Smarter Than You Think by Clive Thompson – Really intelligent and thought-provoking about how humanity has dealt with new developments in communication and technology in the past, and how we can continue to use the new tools at our disposal in effective ways. VERY awesome book, I even bought my own copy.

Anya's Ghost

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol – Adorable and yet slightly creepy graphic novel about a girl’s struggle to fit in, and her befriending a ghost. Liked it.

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Virgins by Diana Gabaldon – This is a short story in a new anthology out called Dangerous Women, and it’s based on Gabaldon’s Outlander series, which is of course why I read it. Love seeing young Jamie and Ian get into trouble together.

The Humans

The Humans by Matt Haig – An alien comes to Earth disguised as one of us, and learns what it means to be human. This was quirky and hilarious and touching. Looooved it.

Packing for Mars Mary Roach

Packing for Mars by Mary Roach – Really weird, learned lots of gross stuff, but overall I found it to be not exactly what I was hoping for.

The Bluest Eye

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison – Brilliant. Just go read it.

Fool by Christopher Moore

Fool by Christopher Moore – Funny, strange, and endearing. I am SO excited that there’s a sequel coming out in April.

Whew! I am really happy with the mix of books in January – Classics, humor, graphic novels, non-fiction, fantasy, etc. Awesome.

Also, some stats! Because I’m trying that whole “read more ladies and non-white folks” thing:

Books by female authors: 4 out of 13. Not so great.

Books by non-white authors: 6 out of 13.  That’s roughly half, so yay.

Let’s hope that February picks up the pace and that I can work more lady authors into my mix.

Have you read any of these? Any on your TBR?

~Sarah

January Monthly TBR

Hey guys! Happy New Years Day!

I was talked into tequila shots last night, and didn’t get home until 3:30 in the morning… I might still be a little drunk. Or I’m hungover. Either way, if nothing in this post makes sense, I apologize.

So, I read a whopping 5 books in December!

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Let’s take a look at the original December pile…

monthly TBR

So, I only read 3 out of my original pile (that’s the audio of the Jasper Fforde book, so it doesn’t count as another book). Honestly though, 5 is about what I expected for the month, what with the holidays and all. So it’s cool.

Time to move on! Look at that January pile:

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From top to bottom…

  • Just Another Judgement Day by Simon R. Green – I’m working on finishing the Nightside series, finally. I’ll actually probably lay around the house reading this today.
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison – It’s a classic, AND it’s by a lady, AND it’s by a lady of color. So many wins.
  • Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell – I wanted to try this Sarah Vowell lady peeps keep talking about, because I like fun non-fiction. This one is about how the U.S. took Hawaii.
  • Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang – This graphic novels really go together, because they’re parallel stories or something. But yay graphic novels! And the author is Chinese-American – I was serious about trying to work more diversity into my reading.
  • Smarter Than You Think by Clive Thompson – I am REALLY excited to read this. It’s about how technology isn’t making us as dumb as people say, and I heard the author on a podcast, and yeah. Excited.
  • Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff – Finally getting around to the sequel to Stormdancer! I need to catch up on a lot of series.

So, 7 books! Not too bad. I’m hoping to read more than this, especially since the Bout of Books readathon is happening this month (starts January 6th, in fact), but I’m also trying to keep my expectations realistic. We’ll see how it goes!

I’m off to lay on the couch sipping water and hopefully reading a bit. What’s on your TBR pile this month?

~Sarah

January Mini-Review Recap!

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at mini-reviews for a while, and the easiest way seemed to be to do a monthly recap of what I’ve read for the month, with links to the complete reviews. Let me know what you guys think? Please? 🙂

Jam by Yahtzee Croshaw

Jam by Yahtzee Croshaw – Fun premise of flesh-eating jampocalypse, but too erratic and not great characters. Had its funny moments but I was kind of disappointed.

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores by Jen Campbell – Funny and really brings back the good old days of working in a bookstore.

mr penumbras 24 hour bookstore

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan – EPIC, AWESOME, FUN. Wonderful writing. Definitely my favorite read of January.

Hyperspace, Michio Kaku

Hyperspace by Michio Kaku – Interesting and fascinating theoretical physics, but still not sold on string theory. Maybe he can write a revised edition to include any new developments since 1994? Still, Kaku is always fun to read.

Between Shades of Gray book review

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys – Lousy historical fiction YA. Boring and definitely not worth the hype. 

The Age of Miracles

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker – The Earth’s rotation slows down and throws the world off-balance, but this gets overshadowed by a young girl’s “coming of age” story. Made me snore just a teeny bit.

Jules Verne

Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne – Quick, fun romp around the world with Phileas Fogg. Includes elephants, but no balloons.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – Obviously I still love it, even though it’s SO written for children. It’s a re-read, readalong style. You can see my thoughts here and here. Enjoy the GIFs.

The Stand by Stephen King

The Stand by Stephen King – Interesting apocalyptic fiction with a dose of paranormal, but really really long. Overall enjoyable, fun to discuss with people as you read it.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling – Book two for the re-read readalong, you can see my thoughts here and here. Still love it, even though the first half is monstrously slow.

childless, non-fiction

The Baby Boon: How Family-Friendly America Cheats the Childless by Elinor Burkett – Raises a lot of great points about how the childless are discriminated against, but it was written 13 years ago so some of the politics are outdated. All the points she made are still relevant today though, perhaps even more so.

Blackberry Winter, Sarah Jio

Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio – Quick, cozy story with mystery thrown into the mix, but probably forgettable. Not as good as The Bungalow by the same author. (Review for this is coming, but since I finished it on 1/31 I feel like it needs to be counted in with the rest of the January reads.)

So there we have it! What do you guys think of the mini-review format? Anything I should change? Is it helpful to just read a quick snippet, and then click on the actual review if it sounds interesting enough? Should I include my star rating? TELL ME THINGS.

~Sarah

January Monthly TBR

Monthly TBR

Happy New Year! (Again.) It’s January 1st, which means this is the first Monthly TBR post of the year. How exciting! Monthly TBR is a monthly meme that Jenn created to showcase the books that you’re hoping to get read this month. It’s SO handy and motivating. But before we get to this month’s list, let’s see how I did in December, mmkay?

December Monthly TBR completed

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I didn’t do to well on last month’s pile – 5 out of 9 isn’t too bad, but I was already at least halfway through Echo in the Bone before the month started. I actually technically read 11 books in December – the 5 from the picture above, plus The Truth About Santa by Gregory Mone, plus the first 5 The Walking Dead books. Which I know are graphic novels, but if it has pages between a cover shut up I’m counting it.

And now it’s a new month and a new year, and I am starting off this month optimistic, excited, and determined! There are SO many books I’m looking forward to!

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Click to embiggen, if need be.

 

There are 11 books in this monster of a pile, but considering that there is a Bout of Books readathon next week, and 2 of these books are easy-breezy Harry Potter books, it should be do-able. But let’s go through them, from the top…

  • Jam by Yahtzee Croshaw – I’m starting this today. I have been waiting at least a month to read it, and my little brother got it for me for Christmas. It’s about the apocalypse via people-eating jam. FUN TIMES, I bet.
  • Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne – Because it’s short, and it will count as a Classic Club read.
  • The Stand by Stephen King – Okay, so this book sounds really good, but MAN it is huge. It’s freaking 1500 pages, apparently at the library they only had this fancy “uncut” edition, which is 400 pages than the book was when it originally came out. Imma try it. And hopefully I love it, because I’m sure Laura will never forgive me if I end up hating the only Stephen King book I’ve read in over a decade.
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. RowlingReadalongggg!
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. RowlingREADLONGGGG! This is going to be amazing.
  • Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio – A gift from my Secret Santa (who I still don’t know who that was and if it was you then you’re the best and thank you!), and a book I’ve been looking forward to reading for a while.
  • Hyperspace by Michio Kaku – My science-y pick for the month. I really like Michio Kaku, and the honeyman got this for me for Christmas.
  • The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides – Because I bought it months ago, and I feel like I should read more literary fiction. Whatever the hell that means.
  • Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys – This was SUCH a popular book a year or two ago, and I have a copy that I still haven’t read. And I figured it would be a good, quick YA pick for the readathon next week.
  • Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan – I originally heard of this book at Anastasia’s blog, and it sounds so fun! So I checked it out of the library, which means I should definitely try to read it within the next 3 weeks. (I am the worst at actually reading the library books I check out.)
  • The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker – I’ve seen this book around the blogosphere, and it’s apparently about what goes on with some people when for some reason, the Earth’s rotation starts to slow down. Interesting.

 

So there we have it! The size of the pile may seem ambitious, but I’m so excited, and I think I’m going to finally get off the internet and go read for the rest of the day.

What books are you planning to read next?

~Sarah

 

 

Winter Mini-Readathon Sign-Up!

That’s right, the time has finally come to get this thing rolling! So, here’s the info…

  • The Sarah Says Winter Mini-Readathon will be on Sunday January 22, 2012.
  • The object is to read for any 12-hour block on that Sunday. I’ll be reading probably from 10 am to 10 pm, US Eastern time.
  • There will be 5 mini-challenges, and one bonus challenge (from my sister Heather at All You Need Designs. She also made my mini-readathon pics! Aren’t they awesome?)
  • One of the challenges will be hosted by the very cool Jenn at Booksessed.
  • The prize for each of the 5 mini-challenges will be a $5 Amazon e-gift card. This is a little different than the last mini-readathon, so we’ll see how it goes. There are more winners this way! Prize for Heather’s bonus challenge / giveaway will be announced later.
  • Participating in the challenges will last until 12 PM (Eastern) on Monday the 23rd, and the winners will be announced on Tuesday.
  • Feel free to spread the word by tweeting or blogging about the Mini-Readathon! If you do a blog post to tell others about it, use the link to that post when you sign up in the linky widget below.
  • The Twitter hashtag for that day will be #ssrminiread and my Twitter name is @SarahSaysRead.
  • Sign-ups last until the day of the event.

OK, I think that’s about it. My caffeine-lacking brain is probably forgetting something, but if so all of this info will also be posted on the Sarah Says Mini-Readathon: January page of my blog.

So, sign up below! And feel free to grab a button for your sidebar or a blog post 🙂