mini-review recap

January Recap

Image result for kicking ass

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.

wp-image-1294478109png.png

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.

wp-image-1832717990png.png

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.

aviary-image-1484489621251.png

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.

aviary-image-1484448992948.png

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).

wp-image-1810676022png.png

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.

aviary-image-1485036169816.png

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).

wp-image-787509420png.png

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.

November Recap

Image result for mindy lahiri

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!

aviary-image-1478167585511.png

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.

wp-image-1086005311png.png

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.

aviary-image-1480216057534.png

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.

aviary-image-1480558985432.png

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.

August Recap

Image result for thumbs up gif

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.

Image result for labyrinth lost

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?

Image result for harry potter and the cursed child goodreads

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.

Image result for signal boost alyssa cole

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!

wp-image-1063958819jpg.jpg

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.

wp-1468154701879.jpg

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.

wp-1469629268885.jpg

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:

img_20160607_061757.jpg

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!)

wp-1467078823954.png

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.

wp-1466974446768.jpg

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.

img_20160622_205412.jpg

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.

img_20160504_141516.jpg

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.

img_20160505_135721.jpg

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

image

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

img_20160516_193039.jpg

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.

img_20160521_090705.jpg

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.

img_20160527_131439.jpg

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.

wp-1464873227682.jpg

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

April Mini-Review Recap

Hey, April! Surprisingly, you were the best month so far this year! Strictly in a reading sense, of course. I managed to readbooks this month, and 36 issues of comics! Woot! So let’s see what we got.

img_20160405_130336.jpg

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson – The first #SJBC pick! And it was fantastic – a heartbreaking and rage-inducing look at the death penalty and criminal justice system.

wp-1459786475227.jpg

Dietland by Sarai Walker – I had some quibbles, but overall I really loved this novel that takes on fat-shaming, beauty culture, and feminism. The anger and furor depicted by the women in Dietland is so relatable.

wp-1460943103355.jpg

The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes – Shonda deserves all the praise in the world, but this wasn’t my cup of tea. I was kind of bored.

wp-1461102167411.jpg

Radio Silence (Off the Grid #1) by Alyssa Cole – A really great post-apocalyptic romance novel featuring diverse cast of characters and some nice sexy times. I’m excited to read the others in the series.

img_20160415_204725.jpg

The Regional Office is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales – Lady assassins and mechanical arms and mysterious organizations, oh my. Fast and fun.

wp-1461529913739.jpg

Relativity by Antonia Hayes – A young boy has a particular knack for physics, and it ties into the family drama that tore his family apart. I loved the science aspect of it, but the family stuff got a little too cheesy for me.

image

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli – This tiny 80-paged book is gorgeously packaged, but overall not great. It boiled down some basic pillars of physics into tiny chapters, and the author got quite poetic, but meh.

wp-1461941782931.jpg

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter – #HAMILTOME! It’s fabulous for your eyes AND your ears.

Alrighty, now let’s get to them stats.

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 8

#Readmyowndamnbooks: 2 (25% ouch)

Female authors: 4 (50 %)

Non-white authors: 5 (63%)

Format breakdown: 3 audiobook, 4 e-book, 1 print. I actually had other print books started but I ended up DNF-ing.

STATS – COMICS

Issues read: 36

Female authors/illustrators: 12

Non-white author/illustrators: 9

Format breakdown: All print. I cancelled my Scribd membership, so this will probably be the norm for a while.

 

Not too shabby, April! I need to read more books that I already own, but what else is new. Have you read any of these?

~Sarah

 

November Mini-Review Recap

November FLEW by. The entire last week or so of it was taken over by Thanksgiving and Jessica Jones watching, but that’s okay because Jessica Jones is AWESOME. And so is food. Obviously. Oh and I’ve started playing The Wolf Among Us, a video game based on the Fables comic series, so that’s pretty cool.

I finished 4 books, and 32 issues of comics. Here’s the itty-bitty thoughts. (I didn’t manage to get any full-length reviews written this month, no surprise there.)

img_20151201_121116.jpg

Please Do Not Taunt the Octopus by Mira Grant – This is yet another Newsflesh novella, and it was a pretty good one. This is one of those trilogies/series that has SO much room to explore, so I enjoy all of the little novellas but kind of hope she just writes a fourth book, or a prequel.

img_20151107_095952.jpg

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3) by J.K. Rowling – You guys, the Cormoran Strike books are SO GOOD. They’re nothing like the HP series, of course – they’re graphic and gruesome – but they’re fantastic. I hope she has the fourth one already in the works.

img_20151201_120810.jpg

Signal to Noise by Silva Moreno-Garcia – Magical realism surrounding the turbulent teenage years of a girl named Meche. I both cheered and rolled my eyes at her.

img_20151201_120737.jpg

Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor – Weird and oddly hopeful, despite the level of destruction in the book. Okorafor writes some really fantastic other-worldly sci-fi.

Alrighty, let’s see those stats.

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 4

Female authors: 4 (100%)

Non-white authors: 2 (50%)

Format breakdown: 1 print, 3 e-book

STATS – COMICS (including writers and illustrators)

Issues read: 32

Female authors/illustrators: 2 

Non-white authors/illustrators: 3

Format breakdown: 22 print, 10 e-book

 

So nothing particularly notable here, except I read no books by dudes last month. Don’t really care much about that. I started looking into my book-spending stats for the years, which I talked about on Twitter on Monday, but I’ll wait until the actual end of the year to dive into those on the blog.

I’m so ready for the end of the year. How about you?

~Sarah

August Mini-Review Recap

Man, August – you sucked. Lots of stuff happened (stupid it happens in threes rule of life), and August was annoyingly busy. I didn’t manage to read much, but here’s my smallish reviews on what I did read.

image

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez – This is about a Mexican family, the Riveras, who comes to the US to help their daughter, who hasn’t been the same since a bad accident. I wasn’t expecting it, but this book was really touching and wonderful. The Riveras bond in unexpected ways with other immigrants in their Delaware community, and you get a little bit of heartbreaking backstory from everyone. I absolutely recommend to everybody, especially with the ridiculous, racist wave of immigrant-hate that Trump is spreading all over the place.

image

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber – I can’t believe I’ve never read a Faber book before this! So, a Christian preacher gets the opportunity to go to another planet to spread religion to the native inhabitants – but in doing so, he leaves his wife behind on Earth, at a time when the whole world seems to be falling apart. Fascinating and sad and SO well-written.

Heh, just noticed that both of those titles start with “The Book of…

The only other book/comic I read was a re-read, and that was Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. It was on Scribd, and it provided MANY laughs late at night when I should have been sleeping. Alright, let’s get to stats.

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 3

Female authors: 2 (66%)

Non-white authors: 1 (33%)

Format breakdown: 2 print, 1 e-book

STATS – COMICS (including writers and illustrators)

Issues read: 38

Female authors/illustrators: 12

Non-white authors/illustrators: 10

Format breakdown: 30 print, 8 e-book

So, not horrible I guess. I read more comics in August than in July, and had more female and POC creators in the comics I read. I started an audiobook, How to Rob a Bank by the Freakonomics guys, but I got bored with it 2/3 of the way through and haven’t finished it yet. And I started The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander which is BRILLIANT and I totally would have finished in August if I wasn’t watching my nephew so much. I’ll be finishing it soon though.

And because I’ve just been too busy to do decent comic reviews, I wanted to mention some of my favorites this month:

  • Princeless by Jeremy Whitley and various artists (so good)
  • Fables: Volume 3 by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham (loving this series but damn there’s so many volumes and they’re so expensive)
  • Rat Queens #11 by Kurtis Wiebe and Tess Fowler (am SO SO psyched that Tess Fowler is the new artist and looking forward to seeing issues more regularly)

So then. Have you read anything good lately?

~Sarah

July Mini-Review Recap

July was a pretty great month! Honeyman is home, had our 8-year anniversary, got a little engaged, AND read a decent amount of books!

I finished 7 books, and I read 27 issues of comics.

Okay, so actually my comics reading slacked a LOT. I haven’t been reading them on Scribd as often and I’m super-behind in my paper ones. Got some catchin’ up to do in August. Anyways, let’s see what the books were like.

wpid-img_20150713_082743.jpg

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson – I really liked this book, but I can’t describe it for anything. It’s set in a futuristic Brazil, and it’s kind of YA-ish, and just go read it before the summer is over, kay?

wpid-img_20150804_091449.jpg

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari – Man, Scribd is AWESOME. They have so many brand new audiobooks! I only had a minor curiosity in reading Modern Romance, but I couldn’t resist it. I mean, Aziz starts the audiobook making fun of the listener for being too lazy to read the actual book, and it only gets more amusing from there. And I learned that apparently the most popular time for sexting is Tuesday at 10 AM. Who knew?!

wpid-img_20150715_081004.jpg

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer – I know this author has written a ton, but this is the first book of his I felt compelled to pick up and it is SO worth the read. It’s absolutely horrifying and will make you afraid to leave your house but also righteously furious on behalf of the women who have been so let down by our judicial process.

wpid-img_20150715_081053.jpg

Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older – Older is quickly becoming one of my auto-buy authors. Dude knows how to WRITE, even when his main character is a female teenager. His books are such a great blend of fantasy, noir, and humor. Pick up one of his books, you won’t regret it.

wpid-img_20150727_082037.jpg

Mermaids in Paradise by Lydia Millet – My bad for not having a good picture of the cover… but this was a fun little book! A newlywed couple go to an island for their honeymoon, and on one of their excursions they discover mermaids. Real mermaids. And then someone in the discovering party is found dead, and things escalate from there. The main character, Deb, was cheeky and a little mean, so I TOTALLY got along with her. Perfect summer reading (and incidentally, perfect because I was reading this on the day Treland proposed, so the honeymoon theme was particularly timely).

wpid-img_20150804_091521.jpg

, said the shotgun to the head by Saul Williams – This is actually a re-read, that I just happened because I saw it sitting there on Scribd. It’s poetry, and it’s about a kiss. Saul Williams is fantastic.

wpid-img_20150727_082001.jpg

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates – Toni Morrison says this is required reading, and I wholeheartedly agree. It’s a long letter from Coates to his son about what it means to grow up black in America. It is, of course, heartbreaking and insightful and something absolutely everyone should be picking up right now. RIGHT. NOW.

Alright, so let’s check out those stats…

STATS – BOOKS

Books read: 7

Female authors: 2 (29%)

Non-white authors: 5 (71%)

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

STATS – COMICS (including writers and illustrators)

Issues read: 27

Female authors/illustrators: 6

Non-white authors/illustrators: 2

Format breakdown: 21 print, 6 e-book

Man, my comics reading suffered this month. I’m working on that. Also, I think I mentioned on Twitter a while ago that I made a new Google Docs spreadsheet for tracking my reading, and I LOVE it. I think I’ve been using it for about a month now, and it’s so awesome to be able to access it anywhere, even on my phone. I have separate tabs for Books, Comics, Book Purchases, etc. And I add a book to it as soon as I’m reading it, highlight it, and then just remove the highlight and fill in the date once I finish it. (Or, if I never finish it… then that’s noted too.) Anyways, it’s very exciting, maybe I’ll do a post on it later with pictures.

~Sarah