Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! I hope you’re enjoying this day with a loving heart and a content mind, whether you’re spending it with loved ones or by yourself. As I grow older, I enjoy Valentine’s Day a lot more because it’s a day I spend appreciating myself. (Which just means a day of lazing around and eating chocolate and not having to feel guilty, cue Bruno Mars’ The Lazy Song.)
I totally disappeared again this holiday break, and I think I’ll have to accept the fact that my winters will be mostly Internet-less – but not book-less! I reviewed lots of wonderful books in December, and I’m so excited to list them all here. 😊
- Mile Markers & Faster, Higher, Stronger (two good fitness/running reads)
- Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce (73% really good, 23% meh, 100% TP LOVE)
- The Books of Bayern Series by Shannon Hale (classic fairy tale with a twist)
- Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder (love triangle that worked! Plus MAGIC)
- Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen (killing me softly)
- The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey (quiet, beautiful memoir)
- The Circle of Magic Quartet by Tamora Pierce (friendship + magic + adventure)
- The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery (my favorite love story)
- Codex Alera Series by Jim Butcher (like TP books but on steroids SO GOOD GO READ!!!)
DID NOT FINISH
Jessica Lemmon’s A Bad Boy for Christmas started off wonderfully (“Glitter. Glitter everywhere.”) but the pacing was too slow for me. I dropped David Sedaris’s Me Talk Pretty One Day and came to the conclusion that I’m so much more engaged and interested when I listen to humor audiobooks compared to when I read the physical books… I couldn’t get into Claudia Gray’s A Thousand Pieces of You – I quit a few pages in, and now I’m doubting my interest in parallel universe stuff as a whole. The final book is one that I really, really wanted to continue but didn’t was Tanya Huff’s Sing the Four Quarters. I remember being obsessed with the second and third books of the Quarters series years ago, but never read the first book. This first book felt a bit convoluted, and I had a hard time immersing myself in the book-world. I guess I’ll try the second book, Fifth Quarter, and hope that I like it as much as I did before!
BOOKS TO READ IN 2016
Moving forward into the new year, I already know that I’ll be reading a lot less than previous years because of school, so I’m setting a very conservative goal of 52 books (compared to 94 books in 2014 and 89 books in 2015).
How did your holidays go?
What books did you enjoy reading this month?
What books are you looking forward to reading in 2016?
Sorry for the super late November recap – I’ve been busy with school, and have somehow caught a very bad cold despite all of my hand-washing and germaphobe behaviors… my brain feels like mush, and mush isn’t really productive. But November was such an awesome book month in the book community, especially with Sci-Fi Month and Nonfic November… my book ratings prove it! During Thanksgiving break, I also marathoned through the Cat Who mystery books like a fiend. I actually got behind in reading/ranting because of school, so I wasn’t present as much as I hoped, but thanks for still stopping by and sharing your opinions about the books I’ve reviewed! 😊
SCI-FI REVIEWS, RANKED
- Parasite by Mira Grant (be prepared to be engrossed and grossed out!)
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (the world-building is incredible!)
- The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer (engrossingly vivid, mildly disturbing)
- Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (kids do WHAT?!)
NON-FICTION REVIEWS, RANKED
- Genome by Matt Ridley (more fun than textbooks)
- Gulp by Mary Roach (ONOMNOM)
- You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney (small chunks of entertainment)
DID NOT (AND WILL NOT) FINISH
I DNF’ed quite a lot of the books this month, and I don’t know if it’s because I was super busy or because I’m running out of patience. I tried really hard to get through Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), but the book version just didn’t do it for me. I might try the audiobook at some point, since I seem to enjoy humor audiobooks more than physical books. And Silver Bells was the holiday book that I started but dropped after reading, like, 5 pages. The writing style was a little boring, and maybe it’s too early to start holiday books… Why Don’t Penguins’ Feet Freeze? was also a no-go, because it seems as though the answers to the questions are provided by readers of the New Scientist magazine, and sometimes one question has multiple readers’ answers/opinions and I don’t know if it’s pure fact or what. Also, this one might work better as a bathroom reader. The Avery Shaw Experiment was a Friday Find, but I just couldn’t stand the oh-so-perfect male protagonist and the why-didn’t-I-realize-how-beautiful-she-was female protagonist.
BOOKS TO START IN DECEMBER
HOLIDAY BOOKS YEAHHH! Or, that’s the plan if my brain resolidifies itself sometime soon… 😷
How did your November go?
What books did you enjoy reading this month?
What books are you looking forward to reading in December?
I didn’t read that much non-fiction this year, but now it’s full speed ahead! With each passing year, I feel like I’m drawn more and more to non-fiction – I hope this isn’t a sign that I’m getting bored of magic! (Non-fiction is magical in its own way though, isn’t it?) So it’s Nonfiction November (#nonficnov) again, the month that makes me doubt my spelling/hyphenation of “non-fiction”, the month when I get to read more books off of my to-read pile, and the month when I go crazy trying to juggle two genres at once ahhhhh.
Our co-hosts, Leslie, Kim, Becca, and Katie have added some new discussion topics this time, so I’m excited to discuss non-traditional nonfiction and participate in book pairings (if I can think of one)! My nonfiction favorites of 2015 so far are NurtureShock, Bossypants, and How to Raise the Perfect Dog. There are still two months left though, so I’m anticipating more fun reads coming up. 😀
What I want to read more of: Memoirs! I’ve recently gained a new appreciation for them, despite having started with some that I didn’t really like. In the past, I wasn’t a big fan of the first-person narrative because that required putting myself in someone else’s shoes, and I just couldn’t relate.
My non-fiction reading pile for this month is one that includes books for yet another reading challenge, as well as books that’s been on my to-read list for wayyy too long. If you can make out the titles and have read any of these already, let me know if you liked them or not!
What nonfiction books are you looking forward to reading this month?
November is a wonderful month that embodies post-Halloween-candy-high and pre-Christmas-music-anticipation. In the bookish world, November is the time of post-paranormal-books and pre-Christmas-romances – it’s the time for Sci-Fi November! This year, Rinn and Lisa will be co-hosting the event, and I’m looking forward to meeting new and old friends and bonding over science fiction together! 🚀
MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT SCIENCE FICTION:
Both science-fiction and fantasy books allow me to escape reality for a few hours, but sci-fi holds a special place in my heart because it shows what could be reality. (I’m no mad scientist! yet)
SOPHIE WATCHES SCI-FI… MAYBE?
I have to admit that I don’t really “do” sci-fi things outside of books – there’s that one time in high school when my older cousin dragged me to the movie theatre to watch the newest Star Wars movie (which was really good!), and I watched Interstellar last winter, but that’s about it. This month, time permitting, I’m hoping to watch Ender’s Game, The Martian, and The Maze Runner… if I do, I’ll definitely tweet about it!
HOW I AM CELEBRATING SCI-FI THIS MONTH:
- Sci-fi book reviews every Tuesday! (Ready Player One, Ender’s Game, and others!)
- Finish my first sci-fi book bingo BECAUSE IT’S BEEN TOO LONG
- Discussion on various sci-fi topics (for real this year!)
- Read sci-fi! (Because I still have that other book bingo *coughs*) Here’s my tentative list:
- Freedom’s Choice by Anne McCaffrey
- Vicious by V.E. Schwab
- A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
- The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson (I’m sneaking this in here to fulfill steampunk… 👀)
What are you reading for Sci-Fi Month?
What’s your favorite thing about sci-fi?
This was the month of the Brrrr. My hands were Brrrr, my eyebrows were Brrrr, and my toes were very very Brrrr. But with the Brrrr came my favorite season of all: AUTUMN! I love the fact that I can now read a book in bed under the fluffy comforter and not sweat to death, but that I can also sit outside on a bench with a book and a tea thermal and not turn into an ice cube. 🍂 (Oh, and happy Halloween-brrrr!)
- Mini Reviews: The DUFF & Wallbanger (meh)
- The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (not sure if good shocking or bad shocking)
- The School of Good and Evil by Soman Chainani (charming but viciously convoluted)
- Mini Reviews: Pegasus in Flight & Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey (good ol’ traditional sci-fi)
- Mini Reviews: The Study Series by Maria V. Snyder (poisons + magic + hot assassin!)
- Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery (beautiful book is beautiful)
DISCUSSIONS, LISTS, CHALLENGES
- Study Hard, Read Harder (In Which I Sabotage Myself with Another Reading Challenge)
- The Importance of Book Titles… And How They’re Like Baby Names
- Tag, You’re It! The TBR Tag
BOOKS I DIDN’T FINISH
SONGS OF THE MONTH
I usually listen to Internet radios rather than specific playlists so that I can hear conversations as well as music. (Not that I understand much, but I’m trying to learn!) This month I’ve been partial to European stations, although I feel a wave of Asian music coming on next, haha. And, as always, I’m such a Kygo fangirl. ❤
How did your October go? (Did you freeze like I did?)
What books did you enjoy reading this month?
What books are you looking forward to reading in November?
WHAT where did September go?!! Things that happened in September: I woke up to darkness and rain and gloom, and decided to motivate myself by reading books before I headed off to work. I started to curate holiday/birthday gifts for my friends because I’ve gotten Christmas gifts from them the last few years, but didn’t have time to send out gifts. I became less obsessed with peanut butter (GASP!) and more obsessed with popcorn. Also, I’m trying new things with the blog (like with this recap) – even after 2 years of blogging (okay, probably less because of haitus and breaks), I’m still experimenting lol. 😋
- Wild Hearts by Jessica Burkhart (disappointing despite horses)
- My True Love Gave to Me Anthology (some amazing and not-so-amazing holiday shorts)
- Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (like, totally TV show-worthy)
- Every Day by David Levithan (creativity at its best)
- Eragon by Christopher Paolini (DRAGONS! HEROES! MONSTERS! MAGIC!)
- How to Raise the Perfect Dog by Cesar Millan (dog owner bible!)
- Bossypants by Tina Fey (AWK FUNNY)
- The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (chaotic feels, chaotic review)
- The Protector of the Small Series by Tamora Pierce (so much girl power I can’t even)
For the first time (but not the last!), I’ll share the books that I did not finish reading. RIP, books.
SONGS OF THE MONTH
Because, y’know, I’m listening to music when I’m not reading books. (I’ve got plenty of time to do both when I’m running lab experiments, surprisingly!)
How did your September go?
What books did you read this month?
What books are you looking forward to reading in October?
Happy Labor Day weekend to my U.S. friends! I hope everyone can enjoy this last peaceful weekend before the chaos of school and work starts again. I’m also taking this opportunity to relax and prepare some bookish things so that I don’t disappear off of the face of the Internet again, haha. 😋
A surprising number of bookish things has happened since I last focused on bookish things. I finished my first book bingo!!!! (It wasn’t the first one that I started so, but let’s ignore that for a second.) I read quite a number of books (especially after I failed my first quals attempt – binge-reading > binge-eating) that I now need to write reviews/rants for. And I’ve bookmarked some interesting articles (but kind of old at this point, sorry!) from the local book community and the world of Internet-ness that I will now share below.
- REVIEW: Sisters of Blood and Spirit by Kady Cross
- REVIEW: Never Have I Ever by Katie Heaney
- ASIDE: I’m Back!
- REVIEW: Eragon by Christopher Paolini
- Alise @ Readers in Wonderland asked if you keep your reviews vague, and brings up some great points for and against it. The comments for her post also provide an interesting discussion about this!
- Ashley @ Nose Graze explained how freedom of speech doesn’t mean you can say anything. Go be educated!
- Cait @ Paper Fury ranted about disgustingly talented teen authors (one of whom wrote Eragon, so there you go).
- Jessica @ Literary, etc explained how to cull your bookshelf.
- Megz @ Barefoot Whispers talked about why passion is not enough (& part 2), and this applies to jobs as well as pretty much everything else we do in life.
- Rinn @ Rinn Reads announced November Sci-Fi Month!!! GO SIGN UP NOW
- A book that claims to make kids fall asleep using psychological techniques? Sign me up! Parents have been concerned about how “manipulative” it is though… (but I thought parents are supposed to be manipulative? Haha.)
- The drinkable book project was publicized last year, but recently came up in the news again. Hoping to see more progress and implementation in the near future!
- Oliver Sacks recently passed away. 😟
Any new interesting bookish news that I missed?
Please leave them in the comments below!
I JUST realized that I never officially went on haitus and just left with nary a word (except for Tweeting about it). Many apologies! For those of you who didn’t know, I was studying for quals, took them, didn’t pass them, and had to retake them. This is what that process looked like:
My entire summer was basically gone, and it was not a pleasant experience. I did read some books – especially after I found out I didn’t pass (Tamora Pierce novels for the win!) – but I haven’t been writing about what I’ve been reading or even thinking about doing so. But now that I’ve survived, I’m (kind of, sort of) back!
I say “kind of, sort of” mostly because I’ll still be taking classes this fall, and getting my thesis committee together, so THINGS ARE GETTING REAL. On the blog, I’ll still be posting reviews and trying to get my bingo cards filled out, but you may see less of bookish news and more rants, simply because I won’t have the time to compile everything that I’ve read and liked. (Watch out for my Retweets though, since I’ll be sharing other bookish news/posts that way!)
As always, thank you for sticking around or passing by – I really appreciate it! Blogging is never easy, especially when real life takes priority, but I enjoy the book community and reviewing books so much that I keep coming back, haha. 😊
So I had to push a REFRESH button on myself after the last few weeks because I was getting bogged down again by shtuff. I had an unplanned week of non-training for my half marathon (*gulps*) and it felt like all my plans unraveled after that – I didn’t read and write as often, kind of gave up on eating healthy, just lazed in bed doing nothing when I got home after work. Has anything similar happened to you before? I’m trying to kick myself into shape again by simplifying my schedule and time blocking more, so crossing my fingers that I can stay injury-free and demotivation-free as I run/work!
- REVIEW: Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof
- REVIEW: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
- REVIEW: Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater
- REVIEW: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
- Amber @ Books of Amber created an epic guide to space reads.
- Ashley @ Nose Graze asked if those romance companion series get too ridiculous. Love/hate relationship indeed!
- Bec @ Readers in Wonderland advised on how to start a book blog in 5 steps. Hilarious! 😀
- Cait @ Paper Fury made an author memory game! How well do you know your authors?
- Janet @ Dear Author discussed heroism in romance in a fascinating and insightful post. This is a must read!
- Meg @ Adrift on Vulcan introduced the age of animated covers. I had a Harry Potter moment while reading this! Can’t wait until all the physical book covers become like this in another few decades. 😉
- Niji @ Niji Feels talked about having a capsule bookshelf. I’m such a big fan of capsule wardrobes (like this!) that I’m so glad Niji brought up the idea of applying it to our bookshelves!
- DIY invisible bookends!!! I’m sure you can make this without tearing out the pages if you feel like you’d die a little bit inside by doing so…
- I totally want this coloring book for adults! It’s like zentangle without the effort, haha.
- Spoilers in Games of Thrones finale… #struggles.