This year’s reading is… going.
I’m going to be changing how I do these wrap-ups in honor of 2018. I write super, super long reviews of all of these books, and I don’t always need to reiterate those reviews.
BUT YOU KNOW WHAT I LIKE TALKING ABOUT? MY FAVES AND LEAST FAVES. So those will get looooooooots of extra content. The rest of this wrap-up will just be discussing my reading patterns and speed.
—Books I Read This Month—
- Style by Chelsea M. Cameron 🌺 | ★★★★☆
- All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1) by Martha Wells 🌲🍃 | ★★★★★
- Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries, #2) by Martha Wells 🌺🌲🍃 | ★★★★★
- Time Was by Ian McDonald 🌺🍃 | ★★★☆☆
- All Out by Saundra Mitchell, Ensemble 🌺 | ★★★★★
- Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3) by Martha Wells 🌺🌲🍃 | ★★★★★
- Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley, Austin Siegemund-Broka 🌺 | ★★★★☆
- Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy, #1) by Leigh Bardugo 🌲🎤| ★★★☆☆
- We Are Okay by Nina LaCour 🎤 | ★★★☆☆
- The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee 🍁🎤 | ★★★★★
- He Said / She Said by Erin Kelly 🌺 | ★★★★☆
- You by Caroline Kepnes 🎤 | ★★☆☆☆
- In Her Skin by Kim Savage 🌺 | ★★★★☆
- This Mortal Coil (This Mortal Coil #1) by Emily Suvada 🌲 | ★★★☆☆
- Black Iris by Elliot Wake | ★★★★★
- The Grownup by Gillian Flynn 🍃🎤 | ★★★☆☆
- All of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor 🌺 | ★★★☆☆
- The Accidental Bad Girl by Maxine Kaplan 🌺 | ★★★★☆
- The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner | ★★★★★
- Siege and Storm (Grisha Verse, #2) by Leigh Bardugo 🌲🎤 | ★★★☆☆
- MEM by Bethany C. Morrow 🌺🍃 | ★★★★☆
—Let’s Analyze These Books—
Total Books: 21
Arcs 🌺: 11
New Releases: 0
Series 🌲: 6
Novellas etc 🍃: 6
Reread 🍁: 1
Audiobooks 🎤: 6
Oh boy. I hit all my technical goals for the month with this one, but only reading 11/21 arcs is way less than I want in a month where my list of maybe-read-this-in-March was 98% arcs. I’ve also noticed I don’t read many new releases each month, and I think I might want to fix that. I can do better.
I think a big problem in the book community is that the diverse books we’re all looking for are out there, they just don’t get very much attention or spotlight. In fact, whenever I mention diverse books, I’ll get a slew of comments saying “but none of those books exist” when they clearly do, you just have to look. So here’s a basic listing of rep in case you’re looking for something specific. [I don’t know if I’ll continue this but I like doing it for now!]
🏳️🌈 lgbtq lead / major side chars
☀️ lead characters of color
🌸 neurodiversity, disability, trauma
- ☀️ [asian love interest, subverts slut tropes] Always Never Yours
- 🏳️🌈🌸 [genderless and socially anxious robot lead and diverse sides] All Systems Red
- 🏳️🌈 [lesbian lead and bi ex, no romance] We Are Okay
- 🏳️🌈🌸 [sapphic main romance, lead with social anxiety] Style
- 🏳️🌈☀️ [anthology with all lgbtq leads, many poc] All Out
- 🏳️🌈 [major m/m couple, not happy] Time Was
- 🏳️🌈🌸 [unlabeled sapphic bipolar lead, sapphic main romance] Black Iris
—BOOKS I ACTUALLY HATED AND DNFs—
I hated basically nothing this month. So here are my DNFs, I guess? And okay, ONE rant.
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon | DNF
I don’t understand why y’all have such a deep and everlasting hate for this book but that being said, I have gone from Liking this book to Not Liking this book over the eleven days I have been reading it and am no longer interested in completing. the Drama is just so obviously there and the romance is going down a super obvious trajectory. and this is despite beginning with the most adorable Meet Cute Idea ever, maybe. points for that one line about Snobby Atherton Kids because i go to school in Atherton and honestly? the mood.
You by Caroline Kepnes 🎤 | ★★☆☆☆
Oh look. Here she is. The rant of the century. You is a book I should hypothetically like because it is a fucked-up book with awful lead characters and I love that. But unfortunately it’s also – and don’t kill me, I’m going to explain – not very good. This is a book about a stalker, with one interesting twist: he narrates. The issue is that the ENTIRE BOOK is based off this gimmick and it is four hundred twenty fucking pages and Nothing is done with the premise. But okay. That’s not even the main problem here. My main problem is with Caroline Kepnes’ purposeful failure to develop side characters and intent to make everyone as flat as possible so she can manipulate the audience. Um, okay, what else? Love the only gay character masturbating to photos of her girl best friend, that’s very cute and not the epitome of the predatory lesbian trope at all. [Straight people who think they’re edgy for being homophobic are actually boring and that’s the tea.] Also, the narrative – not the unreliable narrator, the actual meta-narrative of the book – is very clearly implying that food allergies and chronic illnesses are all made up, and that was kind of fucked up. This totally should’ve ended with the reveal that the Love Interest knew what was up with the stalker and was trying to kill him the whole time, because I literally think it was building up to that revelation. Whatever. It wasn’t a good book.
— NEW FAVES YOU NEED TO READ —
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee 🍁🎤 | ★★★★★
This was my second time reading this and wow I think I love it even more? This book is fucking hilarious. Also, I love that the theme is basically you do not need to be cured of your disabilities to be an important person and you’re still whole. And I am Emotional about putting queer people back into their historical narratives and I’m pretty sure Mackenzi Lee is too. I love her. I love this book. Please read it. It would’ve gotten top spot if it weren’t a reread.
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner | ★★★★★
This is a weird weird book. And maybe not in a good way. But let’s be real – there are parts of this novel that I deeply powerfully loved on a level that I have not felt with 75% of literature. And I respect that. Ignoring the confusing bits, and the fact that none of it really makes very much sense [Faulkner is a brilliant writer but also a demon] this is a really interesting and brilliant novel about the demise of the South, and especially the demise of Southern whitehood.
This novella seriess dabbles really explicitly with the idea of being human and trying not to be human. Murderbot lives in a world where it cannot be considered fully human, and as a result, it shuts itself off from other humans and tries to avoid group dynamics altogether. And as a result, I love the character of Murderbot so much. Any of you who know me know themes like this are totally my thing, and this novella series really just nailed it for me.
All Out by Saundra Mitchell, Ensemble 🌺 | ★★★★★
What this meant to me is something I discussed in my Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue review — this is historical fiction about people who don’t get historical fiction. People love to declaim about how the historical fiction genre doesn’t need diversity because, apparently, the only people who existed “back then” were white, straight, and abled. But unfortunately for those who don’t like it, people like us have always existed. Seeing representation like this in historical fiction is seriously new and it means the fucking WORLD to me.
the standout stories to please please read:
✔Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore
✔Burnt Umber by Mackenzi Lee
✔Molly’s Lips by Dahlia Adler
✔Every Shade of Red by Elliot Wake
✔The Girl with the Blue Lantern by Tess Sharpe
✔Walking After Midnight by Kody Keplinger
✔Three Witches by Tessa Gratton
✔The Inferno & the Butterfly by Shaun David Hutchinson
✔Healing Rosa by Tehlor Kay Mejia.
Black Iris by Elliot Wake | ★★★★★
I never wanted to be saved. I wanted someone to follow me down into the darkness.
I don’t… really have words for this book? It’s deeply fucked up and all the characters are awful and I still… really liked it. With some plot twists I’m pretty sure I was physically incapable of figuring out, a really terrible and badass lead character, a sapphic romance that I don’t know what to even think about [I LOVE] and a gorgeous ending that hits Every Single Note I Love, I basically adored this.
THAT’S ALL, FOLKS! Are any of these on your TBR? Any you hate? Any you love? Let me know down in the comments!