Arc Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire – Releases June 13th – 4.5 stars

Childhood dreams are fun to return to, aren’t they? Until you remember that childhood isn’t always an easy walk through the wildflowers. Until you remember that some of those dreams can turn to nightmares quick as a flash.

This was definitely better for me than book one. While I thought book one had the same amazing atmosphere and a fantastic concept, this book had far more solid character work.

If any of you remember my review of Every Heart a Doorway, you’ll remember that Jack was by far my favorite character. While I wanted to love Nancy, I found her a fairly bland character with not much of an arc. I felt that Every Heart A Doorway had no middle. But this book has both a middle section and significant character work. Seanan McGuire has definitely ironed out the kinks in her novella-writing talent.

With another sigh, Alexis took it and slid off the bed. “Those ‘village oafs,’ as you like to call them, will have houses and trades of their own one day. You’ll have a windmill.”
“A very clean windmill,” said Jack. “They’d be able to give me children. That’s what Mother says.”
“I could give you children,” said Jack, sounding faintly affronted. “You’d have to tell me how many heads you wanted them to have, and what species you’d like them to be, but what’s the point of having all these graveyards if I can’t give you children when you ask for them?”

Jack is probably my favorite thing about this tiny book. She’s a mad scientist and she’s brave and she’s hilarious. I could read eight books about her.

The relationships of this tiny book were all so intriguing. I absolutely loved the banter between Alexis and Jack. I also really enjoyed the relationship between Jack and Jill; their character clash is perfectly written.

“Oh, I’m sorry.” Jack raised her head, reaching up to adjust her glasses as she did. “I thought it was a stray dog knocking the door open. Where I come from, people knock.”
“You come from the same place I do,” said Jill.
“Yes, and people knocked.”

This book is a lot darker than Every Heart A Doorway. The Moors are not on the same level as Nancy’s odd but lovable world. Jack and Jill are in a dangerous, scary world, but they’re owning it. I loved the eerie atmosphere to this story; I found this book incredibly unputdownable.

I also just really love how feminist this book is. The discussion on how forced gender roles fail is one of the best I’ve ever seen.

“The concept that perhaps biology was not destiny, and that not all little girls would be pretty princesses, and not all little boys would be brave soldiers.”

One final note before I go: I really desperately need answers on that ending. Answer my questions, Seanan McGuire. Please.

VERDICT: Even better than book one. This novella series is really so perfect, and I really hope you all read it and love it!!

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Top Five Wednesday Throwback: Polarizing Books

Yet another throwback because I wasn’t inspired by this week’s topic!

1. Dare Me by Megan Abbott

This book is weird. It is so weird that I totally understand why people dislike it. But for me, it was a high-tension and compelling read. If you’re a “weird, confusing suspense book” fan, give it a try.

2. A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

This book is slow-paced and not very typical YA, but I thought it was a brilliant, subtly feminist story. This is one that might be polarizing, but the writing style and the fabulous storytelling makes the whole thing worth it. Plus, take a look at the cover. Just click the link. It’s beautiful. Don’t you want that on your shelf, especially knowing it’s one of yours truly’s favorite books?

3. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

I feel about this almost the same way I feel about A Thousand Nights. This book is a bit slow-paced, but I thought it was a brilliantly subtle story. It had such a huge effect on me; I was crying my eyes out by the end.

That blurb looks super tropey, right? This book is not its blurb. This is a level of blurb inaccuracy to rival book one of the Raven Cycle. Give it a try. Please.

4. Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

This book gets a lot of flack for having an annoying main character and a love triangle. The main character is my favorite part about this book. Rachelle is supposed to be slightly angering and annoying. But she develops so, so well. The love triangle is used almost entirely for character development; it’s clear from the beginning who the main character will end up with, and we see her develop into believing she deserves a healthier relationship. I love her and I love this book.

5. Caraval by Stephanie Garber

This book may not be deserving of the hype. Nothing is deserving of hype this ridiculous, except maybe Harry Potter. But it does offer a fast-paced mystery that left me breathless. Don’t expect anything like what the hype promises, but do expect a fast-paced mystery and a much-improved second half.

Bonus: Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

This one gets criticized for being completely ridiculous in concept, and it is. Let’s be clear, this book is not a high-quality book. But it’s also completely psychological and absolutely fucking terrifying. I get the dislike, but it’s a book I personally like.

Book Chat: on interacting with people you disagree with

I have a ton of opinions and guess what? You are not required to agree with all of them! You are absolutely entitled to disagree on anything or debate with me. You are also entitled to tell me if I’ve said something unintentionally gross or inaccurate and ask me to change it, or link me to any other voices on this. I’d like to link to posts by others on this topic. Also, this post isn’t necessarily about diversity or diverse book; that’s really not what this specific post was meant for. I have lots of different posts for that too, and I’d like to make more in the future, as diversity is something I’m personally really passionate about!! This is just a slight rant (I guess??) about a trend I’ve noticed recently in social justice communities especially (since I frequent those), but really, every community.

So to start off: I am not against callouts and I am very pro-diversity. This is not a post that will talk about how terrible “those SJWs” are; I think calling out problematic tropes is an important part of reviewing books, especially for me personally. I’m a lesbian with mental health issues, so I am marginalized and I have definitely felt misrepresented after reading certain books. And I’d also like to add that I’m white and therefore do have white privilege! That’s why I will use mostly examples of books that are problematic around lgbt+ rep or mental health rep, because those are what I’m more qualified to speak on. (There will be exceptions, because 90% of the major callouts recently have been for racism.)

But today, I wanted to talk about the ways in which callout culture doesn’t work for me on book twitter and on goodreads.

Let’s Get In To the Actual Post

I’ve noticed this trend recently, after getting unfollowed by a mutual on twitter for trying to be polite to a different person who disagreed with said mutual. There’s a mindset on twitter right now that being polite to people you disagree with is problematic. I’m sorry, but this is such a gross concept. Being polite to someone and treating them with general human decency, even if they’re unknowingly being racist or homophobic, isn’t problematic. General human decency is not fucking problematic!! Ignoring gross things someone says and not mentioning it to them? That could be a sign of privilege, but it’s not what I’m talking about here. Politely explaining something is not problematic. It’s also not always a sign of privilege. I know plenty of people, some of whom I’m friends with, who have unknowingly said homophobic things. I have had to explain to some people, including friends, why what they said was gross. And no, it’s not fun, and no, I don’t blame people who don’t want to spend their days doing that. But the fact that I am willing to speak to occasionally-homophobic people does not mean I hate gay people – it means I’m a lesbian who’s trying to do my best.

I’ve seen many bloggers say that interacting with people who have said problematic things is a sign of privilege. And I don’t totally disagree with that statement; if someone is a ruthless hater of all trans people, obviously they’re not going to form a dialogue with a trans person ever. I almost feel like if you’re in a position of privilege, I think it’s actually good to try and start a dialogue with people who have said gross things. Us people in marginalized positions often can’t, or won’t be heard as loud by those people. So it’s nice to see others trying to engage or talk to them. I know a lot of people disagree with this view, and I GET it – it sucks to see your mutuals interacting with people that you can’t interact with because they automatically hate you. I just feel like I’d really prefer people do advocate for people like me. Claudia Boleyn did a really great video on this as well.

Now, let’s talk about the pros and cons of being nice to racists and homophobes. If someone is being rude and racist to you, you are absolutely not required to be nice to them back – twitter trolls are twitter trolls. But if someone unknowingly says something cissexist, or with homophobic connotations, it’s a lot more productive  to tell them without attacking and give them a chance to fix it and apologize, rather than jump on twitter and ask people to report them. Teaching people how to be better, rather than attacking them, and advocating, not slamming, is helpfulAttacking people might show others we care about these issues, but it changes no one’s opinions.

Now, this isn’t always true. There are some people you just can’t reason with. For example: Richard Spencer. I am not advocating for being nice to literal neonazis. If someone wants your entire sexuality or race dead, please do go ahead and fight that person. I’ll cheer you on. I am also not saying you have to be kind and angelic to people who are being rude to you. We’ve all lost our tempers in discussions with trolls. It happens. Twitter trolls can’t usually be reasoned with, so I’ll understand (and hopefully everyone will) if you don’t try.

I am ALSO not saying you are not allowed to block people or ignore them due to their shitty opinions on your entire sexuality, race, or xyz group. Call me an SJW all you want, but I’m not willing to be close friends with people who want me to be legally forbidden from marriage. And I’m not willing to be friends with people who think black people are inherently suspicious and deserve to be shot by cops. Or with neonazis. Believe it or not, I have seen those people floating around goodreads leading normal lives. I’m not talking about those people. Keep that shit 10,000 feet away from you if it helps your mental health. None of us should have to associate with people who explicitly hate us because of who we are. But that’s not who I’m talking about.

I’m talking about people who might have good intentions, but also don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about. I’m talking about people who unintentionally say cissexist or homophobic or racist things without knowing. I’m talking about people who liked a problematic book or want to read a problematic book, just because they’re not aware. For those people, I think it’s better if we can try to be nice, as long as someone hasn’t been explicitly rude to us. Yes, sometimes it can be hard and sometimes people don’t seem to deserve articulate arguments. But it’s more helpful to try and teach someone, not attack them or call them out. They’re people, too.

Plus, it gives all of us better legs to stand on when the goodreads trolls start deciding who to attack next. Being polite and articulate lends us credibility, which is unfortunately hard to gain in the eyes of some. This isn’t the same as a lack of emotion; it’s just that we ALL need to stick to our points rather than attacking people or labeling them “SJWs” or any other words. If we stick to our points and avoid ad-hominems, we have a lot more credibility, even to people who might not always agree. Calling someone out point-blank only serves to make them self-righteously angry and denigrate us.

For example, I’ve had plenty of people call me a mindless SJW, a sheep, or otherwise for disliking a book. I had not done anything to personally denigrate a single one of the people who called me these words. Trying to label people as nothing but a member of a single group because they have a certain opinion is dehumanizing. It’s not a way of categorizing people. It’s just not. It’s a way of feeling better about the fact that you’re an asshole, because oh no, that person is an SJW!! Or an anti SJW!! Guess what? They’re a person too, and they’re a person first. I’m not saying this applies to everyone who uses terms like this; sometimes labeling is fair. But how dare you call someone a sheep – a literal, actual, sheep-person hybrid – without knowing them? That hurts. Holy fuck, calling someone an animal isn’t okay. I don’t care that you’re online, I don’t care if you disagree, it’s literally just not morally okay to do this shit to someone you’ve never interacted with in a negative way.

Also, extension of that, and I assume this one won’t be an issue for 99% of people reading this: it’s literally never okay to doxx someone, threaten someone, or tell anyone to kill themselves. This isn’t about discourse or what they’ve done; actions like these are flat-out not morally okay. It doesn’t even matter if the person is trash, honestly. Doing stuff like this just makes you unhappy. I know it’s cheesy, but to quote Wonder Woman, goodness isn’t about whether someone deserves it. I don’t really care about the feelings of neo-nazis or whatever, but I see death threats being sent to people who are perfectly okay all. the. time. So I’m just going with the idea that death threats are never okay.

Funny example to end this post: If you sent anyone death threats over the 13 Reasons Why discourse, from either side, guess what? You weren’t supporting depressed or suicidal people – you were hurting them. You were missing the entire point of the show you just binged over a weekend.

TL;DR: Being polite to really gross people is not required, and if you lose your temper with a few assholes you shouldn’t be judged for it. But when talking to middle-of-the-road people, trying to educate rather than simply saying “fuck you” is more productive because it changes opinions rather than just showing your own.

Most importantly, most of us in the diverse YA community specifically are decent people trying to do our best. We need to empathize with each other. Not all of us agree on everything, even within our own communities. I don’t agree with every lesbian on what constitutes lesbophobia. Does that make me a person who hates lesbians? Uh, no, it doesn’t. I’m not saying using the word “homophobia” is bad; god knows I’ve used it to describe books. I just feel like when we use it to describe people who are in our community, there’s a problem. We need to talk about homophobic actions rather than saying “this person literally hates gay people and is a piece of shit.” Ignorance and hatred aren’t the same things. Both are bad, but only one has intent.

Thanks for reading if you did. ❤ And again, feel free to disagree or have mixed feelings!! This is just how I think about these issues.

Ranking Shakespeare Plays!!

I am so sorry for being extra in my choice of topics? This post is brought to you by the fact that I just finished being in the play Julius Caesar!! So now I felt the need to show off some opinions.

13. A Winter’s Tale

Yikes, this play is so disjointed. It quite literally feels like two different plays shoved together.

Also, yet another random dude who’s terrible to his wife getting redeemed with no effort. I don’t mind dudes who are terrible to their wives to add complexity – I love Othello. But this show doesn’t really redeem the Duke much. Hermione returns and they’re just like “all’s well that ends well!!” Um, okay?? Or Paulina could kill Leontes and they could all live happily ever after for real. I’m just saying.

12. The Taming of the Shrew

I don’t really like this play much; it’s pretty darn sexist in 90% of adaptations and really not that funny. But if adapted into a more modern setting, it can become a comedy about two rude people coming together, rather than a story about a woman being broken. You know, with a lot of cuts.

I have to admit, this play was totally worth it for the fantastic movie 10 Things I Hate About You. It’s maybe my favorite high school romcom ever. Scratch that “maybe”; it is.

11. The Tempest

I just… don’t care? about this one? at all? it’s pretty pointless and weird. I feel like I need to see an actual adaptation of it, because hoo boy, is it flat in the text.

10. Merchant of Venice

This is supposed to be a comedy and it’s not?? it’s not?? It’s really only that funny if you hate Jewish people. Which obviously people at the time did.

But it’s so easy to flip this play around and turn it into a fabulous tragedy. I’m really interested in seeing that interpretation. Maybe this would go up in the ranking with that interpretation. MAYBE.

9. King Lear

Again, I really just don’t care about this one. It’s mediocre, the storyline is easy to predict, one of the good guy actually ends up winning at the end… it’s fine. It just doesn’t stand out to me.

8. Twelfth Night

This play is… actually pretty good. I like the characters, I like the storyline fine, etc etc etc. The only reason this isn’t higher is because that whole Malvolio storyline is really cringeworthy and unfunny. It grosses me out every time, to be honest.

7. Romeo and Juliet

This isn’t a romance. It’s not. It’s a story about prejudice and the clash between younger generations and older generations. Which if you think about it is a recurring theme in Shakespeare’s works; it pops up in Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well.

Anyway, I don’t really care much for the romance in this, and unfortunately, I think that’s the element most productions / retellings emphasize. But if this play is done right, I am so into it.

ALSO: I’ve been catching up on Still Star-Crossed recently. Wish me luck!!

6. Othello

I really like this play!! I don’t know what I have to say about it that hasn’t been said before; it’s not exactly a divisive play from what I can tell. Othello is insecure due to years of racism, and is taken down by one of the most insidious villains in any Shakespeare play. It’s terrifying and really interesting.

There’s not much to analyze specifically here or give opinions on. It’s a damn good show. Love it.

5. Macbeth

This used to be my favorite tragedy as a kid, but after rereading it this year in English, I’m really not quite sure why.

Macbeth is not a bad play by any means. I love the storyline; it’s eerie and interesting. I like the characters, despicable as they are. I personally think this play translates better on screen. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are roles it’s best to see acted out. Speaking of which, Kate Fleetwood and Patrick Stewart do the best job with these roles.

It’s just not very… tragic, I guess? The good guys win. Ambition is a tragic flaw. This play is anti-Macbeth, anti-witch propaganda written for King James, and it shows. Same issues as King Lear.

I don’t know. I think everything builds up to a fantastic conclusion, and then the book stutters to an end. Lady Macbeth dies offscreen, rather than onscreen. Despite their good soliloquys towards the end, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s actual deaths didn’t work for me.

4. Hamlet

This used to be one of my least favorite shakespeare plays. Why? Come on, you know why. In 90% of adaptations, Hamlet is a dick. He’s probably the type to send dick picks.

BUT THEN. I saw a live adaptation and, let me tell you, it was amazing. I finally got the appeal of Hamlet’s character and why he’s compelling!! We actually had an actress playing the character with some pronouns changed, and her portrayal of the character was so fucking spot on. I don’t even know how to explain to you how much I loved her performance. It’s maybe my favorite live performance of any actor ever. She actually brought tears to my eyes. I SOBBED.

So now I’m an unabashed lover of this play. Oops.

 

3. A Midsummer Night’s Dream

This is my favorite comedy that isn’t just influenced by nostalgia. It’s genuinely really funny.

I personally think reading Shakespeare’s plays doesn’t work. These plays deserve to be seen, with acting and dramatic scenes. On page, this play is maybe not the funniest ever. On stage, though, it’s fabulous.

This show also has one of my favorite endings. It’s such a good monologue!! And so meta about plays.

2. Julius Caesar

I am SO biased. I was literally just in this. I actually bumped it up a spot from 4 to 2, because the more I think about it, this is maybe one of my favorite plays of all time.

My favorite thing about this play is that there’s no villain. Every single character could be played as a hero or a villain or someone in between. Every bad thing that happens is the result of a character decision. I just really love this type of tragedy narrative, where it’s not about fate or stupidity; it’s about who these characters are as people.

This is also just one of the best-written plays I’ve ever read. I love how Shakespeare varies his meter for every character. Okay, example time: Brutus ends at least half his statements with weak endings rather than in typical Iambic Pentameter. Cool, right? Maybe it’s not if you don’t know what any of that meant. Nevermind. But my nerd ass loves it. Also, so much rhetoric. That assembly scene changed me as a person. You could write a freaking term paper on that scene and still not fully analyze the whole thing.

And it’s still a relevant story today!! This play has some really fucking relevant political commentary. There’s actually a line in this play about how this bloody scene, this surprise betrayal, will be reenacted a thousand times over in the future, and it’s maybe the most brilliant line of all time, ever. I love it. I can’t believe we cut it.

Also, I have a review full of memes up here. I really do love your work, Shakespeare. Really.

1. Much Ado About Nothing

YES, my love for this play is mostly nostalgia. No, I do not care. Basically, this is the play that got me into Shakespeare. I saw that Kenneth Branagh / Emma Thompson movie of it when I was maybe eight years old and I LOVED IT SO MUCH.

This is basically the original hate to love story. That’s it, that’s why I love it. Okay, no, it’s genuinely super funny and I love it. Beatrice is super funny, the tropes are great, the banter is awesome… yeah, it’s just solidly fun.

I do have to admit I kind of hate the Claudio storyline. It’s just cringey and gross and again, the same as that Winter’s Tale storyline. BUT I love the narrative about misogyny!! Okay, I genuinely consider this a feminist play. Benedict’s relevance as a romantic hero is proven partially by the fact that he believes Hero when she says she hasn’t been unfaithful. Claudio’s assumption Don John is right is emblematic of him being terrible. It’s not framed as Hero’s fault.

Conclusion

Anyway, thanks if you actually got to the end of this post and dealt with my ridiculously nerdy self. Hope you enjoyed!! And definitely mention any opinions in the comments.

Arc Review: Here Lies Daniel Tate by Cristin Terrill

Here Lies Daniel Tate by Cristin Terrill – 4 stars

I don’t know if the ending was quite as fabulous as the 300 pages of buildup. But darn it, the experience of reading this book was so fantastic. I can’t possibly give it less than four stars.

Man, what do I even say about pages 1-300? Terrill’s style is truly so compelling and unputdownable. I don’t know how she does it, but I was hooked. Her writing got under my skin in a very tangible way.

I feel suspense is the best when it causes me an emotional reaction. This book certainly fits that criteria. So many scenes went so far as to viscerally horrify me. I was so involved in the characters and their moments of moral disgust.

Speaking of which, I loved these characters! Nicholas was my favorite. Definitely. Lexi is cool too; she’s very complicated. I do take issue with the forced romance plot, but I liked the love interest’s character a fair amount.

What I don’t get is how you can take such a fabulous suspense novel and make the ending so obvious. Admittedly, I didn’t totally anticipate one of the final twists. I felt Terrill showed her hand too early and too far from the end; by 85%, we have a fairly close picture to what happens. Yes, there is a final twist of sorts, but that twist didn’t have the impact it needed.

Let’s discuss the final twist’s problems. I will still avoid explicit spoilers, but if you want to go in knowing nothing, move forward. First of all, I just feel it didn’t have much shock value. The way the twist plays out, it’s more a cheap explanation of whose idea the murder was, rather than a real change in what happened. If that first point were acting alone, the book would’ve been fine. Unfortunately, I found the twist laughably easy to guess. I had that twist in my head as a batshit absurd possible solution idea at the 70% mark. And then I turned out to be correct. Disappointing.

I do have to give props for a perfect open ending, though. That last line gave me the creeps.

VERDICT: While the ending isn’t amazing, this was truly a great book. Can’t wait to read more by Terrill in the future; she’s one of the most talented authors out there.

T5W: Books Without Romance

You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner – 3.5 stars

This book focuses around a Deaf street artist who gets in a graffiti  war with a unknown person. The major focus, though, is the friendship between Julia and another major girl character. Julia is an exciting, dynamic character who is far from perfect; she can be downright mean at times, although she’s still good to her friends and family. Her narration is fabulous. And her character arc is tied to her new friendship and letting people in, rather than any romance, which was so amazing. While there is a touch a romance towards the beginning, that storyline is quickly broken off.

Run by Kody Keplinger – 3.5 stars

The two main characters here, Bo and Agnes, were three-dimensional, and I’ve never read such a complex, well-developed friendship in a novel before. While there is very little plotting, I did rather enjoy the reading experience just due to their arcs. Keplinger is a very talented author.

Dare Me by Megan Abbott – 4 stars

I didn’t enjoy this book in the typical sense, but it’s kind of a formative book in my life. Dare Me, along with Dangerous Girls, got me interested in the suspense genre. It has been over a year now since I read this book and it still haunts me. This is a suspense novel about obsession and friendship. I love mood books; I love books that make me feel, even when I don’t know what’s happening. This book is confusing and screwed-up and flat-out weird, but it’s utterly amazing. The writing is a pretty without having purple prose, which is great. I also really love the characters; they’re all developed and complex and very, very screwed-up.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab – 5 stars

Vicious is the story of a villain and a hero. Or, that’s what it disguises itself as. It’s really the story of five different morally grey characters, all out for themselves, battling it out. This book explores the hero / villain dichotomy and promptly shatters it to pieces. I love books that subvert and explore tropes, and this is absolutely a good example. Vicious sets itself apart from Schwab’s other adult releases with a far faster pace. My main complaint about Darker Shade of Magic was the lack of character-driven plot; events happened to the characters rather than because of them. That’s not true here. Every single plot twist is due to an action by a main character.

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston – 5 stars

The unnamed heroine of this novel is one of my all-time favorite main characters: she’s strong, she’s smart, and her primary motivation is family. But this trait never feels forced. So many books that use “she loves her family !!” as a major trait absolutely fail at making this come across. But no, the main character of this book feels so real. The story in general is absolutely magical, with some really powerful, character-built moments. The entire book feels like the best fairy tale ever written, yet with no romance whatsoever until a brief moment at the end of the book.

Exit, Pursued by A Bear by E.K. Johnston – 5 stars

E.K. Johnston is truly one of my favorite authors. Her books have so much heart without feeling artificial. This one focuses on a girl who is the victim of rape, yet doesn’t focus so much on the pain and tragedy – instead, it’s about healing. Some say it shies away from the true pain, but I disagree; I think this book goes into the dark places, but focuses more on how the protagonist heals. It’s the kind of rare story I always want about trauma.

What are your favorite books without romance?

TBR Update 7/11

It’s time for me to start a random new meme which I may or may not ever again use. Let’s do the first ever TBR Tuesday!

I love talking about my to-be-read shelf probably even more than I love really reading it. And given the amount of people I see talking about their TBRs constantly, I don’t think I’m alone. This tag will just give people an opportunity (read: excuse) to talk about or complain about their TBRs!

Here are a few ideas for what to do on TBR Tuesday!!

  • Track what you’ve added or removed from your list. This part is obligoatory: in fact, you can even do it on your normal Tuesday posts! This way, you can keep track of how long you’ve wanted to read a book or why you did want to read the book.
  • Book hauls / arc hauls
  • The Intimidating TBR Tag
  • Top Five TBR Books In [insert genre here]
  • List the top five books out of your comfort zone!!
  • Discuss your plans for the next month or next [random stretch of time here]

If any of you do take part, please link back to me so I can link you the next week, whether I do the meme or not!

For this week, I’ll be talking through some of my most recent TBR additions because there are A LOT. Also, an arc haul. Minus the pictures, because Edelweiss.

SOME NEW BUDDYREADS!! because my friends are terrible

I’m doing a bunch of buddyreads soon that have been planned for ages. Recently, I read Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge, Nyxia by Scott Reingarten, and Scythe by Neal Shusterman. But I’ve somehow gotten wrapped into buddy-rereading SIX. MORE. I’ll be reading The Abyss Surrounds Us duology by Emily Skrustkie with two of my friends, because I finally convinced them to read it (!!). Then I’m rereading Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo with one of them. Why? Because I’m a trash human. And finally, I’m rereading the last three books of the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater, because one of my friends only liked the last book. Which is maybe my least favorite of the series. I’m bitter. So we’re rereading one of my favorite books of all time, The Dream Thieves, in the process.

Books I Bought In June!!

I actually bought a lot of books in June due to graduation presents and the like. I also just recently decided I like adult sff, so most of this haul is cool stuff from that genre. So it’s a LONG LIST. This isn’t really normal for me; I tend to only buy five or ten books in a month and read around twenty. This was just a lot worse than usual.

  • Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel – Bought this because I got an arc of book two. I liked this one a lot, but book two kind of disappointed me :/ My reviews are here and here. And I’m still confused why robots have stereotypical gender presentation.
  • The Traitor Baru Cormarant by Seth Dickinson – This is adult sff with an lgbt+ protagonist and all the amazing people at Keplers seem to love it. So this is
  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden – This is adult sff and again, a Keplers fave. It looks so good.
  • Jane Steele by Lindsay Faye – This is adult sff and everyone on my GR feed loves it. But the plotline looks SO COOL. It’s a Jane Eyre retelling with added murder. What on earth.
  • You by Caroline Kepnes – This has been on my list for literal ages. Suspense that deconstructs creepy romance? Yes.
  • Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys – One of the few YA books I bought this month! I read Between Shades of Grey back in like seventh grade, so I really needed to read more by her. This just looks really good; it’s about 1950 New Orleans. Swoon.
  • The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin – Got this randomly on discount. I haven’t read book one yet, but I’m so excited to read it; it’s one of my top adult sff books to read.
  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuine – Had a really cool conversation with an adult sci-fi guy at the local bookstore. And it was pretty cheap because of the weird size. Anyway, I know this is adult sff that deals with gender stuff and I love LeGuine’s short stories. So hopefully this will work for me!!
  • Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia – One of my five YA books of this month. I’ve heard great things about Zappia’s novels and needed to check one out.
  • Windwitch by Susan Dennard – One of the five new YA books I bought this month. This is a sequel to a book that’s on my shelf right now, which I again only bought on discount.
  • The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley – More adult sff!! I’m pretty sure this one also has a romance between two girls.
  • The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North – I’m so excited to read this adult sff mystery! (Notice any trends?)
  • When the Moon Was Ours by Anne Marie McLemore – One of the five new YA books I bought this month. McLemore is coming to my local bookstore soon, so I had to read this quickly.
  • The Secret History by Donna Tart – I know this is a gothic adult mystery and it looks really good. Hopefully I’ll get to this soon!!
  • Good Omens by Terry Pratchet and Neil Gaiman – Humorous adult sff by an author I’ve just gotten into.
  • The Wonder by Emma Donoghue – Another adult mystery!! Recommended by GR people and Keplers people.
  • Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty – Adult sff murder mystery. I’m ready. Again, I got a technically-damaged version of this cheap.
  • Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee – One of the five new YA books I bought this month. I was in a reading slump and couldn’t bear reading this on my kindle, so I ended up buying a physical copy and bingereading it in one day. WORTH IT.
  • AND A BONUS! Now I Rise by Kiersten White – I just needed to own a physical copy of this. This was such a massive improvement of everything about book one. It was physically one of the best books I’ve read in my entire life.

So in total: a lot of adult sff and a few adult mysteries, plus two new-release YA books, two discounted YA books, one copy of a book I loved and am desperate to reread, and one YA book that I needed to read right away. Not as bad as I thought on the self-control level.

Anyway, thanks to anyone who read and finished this post!! I swear I’m not usually this bad; I’d be broke otherwise. Let me know if any of you guys have read these and enjoyed / hated them!!