October Wrap Up + November TBR

It’s a little late but I still wanted to do my October Wrap Up and November TBR, both of which I decided to combine because I didn’t feel I really had enough content for two separate posts. I didn’t read much in October and I don’t expect November to be much better because of NaNoWriMo.

I’m pretty happy at this point that I’m right on track with my Goodreads Reading Challenge, even if it’s only because I lucked out in starting a new trilogy with such short books that I could burn through them really quickly.

October ’17 Wrap Up

  1. Uprooted by Naomi Novik – Reviewed!
  2. White Cat by Holly Black
  3. Red Glove by Holly Black (didn’t finish until November 6th)

I loved what I read in October! I had suspected I would really like Uprooted, but it was still a lovely surprise of a read. It was nothing like I had expected and a refreshing standalone fantasy novel. There were some cliches that irked me, but overall I think the author managed to challenge them enough to satisfy me. The main thing I appreciate from a writer’s standpoint is how a book with magic can still have beautiful moments that illuminate human nature. I really hope to do that will the stories I write.

White Cat I started because I watched an interview with Leigh Bardugo and at 46:20 she recommends reading the Curse Workers trilogy by Holly Black if you’re a fan of Six of Crows. I was going to write a book review for it, but I started the sequel Red Glove immediately and then NaNoWriMo started and it just didn’t happen, which I’m super bummed about. I may read them again and try to do a series review or something because I think these books are a little underhyped.

I’ve never read anything by Holly Black before (other than her co-written middle grade fantasy The Iron Trial, which I felt was really derivative of Harry Potter). I feel like the Curse Workers trilogy is something I would’ve really loved in middle school when I was an avid reader. But I still enjoyed them a lot reading them now.

The books are set in an alternative universe U.S. on the east coast where the magical mafia is a thing! Workers are people who are born with one of seven abilities: physical, memories, luck, emotions, dreams, death, and transformation. People wear gloves because everyone fears being worked upon. In the backdrop of the stories, the government is trying to pass legislation that makes testing mandatory so that workers are identified.

I love the protagonist Cassel. He’s adorable and reading from his perspective is refreshing for me personally for two reasons. One, because I feel like I’ve been reading a lot of novels with female protagonists. I hadn’t noticed until I read this book and am hearing him talk about his girlfriends and realize just how subtly different it is to be a boy than a girl. The second reason is just because I don’t read a lot of books set during high school anymore, so the background concerns about staying out of trouble in school and worrying about homework and grades took me back.

November ’17 TBR

As I’ve mentioned loads in the past week, I’m participating in NaNoWriMo so I don’t think I’ll be reading too much, but given that it is the end of the year already somehow I want to stay on track! So I’m still planning on reading at least three books: one novel, an anthology, and a non-fiction book.

Books I Want to Read

  1. Black Heart by Holly Black
  2. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
  3. A Nervous Splendor: Vienna 1888-1889 by Frederic Morton

I’ve already read Black Heart, because I totally procrastinated on this post. It was a satisfying conclusion to a too short series. I’m honestly distraught that I won’t have these books to look forward to at night and when I want to procrastinate on writing.

Next up is The Language of Thorns, which I pre-ordered ahead of its September release this year. I think an anthology is a smart choice for NaNoWriMo, because I won’t need to binge it all in one go; I can read a story here and there and not feel like I’m spending too much time away from my own story.

I may also be able to read A Nervous Splendor at the same time. This novel is one I bought for my German Lit. class last fall and it’s somewhat inspiring the world and some events in my novel so I figure it’s a good time to finally read it and hope it positively influencing my worldbuilding.

End Note

Sorry this post is coming so late, but writing and reading have taken up a majority of time of late. I’ve also been working on job application and will soon start grad school application. I plan to release a NaNoWriMo writing update very soon (maybe even tonight), so stay tuned for that! I don’t have many words yet but I have gotten a lot done.

Thank you for reading!
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September ’17 Wrap Up

I’m in a bit of a hurry as I write this post, but I wanted to make sure I start it before I go to work for the day so it’s not hard to finish up tonight! I must say, I’m really proud of myself as I read a lot this month and have finally caught up with my Goodreads Reading Challenge! I’ve now read 26 of the 36 book challenge I set for myself at the beginning of the year. Now I just need to keep it up!

I’m also really excited to wrap up this past month because it’s one of the first times that I ever stuck entirely to the TBR list I set for the month! I read four of the five books I listed in my September ’17 TBR + Goals post.

  1. Maus II by Art Spiegelman (★★★)
  2. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo (★★★) – Reviewed!
  3. The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer (★★★★★)
  4. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas (★★★)

My favorite read this month was without a doubt The House of the Scorpion. I first read this book in middle school, probably in 6th or 7th grade, which was a while ago for me. I remembered it being one of the most powerful books I ever read at the time and I was happy to find that it holds up; it’s fantastic. It was also great that I didn’t remember much beyond the premise, so I was at the edge of my seat (metaphorically speaking) for most of the book. I highly recommend this book to anyone no matter your age. It gives you a lot to think about.

My least favorite read was definitely Tower of Dawn. I didn’t enter this book expecting too much and moderately enjoyed it. I had never much liked Chaol, or Nesryn for that matter who always seemed like such a “filler” character. And despite all the reviews I’ve read saying this book ruined Chaol for readers who had loved him, it is pretty much still the same guy in opinion. I’ve already found him broody and stupidly loyal without anything driving him to make him interesting.

Despite my dislike of Chaol and Nesryn going into this book, it wasn’t a horrible read. Nesryn’s storyline was actually pretty cool and I would’ve loved a lot more of her adventure and less of Chaol’s healing drama. The book just went on too long and had very little pay off by the end for me. There are a few reveals that make this book worth reading if you plan to finish off the Throne of Glass series as I do, but I think it’d be sufficient to just spoil yourself if you don’t want to waste time reading this installment.

If I have the time and energy later this week, I might do a spoilers post for anyone who’s interested (and for myself so I remember everything by time the last book rolls out)!

End Note

Tomorrow I hope to have my TBR + Goals for the month of October, but we’ll see. I don’t want my emphasis to be on reading this month, so I’ll likely not push myself to read much more than the three books I need to stay on track with my 2017 goal. Other than that, I’m not sure what else you can expect. My next full day off is Wednesday so I’m looking forward to getting a lot more done then.

Thank you for reading!
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April ’17 Wrap Up

Hiya!

I’m back to Betwined Reads today with my reading wrap up for April. Last week marked the end of all of my classes so now all I need to do is finish up some grading and my three papers due at the end of next week. Then I’ll be able to be more active online! Although I should be working on my assignments, I wanted to come on here and wrap up the month properly since I’ve finally had some reading progress to share.

This month I read three books, two of which were for class and one that I started mid-March during spring break. Looking back, I didn’t rate any of these books particularly high, although I did enjoy reading all of them to some degree.

Feed by M.T. Anderson | Feed is a young adult novel written in 2001 about a future in which people have technology put into their heads at an early age so that they can have a running feed in their heads at all times. The book was a very quick read (I think I finished it in one sitting of about 3-4 hours), and it was an interesting read in light of ongoing topics of the class in which it was assigned. However, it felt dated as social media wasn’t really a thing in this world.  ★★ 

Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner | The final installment of the Starbound trilogy was a little disappointing for me. Perhaps, it suffers because I now read Kaufman’s latest (superior) work in The Illuminae Files. My biggest critique is the book seems disjointed. Unlike the previous two, this one only allows us a short time with the two main protagonists before all the old characters return. The first book set up a really exciting world conflict and in this book it just fizzled so fast for me.  ★★★

I Hate the Internet by Jarett Kobeck | I read this book for my the historical perspectives class I assisted with this spring and it was a really acerbic take on San Francisco and the tech scene from which major Internet companies arise. It provides some great historical background of exploited creators responsible for major intellectual properties we still see on the big and small screen today. My biggest critique of this book is that the author exaggerated and was unfairly reductive at times, which forced me to pull back a lot. There were laugh-out-loud moments, but just as often there were jokes fell flat. ★★★

End Note

This week will be spent primarily working on finishing up the semester strong. I have about a day’s worth of grading to complete for the three classes I assisted with this semester. But I’m nearly done with two of the three papers I have to write, primarily because those two papers have been somewhat scaffolded by the professor.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to receive Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval on a research study I’ve been working on all semester! It involves an online survey of YA book bloggers, so some of you reading this may receive an email soon inviting you to participate. I’ll have a formal blog post explaining the survey soon on this blog, so if you’re interested stay tuned!

Thank you for reading!
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