Category Archives: monthly book list

June 2018 books

I read quite a bit in June. For one thing, we weren’t moving, and for another, we’re doing a staff Summer Reading at work this year and it’s bringing out my competitive side. 

Jolly Foul Play Robin Stevens (reread) 6.29

Snow & Rose Emily Winfield Martin 6.25

Beasts Made of Night Tochi Onyebuchi 6.25

Wild Beauty Anna-Marie McLemore 6.24

From Twinkle With Love Sandhya Menon 6.23

Akata Warrior  Nnedi Okorafor 6.23

The Black Tides of Heaven JY Yang 6.21

Cuckoo Song Frances Hardinge (reread) 6.18

The Way You Make Me Feel Maurene Goo 6.18

The War I Finally Won Kimberly Brubaker Bradley 6.15

Furyborn Claire LeGrand 6.14

An Enchantment of Ravens Margaret Rogerson 6.11

No Time to Spare Ursula K Le Guin 6.9

The Jewel & Her Lapidary Fran Wilde 6.8

Enchantress from the Stars Sylvia Engdahl 6.5

Some Kind of Courage Dan Gemeinhart 6.5

Wolf Star Tanita Lee 6.5

Tell the Wolves I’m Home Carol Rifka Brunt 6.2

The Saturdays Elizabeth Enright (reread) 6.2

Tess of the Road Rachel Hartman 6.2

 

Total books read: 20
Total rereads: 3 (The Saturdays, Cuckoo Song, Jolly Foul Play)

Favorites:

  • Tess of the Road
  • Furyborn
  • The War I Finally Won
  • From Twinkle With Love
  • Wild Beauty
  • Jolly Foul Play
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May 2018 books

This was a light reading month for me, mostly because we were moving! (Therefore, also a light posting month here.) 

Ms. Marvel: Damage Per Second G. Willow Wilson 5.25

Goldie Vance vol. 3 Hope Larson 5.25

Becca Fair and Foul Deirdre Baker 5.25

The Only Harmless Great Thing B. Bolander 5.13

Sunny Jason Reynolds 5.13

Artificial Condition (Murderbot 2) Martha Wells 5.12

Mighty Jack Ben Hatke 5.6

A Traveller in Time Alison Uttley 5.5

The Boxcar Children Gertrude Chandler Warner (reread) 5.4

 

Total books read: 9
Total rereads: 1 (The Boxcar Children, which was for work)

Favorites:

  • Sunny
  • Becca Fair and Foul
  • Artificial Condition
  • The Only Harmless Great Thing
  • Goldie Vance
  • Ms. Marvel

(Okay, yes that’s basically all of them; I REGRET NOTHING.)

 

 

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April 2018 reading

 

Down Among the Sticks and Bones Seanan McGuire 4.28
Blood Road Amanda McCrina 4.28
Aru Shah and the End of Time Roshani Chokshi 4.28
New Shoes Sara Varon 4.28
Be Prepared Vera Brosgol 4.26
Becoming Madeleine by Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Léna Roy 4.21
Binti: Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor 4.20
Hamster Princess: Whiskerella by Ursula Vernon 4.19
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison 4.19 (reread)
White Road of the Moon Rachel Neumeier 4.16
Shadowhouse Fall Daniel J Older 4.15
Step Aside Pops Kate Beacon 4.9
Hark a Vagrant Kate Beaton 4.9
Emperor of Mars Patrick Samphire 4.7
Acquiring the Mind of Christ Arch. Sergius Bowyer 4.6
Rise of the Jumbies Tracey Baptiste 4.6
Bird Angela Johnson 4.2
Cobalt Squadron Elizabeth Wein 4.1

Total books read: 18
Total rereads: 3 (The Goblin Emperor, Step Aside Pops, Hark a Vagrant)

Favorites:

  • Cobalt Squadron
  • Rise of the Jumbies
  • Whiskerella
  • The Night Masquerade
  • Becoming Madeleine
  • Be Prepared

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March 2018 reading

 

The Cruel Prince Holly Black 3.11

Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani 3.19

American Panda Gloria Chao 3.3

Emergence CJ Cherryh 3.10

The Belles Dhonielle Clayton 3.13

The Disorderly Knights Dorothy Dunnett 3.12

As the Crow Flies Melanie Gillman 3.26

Leia, Princess of Alderaan Claudia Grey 3.1

Garvey’s Choice Nikki Grimes 3.24

The Wedding Date Jasmine Guillory 3.1

All’s Faire in Middle School Victoria Jamieson 3.14

A Wrinkle in Time Madeleine L’Engle 3.8

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald 3.19

Wonder Woman: The True Amazon Jill Thompson 3. 23

Spinning Tillie Walden 3.12

 

Total books read: 15

Total rereads: 1 (A Wrinkle in Time)

Favorites:

  • Spinning
  • Leia, Princess of Alderaan
  • A Wrinkle in Time
  • The Wedding Date
  • The Belles
  • As the Crow Flies

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All the books I read in July

July was the worst reading month for me so far this year, with only 13 completed books. (Although I expect November, and maybe October will also be pretty slim.) It was a busy month on a number of levels, and I have to admit that several of the books I picked up didn’t do much for me. However, I am pretty pleased with the ones I did end up finishing.

My favorites this month were:

  • When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
  • Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami
  • Jolly Foul Play by Robin Stevens
  • Raven Strategem by Yoon Ha Lee

At some point, I want to write a whole post about Tor.com’s novella line and how fascinating the different novellas are. I find that most of them I appreciate rather than loving, perhaps because for me the novella is a tough length. However, I absolutely loved Binti: Home, and thought Lightning in the Blood was a good follow up to Brennan’s first Varekai story.

My reading plans for August are a bit vague, but I’m hoping I’ll manage to either finish or set down some of the books that have been lingering on my to-read shelf. Right now, I’m just a bit into The Watchmaker of Filigree Street and cautiously liking it.

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April 2017 round up

Well, I read so many books and talked about almost none of them. Also, it is May 16. Here we are.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Shannon and Dean Hale: I love the Squirrel Girl comics, and I enjoyed this middle grade chapter book about Doreen Green. I will say, though, that I didn’t find the story worked quite as well when translated to words instead of comics. I’m not sure exactly why this is, except maybe that part of Squirrel Girl’s charm is her very normal appearance (except for the tail) and that visual shortcut isn’t possible in a chapter book.

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders: So, I had a really erroneous notion of what this book was going to be, and I struggled with the gap between my expectation and the book as it is. I mean, the idea that one character is in a SF book and the other is in a fantasy book is neat, but in the end the themes and love story didn’t feel super new. I feel a bit churlish for not loving it as much as others did–and I do think it’s very well written from a craft perspective.

Alone Atop the Hill by Alice Dunnigan: Kate recommended this one when I asked about biographies of women of color–and I’m glad she did. Alice Dunnigan was the first Black woman to be a Capitol Hill reporter and this book excerpts her biography in a way that gives us a sense of what she had to struggle with to make that possible.

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson: I loved this one so, so much and wanted to write a whole post about it, but I’m not sure when I’ll get to it. So for now, I’ll just say that just like This Side of Home, Watson’s second YA book is incredibly thoughtful and complex, and so strong on character and relationships. I appreciated how layered it is in terms of the different intersections of identity shown.

Keeping Hope Alive by Dr. Hawa Abdi: The memoir of a female doctor in Somalia, who semi-accidentally became a leader of a whole community. The story sometimes jumps unexpectedly, but it’s clearly personal and vivid, so I didn’t mind that here. It’s an interesting look at how to keep going in the face of really horrifying situations.

Elizabeth’s Women by Tracey Borman: This had been on my TBR list literally for years, so I finally checked it out. I liked it, generally speaking, though somehow the men just kept creeping back in. (#misandryalert) But Borman is a good historian and a decent writer and the idea of looking at Elizabeth’s life through her many complicated relationships with other women is a great lens to examine an already much-examined subject.

The Buccaneers’ Code by Caroline Carlson (audiobook): Third in the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates trilogy. This one had been on my to-read list since it came out and I finally used an e-audiobook as a way to get through it. Which makes it sound like I didn’t like it–I did enjoy it quite a bit, though I think that at least for an adult listener, the pacing was a bit slow and the characterization a bit uneven.

Savage Beauty by Nancy Milford: Weirdly, reading this biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay made it much easier for me to understand what Amy Gary was trying to do with In the Great Green Room: the brilliant woman with a troubled love life and a sister who outlived her, and who the author had unique access to. The fact remains that Milford has the sensitivity and contextual ability to succeed where Gary doesn’t. While this left me feeling more sad about Millay than anything else, I do think it’s worth reading if you’re interested in her or her era.

Iris and the Tiger by Leanne Hall: reviewed here!

The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare: Book 2 in a planned…six book series, I believe? On the one hand, it’s really not doing anything incredibly new, but it does have just enough interest in the conflict and the characters to keep me interested while I’m reading it.

Beacon at Alexandria by Gillian Bradshaw (reread): It had been a bit since I revisited any of Bradshaw’s work and now I’m kind of wanting to do some focused rereading of her books. I think this one is probably still my favorite–or at least very close–mostly because Charis is such a great character. The degree to which this is kind of three separate books in one is pretty fascinating to me, though.

Seal Up the Thunder by Erin Noteboom: So, I love Erin Bow’s prose books and she mentioned on Twitter that she had a poetry collection–which I knew and had forgotten! I ordered it promptly and really liked it. The poems are sly, witty, and warm, treating their Biblical themes with respect and affection. My favorites were “oh the gates” and “Resurrection” (which I’d already read but which worked even better for me in context). If religious poetry can be too sentimental for you, this is a great antidote.

The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz: Historical fantasy loosely inspired by real French historical figures. I really liked this one–maybe more than I expected to–and found that it was a deep and thoughtful look at different marginalized experiences. It was also a more emotional read than I expected, so all in all, I can really understand why this one has received so much acclaim.

Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded by Sage Blackwood: This is a very delightful book about fighting the patriarchy and hatred, also a dragon. I really liked the main character, and the interactions between the older and younger generations was fascinating. Plus, I hope I mentioned the dragon? I will say that I don’t think the tone of the cover art particularly fits the book, which is both more serious and richer than the kids on an adventure suggests.

Bandette v. 3: House of the Green Mask: Bandette! I do really like this series, though I’m starting to feel the desire for a slightly more resolved arc. However, the art and storyline, plus the low key romance is keeping me invested in this one.

In Darkling Wood by Emma Carroll: There’s been an interesting mini-trend recently of middle grade books that hearken back to WWI in some way. (Hilary McKay’s Binny Bewitched is one, and I swear I thought of another one but of course didn’t write it down!) In Darkling Wood is quite sad–sadder than I was expecting, even once I figured out some of what was going on. The historical bits are pretty unrelenting, which made me perhaps not enjoy this one, or believe in the current-day resolution as much as I wanted to.

Lumberjanes v. 6: Sink or Swim: FRIENDSHIP TO THE MAX–no but really, one of the things I loved about this one is the way it shows that you can mess up and still have friends at the end of the day. Also, there are some Revelations about the world that are exciting! I’ve heard the next arc is fantastic & I can’t waiiiiiit.

Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett (reread): My least favorite Tiffany Aching, BUT even my least favorite is still pretty marvelous.

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi: Scalzi is a fluffy sci-fi writer–the kind I reach for when I want something that will entertain while taking almost no brain power. This is a fun little conceit and I may well read the rest of the series when it comes out. (I don’t feel like I need to over-praise Scalzi, because he gets plenty already.)

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (reread): I hadn’t reread any of the Prydain books in a really long time, and I thought it would be a nice time to do that. I do really like The Book of Three, which is funnier and fresher, and also much, much shorter than I remembered. However, the treatment of Gurgi seems like the worst kind of paternalistic racism, so that’s…not great.

Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (reread): Leckie is so good at building up emotion over the course of the three books so that by this one she doesn’t even have to say it, just telegraph it and let us fill in the rest. And the part when [spoiler redacted] asks if they can be a Cousin & the answer is just too much. I’m going to have to lie down just thinking about it.

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (reread): The number of lines that have second or even third layers to them on rereading is truly impressive–even more so when you know those were built in after the fact! (THICK AS THIEVES COMES OUT NEXT WEEK!)

 

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February 2017 round-up

The Spy Who Loved by Clare Mulley: Fascinating, enraging, heartbreaking biography of Christine Granville. Mulley does an excellent job of differentiating between different types of evidence, and of telling a very complex and contentious story. She treats Christine with warmth and respect, letting her be the flawed, complicated, and vivid person that she so clearly was. There are parts that had me in tears, and other parts that made me so angry with the world. Very, very well done.

The Swan Riders by Erin Bow: Every time I read a new book by Erin Bow, I know it’s going to be an incredibly emotional experience even if I’m not sure exactly what’s going to happen. The Swan Riders is no different. I read it in big gulps and cried so, SO much. While it’s perhaps a little bit slow to get started, the payoff is amazing. I loved it almost more than I can say.

Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon: I’ve heard good things about this run of Hawkeye and I decided to read the first volume. I liked it okay? To be honest, I didn’t quite see what everyone else clearly does, which is a little bit disappointing. I’m not sure if I’ll try the next volume or just chalk it up to, “things that are not For Me.”

The Creeping Shadow by Jonathan Stroud: As I said on Litsy, this series keeps doing just enough to keep me coming back, but the charm is also starting to wear a bit thin. I want some kind of resolution to actually happen, rather than just having it continually teased for the next book. I’m not sure if I’ll be reading the rest of the series as they come out.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin: I read this one with book club and it’s so delightful! I’d read it when it first came out and had fond impressions of it, but didn’t actually remember what it’s about. I really liked the way the stories are woven in, and the book itself is a beautiful object, from the illustrations down to the font and paper. The story itself is also lovely, with the themes of friendship and family. Plus: A DRAGON.

Spindle by E.K. Johnston: The sequel to A Thousand Nights, which I absolutely loved. I’m not sure if this is a case of too-high expectations or of me just not being in the right mood, but while I appreciated a lot about the story, it never quite emotionally clicked for me the way ATN did. I think perhaps the tension between the original fairy tale and the setting made me a little uncomfortable, in ways that ultimately jolted me out of the story just a little bit too much.

A Crown of Bitter Orange by Laura Florand: reread it, yes, even though I read it last month. I cried a lot again because it hits all of my emotional buttons.

Act Like It by Lucy Parker: Reread, since I really enjoyed Parker’s debut and wanted to revisit it before her second book came out!

Pretty Face by Lucy Parker: Somehow I had the wrong impression of what the central conflict in this one was going to be about–not at all the book’s fault! Once I reoriented a little bit, I really enjoyed the story. I especially appreciated that Parker shows the amount of work that goes into a West End production. While I wasn’t initially impressed with the “I know we shouldn’t, but oh well!” theme, the strength of the characters kept me reading and in the end I was charmed by Lily and Luc.

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin: I appreciated the first book a lot, but The Obelisk Gate gave me so many Feelings. Jemisin digs deeper into the world she’s created, and also starts to weave in Nassun’s story. This worked really well for me, as we see Essun from a different perspective and begin to understand some of the personal ramifications her choices have caused. I can’t wait for the third book, even if I’m worried about what’s going to happen.

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman: My awesome friend Ally recommended reading this book after I watched the movie recently, and I’m glad I did. It’s quite different from the adaptation–in some moments I preferred the film and in others I liked the book better. I definitely think the film has a clearer through-line, but the book is more nuanced and has a lovely dreamy quality to it.

Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin: Also read this one with book club (we’re on a Grace Lin kick) and oh wow, this book was something. Grace Lin is really good at writing emotional journeys, and this one largely worked really well for me. (I have some personal hang-ups about forgiveness that got poked a bit.) There’s a lot I’m still thinking about and chewing on here.

Booked by Kwame Alexander: This is a thoughtful, engaging story. For me, however, it didn’t quite have the emotional impact of The Crossover. It’s perhaps not fair to compare the two, but it’s also very hard to not do so, especially when they were billed as companion books.

 

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