December Wrap-Up

As I sit down to write, it is currently 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 1, 2020! It seems like just yesterday that the Y2K-paranoia was sweeping the globe and yet, here we are 20-years later, with computers still functioning and people continuing to buy and read hard copy books.

You’re right. Enough lame intro. Let’s get into what we are really here to discuss, my December 2019 wrap-up.

As some of you may recall, my theme for the month was ‘Diverse December’. My goal was to complete 10-books with at least one prominent character whose life is significantly different from my own. In the below list, I will put an asterisk next to the titles that counted towards that goal.

My complete list of titles read, in order of completion is as follows:

  1. *Keeping Lucy¬† by T. Greenwood – This was an ARC provided to me by St. Martin’s Press. It had a main character with Down Syndrome and although that character was just a baby, it did provide a strong historical narrative regarding the treatment of children with disabilities in the late-1960s to early 1970s; 4.5-stars.
  2. Murder, She Wrote: A Time for Murder  by Jessica Fletcher and Jon Land РARC-copy provided by Berkley books. This is book #50 in the beloved Murder, She Wrote mystery series and the first I have read under the new authorship of Jon Land; 3-stars.
  3. *The Kiss Quotient¬†by Helen Hoang – Adult Romance novel with a main character with Asperger’s Syndrome and a main character that is half Vietnamese; 4.5-stars.
  4. *Aurora Rising  by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff РYA SciFi with a half-Asian protagonist and a queer side character. This is the first book to an all new series for this successful author duo; 4.5-stars.
  5. *Dear Martin by Nic Stone РYA Contemporary OWN voices novel following an African-American main character as he grapples with race relations and police brutality in America; 5-stars.
  6. Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin РYA Fantasy new release; 3.5-stars.
  7. *Reflection: A Twisted Tale by Elizabeth Lim – YA Mulan retelling set in China with a focus on Chinese history, folklore and culture; 4-stars.
  8. *The Ancient Nine¬†by Ian K. Smith – ARC provided by St. Martin’s Press following an African-American student navigating the secret societies of Harvard University. Great premise, bad delivery; 2.5-stars.
  9. *Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia – This Adult Mystery novel follows Tuesday Mooney and her friends on a literal treasure hunt through the beautiful city of Boston; gay side character; 5-stars.
  10. Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown – YA Dystopian; 4-stars.
  11. *All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney РARC provided by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. YA Contemporary with Muslim main character; 3.5-stars.
  12. Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff РYA SciFi; 4-stars.
  13. *Geekerella (Once Upon a Con #1) by Ashley Poston РYA Contemporary. This modern-day Cinderella retelling with a focus on geek culture had a lesbian best friend.

If my math is correct, I failed to reach my 10-diverse book goal but I did complete 9! Not to shabby. I’ll take it. I finished¬†Geekerella¬†last night so was very happy to end the year with a 5-star read.

My favorite covers of the month include:

How did your December reading go? Did you complete your goals? I want to know! Comment down below or contact me through any of my social media links.

In the next couple of days I am planning to post a list of my top 10 favorite books of 2019, as well as my 2020 reading goals, so stay tuned for that!

Until then, Cheers & Happy Reading~

December Reading Plans

The last month of the year is upon us! My theme for the month is…

DIVERSE BOOKS!!!

That’s right! It’s time for Diverse December. My goal, as in previous months, is to complete 10-books that can comfortably fit within this category. I am classifying any book as diverse if the main character of characters has an identity or lifestyle different than my own.

This can be race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental health or disability representation, anything like that. Obviously, the books I could read to fit into this category are plentiful, therefore, I am confident I can meet my 10-book diversity goal!

I’m so happy with how my reading year has gone so far. Just today I completed my 171st book of the year!!! I cannot even believe that. Just a few years ago I was happy when I read 70-something. We’re in all new territory now!

What are your reading goals for the end of the year? I want to know! Leave a comment here or contact me through any of my social media links. Until next time, Cheers & Happy Reading!

Themed Reading: November Wrap-Up

Seven days into December and I think I am finally ready to bring to you my November Wrap-Up!! My apologies for the delay, it’s been a crazy week recovering from Thanksgiving and all the travel that comes with it.

We did have a fabulous holiday and I hope all of my book friends in the U.S. did as well. Even with the holiday week at the end of the month, I was still able to complete 14-books!

My reading theme for November, as some of you may recall, was ‘New Releases’. For me, this meant that I could read any book published in the 2019 calendar year. My goal was to complete 10-books that fit this theme.

It turned out that all 14-books I completed in November fit this category! Without further ado, let’s get into the books I completed, the genre, when they released and my star rating for each:

  1. The Light At The Bottom Of The World by London Shah РYA science-fiction released in October, 4.5-stars.
  2. The Last Woman In The Forest by Diane Les Becquets РAdult Mystery/Thriller released in March, 4-stars.
  3. The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams РYA Horror Comedy released in September, 4-stars.
  4. The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White РYA Fantasy Retelling released in November, 4-stars.
  5. The Long Call by Ann Cleeves РAdult Mystery released in September, 5-stars.
  6. The Deep by River Solomon РAdult Fantasy Novella released in November, 3.5-stars.
  7. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell РAdult Thriller released in November, 3-stars.
  8. Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon РYA Fantasy released in October, 4.5-stars.
  9. The Turn Of The Key by Ruth Ware РAdult Thriller released in August, 5-stars.
  10. Story & Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout РYA Fantasy released in June, 4.5-stars.
  11. A Violet Fire by Kelsey Quick РYA Vampire Dystopian released in December, 4-stars.
  12. When The Sky Fell On Splendor by Emily Henry РYA Contemporary Science Fiction released in March, 3.5-stars.
  13. Remarkables by Margaret Peterson Haddix РMiddle Grade Magical Realism, 3.5-stars.
  14. The Last Affair by Margot Hunt РAdult Domestic Thriller released in November, 4.5-stars.

So, as you can see, I had a pretty even split between YA and Adult books this month; with one Middle Grade. I also had a fairly strong month as far as ratings go, with my lowest rating being a 3, which is still a good book.

As far as my regular monthly TBR-challenges go, I only completed two out of the four. I completed a New Release from the current month by finishing The Guinevere Deception and a New Release from the next month by finishing A Violet Fire. I failed to read a New Release from 2018 or a Sequel.

But December is a new month and I am already doing well! Just a side note, this week I completed my 170th book of the year!!! I can hardly believe it.

How did your reading month go in November? Did you complete all your goals? I want to know! Leave a comment below and contact me through any of my social media links! Until next time, when I should be bringing you my December Reading Plans, cheers and happy reading!

November Reading Plans

Hello, my beautifully bookish friends!

Let’s chat about November reading plans. As many of you may know, beginning in August I started a themed reading month plan for a full year. Basically, I have a set theme per month and I try to read ten books within that month that match the theme.

Thus far, I have been successful two out of the three months. This month’s theme is:¬†NEW RELEASES!!!!

I am classifying ‘new releases’ as anything published from January 1, 2019 forward. This will include books that haven’t yet released. I have a ton of books to choose from that will fit this theme so I am fully anticipating another successful month.

I am participating in one readathon this month, the Buzzword Readathon, but I will post more info on that, including my TBR, closer to the start date.

What are you planning to read this month? Do you have a theme or are you participating in any readathons or readalongs? I want to know. Drop a comment down below or contact me through any of my social media links!

Until we meet again, cheers & happy reading!

Themed Reading: Spooktober Wrap-Up

Greetings, Geeks and Ghouls. Alas, the most wonderful month of the year has come to a close. Now…

Before he arrives however, let’s go over my October wrap-up!

For the second month in a row, I completed 15-books total. Not too shabby considering I had a lot of personal things going on this month, including starting a new job. My theme for this month was Spooky reads and the goal was to complete 10-books that coincided with this theme. I am happy to report, I met and beat that goal by completing 12 Spooky books!

Without further ado, let’s get into the books I completed this October. Please note, if there is an * next to the title of a book, it means I am counting that as meeting my Spooky Reads goal:

  1. The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu, 4-stars, YA Dark Contemporary Audiobook
  2. *Dread Nation (Dread Nation #1) by Justina Ireland, 4-stars, YA Historical Fiction with Zombies Apocalypse elements
  3. Ten Blind Dates by Ashley Elston, 5-stars, YA Contemporary Romance (ARC from publisher)
  4. *American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century by Maureen Callahan, 5-stars, Non-Fiction True Crime
  5. *Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, 3.5-stars, Adult Horror Audiobook
  6. *One by One by D.W. Gillespie, 4-stars, Adult Horror (ARC from publisher)
  7. *The Furies¬†by Katie Lowe, 2.5-stars, I’m not sure if this is technically YA or Adult, I would categorize it as Adult Thriller (ARC from publisher)
  8. *All the Bad Apples by Moira Fowley-Doyle, 5-stars, YA Magical Realism Audiobook
  9. *The Line Between by Tosca Lee, 4.5-stars, Adult Apocalyptic Thriller (ARC from author)
  10. *Campfire by Shawn Sarles, 3.5-stars, YA Slasher Horror
  11. *The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco, 4-stars, YA Japanese-Inspired Horror Audiobook
  12. *There’s Someone Inside Your House¬†by Stephanie Perkins, 4-stars, YA Slasher Horror
  13. *Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia, 4.5-stars, Middle Grade Mythological Fantasy (ARC from publisher)
  14. *The Institute by Stephen King, 5-glorious stars, Adult Horror/Thriller
  15. *Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero, 4-stars, Adult Comedy Horror Audiobook

I also would like to give an honorable mention to a fantastic short-story ¬†that I read this month called,¬†The Town That Feared Dusk¬†by Calvin Demmer. I have read from this author before and absolutely love his work so I wasn’t surprised to give this 32-page tale a full 5-star review. Although this is a horror short, I didn’t count it toward my Spooktober goal as it was just 32-pages of content. Demmer definitely knows how to pack a punch in that short of time though, I will tell you that.

As far as my monthly TBR Challenges go, which I set for myself at the beginning of 2019, I have been slacking off here a bit towards the end of the year. I started out with 5-monthly challenges and then dropped down to 4. This month, I only ended up completing 2. I read a ‘New Release from 2018’ by reading¬†Dread Nation,¬†and I read a ‘New Release from the Current Month’ by reading¬†10 Blind Dates. I failed to read a ‘New Release from Next Month’ and to ‘Read a Sequel’.

How did you October reading go? Did you meet all the goals you set for yourself? Did you discover any new Spooky read favorites?

I want to know! Leave a comment here or contact me through any of my social media links. I love hearing what y’all are reading and am always open to new recommendations. I hope to post soon about my November reading plans!

Until next time, cheers & happy reading!

Review: Contagion (Contagion #1) by Erin Bowman

Contagion (Contagion, #1)Contagion by Erin Bowman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

OHHHH BABY!!!

Zombies in space! Y’all know, everything is better in space.

When an SOS goes out from a mining crew on a distant planet, a quickly assembled team heads out to investigate. Their number one selling point, they are the closest individuals to said planet.

They don’t seem to be prepared with manpower, experience, equipment, you name it, but off they go anyway. Once arriving they discover an abandoned site and a bunch of dead bodies but is there someone else there? Are there any survivors?

The rest of the book is a high-octane race to escape the planet before they too are are turned by the contagion infecting it. Zombie chases and fight scenes. Brutal zombie slayings. Bodies dropping. Dark, cold landscapes and abandoned space ships. All pretty stellar stuff.

This does follow multiple POVs which at times seemed perhaps a little unnecessary but in a way, I do understand the author’s choice. Because of the multiple POVs, jumping back and forth, it did gain some intensity from that. I know that is a personal choice as a reader, whether or not you enjoy that format. I can honestly say, I didn’t mind it at all.

I would definitely say this is more of an action-based story to a character-based story. For me, the action was high pretty much the entirety of the story. The ending was the perfect leave in anticipation of the sequel which I have already purchased and am hoping to get to real soon.

In short, if you like horror or science fiction involving remote planets, zombies, mass infections and / or rescue missions, you should definitely give this book a try!

View all my reviews

October Reading Plans

IT’S¬†THE¬†MOST¬†WONDERFUL¬†TIME¬†OF¬†THE¬†YEAR!!!

That’s right, witches! It’s OCTOBER!!!

Many bookworms will tell you that October is by far the best month of the year to be a reader. There is nothing better than getting cozy in your nice warm house, in your comfy clothes, lighting a bookish inspired candle and reading a creepy story well into the night.

To be frank, it is my absolute favorite activity. I generally read a lot of creepy, scary things but for October, I feel extra inspired to pick up exclusively eerie content. With this being said, it will come as no surprise to anyone that my October theme is: SPOOKTOBER READS!!

As with my previously themed reading months, the goal is to complete 10-books that are spooky, creepy, eerie, scary, all my favorite adjective things. DARK. I want to be afraid to turn my lights out at night.

I also hope to participate in Spookathon, hosted by Kayla over at the YouTube channel, Books and Lala. To view her Spookathon announcement video, click here:¬†Spookathon 2019 Announcement¬†where she will list the dates, challenges, etc. I won’t have a specific TBR for that week but will try to meet all of the challenges.

So, that’s it for now! Are you planning to read a lot of creepy books this month? What is your favorite scary book or movie? I want to know. Leave a comment below or contact me through any of my social media links.

Until my next post, Cheers & Happy Reading~

Themed Reading: SciFi September

Hey bookworms! As today is the final day of September, I thought I would update you all on how I did with my SciFi September-themed reading.

As some of you may recall from prior posts, I have decided to try ‘themed’ reading months for a year. The goal is to complete 10 books that fall within the given theme for that month. The first month that I tried this was August, where I focused on reading ARCs and blew away my goal by completing 14 books within that theme.

This month? Not so much.

I actually completed only 7 science fiction books this month. However, steering away focusing on the number, I did get a lot of TBR veterans (books that have been on my ‘to be read’ list for a long time) off of my list, and really, that was kind of the whole point behind themed months.

So, in a way, I have still won.

Without further ado, let’s go through, really quickly, the scifi books that I did complete this month:

  • The Perfect Wife¬†by J.P. Delaney is an Adult Techno-Thriller that released in August of 2019. I actually received this book as an ARC from Ballantine Books, so a hearty thank you to them for sending it to me. I really enjoyed this one, only slightly let down by the ending and gave it a 3.5-star rating, rounded up to 4-stars for GoodReads.
  • Red Rising (Red Rising Saga #1)¬†by Pierce Brown is an Adult Dystopian set in space. This book was published in 2014 and I listened to the audiobook. I have had this on my TBR for a long time as many, many people adore this series. While it started out really slow, it built up and actually contained some of my very favorite tropes. I ended up giving it a 4.5-star raging, rounded up to 5-stars for GoodReads.
  • Flawed (Flawed #1)¬†by Cecelia Ahern is a YA Dystopian about a society that values Perfection above all other attributes. Anyone not adhering to strict societal standards is deemed Flawed and branded as such, assigning them to second class citizenry. This story follows a Perfect girl, who through committing a crime of empathy, finds herself being branded as Flawed and seeing her entire world change. This book was published in 2017 and has been on my TBR for that long. I really enjoyed this and gave it 4-stars.
  • Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1)¬†by Marissa Meyer is a YA SciFi retelling of Cinderella. I found this wildly creative and loved our cyborg main character, Cinder. This book released in 2012 and I can’t believe it has taken me this long to pick it up. Happy to know I do not need to unhaul the rest of the series. I flew through this book and can’t wait to continue on in the Lunar Chronicle world. I gave this a full 5-stars!
  • Contagion¬†by Erin Bowman is a YA SciFi Horror following a rescue mission to a distant planet and, spoiler, it involves zombies. I had so much fun reading this. It was superbly fast-paced and the horror was legit. This is a 2018 release and I have actually owned a copy of it since it was released. The sequel was released earlier this year, and I of course, have already purchased it. I ended up giving this a 4.5-star rating.
  • Alien: Echo¬†by Mira Grant is a YA SciFi Horror set in the world of the¬†Alien movie franchise. I listened to the audiobook for this and while I did enjoy it, I didn’t find it particularly ground-breaking or memorable. The monsters were well done, to be sure, but overall, it was a little underwhelming. This is a new 2019 release but I have been anticipating it since late-2018. ¬†I ended up giving it a 3.5-star rating.
  • Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1)¬†by Sylvain Neuvel is an Adult SciFiction book written in mixed media format following the discovery of a possibly alien giant robot. It was so intriguing full of politics, science and mystery. I absolutely adored it from start to finish and definitely plan to continue on in the series. This released in 2016 and I have had it on my radar for quite a while. So happy to have finally gotten to this as I now consider it a favorite! I gave this, no surprise, a full 5-star rating!

That’s it, folks! All I was able to get to for my SciFi September. I did DNF two books this month. Well, let’s say, reshelved, as I do plan to pick them up again eventually.

The first was Book 2 of the¬†Red Rising Saga, Golden Son. I started listening to the audiobook but due to life circumstances being particularly busy and stressful in September, I found I wasn’t retaining as much of it as I wanted.

The second was Hyperion¬†by Dan Simmons which I picked up to participate in a readalong on Bookstagram called #pilgramagetohyperion. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t that into it and it was super complex. I got to about the 40% point before I turned in the towel on it this morning. Now I am focused on Spooktober. Perhaps I will pick it back up in November.

So, that’s it from me for now. How did your September reading go? Did you get as much completed as you wanted to? What was your favorite book of the month? I want to know! Leave a comment below or contact me through any of my social media links.

Cheers & Happy Reading!

 

September Reading Plans

Coming out of a very successful ‘ARC August’-themed reading month, I have decided to select a different theme for each month for the next year of reading!

My goal for each month is to read 10 books that fit within that theme. I generally read between 12 and 18 books a month, so that seems to be an attainable goal. The reason I am giving myself some wiggle room is because I will always have ARCs, readalongs, readathons, etc., that won’t quite fit in with the assigned theme.¬†

My theme for this month is:

SCI-FI SEPTEMBER!!!!

Guys, I am so pumped for this. Sci-Fi is arguably my favorite genre and I haven’t been reading enough of it lately. I buy a ton of Sci-Fi books but then never seem to get around to them.

Within this I will be including a whole host of Sci-Fi subgenres, such as: apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic, anything involving alien life, time travel, multi-dimension or multi-universe, steampunk, techno-thriller, military, biohazard or anything related to pandemics, zombie, climate fiction, space colonization, space opera and dystopian. 

I think I can definitely meet my goal of 10-books within this wide range of fascinating Sci-Fi subgenres. I have my eye on quite a few on my shelves that have been sitting around for WAY TOO LONG!

I have already started and am currently reading 3 Sci-Fi books: 

  • The Perfect Wife¬†(ARC) by J.P. Delaney. This is an Adult Techno-Thriller with a sentient robot being created essentially to replace a man’s missing wife. I am really enjoying it and actually only have 10% left so may be finishing it tonight!
  • Contagion¬†by Erin Bowman is a YA Sci-Fi Thriller. I am listening to the audiobook for this one and also really enjoying it. It is quite intense. This follows a crew of people sent on a search and rescue mission into deep space when a mining crew puts out an S.O.S. What they find upon their arrival is nothing like what they would have imagined. Let’s just say, this one is quite aptly titled!
  • Hyperion by Dan Simmons is a Hugo-Award winning, complex Adult Sci-Fi novel, written in 1989, that is structured much like Chaucer’s,¬†Canterbury Tales.¬†I am participating in a month-long readalong of this book with some book buddies over on Bookstagram. I just started it this morning and thus far, am confused, but I am sure I will ultimately enjoy the experience.

So, that’s it for now. I just wanted to write this quick update and let y’all know what I was up to. If you have any Sci-Fi recommendations, please feel free to leave them in the comments below or contact me through any of my social media links!

Until next time,

Cheers & Happy Reading!