The Best Books I’ve Read in 2020

Now that we are officially halfway through 2020, I thought it would be a good time for me to tell you about the best books I have read so far this year!

My monthly wrap-ups have been nonexistent this year. I think I have written one. So, this serves as sort of a 6-month wrap-up with just good stuff. I am not going to include rereads in this; all these books were new to me in 2020.

First up is a book I am currently reading. I have about a quarter of the book to go, I am taking my time with it because it is so damn good, I don’t want it to end! This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and if you guessed¬†Home Before Dark by Riley Sager, you are correct!

Yes, Home Before Dark is the Horror Thriller of my dreams. When Maggie Holt was just a girl, she and her parents moved into a desolate Vermont mansion, Baneberry Hall. They were there for 3-weeks before they fled for their lives. Her father subsequently released a novel titled, House of Horrors, that tells of their time within the house that he claims is haunted.

Twenty-five years later, after his death, Maggie returns to Baneberry Hall for the first time seeking answers. Was her father’s novel a complicated lie or are the halls of Baneberry actually as haunted as he claims?

Told in alternating sections between Maggie’s current day timeline and excerpts from the Book, I am loving every single second of my time reading this! Horror fans rejoice, this is perfection.

Next up, I would have to mention King’s newest release.¬†If It Bleeds¬†is a four-story short-story collection that includes an anticipated release following one of my favorite characters from the Bill Hodges Trilogy,¬†Holly Gibney.

I felt this was such a great, well-rounded collection. I loved every single story. They all had completely different topics and feels, but somehow worked together perfectly. I actually think I loved this as much as Full Dark, No Stars, which is saying a lot, as that is currently my number one favorite short-story collection.

Keeping with the King, I have to mention¬†Duma Key,¬†which I read last month for a readalong with a bunch of folks in the Constant Reader community on Bookstagram. Firstly, I am so disappointed in myself for not picking up this epic story before now. It was soooooo good. I can’t believe it has been missing from my life all these years.

It follows a man, who after a devastating construction site accident, moves to a remote section of the Florida coastline to recover, both mentally and physically. There he rediscovers a passion for making art, but when Duma Key essentially begins communicating with him through his artwork, the real fun begins. Steeped in family lore and hidden secrets, this story contains beautiful friendships and a ton of hauntings. It is everything!

Even though I have owned a copy of this book since it was released in 2008, I had never even read the synopsis. I had literally no clue what this book was about going in and became completely entranced as the story unfolded. This felt like classic King to me; full of paranormal glee.

Taking a completely different turn, a YA-Contemporary that has blown me away this year would be, Felix Ever After, by Kacen Callender. Following Felix Love, a transgender teen living in New York, this story is a journey of self-acceptance and discovery as Felix learns how important it is to love himself, in addition to accepting love from others.

After a fellow student creates a gallery listing Felix’s deadname, along with photos of him before his transition, he is rightly shattered. He vows to find the person responsible and make them pay. Along with his best friend, Ezrah, he sets out to do just that. For a while, Ez is on board, but eventually Felix goes rogue and continues his revenge plot on his own. During this time, Felix evolves a lot as a character, as he opens up to individuals he had previously blocked from his life and seeks to understand more about his own identity.

Speaking of YA, the YA Mystery/Thriller game has been very strong this year, as I have discovered two new favorites in 2020 releases. Those would be,¬†I Killed Zoe Spanos,¬†by Kit Frick and¬†A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder,¬†by Holly Jackson. Both of these novels follow teen girls doing some amateur sleuthing into unsolved disappearances in their hometowns.

In I Killed Zoe Spanos, Martina Green creates a podcast investigating the mysterious disappearance of Zoe Spanos. Throughout the book we get the transcripts of entire podcast episodes and it was such a phenomenal way to build out the story. I adored this entire book, start-to-finish; the podcast element being just one small portion of the fuller narrative.

In¬†A Good Girl’s Guide,¬†we follow high school Senior, Pippa Fitz-Amobi, as she investigates the disappearance of local girl, Andie Bell, for her Senior Capstone project. Andie’s boyfriend, Sal Singh, has been accused of murdering her in a jealous rage. Pippa knows Sal and is not buying this official story. She thinks the town is covering up something and she is hell bent on exposing the secrets.

Pippa is a fantastic character. I loved reading from her perspective. Even when things got really scary, she was dogged in her search. Never giving up and never allowing others to tell her she couldn’t do something. This was cleverly formatted as well to make it a highly addictive story!

Another favorite for 2020 thus far would be Julie Kagawa’s concluding book in the¬†Shadow of the Fox¬†trilogy,¬†Night of the Dragon.¬†Returning to the land of Iwagoto, we follow kitsune shapeshifter, Yumeko, and her friends as the continue to work to keep the infamous Dragon Scroll safe. They are quite literally on a quest to save the world, so no pressure.

As much as I did not want this series to end, I could not have dreamed up a more stunning conclusion. This story shattered my soul into a million pieces. It stole my breath, but also instilled a sense of love and hope. Kagawa is wildly imaginative and an exceptional storyteller. This entire series was flawless. All the stars.

And finally, a new favorite Horror novel for me would be Grady Hendrix’s 2020 release,¬†The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires.¬†This story swept me away from the very first pages. I love the tone of Hendrix’s writing. This one, set in the 90s, felt like the 90s. Following housewife, Patricia Campbell, in her suburban South Carolina town, we watch as she steps outside of her comfort zone to save all she loves, when an evil force arrives in town.

Hendrix can effortlessly blend humor with horror in his novels and I absolutely adore it. This book made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me cringe and gag; it was incredible. Highly recommend this to any Horror fan!

So, those are my top, top, top books of 2020 thus far. I have read so many great books this year. A lot of 5-star reads, but when I reflect back, these are the titles that have truly stayed with me.

I am slaying my 2020-reading goals as well, which feels great. I set my goal at 150-books for the year and as of this writing, have completed 111-books. It’s fairly obvious to me I will be exceeding my goal.

Okay, that’s enough from me for now! I have to go read! I am participating in the blog tour tomorrow for the release of Girl, Serpent, Thorn¬†by Melissa Bashardoust, so stay tuned for that!

Until next time, Cheers & Happy Reading!

Offensively Late January Wrap-Up

Oh, hello. Hi, book friends!

It’s me, Meg. Do I write anything on this blog besides reviews?

Not much lately. I am so sorry about that. The funny thing is, I have spent every spare moment reading. The good news, I have completed 42-books this year already! The bad news, I am not putting out very interesting content, unless you love reading endless reviews.

Tonight I am dogsitting and figured, what better time to catch up on belated wrap-ups. Now, I bring you, what I read in January!! These will be in completion order:

  1. Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim: 4-stars, YA Fantasy gender swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo. Thank you, Disney Hyperion for my ARC!
  2. The Missing Years by Lexie Elliot: 4.5-stars, Adult Suspense set in the Scottish Highlands. (audiobook)
  3. The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters: 3-stars, Adult Thriller with supernatural undertones. Thank you to Crooked Lane Books for my ARC!
  4. Hark! The Herald Angels Scream edited by Christopher Golden: 3.5-stars, Horror Anthology with all stories revolving around the Christmas season.
  5. Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz: 4-stars, YA Hard-Hitting Contemporary following a girl who gains her freedom after being kidnapped and held against her will for 7-months. Thank you to Wednesday Books for my ARC!
  6. The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner: 4.5-stars, Adult Historical Fiction following a female friendship that formed during a stay at an Texas internment camp during WWII. Thank you to Berkley Books for my ARC!
  7. Coral by Sara Ella: 3.5-stars, YA Hard-Hitting Contemporary with Magical Realism that is a modern retelling of The Little Mermaid. Multiple trigger warnings can be found in the author’s review of the book on Goodreads. Please be sure to reference that prior to reading if you have sensitivites you are concerned about particularly involving self-harm and/or suicide. Thank you to Thomas Nelson Books for my ARC!
  8. The Whisper Man by Alex North: 4.5-stars, Adult Crime Thriller with excellent police procedural elements; also, creepy as hell! Thank you to Celadon Books for my ARC!
  9. All Systems Red (Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells: 4-stars, Adult Science Fiction Novella that is delightfully humorous and full of action. (audiobook)
  10. Tweet Cute by Emma Lord: 5-stars, YA Contemporary Romance about a battle over a grill cheese recipe. No joke and it was fabulous. Thank you to Wednesday Books for my ARC!
  11. As Old As Time (A Twisted Tale) by Liz Braswell: 3.5-stars, YA retelling of Beauty and Beast. Part of Disney’s Twisted Tale series, this story imagines what would have happened if Belle’s Mother had been the one to curse the Beast.
  12. Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall: 3.5-stars, YA Horror about a teen girl delving into her sister’s mysterious disappearance. (audiobook)
  13. Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse: 3.5-stars, part of the Rick Riordan imprint, this Middle Grade story is based on the Navajo legend of the hero twins. Thank you so much to Disney Book Group, and Rick Riordan Presents, for my ARC!
  14. The Princess and a Fangirl (Once Upon a Con #2) by Ashley Poston: 4-stars, YA Contemporary that is basically a love letter to geek culture. (audiobook)
  15. The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas: 4.5-stars, YA Mystery about a girl looking into multiple deaths of cheerleaders at her school. (audiobook)
  16. The Queen of Nothing (Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black: 4-stars, YA Fantasy, the conclusion to a beloved fae series. 
  17. Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer: 4-stars, YA Science Fiction series that retells the stories of various fairy tale ladies. Scarlet inspired by Little Red Riding Hood. (audiobook) 

As you can tell, I have been real busy reading. That’s it though. 17-books completed in the month of January. I feel so much better now that I have memorialized this accomplishment.

Now I must rest.

Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts? Do you have any memorable reads from January you think I should add to my list? Or ones to avoid?

I want to know! Leave a comment below or contact me through any of my social media links!

I vow to complete February’s wrap-up by the end of the weekend. Then, just like that, I’ll be all caught up. I am literally thriving right now. Until next time, cheers & happiest of reading!

 

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~

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!

Buzzword-A-Thon Wrap-Up

Hey book friends!

Some of you may be wondering how I did with my Buzzword-A-Thon reading. Well, wonder no more. I am here to tell you that I failed miserably! 

As in, zero…that’s right…ZERO books completed.¬†

I did make it to the 32% mark in The Ancient Nine which I am still reading but I did DNF (did not finish and will never pick up again) Seven Black Diamonds.

I am trying to just pick up the pieces and move on with my life. I will be participating in Fantasy-A-Thon in December hosted by Julie over at Pages and Pens channel on YouTube. For her announcement video, click here:

Fantasy-A-Thon Round 2 Announcement

I think I may see some more success, or any success at all really, during this next readathon as it is two weeks opposed to one. With a full-time work schedule, that is extremely helpful.

Stay tuned for my TBR post which should be going up sometime next week!

Cheers and to my American friends, Happy Thanksgiving!

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!

September Wrap-Up, Non-SciFi

Hi, book friends! Hello!

Here we are, the 3rd day of October and I realize, I haven’t yet posted my full September Wrap-Up. As some of you may know, September was my 2nd month of my ‘themed-reading project’. For last month, the theme was SciFi. I completed a total of 7 books for that project, although the goal was 10…

In spite of this fact, I still consider it a win. To find out why, read the full blog post below:

Themed Reading: SciFi Wrap-Up

In addition to these 7 SciFi books, I also completed 8 other books, so a total of 15 books completed for the month!

The non-SciFi books I completed last month, in completion order are as follows:

  1. Daughter of the Siren Queen (Daughter of the Pirate King #2) by Tricia Levenseller РYA Fantasy, 3.5-stars. I listened to this audiobook on my annual Labor Day Weekend road trip.
  2. The Dark Half (reread) by Stephen King РAdult Paranormal Horror, 5-stars. This was my second time reading this glorious, underrated King story. Literally some of the best body horror ever penned can be found in this book.
  3. The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett РYA Historical Fiction with Paranormal Mystery elements, 5-stars. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Simon Pulse, so a big thank you to them. This was super entertaining for me and incorporated the lore of Vlad the Impaler. 
  4. The Widow of Pale Harbor¬†by Hester Fox – Adult Historical Fiction, 4-stars, with a beautifully gothic atmosphere. I was so blessed to receive an ARC of this book from the publisher, Graydon House, so a huge thank you to them. This was so appreciated as it was one of my most anticipated books of the year. I absolutely adored Fox’s 2018 debut,¬†The Witch of Willow Hall.¬†This did not disappoint!
  5. Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson РYA Contemporary with a Paranormal kick. I picked this delightfully witchy romp up to participate in the Dragons & Tea Book Club September readalong. I am so happy that I did. This was exactly what I needed at the time, 5-stars.
  6. The First Mistake by Sandie Jones РAdult Domestic Drama, 4-stars. I read this book in under 24-hours. It was very compelling. Thank you to the publisher, Minotaur Books, for providing me with an ARC copy. As always, it is so appreciated!
  7. The Fire Keeper (The Storm Runner #2)¬†by J.C. Cervantes – Middle Grade Mythology / Retelling, 4-stars. This too was one of my most anticipated books of the year. Another release from the Rick Riordan Presents¬†imprint, a part of Disney Book Group. I have been so blessed by this imprint over the years, receiving every one of their books early for review. I adore this imprint and completely stand behind their mission, which if you don’t know, is to provide a platform for voices from cultures around the world to tell their stories, that most likely wouldn’t be heard otherwise. All of the books are Middle Grade providing a resource for young readers to either see themselves in a book or learn about another culture through a book. Yes and yes!!!
  8. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow – I am not sure if this is YA or Adult, I am going to go with Adult Historical Fiction with a dash of Portal Fantasy. I am not going to go to far into my thoughts on this book. I didn’t enjoy it. Gave it 2-stars. It was a struggle.

So that is it! All of the non-SciFi books that I was able to complete in September. As far as my normal, monthly TBR challenges that I set for myself, I completed 3 out of the 4. I completed read a new release from 2018 (Undead Girl Gang), read a new release from the current month (The Widow of Pale Harbor), and read a sequel (Daughter of the Siren Queen). Yes, I did read some other books that would fit these challenges but I always just count the one that completes the challenge first.

How did your September reading go? Did you complete everything you wanted? Did you find a new favorite, or worse, a least favorite? I want to know! Leave a comment below or contact me through any of my social media links.

Until we meet again, 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!

 

ARC August Wrap-Up

Good day, bookworms! I am finally settling in after traveling over this past holiday weekend. I am happy to report that I had a very successful ARC August and ended up completing 17-books total for the month. 14 of these books were ARCs (Advanced Readers Copies) provided to me by the various publishers in exchange for honest reviews.

As always, I appreciate these copies being sent to me and try to keep as up-to-date as I can with my review copies. Truth be told, however, I frequently fail miserably.

In fact, that is sort of the whole point behind ‘ARC August’. It is a time when individuals within the book community focus as much energy as they can on their ARCs. Playing catch-up or reading ahead for books they know they need to get too. Previously, the most ARC copies I have ever read in a month was 7, so I was actually able to double that best. Going into the month, my goal was 10, so I even went above that.

Without further ado, let’s get into the list of books that I completed this August, as well as my star rating. If the book is an ARC received from a publisher, there will be an asterisk (*) beside the title. This is in completion order:

  1. You’d Be Mine* by Erin Hahn (YA Contemporary), 4-stars
  2. The Escape Room* by Megan Goldin (Adult Thriller), 5-stars
  3. The Chain* by Adrian McKinty (Adult Thriller), 4-stars
  4. Finder* by Suzanne Palmer (Adult Sci-Fi), 4-stars
  5. The Wedding Party* by Jasmine Guillory (Adult Romance), 4-stars
  6. Priest of Lies (War for the Rose Throne)* by Peter McLean (Grimdark Fantasy), 4.5-stars
  7. Nyxia Uprising (Nyxia Triad #3)* by Scott Reintgen (YA Sci-Fi), 5-stars
  8. Dark Shores* by Danielle L. Jensen (YA Fantasy), 4-stars
  9. The Last Hope (The Raging Ones #2)* by Krista & Becca Ritchie (YA Sci-Fi), 4.5-stars
  10. We Were Killers Once (Brigid Quinn #4)* by Becky Masterman (Adult Mystery), 3.5-stars
  11. Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller (YA Fantasy), 3.5-stars
  12. Ration* by Cody Luff (Adult Dystopian), 4-stars
  13. Song of Susannah (Dark Tower #6) by Stephen King (Epic Fantasy), 5-stars
  14. House of Salt & Sorrows* by Erin A. Craig (YA Horror/Fantasy), 5-stars
  15. The Perfect Girlfriend* by Karen Hamilton (Adult Thriller), 2-stars
  16. The Perfect Son* by Lauren North (Adult Thriller), 3-stars
  17. Pasta Mortem (Supper Club Mystery #7) by Ellery Adams (Cozy Mystery), 3.5-stars

Obviously, my least favorite read of the month was The Perfect Girlfriend. As far as a favorite, I would have to go with House of Salt & Sorrows. I was surprised and impressed with it. I expected an average YA Fantasy Retelling but it got so much darker than I anticipated; I loved it! Highly recommend to readers who enjoy a seaside atmosphere with all the gothic feels. I can’t wait to see what Craig writes next!

How did you August reading go? Did you participate in ARC August? What was your least or favorite read of the month? I want to know! Leave a comment below or contact me through any of my social media links.

Until we meet again, my friends,

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Medieval-A-Thon Wrap-Up & August Reading Plans

Hi, book friends! I would like to officially announce that I slayed the Medieval-A-Thon and am now officially a Queen.

Medieval-A-Thon was a super fun, month-long Fantasy readathon hosted by Holly over at Holly Hearts Books on BookTube. She did a phenomenal job creating this readathon and consistently following up with us all on Twitter. I really had a great time participating and completed six Fantasy books over the course of the month to meet certain challenges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are the visuals created by Holly to help you keep track of the challenges and what you were earning by meeting them. Seriously, how creative is this? I am obsessed. Anyway, without further ado, here are the six books that I completed and what they earned me in weapons and my armour set:

  • To earn my fighting daggers, I needed to complete a book with assassins in it. For this I read¬†Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox #2)¬†by Julie Kagawa. I had an ARC of this book and loved it so much. I was disappointed at all and gave this Japanese-Inspired YA Fantasy 5-full stars!
  • To earn my bow and arrow, I needed to complete a book with elves in it. For this prompt, I chose¬†The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2)¬†by Holly Black. Again, I absolutely loved this YA Fantasy, 5-full stars!
  • For my crown, I needed to complete a book where a character fights for the throne. For this I read, Roar by Cora Carmack. This YA Fantasy that had a very unique magic system based on people who could control the weather really surprised me with how much I enjoyed it. The long awaited sequel to this 2017-release is actually coming out this month and I have already preordered a copy and plan to pick it up right away. I gave this 4.5-stars.
  • For my helmet, I needed to complete a book with a dragon on the cover. For this, I selected¬†Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. This beautifully written Adult Fantasy is a retelling of a Mayan legend modernized and set in the Jazz era. As I have found before with Moreno-Garcia’s writing, it was lyrical and truly beautiful to read. Her writing is simple but in a gorgeous way. I had an ARC copy of this and ended up giving it 4-stars.
  • For my breastplate, I needed to read a shiny book. For this I chose The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell. I listened to the audiobook for this and followed along in my hard copy and will admit, I was lost through at least the first half of the book. There were so many perspectives to follow, and time jumps, and I seriously had no clue what was happening. Overall, I did find the characters were interesting and it did have an interesting premise. I gave this one 3-stars and am not sure if I will continue on with this series. I own the second one so may or I may just unhaul them both.
  • Finally, for my cape, I needed to read something with red on the cover. On the very last day of the month I completed¬†Lost Boy¬†by Christina Henry. This book. Oh my goodness did I love this one. This is an origin story for Captain Hook, one of the most underrated villains of all time. This was so unique, bold, graphic and bloody brilliant. Best origin story I have ever read. EVER. No surprise, I gave this a full 5-stars! Loved it.

That wraps up my Medieval-A-Thon. So glad that I had the chance to participate. I love a month long readathon and this one provided me with a great opportunity to get some things off my TBR, as well as complete some ARCs that I really needed to get to.

On to August. What are my reading plans for August? I am actually not participating in any readathons but am participating in The Page Turners Book Club again, hosted by Chelsea Palmer from the BookTube channel of the same name. She hosts this Book Club on Facebook and it is a fairly interactive group. We are reading¬†Nevernight by Jay Kristoff the third week of the month. I have heard great things about this book and as it is dark and bloody, I anticipate really enjoying it. Plus, the synopsis for the main character gives me heavy Arya Stark vibes, which I’m down for.

Mainly in the month of August I will be participating in ARC August. This is sort of a movement going through the book community right now. Although not an official readathon or challenge it is something a lot of people are talking about an focusing on. Basically, it is just an entire month dedicated to reading all our ARCs. If you do not know what an ARC is, it is an Advanced Reader Copy provided to a reader by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Basically it is a way that publishing companies create buzz for and promote books before their release.

I personally have a ton of ARCs I need to get to. Some have already released so I will be playing catch up. Others come out this month and then a lot come out this Fall so I am trying to get a bit ahead.

I have a review post going up tomorrow morning for one of these ARCs, The Escape Room by Megan Goldin. I am part of the Blog Tour for the release of this book and am so excited to be taking part as, spoiler alert, I freaking loved this book!!! So stay tuned for that. Be sure to check back tomorrow if you want to see my spoiler free thoughts.

How was your July? Did you participate in any readathons? Are you taking part in ARC August? What are you reading plans for the month? I want to know. Leave a comment here or contact me through any of my social media links! I love to hear from you all.

Cheers & Happy Reading!