I've already read 11 books between January 1st and today so I'd count that as a good start to what will hopefully be a productive reading year.
Before I moved to another state last year, my husband and I ran a small, yet faithful book club. Wanting to keep some of that still alive, my sister and I are meeting monthly (via video) to keep up the book club. Our theme this year is: Outlander. She has never experienced the Outlander saga and I have only read the first book, so this will be entertaining for both of us. We are alternating months (so this month it's an Outlander month, next month a genre month, and so on) so this month we are focusing on Dragonfly in Amber.
I also am trying to make it through the year without buying more than 5-10 books (which would be an AMAZING accomplishment for me). Moving houses, while stressful, will tell you exactly how many books you have. Lugging them into boxes, on to trucks, off of trucks, into new residences, onto new bookshelves...you feel every single book you own. It also points out that I have a vast number of books on my shelves that remain unread. So my goal is to read what I have and focus on obtaining new content from ARCs and the online/physical library. An honorable goal...let's see if I stick to it. Lol.
Let's talk about how pretty that cover is. With the swirling, mercurial blues it just screamed at me "Science Fiction". I may have decided to read it based solely on the cover. And...at it's crux, it's a pretty decent young adult science fiction novel. When I first started out I was slightly worried that this would be a rehash of the Divergent plots -- at least at its core. It ended up growing past that, however, into a book that carried strong personalities/world building and created an interesting story. It's not very heavy on the science (like one would find in a book like The Martian or a traditional "hard science fiction" novel) but for a young adult book I think it worked nicely. A solid read for fans of young adult and for fans of science fiction.
And speaking of cover love -- the sequel Nyxia Unleashed -- has a cover that is even prettier than Nyxia in my opinion.
I don't read much in the mystery/thriller genre...but I do enjoy Ruth Ware's novels. The Woman in Cabin 10 was one of my favorite reads of 2016 so I naturally moved on to the other books in her repertoire. The Lying Game is her latest release and it doesn't disappoint.
Imogen Church is the actor of choice to perform Ware's work in audiobooks and she did a solid job on this one. The story was engaging and mysterious and, for the most part, kept me guessing. I did find some of the characters to be a bit annoying or not developed enough to my liking. I understand, though, that in the interest of a suspenseful plot a character may not be developed fully in order to make them more "mysterious". That said, one of my biggest issues with the mystery/thriller genre is that I always wonder how much of the story would be a non-issue if the characters just communicated with each other. The Lying Game is no different. I found myself growing frustrated with some of their characters for their absolute refusal to communicate with those they loved.
It would be too easy to spoil the plot if I discussed the story any further so to make a long story short -- this was an entertaining read that scratched the mystery/thriller itch.
The witcher books are ones I've seen on my bookstore's shelves for a while now -- their distinctive red spines grouped together make them easy to spot. I've always passed by them because I often don't read spin-off books from tv shows or video games -- I prefer to watch/play the originating media rather than read the spin offs.
But then I learned --- the books came before the witcher games?!
So, yeah. I'm late to that party. I picked up the first one a week or two ago and was surprised to find that The Last Wish was a collection of short stories rather than a cohesive novel. It's no secret that I don't much care for short fiction...but I had already purchased it. Plus, if I was going to dive into the witcher world, I was going to do it in chronological reading order. So...I read it.
And loved it! Granted, my opinion of short fiction remains the same -- not a big fan. And it did take me longer to read The Last Wish than a typical fantasy novel of that size. Sapkowski provides the reader tantalizing glimpses into Geralt's world and gives you just enough character development to string you along from story to story.
So...that said, I've already purchased the next book -- Sword of Destiny -- which is also a collection of short stories...and the first three novels. The Last Wish was a fascinating blend of original fantasy with fairy tale retellings at the very core. It was fantastic. I can't wait to dive back in to Geralt of Rivia's world!
The Mercy Thompson books are on my "auto buy" list. I've stuck with this series for a long time (I mean, Silence Fallen is book #10 of this series and it's still going strong) and don't plan on quitting any time soon. I went out and bought this one when it was released in March of last year...and yet I only JUST finished it. And, to add insult to injury, I listened to the audiobook from my library rather than read the hardcover I purchased almost a year ago. Whoops.
So why the delay? Well, to be fair, I did try to read my hardback copy when it first came out. I was surprised to find that Silence Fallen is written from both Mercy's and Adam's POVs. I don't much care for alternating chapters of different POVs...so that coupled with the fact that I probably wasn't in the mood for an urban fantasy made me put this one down last year.
Cue 2018 and the husband and I are getting ready to move house to a couple of states away and I don't really want to move books I don't plan on keeping. Yet, rather than pick up my hardback, I decided to listen to it. As an audiobook it was ok -- two voice actors read the story which was a nice way of differentiating between Mercy and Adam. I managed to finish it this time via the audiobook so I guess it was good for that purpose (even if I found it hard to listen to voices interpret the stories I've voiced on my own for years).
I was really wavering on what to rate Silence Fallen. The two POVs threw me off because Briggs hasn't used that device (that I can remember) in any of the earlier books. Also, the timeline is not linear either so it was a bit confusing keeping Mercy's timeline location and Adam's timeline location straight in my head. Add to that a ton of backstabbing and a variety of characters and Silence Fallen just seemed too busy. Based on the story alone I'd probably lean more towards a 3.0 or a 3.5 star rating for this installment of the Mercy Thompson books. The fact that it's characters I love (more Stefan, though, please) and a world that I love bumps it up to a 4.0 rating.
Disclaimer: I read this solely because I wanted to watch the Hulu series.
I'm conflicted about The Handmaid's Tale... Was it interesting? Yes, very. Was it horrifying? Yes, extremely. Did I enjoy it? No, not really. Is it an important book? Yes.
A lot has been said about this book in the past year due to certain political events. The modern resurgence aside, this book presents an eerie look into the "what if?" of a theocratic government that completely reverses women's rights and strives to put women in their place - as a wife or as a womb or as a servant. Any woman not fitting within one of those roles is classified as an "unwoman" and sent into exile to die while cleaning nuclear waste.
I listened to the audiobook version of this narrated by Clare Danes - she was fantastic.
I was conflicted about Binti. Let me preface this by saying that I am not a fan of short fiction (But wait - am I currently reading The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapowski which is just a collection of short stories? Yes, yes I am. BUT the difference between the first Witcher book and Binti is that the stories in The Last Wish do not truly stand alone - they fit in a larger universe which does have full length novels in them. Ok, so it doesn't make sense...).
BUT, as short fiction goes, I kind of enjoyed Binti. I LOVED that the Himba people are represented through Binti and the cover image is just absolutely gorgeous. The story itself was pretty interesting and there were a few parts that truly took me by surprise. That said, I didn't really feel like it fit well into the science fiction realm -- as far as science fiction goes I actually thought it was kind of weak. I wanted more science...more explanation. I understand with short fiction one only has a small window in which to do the world building...but when I think of "science fiction" I think of something a bit more explanatory as far as the science and world building goes.
What knocked this down from a four-star read to a three-star read was one major point -- the lack of consequences. I don't want to post any spoilers, but the short of it is (and stop reading here if you don't want any spoilers) that the Meduse commit an atrocity on board Binti's ship and they suffer literally zero consequences for that atrocity. The people on the receiving planet see what the Meduse have done and nothing is said about it. The level of the atrocity committed would have (should have) warranted some kind of consequence but...nope.
An enjoyable read...but I am not sure if I'll continue on with the short stories which follow it.
This was a refreshing read, drawing one's eyes to the holiness of the ordinary. It's easy to get caught up in the day to day routines and forget that God has a place in everything -- even the mundane things like making the bed or cooking dinner. Warren does a great job pointing out how Christ is (well, should be) present in our day to day lifestyle and how each little thing we do can point to Him.
She organizes the book like she would her day...starting with waking up and ending with going to bed. Each chapter takes an "ordinary" daily task and illuminates the holiness within. This was a great reminder that Christ is present in our day to day world...not just on Sundays. Embrace the routine and seek to find Jesus in every element of your day.
No, this Wayward Children book is my favorite.
What a delightful and heartbreaking story. I'm not a big fan of novellas - I prefer a book with some heft to it...something that will allow for the character development and world building that I enjoy. Out of the three Wayward Children books currently available, though,Beneath the Sugar Sky read like a full novel. I felt connected to the characters and the plot felt full and complete. Sure, it could have been expanded on -- and I would have read the crap out of that book. I do wish that McGuire had taken the same route with these as she has with the Toby Daye series (ie. full length books) for the Children series. I'll take what I can get, though, and this was a fantastic chapter to the Wayward Children story.
Between Toby Daye and the Wayward Children, Seanan McGuire has fast become one of my "auto read" authors.
This was a fun glimpse into Ceda's background that occurs before we meet her in Twelve Kings in Sharakhai. It was a very short book -- dare I say a combination of three novellas strung together with a single thread? As such, it made for a quick read that was easy to pick up/put down. A downside to it being a shorter book was that we don't have the character development or world building like we do inTwelve Kings, but that's to be expected in this type of book.
A fun read for fans of the Shattered Sands -- definitely read Twelve Kings first, though, for strong character building and a fascinating world system.