February 2021 Wrap Up

February was a very good reading month for me. I read eight books and watched several documentaries but I don’t plan to discus those. The winter storm that came through Texas helped with how much I read as my family kept loosing power and trying to watch TV or use the internet just wasn’t worth it but thankfully nothing was damaged.

Books:

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers was the first book I finished. This is the second book in the Wayfarers series though each book after the first can be read in any order. We follow Lovelace who was the main ships AI in the first book and who lost her memories at the end of that story being put in a human looking body and has to learn how to survive and live in this new form. We also follow Pepper who was created by others to be used and then discarded. Pepper story is from the time she is a kid learning what freedom is to an adult who has her own path and is trying to find the ship with the AI that basically raised her. This is a feel good science fiction series that is very optimistic about the future and how different species could get along. I love this series and how Becky Chambers writes characters.

Dying With Her Cheer Pants On: Stories of the Fighting Pumpkins by Seanan McGuire is a short story collection that focuses on the Fighting Pumpkins cheerleading squad as they fight the forces of darkness and save the world. I love Seanan McGuire’s stories and writing style and this collection is no different. More light hearted then some of her work each short story focuses mainly on one member of the cheer squad and why they have been called to join but all members are showcased. Great for fans of Buffy, supernatural creatures or cheerleading I have a feeling that we might see more of these characters in the future.

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore is a nonfiction book about the Radium Girls, women who painted watch dials with luminescent paint that contained radium. This book tells the story of these women who damaged their own health to paint watches used during World War I not just through the lens of history and what happened to them but through their own words and writings. No one told these women how dangerous the work they were doing could be and it took years for an justice to be given to these women. This book was very well written and I feel like I know these women at least a little bit now.

The Tangleroot Place by Marjorie M. Liu is the first ever short story collection of Marjorie Liu’s work that include stories about dangerous magic and dangerous women though its also about hope and making your own destiny. I received a advanced reader copy through NetGalley and I also have a full review posted. This collection contains six previously published stories and one new novella length story. Each story made me love the characters and the different worlds and I often wanted more but they also ended at a good place.

Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw is a horror novella that follows a group of friends going to an abandoned Japanese mansion for two of them to get married. However, as the night continues its clear that the ghost and spirits that inhabit the house are coming out to play. I received an advanced reader copy though NetGalley and have a full review posted. This is a beautifully written novella that still has horrifying elements and also focuses on how friendship can fall apart.

Fullmetal Alchemist Fullmetal Editon Volume 5 by Hiromu Arakawa is the next volume in the Fullmetal Alchemist manga series. I’ve mentioned before that I’m collecting these editions and rereading as I buy them. This volume gives more information on the Homunculus and how they are involved in controlling the government. Not my favorite volume but I do love Greed’s interactions with Al.

Hellsing Deluxe Volume 1 by Kohta Hirano is the first volume in this edition of the Hellsing manga series. I’ve read many manga throughout the years and have kept only the series I really loved. However, when new editions come out there are some series that I want the new nicer editions of and Hellsing is one of those. The Hellsing series follows the Hellsing Organization and the vampire Alucard in their fight against monsters and vampires in England. The biggest threat comes from Millennium a Nazi organization that uses monsters to try to take over the world. This is still one of my favorite manga series.

A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson is another book I received through NetGalley and have a full review for. This is a retelling and reimagining of Dracula’s brides. Told through a long letter to Dracula who is never named Constanta tell both her story and the story of the other brides. This is mostly a story about toxic and codependent relationship using vampires. I loved the idea of this book but I found the letter format allowed for more telling then showing and often made me fell like the relationship were moving too fast. I think anyone who loves vampires or Dracula should give this story a try.

October 2020 OwlCrate

Owl Crate is a young adult book subscription box where every month you receive one new hardcover book and an assortment of bookish goodies connected to the monthly theme. Some of these items are very practical and some are better suited as decor or for a pin/bulletin board. October’s theme is Legends and Lore.

Each box includes different bookish goodies that fit the theme of the month and are connected to other books. This months items include a bowl cozy, a soap bar, a bamboo phone stand, a set of moon and stars wind chimes, a glass nail files, and an audio book copy of Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko. I love the boxes that have practical items in them as I feel like I get more use out of these items. My favorite are the wind chimes and the phone stand. I also like the idea of being able to try a new audio book and one that is not the same as the hardback book.

Every month Owl Crate has a new young adult hardback book that has an exclusive cover, is signed and comes with a letter from the author. The enamel pin that is in every box is also inspired by that months book. This months book is Legendborn by Tracy Deonn which also have a reversible art cover. Legendborn is a modern day twist on Arthurian legends where a young woman finds that she has a mysterious connection to a secret society of magic users and that her mothers death might not have what was reported.

November’s theme is Growing Wild.

Book Shelf Organization

There are plenty of ways to organize book shelves. Some include by color, alphabetical, read vs unread, and many others. I’ve had many different book shelves and organization systems but the ones I’ve used the most are read and unread both keeping series together and keeping only the ones I’ve read together.

Currently, due to everything going on in the world I’m living with my parents so I’m able to have most of my book collection on shelves. During college I had one tall shelf and everything else was just stacked next to the shelf. Now days most of my books are on shelfs with some staked on the front of the shelfs. However, I do have some book mainly childhood favorites and college research text that I wanted to keep are in storage.

I’ve used different shelves and cases from different companies mostly from Ikea. Earlier this year some of the Ikea shelves started to fall apart and I purchased new bookcases from the furniture store, Havertys. I bought four in total, two taller with plenty of space to decorate and two that were smaller which fit better in the space but don’t have as much space on each shelf after books have been placed there.

My organization system works for me but I don’t think that it would work for many others. I first have separated all of my comics, manga, and lager coffee table type books from everything else. After that I organize by author and series so that all the books that I have by the same author and same series are together. If I don’t have enough books by one author for their own shelf I put other books or series that I feel fit best with them. Finally, all the books that I don’t have the next in the series or others from that author are organized by height starting with hardback and going to paperbacks. The only exception is that most of my mass-market books are on the same shelf.

This system works for me as I have a tendency to read all the books from authors I love and I get rid of books on a fairly regular bases. Because I go through everything at least once a year I would say that the organization changes a little bit every year and sometimes books are put where they fit.

September 2020 Wrap Up

September was a fairly good reading month for me having read nine books. My physical To Be Read pile is pretty big and is always changing but I have started to work my way through the eBooks that I have as well.

Books:

Final Girls by Mira Grant is a horror novella about a therapy treatment where dreams are created and shared to deal with past trauma. When the technology get hijacked while a reported and the creator of the technology they must try to survive together. I love Mira Grant’s work and this was no exception. Though I do wish this was a longer novel what we are given is just the right amount and a great horror story.

The Last Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff is a short story set in the Lotus Wars series. This short story is a prequel to the rest of the series and gives some of the back story to the world that is introduced in the first novel. While I liked this story I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it around the same time as the other books in the series. There has just been too much time between each book for me to really connect to the series or story at the moment.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is an adult historical fiction novel following the life of Hollywood star Evelyn Hugo and her relationships with her seven husbands. I really liked this book as Evelyn changed as a person and found her own way through the world. The twist near the end surprised me but I loved the characters and it speaks to the fact that you should live your life the way you want to as you never know what could happen.

The Hallow Places by T. Kingfisher is a horror novel about a young woman who finds a path to a world full of willow trees that might connect to other worlds from a hole in the wall of her grandfathers museum. However, there is something in the trees of this world that will find and hurt you it you think about them. Very creepy and unsettling but perfect for the Halloween season. I have a full review for this book as well.

Five Nights at Freddy’s Fazbear Frights vols. 3, 4, and 5 by Scott Cawthon are the next three volumes in the FNAF’s short story collections. Several years ago I got pulled into the lore of the video games and then the books so while they are not the best I still read them when new books come out. Each volume contains three short stories that connect different characters to the animatronics and other creations of Fazebear Entertainment. Great for those already interested in the series thought some stories are much more gruesome and confusing than others they are all creepy horror stories aimed at young adults.

Praying for Rain by Jay Kristoff is the last short story connected to the Louts Wars series that I needed to read. Very short story focusing on a Miho, a girl living in Kigen, and the boy she starts to fall in love with. However, when he finds out her secret her life is put in danger. This story adds a little more to the world and the people that are affected by the war. But once again if I had read this when I read the rest of the series I would have liked it more.

Labyrinth Coronation vol.1 is a graphic novel that tells the story about how Jareth become the Goblin King that we see in the movie. The story parallels Sarah’s journey in the movie with Jareth being wished away and his mother trying to get him back. Very good art and I plan to continue on with the series.

Book Review: Gideon The Ninth (The Locked Tomb #1) by Tamsyn Muir

42036538Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir is an Adult Scifi/Fantasy novel. The story is very hard to explain but its amazing. What I heard about the book was that it was lesbian necromancers in space and that was all I needed to know to pick it up but its much more than that.

The world is set up where there are nine houses on nine different planets with each house focusing on aspect/power of necromancy. The Emperor has invited each houses main necromancer and their swordsman to join in a competition to become an elite member of the Emperors court. The story starts out with Gideon who is an orphan raised in the Ninth House attempting to leave and join the army. However, when Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House kicks her ass Gideon must help Harrow win or the Ninth House will die.

The story drops you straight in and you pick up what really going on as you read. For me there was a lot of things that I didn’t get or understand initially but the relationship between Gideon and Harrow keeps the story flowing and convinces you to read on.Though I feel like this is one of those books that you will understand more with each reading.

I love the banter between them as a times they just seem to hate each other but you know there is more to it. The ending was shocking and amazing and felt like my heart was being ripped out. This is one of my new favorite books and I can’t wait to read the sequel.

July 2020 Wrap Up

So this post and several others are going up late because I got very sick at the end of July and through the beginning of August. I don’t know about anyone else but when I’m sick I have a tendency to watch a lot of TV and YouTube and not do much else. However, before I got sick I did read 5 books which is always a good reading month.

Books:

50715800._SY475_Fangs by Sarah Anderson is a short graphic novel/comic book that follows the story of a vampire and a werewolf falling in love. I received an ARC of the book through Netgalley. This is a very short story that is just events in this couples life but its very cute. Good for fans of vampires and werewolfs and a way to introduce others to the graphic novel format.

34275232._SY475_The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert is a YA fantasy novel. The story follows Alice and her mother who often have to runaway from bad luck. After the death of Alice’s grandmother, who is famous for writing fairy tales, their luck seems to be getting better. However, one day Alice come home to find her mother missing taken by those from the Hazel Wood which means that the fairy tales might actually be real. I love the twist later on in the story and the focus on how one an change fate.

563772The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey is a morbid and funny take on a children’s alphabet book. Though this is not for children but those who have a more sick sense of humor. Not much else to say about this book.

36538817._SX318_Fullmetal Alchemist: Fullmetal Edition vol. 2 by Hiromu Arakawa is the second volume in the Fullmetal Alchemist manga series. This is one of my favorite manga series and I’m rereading each volume as I collect these editions. Whats great about rereading this series is that I’m pick up hints about where the overarching story will go in the later volumes that I never caught before.

18505836The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor is a historical fiction novel about the sinking of the Titanic. The story follows Irish immigrant and third class passenger Maggie Murphy as she sails on the Titanic and survives the sinking. Maggie’s story is also connected to that of her family and Granddaughter in more modern times. Good for those who like reading both historical and historical fiction about the Titanic. This story is loosely based on the true story of the Addergoole 14.

June 2020 Wrap Up

This month I read seven books including one audio book and one graphic novel. I’ve also watched several movies.

Books:

52831943The Anti-Virginity Pact by Katie Wismer is a new self published young adult contemporary. The book follows Mare and her best friend who have signed a pact agreeing that they won’t be virgins by the end of their senior year of high school. This is a hard hitting contemporary that deals with topics such as family and religion. I have a full review up as well.

45010800Witchy by Ariel Slamet Ries is set in a world where length of ones hair determines your power as a witch but having too long of hair will get you killed. Nyneve has hidden her true hair length but when the Witch guard conscription comes around she decides that she will determine her own future. A short graphic novel that is the start of a new fantasy series. Great for young adult fan of graphic novels and comics.

ByFireAbove_hc.inddMiddlegame by Seanan McGuire is an adult fantasy novel about alchemy, language, math, and family. The story follows Roger and Dodger who were created by Reed to embody the Doctrine of Ethos which would allow someone to control how the world works. Adopted by different families Roger is all languages and works while Dodger is math and logic. When they connect as children talking to each other in their minds they know something is different about them and that it could be dangerous. I have a full review of this book but it is very hard to explain but is absolutely amazing and one of my new favorite books.

44660931._SY475_Five Nights at Freddy’s Fazbear Frights #2: Fetch by Scott Cawthon is the second collection of three short stories in the FNAF universe. The stories in this collection are Fetch, Lonely Freddy, and Out of Stock. Fetch follows a group of kids that find a animatronic dog inside an old Freddy’s Fazbear pizzeria that starts terrorizing them. Lonely Freddy is a creep story about a older brother who wants everyone to know how fake is younger sister is but things go bad at her birthday party at Freddy’s. The last story Out of Stock follows several kids that get their hand on a Plushtrap toy that seems to have very human eyes and teeth which then attacks them at night. Though I like how creepy these story collections can be I don’t like the fact that kids in the stories get hurt or punished for not knowing any better.

27213244The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers is the first book in the Wayfarers series a series of slice of life adult science fiction novels. The story follows the crew of a tunneling ship the Wayfarer as they take on jobs creating tunnels between different planets. The is a character driven story that the plot takes second place to but I loved all the characters and their relationships. I have a full review for this book and I can’t wait to read the next in the series.

15843166You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero is a self-help book about how everyone is a badass in their own way and how to stop messing around and get your life track. The author believes that if you set your mind on changing something you can do it if you are willing to put in the work. I listened to this and its a very short audio book which is what I wanted at the time. It has advice on many different topics but focuses on how mindset is everything. Good for someone looking to this kind of information and to be encouraged to do and change whatever to be a better, happier person.

41430922._SY475_The Hunger by Alma Katsu is a historical fiction novel with a bit of a supernatural twist. Follows the Donnor party and their attempt to travel to California. I like the ideas and concepts of the book but it jumps between too many characters. Because I this I didn’t really connect to the story or the characters which meant that I didn’t care what happen to them.

 

 

 

Movies:

MV5BYmIzNjUxZGQtYjg0OS00MmE0LTgwZDAtMzVmODQ2MGI5MTQ5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTA3MTA4Mzgw._V1_I watched three movies this month which I haven’t done in a while. The first movie I watched was Rocketman which is the musical about the life of Elton John. I didn’t know really anything about Elton John before watching the movie but I movie kept me interested. I think it would also make an amazing stage musical.

p16981625_v_v8_aeKnives Out is a murder mystery movie following death of crime novelist Harlan Thrombey the night of his 85th birthday. This is a murder mystery in the similar vein as Clue but not as comedic. I loved the ensemble cast and all the weird family drama that changed how I thought each character was involved. If you haven’t seen it yet I would highly recommend it.

EDEsh0gU4AUTO3PThe last movie I watched this month was Joker. This movie follows the origins of the DC and Batman villain The Joker. This is a very good movie that shows one mans decent into madness and how a person could become a villain like the Joker. I plan to have a full review out shortly but I would recommend seeing this movie if you haven’t already.

Book Review: The Anti-Virginity Pact by Katie Wismer

52831943The Anti-Virginity Pact is a Young Adult debut contemporary novel by BookTuber Katie Wismer. The story follows Meredith Beaumont, a Preacher’s daughter who happens to be an atheists. When her best friend Johanna convinces her to sign a pact that states that they both won’t be virgins at the end of their senior year of high school things don’t go as planned and Mare must make the decision as whats more important her reputation and relationship with her parents or the person she wants to be.

The Anti-Virginity Pact is a story about relationship, religion, high school, and becoming the person you want to be. This hard hitting contemporary deals with many topics that some are afraid to tackle and sheds light on to aspects of toxic religions. The authors writing and characters sucked me in  and made me root for Mare and what she stood for. Though fair warning this book does handled sensitive topics such as religion, rape, and animal abuse so its not for everyone. The emotions and events that Mare goes though not only speaks for her own situation but speaks to the emotions and even trauma that many high schoolers deal with every day.

Though young adult contemporary is not my favorite genre, Wismer’s writing accurately portrays the emotions and drama of high school so well that I brought back memories for me and I’ve been out of high school for ten years. This would be a great book for those who love young adult contemporary and young women in high school. I received an advanced copy to review through NetGalley.

Beacon Bookstagram Box 2020

When I started this blog I also created a Instagram account to post bookstagram photos. As I’m still learning the best ways to post and interact on Instagram the Beacon Bookstagram Box sounded like an interesting tool that I might get something out of.

This is not a traditional book box as there is no book or fandom related items. It is instead a box of props and information for those wanting to start a bookstgram account or those who have one and want more information.

IMG_0340Beacon joined up with popular bookstagram accounts to give the best advice and some great props that can be used to better pictures. The items included were a notebook with tips and advice, a 26 week planner, a fabric back drop, a letter board, a fake dagger, a crown, a mask, a pocket watch, fairy lights, flower petals, keys, acorns, and pine cones.

Most of these items where not props I already had so buying this box worked out for me. Now I have new props to use in different ways and some tips that I never considered before. Every box was slightly different so that now everyone got exectly the same items therefore pictures will be different. The only item that I didn’t like was the fake dagger it looks and feels very cheep.

If there is another bookstgram box in the future I might consider getting it.

Book Review:Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst

49950349Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst is a new young adult standalone fantasy that follows a pair a strong women who are willing to risk their lives in their quest to become champions in the monster racing.

In the world of Becar who you are in this life determines who and what you are in the next. The augurs can read your fate so you can change your destiny. But the darkest of souls cannot be changed and you come back as a kehok, a monster that will never find redemption except through the races.

Tamra is an elite kehok rider and trainer who is down on her luck and needs the prize money from the races to stop the local augur temple from taking her daughter away. Raia is a young woman desperate to get away from her family and the awful man she is meant to marry. As a kehok rider she could win enough money to gain her freedom. Tamra agrees to train Raia to ride a new unusual kehok and attempt to win the races.

Through the story its apparent that is kehok is different and may hold the key to the death of the last emperor and the future of the nation of Becar.

The book is very fast paced and I often didn’t want to put it down. You are thrown into the story with very little explanation of the world or society but its done in a way that you want to find out more. I enjoyed the story and though its a standalone book I could see other stories set in this world. The only thing I would add is a pronunciation guide for the new words in this world and society.