BOOK ENDS: March & April 2022

I don’t ever expect to have these done on time because of the state of the world and my general ‘idk what to do with this blog’ moods, but here’s my wrap up for March and April of 2022!


CURRENTLY READING

I still have not read much of The Big Book of Science Fiction, mostly because if it is something that’s out of sight, it’s out of mind, and I’ve just recently moved it to my nightstand again so I can finally get this done. I’ve been picking at it for so long it’s absurd! Disorientation is getting a lot of good reviews from people I follow, and the concept/premise/cover have drawn me in. Sistersong was an arc I started a bit ago and then let fall to the wayside, but I am enjoying the lyricism in the writing. I have also been meaning to read more ‘contemporary classics,’ so Vonnegut is on the list! I will likely read Slaughterhouse Five after this. I’ve only ever read a few of Vonnegut’s short stories!

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook | 🎧 audiobook  |  💞 reread

📚 The Big Book of Science Fiction – edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
⌛️ Disorientation – Elaine Hsieh Chou
📱 Sistersong – Lucy Holland (thank you, Redhook!)
⌛️ Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut


FINISHED READING

I read 6 books in March! With unpacking and the stress of having my things delivered, I had very little brainpower to do much of anything. I focused more on horror and romance this month, and I think I’m getting more comfortable with the genre as a whole?? Which is weird to say because I’ve never gravitated toward horror/horror-adjacent books as I have within the last year.

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook | 🎧 audiobook  |  💞 reread

📚 Never Kiss a Duke – Megan Frampton (3.5/5 stars)
📱 Comfort Me With Apples – Catherynne M. Valente (4/5 stars, thank you, tordotcom!)
📚 A Duchess a Day – Charis Michaels (3/5 stars)
📓 Tripping Arcadia – Kit Mayquist (4/5 stars, thank you, Dutton Books!)
⌛️ Revelator – Daryl Gregory (4.5/5 stars)
📚 House of Hollow – Krystal Sutherland (4/5 stars)

I read seven books in April! All of it is so varied, and I read a few ARCs/review copies (physical and digital) to try to actually be on time with things for once, and then read a couple of things of my shelf as well. I’ve also been trying to use my library more to read newer things that I’m interested in rather than straight up buying everything to save money! A Marvellous Light was the library book I read in April, and it was a very warm romantic fantasy.

 

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook | 🎧 audiobook  |  💞 reread

📚 Star Wars The High Republic: Light of the Jedi – Charles Soule (3/5 stars)
📱 Time is a Mother – Ocean Vuong (3.5/5 stars, thank you, Penguin Press!)
⌛️ A Marvellous Light – Freya Marske (5/5 stars)
📓 The Agathas – Kathleen Glasgow & Liz Lawson (4/5 stars, thank you, Delacorte Press!)
📓 Portrait of a Thief – Grace D. Li (3.75/5 stars, thank you, Tiny Reparations Books!)
📱 Woman, Eating – Claire Kohda (3/5 stars, thank you, Harpervia!)
📚 Brain Rose – Nancy Kress (3/5 stars)


ON THE HORIZON

Darling Girl is a reimagination of the Peter Pan story and looks like something I’ll enjoy! I won Scorpica in a Goodreads giveaway, and a matriarchy in a fantasy setting is always one of my favorite things! Counterfeit sounds like a fun summer novel!! Cherish Farrah has gotten some wildly different receptions from people I follow, and it’s from the library so I should check it out. And Her Majesty’s Royal Coven is a BN Pick of the Month that I’ll be buying soon! The concept and cover is so cool! She Who Became the Sun was one of my most anticipated reads for a long time, and it’s time to actually read it! I’ve also been meaning to read Red, White, and Royal Blue since I bought it when it first got popular on social media (before the weird stepback best seller piece was added!!). Sundial is another library book I need to finish and looks delightfully creepy for a summer read. I’ve just started paging through Lapvona even though I’ve never read another Moshfegh book!! I’m also continuing my ABC Challenge of 2022 with Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured (that has also been on my active TBR for literal years).

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook | 🎧 audiobook  |  💞 reread

📓 Darling Girl – Liz Michalski (thank you, Dutton!)
📓 Scorpica – G.R. Macallister (Goodreads giveaway, thank you, Saga Press!)
📱 Counterfeit – Kirstin Chen (thank you, William Morrow!)
⌛️ Cherish Farrah – Bethany C. Morrow
📚   Her Majesty’s Royal Coven – Juno Dawson
📚  She Who Became the Sun – Shelley Parker-Chan
📚  Red, White, and Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston
⌛️ Sundial – Catriona Ward
📱 Lapvona – Ottessa Moshfegh (thank you, Penguin Press!)
📚  Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured – Kathryn Harrison


WHAT I ACQUIRED

I want more wlw mass market historical romances, and the cover of Erica Ridley’s The Perks of Loving a Wallflower has all of my favorite colors omg. Misrule is my highly anticipated follow up to Malice, a favorite of mine last year! I loved Iron Widow, so naturally I had to see what Xiran Jay Zhao’s middle grade release was all about!! I had requested a copy of Phasers on Stun and I’m pleased to see it encompasses a lot! As soon as I saw House of Hunger, I had to download it to read it even though I know I’ll purchase a physical copy once it releases.

📚 bookshelf pick  |  📓 physical review copy  |  📱 digital review copy | ⌛️ library/borrowed | 💾 ebook | 🎧 audiobook  |  💞 reread

📚 The Perks of Loving a Wallflower – Erica Ridley
📚 Misrule – Heather Walter
📚 Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor – Xiran Jay Zhao
📓 Phasers on Stun – Ryan Britt (thank you, Plume!)
📱 House of Hunger – Alexis Henderson (thank you, Ace Books!)


ON SCREEN

GAMING: I’ve been playing a lot of World of Warcraft lately, and I’ve really gotten into playing a Demon Hunter!! Now that the next expansion was released, I’m excited to get caught up on a few things and see as much endgame content as possible.

TV: I feel like I’ve watched a lot of TV lately, and I’m really enjoying The Essex SerpentObi-Wan Kenobi, and I’m excited for the fourth season of Stranger Things!

MOVIES: Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness was a lot of fun to watch visually, but I wasn’t too fond of the treatment of the Scarlet Witch?? Men was weird, and Everything Everywhere All at Once is a contender for my favorite movie of the year!


 

BOOK REVIEW: Until We Meet, by Camille Di Maio

BOOK REVIEW: Until We Meet, by Camille Di MaioTitle: Until We Meet by Camille Di Maio
Published by Forever
Published: March 1st 2022
Genres: Historical, Fiction
Pages: 384
Format: Trade Paper
Source: Publisher
Buy: Bookshop(afflilate link)
Goodreads

A poignant and page-turning story of three women whose lives are forever changed by war.…

New York City, 1943
Can one small act change the course of a life?
Margaret’s job at the Navy Yard brings her freedoms she never dared imagine, but she wants to do something more personal to help the war effort. Knitting socks for soldiers is a way to occupy her quiet nights and provide comfort to the boys abroad. But when a note she tucks inside one of her socks sparks a relationship with a long-distance pen pal, she finds herself drawn to a man she’s never even met.

Can a woman hold on to her independence if she gives away her heart?
Gladys has been waiting her whole life for the kinds of opportunities available to her now that so many men are fighting overseas. She’s not going to waste a single one. And she’s not going to let her two best friends waste them either. Then she meets someone who values her opinions as much as she likes giving them, and suddenly she is questioning everything she once held dear.

Can an unwed mother survive on her own?
Dottie is in a dire situation—she’s pregnant, her fiancé is off fighting the war, and if her parents find out about the baby, they’ll send her away and make her give up her child. Knitting helps take her mind off her uncertain future—until the worst happens and she must lean on her friends like never before.

With their worlds changing in unimaginable ways, Margaret, Gladys, and Dottie will learn that the unbreakable bond of friendship between them is what matters most of all.

Until We Meet is one of my favorite styles of historical women’s fiction/romance incorporating interesting and realistic characters, strong friendships, and a romance developed through letter-writing. Three best friends who live and work and aid the war efforts through working in the naval yard, working on the USS Missouri, and knitting socks for soldiers overseas try to make sense and stability through the difficulties the war has brought to themselves and their families.

One of the things I absolutely loved about the structure of the book is the easy flow between Margaret and the man to whom she is writing. The multiple perspectives bring into focus both the immediacy and the distance war puts between home and the self. And while the book is a well-paced and easy read, it doesn’t shy away from the truths of war and the truths in what happens to the individual during war. The characters and setting are incredibly well-crafted, and I felt all of what the characters felt along with them. The friendships among Margaret, Dottie, and Gladys felt so real with their ups and downs, the efforts they put to help each other through their own personal and professional challenges, and it felt like a true representation of what good, supportive friendship between women is supposed to be. I also loved the developing romance between Margaret and Tom, whose true identity is revealed later, and that they seemed to recognize each other at first sight upon his return. Aside from a connection built through the written word, I absolutely love that at first sight, I knew trope.

Overall, this is a solid historical fiction/romance with a great cast of characters that will have you feeling everything from joy to dispair to hope, and it’s perfect for your summer reading bag!!

Many thanks to BooksForward and Forever for sending a complimentary copy my way! All opinions are my own.

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Authors I Haven’t Read, But Want To

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly discussion hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl (and formerly hosted by The Broke and the Bookish), and this week’s topic is “Bookish Merchandise I’d Love to Own” but I am not really a bookish merch person any longer, so I will use last week’s prompt that I missed which is “Authors I Haven’t Read, But Want To”! I’m sure there are others that I’m forgetting about, but in a glance at my to-read list and things I can remember off the top of my head, here are ten authors/books I’m looking forward to that I haven’t read yet. Some of these have been on my TBR for a while, and some of these are new-to-me!

  • Tasha Suri – Ever since Empire of Sand was released, I’ve had her work on my TBR/radar, and after The Jasmine Throne‘s release last year and her upcoming Wuthering Heights retelling, I want to read everything of hers sooner rather than later!
  • Alexis Henderson – When The Year of the Witching came out in 2020, I needed it and I bought it and I still haven’t read it. With her second book coming out later this year, it’s definitely time to dive into her work.
  • June Hur – The Red Palace is a historical mystery set in 1758 Korea and looks absolutely amazing to me. I’ve had my eye on her previous books too, but everything about her most recent release has spoken to me!
  • Fonda Lee – I am one of those people who usually puts off starting a series until all of them are announced or out, and now that all of the Green Bone saga is out, I need to stop procrastinating on reading it!!
  • Naomi Novik – I don’t know why I haven’t read anything of Novik’s yet, but I have Uprooted, A Deadly Education, and His Majesty’s Dragon on my shelves to read!!
  • Tade Thompson – I’ve heard such good things about The Wormwood Trilogy (Rosewater, The Rosewater Insurrection, and The Rosewater Redemption), and his books have been on my shelf forever! .
  • Seth Dickinson – The Traitor Baru Cormorant has come up a lot of my friends’ socials and blogs with nothing but praise, and something about it keeps calling to me!
  • Ottessa Moshfegh – I checked one of her books out from the library years ago but didn’t get around to it because of due dates, and I’ve been wanting to actually read her work because it’s been everywhere!
  • Jessie Mihalik – Her Consortium Rebellion trilogy caught my attention awhile back, and the first book of her new series looks interesting to me too! It’s sci-fi romance, and it’s gotten a lot of love on my friends’ socials lately too!
  • Sally Thorne – I’ve been meaning to read The Hating Game for a while (and I even own it!!) but when I found out about her historical rom-com about Victor Frankenstein’s younger sister, my interest has only increased!!!

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY: New/Upcoming Fantasy Releases

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme originally hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine (though it seems as though it’s been a while since she updated that particular blog, so if you know of the current host, if there is one, please let me know) that highlights upcoming releases that we’re impatiently waiting for. This week I’m featuring upcoming/newly released Adult Fantasy titles I’m excited to read!  As usual, pub dates change without warning, so keep that in mind!

The Book of Gothel, by Mary McMyne – I don’t know what it is a bout fairytale retellings and specifically Rapunzel retellings, but as soon as this came on my radar, I added it to my ‘keep an eye on this’ list because I’m supremely interested in the story being told from the mother’s point of view. The last Rapunzel retelling I recall having the mother’s point of view in it is Donna Jo Napoli’s Zel, and it added a level to the story that I hadn’t considered before then. (July 26, 2022)

The Oleander Sword, by Tasha Suri – This is the follow up to The Jasmine Throne (which I haven’t read yet), but that doesn’t stop me from adding it to my TBR because I definitely am in the mood for some chonky fantasy, and Orbit has been releasing a lot of amazing looking books lately! (August 16, 2022)

The Cage of Dark Hours, by Marina Lostetter – I read the first book last summer and really enjoyed it, and I usually don’t start series until at least one of the other books are announced/released, but this was an exception! I loved the world-building, loved the intrigue, and I can’t wait to see where the story goes next. (February 14, 2023)

The Bone Orchard, by Sara A. Mueller – This looks creepy and fantastic, with necromancy and witches and madams. I’ve been in the mood for deliberately weird/creepy fantasy, and this feels like it’ll be just what I want. (March 22, 2022)

The City of Dusk, by Tara Sim – Another book with bone and shadow magic, with four houses and gods for each, necromancy and intrigue. I’ve been meaning to read Sim’s work, and this seems like a great start! It’s been getting some decent reviews from what I’ve seen, and again, I’m ready for some hefty fantasy reads this spring/summer.  (March 22, 2022)

Are any of these on your TBR? What upcoming fantasy titles are you excited to read?

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY: New/Upcoming YA Fantasy Releases

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme originally hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine (though it seems as though it’s been a while since she updated that particular blog, so if you know of the current host, if there is one, please let me know) that highlights upcoming releases that we’re impatiently waiting for. This week I’m featuring upcoming/newly released YA Fantasy titles I’m excited to read!  As usual, pub dates change without warning, so keep that in mind!

Bright Ruined Things, by Samantha Cohoe – Apparently a retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest set on an island with Mae, a young woman living on the charity of the wealthy Prosper family. The Prosper family controls the magic on the island and the spirits inhabiting it. It sounds dark and magical and like my usual foray into YA fantasy. Plus, that cover is giving me Art Deco vibes, and I’m here for it. (February 15, 2022)

A Thousand Steps Into Night, by Traci Chee – A Japanese-influenced fantasy brimming with demons, adventure, and plans gone awry. The full description of this book sounds like Inuyasha?? This cover is gorgeous, as well. (March 1, 2022)

A Forgery of Roses, by Jessica S. Olson – This is a murder mystery gothic fantasy that sounds like it has The Picture of Dorian Gray vibes?? The main character is an artist whose paintings can alter real life, including possibly raising the dead?? Everything about this sounds amazing. (March 29, 2022)

A Far Wilder Magic, by Allison Saft – Give me any kind of fantasy involving alchemy and alchemists. I meant to read Saft’s first novel last year, but I never got around to it, but I think if I enjoy this, I’ll have to pick that one up too. This one seems like a more quiet slowburn kind of fantasy romance, and I think I’ll enjoy it. (March 8, 2022)

A Magic Steeped in Poison, by Judy I. Lin – This is about the magical art of tea-making, and Ning has inadvertently brewed the poison tea that killed her mother. Ning travels to the imperial city to compete in a tea-making competition to win a favor from the princess that might save her sister’s life. This gives me a little bit of The Bone Witch vibes for some reason, but tea-making competitions??? I need it. (March 29, 2022)

Are any of these on your TBR? What romances are you excited to read?