TOP TEN TUESDAY: Anticipated Reads Cover Love

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 “Cover Freebie” so I decided to look up some books I’ve been hearing about recently and books I’ve been waiting a while for their release and collected all of the covers!

  • A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik – I have actually never read anything by Naomi Novik (yet!!), but I love magical schools and this seems to be right up my alley.
  • In the Quick by Kate Hope Day – This is compared to The Martian and is about a female astronaut’s life and a love affair that threatens the rescue of a lost crew, and I’m intrigued? The cover of this is interesting, too!
  • The Gilded Ones by Naima Forna – I think the date of this one got pushed back, but a young woman who prays for her blood to be a certain color and fate intervening looks like it will be something I’ll like!
  • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab – This seems like it’s on everyone’s lists this fall, but I’ve enjoyed every book of hers I’ve read, and this one looks to be one of her more ambitious endeavors.
  • The Mask Falling, by Samantha Shannon – I’m a book behind in this series, but I’m looking forward to a reread of all of them soon as I got an arc of this! I love binging series, I’ve noticed, so the more I can read at once, the better.
  • Malice, by Heather Walter – This comes out like two weeks before my birthday next year and it’s a f/f retelling of Sleeping Beauty, one of my favorite fairy tales, and I just want this in my hands now.
  • The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers – Becky Chambers writes amazingly wholesome and heartfelt science fiction, and I’m very happy to see they’re continuing the Wayfarers series.
  • The Heiress Gets a Duke by Harper St. George – I love stuff set in the Gilded Age? Like give me all the things.
  • The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec – A banished witch who falls in love with Loki??? I love ancient myth retellings, and this one popped up on my radar the other day and stuck.
  • Wild Women and the Blues, by Denny S. Bryce – This ties together a film student in 2015 and a chorus girl in 1925 in Chicago, and I’m looking forward to reading a lot of jazz age books this decade.

Are any of these on your radar? What are you looking forward to reading most?

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books on My Summer 2020 TBR

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 “Books on My Summer 2020 TBR.” I have an endless unread shelf because I work in a bookstore, have a decent discount, and am buying things that catch my interest, but this summer, aside from my yearly challenges, I want to read the following books.

  • Witchmark – C.L. Polk – How many times have I added this to a TBR and never read it? Enough. After I finish one of my current reads, this is getting read. The final installment of the trilogy was just announced, so it’s time to actually buckle up and read this. I also have a problem with finishing series, especially not finishing series until the final book is out.
  • A Song of Wraiths and Ruin – Roseanne A. Brown – This has been on my radar since I saw the announcement for it a long time ago, and I’m finally glad to have the book in my hands! I’ve heard so many good things about it so far, and a stabby, deathy YA fantasy is something I need to read right now.
  • Beach Read – Emily Henry – This one I bought partially because of Instagram’s influence, but also because once I started reading people’s reviews, it appears to be much more than your typical summer beach read romance. I love the idea of writers switching from their usual genres, so I’m looking forward to this one!
  • Binti: The Complete Trilogy – Nnedi Okorafor – I have read the first of this trilogy, but when these new covers and this omnibus came out, I needed it, mostly because this omnibus also has some short stories that interconnect the novellas.
  • Crave – Tracy Wolff – This one is so out of my usual genre (I have never read Twilight!), but one of my friends read it and loved it because she said it’s just so out there that I have to read it so that we can talk about it.
  • Rosewater – Tade Thompson – I’ve had this book on my shelf forEVER, and again with the series thing, but I want to read this and the other two in the series ASAP.
  • Something to Talk About – Meryl Wilsner – I am a sucker for Hollywood stories? I don’t know why? I’ve had this on my radar since it was announced, it’s a f/f romance, and just looks like a fun escape.
  • The City We Became – N.K. Jemisin – I haven’t finished The Broken Earth Trilogy yet (also to be read/reread soon), but this one is an urban fantasy about New York City that looks so good. Everything I’ve read by Jemisin has been a masterpiece, so I fully expect to enjoy this one.
  • When We Were Magic – Sarah Gailey – Gailey is one of my favorite authors, and their work is everything I want and more, so to have a book like this about queer teen witches and a murder, I need it. I NEED IT.
  • The Shining – Stephen King – Full confession, the only thing I’ve read by King is On Writing and I don’t think that counts, so I’m starting here and seeing how I fare. I’m not one for horror, generally speaking, but it’s on my shelf, I bought it because I wanted to give it a go, and summer feels like a good time to read it.

Have you read any of these? What’s on your Summer 2020 TBR?

 

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books On My TBR That I’m Avoiding Reading and Why

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 “Books On My TBR That I’m Avoiding Reading and Why.” I feel like I have so many books on my TBR, physical and digital, that I’m avoiding reading for a myriad of reasons. I’ve picked out ten books from my physical TBR shelves, and they’re below!

  • Witchmark, by C.L. Polk — I really don’t know why I keep putting this off. It’s magical Edwardian England with queer characters, and it’s everything I’m interested in! I think the reason I keep putting it off is the small bookstagram hype that surrounded its original release, and I’m afraid it won’t live up to it. HOWEVER, this is published by tordotcom, and I have never been disappointed with the works they publish.
  • Vengeful, by V.E. Schwab — I’ve put this one off because Vicious is one of my favorite books, it has SO MUCH hype, and I’m terrible at finishing series.
  • The Silent Companions, by Laura Purcell — This is another one that had some bookstagram hype around its initial release. I don’t know why I’ve been putting it off other than that. It looks like everything I’d enjoy (weird ghosty gothic historical fiction), and it’s on the shorter side…
  • The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings, by Edgar Allan Poe — I am kind of ashamed to put this on here because I’ve featured it for two years in a row now during the spooky months on my Instagram, and I still haven’t read it. Not even the introduction. Why? Because I’m weird. I don’t know. It’s poetry and short stories, many of which I haven’t read before, and I need to get on it.
  • The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe, by D.G. Compton — I’m really terrible about reading any of my NYRB Classics even though I keep buying them. This one caught my eye because it was shelved in the science fiction/fantasy section of my old store, and these rarely get shelved in the genre sections. It also has an introduction by Jeff VanderMeer, who is a favorite of mine.
  • Something Strange and Deadly, by Susan Dennard — I love Susan Dennard’s Truthwitch (but another series I started and haven’t finished even though I’ve bought them on release day ever since), but I’m terrible at starting series, even if they’re set close to where I used to live, are historical YA fiction (which seems more rare these days). Working in a bookstore exposed me to a lot of things I might not have noticed otherwise, and I’m glad I noticed this trilogy. Now to read it.
  • Into the Drowning Deep, by Mira Grant — I’m terrified of the depths of the sea, but I love mermaids. I don’t live near big bodies of water right now and I’m not going near big bodies of water any time soon, so I should be safe to read this now, right?
  • Hild, by Nicola Griffith — I started this ages ago and for some reason set it aside. I don’t remember why, because I loved the first fifty or so pages I got through. I also have a terrible habit of picking up books, reading them for a bit, and then forgetting where I leave them or getting distracted by something else. I’ve heard so many good things about this, and now that I feel a little more knowledgeable about English history, I want to tackle this again.
  • Geek Love, by Katherine Dunn — This one falls under the “I bought it because of the general hype and bookstagram hype and now I’m afraid it won’t live up to the weird expectations I now have about its grandeur” umbrella.
  • Deathless, by Catherynne M. Valente — I’ve heard so many people say so many good things about this, and it’s lauded across the board, and I’m worried it’s not going to live up to the hype for me.

Overall, I know there’s a theme here: I get excited and interested in stuff I see on Instagram, go out and buy it, and then hoard it away until I’m forced to reconcile with TBRs, moving, and posts like these. I’m putting these in my book cart so they’re present and in my face, and maybe I’ll get to them by the end of the year… Let’s recap on December 31, shall we?

What’s on your TBR that you’re avoiding reading? Which of these have you read? Which would you recommend over the others?

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Ten Books From My Netgalley Queue

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 a free-for-all! Today I’m going to be featuring ten books in my Netgalley queue that I want to read ASAP because either 1) I’ve been really excited about them forever and 2) some I’ve had on this list for a while and need to get to reading and reviewing in a timely manner. I want to get back to that 80% mark by the end of the year, I want to clear out some of those titles that have been in my Netgalley queue for literal years, and I want to read the fun new stuff instead of feeling guilty that I’ve had these things waiting for reviews for so long.

I read a lot on my Kindle on my vacation this month and reading that much on it made me realize how much I enjoyed the ease and convenience of it, especially while in bed! Plus I can take my Kindle with me everywhere in my purse and I was able to sneak in some good reading in the downtime between stops. Anyway, let’s get on with that list! I’m hoping that choosing ten books to read from my queue will help serve as a Netgalley TBR as well!

  • The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso :: I think this entire trilogy has been released by now, and some bookstagram friends have enjoyed it!
  • In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle :: I love what I’ve read of his so far (and I’m a new Beagle reader), so I definitely need to finish this.
  • The Red-Stained Wings by Elizabeth Bear :: I loved the first book of this series, and I really want to know where she takes the story in the sequel.
  • The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas :: I love anything about time travel.
  • The Last Collection by Jeanne Mackin :: Berkley puts out some amazing historical fiction, and I’ve never been disappointed.
  • Bethlehem by Karen Kelly :: I love the Gilded Era, and this is set close to where I used to live!
  • Burn by James Patrick Kelly :: I read and taught a short story of his for my science fiction course, and I’ve been wanting to read more of his work!
  • Meet Me in the Future by Kameron Hurley :: Hurley is an auto-buy/-read author for me, and I’ve loved everything I’ve read of hers.
  • The Grace Year by Kim Liggett :: It’s touted as something in the vein of The Handmaid’s Tale, and it sounds weirdly interesting to me.
  • The Duke is but a Dream by Anna Bennett :: I’m enjoying more and more of my forays into romance, especially regency romance.

Are any of these on your TBR/Netgalley queue? Which have you read so far and have enjoyed?

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books That Surprised Me

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 the top ten books that surprised you (in a good way or a bad way), and I’m going to go with the more positive route, because usually if books are surprisingly bad, I just stop reading them or choose to forget about them (unless they’re legitimately awful. And that’s pretty rare).

My list will focus on the top ten books that surprised me in 2017, so it’s functioning sort of as a recap for last year’s reading as well, since I was a little lazy and perturbed by the lack of functioning keyboard to have any desire to write anything. Anyway, this list is not in ranking order, but in order from when I read it in the year, from the beginning of 2017 to the end of the year.

  • The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin. I think I read this many, many years ago when I was much younger and much less aware of what science fiction could do in terms of exploring humanity and culture instead of merely exploring space. Ai, the main character of this book, is at first unsettled by the sense of duality and ambisexuality on Gethen, and this unsettled feeling is a direct exploration of how gender functions in our own society (granted, in 1969, the much-broadcast definitions were a little different than the conversations we’re having today, so some of it feels outdated). However, a lot of it feels so relevant, and it made me think and it made me wonder, and I think that’s what some of the best science fiction should do. “It is yin and yang. Light is the left hand of darkness… how did it go? Light, dark. Fear, courage. Cold, warmth. Female, male. It is yourself, Therem. Both and one. A shadow on snow.”
  • The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas. Ever since I got my hands on an ARC from the table at work, I’ve been telling everyone I know to read this book. It’s relevant, it’s nuanced, it’s heart-wrenching. Though often hilarious and heartwarming at times, Thomas’s novel further reveals to us the consistent, prevalent institutional racism and broken criminal justice system in America in which so many people (without consequence!) continue to violate the civil rights of thousands because of the color of their skin. It will break your heart; it will make you angry. Read it. “Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”
  • The Stars are Legion, by Kameron Hurley. I read this book a year ago, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. It’s sci-fi just how I like it. It’s gross, it’s visceral, and it’s an angry yell into the void of space. I mean, don’t you want to read about asexual ships that give birth to whatever the ship needs, cannibalistic women who eat their deformed young, and womb/uterus/placenta references (with all of the associated fluids) all over the place? Yes, you do. I don’t want to reveal too much about the plot or the characters because half of the enjoyment of this is getting to discover that for yourself. Just read it. ASAP. “When you understand what the world is, you have two choices: Become a part of that world and perpetuate that system forever and ever, unto the next generation. Or fight it, and break it, and build something new. The former is safer, and easier. The latter is scarier, because who is to say what you build will be any better?”
  • The Paper Menagerie, by Ken Liu. The thing I liked most about this collection of stories, aside from Liu’s deft skill at writing and blending several different genres, is that so many of the stories focus on the idea of storytelling and what that means for us as people and as a society. In the collection, you’ll read about the ways in which species across the universe record their stories for the present and the future (“The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species”), the ways in which society tells us stories to keep us controlled and how difficult it is to break the illusions (“Perfect Match”), the literal power of words (“The Literomancer”), and the literal preservation of memory to be “read” and its upsides and pitfalls (“Simulacrum”).  “Time’s arrow is the loss of fidelity in compression. A sketch, not a photograph. A memory is a re-creation, precious because it is both more and less than the original.”
  • Moby-Dick, by Herman Melville. Moby-Dick functions best for you, dear reader, when you are familiar with the history of the novel. I think I read this at a pertinent time in my life. Had I read it before I learned the history of the narrative, the novel, the American novel, religion and its function in the American novel, the personal life of Melville (and by extension Hawthorne), and postmodernism (and one can argue whether or not this novel is considered postmodern, but it’s different than anything else I’ve read from the time period and knowing how postmodernism works in a literary setting adds to my own consumption and enjoyment of the novel on some level because its lucidity is very much like James Joyce’s style), I probably wouldn’t have appreciated it as much as I do now. It’s a hefty novel, a undertaking, but it’s so incredibly worth it. It’s a love story, and you will wonder whether or not you are chasing your own white whale. “There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody’s expense but his own.”
  • The Whole Art of Detection, by Lyndsay Faye. I am so particular about my Sherlock Holmes pastiches. It’s so difficult to capture the essence of Doyle’s original stories while simultaneously making it new, and Faye does this with exemplary flair. All of these stories feel at once rooted in time and timeless, and Faye manages this with her effortless, captivating writing. If you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes in any capacity and love a good historical mystery, read this right away. Dust and Shadow, a mystery in which Holmes and Watson discover the true identity of Jack the Ripper, is just as engaging. “In the broad light of day, I could not give his tale nearly so much credence as I had granted it when sitting rapt before a midnight fireplace whilst the tempest without erased the natural world.”
  • Borne, by Jeff VanderMeer. This is one of those cerebral post-apocalyptic dystopian novels that will linger with you long after you finish it. This standalone novel from the author of the Southern Reach trilogy explores how humans abuse science and nature for technological or monetary gain, and Borne shows us the aftermath of that greed. The novel also explores what it means to be a person, what it means to love and then to let go of love, what it means to live and then to die, and what it means when one finds beauty in the midst of so much chaos. VanderMeer manages to pack so much description, emotion, and longing into such a short novel, and it’s a novel that will make you reread passages and sentences again and again because of their beauty and complexity. The companion novella, The Strange Bird, is just as compelling. “He was born, but I had borne him.”
  • Wake of Vultures, by Lila Bowen. This is a supernatural Western, and it’s AMAZING. This follows Nettie Lonesome, a half-black half-Comanche young woman, who sets out to discover herself, her identity, and her place in the world only to discover that there are monsters lurking everywhere. This is steeped in Native American folklore with a hefty dash of that Old West mythology. Nettie is resilient, disguises herself up as a man and takes on a new name or two in order to get what she wants out of life, and begins to use her skills for the betterment of herself and others once she realizes she has the capacity to do so. It’s also a fantastic story with so many twists and turns, and you won’t be able to put it down, because I certainly couldn’t. I can’t wait to read the rest of this series. “Your heart is not a rock that stands unchanging. It’s like water. It flows, it moves, it allows neither boulders nor canyons to stand in its way. It hardens and softens and expands to fill new spaces. You are still becoming yourself. And you have a lot to learn.”
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I really didn’t know what to expect from this when I received it as part of BookSparks’s summer reading challenge, but I didn’t expect to read a heartfelt story of a woman of color navigating that man’s world called Hollywood. It was such a breezy, gossipy (but deep) read, and it’s about Evelyn Hugo coming clean about her life and owning up to her flaws and essentially wanting to become real after being put on a pedestal her entire life. It’s about coming to terms with the reality that behind someone’s “perfect life” is a person who struggles with themselves and their daily lives just as much as the rest of us. I don’t really cry at books, but this one got me teary-eyed more than once, and that’s saying something. “They are just husbands. I am Evelyn Hugo. And anyway, I think once people know the truth, they will be much more interested in my wife.”
  • The Black Tides of Heaven, by JY Yang. I have so many feelings about this book (and this series), and all of them are good. SO GOOD. If you like -punk genres, you need to read this. If you like stories exploring identity and gender and what it means to be a person, you need to read this. If you just like engaging fantasy, you need to read this. In Yang’s Protectorate, gender is chosen (or not) by the person and sexuality is fluid, and it’s such an amazing exploration on those subjects. It made me feel less alone on the subject of presentation, and I think it’s one of those books that will make other people feel less alone on so many fronts. The second part is just as moving, and I am eagerly awaiting the third. “The saying goes, ‘The black tides of heaven direct the courses of human lives’. To which a wise teacher said, ‘But as with all the waters, one can swim against the tide.'”

After compiling this, a majority of the books have a similar theme: identity, discovery, and what it means to be yourself, and for me, 2017 was a lot of that, so it’s interesting to note that the books I read last year that have stuck with me reflect that theme as well.