2020: A Reading Year in Review | Goals and Stats

Happy New Year’s!

I don’t know about you but I somehow feel lighter. I know the calendar is a social construct but something about not having a 0 at the end of the year anymore is super nice.

One good thing that did result from this past year though, is that I read way more than I’ve ever read before in a single year.

In 2020, I read 171 books.

Goodreads overview:

Ps: If you’d like to add me on Goodreads, do it!

Reading Goals:

These goals were originally posted on January 2nd, 2020.

  • Read 50 books (later amended to 100) – Success. I read 171.
  • Maintain a consistent posting schedule – Success. I was kinda iffy in January, but throughout the rest of the year, I posted at least three times per week, every week.
  • Keep track of reading statistic – Success. They will be below.
  • Reduce physical TBR to 200 – Success. There is a caveat to this one. I ended up amending this to ‘reduce physical fictional TBR to 200′ because nonfiction is a different thing and I don’t feel like coffee table books and whatnot should be held against me. So it’s basically novels. Manga is also its own list, this is just books. But yes, I hit 200 on the 26th of December!

Look at that! I did all four goals! I don’t think I’ve ever done that before to be honest.

Reading Statistics

So just like last year, I kept track of my reading stats in a spreadsheet and made some charts!

So the beginning of lockdown definitely showed my best reading. I read almost 40 things during April! My lowest reading month was November, which makes sense since I was doing Nanowrimo.

  • 161 books were read for the first time
  • 7 were rereads
  • 3 were DNFs
  • 99 of the books read were purchased in 2020 (mostly manga, tbh)
  • 1 was a gift
  • 34 were on my shelf from a previous year
  • 37 were borrowed either via library or service
  • 115 were manga
  • 11 were hardback
  • 14 were trade paperback
  • 2 were mass market paperback
  • 12 were ebooks
  • 14 were audiobooks
  • 2 were graphic novels
  • 1 was a picture book

Out of the novels:

  • 27 were adult
  • 12 were YA
  • 1 was middle grade
  • 1 was a kid’s book
  • 3 were new adult

Out of the manga:

  • 46 were rated T (Teen)
  • 68 were rated OT (Older teen)
  • 13 were rated M (Mature)

Author info:

  • 140 were female
  • 29 were male
  • 1 was unknown
  • 1 was two authors
  • 123 authors were from Japan
  • 35 were from the US
  • 5 were from the UK
  • 4 were from South Korea
  • 2 were from New Zealand
  • 1 was from France
  • 1 was from Ukraine


  • 28 had no diversity
  • 50 contained a combination of diverse types
  • 6 were LGBT+ diverse
  • 81 were racially diverse
  • 6 had diverse authors


  • 2 were under 100 pages
  • 84 were between 100-199 pages
  • 45 were between 200-299 pages
  • 19 between 300-399 pages
  • 11 between 400-499 pages
  • 4 between 500-599 pages
  • 2 between 700-799 pages
  • 1 between 800-899 pages
  • 1 between 900-999 pages
  • 2 were over 1000 pages

Publication year:

  • 3 were published during the 1920s or earlier
  • 1 in the 40s
  • 3 in the 70s
  • 42 in the 2000s
  • 13 in 2010
  • 9 in 2011
  • 7 in 2012
  • 5 in 2013
  • 7 in 2014
  • 13 in 2015
  • 13 in 2016
  • 16 in 2017
  • 10 in 2018
  • 23 in 2019
  • 6 in 2020


Finally, the ratings! It’s a bell-ish curve? I guess?

  • 3 were 1 star (the DNFs)
  • 2 were 2 stars
  • 2 were 2.5 stars
  • 1 was 2.75 stars
  • 11 were 3 stars
  • 36 were 3.5 stars
  • 18 were 3.75 stars
  • 54 were 4 stars
  • 5 were 4.25 stars
  • 24 were 4.5 stars
  • 1 was 4.75 stars
  • 14 were 5 stars!

It’s been a while since I had this many five star books, I’m pretty excited about it! I’ll go over them in more detail later in the week during my top books of the year post!


And that is it. A year’s worth of books and now I need a nap I think. Here’s hoping 2021 is bright and shining and hopeful and full of good books.

Happy reading.

Book Review: Wonders of the Invisible World by Christopher Barzak

Wonders of the Invisible WorldWonders of the Invisible World by Christopher Barzak

352 pages
YA, Magical realism, LGBT
Read 9-29 to 10-11

Wonders of the Invisible World was recommended to me by a friend, who said she read it in one sitting and absolutely loved it. I took the rec knowing her particular suggestions to me are usually either hit or miss. I either love them to bits or can’t even finish them. This is the first time I think I’ve read a book recommended by her where it landed somewhere in the middle.

This book is set in modern day and follows a teenage boy who feels he has no idea who he is or what his life is about. He walks around in a fog, wondering when his life left him in the dust. When a friend from his childhood reappears, it triggers a series of events that slowly reveal that his life was actually as distant and detached as he thought it was, and that someone was making it that way on purpose. I’ll stop the synopsis there, only saying in addition that this book has both magical realism and LGBT themes, which is a combination I personally haven’t read before.

First and foremost, I feel like this book tried to be a mystery and couldn’t quite get there. There were a couple twists that I predicted early on and when they happened exactly how I thought they would, it was a bit of a yawn. This book didn’t surprise me at all, despite the supernatural elements mentioned that could have been used to do so. The characters as well I felt were a bit lacking. The main character Aiden, that one who’s always complaining about not knowing who he is or what his personality is, really conveyed that. I had no clue what this kid’s personality was. He was pretty damn flat. So… is that good characterization because he knew he was flat or was it bad? Haven’t the foggiest, but as a result I couldn’t relate or sympathize to him very well, which was probably a contributing factor why the twists did nothing for me.

The plot itself was interesting if a bit slow-moving. This was probably my favorite part of the book, regardless of the untwisty twists. Aiden’s memory and personality are in a fog and he starts hearing and seeing things that no one else can. The tree in his back yard starts speaking to him, he witnesses his great grandfather fighting in WW2, and all of it connects to why he’s such a bore, I mean why he’s so confused with himself. As the plot unraveled, I did start to feel something for the characters. Not the main characters, but his mother and his romantic interest. Both of them stood out to me more than Aiden did unfortunately. I ended up really disliking one and liking the other but at least I felt something towards them.

The thing I think this book handled the best was the romance. It wasn’t really.. romantic, I guess, but it felt real, natural. In every LGBT book I’ve read, there’s always some big confrontation before the characters relationship can get started: some realization, some fight with family, something that says ‘this is out of the norm and this book is gonna milk it’. But this book, the relationship just kinda… happened. There wasn’t any fighting from parents, there wasn’t any disowning, there wasn’t any ideological monologue as the main character realized he had feelings for another man… he just accepted it and rolled with it, as did his boyfriend and his family. It was a nice to see an LGBT relationship not put on a pedestal or highlighted as different or bad – it just popped in there like any other relationship would and both characters actually handled it in a mature manner (gasp, no drama!)

So overall, with the pros and cons mentioned above, I liked this book. Didn’t love it, but liked it well enough. So it gets a decent rating from me.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Happy reading. :”D

Book Review: A Feast For Crows by George R. R. Martin

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4)A Feast For Crows by George R. R. Martin
A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4

Listened June 1st – 20th, 2016
30-something hours long

Where do I even start with this book. Reading it, I had so many different thoughts and feelings that I began writing them all down so I wouldn’t forget anything… and likely, I’ll still forget some things.

Let’s just say overall I liked it and I feel it was a good addition to the story arc, but man did I have some issues with it. As I’ve stated in my June wrap-up, this book knocked me out of the blind-love I had for this series. Don’t get me wrong – I still very, very much enjoy it, but this book highlighted some things that I didn’t find particularly amusing.

And before I go any further: This review will be mildly spoilerific. I won’t mention any deaths specifically, but I will mention elements of scenes in passing. So if you want to be blind about this one, back out now. If you don’t mind a bit of non-necessary detail, dive on in.

 The first notable thing about this book is the huge expansion of characters and locations. Some of the chapter titles were things like ‘The Queenmaker’, making it impossible to know who was being talked about until the chapter actually began. Many times, these oddly named chapters were new characters altogether. It gave an air of excitement to reading the thing – you’d never know where in this world you’ve find yourself. I really enjoyed the massive expansion and the world building. More motivations, more intrigue. This book series is amazingly detailed, and I love it. I always appreciated the family lists that were in the back of the book, but this time they became essential. So. Many. People. Wanting so many different things. I feel like when all these separate motivations finally come together, this book series is going to blow me out of the water.

Another thing I want to mention has to do with the general attitude people get when reading this book. Looking into other reviews, there seems to be a bit of an argument going on. To preface, for those who don’t know, the time line of this book takes place simultaneously as the time line in the fifth book. This book focuses on one set of characters while the other another set. A lot of people I’ve seen have issues with the particular set of characters focused on in this book. So you have one side, ripping into the book for not having their favorite characters, and you have another side, ripping into the first side for complaining. And then you have another side, ripping into both other sides for whoever knows what reason.

So it really depends on where you fall into the spectrum how much you will enjoy this book. Personally, I enjoyed it. It definitely was a bit slow – all the focus characters, save a few, were those involved in the politics of the land. So if you don’t like political intrigue, there’s a reason you might find this book lacking. What this book did have though was character development. Characters that I was luke warm towards before have become my favorites – namely Jaime and Brienne. Both of them, I love. And Cersei… well, I still dislike Cersei, but I can see her motivations and her feelings now that chapters have been written from her point of view. It makes her feel more real instead of just this antagonistic force.

One small issue I had with this book were the off-scene deaths. People were mentioned in passing and the characters were like ‘Oh, we had news so and so is dead now’ but it would be one of the characters not mentioned in this book so we wouldn’t see it happen. My biff with this is small, solely for one reason: I know about the book five timeline. Book five was clearly out before I read this one, so I know that (hopefully) I’ll read from these characters’ POVs and get my questions answered as to whether or not they truly died. I feel like if I was reading this book right as it had come out, before book five, before knowing about this timeline stuff, that I would be rather sore about it. I don’t know – maybe I’m being silly, but it left a foul taste in my mouth.

And finally, the main issue with this book was also something I really liked – the characterization. As said, the character development was wonderful, but on the other hand, it was grating. I’ve mentioned before the love/hate relationship I have with how George R. R. Martin writes women. On the one hand, I love how different each one is, each with their own goals and motivations and personalities. And my favorite part: Not all of them are strong. I know that’s probably a weird thing to be happy about, but it makes them all realistic. I’m not saying they’re flat characters – not at all – but not all of them have nerves of steel or can kick ass. Some of them are weak, and that’s a good thing. Not all people are strong, so it would be weird to write them that way.

On the other hand, the issue I have with the female characters in this book ties in to the book’s tone over all. This book, while full of wonderful women and terrible women, is still clearly written from a male perspective. Now, I know that George R. R. Martin is in fact a man, so I guess it’s expected, but it still struck me how male the women were. Case in point: When a new female character was introduced, even when in a chapter told from another straight female character’s POV, that woman’s chest size was mentioned in the initial description of that character. I could understand a mention if the chapter was a straight man’s or a gay woman’s POV, but the women who noticed how big other women’s boobs were had been established as heterosexual. And sure, a passing glance would be fine – I’ve noticed women’s chests upon meeting them but it’s never more than that – a notice. I don’t focus, I don’t wonder. But they seemed to focus on them for just a bit too long, making me feel like there was another looking instead. It made me feel like the tone of this book said now how matter how weak or strong or in the middle this woman was, all the mattered was how big her chest was, because it was mentioned every time. I mean if it’s a sex scene – sure, describe some boobs. Boob yourself to death for all I care. But if you’re in the middle of a counsel meeting or whatever, is that detail relevant? Especially coming from someone who (in theory) wouldn’t focus on it anyways?

Maybe I’m alone in this, who knows. But it irritated me, mostly because it was so one-sided. Did I get to read about man butt? Man forearms? Man peen? No. Wasn’t relevant, wasn’t mentioned. But boobs are relevant all the time, apparently. So like I said: I have a huge love/hate relationship with how the women are characterized in this book.

Sigh. Enough of that.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but I can understand why people have had issues with it. I still highly enjoy this series, but I’m seriously getting tired of reading about boobs. Gonna read  the next one, hopefully will love it. Wish me luck.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Book Review: Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey

Leviathan Wakes (Expanse, #1)Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey

Read January 21, 2016 – May 2, 2016
Pages: 561
Genre: Science fiction

Leviathan Wakes is a space opera set after human kind has made it out among the planets of our solar system, but not past them. It primarily follows two characters, both with very different perspectives on the same morals.

There’s Miller, a cop from the asteroid belt obsessed with a missing persons case, and Holden, an ice miner from Earth that finds a ship he was not supposed to.

And I must say, that I loved this book so, so, so much.

Usually, the possibility of me loving a book happens towards the end of it and solidifies if the ending is what I hoped it would be. But with this one, I was smitten 80 pages in. There was just something about it – the world building, the characters, the writing, the intermittent horror and shock elements mixed into the scifi setting. All of it just blended together so well and caught me hook, line and sinker.

The story opens on the two characters – Miller as stated is given an assignment to track down a missing woman who ran away from home to find adventure among the stars, and Holden, in the middle of a mining mission when he finds himself in a compromising situation that catalyzes the entire story. Their paths slowly come together, their two seemingly unrelated situations being anything but. Conspiracy, action, horror, and even touches of noir all effected the tone of this book and it was intoxicating.

The book was full of cliffhangers and jaw-droppers and I found myself yelling at the damn thing many times. You know those books where something happens in them and you just have to close it and take a minute to catch your breath or come to terms with the latest string of events? Well, this book did that for me more times than I could count.

I think one of my favorite things about this book is the time setting. You either read books about humans solely on Earth or humans after they’ve spread out amongst the stars. You never early about the early stages – where we’ve achieved space travel but haven’t left the solar system yet. It was unique read as it didn’t feel like it took place thousands of years from now. Hundreds, maybe. Enough time for outer-planet dialects to develop, for humans to disperse to Mars, to the belt, and each area develop their own society, all held together by the fragile bond of shared humanity. It was a fascinating dynamic and it left me wanting more.

I finished this book and was tempted to change out of my pjs at 8pm and go out the to bookstore and be ‘that person’ showing up five minutes before close just so I could buy the second one. I need it, I tell you.

I haven’t yet – I managed to convince myself to write this first, and there’s a Pens game on… but I might still bite the bullet and go. Forty minutes and counting until the bookstore closes. Woot.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

Book Review: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Read Jan 29 – Mar 28
434 pages

Going into this book, I expected a semi-generic YA fantasy, but that was okay since that’s what I was in the mood for. The first thing I realized that this is not YA, not by a long shot. The second thing I realized was that this main character was going to make or break this story for me.

So yes, this is definitely an adult fantasy. I didn’t know this going into it, and honestly I didn’t realize it wasn’t YA for a good hundred pages or so until a particular scene happened and my eyebrows shot up and disappeared into my hairline. It reads just like one though, which is nice – I tend to like the pacing of YA novels. But holy cow, some of the content of this book. Sex, violence, drug use. I was not expecting it at all. So once I realized that this was a fantasy book with more mature themes, I quickly adjusted and found myself rather enjoying it.

The world this book is set in is really, really cool. It’s in a regressed society on Earth where a new continent has popped out of the ocean. The book takes places hundreds of years after this emergence and the Great Crossing, the time where the Americas and several other countries crossed over and came to settle it. There are hints throughout the book that the rest of the world is no longer functioning or at least is out of contact, and I feel like this might be explored more in the future – I sure hope it is, at least. And to top it off, there appears to be a magic element present on this continent that didn’t exist on the rest of the planet, giving the world an added layer of depth and the genre of ‘fantasy’ instead of just a regressed society novel.

I think one of my favorite parts of the setting were the books. The main character is a bit of a book lover and since The Crossing, there are only a limited number of books existing still. “The volumes of Rowling” were mentioned. It was great. xD

The plot I found good but slightly cliched. It’s about a girl who was hidden away but is the true queen of her kingdom. So typical ‘from rags to power’ trope and ‘suddenly I command an army’ trope. While I feel like I’ve read the plot before, it didn’t detract much from my enjoyment of the thing. I just hope it breaks away from the mold a bit in the next novel. The writing helped this storyline a lot. During the violent scenes, it was gritty. During the action scenes, it was heart-racing. The author can definitely write to her scene, it was great.

The only issue I had with this book was the main character. I didn’t dislike her – not by a long shot, but sometimes I felt she was a little unbelievable, if that makes sense. She was raised in the woods with only two other people to socialize with for years, yet she seems to be perfectly normal. Nothing seems to be off. Like, if you’re raised in seclusion like that, you would definitely be missing some social skills, let alone world views. The author mentioned that she read a lot and seemed to imply that somehow that made up for not going through social situations like any human would, but I found it hard to buy. That, and she seemed to be arrogant at times and then was applauded for it. That though is just my personal tastes – I tend not to care for arrogant characters. She kept it mostly in check though, so it didn’t bother me too much. But yeah, dem social skillz, man. She’s better adjusted than I am for goodness sake.

Overall, this was a really good read and the writing was rather gripping. I’m eagerly awaiting the second book in the series and will hopefully devour it just as avidly as I did the first one.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Book Review: Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Life As We Knew It (Last Survivors, #1)Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Read Feb 25, 2016 – Mar 8, 2016
Genre: YA Post-Apocalyptic
Pages: 337

Synopsis from the back of the book:
“When a meteor hits the moon and knocks it closer in orbit to the Earth, nothing will ever be the same. Worldwide tidal waves. Earthquakes. Volcanic eruptions. And that’s just the beginning.”

I have very mixed feelings about this book. Going into it, the premise really lured me in. When I think ‘post apocalyptic book’, I think ‘after’, not ‘as it’s happening’, so it was nice to read a story that started during a normal time, if that makes sense.

In that way at least, I enjoyed this book. The premise as stated was really cool (and horrifying) and the things that the family did to survive in this book got me thinking about where I’d go if that same thing happened during my lifetime, and I have to say that I feel like I’ll end up as one of those people that dies right away. But anyways.

This book is written in the form of diary entries by a sixteen year old girl. And it definitely feels like it. The writing is on the level of a 16 year old, which normally would have bothered me, but I attributed it to fitting the character. The character, while she tried, was really irritating at times, which detracted from my liking of the book. She was selfish to the point where she would get angry about losing ‘personal space’ so her family could stay warm in the winter. I rolled my eyes a few different times while reading from her perspective. The other characters in the book, even her younger brother, seemed to be developing at a better pace, adjusting better to the situation, but not Miranda. That scene I mentioned where she got angry, that happened within the last hundred pages of the book.

There were two other major detractors about this book. One is the plot twists. Everything that happened either the characters knew about ahead of time and were still caught off guard by when they occurred, or the instances were totally predictable. I feel like the author used a couple of these incidents as a plot device to make things harder on the family in the book. I mean, one person managed to injure themselves in the same way twice, resulting in the same strife for the rest of the family each time. You’d think there’d be a bit more creativity there.

The other major detractor was something that kind of caught me off guard. Back a while ago, a friend noticed I was reading this book and said “What, no, don’t read that, it’s awful” and now I see why she thought so. I feel like the author put her opinions into the book for no other reason than to have them in there. The main character is rather anti-religious and it’s mentioned quite a lot towards the beginning of the book. That on its own is fine – I’m not going to judge what a person (or character) chooses to believe or not believe. But I feel like the author is anti-religious to the point where she put this theme in her book just so she could bash religion and those who practice it. Case in point, one of Miranda’s friends is very religious and this friend (and her pastor) are portrayed in such a negative light that it was cringeworthy to read. I mean sure, there are bad eggs in every religion, but the way this was written, there was not a single character that didn’t represent the ‘crazy’ side of religion and overall the book said ‘Having a religious faith when the world is coming to an end is awful, why would anyone do that’. I mean really. Religious or not, one has to acknowledge religion’s importance in the world. It gives people comfort and you know, the majority of religious people are good, kind-hearted individuals (no matter what the media wants you to believe). But apparently not in this book.

So yes. It really put me off. The general messages of this book I think were not good. The plot was neat, the moral character was not. Though in the main character’s defense, she did become more tolerable towards the end. Maybe just enough to make me want to read the second book, but I’m still undecided on that. I won’t buy it, that’s for sure. I might get it from the library or something. But buh. This book. It had so much promise, but the ‘this is what you should feel, this other way is crazy’ messages it sent were so juvenile.

Here’s to hoping the author recognizes that she’s being completely biased in her future books, but we’ll see what happens.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

The Night Circus is more than a book, it’s an experience. As the author unravels a tale that sweeps you away, you find your heart yearning to walk through the tents, to witness the feats within. This book is alluring in a sense that when you finish reading it, you feel separated, part of you still trapped within its pages.

I finished this book five minutes ago, and I’m already fighting the temptation to pick it up again and reread it. This book enchanted me. And while you won’t find any grand adventure or daring rescue within its pages, it will still pull you in, encircling you until you can smell the caramel apples, feel the warmth of the bonfire, feel your heartstrings tighten when you read about a performance as if you were sitting in the crowd witnessing it instead.

This book is the atmosphere it creates. It lets you get away from your worries and jump into a world that hides just behind a curtain. Magic and illusion become indistinguishable and a lot of the time you find yourself wondering which is which.

From the mysterious midnight dinners where the guests invited are treated to course after course of unidentified but always somehow magnificent food to the bonfire that seems to keep anyone from aging and the two magicians the book is about themselves, each element of this book is intricately woven together to create a story that you find yourself entranced by. The characters interact and intermix with each other in a way that solidifies them in their places. Each character plays a bigger part in the story than you realize and as each intention and action is slowly revealed, the seemingly random events that happen throughout the book become far less so.

The Night Circus is a book that I believe I will be thinking about for a long time. I feel like it’s one of those books that when you read it, you think, Well now there’s something different. I highly enjoyed this book and the atmosphere it created. I enjoyed being sucked into the circus and feeling my heart dance around in my chest as the story and its characters progressed. I think my favorite part about it was just a small detail: The midnight dinners. They just sound so… magical. They make me want to host my own (and when I get a larger apartment with actual sitting space, I may well do just that).

Overall, this book was a joy, and I highly, highly recommend it.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars


Book Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer, #1)Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Read Oct 21 – Oct 26, 2015
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Magical Realism
431 pages

Walk on Earth a Stranger is a young adult historical fiction set during the California Gold Rush of the 1800s. It follows the main character Leah, who through a set of circumstances finds herself traversing the barely-settled United States, running from a  murderous uncle who has ‘plans’ for her. The group of travelers she finds herself with are all after the same thing – gold. Leah though has an advantage – she can sense the gold in the ground, in someone’s pockets, or hidden away in a wagon. She can feel it like we feel a tickle on our skin or a cough building in the back of our throats.

This book is by the author who wrote the Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, which I really liked. And this book is no different. It’s a strong opening for what I’m hoping will be an even better trilogy than her first. The main character grew on me immediately. She reminds me of the main character from Carson’s first trilogy, but there are differences that set them apart for sure. I feel that Carson just writes really good, strong female characters. Well developed and well rounded.

Another thing I liked about this book is the relations between then the different women in the cast and the subtle ‘well I’m not gonna listen to traditional gender roles’-ness about it all. I really like it. I mean, they fit the roles for the time period but at the same time you can see them striving for more. It was a refreshing read. The women, even when obviously interested in the same person, were kind and caring towards each other. No ‘cattiness’ or whatever you want to call it that’s so stereotypical. I’m noticing that in Carson’s books in general – a lot of positive female friendships. I love it. :”D Another point – I know people are sticking the label ‘romance’ in there, and there can be hints of a love triangle at times, but like I mentioned earlier, all the drama that usually comes with one was absent in this book. And the romance I feel is gonna turn into one of those oh-so-delicious slow-burning ones that by the end of book two or three I’ll be screaming ‘JUST KISS ALREADY’. I can see it there, it’s definitely there, but I feel like Carson’s gonna toy with our emotions for a bit before doing anything with it. So don’t mind me, I’ll be over here agonizing.

And finally, the historical setting and surroundings, from what I can tell seems accurate. I am by no means a historian, but the setting felt authentic, the situations the characters found themselves in felt real. I was totally engrossed by this book. I like historical fiction but don’t pick it up too much. I’m glad I did so with this one. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I read it as a library copy, but now I want my own. Gimme. And book two, hurry up and get here please.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Book Review: The Fold by Peter Clines

The FoldThe Fold by Peter Clines

Genre: Sci-fi, Thriller
Pages: 384
Published: 2015


The Fold to me is one of those books that you come across a few times in your life that catch you completely off guard. I had no idea this book existed, I had never seen anyone talk about it. I initially saw it on the ‘new releases’ shelf in a tiny sea-side bookstore when I was on vacation this past summer, and it stayed in my head for three months until I finally bought it.

My initial attraction to this book was the cover. Just look at it, it’s beautiful. And when I was oogling it in the bookstore, I felt the cover too. It’s textured. The fold on the cover, you can feel it. After I finished running my hands over the thing, I read the back of it and it drew me right in:

This book is about a man, Mike, who possesses a photographic memory. He’s asked by a friend to assess a secretive project called ‘The Albuquerque Door’, which uses a computer equation to ‘fold’ dimensions, creating a worm hole from one entrance to another. During this assessment, Mike starts to suspect there is more to the door than what sits in front of him, and that it may be more sinister than anyone thought possible. (Here is the full synopsis)

The thing that stuck out to me repeatedly while reading this book was that it felt like a Dan Brown novel (not saying this as a bad thing!). The main character I feel could have come right out of the guy’s head. The pacing is strikingly familiar as well. I feel that if Dan Brown had chosen to write a futuristic sci-fi instead of about the illuminati, he probably could have created this masterpiece.

And that’s just what it is: A masterpiece. I loved this book. Peter Clines did a spectacular job creating a story that drew me in and kept me there. (and while I said his writing reminded me of Dan Brown… honestly I think Cline’s is a little better, a little more gripping) The main character, while he took me a while to warm to, developed into a decent guy, despite being self-described as a Severus Snape doppleganger. That was another thing I enjoyed about this one – there were nerdy pop culture references dotted throughout the thing – Bugs Bunny, Star Trek, Stargate, Harry Potter, A Game of Thrones.. they were everywhere, but not so prominent that it distracted from the story line.

The Albuquerque Door itself was so interesting. As the story develops, you get to see it more and more in action, and each time it grows more sinister and it had me growing more uneasy every time someone stepped through it. The theory behind the door is fascinating as well, especially when the door’s origins slowly start revealing themselves. There wasn’t really an aspect about this book that I disliked.

My absolute favorite part about this book was the pacing. It was just perfect. It started out slow, but stayed interesting, as the reader is introduced to the characters and the setting. And then as soon as you start wondering when something’s gonna happen, BOOM. You turn the page, read the next sentence, and your jaw drops. You throw the book across the room, yelling ‘WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT’ and then you go get it and re-read the sentence to make sure you read it correctly.

And then, you don’t stop reading for the rest of the book. It just keeps coming – over and over, something happens that throws your ‘just one more chapter’ promise out the window. You stay up all night reading this thing. Your eyes bug out, your palms sweat, you forget to eat. Hell, I even had a dream about it when I forced myself to go to bed. This book gripped me by the heart, and I loved it.

I agonized over this book. I took it to class with me, I took it to work, I camped out in the living room late into the night, just reading it. This book became my life for three days. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, couldn’t focus on anything else. I loved the experience of reading this book as much as I loved this book.

And to think, the only reason I read it was because it had a pretty cover and was sitting in the front of a little shop on a boardwalk as I happened to by walking by.

Go read this. I’m going to be thinking about it for a long time, and it’s definitely become one of my favorite books. Buh, I want to reread it already!

Rating: 5/5 stars
Holy moly

Book Review: Rook by Sharon Cameron

RookRook by Sharon Cameron

This review may be mildly spoilery. I don’t talk about events directly, but I allude to them and state why I liked or disliked them. So if you like going into books completely blind, don’t read this first. You’ve been warned.

I don’t know how I feel about this book. I love it, but at the same time I have a lot of problems with it. I feel like I’m going to obsess about it for a very long time but every time I do, I’ll say “this is so great but ugh, that part.” I’m honestly uncertain how to rate it. Hopefully by the end of the review I’ll have a better idea, haha.

So Rook is a book that is set in Paris, 800 years after The Great Death, which is when humanity got so caught up in their technological advances that they became completely dependent, and when technology failed, humanity did as well. There are a few things alluded to that caused this technological failure but it’s never fully explained. So the technology is the book is limited, either destroyed by time or outlawed in fear of repeating history. This gives the setting an almost Victorian-like feel to it. Fluffy dresses, messed up social roles, horse and buggies.

One thing I really loved about this book was how many thought experiments it sparked for me. The characters collect and unearth scraps of humanity 800 years prior throughout this book. A water bottle, a nintendo controller, CDs… and they have no idea what any of these things are or what they were used for. I often thought about one of these characters popping into our present day, espeically those who illegally tried to piece together humanity’s history, and being amazed by everything around them from cars to indoor plumbing. And the cool part of it would be they’d be amazed not because humans had never had it before, but because they had and has lost it. I feel that in itself could be a spin-off. Hint hint, Ms Cameron.

Another thing I loved was the detail that was put into the world. The detail of the social roles and inequalities, the gritty feeling you got when the characters were in Paris, now dubbed The Sunken City or The City of Light, depending on who in the book was talking about it. I fell in love with Paris 800 years from now and while I hope humanity doesn’t turn the way it did in this book, I still kinda long for that Paris to happen. I want to experience it. Ignore that I’ll be long dead by then, shh.

But as much as I loved this book’s setting and all the brain activity that came with it, there were a few major things that when I read them, it made me roll my eyes or sigh or huff or so on and so forth. First off is the characters. The characters were kind of likable I suppose, but I didn’t really connect with any of them. So as well as the world was thought out, I feel the characters took a back seat in the development department. I mean I didn’t actively dislike them or anything, but I didn’t feel anything at all so… I suppose not actively disliking them is a good thing?

And then there was the romance. It felt kinda ‘oh by the way, here’s this’. I feel like the author wanted to write a romance story but caught up in the world and only remembered she wanted the romance to happen at the last moment so it kind of all felt really rushed. There was an awkward love triangle thing that while the main character was really good at not being all “Oh, who should I choose!” and chose pretty damn quickly, the whole thing I feel was used as a plot device. Like, I feel that it was in there purely to have the ‘other guy’ do something else later in the book that he wouldn’t have done if this weird thing with the main character wouldn’t have happened. (and that other thing which I will not mention felt like such an unnecessary thing. I mean really)

And the final thing I didn’t like about the book was how grief was handled. I feel like this ties into ‘I didn’t feel for the main characters’ and that’s because that when a death occurred, nobody seemed to be actually mourning for the person. I mean, I can understand if you’re in the middle of an epic battle and don’t have time, but none of that was happening during what I’m talking about. It was like ‘oh, this person died, gonna have a funeral’ and nobody cried or anything. The characters felt cardboard.

And you know the worst part? A lot of the stuff I didn’t like about this book didn’t occur until near the end, so I was highly, highly enjoying it until suddenly it all came crashing down. I was totally prepared to give it five stars, but I can’t do it anymore. What I really want is for the author to make another book set in this universe, but scrap all the characters and start fresh. I would love a spin-off. Gimme a spin-off. Gimme.


Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Swing and a miss