Happy February! January was a busy month for me, but surprisingly, I ended up getting a decent amount of reading done! So I’m just gonna start yappin’ about it:
Comfort Me With Apples was my first read of the year, a 10 in 2020 book, and a new favorite. I picked this book up at BN’s half price hard cover sale and was drawn to read it immediately.
I don’t want to say what it’s about – honestly don’t even read the synopsis. Go in blind.
But I loved this novella. It was so unsettling and I still think about it a month later. – 5 stars
Shorefall was a buddy read I finished up with month with Meredith @Allboutthembooks and stuff. We read Foundryside together in early 2021 and both loved it, and then we both loved this one as well! It really expanded on the lore, and the villain is one of my favorite I’ve come across. The third one comes out this summer and I am p u m p e d about it! – 5 stars
So, Lonesome Dove was recommended to me by my mother as part of the 12 Friend Recommendations book challenge I’m doing this year. I decided to pick it up first, as it was the most daunting. I didn’t expect I would like it, but hey, I’ll eat my words. I really, really liked this book.
This book broke my heart, and I’m going to think about it for a long time. I grew to really like all the characters, even the characters that I hated, and they all pulled on my heartstrings by the end of it.
This just goes to show that I shouldn’t judge a book by its genre. – 4 stars
I picked up Dave Grohl’s memoir on audio book after randomly seeing it displayed on a table in my local BN. I didn’t even know he had put out a book until I saw it. So I got a physical copy for my mom for Christmas and I picked up the audio for me and listened to it.
Dave Grohl is the lead singer of the Foo Fighters, one of my favorite bands, so it was neat to hear his stories, especially because he narrated it himself. I liked it! – 4 stars
I read the entire series of A Silent Voice this month, all seven volumes! I watched the movie of this anime last year and really liked it, and after I received the box set of the manga for Christmas, I buzzed right through it.
I really enjoyed this manga. It was happy and sad and wholesome and sorrowful. It was lovely. – 4.2 stars averaged
So overall I read 11 things – 7 manga and 4 books! Doing good so far! Here’s what else I was up to:
Happy Saturday! Today is my monthly book haul post, and I’m putting myself on a buying ban!
The buying ban:
Exception to the ban: books for buddy reads. I can still get those
No new (or used) purchases otherwise until the ban is over
The ban will last through the end of April at least, maybe longer
I’m really hoping to get my physical tbr down during this time, but I do have a few buddy reads planned out, some of which I don’t own the book for yet. So I will still have monthly hauls, but they’ll just be much smaller and all will be for planned buddy reads. Wish me luck. I do a few month long ban every year, and every year I’ve been successful. I don’t see this year being any different.
Well hi! It’s the last day of Blogmas and my favorite post of the year. My favorite books! I’ll also look back on my 2021 reading resolutions and check out some Goodreads stats.
Read 100 books – I set this goal pre-pregnancy. Well, that threw a wrench in things. I ended up adjusting the goal down to 80, which I’ve hit. So I’ll count this as a Success.
Reduce physical fiction tbr to 185 – I definitely hit this one. The purge really took a chunk out of it. My current physical TBR (not including Christmas presents) is 147. Success.
Reduce manga tbr to 50 – While I did read a lot of manga this year, not enough apparently. My current manga tbr is 139. Failure.
Maintain blog schedule – Lol. Failure
Finish my 10 in 2021 list – I was making good progress in this until the Great Reading Slump™. I managed to complete 5 out of 10. Failure.
So overall not great but considering I had a baby this year and fell into a huge reading slump, it could have been worse.
Top books of 2021:
These are all the new reads I rated 5 stars this year. They are in no particular order.
I buddy read Foundryside with Meredith @Allboutthembooksandstuff and both of us adored it. The tone is light and funny and serious and gritty at the same time. The characters are well developed and likeable, and the plot was well-paced and interesting.
Sancia Grado is a thief, and a damn good one. And her latest target, a heavily guarded warehouse on Tevanne’s docks, is nothing her unique abilities can’t handle. But unbeknownst to her, Sancia’s been sent to steal an artifact of unimaginable power, an object that could revolutionize the magical technology known as scriving. The Merchant Houses who control this magic–the art of using coded commands to imbue everyday objects with sentience–have already used it to transform Tevanne into a vast, remorseless capitalist machine. But if they can unlock the artifact’s secrets, they will rewrite the world itself to suit their aims. Now someone in those Houses wants Sancia dead, and the artifact for themselves. And in the city of Tevanne, there’s nobody with the power to stop them. To have a chance at surviving–and at stopping the deadly transformation that’s under way–Sancia will have to marshal unlikely allies, learn to harness the artifact’s power for herself, and undergo her own transformation, one that will turn her into something she could never have imagined.
The Fifth Seasonwas another buddy read, read with a friend irl. I ended up reading the entire trilogy this year but this first book was my favorite of the three. It was such a unique world and the characters, while not “likeable” persay, were interesting and I felt for them. The plot was also super neat.
This is the way the world ends. Again. Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries. Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.
The illustrated story of a lonely alien sent to observe Earth, where he meets all sorts of creatures with all sorts of perspectives on life, love, and happiness, while learning to feel a little better about himself—based on the enormously popular Twitter account. Here is the unforgettable story of Jomny, an alien sent to study Earth. Always feeling apart, even among his species, Jomny feels at home for the first time among the earthlings he meets. There is a bear tired of other creatures running in fear, an egg struggling to decide what to hatch into, a turtle hiding itself by learning camouflage, a puppy struggling to express its true feelings, and many more.
I stepped a bit outside my usual genres and picked up a thriller, The Turn of the Key, and I loved it. It was eerie and isolating and exactly what I was hoping for.
When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family. What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder. Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.
And finally, I read All the Murmuring Bones and was reminded of the whimsy of a Miyazaki movie, but darker. Gothic. The tone of this book is its best point. It’s so enthralling and it was wonderful.
Long ago Miren O’Malley’s family prospered due to a deal struck with the Mer: safety for their ships in return for a child of each generation. But for many years the family have been unable to keep their side of the bargain and have fallen into decline. Miren’s grandmother is determined to restore their glory, even at the price of Miren’s freedom. A spellbinding tale of dark family secrets, magic and witches, and creatures of myth and the sea; of strong women and the men who seek to control them.
And this is it. The end of Blogmas. I hope if you visited a post or two this month that you enjoyed them. If you visited more, I appreciate it. I do have another post coming out tomorrow, but it’s going to be the start of my “normal” posting schedule.
Blogging every day this month has reminded me why I made the blog in the first place. I had a lot of fun! I’m going to try to maintain it again, get back into it. I’m hoping it’ll also inspire me to read more, because I gotta tell ya, what little down time I get while the baby is sleeping, my brain tends to just want to scroll on tiktok. Reading is better for me though (and I enjoy it when I do it!) so wish me luck on that too.
So again if you’ve stuck around for the month, I do appreciate it. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas if you celebrate, a wonderful month otherwise, and a Happy New Year!
It has occurred to me that I usually make custom banners and stuff for spoopy season and I did none of that this year. My life is a bit full at the moment. I’m to be induced this coming Monday so honestly it’s going to get fuller. I want to try to do Blogmas again this year though, so I’m hoping that’ll work out and get me back into the swing of blogging. We shall see.
This is what I read this month:
The Two Towersby J. R. R. Tolkien – I liked this one more than the first one but honestly I found that I’m not a huge fan of these books and it’s a shame. I love the movies and I wanted to love these things and I just don’t. 3 stars
The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien – This one… was worse than the second. It was worse than the first. I didn’t care for this book at all and I’m so salty about it honestly. But hey, now I’ve read the whole trilogy and can say as much. Maaaaan. 2 stars
From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout – This was my first Armentrout book and I ended up really liking it. Now, I admit it’s not like… a modern classic or anything like that, but it was fun, fast-paced and entertaining. It was like riding a rollercoaster and I was highly entertained. I will be picking up the next one. 4 stars
And that’s it! By next post, there will be a baby amongst us. Wish me luck folks.
Blood of Elves by Andrej Sapkowski – Unfortunately, me thinking I’d like the novels in this series more than the short stories turned out to be false. I ended up actually DNFing this one. This is not a series for me, at least in this medium. I do enjoy the TV show. I won’t be continuing this book series.
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien – As a fantasy fan, it’s a bit embarrassing that I haven’t read these sooner. And honestly it’s a bit more embarrassing to read the first one and firmly state that I like the movie better, because I do. This book was alright. I am in the middle of the second one now which I’m liking better but like.. I don’t know, the hype kind of failed me here. 3 stars
The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin – I finally finished this trilogy, and I really enjoyed this ending. It was a bit happy and a bit sad but mostly just gray, which I feel like was a suitable ending to this series, especially with the world and atmosphere it had built up to this point. But yay, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. 4.5 stars
Black Butler vol 3 by Yana Toboso – This is the only manga for this month. My reread of this series is going slowly apparently. I did really enjoy this though, as I expected. 4 stars
2021 Reading Goals
Read 100 books – 68/80 – I’ve dropped my goal from 100 to 80 because babies are time consuming.
Reduce physical fiction tbr to 185 – 138
Reduce manga tbr to 50 – 139
Maintain blog schedule –
March-Now: lol, i’m abandoning this goal.
Finish my 10 in 2021 list – 5/10
And that’s it for September. I’m hoping to get a bit more reading in during October, because come November I doubt I’ll be reading much at all. That’s when the baby is due!
Well hi! I did some reading this past month. This is what I read:
The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson – Finally jumped into this, part of a buddy read. This book made me realize I really don’t like heist plots. The second half of it though was pretty good and redeemed the heisty bit. 4 stars
All the Murmuring Bones by A. J. Slatter – I don’t know if I expected to love this one quite as much as I did. This book was a cool, muted-paced book that gave me strong dark-Miyazaki vibes. It was really good and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 5 stars
The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware – Again, late to this bandwagon. I don’t typically pick up this genre but after this one I think I might have to more often. I really, really enjoyed this book. 5 stars
The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski – This book I buddy read as well, and it suffered from ‘Emily doesn’t like short stories’ syndrome unfortunately, so I didn’t like it as much as the average person. 3 stars
The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson – This was my third time rereading this wonder of a book, but the first time listening to it on audio. I think the narrator did a really good job of it. I loved this book just as much this time around as I did the previous two times. 5 stars
Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski – Honestly I liked this one even less than the previous one. Still buddy reading, still falling to ‘Emily doesn’t like short stories’ syndrome. The next one is a novel, which I’m in the middle of and already enjoying so much more. 2.5 stars
Black Butler vols 1-2 by Yana Toboso – I have begun the reread of this series that I’ve been telling myself to do for a year now. I picked up volume 30 the other day so it’s the perfect time. I am very excited, and so far I’m enjoying this series just as much as I did the last time I read it. 4.25, 4.5 stars respectively
And that’s it! I’m still getting back into the swing of blogging so forgive my sparseness. Happy reading!
So considering I disappeared in March, I haven’t hauled books in a while, so here’s what I’ve acquired over the last half year or so:
These are the books from March-April-ish. Five manga, four books. The Assassin’s Quest is signed!
From May-June or so. A lot of manga this time around. I ended up finding the rest of Saiyuki second hand and had to get it all. I also picked up some fantasy but when do I not.
A lot of manga again this time – I finished out Waiting For Spring and Saiyuki, and now own them all. I also picked up a book for a new buddy read and a new release and a book for reread and blah de blah.
These were two out of the three last books I bought before going on my ban. The other one – not pictured – is Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse.
As mentioned in the title, I’m doing a buying ban. I do one of these every year, usually for two to three months – there’s no real reason usually, aside from ‘just because’ but this year I have an actual reason. My book room is being dismantled and the books moved to the living room. I had to purge a bunch of them to downsize to fit, and I don’t want to bring any more into the house until after the move is complete, which will be at the end of this month, beginning of next month, roughly. So it’s a shorter ban than usual, but it’s still a ban.
And today is my birthday and it’s the first time in like a decade I didn’t go to the bookstore to celebrate :p I should have thought this through. It’s ok, I’ll live.
This hobby blog is dedicated to movie nerdom, nostalgia, and the occasional escape. In the late 90s, I worked at Blockbuster Video, where they let me take home two free movies a day. I caught up on the classics and reviewed theatrical releases for Denver 'burbs newspapers and magazines. Currently, I am enjoying my new life as a new dad, but when there's free time, movies are standard. Comments and dialogue are always encouraged. Happy Moviegoing!