These were so close, but did not quite make it. I highly recommend all of them!
What was your almost favourite book of 2020?
These were so close, but did not quite make it. I highly recommend all of them!
What was your almost favourite book of 2020?
As always my favourites don’t count re-reads, only newly read in 2020 books. My favourites this year prove I don’t dislike small books, I just haven’t been reading the right ones. You will see a trend in my favourites that it took me a while to catch onto and will be something I focus on in 2021.
The Murderbot Dairies by Martha Wells I read all of these books. Twice. And have been craving another re-read.
Meat Market by Juno Dawson This book first caught my eye in the airport in the summer of 2019 and I could not stop thinking about it. That along with Becca at Toastie Books mentioning that this was their favourite of all time had me keen to pick it up and it did not disappoint.
Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff This book I couldn’t wait to get my hands on in 2019 and then I promptly didn’t read it. However, in the end it was a new favourite.
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy This was brought to my attention by BookTuber Murphy Napier and I decided to splurge on it at the book store before things were a mess. Worth It!
The Disasters B by MK England I just can’t really get enough of the ragtag group of people trying to fix a mess.
Changing Faces by Cole McCade Another BookTuber Riley Marie brought this series to my attention and of the first few that I have read, this one is my favourite – a surprise likely for those that know of the series because it’s the next one that most love.
What were your favourites of the year?
Do you hate the new post drafter as much as I do?
Turtles All The Way Down by John Green 2 Stars
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan 4 Stars
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne 3 Stars
Soppy by Philippa Rice 3.5 Stars
Saga (Vol 1-7) by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples 4 Stars
Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi 5 Stars
The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson 4.5 Stars
Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente 2 Stars
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid 4 Stars
The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend 5 Stars
This post is not trashing romance. I love romance books and have been reading them for years. In that time I have read dozens of romance books and while I typically have a great time reading this type of book and rate them highly after reading, there has always been something holding me back from being blown away. As such, I have yet to find the perfect one for my tastes. Of the dozens of romance books I have read, I could not tell you which is my favourite.
In a recent reading update I made this comment on Goodreads which sums up how all romance books seem to go for me: “Honestly, I was just thinking I always like the first half of Christina Lauren’s books but something gets thrown in the second half that reduces my enjoyment and I was hoping that this book would brake that pattern for me when something was thrown in that is ruining my enjoyment. Yay consistency?”
I continue to read romance because I like them, but also because I’m still chasing that perfect romance read. And since I haven’t found that perfect read yet, I can’t tell you what I’m looking for in order to conscript people into trying to help me find it.
I want to do a series on this blog, Ranking Romance, to try and determine which of the romance books I have read is my favourite, or at least narrow it down to a top 5. Perhaps some trends will emerge to point me towards my perfect romance read.
Have you found your perfect romance read?
Goodreads review: “Perfection.”
You’d think with a little bit of distance from this book there would be more to say, however, after thinking of this new series for my blog and then staring at the cover to the left for several minutes attempting to start this post, I had nothing. Thus looking to Goodreads to get inspiration (and not getting any but also getting enough to write this paragraph…).
This book hit just right. There was a main character dealing with a lot of the same anxieties that I am dealing with. It’s a contemporary setting with magic, making it easy to get into and become invested in the story. There’s humour which landed perfectly for me, as much humour does not. There are several good and timely messages to be found within the pages. All the characters that surround the main character are unique and ones I wanted to learn more about. All the parts of this story just worked for me, and therefore it was no surprise that it was a 5 star read.
This book centers on Linus, a grunt worker for the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth. He’s the perfect employee who follows all the rules as he inspects orphanages where magical youth are sent to live to ensure they are also following the rules. Linus is comfortable in this mundane life. Then Extremely Upper Management sends him on an assignment to a secret island to inspect a special project orphanage run by the mysterious Arthur and home to several unique children. One of which is the Antichrist.
Was the story the most unique or most surprising? No.
Will it be for everyone? No.
Have I already forgotten bits an pieces? Yes.
Will I be reading this again? Absolutely!
Written by T.J. Klune
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 398 (hardcover)
Goodreads rating as of Aug-2020: 4.55
Here are the 10 most recent books added to my Goodreads Want to Read shelf. This covers a span of about 1.5 months.
Cats in Space…and Other Places by Bill Fawcett (editor) – I heard there was a story about how a cat becomes the captain of a ship during an alien take over
Paradise Clash: Bounty Hunter by L.E. Price – Another of the long list of self-pubbed LitRPG I want to get to
Poo With a View: High Alpine Shitters of the Canadian Rockies by Gavin T Boutet – I actually know the author of this one and know the photographs will be fantastic
Running by Natalia Sylvester – This one popped on my feed and when I read the blurb I was sold
Fireborne by Rosaria Munda – This video review by Eliot Brooks convinced me to add this book to my list
Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson – Knitting. Romanace. Sold.
Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune – Awesome premise and awesome author. Plus that recently released cover is a style I like to see
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin – Renowned author and interesting premise. This is near the top of the to-read soon list (when I can get a copy of the book)
Loveless by Alice Oseman – I could say it’s due to the author having several well-loved books on BookTube, one of which I read and loved, but it’s also, mostly due to the asexual main character
What is you most recent addition to your Want to Read list – whichever form it takes!
Something that has gone through BookTube, started by Mercy’s Bookish Musings, is 5
Star Predictions, where you list books you think will be your newest favourites, or 5/5 stars. Ideally you would then read them and provide a follow-up on if you were correct. I generally struggle to actually read the books I think with my new favourites as there is so much expectation with them. However, a recent 5 start prediction that ended up being 5 stars was House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune.
So, time for some new 5 star predictions! I’ll list whether I own the book or not for those curious.
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid (ebook)
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal (ebook)
The second Numair Chronicles by Tamora Pierce (pub date unknown)
The Hate you Give by Angie Thomas (audiobook)
Loveless by Alice Oseman (not owned)
Record of a Spaceborne Few by Becky Chambers (physical and audiobook)
Where do you buy your books?
I buy most of my books at Chapters (Yay points!), however this year I have also placed an order at BookOutlet (before they showed their hand) and Book Depository. I don’t tend to prefer Book Depository as it’s just as expensive as other places and shipping takes a long time, however, for the book I ordered I wanted a different cover version than the US/Canada one. BookOutlet is so-so for me: The prices are generally fantastic, however I feel the need to fill my cart to get free shipping even though shipping is only $5 and still means the books are cheaper than normal. This leads me to either buy more books I’m less interested in or wait until I have loaded up to hit free shipping which may mean certain books I wanted to buy sell out. You can find some real gems on there for great prices but they don’t always have what I’m looking for and you risk stickers, marks and slight damage. Overall, I was happy with every time I ordered from them and mostly bought things I was interested in reading, but they really reacted badly to when called out recently and I’m not planning on buying from them until I see progress. Chapters I love. Because points, sales and free shipping (mostly). Also I love going to their stores (though they have been pushing their lifestyle products more and that crams the books into smaller spaces which I don’t like).
You’ll note the lack of indie bookstores or secondhand sources on here. A few reasons for that: mostly that there aren’t any in my area and another reason I’ll explain in the library section below. I do go to library book sales when they happen, but again there’s more to that I’ll explain below. If there were indie or secondhand places in my area I would shop at them, though not exclusively, as I typically am looking for specific things at specific, aka fast, times.
Do you pre-order books? If so, online or in a store?
I have only pre-ordered one book and wish I had pre-ordered one other book in my life but didn’t because I didn’t want to wait for shipping. I ended up not being able to get it the date of release and had to wait for shipping due to my work schedule and the location of the bookstore (we have since got a Chapters much closer than that one was so this isn’t an issue now). The book I did pre-order was done online and it magically showed up a week early!
On average, how many books do you buy a month?
This varies widely. Most months it’s 0-2. One or two months a year I go ham and buy 10+.
Do you use your local library?
Yes! Mostly through the Overdrive app (I can’t stand Libby and have refused to switch over). I have my local library card and use my mom’s card in a different system to gain access to the province-wide resources. The libraries have different selections, wait times and pro/cons so I use both (yes I have permission from her to use her card).
How many books do you and can you borrow at a time?
Physical books from my local library is unlimited, I believe. My local Overdrive is 20 with 15 holds. My mom’s Overdrive is 10 and 10.
What is your opinion on library books?
A little TMI that I’m a bit iffy on sharing and will seem out of left field for a second: I’ve had bed bugs. I’m highly allergic to them and still have nightmares about it, despite it being several years since the experience and the fact I almost never have nightmares. Libraries are a potential source of bed bugs due to their nature – many people and objects going into different homes and coming back. So while I do like to borrow books and still have since the experience, I also get a lot anxiety about it due to the bed bug risk. Library book sales are about the only good spot for secondhand books in my area (besides Value Village, which same issue) and I want and have bought books there in the past, but I still get scared I’ll get bed bugs again. So overall, I generally use Overdrive or buy new despite loving libraries since this experience.
How do you feel about charity shops and second-hand shops?
This has pretty much been answered: I would love to buy from them but there aren’t any in my area and I have anxiety issues about it that I need to overcome.
Do you keep your read and TBR books together on the same shelf?
Yes. Sorry to those that just cringed from that. It’s easy for me to know which I have and haven’t read, if that helps.
Do you plan to read all the books you own?
Ideally, yes. Practically, I know it won’t happen.
What do you do with the books that you feel you will never read or that you didn’t enjoy?
Some I donate, some I keep. If there is a reason or memory associated with the book I’ll keep it if I’m not going to read or if I didn’t like it, though that’s rare and I can be ruthless about purging my shelves.
Have you ever donated books?
Yes! Though, again, there are a lack of places to do so in my area. I’d like to donate to women’s shelters or other good, similar causes. Right now I sometimes give to the library which have a narrow set of acceptance criteria and the rest I donate to my neighbourhood.
Have you ever been on a book buying ban?
Not really. Before I had disposable income, and even once I did I almost never bought books. Part was growing up in a tiny house with no room. Once I had disposable income I started buying absolute favourites and had about 30 books upon graduating from my Bachelor’s. Shortly after this I discovered BookTube, had situational depression, had a little more income and got sick of spending literally no money on myself. Since then I have gotten more disposable income and can and will buy books I know I will only read once then donate.
Do you feel you buy too many books?
Yes and no. I am financially stable and I read a lot, so while I generally buy more physical books then I physically read, it’s not hurting me or anyone else.
Bonus question: Have any of these answers changed since Covid-19 hit?
For me, no. My life, being an essential worker through all this, has generally been the same and that includes my book buying habits.
Would any of your answers to these questions change due to Covid-19?
This was a series I was doing where I listed out some of the random thoughts I had while reading that could never really make it into a book review. I’m not sure I remember if there was more to why I named this series “How do you review” besides that I liked the way it sounded.
In the years since I abandoned this blog, I have stopped keeping track of these sorts of thoughts and I will likely not start up again, however, there is still a good handful that remained in my draft file that I thought I would share. Strangely, 3 years later I still know what book most of these are referring too.
If you’d like to see more of these, definitely let me know. For now, this is likely last last one. Beware, swears incoming!
-Sure, lets give 15 year-olds military rank over adults, because that won’t ever end badly or cause resentment.
-Actual realistic screen names! Horay!
-Why is it always Damien and Jaxon/Paxon/Maxon and Rhonan/Ronan right now? Pick new names people!
-Why does every teenager in every book have a vehicle?? Even the “”””poor”””” teens manage to have money for gas, insurance, parking, etc. It’s so unrealistic. Where’s the teens that need to walk or have to bus?
-What does one actually do in Homeroom? I thought it was just attendance and announcements, but this book homeroom has been going on for like an hour.
-How the fuck are they going to get back if they used up all fuel on flyby where they essentially stopped and so will need to use fuel to power up and land back on Earth?
-A small town that is big enough to have a trailer park? (its only like 300 people…)
-I often feel like I am reading this book in a language I only half know.
-All this bible talk is going in my eyes and out my ears without actually doing anything. I’m reading words but not really reading the book.
-This book gave me lots of details but little depth.
-Not every flight happening in the world can divert the weather, the weather has to go somewhere.
-Why do literally all teens have cars?? I just want a book about a kid that has to bus to school. (Funny enough the book I recently finished had this!)
-I have never thought my body was a hindrance.
-I’ve literally never experienced the terrible angsty teen thing that everyone talks about for days.
-I hate that name.
-I know that authors and editors don’t want to date a novel by putting in relevant to know movies and bands, but only every having teens interested in ‘classic’ bands and and movies is annoying.
-The copy editor fucked up there….
-Parents being over baring and insisting on seeing your new friends/bf’s are annoying. People need to learn to trust teens.
-Wearing heels while camping??? Who does that?
-Blood pressure considerations for someone in Mars gravity for 18 months is interesting, what other health things would be changed?
What are some of the strange thoughts you have while reading books? Do you also hate that every teen in books somehow owns a car while being “poor”?
Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade is a book the first got my interest due to the cover. The cover designer hit every spot for me. The green grass with the juxtaposing red text and flower accents which draws your eye to the blood-stained bag in the strong and slightly mysterious figure’s hand. The washed-out vaguely medieval stairs and cathedral. The stylized foliage… All of it just works for me.
Second, the title got to me. I was curious.
After that I heard a few BookTubers discuss the synopsis of the book, which convinced me not only to grab the audiobook but to start it immediately. I went on to finish it quickly and bought a hardcover physical copy of the book.
Almost immediately after finishing the book I wanted to re-read it. Then I proceeded to stalk the website of the author to determine when I could expect the next one.
It’s been several months since I read the book and I still have mixed feelings on it overall.
I loved, loved, loved the first 3/4 of the book. The main character is one I could root for, having morals and thoughts similar to mine and a profession I love to see in fantasy books. His profession and up-bringing also informed a lot of his choices which is something that I appreciate in characters and world building. His banter with other characters, though ridiculous at times, still hit me the right way. The premise of the book was one I was instantly drawn too, because why would you just throw your hands up and give up if the chosen one died? Why wouldn’t you just keep trying anyway, because it was on;y one man?
It all just worked for me.
But something happened in the last quarter to leave me feeling disappointed and this book which was going to be my newest favourite, was suddenly…not. It’s not something I can talk about without spoilers, so I won’t here, but there was a turn and suddenly all the things I loved about the book were overshadowed. The book I loved so much I suddenly did not.
So, do I recommend this book? Yes, absolutely. I will be reading the next one as even after the ending of the book I could see how the events that happened would add a complex layer to Aslo in the next book and if done right it could be really interesting to see how he handles it all. However, instead of this being a must read fantasy book, it’s one were if you are interested definitely check it out and if you are not then there are many other books to read that will be your new favourite.
What was the last book you read that you thought was going to be your newest favourite, but in the end is was not?