Book Tags, TBRs

Organizing my TBR V

I was inspired by Charlotte’s posts to try this. If you don’t follow Charlotte, I highly recommend you do! She shares a lot of queer lit and is half of the team over at Reads Rainbow (which you should ALSO follow).

I’ve tried several TBR memes before, but I like the idea of ranking books with a numerical system! This first post is just going to be playing around a bit. Charlotte rates books based on how motivated she is to read it (1-5) multiplied by how interested she is in the premise (1-5).

I plan to start by using a similar system: priority (1-5) + interest in blurb (1-5) + average friend rating on GR (1-5) / 3. I’ll check out the final result and make my decision from there. I’m not going to make any hard rules, but my guess is a score of 3+ is good enough to stay. Very high ratings will get put on my tbr asap shelf. If none of my friends have rated the book, then I’ll exclude the friends’ ratings and only divide by 2.


TBR at Start of Series: 1282 (lolll help me)
TBR Today: 1416
TBR Now: 1414


I only managed to remove three books today, BUT I also added 3 to my TBR asap shelf, which means I should get to them sometime within the next year. As you can see, though, I’ve added a few since the last time I did this. Let me know if any of you decide to try Charlotte’s reorganizing as well, I’d like to see how it works for others. 🙂

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Discussions, Readathons

Nonfiction November Week 3: Be the Expert

Week 3: (Nov. 11 to 15) – Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert (Katie @ Doing Dewey): Three ways to join in this week! You can either share three or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).

It’s time for Nonfiction November! This week I’ve chosen sort of a broad topic in the “Be the Expert” challenge: social justice in the United States. Looking through my nonfiction shelf, three different books that I wanted to share stuck out to me, and they all had in common criticisms of various aspects of America today.


Evicted is disturbing book about how the landlord/tenant relationship works. It’s super well-written and absolutely infuriating.

Dopesick is also infuriating and disturbing, but it’s about the immorality of some pharmaceutical companies — specifically in the lens of drug addiction. I didn’t quite finish reading this one, but that was definitely a me thing.

Policing the Black Man is an eye-opening look at the history of racism and criminal justice in America. It’s actually a collection of essays, so part of its strength is the breadth of viewpoints it’s able to provide.

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Book Tags, Not Books, Personal

The Sunshine Blogger Award IV

I was nominated for The Sunshine Blogger Award by Meeghan last month! Meeghan runs such a fun blog, I highly recommend you follow her!

RULES:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated them and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated them.
  • Nominate 11 other blogs and give them 11 new questions to answer.
  • Notify your nominees and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post.

Meeghan’s Questions:

  1. What is your favourite book you’ve read so far this year, and why?
    • Probably in part because it’s fresh in my mind, but I’d have to say Full Throttle!
  2. What is your favourite book to movie adaptation?
    • Jurassic Park, hands down!
  3. Which fictional character do you think would be the most boring to meet in real life?
  4. What is one thing you do to unwind?
    • As of late, watch The Great British Baking Show!
  5. If you could pick any author to write fanfiction for Harry Potter, who would you pick?
    • I think Maggie Stiefvater would write some interesting HP fanfic!
  6. What’s the best book title you’ve ever heard of?
  7. Who is your OTP?
    • Ugh probably Blue/Gansey, I’m hopeless.
  8. If you could control one element (earth, air, fire or water), which would you choose?
    • Water! I’m a big pisces, okay?
  9. Who is your favourite fictional animal? (i.e., not just dragons, but Kozu from The Last Namsara)
  10. What is your favourite way to treat yourself?
    • Donuts or cake, hehe.
  11. If you were stranded on a desert island that mysteriously had a magical bookshelf (as per above):
    • what genre would it refill itself with, and
      • Hmm, probably YA contemporary, because I’d want some cute stuff while stranded and presumably very sad?
    • what other three things would you take with you?
      • First aid kit, military stove, blanket???

My questions:

  1. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
  2. What motivates you?
  3. What’s the worst movie you’ve watched so far this year?
  4. 2020 release you’re most excited about reading?
  5. What’s your proudest accomplishment?
  6. What did you want to be as a kid?
  7. Least favorite food?
  8. What’s your least favorite kind of weather?
  9. Favorite book you read in school?
  10. Who is your hero?
  11. Are you a peppermint person?

Tagging:

  1. Karissa
  2. Pauliina
  3. Charlotte
  4. Naty
  5. Meaghan
  6. Diana
  7. Emily
  8. Destiny
  9. Callum
  10. Bec
  11. Portia

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Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

Half Way Home [review]

Half Way Home by Hugh Howey
Published by John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on October 1, 2019 (originally 2010)
my rating: ★★★
Goodreads avg: 
3.72 (as of 2019-11-05)
disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for review consideration. All of the opinions presented below are my own.

Spoiler-free Review

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author’s Website

WE WOKE IN FIRE 
Five hundred colonists have been sent across the stars to settle an alien planet. Vat-grown in a dream-like state, they are educated through simulations by an artificial intelligence and should awaken at thirty years old, fully-trained, and ready to tame the new world.

But fifteen years in, an explosion on their vessel kills most of the homesteaders and destroys the majority of their supplies. Worse yet, the sixty that awaken and escape the flames are only half-taught and possess the skills least useful for survival.

Naked and terrified, the teens stumble from their fiery baptism ill-prepared for the unfamiliar and harsh alien world around them. Though they attempt to work with the colony A.I. to build a home, tension and misery are rampant, escalating into battles for dominance.

Soon they find that their worst enemy isn’t the hostile environment, the A.I., or the blast that nearly killed them. Their greatest danger is each other.


Half Way Home was originally published in 2010 but was recently re-released. I’ve consistently enjoyed a lot of Hugh Howie’s books so I was excited to pick up this one, which was no exception. Quite an original concept, Half Way Home explores the potential future of space colonization. Colonists are sent to planets and raised sleeping in vats as an AI sets up the start of the colony. After 30 years, the colonists awaken fully-grown, trained, and ready to take over. In Half Way Home something has gone wrong, and the colonists are awakened early. They must figure out how to make it without their full training program and without all of the resources they were supposed to have.

While it had a lot of potential, this really just missed the mark for me. There were a lot of interesting bits — in particular, the flora and fauna unique to this new planet — but there wasn’t enough to impress me. It felt like there was just something… missing, and I felt a bit let down by the ending. Part of this can probably be chalked up to a lack of proper world-building. Howey definitely has skill when it comes to building a sci-fi world (Wool speaks to that), but there was a lot here that felt like it should have been expanded upon. I just never felt fully convinced by the environment he had created here. It felt so limited; we’re only really introduced to a couple of new species with the implication being that they are the only ones.

Besides that, I felt really uncomfortable about the characterization of the main character. He’s gay, and the “hints” towards it are quite heavy-handed. He’s also often likened to a woman and is made fun of by the other characters for being a “sissy.” This isn’t at all challenged or addressed, and doesn’t do much except play into existing stereotypes. There’s also a love triangle that doesn’t really get resolved; the drama with it feels forced and even the main character admits that it’s ridiculous to think so much about dating when lives are on the line.

For all my criticisms, this is a pretty enjoyable read. I ended up getting sucked in whenever I’d pick it up, and had no problem jumping back into the story. The pacing is good and I was always intrigued to see what would happen next — even if it didn’t seem like much would. Overall, this is a decent sci-fi novel, but nothing I’ll be scrambling to recommend.


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Discussions, Readathons

Nonfiction November Week 2: Fiction/Nonfiction Pairing

It’s time for Nonfiction November!

Week 2: (Nov. 4 to 8) – Fiction / Nonfiction Book Pairing (Sarah @ Sarah’s Book Shelves): This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story.


Lilli de Jong is about a young woman who is forced to leave her family and hide away in order to cover up for her pregnancy, after which she is expected to give up and forget her child. I believe the author had mentioned The Girls Who Went Away as one of the books she read while researching her novel. It’s currently on my TBR so I’m hoping to get to it at some point, but this is pairing makes a lot of sense to me.

The Lovely and the Lost is a YA mystery about a family who raises search & rescue (SAR) dogs. It honestly made me want to drop my life and go train SAR dogs (not happening). So, obviously it makes the most sense to pair it with a book about actual SAR dogs. Scent of the Missing is a nonfic book about SAR dogs that I JUST added to my TBR but am now excited about picking up!

Is this cheating? Yes. Do I care? Absolutely not. The Pisces was potentially my top book of 2018 and I will not stop raving about it. So Sad Today is a collection of essays written by the same author. Lucy is sad. Melissa is sad. Need I say more? I haven’t even read So Sad Today yet but I WILL and I am positive these two will go together wonderfully.

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Book Tags, TBRs

Organizing my TBR IV

I was inspired by Charlotte’s recent posts to try this. If you don’t follow Charlotte, I highly recommend you do! She shares a lot of queer lit and is half of the team over at Reads Rainbow (which you should ALSO follow).

I’ve tried several TBR memes before, but I like the idea of ranking books with a numerical system! This first post is just going to be playing around a bit. Charlotte rates books based on how motivated she is to read it (1-5) multiplied by how interested she is in the premise (1-5).

I plan to start by using a similar system: priority (1-5) + interest in blurb (1-5) + average friend rating on GR (1-5) / 3. I’ll check out the final result and make my decision from there. I’m not going to make any hard rules, but my guess is a score of 3+ is good enough to stay. Very high ratings will get put on my tbr asap shelf. If none of my friends have rated the book, then I’ll exclude the friends’ ratings and only divide by 2.


TBR at Start of Series: 1282 (lolll help me)
TBR Now: 1399 (welp)


I only managed to remove three books today! As you can see, though, I’ve added a few since the last time I did this. Let me know if any of you decide to try Charlotte’s reorganizing as well, I’d like to see how it works for others. 🙂

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Bookworm Blogging, Monthly Wrap-Ups

October 2019 Wrap-Up

Books Read:

  • Growing Things by Paul Tremblay. 3 stars, review.
  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. 4 stars, review.
  • Lilli de Jong by Janet Benton. 3 stars, review.
  • American Predator by Maureen Callahan. 5 stars, review.
  • A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore. 3 stars.
  • Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. 5 stars, reread.

Books read: 6 books
Average rating: 3.83 stars

Other Media:

  • Movies:
  • TV Shows:
    • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Season 1 Ep 13 – Season 2 Ep 1.
    • Barry, Season 1 – Season 2 Ep 1 (I can’t stop rewatching this)
    • The Office, Season 9 Eps 19-23 (Another rewatch)
    • The Great British Baking Show, Season 1 Ep 1 – Season 2 Ep 3
    • Dark Tourist, Season 1 Ep 8 (I wanted to watch this one episode to learn more about this extremely wild haunted house attraction)

Notable Posts by Others:

  • Kal shares their method for annotating books they’ll review.
  • Joshua writes a spot-on review of We Have Always Lived in the Castle [2018].
  • Emily reviews the In the Tall Grass short story and film in tandem — both of which we happened to read and watch on the same day!
  • Miles shares their journey with chronic illness and recovery (a lovely piece, but mind the CWs!)
  • Charlotte and Anna start an important discussion about twisting queer stories into tragedies.
  • Emily writes an incredible review for Ducks, Newburyport.
  • Tecsie reviews the game Neo Cab, which sounds super fun!
  • Meaghan shares how they balance all their activities.

My Month in Photos:

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Discussions, Readathons

Nonfiction November Week 1: Year in Nonfiction

It’s time for Nonfiction November! I didn’t have time to participate last year, but am quite happy to this year. 🙂

Week 1: (Oct. 28 to Nov. 1) – Your Year in Nonfiction (Julie @ Julz Reads): Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

I’ve read fifteen nonfiction books this year, over a variety of topics, but I’d guess there were a lot of memoirs. One of the exciting things about nonfic books is that they often include references to other books, which I sometimes end up adding to my TBR. It’s fun when a book allows you to develop a specific interest, and then gives you some other reading material to try out!

Some of my favorites this year:

American Predator was a very recent read that absolutely blew me away.

What Doctors Feel discussed doctors’ emotions and how they impact patient care.

Sex at Dawn took a different perspective on human sexuality than one usually sees.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark was a great albeit heartbreaking read about the Golden State Killer.

Evicted shed light on the absolutely unreal housing system in America today.

Throughout Nonfiction November, I’m hoping to find some more nonfiction books that draw my attention (not that my TBR needs anything added to it) and am also looking forward to checking out what other bloggers have to say. Let me know if you’ll be participating in Nonfiction November, and what some of your best nonfic reads have been this year!


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Book Tags, TBRs

Organizing my TBR III

I was inspired by Charlotte’s recent posts to try this. If you don’t follow Charlotte, I highly recommend you do! She shares a lot of queer lit and is half of the team over at Reads Rainbow (which you should ALSO follow).

I’ve tried several TBR memes before, but I like the idea of ranking books with a numerical system! This first post is just going to be playing around a bit. Charlotte rates books based on how motivated she is to read it (1-5) multiplied by how interested she is in the premise (1-5).

I plan to start by using a similar system: priority (1-5) + interest in blurb (1-5) + average friend rating on GR (1-5) / 3. I’ll check out the final result and make my decision from there. I’m not going to make any hard rules, but my guess is a score of 3+ is good enough to stay. Very high ratings will get put on my tbr asap shelf. If none of my friends have rated the book, then I’ll exclude the friends’ ratings and only divide by 2.


  • History of Madness
    • Priority, 2. Interest, 3. Friends’ Ratings, 5.
    • Score: 3.33, keep.
  • Pure Magic
    • Priority, 1. Interest, 1. Friends’ Ratings, n/a.
    • Score: 1, remove annd possibly the lowest rating I’ll ever get lmao.
  • Rape is Rape
    • Priority, 2. Interest, 4. Friends’ Ratings, n/a.
    • Score: 3, keep.
  • Saving Sammy
    • Priority, 2. Interest, 3. Friends’ Ratings, n/a.
    • Score: 2.5, remove.
  • The Princess Saves Herself in This One
    • Priority, 2. Interest, 3. Friends’ Ratings, 3.81.
    • Score: 2.94, remove.

TBR at Start of Series: 1282 (lolll help me)
TBR Now: 1391 (welp)


I managed to remove five whole books today! As you can see, though, I’ve added some since the last time I did this. Let me know if any of you decide to try Charlotte’s reorganizing as well, I’d like to see how it works for others. 🙂

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Book Tags, Bookworm Blogging

The Goodreads Book Tag

I saw Portia do this tag recently and thought it looked fun, so I decided to do it as well! Since I wasn’t tagged, I won’t be tagging anyone either, but def would like to see your responses should you decide to do it. 🙂

What’s the last book you marked as ‘read’?

Little House on the Prairie, which I actually read during my youth! I realized when I re-read Little House in the Big Woods recently that I didn’t have the next installation marked as read.

What are you currently reading?

I’m in a mini-slump at the moment (I’ve been ill and have been mostly sleeping or watching mindless TV), so I just have my eARC of the rerelease of Half Way Home by Hugh Howey instead of my usual 2-3 current reads.

What was the last book you marked as TBR?

Dead Meat: Day 1, after seeing Destiny’s review!

What book do you plan to read next?

The Scorpio Races! I’ve had Rachel’s copy for over a year now and am finally getting around to it.

Do you use the star rating system?

Big time! It’s the same one I use here, I just round up for half stars.

Are you doing the 2019 Reading Challenge?

Sort of! I have it set to 52 (1 book a week), because I’ll just obsess and stress myself out if I focus too much on numbers. I’m at 76 right now, so it would be cool to break 100 by the end of the year, but that’s really just a casual stretch goal.

Do you have a wishlist?

I have a “I Need to Buy a Copy of This” shelf.

What book do you plan to buy next?

The Cabin at the End of the World, for #FridayFrightAThon 2019!

Do you have any favorite quotes? Share a few.

“What a strange girl you are.”
“Why?”
“Flung out of space,” Carol said.

The price of salt by patricia highsmith

Get in the shower, she tells herself.
Too sad to shower.

red clocks by leni zumas

How do people who love each other do it? How can they stand it? What is it that makes them forget they were born alone and will die separate?

the meursault investigation by kamel daoud

Who are your favorite authors?

Joe Hill, Melissa Broder, Maggie Stiefvater.

Have you joined any groups?

I’m in a few, but not currently active in any! I find the groups function difficult to use unfortunately.


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