Bookworm Blogging, Discussions

My “TBR ASAP” Shelf

I was inspired by Ally’s Top TBR post to share my own prioritized TBR shelf with y’all. I’ve been using one for a while, as I find it really helpful to remind me of the things I don’t want to get lost in my general TBR shelf — which always happens. I have still been neglecting this shelf somewhat but with most of the Women’s Prize list behind me, I plan to prioritize my TBR ASAP shelf, my owned TBR, and the ARCs I have.

I’ll be ordering this list by date added and am going to try Destiny’s trick of providing a brief summary of the book and/or why I’m prioritizing it, along with the genre.


  • Broke Millennial
    • Nonfiction, self-help, finance
    • Erin Lowry was a guest on the Bad with Money podcast, which made me really want to read her book
  • Faking Ms. Right
    • Romance, contemporary
    • Hannah posted about reading this lately and I thought a cute fake dating romance sounded nice
  • Nonviolent Communication
    • Nonfiction, self-help, psychology, communication, relationships
    • A lot of people in the Multiamory Discord have been discussing this recently and I decided it would be worth reading
  • How to Be Everything
    • Nonfiction, self-help, psychology
    • I just happened to see this on my Goodreads feed but it seemed right up my alley

Do you all have a way to keep track of the books you’d like to prioritize?

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Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

Mini-Review Compilation #11

In Her Skin
cw: domestic abuse, self-harm

The only people who talk about dead like it’s something pretty and fanciful are people who haven’t seen it up close.

I’ll admit that although I found the premise somewhat interesting, most of the reason I picked up this one was because it took place in Boston. That aspect was really fun, since I recognized most of the places mentioned and could really imagine myself there. The writing itself was interesting, too. It was a mixture of first and second person and worked really well for the story. Kim Savage ended up keeping me on my toes and I absolutely inhaled the last half or so in one sitting. My only complaint was that it felt kind of queerbait-y and I ended up pretty frustrated by that.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Unrequited 
cw: graphic sex, power imbalances, sexual assault, infidelity, suicide, off-page drunk driving, stalking, and probably much more

They’re a perfect match. I think anybody who’s in love with anyone is a perfect match. I don’t believe in crap like There’s somebody better for you out there. I don’t want better. I want the guy I’m in love with.

I picked this up on a whim after seeing Melanie’s glowing review and it was absolutely worth it. While the morals throughout are highly questionable, the writing is great and the author knows how to do steamy scenes well. I rarely read straight-up romance novels, but in this instance my rating is based more on personal enjoyment than objective quality. I’ve been going through a rough time and this was exactly the kind of read I needed to distract me from that. If you’re looking for a fun romance that’s a little on the kinkier side, this should hit the spot for you.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sex at Dawn

I’ve read some of the criticisms of this book, and also recognize that it was published almost a decade ago and may be a bit outdated. Regardless, it’s nice to read a book that validates your sexuality and makes you feel more “normal” than society at large might have you believe. As a queer, polyamorous woman I thought this was a really good starting point to learn about human sexuality. I’ll certainly be picking up some other works and doing further research, but I found this book to be well-written, humorous, and just what I needed.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


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(All covers courtesy of Goodreads.)

Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

Mini-Review Compilation #10

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The Woman in Black
cw: child death

At that moment I began to doubt my own reality.

This was my first Susan Hill read and I can say that I’m now very excited to explore some of her other works. I don’t read a lot of gothic horror, but this definitely worked for me and I’d like to wade a little further into the genre. The writing conveyed such a strong atmosphere and I found myself really swept up in everything. It was definitely spooky, but didn’t outright scare me, which is a nice happy medium. I thought the characters were well-done, although we only spend time with a few of them. My only complaint was that the ending felt rushed and a little abrupt.

Buddy read with Sarah!

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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River of Teeth (River of Teeth #1)

I had high hopes for this one, but it just didn’t really do anything for me. The characters were good, but the story felt rushed and I didn’t get very invested in it.

Rating:⭐⭐.5

Sadie_FINAL cover image

Sadie
cw: pedophilia, CSA, abuse, drug addiction
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.

Every little thing about you can be a weapon, if you’re clever enough.

It seems like nearly everyone has been talking about Sadie lately. Intriguingly, pieces of it felt like they tied pretty closely to The Female of the Species, which I read directly beforehand. The formatting is what was most interesting about it. Half of the book is a podcast — where I’d imagine the audiobook version would have come in very handy — and the other half is from Sadie’s perspective directly. In this way, things that we could never necessarily know from one perspective are revealed to us through the other. While this method could be flawed in the wrong hands, Courtney Summers is able to carefully craft a chilling masterpiece, slowly (but not too slowly) revealing the full story to her readers.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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(All covers courtesy of Goodreads.)

Book Tags, Bookworm Blogging

State of the ARC #2

State of the ARC is a monthly meme at Avalinah’s Books meant to motivate you to finish up all your long overdue ARCs (Advanced or Early Reader Copies).

Rules of State of the ARC:

  • Mention that you’re linking up with State of the ARC @ AvalinahsBooks, which is a fun way to share our ARC progress, challenges, wins, woes and mishaps.
  • Include the link to this post, or the current State of the ARC post. You can use my State of the ARC image too.
  • Don’t forget to visit all the other people in the link-up and comment.
  • And most importantly – have fun!

A few months ago I went on a little requesting spree on NetGalley and I am still paying the price. On the plus side: I’ve read some great new releases! Here are the next three NetGalley ARCs I intend to read.

Believe Me
In this twisty psychological thriller from the New York Timesbestselling author of The Girl Before, an actress plays both sides of a murder investigation.

A struggling actor, a Brit in America without a green card, Claire needs work and money to survive. Then she gets both. But nothing like she expected.

Claire agrees to become a decoy for a firm of divorce lawyers. Hired to entrap straying husbands, she must catch them on tape with their seductive propositions. The rules? Never hit on the mark directly. Make it clear you’re available, but he has to proposition you, not the other way around. The firm is after evidence, not coercion. The innocent have nothing to hide.

Then the game changes.

When the wife of one of Claire’s targets is violently murdered, the cops are sure the husband is to blame. Desperate to catch him before he kills again, they enlist Claire to lure him into a confession.

Claire can do this. She’s brilliant at assuming a voice and an identity. For a woman who’s mastered the art of manipulation, how difficult could it be to tempt a killer into a trap? But who is the decoy . . . and who is the prey?

Dopesick
Beth Macy takes us into the epicenter of America’s twenty-plus year struggle with opioid addiction. From distressed small communities in Central Appalachia to wealthy suburbs; from disparate cities to once-idyllic farm towns; it’s a heartbreaking trajectory that illustrates how this national crisis has persisted for so long and become so firmly entrenched.

Beginning with a single dealer who lands in a small Virginia town and sets about turning high school football stars into heroin overdose statistics, Macy endeavors to answer a grieving mother’s question-why her only son died-and comes away with a harrowing story of greed and need. From the introduction of OxyContin in 1996, Macy parses how America embraced a medical culture where overtreatment with painkillers became the norm. In some of the same distressed communities featured in her bestselling book Factory Man, the unemployed use painkillers both to numb the pain of joblessness and pay their bills, while privileged teens trade pills in cul-de-sacs, and even high school standouts fall prey to prostitution, jail, and death.

Through unsparing, yet deeply human portraits of the families and first responders struggling to ameliorate this epidemic, each facet of the crisis comes into focus. In these politically fragmented times, Beth Macy shows, astonishingly, that the only thing that unites Americans across geographic and class lines is opioid drug abuse. But in a country unable to provide basic healthcare for all, Macy still finds reason to hope-and signs of the spirit and tenacity necessary in those facing addiction to build a better future for themselves and their families. 

The Witch of Willow Hall
Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it.

Take this as a warning: if you are not able or willing to control yourself, it will not only be you who suffers the consequences, but those around you, as well.

New Oldbury, 1821

In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall.

The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.

All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end…

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(Blurb and cover courtesy of Goodreads.)

Book Tags, Bookworm Blogging

State of the ARC #1

State of the ARC is a monthly meme at Avalinah’s Books meant to motivate you to finish up all your long overdue ARCs (Advanced or Early Reader Copies).

Rules of State of the ARC:

  • Mention that you’re linking up with State of the ARC @ AvalinahsBooks, which is a fun way to share our ARC progress, challenges, wins, woes and mishaps.
  • Include the link to this post, or the current State of the ARC post. You can use my State of the ARC image too.
  • Don’t forget to visit all the other people in the link-up and comment.
  • And most importantly – have fun!

A few months ago I went on a little requesting spree on NetGalley and I am still paying the price. On the plus side: I’ve read some great new releases! Here are the next three NetGalley ARCs I intend to read.

Bad Man
Reddit horror sensation Dathan Auerbach delivers a devilishly dark novel about a young boy who goes missing, and the brother who won’t stop looking for him.

Eric disappeared when he was three years old. Ben looked away for only a second at the grocery store, but that was all it took. His brother was gone. Vanished right into the sticky air of the Florida Panhandle.

They say you’ve got only a couple days to find a missing person. Forty-eight hours to conduct searches, knock on doors, and talk to witnesses. Two days to tear the world apart if there’s any chance of putting yours back together. That’s your window.

That window closed five years ago, leaving Ben’s life in ruins. He still looks for his brother. Still searches, while his stepmother sits and waits and whispers for Eric, refusing to leave the house that Ben’s father can no longer afford. Now twenty and desperate for work, Ben takes a night stock job at the only place that will have him: the store that blinked Eric out of existence.

Ben can feel that there’s something wrong there. With the people. With his boss. With the graffitied baler that shudders and moans and beckons. There’s something wrong with the air itself. He knows he’s in the right place now. That the store has much to tell him. So he keeps searching. Keeps looking for his baby brother, while missing the most important message of all.

That he should have stopped looking.

Everything For Everyone
The origins of the next radical economy is rooted in a tradition that has empowered people for centuries and is now making a comeback.

A new feudalism is on the rise. From the internet to service and care, more and more industries expect people to live gig to gig, while monopolistic corporations feed their spoils to the rich. But as Nathan Schneider shows through years of in-depth reporting, there is an alternative to the robber-baron economy hiding in plain sight; we just need to know where to look.

Cooperatives are jointly owned, democratically controlled enterprises that advance the economic, social, and cultural interests of their members. They often emerge during moments of crisis not unlike our own, putting people in charge of the workplaces, credit unions, grocery stores, healthcare, and utilities they depend on. Co-ops have helped to set the rules, and raise the bar, for the wider society.

Since the financial crash of 2008, the cooperative movement has been coming back with renewed vigor. Everything for Everyone chronicles this economic and social revolution – from taxi cooperatives that are keeping Uber and Lyft at bay, to an outspoken mayor transforming his city in the Deep South, to a fugitive building a fairer version of Bitcoin, to the rural electric co-op members who are propelling an aging system into the future. As these pioneers show, cooperative enterprise is poised to help us reclaim faith in our capacity for creative, powerful democracy. 

Sadie
Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

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(Blurb and cover courtesy of Goodreads and Netgalley, respectively.)

Book Tags, Bookworm Blogging

Bookish This or That Tag

I’ve been in a slump lately, so I’m leaning more into tags and themed posts rather than reviews. I saw this one over on Sam’s blog and thought it looked fun!

Series or standalone?
I really tend to read more standalones. I like series, but I have trouble keeping up with them!

Magic earned or magic born?
I’d have to say magic earned. Magic born can be fun, but I do like to see characters rewarded for their hard work.

Enemies to lovers or friends to lovers?
HMMM, probably enemies to lovers.

Hilarious banter or emotional ruin?
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Love triangle or instalove?
Love triangle that turns triad. Literally every love triangle I see I’m like “y’all, this is what polyamory is for”

Keyboard smash names or all names starting with the same letter?
Same letter, unless there’s some kind of logic behind the keyboard smash, like it matches up with a language or something. But then I guess it’s no longer a keyboard smash.

Mean parents or dead parents?
This feels like a lose/lose. Probably dead parents. I hate reading about abusive parents.

Supermodel looks or constantly says how “plain” they are?
Honestly, I don’t care as long as a character isn’t drop-dead gorgeous but pretending to be ugly (@ every movie and TV show ever).

Face on cover or typography on cover?
Typography 100%. Face would have to be absurdly well-done and is difficult to pull off.

Villain turning a little good or hero turning a little bad?
Tough choice. I am kind of digging antiheros, so I guess I’ll go that route.

Best friend dies or love interest dies?
This is difficult, but I say love interest.

Awesome writing with a dull plot or amazing plot with murderously bad writing?
Yikes, definitely awesome writing. Dull plots are difficult, but they’re growing on me as long as the writing is lovely. Bad writing and that book is going straight to the DNF pile.

Cliffhanger ending or heartbreaking ending?
Heartbreaker, because I’d like to know what’s happened, even if I’m dying inside.

Breaking the spine or dog-earing the pages?
Y’all are gonna hate me because I actively do BOTH, but dog-earing pages is much more handy.

“Bad boy” trope or “perfect golden boy” trope?
Gimme a bad boy tbh (unless it’s Gansey, then I want the sweet boy).

That was a cute fun one! Let me know if you do this so I can check out your answers. 🙂

Bookworm Blogging

My Current TBR

Hello! I’m coming at you all with something a little different today. I’m not usually one to set a TBR but I do have a “tbr asap” bookshelf on Goodreads that I’m trying to use to prioritize reads I’d very much like to get to soon. Of course, I currently have a whopping 10 books on that shelf, but what can you do? So, the point of this post is to share with you the top few books from that list. This doesn’t include ARCs or book club books; these are just books that I’ve been meaning to get to when I have a chance!

 

River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey.
I added this to my TBR in September 2017. I think it’s a novella, so there’s really no reason for me not to grab it sometime soon!

Feeding the Monster by Seth Mnookin.
I only added this to my TBR in January (it was talked about on a Red Sox podcast I listen to), but my sister owns it so I figured it would be a good idea to read it in the near future!

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis.
Added to my TBR in May. I’ve heard so many good things about this and I reaaaally wanna pick it up when I can!

Hopefully I’ll get to these in the next couple months, but I guess we’ll just have to see!

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(All covers courtesy of Goodreads.)

Book Tags, Bookworm Blogging

How I Choose My Books [tag]

I was tagged by my pal Rachel to do this and I’m pretty excited for it!

Find a book on your shelves with a blue pink cover. What made you pick up the book in the first place?

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I don’t know if this means physical or GR shelves, but I’ll assume the latter. I picked up Baby Teeth because I saw it on Netgalley and was extremely intrigued by both the cover and the blurb. I’m about halfway through it and very much enjoying it!

Think of a book you didn’t expect to enjoy but did. Why did you read it in the first place?

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The first time I read this, I expected to like it — but didn’t. I picked up the series again because so many of my reader friends raved about it and I wanted to give it another shot. I wasn’t expecting to like it after DNFing the first time, but I ended up loving it!

Stand in front of your bookshelf with your eyes closed and pick up a book at random.  How did you discover this book?

Umm, maybe we are using physical shelves. I’ll just short my GR shelves at random, haha.

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Okay, at least I know where I found this one. I read Destiny’s review and thought it sounded like something I’d enjoy!

Pick a book that someone personally recommended to you. What did you think of it?

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This was recommended to me by my friend Kyra! I enjoyed it, but think I would have enjoyed it much more if I had read the books that came before it.

Pick a book you discovered through book blogs. Did it live up to the hype?

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That’s most of the books I’ve read, tbh. Starfish definitely lived up to the hype for me, though.

Find a book on your shelves with a one word title. What drew you to this book?

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This was another one that was all over the bookblogging community when it was released. Luckily this lived up to the hype as well!

What book did you discover through a film/TV adaptation?

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I’m so glad I saw the trailer for the movie and picked up AnnihilationI’ve ended up adoring the Southern Reach series and actually just finished the third book a couple days ago.

Think of your all-time favorite books. When did you read these and why did you pick them up in the first place?

I picked up House of Leaves because I had a friend who adored it and I found the premise intriguing. It took me months to read, but it is truly one of my all-time favorite books. I’ve been meaning to pick it up again sometime soon (I read it in 2014), but it’s a commitment and I need to make sure I’m ready.

The Pisces feels like cheating because I JUST read it and posted a review two days ago, but I knew I wanted to read it from the instant I heard about it.

I picked up Strange Weather in part because I love Joe Hill and in part because folks who had been lucky enough to get ARCs had been raving about it. I read this shortly after it was released in the fall — and even got to meet Joe Hill at the release party here in Boston!

I’m tagging: Destiny, Anna, and Jenna!

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(Covers courtesy of Goodreads.)

Bookworm Blogging, Discussions

Empathy, Emotions, and Reading [discussion]

This is my first real discussion post in just over a year! I don’t do a lot of these, because I feel like other bloggers have more to say and say things more succinctly than I do. However! This is something I haven’t seen a lot of and it’s been on my mind lately.

First of all, let’s define what empathy actually is. Dictionary.com refers to empathy as “[…] the capacity or ability to imagine oneself in the situation of another, experiencing the emotions, ideas, or opinions of that person.” This is distinguished from sympathy in the following way: “sympathy is feeling compassion, sorrow, or pity for the hardships that another person encounters, while empathy is putting yourself in the shoes of another.”

That being said, I am an extremely empathetic person. I can attribute this to about a thousand things, but what it means for me is that other people’s emotions impact me pretty strongly. I literally find emotions to be contagious, no matter what form they come in. Whether it’s from a friend, an article I’m reading online, a movie I’m watching, or a book I’m reading, I find myself taking on those feelings.

There are benefits to this: I’m pretty conscious about my friends emotions and behaviors indicating their emotions and I can be a good listener. There are also plenty of cons: I have to disengage from people sometimes so I don’t become overwhelmed, I have to consume emotional media fairly slowly to avoid slipping into a depressive episode, and I can sometimes blur the line between fiction and reality.

This comes up a lot during my reading. What prompted this post was actually my experience reading The Pisces. The main character falls into a depressive episode at the start of the book and I found it to be an emotionally intense experience because it was so real. I could identify the triggers, the symptoms, the disordered thinking. It put me into a mood, which I luckily realized quickly, and I had to put it down after a short session. I’ve been reading it slowly, in bits and pieces, in order to avoid getting dragged down by it.

It’s difficult sometimes, having to navigate my reading so carefully, but I like to think it helps make me a more compassionate and sensitive person. Anyway, here’s my question for you: do any of you also struggle with keeping your empathy in check while reading (or even watching TV/movies)? How do you deal with this so that it doesn’t negatively impact your mental health? If it was something you could just turn off, would you?

I look forward to hearing what you all have to say on this! Thanks for reading. 🙂

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Bookworm Blogging

Series I Need to Finish

I am… very bad at finishing series, so I figured I’d make a post detailing some of the series I need to finish! These are all series that I’ve read at least one book out of, but have yet to complete.

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The Southern Reach Trilogy
So I’ve read Annihilation and Authority and I’m FINALLY getting to Acceptance. I’ll have this one in the bag soon.

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The Raven Cycle
I’m halfway through and I have Blue Lily, Lily Blue sitting on my shelf begging me to read it. Soon.

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The Forest of Hands and Teeth
I’ve actually read The Forest of Hands and Teeth twice, so I really need to work on completing this series at some point!

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Warriors
Y’all please don’t judge me, but my friends and I are doing a Warriors buddy read. We’ve gotten through the first one and are hopefully moving to the second soon!

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Protector of the Small
Tammy is one of my favorite writers and I have no idea how I haven’t finished this series yet, tbh.

So! There y’all have it. Just a handful of the many series I’ve begun but have yet to commit to finishing. Hopefully someday soon I will no longer have these books looming over me. 🙂

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(All covers courtesy of Goodreads.)