Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books of 2022

Hi all and happy first TTT of 2023! This weeks topic is our top ten books of 2022. I read a lot of great books last year and I’m excited to mention them. A lot of the books on this list are part of series so the list won’t be ten items long, but it’s actually more than ten books. Anyways, let’s get to it!

1. The Scholomance by Naomi Novik – Most of this list is in no particular order, but I have to say that The Scholomance books were easily among the best and most surprising books that I read last year. I was so pleasantly surprised by these that I just had to put them first.
2. The Shattered Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima
3. Mistborn and The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
4. The Radium Girls by Kate Moore
5. A Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
6. The Wheel of Time books 1-4 by Robert Jordan
7. This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
8. The Bat by Jo Nesbø

So these are the best books/series I read last year. What makes your list?

Until next time, Happy Reading!

December 2022: Month in Review

How wild that I’m starting my December 2022 wrap up, but whether we’re ready or not, 2023 approaches. It’s been a heck of a year, but I’m pumped because I exceeded my reading goal of 52 books for the year and I’ve got tons of great books at my fingertips ready to be read.

This month I read:

The Last House in Lambton by Grace Gibson 4/5 stars
This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone 4/5 stars
The Bat (Harry Hole #1) by Jo Nesbø 4/5 stars
Icebreaker (UCMH #1) by Hannah Grace 4/5 stars

I also started the book about pockets! It’s interesting thus far. The approach is definitely a bit academic, but it’s not unenjoyable at this point. All in all, I’m happy with the reading I managed to to considering how this month went.

This month I hauled:

I was very good to myself as far as books are concerned this month. I bought many… many… many books. In fact I’m waiting for more to be delivered, though I don’t know if they’ll make it this week or not yet (spoiler, they did!) and there are numerous ebooks that I haven’t included here. Suffice it to say, I’ve got some reading material to keep me busy for a while.

Stolz und Vorteil by Jane Austen
Yes to Life in Spite of Everything by Victor E. Frankl
Murder by the Book: Mysteries for Bibliophiles by Various Authors
How We Are Hungry by Dave Eggers
Bad Dirt by Annie Proulx
Der Kleine Vampir I by Angela Sommer Bodenburg

These are all the books that came home from Germany with me this month. And yes… there are THREE copies of Pride and Prejudice here, two of which I cannot read because I do NOT have enough German to get through Pride and Prejudice in Deutsch. I was also sad because there were zero copies of P&P in the used bookstores I went to, so I had to get new copies from all three shops and really I have the two German editions because I saw the little yellow copy and it was so tiny and cute that I had to have it even though I’d already picked up a copy. So, you know adulting at it’s best.

The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima
A Queen in Hiding by Sarah Kozloff
A People’s History of the World by Chris Harman
A Game of Birds and Wolves by Simon Parkin
Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

One of my methods of trying to defeat jet lag was keeping myself busy in the evenings to stay awake which is the perfect time to go book shopping. Hence this pile of books. The Crimson Crown was quite intentional, however the rest of these books were jet lagged me going “Oh! I’ve heard of this,” or “Oh! Stuff to learn!” and not putting the book back down.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The River Between by Ngūgī Wa Thiong‘o
Cockroaches by Jo Nesbø
This is How You Win the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig
Things We Didn’t Say by Amy Lynn Green
The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson
Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldtree
The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

Funny story. I got home from traveling, went back to work the day after I got home and immediately picked up covid again from an outbreak at work… not from traveling. So after three days in the office I was stuck unexpectedly quarantining for a week and at the end of it I HAD to get out of the house and stretch my legs and there is no place like a bookstore to do just that. This pile is a combination of next books in series, purchasing a hard copy of a book I read on Scribd, some longtime TBR purchases, and random stuff I spotted whilst browsing.

Gideon the Ninth by Tasmyn Muir
Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen
Still Life by Louise Penny
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman

This one JUST made it into this post. I had a gift card and ordered these online recently and they were delivered on 12/31. It’s like it was meant to be. Gideon the Ninth I heard good things about over at Birdie’s Book Nook and decided to pick up a copy when I saw it. Skin of the Sea was a total cover buy – this book is gorgeous and I’m assuming it’s a mermaid book which I find intriguing. Still Life is the first novel in a mystery series that I read a novella from last year or so, but I hadn’t picked up the first book yet. Last but not least, the His Dark Material’s books, mostly because I’m intrigued by the show previews, but I won’t watch it until I read it. I don’t actually know anything about these books.

Non-Bookishness:

Outside of travel, work, covid, and books there is of course holiday celebrations with family. I watched season three of Jack Ryan and started my rewatch of Stargate Atlantis this month as well. I also have a new time drain in the form of a computer game that I’m almost afraid to speak of, but is also so relaxing and fulfilling… so there’s that. But’s that really all for December. Minus the covid, it was actually a pretty good month.

How about you? Any good reads this month? Other good discoveries? Do share!

Until next time, Happy Reading!

Fall 2022 TBR Outcome, or, What Does She Even Read!?

Now that we are officially into Winter I can talk about my Fall 2022 TBR. I made the list back in September for a Top Ten Tuesday post… And here’s the thing. I suck at TBR’s. There is zero question about it. Yet, I still made the list. I even made another TBR for Winter knowing how my Fall TBR was faring. So, how badly did I do?

The Fall 2022 TBR:

  1. The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik: Finished Reading 10/1
  2. The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West
  3. The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan: Started, but not finished.
  4. For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten
  5. The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher
  6. The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson
  7. This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone: Finished reading 12/11
  8. Radiance by Grave Draven
  9. A Pleasure and a Calling by Phil Hogan
  10. Man in the Empty Suit by Sean Ferrell

Look at me go! I completed two books and read a little of a third. Mind you throughout the rest of the fall I read like 18 bajllion Pride and Prejudice retellings, not a single one of which was on this list.

Why oh why did I read so few of these books? I am a MOOD READER EXTRAORDINAIRE. It doesn’t matter how much I want to read a book, or if I’m reading it and really like it. If I don’t feel like reading it I simply don’t read it. I will put down a book that is perfectly good, even great – I’m looking at you The Library of the Unwritten – and I will read something else that is more in line with what I want in that moment. For this reason, I cannot complete a TBR to save my life. I love making lists of books and browsing my books for things I’d like to read in the coming weeks etc. However I know that even if a book is good and I’m enjoying it, reading it when I’m not in the mood will affect how much I enjoy it as a whole and how I rate it, and it feels wrong to let myself stay on a path to potentially giving a book a worse rating than it deserves because I’m a moody reader… y’know?

Admittedly, this is one of the things about readers that interests me the most. Why are some folks like myself and read exclusively based on mood while other people can read exclusively from a list until all books are checked off without a care for what kind of mood they’re in? I feel as though this is something we’ve yet to figure out (or I’m just not looking in the right places) and really, that’s okay. I’m fine with being a mood reader. I never know for sure what book I’m going to pick up next which keeps things interesting for me. Of course, it might drive other readers bonkers!

Where do you fall on this spectrum? Are you a strict TBR follower, a definite mood reader, or somewhere in between?

Until next time, Happy Reading!

Let’s Talk Bookish: Banned Books

Happy Friday Y’Alls. I just stumbled upon this weekly bookish meme kind of by accident when I was doing some long overdue blog browsing and started looking at some of the prompts and thought… I have opinions I’m happy to share. So, let’s talk bookish shall we?

This weeks topic is banned books:

Do you think banning books is fair? Should students be allowed to read what they want and be able to get it from their school library? In a more broad sense, how do you feel about books that have been “banned?” Do you think that it’s a crime to ban a book, no matter what it contains, or are there cases where it’s alright?

In its simplest form, my opinion is that we should not ban books, ever. This can become a bit of a double edged sword, but I’ll get to that, promise. So often I think that books are banned by people who are made uncomfortable by them and who are unwilling to open their minds to other ways of thinking. This is not at all fair to those who would happily consume that media. And who might even have an improved mindset, life, or outcome as a result of that media. I think that if anyone is going to make a decision about what material is appropriate for a kid to be reading it is their parent or guardian. If a parent thinks their child should to wait to read something and be able to handle it, that’s their prerogative. Every 8, 10, or 12 year old is not going to have the same ability to handle certain topics, but the government doesn’t know who can handle what. Their parents should.

With regard to school libraries I do think it’s fair for school libraries to curate age appropriate collections for the population of that school, but I don’t think they should be banning books because there is witchcraft in it for example. In a similar vein, local libraries often cater to all age groups and I don’t think that they should be censoring what readers are taking out or banning books either.

Humor me while I have a quick rant about this, because this is the type of thing that drives me nuts. “Oh my gosh, there is WITCHCRAFT in this book! How UNNATURAL. BAN IT.” Right, we’ve seen it before. One of my favorite book series growing up was about witches. Throughout the entire series, while there were some fantastical aspects to the magic, everything always came back to appreciating nature, how important it is, and what it provides for us as humans. Most humans in the real world, don’t give half as much a shit about nature and the world around them as they gave on each page of this books series. I’m just saying. Maybe there is something to be learned there… maybe. End rant.

How do I feel about the books that have been banned? Most often I don’t see that there is any real reason to have banned them. People try to justify the actions because they’re good Christians, or good Americans or whatever other reason they feel like. Really though I think they’re just close-minded or uncomfortable with political satire or whatever other topic might have put their panties in a wad that day. That’s just my opinion though. I’ve yet to read a banned book and find anything in that book that justifies banning it.

As mentioned before, I don’t think books should be banned. However, I do think that there are books that shouldn’t be published. Once books make it past a publisher though, I don’t believe in banning them. And this is where that double edged sword comes into play. I’m from the US. We sure do love that first amendment. Freedom of speech baby. No matter what kind of a jerk it makes you. And as much as I hate to admit it, there is always going to be an outlet willing to support a closed minded or flawed product, especially if there is money to be made. Will I ever buy a Colleen Hoover book? After the whole November 9 fiasco and hearing about the content that was put into that book as part of a ‘romance novel’… no. I won’t. Yet, it made it past a publisher and that is that. This is where it is so important, particularly with young people to have someone they can talk to about what media they are consuming to help them to understand that certain behaviors are not okay and that you don’t have do let someone treat you a certain way or look a certain way because it was in a book or a movie. Do I wish people would not publish things that glorified racism and abuse and a million other horrible topics that we could really do without romanticizing? Absolutely. But if it made it past a publisher, should they be banned? Unfortunately no I can’t say that they should. But I can, and do, make a choice not to support that person and product. And that is my prerogative as a reader.

Apparently I really did have an opinion to share on this one. I’m going to get off my many soapbox now and ask, what are your thoughts on banned books? Do you agree? Disagree? Both? Please share!

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
Series: Mistborn Trilogy #1
Publisher: Tor Fantasy, Mass Market Paperback, 643 pages

Vin is just your normal street urchin trying to survive another day, but when she catches the eye of someone who would destroy her and someone who is determined to save her, her life will be changed. After all, Vin is joining up with a crew taking on an impossible mission, they’re going to help upend the world.

I’m not sure what there is to say as a synopsis for this book at this point, everything has probably been well covered and with good reason. This book is amazing. I was so engaged, mentally and emotionally the whole time. The last 100 pages or so though took it to another level. The treatment of the Skaa is horrifying, yet there is something so uplifting about the story and the work that the main characters are doing to ultimately empower and eventually improve the lives of the Skaa. It lends a sense of reality to what is otherwise a fantasy story.

I really enjoyed the characters. As much as Kelsier’s behavior could really cause me anxiety at times, his endgame took me by surprise. The rest of the crew, Sazed, Dockson, Breeze, Ham, Marsh, even Spook all have these strong but unique personalities that made them more than just a crew that we’re reading about. And of course, we can’t forget about Vin. I mean… who doesn’t want to see a woman overcome their crappy past to jump into something new and just downright kick ass and take names from day one? Yet, Vin also has this naïvete that I think is quite critical to brining her character to life. I was constantly cheering on these characters.

The other thing I really have to give Brandon Sanderson credit for here is that I don’t think he took the obvious or easy road in all of this. Some of the plot points were just NOT what I was expecting at all. While I know now why things unfolded as they did, the process of getting from A to B definitely kept me on my toes and it was a great time. I also really enjoy the magic system here. First, there is a symmetry to it that is very pleasing to me, but it can also become so complex that it’s beautiful. It’s not like anything I’ve read before and I really did appreciate how he brought the magic to life. That said, there is also this unknown element to the magic that we start discovering along with Vin which I find to be very exciting.

All in all, Mistborn was an amazing book and the only thing I regret is waiting so damn long to read it. 5/5 stars.

The Mistborn Trilogy:
1. Mistborn
2. The Well of Ascension
3. The Hero of Ages
Era Two: 100 Years Later
4. The Alloy of Law
5. Shadows of Self
6. The Bands of Mourning
7. The Lost Metal

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books on my Winter TBR

Hi All. It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday and this weeks topic is top ten books on my Winter TBR. As terrible as I am at reading off of TBR’s (proof to come shortly when I discuss my ill-fated Fall TBR) there is a part of me that still loves to curate a reading list for myself – who cares if I don’t follow through?! So without further adieu, my Winter TBR:

1. The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan: I started reading these books earlier this year and my goal is to keep reading a little at a time.
2. In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1) by Tana French
3. Out for Blood (House of Comarré #2) by Kristen Painter (Though I may reread the first three books first, will I get to this one? Only time will tell!)
4. The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer #2) by Brent Weeks
5. Storm of Locusts (The Sixth World #2) by Rebecca Roanhorse
6. The Undoing (Call of Crows #2) by Shelley Laurenston
7. The Pocket: A Hidden History of Women’s Lives by Barbara Burman and Ariane Fennetaux
8. The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga #1) by John Gwynne
9. A Room With A View by E.M Forster
10. The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1) by Namina Forna

A lot of these are from series that I started reading previously that I’d like to finish or get caught up on. In the infinite wisdom of Cyberkitten, I should probably finish up some of the many series I’ve started instead of starting the other billion series I want to read. Of course, there are some new series in here too though – we can’t be all work and no play. 🙂

What’s on your Winter TBR?

Until next time, Happy Reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I’d Like to Start

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday and this weeks is a freebie. In lieu of having anything in mind, I’m going to do a recent topic that I missed. Not that I need any more fuel to the series train, but lets talk about ten book series I’d like to start reading.

  1. The Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima
  2. Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neill
  3. Dublin Murder Squad by Tana French
  4. The Bloodsworn Saga by John Gwynne
  5. The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski
  6. A Chorus of Dragons by Jenn Lyons
  7. You Caroline Kepnes
  8. Temeraire by Naomi Novik
  9. The Books of Babel by Josiah Bancroft
  10. Discworld by Terry Pratchett

Some of these have been on my list for years like the Tana French books, and others are on there in the hopes that I’ll someday achieve an amazing bookish feat like reading Discworld. One thing they all have in common, I am determined to read them at some point.

Have you read any of these? Any you would recommend, on this list or otherwise? Do share!

Until next time, Happy Reading!

November 2022: Month in Review

November…. I mean did the month even happen? It’s already more than halfway gone as I start this post and I cannot believe it. The month has been a bit of a whirlwind as I am getting ready for my trip to Germany with my mom and best friend (where I am now!). There’s been some reading, but as seems to befit me recently, not nearly as much as I would like. Honestly though, travel is so worth it!

This month I read:

The Bewitchment of Mr. Darcy by Valerie Lennox 3 stars
A Cleverly (Un)Contrived Compromise by Jennifer Joy 3/4 undecided stars
An Appearance of Goodness by Heather Moll 4 stars
The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson 5 holyshitwhathappenedtomyemotions stars

I have still been very much in the mood for Pride & Prejudice variations as you can see. Really though, who doesn’t love Lizzy and Mr. Darcy? Really. I did finish The Well of Ascension on the train today (11.29) though and I think I may need some recovery time, or maybe more Lizzy and Mr. Darcy. Time will tell.

This month I hauled:

The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima
The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima
Ithaca by Claire North
The Witch and the Tsar by Olesya Salnikova Gilmore

I’ve been working on acquiring the Seven Realms books so that I can blow through them when I do finally pick them up. If they are anything like the Shattered Realms books I’ll read all four books quite quickly so I don’t want to hold myself up by needing to go out and buy the next book. All I have left to buy is the fourth book which I haven’t seen in any of my local stores. The last two books are ones that I hadn’t heard of but happened across during one of my recent spur of the moment bookstore runs.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
The Bone Orchard Sara A. Mueller

I finally bought a drop caps book. They are so gorgeous and I have yearned for them for years but I never broke down and bought one of these until now… I’m a sucker for Pride & Prejudice, obviously, so it makes sense that this would be the one that finally breaks me on a drop cap. The Starless Sea I recently read about on a list of dark academia books. I was curious what all the fuss is about and the synopsis actually sounded really interesting, so I picked it up. I have one of the pre-novellas to A Master of Djinn and while I haven’t read it yet, I am very intrigued so why not pick up this one – such is my justification for the purchase. Rules of Civility I picked up as I’ve been wanting to read another book by Amor Towles. The Bone Orchard was a total cover buy. It caught my eye and I don’t think I more than skimmed the synopsis and decided I was going to go for it.

Fen, Bog, & Swamp by Annie Proulx
The Pocket: A Hidden History of Women’s Lives by Barbara Burman and Ariane Fennetaux
Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martian

Fen, Bog & Swamp I stumbled onto just a week or two after including it for my Top Ten Books with Nature on the cover post so it seemed like fate. The Pocket is a totally random book that I stumbled onto and it is literally a history of pockets, as used by women as far as I can figure and I am so intrigued. Who would have thought that we needed a book about pockets? Bring it on. Lastly, I really do want to watch House of the Dragon, and I’m undecided yet if I will read the book first or jump right into the show. Of course, I’ve got to have both options available to me immediately though!

Non-bookishness:

Not a ton going on outside of prepping for travel and finally travelling. I’m currently in Germany which is AMAZING. We started in Berlin, moved to Regensburg (where I’m finishing this post from), and are getting ready for Munich which is our final stop. Not nearly enough it seems, but then there’s always so much to do when traveling and rarely enough time to do it all!

Other than travel I’ve only been watching more Bones in an attempt to finally finish the show. I’m getting close!

Have you read or watched anything interesting this month? Do tell!

Until next time, Happy Reading!

October 2022: Month in Review

Happy November everyone! It’s been a long and busy month that happened to fly by. That said I did get a little bit of reading in, if not much else.

This month I read:

The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik
Once Upon a Time in Pemberley by Summer Hanford
An Introduction at Ramsgate by Kerri Jones
Pick Me, Handsome by C. Morgan
The Luxury of Silence by Susan Adriani

I’ve been on a bit of a Pride & Prejudice variation kick recently, hence the three of them that I read this month. The Golden Enclaves was the best book of the month though.

I’m currently reading:

The Well of Ascension I started at the end of September, and just picked it back up as my plane book this past weekend. The Fires of Heaven has been slow going as I’ve only been listening to it during my evening walks, but I’m enjoying it nonetheless.

This month I hauled:

1. The Demon King (Seven Realms #1) by Cinda Williams Chima
2. The City of Dusk by Tara Sim
3. Babel by R.F. Kuang

Non-Bookishness:

I recently started to re-watch what I’ve seen of Bones so that I can finally finish the show. I also watched Rings of Power which I QUITE enjoyed. Next up for shows, the new season of Barbaren that came out at the end of October and Season two of The Wheel of Time is coming out this month. I’ve got a lot to look forward to!

How was your month? Did you read, buy, or watch anything good this month?

Until next time, Happy Reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Nature on the Cover

Happy Tuesday y’all! I don’t really have the mental capacity to cook up a post for this weeks topic so I decided to pick a past topic. Seeing as I’m working on this on a flight home from Montana, books with nature on the cover seemed a fitting topic.

  1. Fen, Bog, & Swamp by Annie Proulx
  2. Wild Green Wonders by Patrick Barkham
  3. Ever Green by John W. Reid
  4. The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths
  5. Man in the Dark by Paul Auster
  6. The Girl in the Tree by Şebnem İşigüzel
  7. The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai
  8. Wild at Heart by K.A. Tucker
  9. Kings of the Yukon by Adam Weymouth
  10. Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan

Have you read any of these? They’re all from my TBR, so let me know if any should be a priority. I am really looking forward to everyone’s posts this week even if I didn’t follow the prompt.

Until next time, Happy Reading!