Discussion · lists

My Favourite Books of 2016, Part 2

Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace
Atmospheric, sad, inevitable. There are many things I could say about this book but I reckon you should discover it for yourself.

Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova
This was the most adorable graphic novel I have read in ages. It tells a beautiful story filled with diverse characters and situations, full of humour and life.

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories – Ken Liu
I’m still not over this one. I really am not.

Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates
This needs to be read in classrooms over North America.

The Wildings – Nilanjana Roy
For the longest time, I didn’t know if I liked this or was just weirded out by it but ultimately I spent so much time thinking about this book that it deserves a space on my best list because it’s the kind of book you will read, the kind that will entertain you and the kind you will think about for a long time after.

Dreaming Death by J. Kathleen Cheney
I will review this at when I reread it but suffice it to say that I really really liked it.

The Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
Smarter people than me have spoken about how amazing this book is. Believe them.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
It blended fantasy and science in the best ways possible.

Booked by Kwame Alexander
I have read all of Alexander’s books so far and he keeps outdoing himself!

An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet
Now this is the kind of Canadian Kidlit we need.

A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers
It’s official. This is my favourite picturebook of the year and I have read quite a few.

Discussion · lists

My Favourite Books of 2016: Part 1

Note: To make things deliciously complicated, the books on this were not all released in 2016 but are those that I read this year. There are 21 books in this list. I will discuss the first 11 in this post and the rest in part 2.

Finnikin of the Rock – Melina Marchetta

I have read most of Melina Marchetta’s books to date(two in the Finnikin trilogy left) but for a long time, I resisted Finnikin because for some reason I thought it wouldn’t be good. Why I thought that, I don’t know. After Twitter friends gushed about its greatness, I finally took the plunge and boy, I kicked myself for waiting the time I did to read it because as with everything Marchetta writes, it is gold. Her characters are real flawed people and her stories are always grand in scope. This book made me feel all the feels which is the reason why it has a space on this list.

The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami

My love affair with Murakami is ongoing. I attempt to read two of his books/year but I only managed two in 2016. The Elephant Vanishes is such a perfect collection that even someone like me who doesn’t really like short stories fell for it. All stories are glimpses of worlds and lives and they don’t tell the entire story, they don’t even pretend to. They leave you wondering, thinking, wishing. I loved that.

Migritude by Shailja Patel

Migritude is perhaps my favourite book of the year. It made me cry and made me feel in the deepest of ways.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

I own many of Valente books and had not read any when I first read this one. I don’t know how I will fare with her adult offerings but this book was so amazing in so many ways. I know friends who dislike it intensely but for me, it captured the perfect blend of whimsy and tragedy.

Sure Signs of Crazy by Karen Harrington

Another book that surprised me in a very good way. I didn’t expect Sure Signs of Crazy to be as good as it turned out to be, as I am glad it turned out to be.

The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo by Zen Cho

This novella was just so perfect in the way it told a story, the voice of the heroine, the characters and the plot. I adore it.

The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King

The Inconvenient Indian should be mandatory reading for kids in high school. There are so many things King talks about that I didn’t know or hadn’t even considered. What it means to be a member of one of the First Nations, what it means to live among people who murdered your ancestors and who continue murdering you. A sobering read.

Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales

The art in this one, you guys.

Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai

Lai’s love for Vietnam is so obvious in this journey she takes us on. I was entranced and right there with her characters. A beautiful book.

Man Tiger by Eka Kurniawan

One of those short books that unsettle you and make you think deeper about this world you live in.

lists

Mid-Year Reading Report

Though I suppose I should wait until June has passed to make this post, I find that I cannot wait (and have nothing else to talk about). Well, I could talk about irrelevant stuff like how much I dislike summer and wish it’d be fall already (I know, I know, how does a girl go from loving summer to not liking it at all? When I figure out the answer, I’ll be sure to let you know).

I have read 235 books and before you start telling me that’s a grand number, let me tell you that a lot of those books were manga, graphic novels and other easily read books. It’s not that grand an achievement if you get down to it–actually, I’ve read like 110 novels which is nothing to scoff at, I know, but I’m really not a reading superhuman. Or maybe I am and I’m naysaying just to prolong my mystery? I have no idea what I’m talking about.

Anyway.

235 books read. Let’s see if I can pick out a top 15 favourites of them:

  1. Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire
    It remains my favourite book of the year. It was fantastic and if you haven’t read it, you should.
  2. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
    Laini does a freaking fantastical job of closing this trilogy. It was such a satisfying read and I loved that she kept it from getting maudlin and cheesy in the end. This book makes me anxious to read everything else she writes.
  3. The Water and the Wild by K. E. Ormsbee
    This middle grade debut was impressive. I loved the world Ormsbee created, the characters inhabiting said world and the story.
  4. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
    I just read this one a few days ago and it immediately clambered into my heart. Now I must have a copy of my own or I will die.
  5. The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
    I waxed poetic about this title over at The Book Wars. It was tres brilliant.
  6. The Ravenous Gown and 14 More Tales About Real Beauty by Stephanie Raff
    I haven’t yet talked about this one but rest assured, I will and I will talk loudly.
  7. This Shattered World by Amie Kaufmann and Megan Spooner
    This one packed a hell of a punch. It was fantastic in all the ways that matter.
  8. The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen
    I spoke about this, do you remember? If not, go to my archives and search it up.
  9. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence
    This one was remarkably sensuous but sexytimes aside, I felt like it spoke a lot of truths about the human condition.
  10. Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville
    Granville tells her tale of the holocaust by framing it as a fairytale and using an unreliable narrator. It is wonderfully done, the book.
  11. The Vine Basket by Joseanne la Valley
    Valley sheds new light on the fate of the Uyghur people but does not let her message consume the narrative. The book is fresh and diverse.
  12. Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami
    This one was like living in a poem. Quietly profound.
  13. And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
    My first collection of poetry by Angelou. I loved it.
  14. This is Sadie by Sara O’Leary and Julie Morstad
    This picturebook won my heart.
  15. Peace is an Offering by Annette LeBox and Stephanie Graegin
    This is such an important picturebook and so beautifully done.

There are other books that I haven’t mentioned but that I liked but didn’t like as much as I liked these. It will be interesting to see how this list changes when I make the end of the year report. I hope you guys check some of these out. If you trust my opinions and like the books I like, then you’ll certainly like these.

lists

Upcoming Releases I Can’t Wait For (but will have to)

I spend a lot of time on Goodreads browsing through books. I look at catalogues on Edelweiss and peruse upcoming books on publisher websites. Clearly, I have a problem. Sometimes I hype things up a bit too much to my own self and then am disappointed by reality. Other times my excitement is rewarded by the awesomeness of the book and everyone is happy. Mostly.

Here are some books I can’t wait to read:

  1. Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen
    This contains genderbending and is a first in a fantasy series that sounds absolutely wonderful.
  2. The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard
    It sounds absolutely wonderful. Paris, fallen angels, heavenly politics (you can’t escape it even if you’re divine.)
  3. The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz
    I will read everything Laura Amy Schlitz ever writes.
  4. Our Lady of the Ice – Cassandra Rose Clarke
    Clarke’s books sometimes work for me, sometimes they don’t. But this one sounds especially brilliant. Check out the blurb if you haven’t already done so. The cover doesn’t hurt either.
  5. A Pocket Full of Murder by R. J. Anderson
    I really enjoyed Anderson’s alien duology if indeed that is what it is so I have very high hopes for this one.

These are five of many that I’m looking forward to that are going to be released in the upcoming months. What are your most anticipated titles?

lists

Books I’m Most Looking Forward to Reading in 2015

These are all 2015 releases. I figure this limitation will keep things simple. But here they are:

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I’m not sure why I want to read this one so much. I didn’t like Maas’s debut work at all. I really disliked the main character. I found her shallow and just not someone I could engage with even in a fictional way. I don’t know why. I tried to read the second book multiple times and well. I am however very intrigued by this one.

17378527

Do I have to say anything? Nope, I didn’t think so either.

22448211

This has dragons, a heroine, and some major asskicking, I believe. I am excited.

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R. J. Anderson’s newest MG title and I am very excited for it.

22907961

Look at the cover. *swoon*

lists · reading forecast · Reading Recs · reading resolutions

Reading Update!

Folks, I have decided. 2015 is the Year of Endings and the Year of Trying New Authors (awkward title but work with me here). I am quite pleased with what I have been reading this year.

When I said endings, I meant that I am going to try my darnedest to finish all those trilogies whatnot that I have read everything of except for the concluding novel. I don’t know why I do that. Perhaps because I hate it when stories end? I don’t know. Either ways, I have been finishing some (a very few) series and they are:

  1. Newsoul trilogy by Jodi Meadows
    This was good but ultimately did not win me over. I mean, it just feel a bit too juvenile for me maybe because I have been reading more complex fantasy novels. For those who like lite fantasy/sff this ought to be good. Details are scarce though and the ending is hideously happy (hah).
  2. The Hollows series by Kim Harrison
    The concluding book was good but I really disliked the time jump at the end. Dare I say, things became a bit too maudlin and sentimental for my tastes. I would have preferred to leave Rachel and her coterie in a somewhat more ambiguous place than the whole ever after realized. Still, it was a good ride and Jenks remained my favourite character.

And um, that’s it. I’ve only finished two. I did say it was a few and I rhymed! Haha.

I am working on some others though:

  1. The Mad Man’s Daughter
    I’m currently reading the final volume in this trilogy and it’s too early to say how I like it but I have high hopes.
  2. Glasswright series by Mindy Klasky
    There are five books in this series and I’ve just finished the third one. I like it well enough though not to sing accolades of it. I will finish this other two books probably before the end of next month.
  3. Crown of Stars by Kate Elliott
    This series has seven whole volumes and each of them are very, very thick. I am determined to finish the series this year though it may take me the entire year to do it. The world is dense and requires careful reading at times but the payoff is great.

These are the ones I’m going to pick up this year no matter what:

  1. Dreamblood by N. K. Jemisin
    I have to read the second one in this duology to complete it.
  2. Seven Realms quartet by Cinda Williams Chima
    I’m going to make it happen! I’ve been waffling over this one way too long.
  3. The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan
    Yep. I have all three now. I can read the trilogy gleefully.
  4. Light by Laura Whitcomb
    The second one in this duology needs to be read so I shall read it.
  5. The Goblin Wars by Kersten Hamilton
    I have to hunt down book #3, purchase it, and then reread the first two. I enjoyed them though, quite a lot, so rereading is not going to be a pain. In fact, I’m looking forward to it.
  6. The Whatnot by Stefan Bachmann
    This is a companion novel to The Peculiars and though  not a direct sequel, I do believe it answers some questions leftover from the first novel. I own this so no reason for me to not read it.
  7. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
    I have to finish this one. I can’t read Bracken’s new book until I finish it.
  8. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
    I have no excuses. None at all.
  9. The Archived – Victoria Schwab
    I’ve decided I can’t read any more V. Schwab until I’ve read this one.
  10. The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer Nielsen
    Yep.
  11. Partials Sequence by Dan Wells
    Just that last book.
  12. The Agency by Y. S. Lee
    I’m excited for this one!
  13. Ironskin by Tina Connolly
  14. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
  15. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
    (The Raven King!!! *hyperventilates*)
  16. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
    Okay, so, my love for this series has largely flagged but I am so looking forward to completing it.

Whew.

I seem to be talking a lot about series lately. I just want to finish them all is what I’m saying. Sadly I’m probably going to be starting more series this year than I finish. But EH. I refuse to let that get me down. Standalones are so awesome but I understand why they’re not as popular. As a writer, I understand why you’d want to linger over the world but as a reader…I don’t understand. Heh.

However, this is also the year of trying out new authors/books that I want to. So far, I have read:

  1. George Orwell
    I read 1984 and hated it. Gah, I hated it so much. I read The Animal Farm when I was in Fiji and living on a farm and I remember it gave me the heebie jeebies. I should have learned my lesson then. Orwell, folks, is not for me.
  2. Kate Chopin
    I read The Awakening and some other short fiction by her. Loved them all though the short stories become to run into each other for very long. All stories felt like they were one.
  3. Jose Saramago
    I read The Elephant’s Journey and liked it A LOT. I mean, it’s not the most exciting book but it has so much charm and wit, I couldn’t help liking it.
  4. Ali Smith
    I read Hotel World and liked it. The prose is a bit overwhelming but I would like to try another book by her before I announce my verdict.

I’m trying/going to attempt:

  1. Dai Sijie
    Okay, I’ve already read one of his books so his work is not exactly new for me. However, it has been quite some time since I read the first book. I ‘m currently reading Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress and it’s amazing.
  2. Teju Cole
    I read a New York Times piece by him and fell headfirst madly in love. I was lucky enough to get a book by him for review and it shall be the first one of his works that I read. The book in question is Every Day is for the Thief.
  3. Toni Morrison
    I have been meaning to read her books for a long time. I’m starting with Beloved I think.
  4. Amy Tan
    Joy Luck Club is finally going to be read.
  5. Mia Yun
  6. Patti Kim
  7. Soseki Natsume

Probably more but I’m afraid I’m being a bit too ambitious. I should probably do other things with my life than just read. Right? Right. Anyway, are any of these authors/books familiar to you? Have you read any of them? Thoughts? Arguments?

lists

Trilogies, Duologies, Quartets: Books I Haven’t (and need to) Read

(Technically, the title is weird because “read” will need to be read differently depending on the words attached to it but ehhhhh. Just go with it.)

After lots of deliberation and thought, I decided I would blog about series. I’ve been wanting to blog about something for the past few days and I even drafted some posts but it all petered out…and the blog remained un-updated. So here I am. Updating. About series.

There are a LOT of them. I even have a page dedicated to series I am currently reading but it makes me really sad because there are a lot of them. Sigh. So here’s how we’re going to do it.

I’m going to focus on books I own that are part of a series but that I, despite the best intentions, haven’t read yet. It will happen. It just hasn’t happened yet.

  1. Clariel by Garth Nix
    I bought this, you know? I am excited about this. So why I haven’t read it yet, I don’t know. I really don’t.
  2. A Lion Among Men and Out of Oz both by Gregory Maguire
    Yeah. Hmm. This will happen. Soonish. Some day. Yep.
  3. Bloody Jack #2 to #12 – L. A. Meyer
    I keep on meaning to start reading these again but somehow review books keep taking a giant share of my reading time and I am left with no time. I think I’ll just have to prioritize these to get them read.
  4. The Rebel Prince – Celine Kiernan
    This is the last one in the Moorehawke trilogy. It’s on my shelf! :\
  5. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
    Yeah. I don’t know if I want to read it anymore but I have the book and it would be the saddest not to read it cuz, you know?
  6. Percy Jackson and the  Olympians #2-#5 РRick Riordan
    This needs to happen this year because I’m going to send my copies of the books to my niece in Fiji.
  7. The Kronos Chronicles #2-#3 by Marie Rutkoski
    I think this MG fantasy series is by far superior to anything YA she has written so I’m excited about finishing this.
  8. Seven Realms quartet by Cinda Williams Chima
    I need to reread the first two to read the last two. I want to. I really want to. I just haven’t made the time for them yet.
  9. Vampire Academy #3 to #6 by Richelle Mead
    I think the time for them is coming. I think. I’m not sure.
  10. The Shadowed Sun by N. K. Jemisin
    This one will be read this year.
  11. Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
    This one will be read very soon. I just need to read Seraphina again.
  12. The Agency: Rivals in the City by Y. S. Lee
    I just got a review copy of this yesterday and I think I’ll read it either this month or April.
  13. Maya and Valko #2 by Anne Nesbet
    I had no idea this was a series until I looked it up. I have an ARC from ALA midwinter 2012. Yikes.
  14. The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy
    I want to get the third one before I read this so I can just marathon it.
  15. In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken
    I got this for my birthday so it hasn’t languished on my shelf for too long.
  16. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
    Ah, this one has been languishing. I want to read it! A lot. *shamefaced*
  17. Oona Crate Mystery #2 by Shawn Thomas Odyssey
    I have an ARC. I’ll get around to it. Eventually.
  18. The Obernewtyn Chronicles #3-5 by Isobelle Carmody
    These are huge books and that sometimes intimidates me but I am really enjoying the story so I will hopefully read them sooner rather than later.
  19. Goddess War #2 by Kendare Blake
    I hear there is a cliffhanger so I may wait until the third one is released.
  20. The Lynburn Legacy – Sarah Rees Brennan
    I now have all three and can marathon the series. Soon.
  21. Abarat #3 by Clive Barker
    I will wait for t he 4th book to come out before I read this.

Whew. That’s um 44 books on my shelves? Argh. And I have a feeling I’ve missed one or two titles but it’s okay. I think I should challenge myself to read them all this year but I know it’s not going to happen. So I’m going to read as many as I can. So many books. O.O

Do you have series that need completing? I can’t be the only one who has bought the books and not read them, right? RIGHT? Please tell me I’m not the only one.