Books on a Budget

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I don’t have a lot of disposable income.  It can be an issue when you’re reading 100+ books a year.  I know a lot of us, as bloggers receive free copies for review, but if you’re just starting out as a book blogger and still trying to establish your presence as a reviewer, reading can quickly become an expensive pastime.

Over the years I’ve become pretty adept at finding deals on books!  It can take a lot of effort and patience, if like me, your TBR hangs out in the 700 range, but it’s usually easy to maintain once you’ve put it together.

eReaderIQ

eReaderIQ

A lot of fellow readers I know utilize eReaderIQ.  It’s pretty easy to use, and there are two ways to use it.  The simplest way is to check it daily for price drops.  You can put limits on minimum or maximum prices,  search by percentage off, and sort by genre.  The second way to use it, is to make an account, add books to a watch list, and get an email notification when a book you want has reached a certain price.  You can also add authors to a watch list, and get a notification any time one of their books drops in price.

Advantages:  It’s nice to receive email notifications, and once your watch list is all set, you don’t have to do anything else unless you add or remove books from that list.  Another thing I love is looking at the price watch history.  You can see the lowest price point the book has ever been offered at, and their algorithms will make recommendations to purchase or wait based on the frequency and current price point of the sale.

Disadvantages: It only pings books about once a day (and some Kindle deals are known to drop for only a few hours.  If you have an author you love who also has a common sounding name (Stephen King, Mark Lawrence) eReaderIQ doesn’t seem to differentiate between THE Stephen King and that other guy who also happens to be named Stephen King.

Tor.com Free eBook of the Month

Tor.Com Free eBook

This is one of my favorite offerings from one of my favorite publishers.  Simply sign up here, and receive an email notification whenever a new book becomes available for download. (Their new one is available for download right now!)

Advantages:  It’s totally free, no review required, you get an email notification, and don’t even have to set a password.  It is available as a Kindle download and a PDF file I believe.

Disadvantages: You don’t get a choice.  Often times the book is being offered for free because there is a sequel coming up Tor would like to encourage you to purchase.  Additionally, for a few months I made the mistake of trying to send the books to myself via my phone.  Now those books are only on my phone (and I really am not keen on reading them there).  And since Kindle has no record of a purchase, I can’t even utilize the Content and Devices feature to transfer them to another device.  Hardwiring my phone to computer doesn’t make a difference either.

GoodReads Giveaways

GoodReads Giveaways

I have pretty good luck with GoodReads Giveaways.  I won six last year.  Which is admittedly, a very small fraction of my reading, but it still always brightens my day when I wake up to get one of those emails.  I do think the fact that I have been reviewing regularly on GoodReads for three years factors into this.  I know that reviewing your giveaway wins on GoodReads factors in.  The good news is, I don’t think that anyone really polices what you write in terms of your review, so simply putting a little blurb in there like: I won this and I am so excited to read it!  Sort of tricks the system into believing you’ve reviewed it.

Disadvantages: Winning is random and not guaranteed.  The offerings are not always what you are looking for.  Reviews are expected and I haven’t found GoodReads to be incredibly forgiving in terms of timeline.  I’m a mood reader, so I’ve sometimes made the mistake of entering giveaways with no real intention of reading the book soon after receiving it.  Not reviewing the book has definitely led to not winning for long periods of time.

BookishFirst

BookishFirst Giveaways

This is another giveaways type site.  You can sign up here and check out all the rules.  The way it works is, you read a sample, and give it a first impression review.  When you complete your first impression, you can check a box saying whether you’d like to be entered into the raffle to win a physical ARC of the book, and I believe they have since added an option to receive a kindle version.

Advantages: There’s no real barrier to entry.  You don’t have to meet certain stat requirements for your blog or follower count.  Anyone who is willing to review the book can give it a try.  Out of the 4 raffles I entered, I won 3, so success rate is pretty high, as I think this site is less widely known than some of the others. (Disclaimer: I have not entered one of these raffles since 2018.)

Disadvantages: It’s still randomized and there’s no guarantee of winning.  You’re still expected to get your review up in a timely manner.  There aren’t always a lot of options.  (This week they appear to only have two books on raffle.)  Sometimes the samples are large and reading the first impression can be time consuming, and annoying because it’s done on a computer.

Amazon Wishlists

Amazon Wishlist

This is my current preferred method for tracking ebook deals.  Most of my GoodReads TBR is on an Amazon Wishlist.  I check it every morning, sort the prices low to high, and see what prices dropped that day.

Advantages: There are a good many price drops that are not always advertised on the Kindle Daily or Monthly Deals page.  Hunting through eReaderIQ can sometimes be laborious, and there is no guarantee they’ve caught the price drop yet.  The wishlist is in real time. Furthermore, you’re only looking at the prices of books you actually want to read. I sign up for all the deals emails, BookBub, BookPerk, The Portalist… but I don’t often look at them because I don’t need to be tempted by something simply because the price is low.  I’d rather pay full price for a good book than a dollar or two for a bad one.  The Amazon Wishlist cuts out the temptation.  If a book made it there, it’s because I know I want to read it.

Disadvantages: Maintaining and adding to this list (or taking the item away if you’ve changed your mind) can be time consuming.  Mine is in need of updating and I’m loathing the idea.  It’s very easy for this wishlist to grow out of control.

Other sources: These are mostly email newsletters I receive letting me know about various sales happening on eBooks.  I tend to have the best luck with BookRiot, it sends a daily digest and info about giveaways (though I’ve never won one of those) and BookBub is okay.  The Portliest focuses on a lot of the classics.  Book Perk is sponsored by Harper Collins, but Simon & Schuster, and Penguin Random House both publish similar newsletters for their own books.

BookBub

Book Perk

The Portalist

BookRiot Deals

I couldn’t not give a shout out to my local library who has or can acquire just about anything my SFF loving heart could desire.  And a special, special thank you to all you local used bookshop owners, for feeding my reading addiction.

How about you?  What’s your method for saving money on books?

Reading Challenge: 20 in ’20

I love me a reading challenge.  I rarely finish them but it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy trying.  And sometimes they do help motivate me.

I’m borrowing this challenge from the Captain at The Captain’s Quarters.  I’m using it to help me catch up on books and authors I should have already read a very, very long time ago.  I listed the number of ratings each book has on GoodReads after the title and author.  I thought it would be fun to see how many others have read them before me.  Spoiler: Eight of them have more than 100,000 ratings, and all but one have more than 10,000 ratings.

Simpsons Shame

These are books that seem destined (or maybe already are) considered to be classics of the genre.  Books that for some reason or other I keep putting off.  Maybe the blurb doesn’t speak to me the way I want it to or I already attempted them multiple times (I’m looking at you The Name of the Wind) and just never finished, but didn’t dislike enough to officially DNF.

11-22-63 Stephen King

11/22/63 by Stephen King : 386,635 – This is the oldest book on my TBR.  I own it.  It was one of the first I added to GoodReads back in 2015.  I think it’s the time travel that’s putting me off.  I realized a couple years ago time travel and all it’s wonderfully mind bending paradoxes sort of puts me off.

The Name of the Wind Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss : 642,245 – I’ve started listening to this multiple times.  I even made it like halfway through on a road trip to Ohio once.  It’s just so long.  Also- I’m putting it back on Rothfuss since there’s no third book in sight.

Blood of Elves by Andrzej Spakowski Witcher 3

Blood of Elves (The Witcher #3) by Andrzej Sapkowski : 62,301 – I was reading these before the show was a thing.  Right after I sank like 500 hours into the very wonderful Witcher 3: Wild Hunt video game.  I don’t know why I keep putting it off.  I was excited for this too since it’s the first full length novel set in the Witcherverse.

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson : 83,654 – This one is just intimidating because of it’s length.  And the fact that it’s hard science fiction.  Which always goes over my head.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells : 45,161 – There’s a lot of Murderbot love circulating out there.  But I heard that Murderbot likes to watch TV (who doesn’t?) and I became a little concerned it wasn’t going to be what I wanted it to be.  My expectations have been reset, which is a good thing, but also caused me to drag my feet in picking it up.

The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell

The Winter King (The Warlord Chronicles #1) by Bernard Cornwell : 34,056 – I don’t even have a good reason for not having read this one.  Favorite author.  Favorite subject.  Good reviews.  It was actually pretty hard to find (I wanted to purchase it and no bookstore ever seemed to have it).  I did finally track down a copy, I just need to make the time.

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1) by James S.A. Corey : 142,112 – Why are there so many books in this series?  The thought of reading all nine is a little daunting, but I know this is well loved by several readers I trust.  And hey- maybe by the time I finish the series will be complete.

Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erickson 1

Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen #1) by Steven Erikson : 82,296 – I’ve heard this book comes with a steep learning curve, which is why I’ve put it off for so long. But now that I’m thinking of it, the same could be and has been said of two of my other favorites: Too Like the Lightning and Ninefox Gambit.  So who knows.  Maybe it’ll be a surprise favorite.

The Shining and Doctor Sleep by Stephen King : 1,027,773  & 165,444 – I wanted to read both before seeing the new Doctor Sleep movie (and maybe The Shining).  I’ve started The Shining at least twice that I remember.  It’s just so darn slow.  But it’s hard to feel like a real Stephen King fan when I haven’t read it.  So.  2020 will be the year.

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Children of Time (Children of Time #1) by Adrian Tchaikovsky : 43,448 – I started this during a bad reading slump and just never finished.  Not because it wasn’t good, I got further with this than I did any other book during that reading slump.  But somehow it’s always harder to go back to something you’ve started previously.  Anyway- this book gets lots of love in my virtual book club so it’s becoming a priority.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.jpg

Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam #1) by Margaret Atwood : 207,217 – Here’s a super shameful secret.  I’ve never read a single thing Margaret Atwood.  A lot of it has to do with her attitude toward genre fiction and her insistence that she doesn’t write it.  It just feels really disrespectful to her readers, not to mention seriously out of touch.  Anyway- I don’t have much interest in The Handmaid’s Tale though I would like to check it out someday so I’m going with this one.

Malice by John Gwynne

Malice (The Faithful and the Fallen #1) by John Gwynne : 13,583 – After coming to the sad conclusion the Abercrombie is not quite what I’m looking for, I’m hoping Gwynne will fill the void.

Brian McLellan Sins of Empire

Sins of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder #1) by Brian McClellan : 9,573 – Military Fantasy.  I realize it’s not something that everyone gets excited about, but when the action scenes are written well I think it’s probably one of my favorite subgenres.  I have high hopes for this.

Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Assassin’s Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb : 212,259 – She has written so much that I think I really just didn’t know where to start with Hobb.  This might not be the best place, but I already own it, so…

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson : 255,777 – I’ve never read Sanderson.  And honestly just the blurb has me cringing away in fear.  But it has all these awards and a super high rating and like everyone has read it except me… So I’m obligated, right?

Blood Song by Anthony Ryan

Blood Song (Raven’s Shadow #1) by Anthony Ryan : 66,267 – Ryan has been on my radar a long time.  I finally read something by him last year, A Pilgrimage of Swords.  It was a quick novella and not necessarily one of my favorites, but it was because I wanted more of what I’d read.  Hoping this scratches that itch.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by NK Jemisin

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance Trilogy #1) by N.K. Jemisin : 46,482 – This series isn’t nearly as popular as Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy, but I tried The Fifth Season and it just didn’t grab me the way I wanted it to.  I think the abused children sucked a lot of the joy out of it for me.  But I do like her style and I think this one might be more my speed.

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

The Collapsing Empire (The Interdependency #1) by John Scalzi : 30,774 – Nope.  Haven’t read Scalzi either.  This is likely to be a group read for February, so I might as well read him in a group setting and see what all the fuss is about.

The Word For World Is Forest by Ursula K Le Guin

The Word for World is Forest (Hainish Cycle #5) by Ursula K. Le Guin : 14,121 – I actually have read Le Guin before.  I wasn’t a huge fan of A Wizard of Earthsea – but it was a middle grade book and I don’t have a great history with YA or children’s books anyway, so I’m willing to give her another shot.  Especially knowing how well loved she is.  I picked this one to continue with because I love a good forest setting.

And there it is!  My 20 in ’20.  I’m really excited for some of these and feeling pretty hesitant on others, but either way, I hope to be more educated in my two favorite genres come 2021.  Many thanks again to the Captain for letting me tag along with my own Ports for Plunder.

Have you read any of these?  Are there any super popular books out there you haven’t read yet?

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Upcoming Releases for 2020

TTT-NEW

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

If It Bleeds by Stephen King

If It Bleeds by Stephen King (expected May 5, 2020) – This is the next novel in the Holly Gibney series.  I haven’t even really read the blurb- but like all new Stephen King books, I’m super excited for it.

9781984805997_GirlandStars_FCO_mech.indd

The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence (expected April 21, 2020) – Ugh – This year is going to be my year to catch up on all things Mark Lawrence.  I might even reread Prince of Thorns.  I’m super excited for this one, even if I likely won’t get to it right away.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (expect May 19, 2020) – This prequel feels like it is finally my chance to join in with everyone’s love for The Hunger Games.  I never read the books because I loved the movie so much.  I’m sure this book will get a movie too, but I plan to read the book first this time.

A Conjuring of Assassins by Cate Glass

A Conjuring of Assassins by Cate Glass (expected February 4, 2020) – This is the sequel to last year’s An Illusion of Thieves.  I loved that one and I’m confident I’ll love this one too.

Eden by Tim Lebbon

Eden by Tim Lebbon (expected April 7, 2020) – I’d tell you what this is about but I stopped reading after it said eco-thriller.  It made me think of another favorite author, Michael Crichton.

The Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell

The Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell (expected May 5, 2020) – This book is set in a world where magic is paid for in memories.  I’m both curious and hesitant about this one.  I can see it being really fantastic, but I can also see the premise setting the book up for trouble. Are there armies of people who remember nothing?  How does that work?  Is magic used sparingly?  I’m remaining cautiously optimistic.

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin (expected March 24, 2020) – This novel is based on a short story that was included in Jemisin’s How Long Til Black Future Month? which released last year.  While I wasn’t sure I quite liked that particular story, I loved the concept and I’m hopeful that with a full length novel she can answer some of the questions I had about it.

 

These last three I’ve all mentioned in previous posts, which I’ve linked to below in case you missed them or would like to check them out again.

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso (expected February 18, 2020)

The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey (expected April 14, 2020)

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones (expected May 19, 2020)

What are your most anticipated releases for the first half of the year?  Leave me a link below so I can check them out!

Year in Review: 2019 Wrap Up

Hello friends!  It’s good to be back after a small hiatus.  Honestly I didn’t mean to disappear from the blogosphere but between the chaos of Christmas with a small child in the house and family visiting from out of state, I simply haven’t had time for blogging or even reading.

But they’re back home now and I’m excited to get back to some semblance of normalcy, even if that means vacation is pretty much over.  So before we get much into 2020 I figured I’d start with some stats for 2019!

Books Read: 122

Novels: 78

Novellas: 10

Graphic Novels: 8

Short Fiction: 20

DNF: 6

Pages Read: 36,000 – ish.  I wasn’t counting my short fiction reads for quite awhile.  GoodReads is factoring in all my DNFs.  This is my best guess.  *shrugs*

Genres Read: (Not including graphic novels and short stories, of which they were mostly Science Fiction and Fantasy.)

Science Fiction: 35 (37%)

Fantasy: 34 (36%)

Thriller: 8 (9%)

Horror: 7 (8%)

Historical Fiction: 6 (6%)

Classics: 2 (2%)

Western: 1 (1%)

Mystery: 1 (1%)

Authors Read: (An extra author has been factored in since one book was cowritten.)

Women: 51 (42%)

Men: 68 (55%)

Queer / Non-Binary: 4  (3%)

Top Reads: I gave 7 books a 4.5 star rating and up in 2019.

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky – I went for the Vikings I stayed for the love story.  I know it wasn’t for everyone, but it still stands out as one of my top five for the year.

The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley – A contemporary retelling of Beowulf with a despicable female lead.  Pretty much my favorite kind of book.

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee – A crazy military science fantasy with lots of terms I don’t understand and a sociopathic ghost for a main character.  Don’t overthink it.  Just go with it.

Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade – I know not all my blogging buddies loved this as much as I did- but the humor just hit all the right notes for me and I loved feeling like I don’t know how it’s all going to end.

Inland by Tea Obreht – A Western that subverts all tropes and expectations.  I blame the camel.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow – I loved this- part coming of age, part romance, a little adventure, and all so very relevant.

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia – Tuesday was that rare character that I could see a little of myself in.  I loved her friends and the Boston setting and treasure hunt aspect of the book too.

As an added bonus I just realized that all my favorite reads this year were written by women!  Which will be great motivation for me to read more of them next year.

Biggest Disappointments: These aren’t necessarily the books I rated the lowest this year, but books I had high hopes for and just didn’t live up to my too high expectations.

The Menace from Farside by Ian McDonald – It’s only because I love McDonald and his Luna series so much that I was so disappointed with this.  It’s hard to say how I would have felt about it without having those expectations in the first place.

The Blade Itself and A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie – There are a lot of “Fantasy Greats” I have yet to read, Sanderson, Rothfuss (well, lets just say I’ve never finished a Rothfuss book), Pratchett, Hobb… the list goes on.  Of all those, I honestly expected to love Abercrombie the most.  His name has become synonymous with the term grimdark.  I was expecting Mark Lawrence meets Vikings and instead I got… something else.  #SorryNotSorry #ItsNotMeItsYou

Dead Astronauts by Jeff VanderMeer – Much like McDonald above, I expect a lot out of VanderMeer.  Unfortunately I wasn’t aware he decided to take it in a whole new direction with Dead Astronauts, and it just didn’t work for me.

The Stand by Stephen King – It’s a sad year when even my favorite author can’t cheer me up.  King, despite being my favorite, has always been hit or miss.  It’s bound to happen when an author publishes 2+ books a year.  I wanted to love this like I loved Under the Dome, but ultimately the villain was kind of silly and the horror was a little lacking.

Most Read Authors:

Brian K. Vaughan – I read 6 books from the Saga series.  I’m not sure Vaughan really counts since they’re graphic novels and relatively easy to read, but I also didn’t want to leave him out because I love his stuff!

Ian McDonald – I read his two new novellas, The Menace from Farside and Time Was, as well as the final book in the Luna series, Moon Rising.

Stephen King – Always makes it onto my most read list, just because he has so much backlog.  I read The Institute, Pet Sematary, and The Stand.

For the rest of these authors I read two books each.

Most Popular Post:

The Need by Helen Phillips

The Need by Helen Phillips – As much as I’d like to pretend it’s my super awesome writing skills people are reading in this post, mostly they are just here to ask about the ending of this book.  It’s cool.  I even updated my review with a spoilery interpretation of the ending in response.  Someone even kindly thanked me for it even though my interpretation sucks and doesn’t explain anything at all.

My Personal Favorite Post:

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Top Ten Tuesday: My First Ten Reviews – In which I re-reviewed the first ten books I reviewed in gifs.

Ugh.  I think that’s it.  I’m tired of stats.  The best thing about 2019 was all the wonderful new bookish friends I’ve made.  The blog turned one back in August and I totally forgot to celebrate.  Oh well.  I wouldn’t be here at all if I hadn’t met all of you and my year was better for it.  I’m looking forward to all our bookish adventures together in 2020!

How was your 2019?

Top Ten Tuesday: My Winter TBR

TTT-NEW

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic is my Winter TBR, which is pretty self explanatory.  As of right now the plan is to be buried by ARCs in January, but I also have a few buddy reads scheduled.  Send all the positive luck, wishes, thoughts and karma my way.  I’m going to need it!

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes – I read Beukes’s Shining Girls earlier this year and didn’t love it.  But a few of my regular buddy reading friends offered this one up and I couldn’t say no.  I’ve just started the first few pages, but I’m loving it so far!

Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee The Machineries of Empire

Raven Stratagem (Machineries of the Empire #2) by Yoon Ha Lee – I can count what I’m currently reading in my TBR right?  I have to.  Because the number of books I haven’t started yet is terrifying.  Anyway- enjoying it, but some of the magic from Ninefox Gambit isn’t quite there.

Empire Ascendant Worldbreaker Saga 2 by Kameron Hurley

Empire Ascendant (The Worldbreaker Saga #2) by Kameron Hurley – Also planned buddy reads!  I’m super excited for these even if The Mirror Empire was a slow start for me.  At the end of book one, we were given a glimpse of a character than I’m really, really hoping we can get to know a little better.

A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen

A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen – I’m hoping to get to this after Zoo City and before January.  (Fingers crossed my friends!)  I’m looking forward to it!  Some trusted readers weren’t too excited about Chen’s last book, but I’m hoping his sophomore effort will be a little more polished.

The God Game by Danny Tobey

The God Game by Danny Tobey – Like a darker version of Ready Player One, minus the 80s trivia, I’m super excited for this one too!  (Though if I’m being honest, I’m dreading the length…)

The Better Liar by Tanen Jones

The Better Liar by Tanen Jones – I’m going to need this to break up the SFF heavy beginning of January.  I’m hoping for super twisty turny thriller I can read in a day because I can’t put it down.

Followers by Megan Angelo

Followers by Megan Angelo – This is going to be my PopSugar prompt: Book with a Pink Cover.  Because it’s really just about the only pink cover I’ve got on my TBR.  I’m super excited for it regardless.

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel – I am thrilled about this one!  In addition to being excited about reading Mandel’s backlist, I’m excited to read her new one too.  She’s got a meandering sort of style, but her characters are so full of life I can’t complain.

The Lost Future of Pepperharrow by Natasha Pulley

The Lost Future of Pepperharrow by Natasha Pulley – First – I’m in love with this cover.  Second.  I’m so happy to get back to Thaniel and Mori and their pet mechanical octopus, Katsu.  Early reviews report good things and I can’t wait to see where Pulley goes with it.

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by KS Villoso

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso – Looking at this cover reminds me of this:

Maybe It's Maybelline Lagertha

Please, please, please.  Let it live up to that.  I feel like I’ve been waiting too long to find a fictional female book character as bad ass as Lagertha.

This covers, like most of it.  Right?!  Be strong blogger buddies.  I know I’m not the only one with an overwhelming January ahead.

What have you got on your TBR this winter?

Can’t Wait Wednesday: The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Title: The Only Good Indians The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

Author:  Stephen Graham Jones

Publisher: Gallery / Saga Press

Genre: Horror

Length: 320 Pages

Release Date: May 19, 2020

Blurb: Peter Straub’s Ghost Story meets Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies in this American Indian horror story of revenge on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

Four American Indian men from the Blackfeet Nation, who were childhood friends, find themselves in a desperate struggle for their lives, against an entity that wants to exact revenge upon them for what they did during an elk hunt ten years earlier by killing them, their families, and friends.

Why I’m Excited for It: I think I included Jones in a couple posts recently, and he’ll be featured in an upcoming review, but I recently read Mapping the Interior and I absolutely cannot get that book out of my head.  I liked his prose from the moment I picked it up, and while I wouldn’t necessarily call the plot fast paced, the pacing was appropriate to the length.

Then I got to the ending, and I was just so disturbed by it, my initial reaction was: “I don’t know if I like this.”  But since I’ve put it down, I keep turning it over and over, trying to suss out the meaning and what happened.  Now I feel a need to go binge everything he’s ever written, and this story is no different.

My excitement at finding a possible new favorite author aside, this blurb sounds perfect for a horror story.  Vengeful entities and old secrets between friends?  Yes please.

Top Ten Tuesday: The Backlog

TTT-NEW

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic is a freebie, but there’s a lot of awesome topics coming up in the next couple weeks, about favorite reads of 2019, or most anticipated reads of 2020, so I decided to take a look at the backlog.  About 60% of my reading comes from new-to-me authors- so here are a few of the ones I enjoyed this year and would like to read more of.

Kameron Hurley: God’s War (Bel Dame Apocrypha #1) and The Light Brigade – I know The Mirror Empire was a miss for a few of my blogging buddies, and I do understand, but ultimately I enjoyed it enough that I’d like to read more of Hurley.  The Light Brigade is her highest rated book on GoodReads, and God’s War came recommended by a frequent buddy reader.

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

Sylvain Neuvel: Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) – Neuvel’s novella The Test was one of my favorites this year.  While I wait for him to write something else wonderful and so perfectly relevant, I plan to give Sleeping Giants (and hopefully the rest of the trilogy) a try.

Wool by Hugh Howey

Hugh Howey: The Wool Omnibus – I flew through Howey’s Half Way Home earlier this year.  It was perfect for me, quick pacing, straightforward writing, and plenty of suspense.  Wool comes highly recommended, and I can’t wait to check it out!

Adrian Tchaikovsky: Children of Time, Redemption’s Blade and The Expert System’s Brother – As prolific as Tchaikovsky is, it’s kind of hard to believe I’ve only ever read Walking to Aldebaran, but it’s true.  I did start Children of Time once, and through no fault of the book (reading slump!) never finished.  I’m looking forward to jumping back into that and checking out a few of these others!

The Singer's Gun by Emily St. John Mandel

Emily St. John Mandel: The Singer’s Gun – I didn’t review it, but I listened to Station Eleven a few months ago and adored it.  It was a very surface level post-apocalyptic / sci-fi story, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  While looking at what else of her’s I might want to check out, I found the Captain’s review of The Singer’s Gun and immediately added it to my TBR.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

Jasper Fforde:  The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next #1) – I first heard about the Eyre Affair a few years ago, when I started becoming more active on GoodReads.  I put it off for a long time because while the blurb was very amusing, it wasn’t obviously my kind of humor right away.  Early Riser was a book club read for me earlier this year, and it made me laugh quite a bit, so I’m feeling ready to finally tackle this.

David Wellington: Chimera (Jim Chapel #1) and Monster Island – Wellington wrote The Last Astronaut, which I read over the summer and mostly enjoyed.  Until I started writing this post I actually didn’t even realize he had older titles!  Both of these sound like one of my favorite genre mashups: sci-fi meets horror!

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Ruta Sepetys: Out of the Easy – It seems like everything Sepetys writes turns into a best seller, which is why I was surprised to find this hiding on her booklist.  I got as far as “It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets” before I added this to my list.  Knowing what she’s capable of after having read The Fountains of Silence, I might not even wait until next year.

Revenge by Yoko Ogawa

Yoko Ogawa: Revenge – I had never heard of Yoko Ogawa until I read The Memory Police earlier this year.  It was surreal and dreamlike and admittedly weird, but somehow I couldn’t put it down.  So of course I had to look up which other works have been translated, and I knew right from the title I had to read this.  It’s a collection of short fiction revenge stories- and who doesn’t like those?

Stephen Graham Jones:  All the things.  I meant to read Mapping the Interior in November for Native American Heritage Month, and it sort of slipped through my fingers amidst some clunkers and the too many buddy reads I’d committed to.  I did finally sit down and read it yesterday, and fell in love with Jones’s voice.  The ending is super disturbing, but I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be in a horror novel, right?  Anyway.  I want to read all of his stuff, but here are a few of the titles that jumped out at me: After the People Lights Have Gone Off, Demon Theory, The Last Final Girl, and The Least of my Scars (whose one stars reviewers have admitted to giving it one star because it’s that disturbing).

Have you discovered any favorite new-to-you authors this year?  Who were they?

Month in Review: November 2019

November was a hit or miss month for me.  I started strong and really enjoyed most of what I read earlier in the month, but got bogged down in the middle with some slower paced books.

I had a lot of fun with SciFi month!  A quick thank you to imyril at One More and Lisa at Dear Geek Place for hosting it!  I’m hoping to be better prepared for it next year and maybe participate in some of the read alongs.

Books read: 9 for October, 95 for the year

DNF: NONE!

SciFi Read: 5

Pages read: 3,792 out of 32,379

Average rating: 3.56

Female Authors: 2 out of 41 for the year

Favorite Read:

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee The Machineries of Empire

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee – Unfortunately I didn’t get the review up in time for SciFi Month, but I finally read it and loved it to bits!

Other Reads Completed:

Dead Astronauts by Jeff VanderMeer

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

After the Flood by Kassandra Montag

The Deep by Rivers Solomon

The Mirror Empire (The Worldbreaker Saga #1) by Kameron Hurley

Gamechanger by L.X. Beckett

The Menace from Farside (Luna) by Ian McDonald

A Little Hatred (Age of Madness #1) by Joe Abercrombie

ARCs Received:

The Lost Future of Pepperharrow by Natasha Pulley

The God Game by Danny Tobey

The Remaking by Clay McLeod Chapman

Truths I Never Told You by Kelly Rimmer

eGalleys Approved:

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

The Last Human by Zack Jordan

The Broken Heavens (The Worldbreaker Saga #3) by Kameron Hurley

Other Highlights:

Book Review: The Dead Girls Club

PopSugar 2020 is Here!

Native American Heritage Month

Bookish Gifts for the Bibliophile in your Life. Or you know, for yourself.

Top Ten Tuesday: SciFi Month and Fall Covers

Coming Up:  I still have a few reads I didn’t quite finish in November, and a couple in series I’m working on.

Raven Stratagem (Machineries of the Empire #2) by Yoon Ha Lee

The Blade Itself (First Law #1) by Joe Abercrombie

Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk

How was your November?  Have you got anything special planned for December?

Top Ten Tuesday: Winter Reads

TTT-NEW

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s theme is holiday reads, and while I’m sure I could dig you up some Speculative Fiction that happens during holidays (NOS4A2 anyone?) I personally don’t have that many that I know of on my list.  With a two hour delay this morning, and the first real snow of the season falling over New England, I went for books with a winter setting instead.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman – This is a favorite from my childhood, and is probably overdue for a re-read.  But I swear the landscape and setting are so well written, you feel the cold when reading.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden – This is a Russian fairytale retelling, set in a remote Russian village far in the north, often described as atmospheric by the group I read it with

Early Riser Jasper Fforde

Early Riser by Jasper Fforde – This is a kooky tale about humans who hibernate and a weird urban myth call the Gronk.  There were a few parts that made me chuckle, if you Fforde’s humor is your thing.

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky – This was one of my favorite books of the year – and it definitely fits the winter them, being set in Canada, as far north as the Arctic Circle.

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie – While this book is less about the wintry setting than others, most of it definitely takes place in the freezing cold! Enough to set my teeth a chattering.

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin – When I was doing my research for this post, this book popped up repeatedly.  And since the planet’s name is actually Winter, it would be silly to leave it out.

Cyber Storm by Matthew Mather

Cyber Storm by Matthew Mather – A techno-thriller in which a freak blizzard buries New York in snow and cuts them off from the rest of the world. Described as a techno-thriller, I am curious to find out how the blizzard plays into it.

Good Morning Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton

Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton – A researcher and astronomer in the Arctic is seemingly abandoned when his radio communication falls silent.  Meanwhile a team of astronauts still in space wonder if they will ever get home after their communications fall silent.  This one seems to have mixed reviews on GoodReads- what do you all think?

Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice – An #ownvoices book set in the Yukon on an Anishinaabe reservation.  When the grid crashes, panic sets in as supplies run low, and survivors begin trickling in from nearby communities.

The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson

The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson – This book is set in the Canadian Yukon after the fall of mankind due to nuclear war and disease.  Other readers have described the setting as “almost a character itself” which is something I love!

I’ll tell you what I was looking for and couldn’t find- post-apocalyptic, Earth is in eternal winter, book about the survivors.  You know, like The Road, with more people.  Does anyone have anything like that?  Which books made your Top Ten Tuesday?

 

 

Bookish gifts for the bibliophile in your life. Or you know, for yourself.

Happy turkey day friends!  Eat lots of food, watch lots of football, and take a nap.  Or do like I do and ignore your family and curl up in the corner with a good book.  That works too.

Anyway, with Thanksgiving upon us, in America our heads all turn to another major holiday: Christmas!  So I put together a list of gift ideas for all the book lovers in your life.

Candles – You don’t have to be a book lover to appreciate a good candle, but being a reader might help you appreciate these candles just a tad more than others.

Library Candle by Homesick

Old Books by Frostbeard

Bubbling Potions by From the Page

Vintage book purses – Which unfortunately don’t look big enough to hold another book, but are still really cool!

Great Gatsby purse by Kathleen Scranton

Harry Potter handbag by Bookarelli

The Hobbit handbag by Novel Creations

Posters – I thought this was a fun idea for readers across all age groups!  All these posters were found on the shopping site Uncommon Goods.

Shakespearean Insults Poster

100 Books Scratch Off Poster

Heroic Girls in Literature Poster

Book inspired Tea – Okay so I’m not a tea drinker- I’m a coffee drinker.  But I’m in the minority.  This could be a really fun and affordable option for the tea lovers in your life.

HG Wells Inspired Tea by Literary Tea Co.

Ketterdam Inspired Tea by The Simply Bookish

Mary Shelley Inspired Tea by Literary Tea Company

eReader Covers – Because who doesn’t want their ebook to look like a physical book!

Pride & Prejudice Kindle Case by KleverCase

Game of Thrones Case from SuperBook

Beauty and the Beast by ChickLitDesigns

Of course- you could just give your bookish friend what they really want, which is more books!