April TBR!

April TBR!

Happy Tuesday all! Can’t believe it has already been a month but here we are!

My must-read-in-April TBR feels like it is a little lighter than last month but I think that is mostly because March had sooooo many releases that I was looking forward to and April only has a few.

First off:

Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence

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The second book if the Book of the Ancestor series comes out in the US TODAY! I have received an ARC from the publisher and am stupid happy to get started on it! The early reviews that I have seen for it have nothing but the best thins to say.

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I am currently reading Jade City by Fonda Lee. This was one that had kind of been on the backburner for me but Greg and I will be going on the Nerd Book Review Podcast to review it with Cam and Katie. I am a little over halfway through it as of writing this and am really surprised by just how different this book is.

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My pick from BOTM was Circe by Madeline Miller. I am very much in the mood for some historical fiction set in an ancient culture so this being one of the options for Book of the Month was perfect.

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Age of War by Michael J. Sullivan comes out later this month and I will be reading it for sure! This is the third book in its series and while I haven’t fallen head over heels in love with the series, I am enjoying the very traditional high fantasy vibe it has.

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Aaaah Jane Eyre! I read this book almost exactly 2 years ago for the first time and it is one of my absolute favorite classics. I am re-reading with Melanie and I can’t wait to have someone to chat about it with!

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The final book on my “must read” list for this month is Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel. I was sent an ARC of this book by the publisher so although it does not come out until early May, I am not going to wait. Only Human demands to be read. This is the final book in The Themis Files trilogy so it will be wrapping up all the plotlines and events from the first two. Both of the first two books ended on a cliffhanger so this final book better not do that to me!

Did I forget anything? Any books coming out this month that I just have to get to? Let me know!

March Wrap-Up

March Wrap-Up

It’s that time again! March wrap-up! I feel like I read a little bit less this month than I did in February. Mostly that is attributed to some really great video games coming out this month that totally had me distracted (I am looking at you, Sea of Thieves…). Still, I managed to finish 9 books!

I started A Time of Dread and The Girls in the Picture in February but finished them in March. I enjoyed A Time a Dread about as much as I did John Gwynne’s first series; that is to say, I liked it but didn’t love it like many other people seem to.

We also got to read The Court of Broken Knives this month and really loved it! While it had many of the same elements that other fantasy books have, the prose was so different that it brought something wholly new to the genre.

I was incredibly excited to read Arm of the Sphinx! I should have read this last year after reading Senlin Ascends but as I couldn’t get a physical copy until the Orbit release this month, I waited. And now I have wait for The Hod King and I don’t want to.

Obsidio came out the same day as Arm of the Sphinx so that made that week really interesting as I tried to juggle both books that I was really looking forward to! In short, Obsidio was a great ending to The Illuminae Files, even if I thought the very end was a little bit too much sunshine and rainbows compared to other things that happened throughout the series.

On the Book Geeks Uncompromised podcast, we also had the opportunity to interview author James Maxwell. I read the first book in his Shifting Tides series, Golden Age. This was an interesting fantasy series in an Ancient Greek-esque setting. I liked a lot of the world and the descriptions of some of the cities were beautiful.

The last book that I finished was Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb. I originally read this about 10 years ago but several of my Goodreads friends have been reading it so I needed to do a re-read. I also never read any of Robin Hobb’s other books so I figured this was a good place to start!

I just finished Ready Player One today. I have mentioned before that I started this before and DNF’d about 10% in but with the movie coming out and seeing how much everyone raves about it, we are giving it another shot for review on the podcast. I did like it more the further I got in but I still have problems with it. I am looking forward to the movie because I think some of the scenes will translate beautifully and I am hoping that maybe some of the things that I wasn’t crazy about will be smoothed out in the adaptation. Check out the podcast next Monday for a full review!

For a non-fiction read, I also read The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley. I felt like it got a little bit side-tracked at times and was a little bit of a “read my books!” by the author but, seeing as this was her book, I guess that is somewhat to be expected. I loved the overall messages though and do recommend this to anyone that wants a deeper look at feminism and its history in geek and nerd culture.

Well that was what my month looked like! I am putting together my April TBR still but I am really looking forward to it! Going to do another buddy read on a classic and Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence comes out in a few days so that is enough to have me eager!

What all did you read in March? Let me know below!

February Wrap-Up & March TBR

Second month of wrap-up and TBR, here we go! I can’t get over how much fun these are to do!

First up, I read 9 books in February.

First, I finished The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu. Kind of dry and very heavy on obscure science and math, but overall I did enjoy it. I would like to continue the series but I am not sure if/when.

Next, I also finished my re-read of Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. We were joined by our friend David Clark to discuss and review this book as it is a favorite of ours and we had a fantastic time chatting with him on our podcast.

And then I read the classic story of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. This book was incredibly thought-provoking and is absolutely one of my new favorite classics.

I also spent two weeks binge-reading the Red Rising Saga! We did a podcast review over the entire trilogy that has captured many people’s hearts. I wasn’t totally sold on the hype until the very last book, Morning Star, which kind of took my breath away by how emotional it was.

The Cruel Prince has been incredibly hyped up lately so I gave in to see what all the fuss was about…and ended up DNF’ing before the halfway mark.

We don’t get the chance to read very many self-pub books for the podcast but we did manage to get to the SPFBO finalist, Sufficiently Advanced Magic by Andrew Rowe. While it wasn’t without its flaws, this was a very fun story that I really can’t wait for the next book to come out.

And the last book that I finished in February was Uprooted by Naomi Novic. I really don’t have much to say about this one. I started out enjoying it but by the end was having trouble not skimming.

Right now I am reading A Time of Dread by John Gwynne and The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin.

A Time of Dread is the first in the Of Blood and Bone series, the sequel series to The Faithful and the Fallen. I am a little over halfway right now and there are some dynamics between the angelic Ben-Elim and the humans that I am really getting into.

The Girls in the Picture is the story of Mary Pickman, one of America’s first movie stars, and screenwriter Frances Marion. A few years ago I fell in love with old black and white films and, while I have not watched any movies from quite this far back, I am enjoying the history of how the film industry was birthed.

Finally, these are the books that I want to get to in March!

I am terribly excited for Obsidio‘s release. Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff will be coming within driving distance of me on their tour for their book’s release so I am hoping that I will be able to stop by and bask in their presence for a few minutes.

For those that haven’t heard about it, several self-published authors have gotten together to form Sigil Independent, a guild of writers that are looking to set some quality standards in self-publishing. As part of their promotion, they have put together an ebook sampler with a Choose Your Own Adventure setup to guide you to the story that fits you, the reader, best! I think this is a fantastic and inspired idea. I got Benedict Patrick’s They Mostly Come Out at Night and read the sample chapters and really got into so I would definitely like to finish that book this month as well.

The book club at a local library is actually reading The Zookeeper’s Wife this month and that has been a book that has been kind of vaguely on my TBR since I saw the trailer for the movie a while back. I know the movie is out now so I may be watching that after reading as well!

How to Stop Time is more of a romance as I am understanding it…but there is a movie being produced and Benedict Cumberbatch is cast to play the lead role. So I’m sold.

And then there is Ready Player One… I attempted to read this book a few years ago but only got 50 pages in before DNF’ing. With the movie coming out later this month, we plan on reading this for the Book Geeks Uncompromised podcast. We are also planning on seeing the movie so we can do a book-to-film adaptation discussion. I am committing to getting at least more than the 50 pages in that I did last time because I do want to know what the fuss is all about.

What all did you read in February? Anything you have to get to in March? Let me know!

January Wrap-Up & February TBR

I have not done any of these monthly wrap-ups and TBRs in the past but with the new year it is something that I very much want to start doing. It would stand to reason then that I would be late in getting my very first one out, right?!

For January, I finished 8 books.

First, I finished The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty which was really good….at the end. I struggled through most of the middle parts but it totally paid off at the end and I cannot wait for the final book.

Next up was The Armored Saint by Myke Cole. And it was AMAZING. Seriously. I can pretty much guarantee that this will end up on some people’s Best of 2018 lists.

Around this time I was also doing a re-read of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the Book Geeks Uncompromised Podcast. Of course I love this entire series and I had a fantastic time discussing how it was different reading it as an adult versus as a kid/preteen.

Then comes my big disappointment for this month…Star Wars: Phasma. I was so excited for this book because the character is so mysterious while being a very minor character in the new Star Wars movies but is played up a ton in the marketing campaigns. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like this book delivered on getting to know Phasma any better or understanding her at all.

Then there was Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw. From the blurb I kind of expected something a little bit quirky. This book wasn’t bad but it turned out to be more of a straight up urban/paranormal fantasy and maybe it just wasn’t what I was looking for, maybe I have read too much of that recently with just having finished The Dresden Files, but it just didn’t do much for me.

New Praetorians: Sienna McKnight was an ARC that I received from the publisher that is planned to be an Avengers’ style setup with each book showcasing a different character that gains superhero-like abilities and culminates in a story with all of them together. This book had a lot to offer and there were times where I really enjoyed reading it but I felt that there were just too many events from before the story got going that weren’t fully explored enough to understand some of Sienna’s actions.

Then there was A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne. This is an epic fantasy with elemental based magic and invading giants and diversity and it was a fantastically fun read. Some of it got a tad bit trope-y but it was wonderfully written and an original setup. Very glad I did not wait any longer to read it.

I also got the chance to re-read my 2017 favorite, Senlin Ascends, again for the podcast. This book is one of my all-time favorites and I have gushed about it so much that I don’t think I need to do it again here. :)

The last book that I finished in January was Blood of Assassins by RJ Barker, the second book in The Wounded Kingdom series. We had an opportunity to interview RJ Barker last November after reading the first book, Age of Assassins. I enjoyed Age of Assassins when I read it but Blood of Assassins really sucked me in so much more.

For February, I have _ books that I will absolutely be getting through and then I few that I would love to get to very soon.

I have already finished these first two (thanks to aforementioned lateness to this monthly TBR).

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu was the topic of our most recent podcast episode. This is a mind-bendy book translated from Chinese. The focus on the book is definitely more on the science than on the characters and their development so that kind of hurt my immersion into the story. But towards the end, it did really pick up.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card will actually be the next episode on our podcast. I read this book several years ago when I worked for a library system and we had so much fun talking about it. When I originally read it, Ender’s genius is what appealed to me but reading it again now several years later I discovered so much more that I love as well.

Books that I am currently reading would be……

I am currently doing a buddy read with the lovely Melanie on The Picture of Dorian Gray! I enjoy reading classics but was kind of afraid that this would end up being one that I didn’t like for some reason. I think I was afraid the language and style was going to be a much bigger barrier but it is incredibly readable and some of the themes of the book are absolutely translatable to modern day.

I am also reading Red Rising and at this point I am about 80% through it and already plan to read the rest of the series by the end of the month. I am not completely loving it so far but I am having a great time reading it and can’t wait to see where else it goes.

Books that I know for sure I will be reading this month will be…

So yeah, I am for sure going to be finishing the Red Rising trilogy this month. Provided that book 2 doesn’t just totally kill it for me but I really don’t see that happening.

Sufficiently Advanced Magic by Andrew Rowe has been a book that I am seeing around alot right now thanks to Mark Lawrence’s SPFBO competition. It is a LitRPG fantasy that is a leading contender for winner in said competition. I think I have only ever read one other LitRPG book and I want to know what all of the fuss is about with this one!

With all that, I think there is only room for a handful more books. I have done a few hauls over the past few weeks though because I have no self control. Here are a few that I am going to attempt to get through in the next few weeks.

I have a buddy read planned with a Facebook friend for The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller. This was my pick for my Book of the Month subscription and it appealed to me because it sounds like it is about a boy that goes undercover in an all-girls school. I feel like I normally hear about similar stories the other way around and this one was also marked as feminist so I am eager to get to it.

Over the past year or two I have kind of developed an obsession with romantic/romantic comedy films from 40s-60s. I just love the feel of the movies and actually just bought a 6 disk collection of leading ladies in classic films. The Girls in the Picture tells the story of two of the very first women to reach stardom in the film industry so I will absolutely not be letting that sit on my TBR too long.

So, this last one, I swore off reading it when I first heard about it. So many people seemed to love The Cruel Prince by Holly Black but it just did not sound at all like something that I would enjoy. YA, romance, fantasy…individually, I enjoy all those things. Together, not usually so much for some reason. But a week or so ago a mood hit me that for some reason that was exactly what I wanted to read. I will be honest, despite the rave reviews I am keeping my expectations deliberately low so as to guarantee as much enjoyment as I can from it.

Well that is it for this month! I really hope to be able to maintain the fortitude to do this every month this year. Let me know what you guys have planned to read or what you think of these books!

 

Reading Resolutions & Books Coming out 2018

Reading Resolutions & Books Coming out 2018

I am finally back home and getting back into reading and podcasting and have my goals set out for this year. I did manage to hit all my goals for last year: 80 books read with at least 5 of them being non-SFF and 2 of them being classics.

I read 97 books total and did hit the other two goals as well so I am upping my goals this year!

  1. Overall goal is 100 books this year. Last year I hit 97 and in 2016 I hit 96 so hitting 100 this year will be a bit of a challenge for me as I already spend a lot of time reading. I may end up filling this gap with graphic novels but I am going to try really hard to just fit a few more books into my reading schedule!
  2. Instead of 5 non-SFF books, I am increasing this to 6. I read 8 books last year that were in other genres but as SFF is my favorite, I don’t want to increase this by too much as I want to keep reading what I love but I want to make sure that I continue to read just a few books in other genres as well. This really shouldn’t be difficult as there are a few books coming out in January and February
  3. The only genre that I want to make sure that I read a little bit more of this year is classics. My goal last year was two and that was exactly how many I read (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Dracula) and I want to try and make sure I read a few more this year so I am setting this goal to 5.

With those resolutions set, there are 10 books coming out this year that I want to make sure I make time for.

*1* I don’t know if there is a release date for this book yet and I can’t even find a cover  it but Kill the Farm Boy by Kevin Hearne and Delilah S. Dawson. I mean….the cover says it all. I need this.

*2* This one comes out in just a few days is A Time of Dread by John Gwynne. I really enjoyed The Faithful and the Fallen series last year so I am looking forward to reading more in that world.

*3* Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames. Kings of the Wyld was very fun read but I think that I am going to enjoy this sequel even more.

*4* The Light of All that Falls by James Islington. I am absolutely loving this series and this world. This will be the last book in the series and a lot has to happen in it to tie up all the various plot lines so I am both incredibly eager for it and afraid of it.

*5* The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin. Within the past few years I have developed a special place in my heart just for older films. I never watched any growing up and just randomly started watching His Girl Friday on Hulu while I was playing games and I found that I just really loved everything about it and started searching for more older movies to watch. This book is about two of the earlier superstars in film and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.

*6* Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel, the third and final book in The Themis Files. This is a sci fi series that kind of came out of nowhere for me when I read the first one in 2016 and I have been following updates for it ever since. I don’t want this series to be over but I NEED to read this book.

*7* Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence. While I wasn’t much into The Broken Empire trilogy, I loved Red Sister and this book is really high on my TBR when it comes out in a few months.

*8* Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This is the third book in The Illuminae Files. I have been trying to stay away from YA and didn’t realize that’s what this series is when I started it and am kind of glad that I didn’t know because I don’t know if I would have given it a chance had I known.

*9* Art of War: Anthology for Charity Several authors are going into this anthology that I like. I have not gotten a preorder for it yet but it is really high on my to-do list. All the proceeds for this book are going to Doctors Without Borders.

*10* How to Stop Time by Matt Haig. Despite the title, this is more romantic fiction than science fiction. The synopsis kind of reminds me of The Time Traveler’s Wife. There is going to be a movie though and Benedict Cumberbatch has already been cast in the lead male role so I am sold on it!

There are a lot of books that came out in 2017 that I also still need to read so I think 2018 is going to be a very full year and I can’t wait! :D

What are you looking forward to in 2018?

Top Books of 2017

Top Books of 2017

Wow, I was really not expecting narrowing down this list to be so painful. So. Many. Good. Books.

So these are the top books that we read in 2017. Some were published this year, others in previous years. These are NOT listed in favorite to least favorite or anything like that because after the pain of taking some books off this list, I just did not have it in me to rank them. The links on the titles are to our review of that book.

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

25895524After reading the first two Broken Empire books and hating Jorg Ancrath so much that we wanted to throw the book just not being super into it, we decided to give Red Sister a try. I liked Lawrence’s writing style in the Broken Empire but just could not get past the MC so I was eager to try out something in a different setting from him. And boy oh boy did it pay off!

 

 

 

Sapphire’s Flight by K.S. Villoso

33358635Sapphire’s Flight is the third book in The Agartes Epilogues. I read the whole trilogy in 2017 but Sapphire’s Flight was my favorite of the three. The world-building and the story asked that you pay attention to details from the first page and, while I certainly enjoyed the first two books, Sapphire’s Flight brought it all together perfectly.

There is a sequel series coming out in 2018 as well!

 

 

Skin Game by Jim Butcher

19486421This kind of is representative of The Dresden Files as a whole. We have been reading them for over a year, over half of them in 2017, and if you can’t count a series that you stuck with for fifteen books a favorite, then what were you doing for fifteen books?

Seriously though, the series started out a little shaky as Butcher was a new author but the series has grown on us. A lot.

 

 

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

23395680We might kind of have a thing for sci-fi books written in documentary format.

Although YA is typically not our thing, we are addicted to this series about evil corporations, space zombies, and a psychotic AI system.

 

 

 

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

30134847Just to further showcase our love for sci fi books written in documentary style…

I mean seriously though, what’s not to love?

Giant robots, aliens that made decisions that impacted Earth forever ago, snarky anonymous protaganists…

The first book hooked us last year and Waking Gods absolutely lived up to its predecessor.

 

Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft

17554595I read this book in August and since then I have had to actively stop myself from gushing about it to anyone I meet that even casually mentions an interest in books. And I can’t even fully describe why I loved it so much.

A fairly simple plot of a man searching for his wife that went missing on their honeymoon to the Tower of Babel, this story is adventurous, thoughtful, beautiful, and remarkably imaginative.

100% Dani’s favorite book of the year.

 

The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington

22878967James Islington cites both Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson as inspirations for his debut series and it shows. This is the first book in The Licanius Trilogy and it celebrates everything that we love about the epic fantasy genre. Tropes abound in this series but they are well written and just make me love the genre all over again.

 

 

 

Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames

30841984Orbit came out with some pretty great debuts this year but our favorite of them was this tale of a has-been mercenary group getting back together for one last adventure.

Full of humor and references to music and pop culture, there is a reason that so many people raved about this book this  year.

Greg’s pick for Favorite of 2017.

 

 

Lost Boy by Christina Henry

35224165We haven’t read very many Peter Pan retellings so it may be our lack of experience with them that made this book stand out so much to us but I loved every minute of it.

Told from the perspective of the boy who would become Captain Hook, this book takes a dark spin on the origins of Peter Pan and Hook’s friendship. This book took the theme of the original story about the importance of growing up to another level.

Seriously, sitting here thinking about how to describe this book, I kind of want to re-read it.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

25489134This fantastic book is a retelling of Russian folklore. Although folklore and books based on “real” mythology isn’t usually something we go out and look for, we were sucked into this book from the start. The sequel, The Girl in the Tower, is out now and it breaks my heart that I haven’t read it yet.

 

 

 

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

34002132I mean, was there ever a chance that this list was not going to include Oathbringer?

No. No, there wasn’t.

The third book in The Stormlight Archive was a release that we were eager for all year and it exactly played up to our expectations.

 

 

What were your favorites for 2017? Any books that you think we need to get to ASAP in 2018? Let us know!