reading challenge

Reading Challenge Update: September & October 2019

What up, y’all? Sooooo, I’ve been all over the place the last two months and totally had no time to do any Reading Challenge updates until now. I’m not too bothered by it, though. I’ve been to some work events, seen some awesome concerts, spent time with great friends at NYCC, moved to a house with some of my best friends, and gotten completely obsessed with Death Stranding. It’s been a good time, but now it’s time to get back to some books.

Let’s give a look at what books I read in September and October!

The Five-Star Favs

final fantasy vii
Finished: 9/8/19| Rating: ★★★★★

Challenges met:

The Kids Are Alright: A Turks Side Story by Kazushige Nojima probably isn’t a LitRPG book in the strictest sense of the word, but it is a book based on the classic JRPG Final Fantasy VII, focusing on the Turks, a mob-like, fictional organization, and a slew of original characters. And Kadaj, let’s not forget that. I’m still stunned by how amazingly written and in-character this translated book was. [Review]

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reading challenge

Reading Challenge Update: August 2019

Hey there! How are you today? I have some good news in regards to the reading challenges I set myself this year and wanted to share with you guys before I get started.

The entire point of these reading challenges is to encourage you to read more than you normally would. As I’ve done for the past few years, I set a goal of reading 50 books a year, and thanks to the Fruits Basket volumes I’ve been rereading, I recently accomplished this goal! If I take away the manga, however, my real read count is 40 out of 50 books, but that’s still really good for me! I definitely think doing these reading challenges has sped my reading up, not dramatically, but enough to make a difference, so I’m super happy about that.

As I stated in the last challenge, I won’t be including the Fruits Basket volumes anymore in the challenges because they’ve fulfilled all the challenges they could possibly fill, but let it be known that I read eight entire volumes in August. Yiss!

Onward to the books!

The Five-Star Favs

down among the sticks and bones
Finished: 8/17/19 | Rating: ★★★★★

Challenges met:

While not writing under a pseudonym for Down Among the Sticks and Bones, Seanan McGuire has penned books under the name of Mira Grant and will soon write a book under the name of A. Deborah Baker. This book raised the bar from Every Heart a Doorway, exploring a world I’d grown fascinated with in that story, the Moors. It was dark and gruesome, and I came to understand Jack and Jill much, much better. I do wish more about the Master and Dr. Bleak had been explored, but there’s only so much you can do with a novella.

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Book Review: Middlegame

middlegame
Title:
 Middlegame
Author:
 Seanan McGuire
Genre: Science Fiction/Contemporary
Version: Hardcover
Page Count: 528
Publisher: Tor.com
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Unconventional narrative, messy characters, well-written villains
Recommended Readers: Hey, kids, wanna have your minds blown?
Rating: ★★★★★

Middlegame marks the first book from Seanan McGuire that I have ever read, and I fear that I have made a mistake. I fear that Seanan has ruined me for other books, including her own because honestly? Where am I supposed to go from here? There’s nowhere more up to go! This is it. I have reached a pinnacle of storytelling and composition I had no idea I was going to receive or was even looking for to begin with. It’s a masterpiece, a tour de force; it’s everything all the other books want to be like when their authors spend decades honing their craft and feel like attempting the impossible.

Our story follows separated twins Roger and Dodger, and yes, those names are deliberately bad, and yes, they have been deliberately separated, unaware of the other’s existence. This is a regular Parent Trap scenario–if your parents are two evil alchemists, a lab was your womb, and you were created, not to be people, but to embody two parts of an all-powerful, alchemical doctrine that, when united, can give the wielder enough power to control the fabric of the universe—to become a god, in other words.

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book freak out

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag – 2019

I am just destined to be late on things in July, apparently. But that’s okay! Because I’m still going to do what I want, and what I want right now is to do this really awesome tag I found on Soffi’s blog at A Book. A Thought (she’s super amazing and posts some really awesome stuff, so you should def follow her if you aren’t already).

I’m not sure who came up with the tag originally, but whoever you are: you’re lovely and amazing, too!

Here’s hoping you guys like this one. It’s the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag!

Best Book I’ve Read so Far in 2019

middlegame

Seanan McGuire just flexed on everybody with Middlegame. This is a standalone that packs a punch, the story grounded in real-world New England and California but rendered incredibly complex with alchemy and the cosmic forces of the universe summed up inside, well, people. McGuire demonstrates how much she’s mastered her craft with this one, similarly to how her character Reed attempts to master the Alchemical Doctrine: it’s stunning and terrifying, beautiful and unbelievable all at the same time. Combine all that with superior characterization, flawlessly balanced third-person omniscient, and timeline juggling, and we have an ambitious masterpiece I will live in awe of for years to come.

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may 2019 book releases

May 2019 Book Releases

Hooray, it’s May–and with it come my birthday and a new selection of my most anticipated book releases!

Even if you haven’t enjoyed all this pollen we’ve suffered for the May flowers everywhere (at least where I am), this month has so many good books in store to make up for it.

Including a new series by two of my favorite duo authors:

aurora rising
Release Date: May 7 | Goodreads

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

Why I Want to Read This: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff were born to write stories together. I fell head over heels for the Illuminae Files, so I screamed when I saw they were doing Aurora Rising together. This time with more traditional storytelling featuring a colorful ensemble cast. I was going to try to predict who my favorite character is going to be, but I don’t think I can. They all sound so amazing, and I cannot wait to get to know them all (and suffer alongside them). Yeah, I know how these authors do. I’m already trying to connect the dots between the title, the Aurora Academy, and this girl Aurora that’s coming out of two centuries’ worth of cryo-sleep. What are y’all up to???

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