Tag Archives: book chat

Five Favourite Books I Read in 2017 (That Weren’t 2017 Releases)

While I focused a lot of my reading energy on 2017 releases, I will say I had favourites that I read this year that came out past years. It’s hard to fit in reading time for older titles when there is so many new and shiny reads coming out and demanding your attention. It’s true and utter hardship, I tell you. However, I have five books I read this year that didn’t release in 2017 that I loved to pieces and want to recommend.

Crooked Kingdoms by Leigh Bardugo

Hello, my name is Sam, and I only just read the sequel to Six of Crows in the last week of November. Seriously though, THIS BOOK. There was so much drama, intrigue, failures, successes, discomfort — I was a ball of emotions reading it, particularly during one point where I sobbed like a huge baby. This duology is easily a favourite because it’s one of the few cases where I can say I loved the entire ensemble cast of characters and wanted to protect all my babies in one go. I maintain that Inej and Nina’s friendship may still be one of my favourite things about these books, but in all honesty, Crooked Kingdoms was just such a satisfying conclusion for me. Thanks for all the pain, Leigh.

Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

Born a Crime was a book I picked up on a whim thanks to a friend and co-worker’s recommendation. This book looks at Trevor Noah’s life living in South Africa and being born to an African mother and Swiss father. Being mixed race in South Africa is considered a crime, and Noah leads up through all the lengths of what his family did to keep him safe, while also sharing amazing, if often sad stories of his life growing up. I LOVED this book, and it was one of those books that kept me wanting to read just one more chapter, and another and another. This is a great non-fiction read, and a great gate way into non-fiction if it’s something you don’t read very often or at all.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

This is a beloved book that has been floating around Booktube for along while. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel reading this book, but I am glad it was my companion for my cottage driving that I did. This book is full of magic, heartbreak, and is a true book lover’s book. The ending wrecked me while I was listen to the audiobook (a bad plan!), and admittedly I couldn’t stop thinking about this book as I listened to it, gasping in situations that surprised me, chatting to myself when something happened. I loved this book and it’s one I want to gift every person I know who loves books as much as I do.

The Collected Essex County by Jeff Lemire

My husband and I adore Jeff Lemire’s works. They are twisted, dark, psychological and just plain intriguing to read. Essex County has won numerous awards in Canada, and I felt it was finally time to check out why. Each of the three stories is gripping, uncomfortable, and simply difficult to read. Lemire doesn’t shy away from topics and his work tends to face challenges head on in ways that can be difficult for some readers. Regardless, I loved this book, and all his other books as well.

Purple Hibiscus
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

When I grow up, I want to be as badass as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I want to put that out there. Purple Hibiscus was a eye opening read for me in terms of learning about Nigeria, family relations, and culture differences. It made it a hard read at times, but one that just offered so much clarity and insight. Plus her writing is simply gorgous, engaging and completely sucks you in. I still have a few more of her books to check out, but right now I am a huge fan.

I am always looking for new book recommendations, so please feel free to leave me some in the comments below. What were your favourite non-2017 releases you read this year?

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Five Favourite Books I Read in 2017

As we are winding down the year, I thought I’d share five reads this year that stuck with me since completion. I read a lot of books this year (with less than a month to go!). I read over 400+ books (including comics) and I thought I’d narrow it to five simply because if I shared all my favourite, this post would go on forever and no one would read it.  All these books released in 2017, and I will be doing a post of favourites I read that didn’t come out this year soon!

Shall we begin?

My Brother’s Husband by Gengoron Tagame

This beautiful manga looks at one man’s relationship with his brother’s husband. Yaichi is a single parent raising his daughter, Kana, when a Canadian man named Mike shows up at their doorstep informing them that he is the husband of Yaichi’s deceased twin brother. This manga stuck with me all year since I read it — it looks at blended families, cultural differences, issues of homosexuality in Japan versus Canada. It’s just an amazingly well-woven story that made me snob, laugh and smile all in one go. I highly, highly recommend this manga to those looking for something meaty but thoughtful.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

The premise of this novel-in-verse is based on an elevator ride that Will is taking and contemplating. Going down the elevator, Will is trying to figure out why his brother was murdered and given the “rules” of their family, one of them is exact revenge. This novel shows Will’s thought spirals as he tries to determine who his brother’s killer is, and can he commit murder. Gorgeously written,  Jason Reynolds work became a favourite of mine throughout the year, but this is the book that has stuck with me so far. I still have Boy in the Black Suit and his Miles Morales novel checked out from the library to read.

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

It is no secret on this blog that I am an intense fan of Jennifer Mathieu’s books. I have yet to be disappointed, and Moxie was the first of her books to come out with any sort of hype behind it. This book was worth the hype. It’s a feminist manifesto that looks at issues of sexual harassment, lady friendship, and taking matters into your own hands for the purpose of protest. Viv is a fantastic heroine who is someone many of us can relate to with ease, and how she grows in this story is easily one of the book’s best parts. Moxie is a kick ass novel through and through.

A Conjuring of Light by V.E Schwab

This conclusion left me a hot mess after completion. There is something about this world, these characters, and the way in which all the magic and politics flow in the story that keeps you guessing. Kell and Lila go through so much in this story, and it just felt like a roller-coaster of my feelings plummeting down the deepest slop, then feeling slightly relieved, only to find the hidden drop on the ride that makes you scream the loudest. I am so excited there will be more books set in this world, but A Conjuring of Light reminds a very satisfying and emotionally charged conclusion to an amazing fantasy series.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I recognize that this is THE novel of 2017, but I think that title is well earned. The Hate U Give is a book I found myself recommending to patrons at the library frequently, regardless of whether they were readers of young adult fiction or not. Offering amazing insight into the Black Lives Matter movement, Starr and her family are memorable, wonderful, and people who are flawed but fighters. This book reminded me of when I was growing up, something I mentioned to Thomas when I met her back in the summer. While I will never understand what it is like to be a young black person, I have so much respect and an even greater desire to understand. This book was emotional, painful, and truthful. A hairbrush is not a gun.

These are some of my favourite 2017 releases that I LOVED this year and that stuck with me throughout. What are some of your favourites? I’d love to know in the comments below.

Book Chat: #ShelfofShameJuly Challenge

June saw me slow down my reading a bit. Part of it is that I used to take the bus to work and that was prime reading time. Now I drive a car, which is crazy exciting, but it also cuts into my reading time more which is a bummer. Even though I read every day in June, I still feel like I didn’t read at my usual speed or even amount. I also read a lot of library books, which is always the problem when you work at the library.

The goal for July is to make a small change. I’ve suspended all my library holds (minus my comics) and my goal is to push towards reading stuff on my own shelves. I have so many ARCs I want to read, so many books I own I want to read. I need to get back into the habit of constantly reading and pushing myself towards clearing my TBR a bit more. I’ve been working through my TBR in different ways, such as my monthly reading challenges, my Goodreads Goal, Read-a-thons, and even doing the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge as well.

July is going to be a rough month given I’ll be running RPGamer.com’s #JRPGJuly event where we play and try to complete a JRPG in a month. I also have friends from Minnesota visiting as well, so I really need to try and use my time wisely. Hopefully I can manage my time better in the month of July, because June just had so much going on to the point where I felt as though I couldn’t keep up with everything going on and then my reading suffered because of it.

So my goals for July are going to be:

  • Read 5 ARCs
  • Read one 500+ page book
  • Read 5 books from the Shelf of Shame

Hopefully there will be a read-a-thon or something going on in July to motivate me further. WISH ME LUCK!

Book Chat – Reading Beyond the Bedroom

I LOVE to read in my bed. It’s my comfy spot where I can get maximum puppy cuddles, fluff my pillows and just snuggle in with a good book. It’s generally where I get a chunk of my reading done. When I was an avid rider of the bus to work, I also used to read a lot on transit. Now that I own a car, this has been a bit harder for me, but I am still trying with the use of audiobooks.

However, my favourite place to read when the weather is good is outside. I love being able to sit in my backyard or out in a park and just get a few chapters in. Every so often my work asks me to work at one of our tiny library locations where there is a beautiful garden in the back. Whenever I have a break or am on my lunch, I love to sit out there and just gobble down some chapters and enjoy the fact that I am one with nature.

Here’s some photos of the little library and the garden. You tell me it isn’t a quaint little spot to read. 🙂

Part of the flower beds within the garden.

Main entrance to the library, as well as the steps to the inner part of the garden.

Archway and Memorial Plaque.

Bliss.

I would love to know where your favourite spots are to read. Do you find you always read in the same spot? Do you find yourself relocating depending on comfort, other people, etc? Let me know in the comments!

Book Chat – Monthly Reading Piles

One of my larger goals in 2017 is to read more books I’ve bought or received over the year. It’s been a tough goal given I work for a public library and we are constantly getting new items in every day. Still, I’ve been documenting at the end of every month just how much of my own personal collection I’ve managed to knock out. I thought it would be fun to show you all my piles from January to May!

Things to note: the piles seem to get progressively bigger each month. Also Tracer!Funko likes to make frequent appearances in these photos.

January:

 

February: 

 

March:

 

April:

 

May: 

Do you do anything unique to keep track of your reading or books you’ve completed? I have my reading goals in my journal as well as my Goodreads challenge, but I find it fun at the end of every month to see the stack I’ve completed and if it has helped push down the Shelf of Shame TBR (which it sort of has? At times?).

Let me know what you think in the comments. 🙂

Book Chat – Falling Back In Love With Manga

Growing up I used to be a huge anime and manga fan. I used to consume it like it was candy. Then somewhere in the land of getting older and crustier, I stopped enjoying and perusing both mediums. My husband still religiously (and to this day) follows anime and manga, but somehow I fell super out of love with it.

In 2016 when I got my new job at the library, I gained a work!wife who reintroduced me back in manga. She constantly recommends new titles to me stuff she’s enjoyed, as well as stuff the teens at our local branch have been devouring as well. We also bonded over old anime classics like Saiyuki, and newer  shows like Yuri On Ice!!! My friend and co-worker did this amazing job of accidentally rekindling my love for manga and anime. Now, I struggle to stop.

Admittedly, I borrow a lot of manga from my work and that’s just because there is so much of it out there that it’s hard to keep up. It also gets insanely expensive as well. But I am finding that I am getting more and more into it. Especially when I see the kinds of manga that I am trapping for holds, or just what the teens come and talk to me about. It’s AWESOME. I now find myself completely down the rabbit hole for Haikyu, which is my friend’s favourite at the moment. I recently devoured Steins;Gate, which made me so happy considering I got a different ending in the video game than the one the manga implies is canon. I feel like anime and manga is back to those golden years where I was super in love with it. She also recommended Food Wars, and I am currently keeping up with Danganronpa as it releases in English.

I am just so happy with the amount of diversity in manga now. I was starting to worry for the longest time that it was mainly going to be moe and nothing but, and yet it’s so great to see the variety of titles that exist in English, as well as the popularity a lot of these series, old and new, still have. I admit, Haikyu for example is bringing me back to that dangerous fangirl territory I was in back when I loved Prince of Tennis. Reading Danganronpa reminds me how much I love the video games, and reading JUDGE instilled fear in me in a way which I didn’t think was entirely possible.

So dear readers of this blog who are manga fans: what are some manga out there that you can recommend for someone who is slowly getting back into the hobby? I’d be curious to know what some of the favourites are!

Ten Books to Read Before 2017

Last year I made a list of ten books I wanted to read about the year was out — I decided that list in December, got distracted by shinies and did not complete my challenge. I got through most of them, but I still feel like I failed somewhat. I decided this time around that I would start in November, and hopefully I can knock these ten reads off my TBR. I’ve been dying to read all of these books and for whatever reason I just haven’t grabbed them yet! Let’s look at the ten books I’d like to read before the new year hits (can you believe we only have two months left? Time flies!)

 

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All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr

I got this book via #BooksforTrade over Twitter because everyone and their grandmother told me this book was fantastic. I tend to be wary of people stating when something is the best book ever, but I do love historical fiction (I just have to be in the right mood for it) and this novel’s premise sounds like it will be both interesting and heartbreaking. I love the idea of fated meetings, though I’m not always huge on books set during WWII. I cannot wait to give this read a try!

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Midnight Without a Moon
by Linda Williams Jackson (Release Date: January 3rd 2017 by HMH Books for Young Readers)

One of my quests doing RA work is to work on reading more diversely (though as my husband has pointed out, I predominately read novels written by women). I want to work on reading more novels that feature Own Voices and also People of Colour because I think that is such an important issue. I also want to read more novels where the protagonists are not White. What stuck me about Midnight Without A Moon is that it is another piece of historical fiction, written for middle grade audiences, focusing on an event in 1955 when Emmett Till, a young Africian-American boy, is killed for allegedly whistling at a white woman. That story is so famous and haunting, and I am interested to see what Linda Williams Jackson shares with that as the backdrop for this debut novel.

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The Monster on the Road Is Me by J.P. Romey

My co-blogger Molly shared this particular novel in her favourite books set in Japan and this one stuck out for me because of what she said and its beautiful cover. I LOVE Japanese folklore and I love books set in Japan, and through the synopsis it just sounds like this book is quite the wild ride. Definitely check out what Molly thought of this book, and I bet you it will sell you on this novel. As for me? I need to make time for it because it sounds like my jam.

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The Burning Chaos (Smoke and Mirrors, #2) by Melissa Giorgio

I LOVED The Fading Dusk last year, and I thought Melissa created a really delightful fantasy world in that story. The sequel released, and of course somehow I haven’t read it yet (I am a crappy friend!). But seriously, the ending of the first book was a fantastic cliffhanger that left me wanting this sequel, and I just can’t believe I didn’t read it right away. I plan to remedy this, and you all should check out the first book because it is AWESOMESAUCE. You can purchase it here if you are interested!

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Black Apple
by Joan Crate

I have actually had an ARC for Black Apple since January of this year and somehow I haven’t read it yet. I’ve heard so many mixed things about this book that it has left me somewhat wary of what I am going to find here. This book is written by a Canadian author and is focusing on Native issues, and I am always a bit hesitant on books like this when they aren’t written by a Native author. I know there is an insanely important message regarding Natives in Canada and the Residential School system, which I do think is an under-discussed issue. I am looking forward to seeing what I think of this one.

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Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles #4.5)
by Marissa Meyer

I only finally got to Winter this year, and gah, I loved that book so much. Of course this being a short story collection, you would have thought I would have ripped through this after I finished Winter, no? Well, I took a break, and now I want to make sure I read this before the Iko graphic novel Nerve & Wires comes out next year. I also promised my bestie she could borrow this, and should probably make good on that promise.

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The Pants Project
by Cat Clarke (March 1st 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire)

This is one of my most anticipated reads of 2017 and I already have an ARC of it. Part of me knows once I read it, I won’t be able to stop myself. Following the coat-tails of the delightful George by Alex Gino, Cat Clake brings up the tale of a transgendered middle grader who is in transition. I LOVE stories like this, and I will always continue to support books that focus on the transgendered experience. I feel like The Pants Project is going to give me some knowledge and perhaps some bigger feels.

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Love and First Sight
by Josh Sundquist (January 3rd 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

I loved Josh Sundquist’s non-fiction novel We Should Hang Out Sometime, mostly because I loved the honesty and over-the-topness of some of his dating escapades. He’s also just a great speaker in general, and I love how he reminds people that living with a disability doesn’t mean he is any less of a person. This is his first fictional YA novel, and I am looking forward to see if his signature voice and humour may translate over. We shall see, but I am stoked to read this book!

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Caraval (Untitled #1)
by Stephanie Garber (January 31st 2017 by Flatiron Books)

This is THE BOOK I keep hearing about in all of the YA bloggosphere, and I am so excited but so nervous to read this book, omg. I am trying to think of coherent thoughts about this book, but all of my lady friends who have read this book have told me nothing but amazing things. AMAZING THINGS PEOPLE. I need to read this, like, now. NOW NOW NOW. *faints*

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American Girls
by Alison Umminger

This is another book a lot of my friends have been raving about and Molly was kind enough to send me a copy of it. Molly and I have this trend in YA that we love and have dubbed “pretty-ugly girls,” which are, pretty, mean and yet we can’t look away from them. I am kinda hoping this fulfills that for me because I haven’t really read any books this year that really fits that trope, and it makes me kinda sad. I definitely need to read this one before the year is out.

 And there you have it! If you have read any of these books I’d love to know your thoughts on them — which are worth reading, passing on, which are OMGAMAZEBALLS and which ones are just ‘okay’. What are some books you want to get to before the year is out? Let me know in the comments!