Genre: Science Fiction Format: Hardback Book When I read a review for The Light Brigade that called it Edge of Tomorrow meets Starship Troopers I knew I had to read it, if only to see how science fiction powerhouse Kameron Hurley could manage such … Continue reading
Category Archives: Book Reviews
Book Review: Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
Genre: Horror Format: Hardback novel Baby Teeth is another novel I kept seeing at the library and floating across my facebook feed in various bookworm groups. I love books about creepy kids, so I was excited to read it. I had … Continue reading
Book Review: The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling
Genre: Science Fiction Format: Paperback book I found this novel on the New Releases shelf at my local library, and I took one look at the cover and knew I had to read it. It’s cave horror! With a sci-fi … Continue reading
Book Review: The Outsider, by Stephen King
Genre: Horror Format: Audiobook I picked up The Outsider because I kept seeing the menacing cover at the library, in bookstore windows, and on my Libby app, like it was stalking me. I finally gave in and listened to the audiobook. The … Continue reading
Book Review: The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, by MacKenzi Lee
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Format: Hardcover novel If you haven’t yet read The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, then you should really stop everything you’re doing and go read it or listen to it now. It’s the delightful book … Continue reading
Book Review: Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones
Genre: Horror Format: Paperback novella I’ve been reading a lot of the novellas released by Tor lately. They’re quick reads–they usually take me 2-3 hours to finish–and they count as an entire book towards my annual goal on Goodreads (you … Continue reading
Book Review: The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu, edited by Paula Guran
Genre: Horror Format: Paperback book I’ve been really into Lovecraftian fiction lately, so I was pretty excited to pick up The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu at my local Half Price Books. It features a story I liked by Brian Hodge … Continue reading
Review: Witchmark by C.L. Polk
Genre: fantasy Format: paperback novel About once a year, I read a book that’s pretty much perfect, a book that makes me wish I could give it six stars on the five-point scale. The good news is that CL Polk’s Witchmark … Continue reading
My favorite books of 2018
At the end of 2017, I realized I’d read paltry few books (I think I counted 8?) and what a sad shame that was for someone who used to love to read. I decided to put excuses (and my smartphone) aside and read for half an hour a day, with a modest goal of reading about a book every 2 weeks, which I would track on Goodreads. Half an hour a day quickly added up and I hit my goal of 26 books in March. My total for the year?
67 books!! I’m still hoping to make it a nice round 70 before January 1st. 😉
Anyway, this is proof that setting a small goal for yourself can yield big results. Now I’m posting book reviews to my blog and contemplating the best setup for a book review podcast. My own fiction has also improved in the last year–pretty drastically, in my opinion–and I know a great part of that is simply that I’m internalizing good habits by reading great writing.
I also set a goal for myself to read more nonfiction (based on advice from Chuck Wendig that, again, proved to be great for my own writing). “More” than 1 or 2 nonfiction books a year was pretty easy to accomplish.
Additionally, I wanted to read 50% books by authors of color. That led to tracking some demographic information on a spreadsheet. Here’s a brief statistical breakdown of what I read:
Total books read: 66
Graphic Novels: 15, or 23%
Young Adult Fiction: 20, or 30%
Nonfiction: 15, or 23%
Audiobooks: 12, or 18%
Books* written or edited by women: 39, or 85%
Books* written or edited by POC: 19, or 41%
Most read authors: Mackenzie Lee, Grady Hendrix, and Victor LaValle
*graphic novels were not included in this calculation, sorry!
Keeping track of demographic information created a fine kettle of fish for myself. How to include graphic novels, which have multiple authors and artists? Could I reliably track author data (not everyone publicly reports their gender, race, disabilities, etc.)? What about anthologies–was one LGBTQ character in one story enough to qualify the entire book for a tick in the LGBTQ category, when the other 20 stories are about cisgender, hetero characters? Arg. This was an interesting exercise, but I’m not sure I’ll track the same statistics in 2019.
And now, the recommendations! I read a lot of books…so, which ones did I enjoy the most? Get ready for a genre breakdown! With links to my specific reviews.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, by Mackenzie Lee, is perfect for you if you like swashbuckling action, period romance, and humor.
The Belles, by Dhonielle Clayton, is a lush, beautifully written fantasy novel for anyone who loves dystopian worlds disguised as utopias.
The Female of the Species, by Mindy McGuiness, is not a book published in the last two years, but it was easily one of the best books I read in 2018, so it’s making the list. It’s my list, I do what I want!
More great books: Undead Girl Gang, Dread Nation, The Call
Into the Drowning Deep, by Mira Grant, is about murderous mermaids. It’s the novel my 14 year old self has dreamed of for a long, long time.
The Changeling, by Victor LaValle, is every parent’s worst nightmare given form. LaValle’s writing is evocative and entrancing.
The Graveyard Apartment, by Mariko Koike, is a classic Japanese horror novel recently given a wonderful new translation. I couldn’t put it down.
More great books: We Sold Our Souls, Meddling Kids
Well, That Escalated Quickly, by Franchesca Ramsey should be required reading for anyone who wants to exist on the internet.
Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, by Lindy West, is the book you need if you, like me, are a fat white woman in her thirties.
More great books: What Every BODY Is Saying, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body
AND NOW, MY FAVORITE BOOK OF THE YEAR!
The Power, by Naomi Alderman, is technically science fiction, in the way Margaret Atwood novels are science fiction. I chose this book as my favorite for the year because it’s the one I find myself recommending to other people the most. It really resonated with me and my mind keeps returning to it, months later. I highly recommend the audiobook.
So, dear reader, what books do you recommend? What should I read and review in 2019? Will you listen to my podcast when I finally get myself organized enough to record some episodes?
Happy New Year! ❤
Review: We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix
Genre: Horror Format: Hardback novel I’ve been telling everyone who will listen how much I love Grady Hendrix’s last two horror novels, Horrorstör and My Best Friend’s Exorcism. If it’s possible, his latest novel We Sold Our Souls is even more masterful than his … Continue reading