Hello, everyone! Today I come to you with another monthly recap. Can you believe it’s already October?! Halloween and fall and sweaters and boots? October and November are my favorite months of the year, so while my fellow New Yorkers are weeping about the weather change and the end of summer, I’m just here like:
Not to mention that October always has the greatest book releases! (It’s going to be hard to beat Crooked Kingdom, let’s face it, but the illustrated Chamber of Secrets comes out in three days!!!)
School and Work
September saw the start of my junior year in college, as well as the start of my first ever internship. As a result, the month was super busy for me. The classes I’m taking this semester all have huge workloads. I’m required to do some portion of work for each class and it’s been a little difficult for me to balance it all out, especially because my internship is eating up a lot of my time. Tuesdays are always the hardest because I have work from 9 am to 5 pm, and then a 3-hour class that starts at 6:30pm. When I get home, I’m so drained and don’t have the energy to do anything but fall asleep.
My internship’s been fun, even though it’s taken a huge chunk of my time. I’ve never had a desk at a job before, ha, so that’s a first. The person who sits in an office right near my desk works in the Macmillan publishing department, and she’s always on the phone, co-ordinating events and talking about tours so most of my information about author events comes directly from her. xD And the office has a ton of giveaways and author signings; this month, they gave away a bunch of hardcover copies of Liane Moriarty’s Truly Madly Guilty, and she was in the building signing and personalizing them. They also host giveaways of ARCs, and I managed to snag an ARC of Paul Auster’s new novel, 4 3 2 1.
I attended two author events this month: one for Sabaa Tahir’s launch of A Torch Against the Night, and one for Leigh Bardugo’s launch of Crooked Kingdom. Both Sabaa and Leigh are incredibly talented, and incredibly sweet women. Sabaa was absolutely hilarious; she’s sassy and feisty and tells the funniest stories. That signing was genuinely one of the most entertaining signings I’ve attended, especially since Renée Ahdieh was there too. I didn’t get to see Leigh’s talk or discussion because I couldn’t get tickets for that, but I did speak to her a little one-on-one and she’s such an intelligent, brilliant lady.
New Book Club: Keep It Diverse
Nagina over at ohbookish deserves all the credit for this, but she came up with the idea of forming a bookclub that strives to read at least one diverse read each month. With all the crucial conversations happening around the topic of diversity recently, I think this is such a brilliant initiative. I, along with a few friends, am a moderator for the bookclub, and let me just say that I’m honored to be able to call myself a part of this.
Our October book has been announced. We will be reading The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (Goodreads, Amazon). You can join us in our discussions on the Goodreads group (please read the guidelines/rules), or follow us on Twitter to interact and get all the updates! 🙂
You can also suggest books for our November pick right here. The theme is historical (fiction or non-fiction) and #OwnVoices.
Unfortunately, I didn’t read as much as I would have liked this month, and it was a pretty mediocre month for me in terms of quality. I only managed to get to six books, and only one book managed to earn a rating above 3 stars. Here’s everything I read:
Saving Sophie (ARC) by Sam Carrington | 2 stars
I’ve been reading more thrillers recently than I usually do, and I was super excited for this one. It sounded like an interesting read, but despite being fast-paced and entertaining enough, I didn’t love it. I thought all the characters were flat, and I didn’t buy some of the decisions they were making. The writing felt lackluster, and it was all-in-all very disappointing.
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson | 3 stars
The Unexpected Everything was, for sure, my favorite Morgan Matson book but it still disappointed in many ways. I enjoyed how cohesive Matson’s work is; her contemporaries always revolve around more than just romance, or more than just family. She always develops a character’s life fully. I loved the dynamic between the protagonist and her father- those were, in fact, my favorite scenes. But I felt that the book fell prey to some clichés, and had some character inconsistencies.
Just Juliet (ARC) by Charlotte Reagan | 2 stars
Although I didn’t enjoy this book, I definitely thought it was an important read in the way that Reagan maneuvered around tropes. She discusses issues like the prevalence of heteronormativity and tokenism by inserting a cast that is mostly LGBTQ, with some heterosexuals here and there. It was an eye-opening look at how individuals who don’t see themselves represented must feel. However, I thought all the characters felt flat, and I was put off by some of the commentary in the novel. There was a lot of slut-shaming going on and the portrayal of a stereotype that was super problematic.
Spontaneous (ARC) by Aaron Starmer | 3 stars
I read a teaser for this book last month, and it instantly became one of my most anticipated releases of the year, but unfortunately, the teaser was the best part of the novel. I felt that the book felt a little scattered; what made it spark in the beginning was the unique aspect of teens spontaneously combusting, but that later fizzled out and it started feeling like just another contemporary. But I really loved the main character- she was so genuine and feisty and bad-ass. The voice was very strong, and the humor was sharp and intelligent. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys John Green and Andrew Smith.
The Wangs vs. the World (ARC) by Jade Chang | 2 stars
This was another book that I expected a lot from, or perhaps I expected something that this book couldn’t offer me. It was marketed as a riches-to-rags tale, but that aspect of the book was largely pushed aside. I expected more family dynamics to come into play, and while I did get some of that, most of the novel was about individuality. I also didn’t feel any sort of investment in the characters.
Fire Boy by Sami Shah | 4 stars
This was, by far, my favorite book of the month. I don’t often get frightened by horror novels- reading scary stuff isn’t scary! But this one was genuinely frightening. Shah incorporated South Asian and Islamic folklore so brilliantly in this contemporary, nuanced depiction of Pakistan’s urban capital, Karachi. The plot was gripping, and the characters were lovable. I did think that there could’ve been more meat to the bones- more expansion on relationships, and more stuff other than just the main plot. But I still loved it and I can’t wait for the next book!
September was a pretty shitty month for me in terms of blogging. I didn’t post as much as I would have liked, and I had several discussions roaming around in my head that I just didn’t get the chance to write up. My stats fell because I was posting fewer posts and also engaging less- I hope that October is better for me, and that I utilize the free time I have to schedule blog posts and interact with the community. 🙂
Here is everything I published in the month of August:
Saving Sophie by Sam Carrington | The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson | Just Juliet by Charlotte Reagan | The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang | Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer | Fire Boy by Sami Shah
Diversity Spotlight Thursday:
Top Ten Tuesday:
Spotlighting the Non-Bookish
Kings of Leon’s new album, Walls comes out two weeks from now and I’m so freaking stoked. They’re one of my favorite bands of all-time. Their sound is so unique, and it keeps maturing with each passing record. Here’s one of the singles they’ve released from their upcoming record:
I was hesitant going into the latest American Horror Story season, mainly because I loathed season 3, couldn’t get past the fourth episode of season 4, and couldn’t get past the first episode in season 5. But the latest season has some of the touches of the first and second seasons, which are quality TV, let’s be honest. It’s genuinely creepy and has that factor of mystery where you don’t know what’s going on. I’ve seen a ton of criticism for its documentary-style format, but that’s what makes it so interesting. And I’m sure something crazy is going to happen to the people making the documentary too – maybe it’ll be a dual horror. I’m so excited.