Blog about it, Read Harder 2019

Book Riot’s 2019 Read Harder Challenge | Part 2

I’m continuing my picks and my recommendations for 2019’s Read Harder Challenge! Click here to see Part 1.

#13. A book by or about someone that identifies as neurodiverse

I’m reading: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (double-dipping with category #15)

I’d also recommend: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang | A reverse Pretty Woman scenario where a woman with Asperger’s hires a male escort to teach her how to be romantic/sexual. It’s cute and diverse too! The author also identifies as Aspergistic.

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia | (YA) I didn’t love this as much as Zappia’s second novel, Eliza and Her Monsters, but it fits the prompt (the main character has paranoid schizophrenia).

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon | It’s been ages since I read this but I remember being really impressed by it. The main character is autistic. Continue reading “Book Riot’s 2019 Read Harder Challenge | Part 2”

Read Harder 2019

Book Riot’s 2019 Read Harder Challenge | Part 1

A couple of weeks ago, Book Riot released its 2019 Read Harder Challenge list. [Here’s a link to their post about it, and a downloadable pdf for you to annotate!] This will be my third year of participating in the challenge. And like I did last year, I’m posting my choices for books, as well as books I’d suggest to fit the categories in case you were interested in my recommendations!

I’ll be honest, this year’s challenge looks especially challenging! The point of Read Harder is to read outside of your usual genres, of course, yet I feel like this year is even more niche than before. In years past I would let one book take the place of two prompts only rarely, but this year I decided to double-up a few times to switch things up (and to leave more room for books I know I already like…)

Here’s my list.

#1. An epistolary novel or collection of letters

I’m reading: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein | This has been on my TBR since 2013, so I’m glad to see it fits the prompt! I’ll finally get to it this year. -or- Heavy by Kiese Laymon | Just because I heard amazing things about it.

I’d also recommend: The Martian by Andy Weir | When astronaut Mark Watney is left on Mars by his crew (believed to be dead), he has to solve a number of problems to figure out how to survive — and how to tell NASA he’s alive so he can get home. This book is written as journal entries in Watney’s Martian log and while it’s apparently pretty scientifically accurate, it’s humorous and the storytelling is great.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker | On the more serious side of things, the story of Celie, a young, semi-literate black woman growing up in the segregated South, will break your heart. I read this for a previous year’s challenge.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | This is a futuristic sci-fi YA book about two teens who have to evacuate earth on two separate spaceships immediately after an invasion. The story is told in a super creative way: hacked documents, medical reports, IMs, etc., so I’d recommend getting a paper copy to read everything better. (Just a note: it’s the first of a trilogy, so the ending is open.)

I just really like Kate’s sweatshirt from this still, so I’m including it. (From The Martian, the movie)

Continue reading “Book Riot’s 2019 Read Harder Challenge | Part 1”

best of

Favorite Reads of 2018

2018 was a decent reading year! I read 107 books (of which only 3 were re-reads). While I have more than 10 favorites, I’m not going to share like a million of my top reads of the year. Here are 5 from adult fiction and 5 from YA.

Adult fiction


Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng 

No surprise that I would love this; I really enjoyed Ng’s debut, Everything I Never Told You. There are so many layers to Fires, all woven tightly together, and foreshadowing does not give way to cliché. The Richardson family, which the novel centers around, feels like a real family, with real humans steered by their own emotions, judgments, rationalizations, and excuses. It’s the mark of a good author who can make you say about every character, “What a shit,” but also have your heart break for them in little ways.

Continue reading “Favorite Reads of 2018”

Blog about it, Review

December Wrap-Up

December stats:

Books read: 6
Illustrations drawn: 0
Number of re-reads: 1
Books received as gifts for the holidays: 4
Books given as gifts for the holidays (lol we are such a bookish family): 9

Longest book: The 7.5 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, at 436 pages
Shortest book: How to Be Alone, at 224 pages

Ratings of the books I read:
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4
⭐️⭐️⭐️ 0
No rating given: 1

Another month of poor blogging. I’m sorry, y’all, maybe my new year’s resolution should include being better at this. I do love reviewing books (I review almost every book I read on my Goodreads); I just kinda suck at writing here!

So, December! My book club (I should say, one of my book clubs — I’m a part of two) had its annual holiday party early in the month. We have a tradition of bringing all of the books we want to get rid of and putting them in a giant, organized pile. Then we pick new-to-us books to take home. All of the remaining books are then donated to a local charity. If you’re part of a book club, I recommend doing this!

So many books! I picked up 6, myself.

This month, I didn’t read as much as I thought I would. I got sick (again!!) and between that, work, and holiday obligations, I only read 6 books. It’s looking like I’m going to end my year at 107 books read. (My goal was 75 for the year, so I’m fine with this number!) Continue reading “December Wrap-Up”

Blog about it, Read Harder 2018

Book Riot’s 2018 Read Harder Challenge – Wrap Up

I finished the Read Harder Challenge earlier this month! This was my second year doing it and enjoyed expanding my repertoire. This year I tried to read a lot of books I already owned that fit into the categories, which would help me to whittle down my TBR backlog. Let’s see how it went!

The last time I posted about last year’s challenge, I included other books that fit into the categories as well. I’ll do that again this year since I think there were some that overlapped. Continue reading “Book Riot’s 2018 Read Harder Challenge – Wrap Up”

Blog about it, Read Harder 2018

November Wrap-Up

November stats:

Books read: 9
ARCs read: 2
Illustrations drawn: 0
Number of re-reads: 0

Longest book: The Wrath and the Dawn, at 404 pages
Shortest book: I’m Afraid of Men at 96 pages

Ratings of the books I read:
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 0
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4
⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3
No rating given: 2

I haven’t been blogging because I am terrible and also because I’ve been busy. C’est la vie. Between traveling for work for close to half of the month, Thanksgiving, and getting a cold, I found myself in a reading rut. Now that I’m back, I have been reading more ARCs and trying to do better with my Netgalley account. I want to read a hidden gem!

Five-star reads…


Four-star reads…

Just for Clicks by Kara McDowell (ARC) | A story about the twin daughters of a social media influencer. It was a cute story but I had some issues with the storytelling and structure (nothing too egregious, but enough to affect its rating). The story focuses on one of the twins, who learns how to be more independent. A beach read, but I wanted more (3.5 stars)

I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya | A two-part essay by artist and non-gender-conforming Shraya. It is a quiet, powerful essay about toxic masculinity and the western culture’s entrenchment in it. Only 4 stars because I wished it were longer.

Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman | Review here.

Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne | A Jane Eyre adaptation set in space! It actually works. I thought the end got a little patchworky so it’s not perfect, but I liked it. Continue reading “November Wrap-Up”

Review, Young Adult

Book Review: Dry


Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman (Goodreads | Amazon)
CW: Death, implied attempted sexual assault of minors

I didn’t have much interest in this book when I first heard about it, because I’m super-duper ridiculously anxious about climate change, and a disaster book about a drought didn’t seem entertaining. However, I went to the Texas Teen Book Fest and saw the Shustermans (father-son duo) speak at the afternoon keynote, and decided that if they were going to make a climate change book for young adults, I could probably stomach it because it wouldn’t be too gruesome or scary. All that said, I was still super-duper ridiculously anxious about climate change while reading the first half, and then pretty tense the second half when I was more invested in the characters, so… I am kind of wound up about this book.


Alyssa and her family live in SoCal, where a drought has affected most of the region for what feels like forever. Suddenly, all of the taps run dry. Society begins to crumble — neighbors turning on neighbors, freeways blocked as everyone makes a mass exodus — as Alyssa, her brother, and her strange next-door-neighbor, fight to survive. Continue reading “Book Review: Dry”