Great news, guys, I stuck to my goal! I’ve been trying to acquire five books or less every month in 2017 because I want to work through a bunch of unread books already on my shelves, but I think this is only the second time I’ve actually accomplished it. Because books. They’re so tempting. Here’s what’s new –>
- Final Girls by Riley Sager. This is my July selection from Book of the Month Club, a slasher thriller about a handful of girls who’ve all been the “last one standing” after a murder spree. Now their initial survival is making them targets again, and this time the escapees won’t all survive. I’ve already started reading this book, but I think I’ll be finishing in early August.
- The Alienist by Caleb Carr. Here is an extra selection from BOTM that appeared on their list earlier this year, but was initially published in 1994. It fulfills a slot in my 2017 reading challenge, so I added it to my July box and will definitely be reading it before the end of the year. It takes place at the turn of the 19th century, which is one of my favorite time periods to read about, and features a psychologist (or alienist) as part of the team to solve a grisly murder.
- The Lying Game by Ruth Ware. I pre-ordered this book earlier this month because I’ve loved Ware’s previous two books and I wanted to get my hands on this one as soon as possible. This one’s a thriller about a body that washes up on shore and a group of women who were friends from childhood who’ve made a game out of lying. Now it seems that one of them has been lying to the others and someone’s life is at stake… I would’ve read this one already, but the mail was slow so I’m starting today.
- The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. I bought the first two books in this series in paperback at the end of 2016 and had kind of been waiting to read them until I could get this one to match and finish out the collection. The paperback came out this month, and now I’ve read book one and intend to be reading book two literally at any moment, so I’ll definitely be getting to this one soon. I’ve heard mixed reviews about this trilogy’s ending, and I can’t wait to see for myself how it’ll end.
And that’s it. My short and sweet July book haul list. This is one haul I’m sure will be completely crossed off my TBR before the end of the year, which I’m proud of. It means I’ve made smart choices about what I will actually be reading soon. This is what I was aiming for all year, but I’ve only accomplished it maybe twice, so I expect bigger book hauls on the horizon. I already have a Book Outlet order planned for August, so we’ll see how far off my goal of 5 I’ll be next month.
What new books are you looking forward to reading? Have you read any of these?
The Literary Elephant
I had a goal of buying only five books this month, and… I almost made it, until the Book Outlet sale. Without the Book Outlet books I ordered this month, I acquired only 6 books in June, and at the time that I bought book 6 I thought, “I could resist this if I really wanted to, but I already failed my goal so why not?” So I’m going to keep trying for 5 books per month in the future, but in the meantime, here are my 14 new books from June:
- Vicious by V. E. Schwab. This one technically arrived in my mailbox on the last day of May, but I had already posted my monthly book haul so it carried over. I still haven’t read any V. E. Schwab yet, but she’s high on my list, and after much consideration I think this will be the first one I will read. I was hoping to get to it in June already, but I got a little off of my TBR so probably July. I think it’s about a bunch of college kids who are trying to become superheroes, which sounds pretty awesome.
- White Fur by Jardine Libaire. The Book of the Month Club selections for June hit the mark for me exactly, so I couldn’t resist filling my June box with the maximum number of selections–3 books, all brand-new in June. This one’s a gritty Romeo and Juliet type romance, and I’ve already read and adored it.
- The Sisters Chase by Sarah Healy. Here’s my second BOTM selection, which I’ve also read already. Sometimes I’m bad about reading my new books promptly, but I was already off of my TBR when my BOTM box arrived and I couldn’t help myself from diving right in. In this one, two sisters fourteen years apart in age suddenly find themselves parent-less and set off across the country, trying to escape the past and find their way by any means necessary. All the emotions come out in this book.
- A Million Junes by Emily Henry. And this is my final BOTM pick for the month. I haven’t read Henry’s previous publication yet, but this magical realism YA romance sounded exceptional and as soon as I finished reading the blurb I added both of her books to my TBR. I’m actually starting this one now, and quite enjoying it.
- The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry. As long as we’re talking about Henry’s books, I might as well admit that her first book also found its way to my shelves this month, via the Book Outlet sale. This is another YA magical realism with some romance, and I believe it’s a completely separate story but set in the same world as her newer release. I hope to get to this one soon, as well.
- The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. I’ve been hearing a lot about this series since its third book came out earlier this year, so when I saw how cheap it was on the Book Outlet sale I added it to my cart, along with:
- The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon. This is book two in the same series. I believe they’re a futuristic fantasy/dystopia set that’ll eventually be seven books long, which sounds like a nice break from all the trilogies I’ve been reading lately.
- Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Long reputed to be the first modern novel, this classic was written in the early 1600s. Whenever I find a long classic I want to read, I tend to buy it because they’re easier when I don’t feel rushed by a library due date or an impatient friend. I found this one also on Book Outlet and it’s more of a long-term reading goal than an immediate one, but I’m making an effort to read more classics lately so hopefully it won’t be unread on my shelf for too long.
- Everybody Sees the Ants by A. S. King. Another Book Outlet find. I’ve heard great things about A. S. King’s writing, and this book in particular. I think it’s about a boy with a grief-addled family who’s also being bullied, but he escapes through adventurous dreams about the place where his grandfather died in the Vietnam War in an effort to escape his harsh reality.
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. I know very little of the plot–I think a boy finds a neighbor’s dog dead in the yard at night and is trying to piece together what happened. I picked this one up because I have a metal bookmark that’s printed with the titles of “50 books to read before you die,” and this one’s on that list. I’ve liked the books I’ve read from that list so far, so I didn’t really need to know more about this book than that.
- Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. I loved Jodi Picoult’s books in high school. I think it was around the same time I was reading a lot of Nicholas Sparks books. I haven’t ready anything of either of theirs lately, but there are still a few Picoult titles I’d be interested in checking out to see if I still like her stories or have grown out of them as I believe I’ve grown out of Sparks’. I’ve decided to give her latest release a try, and I figured I might as well buy it cheap from Book Outlet and add it to my high school collection of Jodi Picoult novels.
- Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. My eighth and final Book Outlet selection. Oddly, I hadn’t even heard of Dennis Lehane until I chose his newest publication, Since We Fell, as a BOTM selection a couple months ago. I still haven’t read that one yet, but when I discovered he was the author of Shutter Island (I love that movie), I was very interested in checking out some of his other works. This looked like a good place to start, although I think technically I will start with Since We Fell before moving into more of his books. In any case, I’m intrigued.
- Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. Barnes and Noble classics are only $5 each right now, so of course I had to pick one up. So I combed through the display looking for all the classics at the forefront of my long-term TBR and chose the thickest one. There’s just something so pleasing about getting a long book for a little money. This one’s full of romance and tragedy, which is my favorite combination in a classic.
- Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan. I’m a sucker for those staff-picks displays at bookstores, even at the big chains like Barnes and Noble. The sale books and the staff picks are the first two things I check at any bookstore. When I went into Barnes and Noble planning to buy one $5 classic of undetermined choice, I checked out those staff recommendations and couldn’t resist this new release. It looks like a mystery about a death at a bookstore that’s also connected to past violence and weird use of books. I’m looking forward to reading it soon.
Those are my new books. I’ve already read two of them. I’m aiming to stick closer to 5 in July, and this time I’m pretty confident. Generally after I spend more money than I planned, I compensate for the empty-wallet guilt by spending very little afterwards. But then again, I was pretty confident that I could stick to 5 books in June, and look what happened. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
What new books did you pick up in June?
The Literary Elephant
I did so well this month! I actually read more books than I bought. I read as many books from my own shelves as I bought. I mean, that was my goal for every month this year, but I think this is the first time I’ve actually achieved it. And I’ve already read several of these! New books make me so happy, but I’m proud of myself for sticking to a reasonable number this month. Hopefully the smaller number doesn’t make this a boring book haul, because I’m excited about all of these.
Books I bought in May:
- Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. This is a Gothic classic that has been intriguing me since I read Jane Eyre. I haven’t read a lot of Gothic literature, but I’ve liked what I’ve read, and this one has been recommended to me. I already have twelve classics to read in 2017, but I may even pick this one up as an extra in upcoming months. And if not, it’ll almost certainly be on my list of classics for next year. I ordered this one around the time of my birthday in April, but it took a while to ship. I wasn’t in a big hurry for it anyway, although I am growing more and more eager to read it. It’s pretty rare, I think, for a book to be both popular in its own time, and a long-standing classic, so I’m interested to see if this one lives up to its reputation.
- Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. Despite its overpopularity for a bit there in 2016, I did love The Girl on the Train when I read it, and I liked the movie. I appreciated that the protagonist is fallible. I’ve been in such a thriller mood lately that I thought this one would be perfect, but now that I’ve read it I wouldn’t call it a thriller at all. In any case, I had to see where this author was going after The Girl on the Train before all the hype (or the bad reviews, if it goes that way) could ruin it for me. When I saw BOTM was adding it to their extras in May, I added it to my box so fast and I almost didn’t even care what the actual monthly selections were going to be. They were good though, in case you were wondering.
- Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane. This was my Book of the Month Club pick for May. I was sold at the “literary thriller” description (yep, another thriller), and the fact that this is the same author of the mindwarping novel Shutter Island. If I hadn’t already had so many books in mind to read in May, I would have read this one already, so I’m hoping to get to it soon. I think I want to start leaving my monthly TBRs a little more open, so I have room for unexpected new releases and discoveries that I don’t want to wait for. I’m falling a little behind with my BOTM books, and I think it’s because I tend to plan a pretty rigid TBR for the upcoming month before the new selections for BOTM are announced. I’m still just as thrilled about the books (like this one) that I have yet to read, though.
- A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. I have been waiting for this release (book three in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series) since I read book two in December. Don’t even get me started on the hellish two week wait I endured between its release date and the arrival of my own copy, when reviews started pouring in and that cliffhanger from book two was at the forefront of my mind. But I finally got my hands on this book and read it in about three sittings. Next time, I will have a better plan regarding ordering a new book in a series that I can’t stand to wait for. It’s one thing to wait for a publication date to arrive, but quite another thing to wait for a copy once the rest of the world is already reading the book.
- A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. When I ordered ACOWAR (above), I had an argument with myself about whether it was better to have books on my shelf that I actually enjoy and could see myself rereading, or that look nice in a set. Meaning, I didn’t think I would want to own book one of this series, but it seemed odd to only own book three. So I ordered ACOMAF, book two, along with ACOWAR, and I’ve already skim-read it again and could maybe even see myself wanting to buy and reread book one at some point for a full series reread, maybe around the time book four comes out. For the Feysand scenes, mostly. I didn’t really like Rhysand in A Court of Thorns and Roses, though it was clear to me that he wasn’t as evil as he was depicted by Tamlin. But this isn’t a review, so I’ll leave it at the fact that I really liked ACOMAF and I’m glad to own my favorite part of this series, at least, if not the whole thing at the moment.
I’m really happy with this haul. It feels like a good place for my book-buying to be at present. I’m going to set a goal for myself to stick to 5 books for June, just to see how it goes having a planned amount to stick to. (You’d think I would have tried that sooner, but here we are.) I’m mentioning it here to help hold myself accountable, but we’ll see what happens.
In the meantime, you can help me plan my June TBR by checking out my first ever Choose My Next Read post! There are a few hours left to vote for the selection you’d like to see me read and review in June, so go look at the list and tell me what I should read next!
The Literary Elephant
April is my birthday month! That means new books. I did somewhat try to resist, for most of the month, but the week of my birthday I went a little crazy with the online ordering. For May I’ll be back on the book-buying ban, but for now, here are some new books!
- The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkein, including The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never read any of these or watched the movies. I always wanted to read the books first and just never got around to it. Part of the problem is that they’re not at my library, and I always wanted a matching set of my own if I was going to buy them, but matching sets are expensive and every time I almost bought them I ended up buying something else. But this time I found a sale and I bought them. And I’m going to make the effort to read them all this year. It’s one of my 2017 goals.
- One Day
We’ll All be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul. This is my Book of the Month Club pick for April: a collection of essays written by an Indian Canadian, if I’m remembering correctly, about life and the internet and being a woman and all sorts of cool relevant things that I’m looking forward to reading about further.
- Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller. I added this one as an extra in my BOTM box, although it was a selection from a few months back. This one’s been on my radar for a while, and every time I see anything about it I’m more and more eager to check it out. So I finally bought it (for $1, thank you, BOTM) and I think I might read it in a couple months while I’m taking my brother to swimming lessons, because that just seems fitting, although the book is actually about a woman who disappears, leaving letters behind for her family to find in their books.
- Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld. Okay, this one’s exciting, because I won it from a Goodreads giveaway. I don’t know about you, but I, for one, am very rarely a winner of anything that’s left up to chance. So receiving a copy of the new paperback edition 6 days before its public release and 3 days before my birthday was pretty darn exciting. Also, this one’s a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which was already on my list of to-read classics this year and I am so excited to be able to read this one right along with Austen’s original work.
- American Gods by Neil Gaiman. After reading Norse Mythology this month, I checked into other works by Neil Gaiman. There are several I want to check out, but this one’s soon to be a TV series so it’s especially high on the public radar lately and it was easy to find. Thanks to my mom for buying me this copy for my birthday!
- Classic Works by F. Scott Fitzgerald, including The Beautiful and Damned, and This Side of Paradise, as well as nineteen short stories. Again, thanks to my mom. This one’s a cheap bind-up, and it’s inconveniently huge, but I thought that was part of its charm. It matches another book I have from this same classics set, and I like the variety in this edition. I’ve been meaning to read more F. Scott Fitzgerald, so I think this will be good.
- The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti. I bought myself a signed copy of this book at my favorite indie bookstore, on my birthday. A treat to myself. I had recently seen this one recommended with another book I’d already read and enjoyed, although I can’t recall at this moment what the other book was. Anyway, this one sounded good and the cover is beautiful and it was my birthday. (“Birthday,” in this case, meaning “excuse to buy books.”) This one’s about a girl who discovers her father’s rough past and realizes that while she was growing up there was a lot more going on than she was aware of–dangerous things.
- Mischling by Affinity Konar. This is a WWII historical fiction released last year with good reviews. I can feel the mood for historical fiction creeping back up on me, and I have several good choices now to select from; I’m thinking that once the mood strikes I’ll read several in a row, and this will be one of them. I’m patient, though. The thing about good historical fiction is that it never gets old. No matter how many years since its release, it’ll always be good, so I don’t feel pressed to read it right away even though I suspect I will like it a lot. So I included this one in my birthday Book Outlet order, and I will read it… eventually.
- The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. Here’s another case of “books that age slowly.” This was a Man Booker Prize winner in 2013, and though I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy it when I get around to it, I’m not worried about enjoying it any less if I wait awhile to read it. Whereas other books, especially YA, thrillers, and series that are popular right now, I’m pretty sure will lose a bit of their magic once they’ve been thoroughly trodden by public opinion and have been replaced by the next current trend. With books like The Luminaries, I like to save the best for last, so to speak, like dessert. I’m going to like the chocolate pie whenever I eat it, but if I eat it first it might ruin the rest of the meal for me.
- A Gathering of Shadows and A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab. I found both of these as signed copies! Someday, maybe, I’ll go to actual signings where I can meet the author and watch them sign my books in person, but I live in an inconvenient area for that right now, so I’m excited to find signed copies in any way I can. At least with two to compare from different sellers it’s pretty clear that the signatures are authentic. Anyway, I’m excited to start this series about alternative magical Londons ASAP now that I have all of the books.
- Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner. There are basically only two types of YA I still like reading in my early twenties: the action-packed crazy adventures, and the powerfully emotional. I don’t read much YA fluff anymore. This one, I think, will fall into the emotional category. I first spotted the beautiful cover, but after I read the synopsis I was surprised I hadn’t heard of this one before. It has good ratings, sounds powerfully real, and I am just personally morbidly interested in the idea of phantom limbs, even the metaphorical kind. I wish I had spotted this one sooner. Its cover makes me think it would’ve been a perfect “April showers” read.
- This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. I could tell more or less the same story for this one as the last book. The gorgeous cover art caught my eye, and the synopsis drew me further in. I like books about self-discovery, realistic self-discovery more than the John Green-type crazy adventure self-discovery that doesn’t quite relate to my life. When I’m in the mood for contemporary YA, this is what I’m interested in picking up next. The title sounds irresistibly tragic.
- The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and other Stories by Robert Louis Stevenson. Every now and then, I pick up a classic that sounds interesting to me. My year of classics is working out well for me so far, so every now and then I see another classic I had my mind set on reading eventually and I pick it up thinking I can add it to next year’s list when I will (probably) decide to try it again with fresh titles. Or, maybe I’ll stick in an extra classic some month in the nearer future. I do like classics. I just don’t reach for them as often as I should.
- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I read and loved Tartt’s The Secret History last year, but I’ve been unsure of this one. It won a Pulitzer prize, though, and I did really like The Secret History. Although the premise doesn’t interest me quite as much as The Secret History‘s did, I’m confident enough in the quality of the writing that I’m willing to give it a chance. It’s not high on my list of priorities at the moment, but I’m happy to have it available. It was an impulse birthday buy, cheap on Book Outlet because that’s how I roll.
- Do Not Disturb and If You Dare by A. R. Torre. These are the second and third books in a series that starts with The Girl in 6E, which, admittedly, I also own but have not read. I’ve just been so sure that I would want to read them all that I kept an eye out for these later books in the trilogy and finally spotted them in limited quantity on Book Outlet. This was after my birthday and I wouldn’t have ordered anything further if it hadn’t been something I was looking out for and thought I wouldn’t find cheaper anywhere else. And now I can read the whole series, because clearly starting another trilogy is just what I need to do right now (I’m in the middle of several series simultaneously already, if you’ve missed my reviews).
There’s my April book haul. I can’t wait to read these, but I’ve been looking back through older book hauls and trying to pick out more books that I’ve had on my shelf for a while and not gotten around to yet. I’m doing better this year than last year about picking up a few of my own books every month instead of just borrowing–I want to read all of the books I own, but the ones I don’t own just feel so much more precarious on my TBR (which I know is ridiculous. If someday I finish reading everything on my shelf I would not at all worry about buying more, assuming I have money).
Have you read any of these books? What should I pick up first?
The Literary Elephant
I’ve been trying to keep my book accumulation to reasonable proportions this year, with mixed results. This month I found a good balance: enough new books for an exciting book haul, but not so many that I’m suffocating under another new stack of unread books. Other than the one I’ve already read, these are all books that I want to try to read very soon; another reason that I’m happy with this book haul is that I managed only to pick up books I already knew I was interested in. I mean, you can never have too many books, but I’m trying to avoid senseless buying just for the sake of having more. I think I accomplished that this month. Here’s what I picked up in March:
- A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. Barnes and Noble was having a small sale and I decided to pick up something for my birthday–never mind that I was a month early for birthday books. I’ve been wanting to read this fantasy trilogy about alternative Londons for months now, so when I found a sale that applied to it I ordered the first book. I considered leaving it in the packaging to treat myself on my actual birthday in April since that was my excuse to buy it now, but… I just couldn’t wait…
- Marlena by Julie Buntin. This is my March Book of the Month Club selection, and I wanted to get around to it in March but ended up reading less than I’d hoped. The books on my TBR were a little bigger and slower than I’d anticipated, and I picked up extra library books partway through the month. But I’m still expecting to get to this one early in April before receiving my next BOTM. It’s on my April TBR already, so I have to read it soon. This one’s about a girl who moves when her parents get divorced and becomes friends with the destructive girl next door, whose life and death will affect our narrator long after she’s gone.
- Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham. I’m actually planning to read Lauren Graham’s Gilmore Girls memoir first, Talking as Fast as I Can, but I’ve been really curious for a few months about her fiction, too. I probably wouldn’t have picked this up now if it hadn’t been on Book Outlet for a very reasonable price, but it was, so I did. I believe it’s about a young woman trying to make it as an actress, but it’s Graham’s take on “life lessons” and finding success that really interest me about this one.
- The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. This one looks beautiful and sounds magical and all I remember from investigating this book is that it’s primarily a tale about humanity and an unusual alliance, which all sounds good to me. It was an impulse buy, but it was on my radar already, and again it was on Book Outlet where everything is affordable so I snatched it up.
- In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware. I’ve already read this book, but I enjoyed Ware’s two thrillers so much last year that I had to buy the one my collection was missing, especially since I already know I’m going to buy her new release this summer as soon as it’s available. I can definitely sense a reread somewhere on the horizon (otherwise I wouldn’t have bought it), but I’m not in a hurry. It was only a few dollars on Book Outlet, so I couldn’t resist.
- Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi. This is really the reason I ordered from Book Outlet at all this month. I have the rest of the Shatter Me series in paperback and had been waiting for months to find the final paperback equally cheap. So when I did, I placed the order and ended up just going with the other things that were floating in my cart. They were good floaters this month. I’m glad I found this excuse to buy them. 🙂
The problem with treating myself for good resisting of book buying is that it usually comes in the form of buying books as rewards. My Book Outlet purchase this month was a reward for only having two books to haul in March. No regrets, though. I think these are all good choices!
Have you read any of these? Any recommendations for which ones I should read first?
The Literary Elephant
I’m trying to keep my book buying to a minimum this year while I catch up on reading what I bought last year, but of course, there are always exceptions. Part of the problem is that I refuse to stop borrowing books from the library (and other sources) even as I’m trying to eliminate unread books from my shelves, and thus as I’m introduced to more new books that I’m borrowing, I discover more that I want to add to my own collection. That was my biggest obstacle to restraint this month
- The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare, consisting of Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, and Clockwork Princess. Since I last read any of these books, the new paperback versions with the cool spines came out. When I started rereading Cassandra Clare this year and loved having my own copy of City of Bones (even though I have the original, less attractive copy with the torso on the cover) and wanted to buy more, my first thought was to purchase this trilogy because I remember liking it even more than the Mortal Instruments. Also because then I would have the set in time to read my own copies when I got around to these three in publication order.
- The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, consisting of City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, and City of Heavenly Fire. I loved the new paperbacks of the other trilogy so much, and I still had four books left to read in this series by the time I found a good sale and ordered these, that I decided it was worth the cost to own them all. I’d almost forgotten just how much I loved the first three books in this series, and I’m loving them even more this time around, so I needed my own books. (Needed. Ha.) I did consider not buying City of Bones because I have an old and beloved copy (it was the first Cassandra Clare book I read), but (this is weird:) I didn’t want the shadowhunter on the new City of Bones spine to feel left out of the group by being shunned from the collection. Also the background image spans all six books, so the picture would have been incomplete without it. Other than two books from the Harry Potter set, City of Bones is now the only book I own two copies of.
- Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough. This was my February Book of the Month Club pick. I was in the mood for a thriller and this one was labeled as a thriller with such a great twist at the end that it was impossible to see it coming. Since I love books that are unpredictable, this sounded perfect. I’ve actually just finished reading it so stay tuned for my upcoming review!
- All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood. One of my favorite perks of Book of the Month Club is that every month two books can be added to the monthly box for only $10 each–any hardcovers from previous months that are still in stock. I have a feeling that by the end of the year I’ll be utilizing this extra feature regularly, so I’m trying to take it easy as the year begins, but I couldn’t pass up their limited edition publication of BOTM’s 2016 book of the year. This one was already on my to-read list, and I know I’m not going to be able to get around to reading it until probably summer at least, but I’m glad to have this special edition of BOTM’s first ever book of the year on hand for when I find time to start reading it.
- The Girl Before by JP Delaney. Again, I will admit I’ve been in a thriller mood lately so as I’ve had my eye on new releases, this one stood out. I managed a pretty good discount on this one with my Barnes and Noble membership, so I couldn’t resist the purchase. Although there wasn’t room for this one on my official TBR for next month, I’m hoping I’ll find some extra time to fit it in sometime in March or April, while it’s still pretty new. It has something to do with a strange house or apartment or some place of residence where the new girl living there is learning strange things about the girl who was there before, and of course finds connections between them.
- Every Day by David Levithan. I picked this one up on the same Barnes and Noble trip. I’ve been seeing this one around for years, but something about the title and the cover art just never drew my attention enough to actually look into its plot. When I took the time to read its synopsis lately–a boy who wakes up every day in a different body, in love with the same girl in the same body–I realized it was actually a perfect choice for me as I fit more of the YA I’ve missed in the last few years into my reading schedule. There’s nothing actually wrong with the cover art, of course, so I picked this one up for its story and I have a feeling that the cover will grow on me. Also, David Levithan is a pretty big name in YA fiction, and I’ve only read one book he’s co-authored (Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which I liked but didn’t love, also written by John Green). If I end up liking this one as much as I expect, I’ll probably branch out to more of Levithan’s work.
- The Fireman by Joe Hill. This one has been on my radar for months, ever since I realized that Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son. I like Stephen King’s books (mostly, based on what I’ve read) and I admire his writing style (even in the books I didn’t like as much), so the fact that his son is also a writer immediately caught my interest. This was the first Joe Hill title I looked at, and based on the synopsis I knew I didn’t have to look any farther for a first Hill read. It’s been a few months now, as I’ve mentioned, so I don’t remember much about it, but I know it’s the same sort of horror/sci-fi genre that I loved from Stephen King’s books and the protagonist sounded particularly intriguing. I think he has some kind of special superpower/talent related to starting fires. Even when I like Stephen King’s plots, I often dislike his protagonists, so I couldn’t pass up one that sounded so promising. When I read this, I’m going to make an effort not to form any opinions about it based on my already-established Stephen King opinions, and I did think this story sounded immersive and unique enough that I won’t have to struggle with that too much. I’m highly looking forward to checking this one out more in depth.
And that’s a wrap on my February book haul. I would have been pretty proud of my restraint if it hadn’t been for the Cassandra Clare books. Most of those were available at my library, so buying them all was a true moment of weakness. No regrets though. Even those I found on a good sale through Book Outlet, and the other books were free/cheap from my BOTM subscription and mostly covered between my Barnes and Noble membership discounts and a leftover gift card. So I feel like I made smart book buying choices, at least, which is probably more to the point than just cutting myself off completely.
How do you make yourself stick to a book-buying ban? Is there such a thing as too many books? Is that even a possibility…
The Literary Elephant
Finally, a manageable book haul! I didn’t spend money on a single book this month, so the number of books I acquired isn’t as scary as other recent months. Still larger than I intended, but manageable. I’m proud of myself for saving up some book money in the first month of the year, but I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep that up. I’m really excited about some anticipated 2017 releases. But I’m going to be reasonable about it. Here’s January:
- The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness. I’ve heard mixed reviews about this book, but I’m so enamored with the idea of telling a story through the eyes of secondary characters that I had to see for myself. This is an idea I’ve been playing with for my own writing, so even if I end up disliking the book, I think it’ll be a good learning experience to find out what works and what doesn’t. Even better, without trying I managed to buy a signed copy of this one! This one, and the next 6, came from a Book Outlet order during their Boxing Day sale; I purchased them in December and they arrived early in January.
- The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. This is an adult fiction novel about, I believe, a dysfunctional family who stand to inherit a “nest” of money left in a trust by their late father. Except there are rules for receiving the money, and all of the siblings’ funds are at stake. Plus, of course, the cover is absolutely divine. I’ve had my eye on this one for a while, and I think I’ll be reading it in the spring/summer.
- Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. My positive experience with Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle books has renewed my interest in YA series, and I always love a good fantasy tale. I’ve heard good things about this series, although I’ve also found that many people who say it’s a great series end with, “I just haven’t picked up the third book yet,” which is a little suspicious, but we’ll see. I found a nice Christmas sale with this entire set available, so I also picked up the sequel:
- Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor. Although I’ve already got a little list going of the next few YA series I want to read, I’m glad to have these books in reserve. There’s almost nothing as satisfying as knowing I can avoid that crippling anxiety of not having the next book in a series at hand when I want it. Honestly, that’s more or less how I’m determining what to read when, because I’ve learned (yet again) how difficult it is to get lost in a great new release and then be left hanging until the next publication (ahem, ACOMAF). I also grabbed the third book in the trilogy:
- Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor. You may have noticed by now that I really know next to nothing about the specifics of this series. I did read the synopsis, but it’s been months. I like jumping into books without knowing too much about them, so lately I’ve been reading synopses and blurbs, deciding which ones I want to read, and then waiting until I’ve forgotten what I learned about them to start reading.
- The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld. I’ve been more interested in magical realism recently, and this one looks really intriguing. There’s some sort of magical prison, and a woman with unique powers, and I think a priest factors in somehow, too. It looks like a short, captivating read with a great cast of characters and I’m excited to find a more promising read in this genre than my last pick.
- Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon. In my last haul, I mentioned that I have a mild interest in accumulating the books of Gabaldon’s Outlander series, but I’m really more enthused about the TV show than Gabaldon’s writing style, so I’ve picked up the first two books now with the TV covers and I’m perfectly content to wait for the next two seasons’ release (the show’s been contracted through season 4 so far) to acquire those. I like to be able to look back on my favorite parts or double check details, but I’m not looking for a full series reread anytime soon, so no hurry.
- Lucky You by Erika Carter. This is my first month with Book of the Month Club, and I’m so excited about it. I only selected one book for January (I can see how easy it will be for me to jump off the deep end and add all the possible extras, so I forced myself to start small while it was still manageable). This one’s about a trio of twenty-something girls–and one boyfriend–who are having a little trouble getting their lives started and decide to run away and live in the woods instead of dealing with their problems. Except reality follows them, of course. This one’s not in bookstores until March, which is a cool bonus as a BOTM member to have access to a book that’s not even released to the public yet.
- The Grownup by Gillian Flynn. This is a bonus short story bound alone in book form that arrived in my January Book of the Month box. I was so excited to see this “Happy New Year extra” in my box because 1. I love free books, and 2. this one was already on my TBR. It’s so short I’ve already squished it into my reading schedule, and found a perfectly sized spot for it on my overflowing bookshelves. It’s weird and creepy and utterly unique.
- A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro. My mom bought me this book on a sale. I’ve been wanting to read Sherlock Holmes, and I think this will go well with that. There are so many great YA books these days–not just unique stories, but unique takes on familiar stories, like this Sherlock spinoff. I wish the YA category had been as diverse and exciting as it is now back when I was first discovering it.
- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I’ve been wanting to read the Grisha trilogy and this accompaniment duology so badly, and now that I have all the books I will start picking them up probably in February. I used my Christmas gift card plus a nice sale discount and my membership perk of free express shipping to order this set from Barnes and Noble after the holidays, which also included:
- Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. This is the second book in the Six of Crows duology. I’m pretty sure I’m going to absolutely love these books, and they have the gorgeous red and black ink on the sides of the pages that make these books stand out even more. I can’t wait to get started on these.
The fact that I ended up with a dozen new books in a no-buy month that I felt pretty good about sticking to is a little sad. I’m going to try to stick to a book budget in February, but I already have a few new books in mind so we’ll see how that goes. It’s not that I mind buying books. I love reading them, and I love having them available to reread whenever the mood strikes me, but I need to get my “bookshelf TBR” in order. This is the year, I swear.
Anyone else still depressed about a single lifetime being too short to read all the books?
The Literary Elephant