What I’m Reading Now: The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

Diana and Matthew are back to the future. Haha I couldn’t help myself. I’m excited to have them reunited with the rest of the gang but devastated that one of them is already gone. How dare Deborah Harkness drop the news like that so casually. *tears*

Re-reads

Since Beth and I set ourselves a summer challenge of re-reading the Twilight books (that neither of us completed), we are obviously not opposed to re-reads. I found out over Christmas that our Mother re-reads a book every year. It is the last book of a romance series in which a couple is getting married and all the couples from the previous books attend the wedding. I think, for her, it’s like checking on in old friends. I have, for the past few years, re-listened to the audiobook of the Hogfather. I enjoy it, but I also find myself, at the end of the year, thinking about Death giving a young girl a real sword for Hogswatch. (Perhaps it is that, around Yule, I am often doing a lot of grading and find myself thinking, “May this F be an important lesson to you.” I get pretty petty at the ends of semesters ;))

So, now I’m wondering: What do you re-read? What are your favorite worlds to revisit? What characters to you find yourself wanting to catch up with? And, do you catch up in other ways? Do you find yourself, instead of re-reading, diving into fan art/fan fiction? Let us know in the comments!

Our Favorite Books of 2020!

Well 2020 was a dumpster fire of a year. Thank goodness it’s about to end. We’ve been pretty open with our struggles we had this year when it came to our reading lists. We didn’t read as much as we wanted and don’t have as many books to pick from. So this year we are going to do something different this year. Instead of picking our Top 5 or 10 books we are just going to list our favorite books we read this year. So here we go.

  1. Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 – by Cho Nam-Joo This was such a powerful book to me. Like the main character Kim Jiyoung. I was also born in 1982 and can identify with so many of her struggles. The fact that she is Korean and I am American just goes to show how alike we are all no matter where we are from. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
  2. Deathless Divide – by Justina Ireland The sequel of Dread Nation about a Zombie apocalypse after the US Civil War. In this one we see more the aftermath of what happened and the hardships they all have to endure. Jane is the best protagonist. She’s funny, strong, and damaged but she never gives up. She’s who we all would want if a zombies ever attack and considering how 2020 went, I’m surprised they didn’t. (Beth don’t jinx it)
  3. The King of Crows – by Libba Bray The final book in The Diviner’s series was ever the sweeping epic I wanted it to be. It brought all of them together and made them all work together to defeat the King of Crows. The sad thing about this series is how so many of the problems of the 1920’s are still too relevant today. Racism, poverty war and greed all played a part in the novels and the last couple of years. I’m truly going to miss all of these characters.
  4. Midnight Sun – by Stephenie Meyer Controversial choice I know because I wasn’t very kind to it or to Edward and Bella. It has not aged well and I’ll never read it again but It was kinda fun to reminisce back to a time when I loved these books and when I was excited to go see the movies in theaters. (Remember when we could do that?) No matter what I feel about the now, I’ll always be grateful to them and Stephenie Meyer because they introduced me to a whole new genre of books that I probably wouldn’t have sought after before. So yes, It wasn’t a good book but it brought back some good memories.
  5. There’s Something about Sweetie by Sandhya Menon Sweetie is an awesome main character. Her development is amazing. The romance is adorable. I totally forgot I had read that one.
  6. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz This was such a beautiful novel about a friendship between two teenagers. I loved it so much. It broke my heart and lifted me up. It was just so great. Plus, Lin Manuel Miranda reads the audiobook.
  7. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro This novel was so horrifying. The quiet romance that hid the dark realities that Ishiguro created in the novel made it such an amazing piece of speculative fiction. I was so disturbed by it.
  8. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness The world building here is neat and I’m interested in where the story is going. I didn’t read a whole lot this year, but this one did get me into the sequel. So, even though there are things that definitely annoy me, I am adding it to the list. 

What I’m Reading Now: A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir

The final book in the Ember in the Ashes series I’m interested to see how this one ends

What I’m Reading Now: Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau and The Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan

I finished A Discovery of Witches on Halloween. I enjoyed it but share some of the same concerns as Kate. In fact my feelings about the book are similar to hers that I don’t feel like I need to right up my own review. I do look forward to reading the other books in the trilogy and watching the show. Now I’ve moved on to these other books. Dividing Eden I had bought long time ago and finally decided to give it a go. So far so good. The Tower of Nero is the conclusion on Rick Riordan’s expansive Heroes of Olympus Saga and I’m interested on how he wraps up over a decades worth of story for Percy, Annabeth, Piper, Apollo, Hazel and more.

A Non-exhaustive list of things I liked and didn’t like about a Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

I finished a challenge this year! Huzzah! I am so excited! And I am pretty into this book and I will read the next one. (I hear there is also a TV show I can get into.) I have some thoughts, though. I’m going to provide them in list form because that is where I am in my life. So, in no particular order, here are some things I liked (and didn’t like) about the book. (CONTAINS SPOILERS! SO MANY SPOILERS!)

Stuff I liked

  1. Accurate representation of ongoing scholarship. Yup, cryptids and assorted fair folk, your professors spend all summer in libraries and labs. On purpose!
  2. The main character is a smart, educated lady!
  3. The main character is a smart, educated lady who is not constantly and entirely being undermined by the love interest! (Although, she’s not not undermined by him either.)
  4. The story was interesting
  5. The world building was good.
  6. Hamish. Just Hamish. I hope there is more Hamish in the next book.
  7. I literally screamed, “DOUBLE O MARLOWE” at my cat. I’m excited about where the next book is going to be set.

Stuff I didn’t liked

  1. They get vampire-married after like, three weeks of knowing each other. Which okay. But I felt like there should have been a bit more to it than that. Also, that their commitment to each other shouldn’t have been, “welp, he’s decided he’s yours forever, so what do you think?” Like, what? Come on.
  2. Her parents tied her magic to a dude she’d one day meet. That felt like some someday-my-prince-will-come bullshit. It also made me think about some mythical couples. Like, Rama and Sita, in particular the story of Rama breaking the bow and winning Sita’s hand in marriage.
  3. I can’t stress enough how much it bothered me that her finding out about herself and her powers was tied to a dude. By her family.
  4. Lots of people discussing the reproductive capabilities of other people in a way I’m sure wasn’t meant to call back Handmaid’s Tale. That might be just an artifact of reading this book for the first time in the Fall of 2020…Autumn of 2020. For some reason calling the season Fall sounds extra ominous this year.
  5. VAMPIRES are POSSESSIVE and I am SO OVER IT.

There are probably more things that need to be added to both of these lists, but unlike someone who is good at running a blog, I didn’t take notes while I was listening. I instead messaged all my feels as they happened to my sister. And, y’all, we talk about a lot of shit on more than one messaging platform on any given day, so I, at some point, got tired scrolling up.

Did you do the challenge? Did you complete it? Have you read the book? What were your favorite parts? What did you hate? Tell us in the comments!