RIP Sunday Update 5

This has been a very weird and weirdly RIP-appropriate week for me. Hurricane Matthew came tearing, literally, up the coast of Florida and at first I was like, oh, great, this’ll be like Hermine and we’ll get a day off of work and I will read ALL THE BOOKS. And then it was decidedly not like Hermine and I got three days off of work and also I made my husband and kitties evacuate with me to the Florida Panhandle and we spent time minigolfing with friends instead of reading books. But now I’m home again, with a happily intact house and my regular weekend of reading ahead of me, so that’s definitely a win!

Aside from watching Matthew on the Weather Channel, let’s see what RIP goodness I’ve encountered this week:

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Reviews
My review for The Trespasser is finally up, and it is such a good book, guys. You should go read it immediately.

Reads
I had meant to read the first Welcome to Night Vale compilation book, Mostly Void, Partially Stars as my hurricane read, but it turns out short podcast scripts that I’ve already listened to, while absolutely delightful, are not the engaging sort of read you need to ignore natural disasters. More on this when I’ve actually finished it, but so far it’s lovely.

Watches
Just the Weather Channel, here, but let me tell you, these guys know how to talk up a hurricane!

Listens
Another episode of Welcome to Night Vale graced my feed this week, and I was like, hey, is that Felicia Day guest starring? And it was. Excellent all around!

Less excellent was my attempt to listen to the radio adaptation of Neverwhere, which I got seven and a half minutes into and had to shut off because it’s kind of terrible. I couldn’t follow what was going on even when I stopped trying to fit it to the book, and it jumped around way too much to try to listen to while doing anything else, which is the only way that I listen to audiobooks. On the plus side, I got to use Audible’s Great Listen Guarantee and I was able to return it to obtain a credit for something better!

What creepy things are y’all up to this week?

RIP Sunday Update 4

Ermergerd, it’s October! Fall is thinking about peeking in here in Florida… the other day I walked home with a cool wind at my back and the sounds of marching band floating over from the high school, but during the day it’s still shorts and flip flops weather while I’m wearing work clothes, so. Thank goodness for RIP and the excuse to pretend there’s real fall outside!

After a slow start to the week, as I found myself stuck in a book that wasn’t working for me, things picked up in a whirlwind when an unexpected hold came in and dominated my reading time for a couple of days. What is that, you ask? Read on!

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Reads
I’ve been putting all sorts of RIP-worthy books on hold lately, knowing full well that I probably won’t end up reading them due to my giant stack of unread library books, physical and virtual. But thank goodness I did, because The Family Plot, by Cherie Priest, showed up on my Kindle right when I needed anything to read that wasn’t the book I had started earlier in the week. I balked at first at the writing style, which is just over my line for “flowery”, but the ghost story plot is solid and, as I said on Goodreads, sufficiently creepy that I had a hard time taking a shower the morning after I started it. If you’re looking for a quick RIP read, this is a good addition to your list.

Reviews
Also this week I finally got around to reviewing the latter half of Locke & Key, though by “review” I mean “gush incoherently about” because loooooove. I’m hoping I can get around to the audiobook before the month is out, but it might end up waiting for a November road trip. Either way, you’ll hear about it here!

Watches
I managed another episode and a half of The Killing, season two, this week, and I am to the point in this season where everything’s gone completely off the rails and I have no idea how we’re going to get back on track. Or how they’re going to stretch this out to four seasons.

Speaking of four seasons, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back and weirder than ever. Two episodes in, I’m sad about the apparent loss of all characterization, but this Ghost Rider business is intriguing, so… yay?

What sufficiently creepy things are y’all imbibing this week?

RIP Sunday Update 3

A quick post this week as I have been weirdly busy and/or unable to consume as many delicious RIP goodies as I want and/or need. Let’s have at it!

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Reviews
Hey, there’s that review of Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d that I promised! As I said, it’s better than the previous book, but boy, I don’t know what to do with Flavia, or Bradley, for that matter. Keep reading books that drive me crazy, I guess?

Reads
Speaking of, can I count my reading of Arcadia, by Lauren Groff? The end of that book is certainly terrifying (a character slowly dies of ALS, probably not a spoiler), but the rest of it is just blaaaah. After finishing it, I’ve had a hard time getting into anything else, but I’ve got some delightful non-RIP picks on the horizon that should make life better. But that won’t provide fodder for these posts, so we’ll have to rely on…

Watches
The husband and I continued our venture into Penny Dreadful this week with three more episodes, and, um, I don’t know what is going on here. There’s some Frankenstein’s Monster fun times, which is great in its way; wolves and vampires; a séance that goes rather awry; awkward sexy times; and a full episode on the History of Vanessa, which includes further awkward sexy times and a story that just doesn’t quite make sense with what I know so far. The husband seems to be at least enjoying this, so we’ll probably watch a little more, but unless it gets much better I might have to quit.

Tell me what you’re consuming, so I can live vicariously!

RIP Sunday Update 2

Well, after last week’s post chock full of RIP goodness, I hit a bit of a wall in the “reads” department of RIP. I’m in the midst of a decidedly not creepy book for book club that is taking forever to read, and so that has taken all my reading time. On the plus side, I’ve gotten some excellent TV-watching in. Let me tell you all about it!

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Watches
The Killing
On Monday I found myself with a day off from work and a desire to do very little except catch up on chores, so while I folded laundry and swept and such, I watched, um, eight episodes of the second season of The Killing. If you haven’t heard of this, it’s a crazy-pants remake of a Danish crime drama. In the first season, we meet almost-retired cop Sarah Linden, who picks up “just one more” case before she leaves the Seattle PD for a life of love and wine in Sonoma. Of course, that’s not how it goes and instead Linden finds herself working a weirdly impossible-to-solve murder of a teenager, a case with potential ties to politics and the mob and danger in general.

This is one of those shows that probably could (should?) have been one season and done (I’m looking at you, The Following) — the first season finale could have gone either way to end or continue the show — but I think so far they’ve done a decent job on the storyline in the second season. What wins the show for me, though, is Linden — she’s kind of a terrible person and terrible parent and sometimes a terrible cop, but in general she tries hard to get the job done right and I am very much interested in seeing her find the killer. Knowing that this series goes for four seasons, though, I do wonder if we’ll ever get that payoff.

Penny Dreadful
My husband is not as obsessed with crime dramas as I am, but he likes to watch TV with me, so we’ve been picking at various shows on Netflix until real TV comes back soon. I saw Penny Dreadful on a list of must-watch shows and I figured, well, if I must, and we watched the first two episodes the other night. It was… good? It doesn’t seem to want to have a plotline outside of “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio”, but, I mean, I like a good vampire fight as much as the next person, so. I liked the first episode quite a bit, but the second episode made me fear that this show will be the Once Upon a Time of horror, introducing way too many characters to no good purpose. But the way that second episode ended, man, I’ll be back for more.

Listens
More Welcome to Night Vale this week, with a weird headphones-preferred episode that I thought mayyyybe they’d do a little more with but hey, still delightful.

Also, I haven’t listened to it yet, but after Kailana recommended it last week I did pick up the audio version of Locke & Key, and I just need to say how super excited I am about this. Now if I can just clear my podcast feed so that I have time to listen to audiobooks, I’ll be set!

RIP Sunday Update 1

As I said on Friday, I’ll be stopping in here on Sundays to talk all things creepy and kooky for RIP. Let’s get started!

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Reviews
I didn’t read them for RIP, but I have posts up about sufficiently RIP-y things!

At the beginning of September I posted about The Spire and MaddAddam, one a fantasy comic book about the dangers of prejudice and isolationism and the other the end of a trilogy of speculative fiction about a post-apocalyptic world. Both were pretty excellent.

This week, I posted about Neverwhere, and although I was kind of down about it in the review I ought to say that I did enjoy it, and am very much looking forward to listening to the radio adaptation.

Reads
For RIP, I’ve been a busy reading bee. So far this month, I’ve read six books, and five fit into RIP perfectly. I’ll have full reviews of these later, but here are some preliminary thoughts:

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d, by Alan Bradley — The latest in the Flavia de Luce series of mysteries involving a precocious young chemist.
I have a love-hate relationship with Flavia that’s mostly been hate as of late, but I can’t help myself requesting the advance reader copies and then devouring them in hours. This one comes out on September 20, and the only spoiler I’ll give is that I was right; it could only be better than the last one.

Locke & Key, Volumes 4-6, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez — The latter half of an all-too-short comic series.
Guys, this series is just so good. And now I’ve finished it. And it was really good. I promise to have better words when I actually write this up.

The Trespasser, by Tana French — The new Tana French novel, obviously!
I basically never post a review on Goodreads before I post it here, because I like to give books time to simmer, but I couldn’t help myself giving this book a review of “!!!”. Yeah. This one comes out October 4 and I am so sorry you guys have to wait that long to read it.

Listens
No big thoughts here, but I have been listening to my favorite podcasts. The first of the month brought the most recent episode of Welcome to Night Vale, which was delightful as always. I’ve also been playing catchup on the episodes of Thrilling Adventure Hour from after its “ending”, which was clearly not an ending and I’ve been tricked. Regardless, “Beyond Belief” (which got waaaaay better after my first post about TAH) continues in the snarky horror tradition and I love it. And Paget Brewster. Mostly Paget Brewster.

I’ve just realized that most of my podcasts these days are about books or from NPR or both (!), so if y’all have any fun RIP podcast suggestions send them my way!

Weekend… Meme?

Happy Friday, everyone! I haven’t read enough books this week to have one to talk about today, so here, how about I answer some questions about books I might someday read?

1. How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

So I have three TBR piles, really. There’s one that’s literally a pile of books, mostly that I’ve checked out of the library, that I should probably read before they’re due back. That one I keep track of by, again, having a literal pile of books on my office desk for the reading.

Then there’s the invisible TBR pile, which is made up of all the books I have on my Kindle: mostly galleys (read: books not published yet which I get through librarian-fu) but also some ebooks I bought on sale. I keep track of the galleys (as you’ll see a couple questions from now), but everything else just kind of sits there. I’m working on it.

Finally, there’s the giant imaginary TBR pile, the one made up of books that I want to read but that I don’t have in front of me, and that one lives on the Internet. Generally, if I hear about a book and I am near a computer, I pop that sucker onto my Goodreads “to-read” list, where it then languishes until I end up with a copy of it somehow and it gets put on one of the other piles.

2. Is your TBR mostly print or eBook?

Well, I mean, it’s mostly imaginary, so it could go either way? Of the books that I could conceivably read right this minute because they’re on my Kindle or my desk, the pile is mostly digital because it’s basically all galleys.

3. How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

Hey, remember the other day when I said I had a totally not metaphorical reading schedule? Yeah, that’s how I roll. I like to use my librarian powers to read ahead, so my schedule has all of the galleys I’ve obtained and their publishing dates. Also on the list are books I need to read for my book club and the date that the book club is meeting. When it’s time to pick my next book, I look at what’s first on that schedule and decide if I’m going to read it, and if I am, I do. If there’s a big gap, like right now, where I have a couple of weeks before the next galley I want to read is going to be published, I’ll fill in the gap with a book off of my literal pile or sometimes a book that I’ve decided I just can’t put off reading any longer.

4. A book that’s been on your TBR list the longest?

Aside from the books that Goodreads put on my imaginary TBR when I opened my account five or so years ago, the first book on that list is Touch Me, I’m Sick: The 52 Creepiest Love Songs You’ve Ever Heard, by Tom Reynolds, which is a book I had totally forgotten existed and which I will proooobably never read.

5. A book you recently added to your TBR?

A couple hours ago I added to the imaginary list The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez, which I’m surprised hadn’t made it there already.

6. A book on your TBR strictly because of it’s beautiful cover.

Boneshaker, another one I’ll probably never read because I’m not actually a steampunk person, though I very much wish I were one!

7. A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading.

Aside from the two above, Rebecca, which I promise to read on a regular basis and then I get six pages in and am like, “Nope.”

8. An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for.

A God in Ruins, which is the sequel to Life After Life and which is very happily on my invisible TBR to be read very very soon!

9. A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read but you.

That everyone has read? The DaVinci Code. Another one I’ll probably never get around to.

10. A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you.

The Fellowship of the Ring. Technically it’s not to be read as I did read about 130 pages of it once, but I just can’t get past Tom Bombadil.

11. A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read.

Aside from A God in Ruins, I would say Stiletto, which is the sequel to The Rook and which I am very disappointed is only on my imaginary TBR. Review copy I want you!!!

12. How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

As of right now, 639. I might get around to them, someday?

2014 Year in Review

It seems I neglected to do one of these last year, because reasons, I guess, but I have read so many fantastic books this year that I can’t not remind you all about how awesome they are. Here are a few top-five lists to help pad out your TBR for the coming year. I went with five so that I would have to narrow things down a bit, and it was surprisingly difficult to leave some books off the list! All lists are in alphabetical order because I cannot choose, people.

Top 5 favorite adult books published in 2014:

I had a pretty good year of reading current books, some of them even in advance through my fancy librarian hookups! None of these are probably surprises, as they are all pretty widely popular, but hey, maybe you’ll find something new!

Lock In, by John Scalzi — This book beat out some others that were probably technically better books, but Lock In wins on its fantastic premise and sneaky gender politics.
The Martian, by Andy Weir — Holy cats, guys, this book. Go read it. You’ll love it. Unless you don’t like snark and science and fun, in which case, I’m not sure why you’re here.
My Real Children, by Jo Walton — My first Walton but not my last. I was expecting something more sci-fi-y, but I got domestic fiction and I liked it anyway. I am still sad over that ending.
The Secret Place, by Tana French — I adore Tana French, and this is no exception. I am eagerly awaiting her next book already!
Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel — Ditto the above; my first Mandel but not my last, and the best super-flu book I read this year, which is, surprisingly, saying something.

Top 5 favorite adult books read in 2014 but published earlier:

This list was probably the hardest to cull, largely because it had the biggest pool to draw from but also because I did a good job picking out great backlist books to read!

Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie — Guys, this is a book about a person who used to be a spaceship. Nothing else I say can persuade you more.
Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell — The book that made my bff go, wait, this is a book that you like? Adorable dudes being adorable and awesome ladies bringing on the snark? People quasi-stalking each other before Facebook? Um, yes, I loved it.
Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan — I did not think I would like this book at all, but I was quickly swayed by the absurd characters and fabulous wealth and general insanity. Not laugh-out-loud funny like Bernadette, but super amusing nonetheless.
The People in the Trees, by Hanya Yanagihara — I’m still angry about the ending, which is a good thing, I’m sure. A great book club read if your book club isn’t averse to throwing books across the room.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple — Oh, my goodness, I don’t think I could have loved this book more if I tried. It’s ridiculous, hilarious, and wonderful and it hit me right when I needed to be amused.

Top 5 favorite YA books read in 2014 and published whenever:

I read surprisingly few YA books this past year; I’m going to have to work on that, I think! But all of these were super amazing and you should go check them out right now.

Ask the Passengers, by A.S. King — I may have a girl crush on A.S. King, and this book is a pretty good manual for how to deal with that sort of thing, so that’s useful.
Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell — omg college, you are both the best and the worst. Another adorable love story from RR, with bonus slash fic love story that will soon be a real book of its own and I’m so excited!
Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future, by A.S. King — The best book you’ll ever read involving a petrified bat.
Rose Under Fire, by Elizabeth Wein — Historical fiction what? A fantastic follow-up to Code Name Verity and a great book on its own, too, but go read Verity first because it’s the best.
Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson — Awesome action and adventure from beginning to end. The sequel comes out next week. Squee!

Top 3 favorite comics read in 2014 and published whenever:

I guess I could have done five here, but there are really only three that I think make the top cut. There will definitely be more to talk about next year, if the pile of comics on my bookshelf is any indication!

Ms. Marvel, by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona — Muslim, Pakistani, teenage superhero from Jersey City. Done. Sold.
Rocket Girl, by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder — I’m surprised I haven’t been hearing more about this comic, but I guess a year-long hiatus will do that. I was sold at “teen cop from 2013 goes back to 1986 to stop her future from ever happening”.
Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples — This one lives up to its name, with star-crossed lovers and political intrigue and books that can end wars and Lying Cat. Lying Cat is the best.

Notes:

I had a pretty good genre year, with lots of sci-fi/speculative fiction and a couple of cuuuuute love stories and even historical fiction in my top lists. I like that my favorites are pretty even, gender-wise, with 10 ladies and 6 dudes in the writer’s slot on these 18 books (2 are repeat ladies). I am pretty sad that there are only 2 non-white writers (and 1 non-white artist on Ms. Marvel), they’re mostly Americans (though I do have most of the British Isles covered), and absolutely nothing in translation made it to the list, but that’s what my personal I Need Diverse Books project is for, after all. I’m pretty sure things will look better this time next year. If you have recommendations for that project, or for books I may have missed in 2014 or earlier, leave them in the comments!