#AMonthofFaves – 5 Popular Books Worth the Hype

amonthoffaves

I’m taking part in A Month of Favorites (hosted by Traveling with TEstella’s Revenge, and GirlXOXO) this December

Today’s topic is books worth the hype. Now, I don’t usually read a lot of recently published books, so not all of these were published in 2015.

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Ok so when I was about a fifth or so into this book I was wondering, really? Why is this book so talked about when Lotto (the husband) is rather annoying? But I decided to persevere and when it came to Mathilde’s turn at the story, I was blown away. So is it worth the hype? I kind of think so (even with an annoying beginning).

Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell

Normally I wouldn’t go for a book like this, the pale peach-coloured cover being a big uh-uh no thanks. But it seemed at that time (in 2013!) that lots of bloggers were gushing about this, and so I took a chance and it was just right, the right amount of sweetness, the right decade even (hello! 80s kid right here!). And the fact that Park is half-Asian, specifically Korean, made me like this book even more.

Sorcerer to the Crown – Zen Cho

I was a bit on the fence about this one, not the “worth” part but more of the “hype” part. I’m guessing if you don’t really follow book bloggers, or at least those I do follow, you may not have come across this book. But I did see this book mentioned more than just a few times, and it was such a fun read. A funny, charming and whimsical read that touches on race and gender in the fantasy genre.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks – E. Lockhart

Well I guess with over 31,000 ratings on Goodreads, this counts as a ‘hyped’ book. The truth is, I didn’t really know much about it, so I was pleasantly surprised to find a strong female character, a boarding school setting, and a fondness for words. I suppose that should be enough to get some of you interested in it. It was, quite simply, a fun read.

H is for Hawk – Helen MacDonald

Now nonfiction isn’t for everyone I know. But this book, which has won all kinds of awards and is on so many ‘best of’ lists, is incredibly moving. I mean, did I ever want to read a book in which a goshawk was the star? I didn’t even know that there was such a thing as a goshawk before I picked up this book. But this book isn’t just for nature lovers, H is for Hawk is about grief and bereavement, about coping with the death of a loved one.

 

What are some hyped books you’ve enjoyed?

 

 

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#AMonthofFaves – My Reading Year

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Tanya Patrice at Girlxoxo.com,  Traveling with T and Andi at Estella’s Revenge are back with the December blogging event, A Month of Favourites! 

And that is exactly what I need this month, after my three-week absence from this blog – I guess being on vacation, meeting friends I hadn’t seen in two years, dining out, playing tourist and sightseeing, made sitting at a computer typing things seem rather unattractive, who would’ve thought!

 Today’s post is about my reading year.

Well it has been a surprisingly good year for me in terms of books read. I surpassed my Goodreads reading challenge although I have to admit that a lot of these were comics. And goodness, what comics! From Bitch Planet to The Wicked and the Divine to Lumberjanes and Zombillenium. I think 2015 may have been a year of comics, in terms of what I read!

I also read many new-to-me authors, like Lois McMaster Bujold and her amazing Sharing Knife series, Claire Fuller and her moving Our Endless Numbered Days. I dived into Naomi Novik’s Uprooted then got hooked onto her Temeraire series. 

Recently published books are often the highlight of many blogs but I don’t often pick up new books, partly because I get my books largely (I’m guessing it’s 90% or more) from the library. But I did read some much talked about books, like Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff and Beauty is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan. I even read and watched The Martian! That’s something very rare for me. And I have to say that the movie was better than the book, which I felt could’ve done with a lot of editing. 

As usual, I could’ve done with more non-fiction reads. And once again, my consumption of ebooks is increasing, thanks to Overdrive and Scribd. Although I should note that I never actually buy ebooks, but still purchase printed books. 

One of the suggested questions for today was favourite book of the year. I wish I could pinpoint one book or even five books but the truth is that I gave my heart to so many books this year. And I think a part of me is also thinking, there’s a whole month of reading left, maybe one of the books read in December will become my top read of 2015! 

So here’s to one last month of reading in 2015!

But I am curious, what was your favourite read(s) of the year?

#AMonthofFaves – Books I almost put down

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A Month of Favorites is hosted by GirlxoxoTraveling with T, and Andi at Estella’s Revenge

I missed some great topics when I was out of town! Today’s issue is an interesting one!

The Woman Upstairs – Claire Messud

The anger that pours out of this one, right from the very first page! I was ready to give up but at the same time was curious about this woman and her rage against the world.

Zahrah the wind seeker – Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu

The Goodreads synopsis didn’t really entice and instead confused me. But I was browsing my library’s Overdrive catalogue for a quick read and was soon absorbed in the book!

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity – Katherine Boo
I hesitated too long over reading this. Why would I want to read a book that seems rather depressing and hopeless (despite the ‘Hope’ in its title)? But I’m glad I did. It was powerful and moving. Sad, yes, undeniably so, but it opened my eyes to an unknown world.

Bitter in the mouth – Monique Truong
I talk about this book a lot, but that’s because it is a truly amazing read. I had heard of it some time ago, probably when it was first published (in 2010), but it was only after two friends, both readers and writers, told me how much they loved it that I knew I had to read it. So it’s not a “almost put down” book but a book that I might never have picked up if not for good friends!

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Drood – Dan Simmons

This book has the distinction of being one that I wish I had put down! It was 775 pages too long. And while initially fascinating – it’s narrated by Wilkie Collins and tells the story of Charles Dickens! – and had its moments here and there, it was bogged down by too many details and meanderings. I skimmed through a lot of it when I really I should have just stopped reading it.

What books did you almost put down and ended up loving?

#AMonthofFaves – Top 5 Winter Reads

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A Month of Favorites is hosted by GirlxoxoTraveling with T, and Andi at Estella’s Revenge

Today is all about last winter!

So after scanning through my handy dandy spreadsheet, I have discovered that last winter was the year I read these amazing books – how quickly we soon forget!

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The elegance of the hedgehog – Muriel Barbery
I bought my copy at a library book sale, and of course held on to it for at least a year before reading it. I brought it with me on our trip to Singapore. It was a month-long visit so I would have plenty of time to read it. And I loved it. Oh those two wonderful characters and their intelligence. I passed the copy on to my sister, whom I thought would enjoy it. I haven’t yet checked if she’s read it! A delightful tale. Not very wintry but its Parisian setting makes for some welcome armchair traveling.

 

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Last night at the lobster – Stewart O’Nan
A very wintry tale this one, although it doesn’t sound it! I love books that are set over the course of a day, and this one was awesome. We follow the employees of a to-be-closed chain restaurant as they make it through their last day of work. And it is winter. And there is snow.
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At the mouth of the river of bees – Kij Johnson
A collection of stories by the amazing Kij Johnson, including the unforgettable The Man Who Bridged the Mist, which you can read part of here at Asimov’s. Not all the stories agreed with me but those that did were quite something. In case you are wondering, yes, there is a story about bees, and others about cats, dogs, monkeys, wolves.
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The tale of Despereaux – Kate DiCamillo

There’s something about winter that makes me want to read fairytales. And this was sweet and enchanting.

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The last policeman – Ben H Winters

This has such great concept. It’s not the trendy post-apocalyptic type of plot but a pre-apocalyptic one. Six months left till an asteroid hits Earth with devastating consequences! So there are going to be suicides and disappearances (people going Bucket List), but sometimes there are suicides and disappearances that might be suspicious and Detective Hank Palace is on the job! Mostly cos he’s the only one who cares. It’s a very different crime series. And a fun read. Despite, that is, the impending doom.

What were your favorites last winter?

#AMonthofFaves – Top 10 #Books That Blew My Mind in 2014

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A Month of Favorites is hosted by GirlxoxoTraveling with T, and Andi at Estella’s Revenge

HOW DOES ONE PICK TEN BOOKS?!?!?!

Can’t we talk about something more pleasant? – Roz Chast (my thoughts)

The Hand That First Held Mine – Maggie O’Farrell (my thoughts)

The Shadowed Sun (Dreamblood, #2) – NK Jemisin (my thoughts)

Monkey Beach – Eden Robinson (my thoughts)

Ruby – Cynthia Bond (my thoughts)

Bitter in the Mouth – Monique Truong (my thoughts)

The People in the Trees – Hanya Yanagihara (my thoughts)

 

 

Morning Glories – Nick Spencer, Joe Eisma

Is it fair to include a comic series? Well, fair or not, this won’t be the only one on my list! But man this series…. I don’t know where to begin. Which is probably why I never attempted to write an actual post about it. Let’s begin with where I first heard of the series from – Debi (thanks Debi!) who described it as “plain FUN. In a sinister, creepy, WTF sort of way.” And definitely it is all about WTF. It’s set in a prep school with all kinds of weird things going on. There are more questions than answers and as I soon learnt, that’s how the rest of the series goes. The more you look for answers, the more questions pop up. Until you just don’t bother looking for answers but hop onboard and try to keep your head on while the ride is rocketing you sky-high and then plummeting you down into the deepest of abysses and your head is in your stomach and your stomach in your head and you don’t know where is up anymore.

Sunny – Taiyo Matsumoto (my thoughts)

Locke and Key – Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez

To be fair, I only read volumes 5 and 6 this year.

It seems that my preference for graphic novels tends to be of the WTF range. I forced encouraged the Husband to read the first book a few years ago, and when he was done, he refused to read further, saying it was far too morbid for him. He might have said that with a shudder. And yes, these books aren’t for the faint of heart, although I do think that Morning Glories goes a bit further with more shocking images. But what you should know is that there is some awesome writing here from Joe Hill and some gorgeous illustrations from Gabriel Rodriguez. There is violence and gore, sometimes a bit too much for even Morbid Me, but there is also such fun and imagination and creativity. Minus the gore and violence it’s actually kind of whimsical, a story about keys that perform some amazing feats – one door that takes you anywhere, another turns back time and so on. Thinking about it makes me reread all six again – a project for 2015!

 

So these are my top 10 (or 22!) reads of 2014.  I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings!

What were your favourites of 2014? 

 

#AMonthofFaves – Picking Favourites

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A Month of Favorites is hosted by GirlxoxoTraveling with T, and Andi at Estella’s Revenge

Today it’s all about favorites from other bloggers’ posts!

Megan at Leafing Through Life brought my attention to some great movies this year in her Five Fave Movies of the Year list. I don’t often go to the cinemas so we tend to rent or e-rent (?) movies to watch at home when the kids go to bed. St Vincent and The Giver are going on my (mental) list of movies to watch next.

And Sarah at Sarah’s Book Shelves’ timeline post led me to her interesting post about Liane Moriarty, an author I’ve been curious about but have yet to read.

I just made a pot of mushroom soup for lunch, but now I want to try the Slow-Cooker Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup from Helen at My Novel Opinion‘s Fave Winter-Warmer Recipes. Slow-Cooker! Tomato! Basil! Parmesan!

And now I am hungry.

#AMonthofFaves – my year in #reading

amonthoffaves

A Month of Favorites is hosted by GirlxoxoTraveling with T, and Andi at Estella’s Revenge

January

abominable

Off to a good start with my usual mix of fiction and graphic novels (Hawkeye! Clockworks!). And somehow I finished reading two Dan Simmons books this month, The Abominable (Mt Everest madness) and The Fall of Hyperion (sci-fi goodness).

February

sunny

I did a lot of graphic novel reading for Graphic Novel Month (the brainchild of Debi and Chris)! Eight graphic novels/memoirs this month!

March

stitchintime

March seems to have been a month of kid lit. Homecoming by Cynthia Voight, A stitch in time by Penelope Lively, Cart and Cwidder (Dalemark Quartet #1) by Diana Wynne Jones were some of the highlights of this month. Also my boy turned 3!

April

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Ooh in April I got hooked on Brian K Vaughan’s Saga as well as the very bizarre Morning Glories! And my other boy turned a big old ONE!

May

bittermouth

The highlight of May was Monique Truong’s Bitter in the MouthAn absolutely amazing unforgettable book!

June

goldfinch

In June, new-to-me authors included Rachel Hartman, Maggie Shipstead, Howard Cruse, Laurie Colwin, Kathryn Ma. And I read Goldfinch. That was quite a feat.

July

everythinginevertoldyou

I read a book called Everything I never told you and it is on almost every “Best of 2014” book list I’ve come across!

August

illberightthere
This was a month for female authors! Shin Kyung-Sook, Yangsze Choo, Maria Semple, Emma Straub, Thrity Umrigar, Barbara Gowdy, Leigh Bardugo!

September

monkeybeach

Aarti’s Diversiverse got me paying special attention to what I read this month! And also it was RIP IX time!

October

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I started a new comic series, Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise, and fell hard for its characters and their relationships. And it was Read-a-thon time! The kids ‘helped’ so I didn’t get much reading done!

November

cantwetalkpleasant

Nonfiction November got me finally reading some more nonfiction this month! Roz Chast’s graphic memoir was probably my favourite read.

December

lifeafterlife

I’m tackling the books I’ve been really wanting to read! Like Life After Life by Kate Atkinson and The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud.

It’s been a fun reading year. How has yours been?