March was pretty intense with work which doesn’t mesh so well with my night owl tendencies and rambunctious kitten. Thankfully Quarter 1 is officially over and we have some time off around the Easter Holiday to relax and recharge.
Chihiro’s also had a busy month and is very good at pestering the humans. She even got to explore the top of one bookshelf earlier this week which was quite entertaining. Despite (or maybe due to) all her napping, she yawns quite a bit which is super cute.
Is it too much to ask that no one speak to me in the morning?Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia, page 5
This quote from Eliza was just too fitting, and something I think most mornings when people try to engage in conversation before I’ve had my tea. It doesn’t seem to matter just how much sleep I’ve gotten, I’m just not a morning person. I can typically function well on low sleep, but that doesn’t mean I want to have a conversation, especially a deep one, first thing.
I’m extra picky about audiobook narrators when reading them in the morning. This month I listened to quite a few audiobooks, but mostly in the evening while multitasking cleaning, building a puzzle, or playing video games.
Monthly Reading Stats!
6231 pages – 21 books finished – 88% monthly TBR met
0 reread – 11 owned TBR books read – 11 owned books read
8 comics/graphic novels – 9.5 audiobooks
Favorite read of the month?
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna. This debut is not for the faint of heart. The first book in a new YA trilogy, this story challenges societal norms, a woman’s role and the concept of purity. It is brutal and unapologetic. It is violent and beautiful. It is such a wonderful and powerful read. I look forward to rereading it and seeing what I missed the first time around.
This book had caught my eye sometime last year and a beautiful edition came in the February OwlCrate. I really look forward to continuing the series which is planned as a trilogy.
Other 5 star reads for me this month were the Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang and Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia.
Readathons/Challenges: This month I participated in OwlCrateAThon 2021! For more about the readathon, see my TBR post. I completed all of the bingo squares by reading from 6 different books and participating in Instagram challenges/reading sprints.
I finished my TBR of 4 books, 1 additional book, and 50% of two other books. Looking at the entire month, I started and finished 8 OwlCrate or OwlCrate Jr books (or sequels)!
6231 pages: I read almost 2000 more pages this month than last month, thanks mostly to audiobooks. I was able to borrow or own a large chunk of the books I read this month via audio which really helped. I also had the extra motivation of the OwlCrateAThon (aka my favorite annual readathon)!
88% TBR: aka I read all but 1 book on my monthly TBR. This month my TBR was 4 books I wanted to read and 4 books for the OwlCrateAthon. I’ve seen some people move from a TBR (to be read) list to a possibility list instead and I am considering taking that approach instead. For now I’m going to try to keep it to a shorter list of books, such as 4-5, with one pick being something less common for me.
For April that’s Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley. It’s a YA thriller about a Native Teen. I’m not a big reader of thriller’s, but this book has gotten some really good reviews and I want to read more stories by Indigenous authors. I also am trying to read my Illumicrate and OwlCrate books when they arrive.
“Legend is what humans call the things they do not understand”The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna, page 370
Now for the books!
A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire by
Jennifer L. Armentrout –
The sequel to from Blood and Ash continues where the previous story left off. Now that Poppy isn’t trapped in her rooms, the stakes (and romance) are dramatically increased. The story ends on a bit of a dramatic note, but the third book is scheduled to release later this month (April 20th).
Full Review of From Blood and Ash
Adult/New Adult – Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal – From Blood and Ash #2
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah –
A wonderfully written historical fiction about the dust bowl and the great depression. Perhaps not the easiest read given the pandemic, but also a good reminder about the cyclical nature of history and our resilience.
The story brings into question the American dream during difficult times while also dealing with many topics that are still issues in today’s society.
As with I think all of her books, this story pulled on my heart and definitely required a few tissues.
Adult – Historical Fiction – Stand Alone
Anne of Green Gables by
L.M. Montgomery –
Anne is a spunky and precocious girl with a big imagination. This classic is set in Avonlea, Prince Edward Island, Canada and was first published in 1908. The closemindedness of some of the community really got under my skin, but I’m glad to have finally read this story and can see why it’s been so popular.
All Ages – Classic: Contemporary – Anne of Green Gables #1
The Desolations of Devil’s Acre by
Ransom Riggs –
The last novel in the Miss Peregrine’s series wrapped things up nicely. This story focuses on the secret world of the Peculiars who exist alongside our modern world. Most Peculiars live in loops, places literally stuck in time, because of how hard it was for them to live in the real world, but lately the loops are having their own problems.
YA – Fantasy: Urban, Paranormal – Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #6
Bridge of Souls by Victoria Schwab –
Cassidy Blake’s parents film a paranormal TV show where they essentially hunt ghosts and highlight haunted cities/locations. Little do they know that Cassidy can actually see ghosts and her best friend just happens to be one. This time they are filming in New Orleans which is full of it’s own kind of magic.
MG – Fantasy – Urban, Paranormal – Cassidy Blake #3, OwlCrate Jr
City of the Plague God by Sarwat Chadda –
This adventure story based on ancient Mesopotamian mythology takes place in New York City. Sik, a child of Iraqi immigrants, just wants to go to school and help his parents at the deli, but he is fated for a bigger adventure. Weaving in important topics such as being an immigrant in a Western society, this story is both informative and perfect for readers of all ages.
MG – Fantasy: Urban, Mythology – Stand Alone
The Girl the Sea Gave Back
by Adrienne Young –
A bit of a sequel, a bit companion novel, this story takes place after the events of Sky in the Deep and follows Tova and Halvard. Be sure to read Sky in the Deep first to avoid a major spoiler, but if you’re looking for a fun viking-esque story, this could be your next pick.
YA – Fantasy: Vikings – Sky in the Deep #2
Witchy by Ariel Slamet Ries-
My new favorite webcomic, Witchy is a full color fantasy series where your magic strength is determined by your hair length. Hair too short and you’ll be mocked, hair too long and you could be declared an enemy of the Kingdom. Chapters 1-4 were included in this volume by OniPress from a past OwlCrate, but more is available at WitchyComic.com
YA – Fantasy: Witches – WebComic, ongoing series, OwlCrate
The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part 2 & 3 by
Michael Dante DiMartino
and Irene Koh –
This series picks up where the animated show left off. Asami and Korra come back from their trip and find Republican City in complete political turmoil. If you liked the series, I suspect you’ll enjoy the comics but I recommend reading all 3 parts together, as part 1 by itself did not capture my attention so much.
YA – Fantasy – Legend of Korra Series #1
Katara and the Pirate’s Silver by
Erin Faith Hicks, Peter Wartman and
Adele Matera – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This was a new standalone adventure, taking places during the main series. Katara gets separated from the team and has to use her skills to find her way back. Perfect addition to the main series.
MG – Fantasy – Avatar the Last Airbender
The Legend of Korra:
Ruins of the Empire, Parts 1-3 by
Michael Dante DiMartino, Michelle Wong, and Vivian Ng –
This series takes place after Turf Wars and takes a deeper look at the fate of the Earth kingdom after the events of the animated series. A strong addition!
YA – Fantasy – Legend of Korra Series #2
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna –
An important read that does not shy away from harsh reality, it’s a brutal tale which tackles the topic of purity, a women’s role and the patriarch. Girls are to avoid injury until their coming of age ceremony where in front of the village they will see if they bleed red (pure) or gold (impure). She’s going to find out what happens to those deemed impure.
Content warning: abuse, death, violence, war and misogyny.
YA – Fantasy – Deathless#1, OwlCrate
Eliza and Her Monsters by
Francesca Zappia –
Eliza is the teenage creator of a widely popular webcomic and works hard to keep her identity a secret. At school she may be the bottom of the social ladder, but online is where she thrives and has her community. The story addresses several mental health issues and teen me would have greatly appreciated a story like this.
Content warning: anxiety, panic attacks, depression, talk/thoughts of suicide
YA – Contemporary – Stand Alone, OwlCrate
How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories
by Holly Black –
This gorgeous illustrated novella takes place after Queen of Nothing. There is an incident in present day that causes Cardan to reflect on his past life and we learn a bit more about his upbringing and perspective on some moments from the other books. A must read for fans of the series!
YA – Fantasy – Folk of the Air #3.5, OwlCrate
Lore by Alexandra Bracken –
A modern-day Greek myth, full of the brutality and backstabbing of your classic Greeks, but now with cell phones and technology to go with the magic and pride of the ancient days. Lore (Melora) tried to leave the Greek world, but this year during the Agon (a 7 day hunger games with Greek gods as the main target) she’s getting pulled back in.
YA – Fantasy: Urban, Mythology – Stand Alone, OwlCrate
Of Ice and Shadows by Audrey Coulthurst –
The sequel to Of Fire and Stars follows Denna and Mare on their next adventure. Denna is eager to explore more lands and hopefully learn more about her magic. Mare’s on a diplomatic mission to help her kingdom. What could go wrong?
YA – Fantasy – Of Fire and Stars #2
A Thief Among the Trees by
Revisit the world of An Ember in the Ashes with the first in a new prequel graphic novel series. Taking place while Eliza and Helene are fivers, we learn a little bit more about their past school days which have been hinted at throughout the series. Currently 2 more books are listed in the series but without any release dates.
YA – Fantasy – An Ember in the Ashes Graphic Novel prequel #1
The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang –
An intensely good, but brutal follow up to the Poppy War. It’s 20th Century China with shamans who channel gods (or are they monsters?) and yield devastating results. It’s a large book, full of lots of pain and adventure and characters you will both love and hate. Strongly recommend but not for the faint of heart.
Full Review: The Poppy War, The Dragon Republic
Content Warning: Drug use, addiction, general brutality, violence, war, rape
Adult – Fantasy: Historical – The Poppy War #2, Illumicrate
Thanks for reading this far!
Cover images are from Goodreads/my own collection.
Books listed as Stand Alone were not considered part of a series at time of writing this post.