Monthly Wrap-Up: October 2021

Happy Halloween! I hope everyone has been loving spooky season and enjoys the day today however you choose. My wife and I will be giving out buckets and buckets of candy (our neighborhood is quite popular and takes Halloween very seriously), and I’m looking forward to it. This month has been pretty quiet. I’ve enjoyed spending more time outside during the little bit of cool weather we have had. It has also been a pretty great reading month. All of the books I’ve read have been 3-star reads or above, with most of them being 4 or 5 star reads. I also read manga for the first time, and it is a medium I definitely plan to explore more moving forward.

For those that were following along here and on Twitter, I failed my book buying ban pretty early on. Initially, I wanted to avoid buying books for the entire month, but I only lasted 8 days. I did, however, manage to buy far fewer books this month and didn’t buy any for the last two weeks of the month. I still consider that to be a pretty big accomplishment, and I’m thankful for it considering how many books I’ll be buying in November…

Progress On My 2021 Reading Goal

After meeting my annual goal last month, I’ve been less focused on acquiring certain numbers. However, I still added quite a few books to my annual total this month, which brought me up to 117 for the year, so far.

October 2021 Reviews

In total, I completed 4 full-length book reviews, 6 mini book reviews, 2 comic book reviews, 4 manga reviews, and 1 audio drama series review. I reviewed the following books:

Blog Posts

I continued participating in First Lines Fridays throughout the month. However, I did my last Stacking the Shelves and transitioned to a weekly wrap-up post instead since I was trying to acquire less books. I like the new format better and will be sticking with it for the foreseeable future.

I also participated in one Top 5 Tuesday, wrote a post detailing my reaction to the new Superman being bi, and wrote a post about my 9 most anticipated releases of November 2021.

Final Thoughts

Looking back on my TBR for October, I met almost all of my goals. I finished reading all but one of the books on my TBR, and I finished reading all the comics I set out to read. I got a lot of new ARCs, but I also read several this month. My NetGalley feedback ratio is beginning to take somewhat of dive. So, I’m going to have to be a little pickier about what I request for the near future. I also wish I could have done more Halloween themed posts, but I had such a packed schedule of reading/content that it didn’t really happen. I’ll definitely be planning better for next year. Overall, though, it’s been a great month. I enjoyed having a bit more flexibility in my reading choices since I wasn’t taking part in a readathon this month. I hope you all had a great month and wish you the best for November! Happy Halloween!

Weekly Wrap-Up – October 30, 2021

Happy Saturday, everyone! We’ve reached the end of another week. Today I’m going to, once again, wrap up my week, including notes about my personal life, blog posts/book reviews, reading updates, book acquisitions (if any), and comic book acquisitions and reading progress.

Personal Updates

It has been a pretty great week. My wife is on vacation, and it has been fun getting to spend more time with her. We haven’t done much but hang around the house, but it has been nice. I wish there was something more exciting to say, but I’ve mostly spent the week watching TV and doing household chores and errands. I have made some progress on my Doctor Who 13th Doctor re-watch, and am excitedly anticipating the premiere of Series 13 tomorrow. I’ve also spent a lot of time getting the treats ready to give out to trick or treaters tomorrow night. We are giving out bags of candy to keep people from digging their hands into a bowl, which requires much more prep work than I initially thought.

Book Acquisitions

I didn’t buy any books again this week! However, I did get approved for two new titles on NetGalley. They won’t be released until next year. So, it’ll be a while before I get around to reading them, but I’m looking forward to both.

Comic Book Acquisitions & Reading Progress

Once again, I went to the comic book store this week. So, I have a mix of digital and physical comics. This week was also pretty diverse in what I picked up, but it still heavily included Star wars and Spider-Man.

As for reading comics, I didn’t read much this week. I kept up to date with Star Wars and Spider-Man and read some of the Star Wars Adventures issues. I also read the first book of Catwoman: Lonely City, which was a really great read.

Reading Updates

This was a pretty slow reading week for me. I read the fourth volume of The Way of the House Husband. I also read Jade City and started A Marvellous Light. On the bright side, they were all pretty great (at least so far as I haven’t finished A Marvellous Light yet).

Blog Posts & Book Reviews

This has been another busy week for blog posts and book reviews. I once again managed to post every day this week! My posts from the last week are listed below:

  • Weekly Wrap-Up – October 23, 2021 – This post is my weekly wrap-up from last Saturday. Check it out, if you haven’t already, to see my updates from last week.
  • Book Review: The Bone Shard Daughter – This book review highlights my reading experience of The Bone Shard Daughter, which was a fantastic 5 star read.
  • Manga Monday: Way of the Househusband Vol 4 – This post details my thoughts about the fourth volume of this manga series. Just when I was thinking it was getting a bit old, the author knocked this one out of the park. It was so funny!
  • Most Anticipated Releases of November 2021 – This post showcases the books I’m most excited for in November 2021. There are so many of them releasing next month!
  • Mini Review – Constance – This mini review highlights my thoughts on this thriller that takes you inside the mind of a clone.
  • Audio Drama Review – Doctor Who: Ravagers – I’m so excited about the Doctor Who premiere tomorrow that I decided to listen to the Ravagers audio drama from Big Finish since they supposedly will be in this new series. It was also a treat because it was the first new story with the 9th Doctor since 2005.
  • First Lines Fridays #29 – This post provides the first lines of a book and asks you to guess, and judge, the book by those lines. Check it out to see if you can guess the book.

Final Thoughts

There you have it! Another weekly wrap-up. I love reading wrap-up posts. So, if you’ve got one for this week, please leave a link to it in the comments, and I’ll stop by and check it out.

First Lines Fridays (29) – October 29, 2021

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Today’s First Lines:

“The two would-be jade thieves sweated in the kitchen of the Twice Lucky restaurant. The windows were open in the dining room, and the onset of evening brought a breeze off the waterfront to cool the diners, but in the kitchen, there were only the two ceiling fans that had been spinning all day to little effect. Summer had barely begun and already the city of Janloon was like a spent lover – sticky and fragrant.”

Do you know which book this is from? Scroll down to find out!

Title: Jade City

Author: Fonda Lee

Publication Date: November 7, 2017

Goodreads Synopsis

Jade City is a gripping Godfather-esque saga of intergenerational blood feuds, vicious politics, magic, and kungfu.

The Kaul family is one of two crime syndicates that control the island of Kekon. It’s the only place in the world that produces rare magical jade, which grants those with the right training and heritage superhuman abilities.

The Green Bone clans of honorable jade-wearing warriors once protected the island from foreign invasion–but nowadays, in a bustling post-war metropolis full of fast cars and foreign money, Green Bone families like the Kauls are primarily involved in commerce, construction, and the everyday upkeep of the districts under their protection.

When the simmering tension between the Kauls and their greatest rivals erupts into open violence in the streets, the outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones and the future of Kekon itself.

Thoughts & Comments

I recently got approved for the final book of this trilogy on NetGalley and am reading them all in preparation for the publication of the final installment at the end of November. It sounds pretty epic from the synopsis, and the writing in the first few lines is good. I’m looking forward to finishing them all.

Does this book sound like something you would like? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments!

Audio Drama Review – Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor Adventures: Ravagers

Hello, everyone. It has been a while since I listened to one of the Big Finish Doctor Who audio dramas. I was excited to listen to this one since it stars both the ninth Doctor, who was back to Doctor Who for the first time since 2005, and the Ravagers, which seem to be making an appearance in the upcoming series. Having finished it, I’m even more excited now for series 13, which premieres on Sunday!

1.1 Sphere of Freedom

On the Sphere of Freedom, the Doctor is about to shut down an evil Immersive Games business empire. He’s assisted by a valiant galley chef called Nova. But his plan spectacularly fails… And who exactly is Audrey?

Mini Review

Eccleston fell back into this role fabulously, and it was like he never left. It was such a joy to have him back as the Doctor. However, the story started out a bit weird with the beginning really being somewhere in the middle, and I didn’t care for how most of the run time was dedicated to telling the story of how the Doctor made it to the point heard in the first track. I did like the new companion, however. She seemed to have quite the personality and will probably be great at keeping the Doctor on his toes. The villain of the episode was pretty obvious early on despite the attempts to make it mysterious, but the way it unfolded did leave me curious about where the story goes from here.

1.2 Cataclysm

Nova is dislocated in time while the Time Eddies are out of control. Meanwhile, the Doctor is about to face the end of the universe. Or is that just the Battle of Waterloo?

Mini Review

I really liked this story. It was action-packed and super timey-wimey with the Doctor crossing his time stream and visiting places all out of order. The story also shed some light on what the Ravagers are, which was very interesting. It had some great Doctor and Nova moments, as well, and I was really loving the two of them together. My only complaint would be that it was hard to follow at times because the story bounced around so much, but it didn’t impede my enjoyment of hearing how the mystery of Audrey and the Ravagers unfolded. The story once again left off on an exciting cliffhangers that made me want to move straight on into part three despite already being up way too late.

1.3 Food Fight

The TARDIS is starting to get a little crowded! Audrey finds herself haunted by a ghostly Doctor.

Mini Review

This story was a pretty good way to wrap up the Ravagers arc. It definitely makes me anticipate seeing them on the show in the new series. It was just as convoluted (AKA timey wimey) as the second story of this arc, but it all came together in an interesting and logical way. I loved the explanation for why Nova knew how to ask the right questions and am looking forward to getting more adventures with her and the ninth Doctor.

Mini Review – Constance

A breakthrough in human cloning becomes one woman’s waking nightmare in a mind-bending thriller by the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Gibson Vaughn series.

In the near future, advances in medicine and quantum computing make human cloning a reality. For the wealthy, cheating death is the ultimate luxury. To anticloning militants, it’s an abomination against nature. For young Constance “Con” D’Arcy, who was gifted her own clone by her late aunt, it’s terrifying.

After a routine monthly upload of her consciousness—stored for that inevitable transition—something goes wrong. When Con wakes up in the clinic, it’s eighteen months later. Her recent memories are missing. Her original, she’s told, is dead. If that’s true, what does that make her?

The secrets of Con’s disorienting new life are buried deep. So are those of how and why she died. To uncover the truth, Con is retracing the last days she can recall, crossing paths with a detective who’s just as curious. On the run, she needs someone she can trust. Because only one thing has become clear: Con is being marked for murder—all over again.

This was a twisty, fast-paced sci-fi thriller that I didn’t want to put down. It explored the ethical and moral dilemmas associated with cloning. I enjoyed the way the author framed these discussions about what constitutes personhood and how to ensure the new technology would be used for the good of all and not just the elite. The world-building was also very interesting, and the author’s take on what the political landscape and environment might look like in the near future left me contemplating how we could avoid that future. The writing was simple and easy to read, and the pacing of the story kept ratcheting up the tension at every turn. I loved the character of Constance and getting to see her thoughts as she struggled to come to terms with being a clone. This book kept me guessing for quite a bit, but I did eventually figure out the surprise before it was revealed. The ending felt a little over the top and seemed like the easiest answer to all the mysteries, which is one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to thrillers. Overall, though, I enjoyed the ride, the author’s interesting take on the future, and the ethical and moral implications of the work. Therefore, I rate the book 4 out of 5 stars.

My 9 Most Anticipated November 2021 Releases

Hello, everyone! October is almost over, which means it is time to look forward to the new books coming out in November. There are so many new releases that I must have in the coming month, and it is too hard to rank them in any order. So, here are my top 9 most anticipated releases for November 2021, in no particular order, that I will definitely be adding to my shelves in one form or another:

Read More »

Weekly Wrap-Up – October 23, 2021

Happy Saturday, everyone! We’ve reached the end of another week. Today I’m going to, once again, wrap up my week, including notes about my personal life, blog posts/book reviews, reading updates, book acquisitions (if any), and comic book acquisitions and reading progress.

Personal Updates

This has been a really great week. I’ve been able to get some organizing done and get all of my LEGO collection into one closet with space to spare. I still need to organize my comic book collection and find it a new space to live, but I guess that will be next week’s project. I’ve made some progress on my 13th Doctor re-watch in anticipation of the new season of Doctor Who on October 31. I’ve finished Season 11 and plan to finish watching all of her episodes again before the premiere. I also watched the new Dune movie this week, which I greatly enjoyed. Now I really want to read the book!

I’ve spent a ton of time outside this week, as well. The weather was so nice at the beginning of the week I spent most evenings out on the patio with a fire. I also did some landscaping and put up our outdoor Halloween decorations. If you’d like to see pics of the decorations, be sure to check out my Twitter timeline. Unfortunately, the autumn-like weather hasn’t lasted, and it is now back to being 90 degrees here in Louisiana. But it was nice while it lasted.

Last but not least, today is my wife’s birthday! We will be celebrating for most of the day with family, and I spent some of my time this week getting ready for that and making sure all her gifts are in order.

Book Acquisitions

I didn’t buy any books this week! The Prison Healer finally became available at the library, and I was approved for The Wolf Den by NetGalley. So, even though I broke the book buying ban, this month I’m still set to buy fewer books than the last few months. I consider that a win.

Comic Book Acquisitions & Reading Progress

I went to a comic book store for the first time in the last 1.5 years! I switched to digital comics at the beginning of the pandemic and haven’t been back to the store since. I’ve really missed going in there and browsing through stuff. Shopping the digital store just isn’t the same experience. Moving forward, I think I’m going to get some books in a physical format and continue buying others digital, simply for the sake of space. We’ll see how it goes though. I may switch back to all digital if there are production/distribution issues like at the beginning of the pandemic. That is what ultimately made me decide to switch before because it was very hard to make sure I got all the books I want, and I hate having gaps in my physical collection.

As for reading comics, I’ve made lots of progress. I read Sinister War and caught up on Spider-Man. I also finished reading the recent High Republic comics and stayed up to date on the War of the Bounty Hunters. Over the next week, I plan to work on some of the Star Wars Adventures books now that I’m up to date on everything else.

Reading Updates

It has been an incredibly eclectic reading week. I finished another manga volume of The Way of the House Husband. I also finished the newest Star Wars book Star Wars: Visions: Ronin. I’m also slowly making my way through the Harry Potter series for the first time. I’m trying to finish it before the end of the year, but the books just keep getting longer and longer. I have been enjoying them a lot, though, and this week I finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I also read a bit of poetry this week and finished Where Darkness Meets Light, which was an interesting collection of poems about mental illness. Finally, I read one of my most anticipated books of the fall, The Bone Shard Emperor.

Blog Posts & Book Reviews

This has been another busy week for blog posts and book reviews. I managed to post every day this week, and I even posted twice yesterday! My posts from the last week are listed below:

  • Weekly Wrap-Up – October 16, 2021 – This post is my weekly wrap-up from last Saturday. Check it out, if you haven’t already, to see my updates from last week.
  • Book Review: More Happy Than Not – This book review details my thoughts about the debut novel of Adam Silvera. This book broke me and had twists I didn’t see coming. It left me an emotional mess for days after finishing it, and I can’t recommend this 5 star read enough.
  • Manga Monday: Way of the Househusband Vol 3 – This post details my thoughts about the third volume of this manga series. I enjoyed it but also wonder how much longer than can continue the same gag without it becoming boring.
  • Mini Review – Star Wars: Visions: Ronin – This mini review highlights my thoughts about the latest Star Wars book. It was interesting take of the Star Wars galaxy, but overall it felt a bit meh.
  • Comic Book Recap & Review – Sinister War (2021) – This post contains a recap of the recent Spider-Man comic book event, Sinister War. I’ve also shared my thoughts about the event and the larger storyline involving the villain Kindred.
  • Mini Review: The Magi Menagerie – This mini review shares my thoughts about The Magi Menagerie, the first book in a new series by Kale Lawrence. I loved this book and found it a ton of fun to read.
  • First Lines Fridays #28 – This post provides the first lines of a book and asks you to guess, and judge, the book by those lines. Check it out to see if you can guess the book.

Final Thoughts

There you have it! Another weekly wrap-up. I love reading wrap-up posts. So, if you’ve got one for this week, please leave a link to it in the comments, and I’ll stop by and check it out.

First Lines Fridays (28) – October 22, 2021

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Today’s First Lines:

“Death arrived at twilight.

The little girl was down by the river picking jerriberries with her younger brother, their father crouched at the icy water’s edge replenishing his supply of aloeweed. The soothing gel would be needed later, given how many thorns had dug into her flesh. But she could barely feel the pain, thinking instead of the supper that awaited them.”

Do you know which book this is from? Scroll down to find out!

Title: The Prison Healer

Author: Lynette Noni

Publication Date: April 13, 2021

Goodreads Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan has spent the last ten years fighting for survival in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, working as the prison healer.

When the Rebel Queen is captured, Kiva is charged with keeping the terminally ill woman alive long enough for her to undergo the Trial by Ordeal: a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to only the most dangerous of criminals.

Then a coded message from Kiva’s family arrives, containing a single order: “Don’t let her die. We are coming.” Aware that the Trials will kill the sickly queen, Kiva risks her own life to volunteer in her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom.

But no one has ever survived.

With an incurable plague sweeping Zalindov, a mysterious new inmate fighting for Kiva’s heart, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva can’t escape the terrible feeling that her trials have only just begun.

From bestselling author Lynette Noni comes a dark, thrilling YA fantasy perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, and Sabaa Tahir.

Thoughts & Comments

This book has been on my TBR since it was published in the spring. I’ve been patiently waiting for the library to get it on the shelves, and they finally did. I’m looking forward to getting to it in the coming weeks, and the first few lines have definitely peaked my interest even more.

Does this book sound like something you would like? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments!