2019, Books, reading, reviews

The Raven Tower Review

Title: The Raven Tower
Author: Ann Leckie
Published: 2019
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Adult Fantasy

Synopsis: When a usurper claims the title of Raven’s Lease, border skirmishes threaten the safety of Iraden and the Raven god. Mawat, the true heir, and his aide Eolo, aim to reclaim the throne and return safety to the land. However, new and old gods are at war and buried secrets threaten to emerge.

What I liked: The story was pretty interesting and I enjoyed the mythology parts. There are several perspectives, including that of an unnamed god, and a story-like portion (in 2nd person) that follows Eolo and Mawat. There are time jumps that bring past and present together to build a bigger picture of what is happening and which gods are at war, and why. It also tells the story of the Raven Tower, the Raven’s Lease and how it all works. I love stories with gods, magic, and betrayals so this definitely spoke to me on those levels.

What I didn’t like: There are no true chapters so it took a little while to catch on when there was a time jump or perspective shift. Additionally, the 2nd person narrative doesn’t work for a lot of people and I found it a little annoying. I also thought the book was a bit long for the story and had a lot of slow and boring parts that don’t necessarily enhance the overall narrative. I also thought it would be a little darker, as blood sacrifice is mentioned, but there’s not a ton of it included. I also thought the communication between the gods and priests was a little weird and not well explained, making it more confusing and unbelievable for me than I had hoped.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad book. It’s received good ratings and the author is well known in the sci-fi genre, which probably helped. I don’t think it was great and I will caution that it is very confusing and a little weird at times, which distracts me and annoys me. However, if that’s your thing, go for it!

2019, Books, Mid Year Check In, reading, videos, wrap ups

Mid-Year Check In

Total Books Read: 54 but only counting 44 (as 10 were textbooks)


Ratings from Not Rated (-) to 5 Star Rating System and DNFs

Years Published

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2019: The Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2019: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to: Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year: The Toll by Neal Shusterman

5. Biggest disappointment: Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

6. Biggest surprise: Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

7. Favorite new author: Julie Kagawa

8. Newest fictional crush; Lestat from The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice

9. Newest favorite character: Yumeko and Tatsumi from Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

10. Book that made you cry: N/A

11. Book that made you happy: The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

12. Most beautiful book you’ve read: The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year: Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

2019, 2019 unhaul challenge, Books, booktube, readathons, reviews, videos

Reading Women Month Bingo – First Check-in!

Hey friends! I am participating in Reading Women Month Bingo for June and finally got around to my first check in (June 1-7). This is such a fun challenge and I look forward to reading more books on the board!

Here’s the site, if you want more info: https://www.readingwomenpodcast.com/reading-women-challenge-2019

2019, Books, booktube, reading, reviews

How I Rate What I Read

Hey friends!

While I don’t typically rate books on the blog, I will mention if I enjoyed or disliked something and why. On Goodreads, I provide ratings for anything I read, unless it’s a DNF (I don’t think it’s fair to rate something I didn’t complete). But how do I get to these ratings and what are some examples for each?

In this video I discuss these things and hopefully you find it useful in determining if you’d follow my recommendations, or if it explains why we may disagree on something and why.

Books, Reading the World, Travel

Reading the World

I personally love to travel. I’ve visited, lived, and traveled through quite a few countries and states and can’t wait to do more. In the interim until I travel again, I figured the best way to experience other countries and cultures is to dive into some stories and learn from those who are from other places. So I’ve made a list of places that I want to travel to via books and I hope you join me on the journey!

This is by far an original idea. A few years ago, a blogger made national news for reading a book from every country and this inspired me back then. I’ve also seen a few other Booktubers and Goodreads groups that focus on reading books from other places or that are translated as well. I’ve combined their ideas to mold it into something that works for me and then expanded upon it.

I started by purchasing two different maps – a World Scratch-off Map and a United States Map.

I didn’t want to count 1 single book as representative for the US as each state is so unique and the stories that come out of them are as well. That began to spin the wheel and I figured I should do the same for other large countries like Canada, Russia, China, and Australia. I also lived in the UK and know how different England is from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and how each have counties and territories that should also be considered. So I broke it out further.

There may be some other countries that I will try and read multiple books from, such as Japan (mainland vs. Okinawa for example) or Germany (Bavaria vs. Berlin for example) to really experience different stories. I did not break apart countries that are smaller in size simply because it’s too much work at this time and will cause me to never finish this. So while I acknowledge there are many countries with more than one region, the geographically large ones are broken apart. I also have to consider translations and availability so that creates further problems to read each region.

So there you have it! This is how I will try and read the world! I am so excited and know this is such a huge project, that I’ve gone through my Goodreads Read Shelf and counted those I’ve already read (whether it was in school as assigned reading, or just individual reading I did several years back). With this in mind, I’ve read:

– 6 unique countries
– 3 UK counties
– 7 US states

Here is what that looks like. Notice, I won’t mark off the countries I’ve broken apart until I’ve read at least a good chunk that represents the region (in my opinion).

What I won’t count: After going through my Goodreads, I noticed that a ton of what I’ve read is fantasy and therefore won’t count for this. I also don’t think I will count anything that takes place equally in 2 locations unless I can’t find anything else representing that country. For example, I read Station Eleven, which takes place in Toronto and Minnesota. I am sure I can find stories set in them individually so I’d rather keep this off the list (for now). I also don’t think I will count anything that isn’t plausible, such as paranormal fiction. For example, I’ve read a few of the Laurell K. Hamilton “Anita Blake” novels and they are set in St. Louis. However, I just would rather count something set fictionally but more realistic in the same area. I also won’t count anything I’ve DNF’d.

What I will count: I think memoirs, autobiographies, history books and other nonfiction is a good consideration. I will also count literary and historical fiction and some genre fiction if it’s plausible, such as a dystopian setting in a particular country or science fiction that focuses on one region. This will be a little more analyzed with each book and I’ll determine if they count as I read them. I will also count more than one province, county or state for the countries I’ve broken into parts. For example, Pride & Prejudice takes place in both Hertfordshire and Derbyshire, so I will consider them both as read under England Counties.

I am looking forward to this project! I know it will likely take me forever to do this and I may never finish it, but at least it gets me motivated to branch out more. I’ve always loved experiencing other countries and cultures and consider “wanderlust” as one of the most accurate words to describe me. So much that I actually have a tattoo of it! While I know I can’t go see every place I’d like to in real life, I can experience them through books. I’m pretty excited and will provide updates whenever I’ve read a few and scratched off some areas on the map.

What have you read that is from a country other than your own and do you have any recommendations? Even if a country is marked off, I am totally ok with reading another from the same area because each story is unique and it relieves my travel itch!

International Books

Books in the United States


Worst Books I read in 2018

I DNF’d 5 books total (more on those in a second), which was a bummer. Most I struggled through about halfway but I just couldn’t get into them or they weren’t my thing, so I had to give them up.

Ninefox Gambit is a military-sci-fi-space book and I didn’t like it. Mostly, it was written super confusing to me and I kept getting lost and had no idea what’s going on. So I said thank u, next!

An Unwanted Guest bored me, and I DNF’d at 19%. Now, the idea of people being snowed-in at a lodge and someone being a killer and they get picked off one-by-one sounded interesting, but at this time, I didn’t care for the characters or the extremely short, choppy chapters. So I also did not continue.

The Lunatic Cafe is book #4 in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series and I just couldn’t. She is obnoxious and got on my nerves. So although I was ok with the first three books, I didn’t want to invest any more time into them.

New York 2140 sounded so good! A future NYC under water is definitely interesting to me, but I didn’t like all of the focus on economics and math, which made it read more like a textbook to me. It just wasn’t for me, which was a bummer!

The Catcher in the Rye was such a chore to get through, even though it’s not a long book. Halfway through, I couldn’t handle the teenage boy angst of the 50s anymore so I had to put it down. Such a shame, because it’s such a loved classic. It just didn’t do it for me.

I also had one 1 star book, which was The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. I had to read this for my Women Studies in Art & Lit class and I was not a fan. It’s a series of vignettes about a girl and her neighbors in a lower-class Chicago suburb but it just didn’t work for me. I think it was mostly the format, but overall, I didn’t care for the story or the characters.

Stay tuned for my overall Year in Review and my favorite books of 2018!