April 2017 Wrap-Up

April 2017 Wrap-Up

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Hello everyone! If you didn’t notice, I totally forgot to do a March Wrap-Up. I’ve decided to skip it because I didn’t read that much in March. I’d rather just jump ahead to April because….. I got through 11 books this month! I’m so happy with my reading progress over the past 30 days. I read a lot of books that had been on my to-be-read since the fall. Before I do a breakdown, I want to give a quick update on my blog:

  1. I’m trying to post reviews more frequently now, since I’m reading a lot more than February/March. I’m aiming to publish one every 3 days or so.
  2. I want to focus my reviews on books that involve topics that I think should be normalized in literature. These topics include people of color, mental illnesses, LGBTQ people, chronic illnesses, and strong female protagonists. Of course, I’m going to read books that don’t focus on these themes, so if that’s not your thing, don’t worry.
  3. I currently receive one bimonthly book subscription box, Paper Street Books, and will be posting full unboxing reviews every time I get a box from them. So far, I’ve gotten 4 of their boxes and I haven’t been disappointed yet. I just got a box about a week ago so I’ll be posting a review of that shortly!

Now, on to the breakdown!

 

Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi (science fiction,) 5/5 stars

This book absolutely blew me away. The main character is a queer woman of color with chronic pain. I’ve never read a book about someone who struggles with an invisible physical illness before Ascension, so this book really makes the top of my ‘favorites of 2017’ list. I actually ended up contacting Jacqueline Koyanagi and telling her how much her book touched me. She was extremely nice and I hope she publishes more work soon. If you want to see my full review, click here: x.

  

Strange Medicine by Mike Russell (fantasy/short stories), 4.5/5 stars

I am so honored that I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, because I really enjoyed it. I’ve never been a fan of short stories, but I got into this collection very easily and couldn’t put it down. I just received another one of Mike Russell’s books and I can’t wait to start it in the next few days! If you want to see my full review, click here: x.

  

Burned by Ellen Hopkins (fiction), 3/5 stars 

This is the second Ellen Hopkins book I’ve read, and I was really disappointed with it. After Crank, I had such high expectations for Ellen Hopkins. Her verse style of storytelling is so unique and makes for a fast-paced page turner. Burned was not like this. The story is very interesting– a girl raised in a religious family with an abusive father, who is sent away for the summer– but is told in a very boring way. I definitely will be giving Ellen Hopkins another chance sometime soon.

  

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman (young adult fiction), 4.5/5 stars

I read an ARC of this book, so I’m not sure how much it differs from the final publication. That being said, this was a great first YA read for me in April! It is unconventional, as the two main characters are different genders but they do not have any romance between them. Alice Oseman wrote their relationship perfectly and it made for a very feel-good novel. I also like how she included a lot about internet culture. I can tell she really did her research into ‘fandom’ communities and networks. This book reminded me about why I love YA lit!

  

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous (fiction), 4.5/5 stars

Reading Crank last month inspired me to pick up this book in April. I was looking into more books that educate people about addiction, especially in young people, and this was at the top of many lists. I’m not going to say much in this blurb because I don’t think I can type anything without it turning into a rant about how addiction is a disease and needs to be treated as one. If you want my full review, please click here: x.

  

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz (young adult fiction), 4/5 stars

Yay! I spent all of last year waiting for Benjamin Alire Saenz to release a new book after Aristotle and Dante. I think he is a master at developing wholesome relationships between friends, but especially between parents and their children. This book doesn’t have much of a plot, but it is still so worth it. If you liked Benjamin Alire Saenz’s writing style from his previous publications, then you’ll absolutely love this book. If you want to see my full review, click here: x.

  

Such Small Hands by Barba Andres (fiction), 2/5 stars

This was the only book I read in April that I truly didn’t like. I found this book on the New Release Index on Book Riot Insiders, which often has books that I wouldn’t hear of otherwise, and it seemed really interesting. It ended up being a creepy novella about girls taking turns dressing up as a doll every night and performing rituals on said doll. Maybe, if the book had been longer, I would have liked it more.

  

Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately by Alicia Cook (poetry), 3.4/5 stars

This is another book that I found thanks to Book Riot Insiders! I picked up this book because I read that it was written for anyone who has struggled with addiction or loved someone who struggles with addiction, which is something I’ve recently been striving to read more about. I thought, maybe, it would include poems from the perspective of the addict, but they were mostly written for people who have a loved one who is an addict. To me, this made it a lot less interesting. I was hoping it would give more education about the disease, but the poems were too vague to teach the readers much. I did find a few that I liked a lot, though.

 

One Year Left by J.C. Robinson (romance), 3/5 stars

I’m so grateful that I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. This was my first romance of the year and it was a great start! The characters were both extremely likable, although predictable, and were a match made in heaven. I do wish there had been more depth to their character development, but, overall, they were very fun to read about. If you want to see my full review, click here: x.

 

Colorblind by Siera Maley (LGBTA, young adult), 5/5 stars

This was the only young adult book I read in April with a lesbian protagonist. Of course, with me being me, I LOVED it. It was so cute that I needed to put the book down a few times to just take it all in. Reading F/F young adult books is so refreshing because it reminds you that there are authors out there who want to normalize lesbian characters (especially teens!) and relationships. If you’re looking for an queer YA book, this is it. I’m excited to write a full review for this soon, so keep an eye out!

  

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers (science fiction), 5/5 stars

If you’ve been following my blog since I read The Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet (review: x), then you know how much I adore Becky Chambers. I was so pumped for this book, that I ordered the UK edition, because I’d have it sooner than my fellow US readers. Rationally, I NEEDED the hardcover in order to survive, so I did what I had to. I’m mad at myself for putting this book off for so long because it was the perfect sci-fi book to finish the month off. This is a companion novel to Becky Chamber’s previously mentioned book, so you don’t necessarily need to read the first one before A Closed and Common Orbit. There are some references to the Wayfarer crew, so I think at least reading up on the first book is important. Becky Chambers will remain one of my favorite science fiction writers for a very, very long time. I plan on writing a full review for this book soon!

  

And there you have it! I’m looking forward to reaching my reading goal of 40 books this year (I’m already at 36) and I’m excited to be sharing some of my favorites with all of you. I’m working on making big changes to my blog this summer, as I stated at the beginning of this post, so bear with me. Thank you for your continuous support, I really appreciate the people who read my blog.

 

January 2017 Wrap-Up!

January Wrap-Up!

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January was a great reading month for me. I read 13 books! Most of them were poetry books, so they were quick reads, but they definitely still count. For some reason, after reading Milk and Honey last month, I cannot stop reading poetry. If anyone has poetry recommendations, please send them my way. Anyway, here’s the breakdown:

Diary of an Oxygen Thief by Anonymous (fiction). I did a full review on this book! I thought it was a great, fast read that brought a lot of the struggles of addicts/alcoholics to light. I am really happy to see a book that breaks down the stigma around addiction on the best seller list! Here is my full review: x. 4/5 stars

The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace (poetry). This was a book full of strong, feminist poems. I commend Amanda for writing about her struggles with eating disorders. Personal demons, such as that, are difficult to write about but make for very moving poetry. 4/5 stars

Sapiens by Yuval Harari (science nonfiction). I’m a biological anthropology major and this book was right up my alley. Harari writes about how Homo Sapiens outlived the other Homo species and the cultural revolution that occurred within our own species. I’d recommend this book to anyone looking to learn more about the cultural parts of human evolution. 4/5 stars

Eighteen Years by Madisen Kuhn (poetry). I wasn’t a big fan of this collection of poetry. I am guessing that I didn’t enjoy this book much because a lot of the poems were about bad breakups, which is not very relatable to me. I’m sure that if the topics of writing had resonated with me more, I would have given it a better rating. 3/5 stars.

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (YA fiction). This book has the highest of praise in the young adult community, so I was very excited to get my hands on it. I was not disappointed. I could not put this book down! It had the perfect amount of romance to make it cute and all-around happy. I’m looking forward to reading Nicola’s other book, Everything Everything! 5/5 stars

Saga, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan (science fiction graphic novel). I can’t believe I only read one graphic novel this month! I am such a graphic novel enthusiast, but I guess this month was full of poetry books. Still, I am SO glad I picked up a copy of this because it was amazing. I just purchased Volume 2, and I’m so ready to start it. This book is for all science fiction lovers. 5/5 stars

The Chaos of Longing by K. Y., Robinson (poetry). This collection had a few poems that absolutely hit home for me, like the author was writing from inside my head. The book is split into 4 parts, but I only related to about 2 sections. Still, the half that did resonate with me were breathtaking. 4/5 stars

Bitter Sweet Love by Michael Faudet (poetry). Generally, I’m not a big fan of poetry written by men. I have no idea why, but I enjoy poems a lot more when they’re written by women. Perhaps it’s because I relate more to the struggles of women in today’s society. Still, this was a great collection. The thing is, I don’t remember it very much because I liked Michael’s other book (that will be later on this list) way more. Still, I gave it 4 stars so…I must have thought it was well worth the read! 4/5 stars

I Wrote This For For You by pleasefindthis aka Iain S. Thomas (poetry). This collection of poetry was very unique because it included photographs, taken by Jon Ellis, specifically for this book. Looking at the pictures and piecing together how they related to the words was very fun and interesting. 4/5 stars

Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler (science fiction). I LOVE Octavia Butler. She writes the coolest, creepiest science fiction out there. Plus, she was one of the first female, African American sci-fi authors. This book was a little horrific, due to the topics it touched upon, but not gory or gross in any sense. If you haven’t read any of Octavia’s books and you’re a sci-fi fan, please pick this one or Dawn up! Here is my full review: x. 5/5 stars

Dirty Pretty Things by Michael Faudet (poetry). This was a fantastic collection of poetry that has stuck with me since I finished it 2 weeks ago. I’m going to warn you that a lot of the poems are erotic, in case that makes or breaks a book for you. This was one of the two poetry books that I absolutely loved this month. 5/5 stars

Nexus by Ramez Naam (science fiction). January was a good sci-fi month for me. This was an excellent book about the dangers of developing powerful drugs that could be used for the wrong purposes. It was very fast-paced and almost like a thriller with all of its ups and downs. My only complaint is that it was a bit too long, I felt like the ending was very dragged out and I got bored in the last 40 pages or so. 4/5 stars

Pansy by Andrea Gibson (LGBT poetry). This was an amazing collection of poetry written by a queer author about queer topics. I don’t think there was a single poem that I didn’t like. This book inspired me to find more LGBT poetry books that I’ll be reading in February, so be on the look out! This was the second out of the two 5 star poetry books that I read in January. 5/5 stars

So, that’s it! Thirteen books in January 2017! What a great way to start the new year. February has started kind of slow for me, but I’m hoping to speed up my reading pace. I’m trying to decide which books from this list are deserving of full reviews. If there’s a certain title you’d like to know more about, please shoot me an email! Cheers to a book-filled 2017!

Favorite Books of 2016!

I thought I would compile a list of my favorite reads of 2016. I feel like I read so many books that I absolutely loved, so it was really hard to narrow it down. I tried a lot of new genres this year and I’m proud that this list contains a variety of titles. I posted full reviews of a lot of these and linked them accordingly. Who knows, maybe you’ll see some books that you read this year too. Here we go!

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles– This was the best historical fiction book I read in 2016. I really needed a good novel to wrap me up in its pages, and this was exactly what I was looking for. I think I found a piece of me in A Gentleman in Moscow and I’m so grateful. When someone comes into the bookstore asking for a recommendation, I always hand them this. (click here to see my full review)

Mischling by Affinity Konar– This was a close second for my favorite historical fiction book of the year. I’m truly not usually a fan of historical fiction, but this book sucked me in. Sometimes, you need a book to break your heart a little, and Mischling did that for me. Affinity Konar doesn’t have a lot of books out at the time, so I’m really hoping she releases something in 2017. I love her writing style so much. (click here to see my full review)

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell– 2016 was the year that I got back into young adult fiction. A few years ago, I struggled to find YA lit that attracted me, but this past year I found a lot of authors that I ended up loving. I consider Eleanor and Park a classic contemporary that all young adults (and others) should read. It’s very cute with extremely likable characters and relatable personalities. I’m hoping to read Carry On by Rainbow Rowell this month!

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers– This was possibly the best science fiction novel I’ve ever read. Becky Chambers created a universe with multiple different species and alien cultures that I’m dying to learn more about. I want to meet all of these creatures and study their habits, religions, and relationships. It makes me sad when I realize I’ll never get the chance to know them. There is a companion novel to this book, A Closed and Common Orbit, coming out in March and I’m SO EXCITED. (click here to see my full review)

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo– This was my favorite young adult read of the year. It is the first big YA novel featuring a transgender protagonist that I’ve come across. Not only is it a BIG DEAL in LGBTQ literature, it is written phenomenally well. It makes me so happy to see this book in the front facing section in large chain bookstores. I hope this novel continues doing well in 2017! (click here to see my full review)

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur– 2016 also was the year that I got into poetry. That’s right, me, the person who hated the poetry unit in school, found out that she actually loves the genre. Milk and Honey is basically the first poetry book that I’ve ever read “for fun” and now I’ve already finished 3 other poetry books in 2017. This collection of poems honestly changed my life and I think every woman, especially women of color, should read it. (click here to see my full review)

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick (graphic novel adaptation)- Who knew that such an amazing sci-fi classic could also be an extraordinary graphic novel? As much as I loved the original book, I think this illustrated version was even better. Philip K. Dick has the most unique brain that comes up with the strangest storylines and characters that exist in science fiction. I hope I can read more of his works in 2017, as I’m sure they’re all just as great.

2016 was a phenomenal reading year for me and I can’t wait to see what 2017 holds! I’ve already read 4 books in January, so be prepared for a lot of reviews! If anyone has any recommendations, please email them to be at hedgehogbookreviews@gmail.com :). I hope that you’ll all stick around with me this year and I look forward to sharing more of my thoughts with you.

November To Be Read!

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I know this is a little late, but I wanted to document my “TBR” for this month! It’s a little ambitious, considering I’m only ¾ way through my first novel of the month (The Nix). My concussion is still slowing me down reading-wise. I’m healing quickly so I hope to get back on track soon! This list contains 5 books that I would like to read in this moment. My priorities will probably change as the month goes on, so we’ll see how many of these I actually get through! Here’s the breakdown:

The Nix by Nathan Hill. This book came out at the end of August and has been at the top of my reading list since I saw it under the Best Seller section at my local bookstore. Every time I walk into the store I see it staring back at me, week after week, so I knew I had to pick it up eventually. I’m currently ¾ done with it and it’s been great. I don’t think I could do justice to the plot with a short summary, so I encourage you to click the Goodreads link to learn more about it!

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. My dad and I like to read a book at the same time and this is next on our list. (He’s currently wrapping up A Gentleman in Moscow). I’m an anthropology major with a focus in paleoanthropology/archaeology; This means that I love to learn about pre-Homo Sapiens hominids. I’ve read a lot of anthropology textbooks in the past few years and I’m excited to see paleo information in a book setting. There are a lot of different ways to make the evolution of Homo a very interesting tale, so I have high hopes for this!

The Golden Sword by Janet Morris. Last month, Perseid Press so generously gifted me a copy of High Couch of Silistra by Janet Morris. Janet Morris, herself, read my review and the publisher said she really enjoyed it. I am so honored that she devoted some of her time to my blog and am so excited to read the second book in her quartet! I love science fiction, especially when it has feminist themes and strong female protagonists. I know I’m going to love this next book.

A Door Into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski. This book came out in 2000 and has been called “A ground-breaking work both of feminist SF and world-building hard SF”. Again, feminist science fiction…I can’t stop myself from binge buying books of this genre. This isn’t a very popular book among my book friends, but I hope that I’ll be able to recommend it to them after this month!

Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger. I LOVE this book. The only problem is that I remember that I love this book, but I’m not sure why. In my mind, it’s one of my favorite books but I can’t quite remember what it’s about. I’m making it my mission to rediscover my feelings for Salinger’s less-known works. Catcher in the Rye is actually my all-time, #1 favorite book, so I have a very special place for Salinger in my heart.

I’m keeping my TBR pretty short for this month because I always end up reading books not on my monthly list. I somehow just ordered 4 more books online (I have no idea how this happened…) so we’ll see where November takes me! Please feel free to let me know what you’re reading as well!

October Wrap Up!

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The first 2 weeks of October were great for me– I finished 3 novels and was going strong. I was on my way to my goal of 8 books until I tripped and got a concussion in mid-October. I’m so clumsy, haha. The doctors told me to keep reading to a minimum so I was on a hiatus for about a week and a half. I slowly started reading again, but never quite made it to my goal. Still, I read 6 physical books and 1 eBook (not pictured). I’m pretty content with that! Here’s the breakdown:

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (fiction)- 5/5 stars

High Couch of Silistra by Janet Morris (science fiction)- 4/5 stars

Mischling by Affinity Konar (fiction)- 5/5 stars

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison (science fiction)- 4/5 stars

Suck Less: Where There’s a Willam, There’s a Way by Willam Belli (autobiography) -5/5 stars

Graveyard Quest by K.C. Green (graphic novel/fantasy)- 5/5 stars

Sex Criminals: Volume 1 by Matt Fraction (graphic novel/fantasy)- 5/5 stars

Wow, I just realized that I didn’t rate any books under 4 stars this month! I usually have one 2 or 3 star book, so I’m really happy with my decisions in October. In case you didn’t know, you can keep up with my reading progress on Goodreads. I don’t post blog reviews for every book that I read, in fear of spamming email addresses, so add me there if you want to follow along. Also, if you want to see artsy photos of my books and bookshelves, my instagram is @hedgehogbooks. I’m currently doing a November Book Challenge, so I post bookish photos daily. Check it out!

Thanks to my subscribers for tuning in this October, I’m excited to see what November holds for me!

September Wrap-Up!

It was a bit of a slow reading month for me in September. I read 6 books, 3 of which were graphic novels and fairly easy to get through. Before this month, I never really read any graphic novels besides Maus (for school) and Alison Bechdel comics (Dykes to Watch Out For is my favorite comic strip). I’m really glad that I’ve found a new love for this genre and I’m open to any recommendations! Please shoot me an email or comment with your favorite graphic novels. Here’s this month’s breakdown:

Joe Gould’s Teeth by Jill Lepore (biography)- 4.5/5 stars

Edenborn by Nick Sagan (science fiction) – 3/5 stars

Sobriety by Daniel D. Maurer (graphic novel/fiction) – 4.5/5 stars

The Invisible life of Ivan Isaenko (YA fiction) – 4/5 stars

How to Talk to Girls at Parties by Neil Gaiman (graphic novel/sci fi)- 5/5 stars

Stardust by Neil Gaiman (graphic novel/fantasy)- 4/5 stars

I’m aiming for closer to 8 books in October, as I have a lot of review requests to get through. I’m really excited for my TBR list this month but, like always, I’m constantly looking for new books and genres to try out. Thank you to the amazing authors and publishers that have contacted me for reviews—I appreciate all of you. Cheers to a great reading month and here’s to another one.

May, June, and July Wrap-Up!

I apologize for not having a picture of all the books I’ve read in the past 3 months. I’m in the process of moving so most of my books are packed away in boxes. I’m excited for them to have a new home on my shelves in about a week or so! Here’s the breakdown of what I’ve been reading (7 physical books, 2 eBooks):

The Star Side of Bird Hill (fiction) – 5/5 stars

A New Orchid Myth (science fiction) – 4.5/5 stars

Ready Player One (science fiction) – 4.5/5 stars

All Inclusive (fiction) – 2/5 stars

The Sirens of Titan (science fiction) – 5/5 stars

The Goldfinch (fiction) – 4.5/5 stars

Defects (YA Fantasy) – 5/5 stars

Do Not Disturb (thriller/erotica) – 4/5 stars

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (YA LGBTQ) – 5/5 stars