#SHReads18 - In Which Order to Read Sherlock Holmes Stories?

When I started thinking of writing this post, I didn’t even suspect that there might be different ways of reading Sherlock Holmes stories. Naturally, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was rather prolific, in spite of his developed frustration with the character that brought him fame, but it never occured to me that somebody could read the stores not in the publicated order - because it was the way I read them as a child.

I don’t remember how I was introduced to Sherlock Holmes stories. They seem, just like The Three Musketeers (although with that book I do remember the first time I read it), to always have been in my life. I think that it might have been my grandfather who introduced me to Sherlock Holmes. Or perhaps, I watched the tv show first. I honestly can not recall.

However, I do remember always reading the stories by starting with A Study in Scarlet.

Here is the list of all stories in chronological order by the publication date (taken from Baker Street Wiki):

  • 1887: A Study in Scarlet
  • 1890: The Sign of the Four
  • July 1891 to December 1892: Stories that would make up The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes published in The Strand magazine
  • December 1892 to November 1893: Stories that would make up The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes published in The Strand
  • 1901-2 (serial): The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • October 1903 to January 1905: Stories that would make up The Return of Sherlock Holmes published in The Strand
  • 1908–1913, 1917: Stories that would make up His Last Bow (short stories) published.
  • 1914-15: The Valley of Fear
  • 1921–1927: Stories that would become The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes published.

After looking into some forums and discussions and thinking about it, I was surprised to see that many people suggest skipping A Study in Scarlet, as it is the first story written by Doyle and therefore not as polished and a bit too long, and just dive into The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and then The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.

Well, personally, I would not skip A Study in Scarlet, no matter how boring it is, as it introduces the main characters to us and just like the first episode of many Sherlock Holmes adaptations - you don’t want to miss that.

So, in honour of January being a Sherlock Holmes reading month and the read-a-long #SHReads18, I decided to introduce you to my favourite reading order of all Sherlock Holmes stories. I am participating in this January event, however, I have a bigger goal in mind. One of my reading challenges for 2018 is to re-read all of Sherlock Holmes stories and for that I am listening to them as audiobooks - the complete collection of stories read by Stephen Fry (one of my most favourite narrators)! The complete collection is an exclusive production by Audible and was released last year.

As I am writing this, I have already listened to A Study in Scarlet and started on The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Follow me on GoodReads, if you want to follow me on my epic re-read :)

There is no right or wrong way to read the stories - besides Doyle himself sometimes messed up facts and dates. However, The Final Problem and The Empty House have to be read together as they are tied in plot. Save The Hound of the Baskervilles for the last, as it is pretty good.

Here is my reading order, in which I will be doing this:

I. A Study in Scarlet (novel, 1887)
II. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  • The Red-headed League, 1891
  • A Case of Identity, 1891
  • The Boscombe Valley Mystery, 1891
  • The Five Orange Pips, 1891
  • The Man with the Twisted Lip, 1891
  • The Blue Carbuncle, 1892
  • The Speckled Band, 1892
  • The Engineer's Thumb, 1892
  • The Noble Bachelor, 1892
  • The Beryl Coronet, 1892
  • The Copper Beeches, 1892
  • A Scandal in Bohemia, 1891 (I plan to read this story the last in the book)
III. The Sign of the Four (novel, 1890)

IV. The Valley of Fear (novel, 1914-15)

(or read this novel between the stories from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, but before The Final Problem)

V. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
  • Silver Blaze, 1892
  • The Yellow Face, 1893
  • The Stock-broker's Clerk, 1893
  • The 'Gloria Scott', 1893
  • The Musgrave Ritual, 1893
  • The Reigate Squires, 1893
  • The Crooked Man, 1893
  • The Resident Patient, 1893
  • The Greek Interpreter, 1893
  • The Naval Treaty, 1893
  • The Final Problem, 1893
VI. The Return of Sherlock Holmes
  • The Empty House, 1903
  • The Norwood Builder, 1903
  • The Dancing Men, 1903
  • The Solitary Cyclist, 1903
  • The Priory School, 1904
  • Black Peter, 1904
  • Charles Augustus Milverton, 1904
  • The Six Napoleons, 1904
  • The Three Students, 1904
  • The Golden Pince-Nez, 1904
  • The Missing Three-Quarter, 1904
  • The Abbey Grange, 1904
  • The Second Stain, 1904
VII. The Hound of the Baskervilles (novel, 1901-02)
VIII. The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes
  • The Illustrious Client, 1924
  • The Blanched Soldier, 1926
  • The Mazarin Stone, 1921
  • The Three Gables, 1926
  • The Sussex Vampire, 1924
  • The Three Garridebs, 1924
  • Thor Bridge, 1922
  • The Creeping Man, 1923
  • The Lion's Mane, 1926
  • The Veiled Lodger, 1927
  • Shoscombe Old Place, 1927
  • The Retired Colourman, 1926
 IX. His Last Bow
  • Wisteria Lodge, 1908
  • The Cardboard Box, 1893
  • The Red Circle, 1911
  • The Bruce-Partington Plans, 1908
  • The Dying Detective, 1913
  • Lady Frances Carfax, 1911
  • The Devil's Foot, 1910
  • His Last Bow, 1917

It is not, by any means, a strict reading order. I might mix things as I go, but if you are new to Sherlock Holmes stories or haven’t had a chance to read them all - I hope you find my little guide handy.

My book reviews

Sources:

Book Review: Of Beast and Beauty by Jay Stacey

 

“Of Beast and Beauty” was the book that I randomly picked from the library after having it recommended to me by BookOutlet based on my browsing and purchases. I knew nothing of this book and had never heard of the author, so I went into it with fairly low expectations. I did pick it up shortly after watching the new movie “Beauty and the Beast”, so I was rather in the mood for this type of retelling.

 

“Of Beast and Beauty” is a young adult fantasy novel, it is a stand alone, and quite overlooked in my opinion. The setting is a cross between sci-fi/dystopian and fantasy world, and found it very peculiar that there allusions to the times when people came to this world in spaceships.

 

The main protagonist, Princess Isra, lives in isolation in a tower, protected and hidden from the world due to her blindness and ugliness. Her city, Yuan, is covered by the dome, which has to be protected and reinforced by certain sacrifice to the magic of the city. Outside Yuan there is only desert, in which outcast and beastly people, the Monstrous, live. A group of monstrous finds their way inside Yuan in the hopes of stealing one of the red roses from the garden as their magic was prophesied to save their people from starvation. Gem, one of the monstrous, is captured and becomes Isra’s prisoner. Unexpectedly, Gem and Isra discover that not all things that they both believed in are true.

 

I suggest that if you want to read this book, stay away from reading the summary either on the flap or GoodReads as it happens to give away quite a bit of book’s events (no idea why). I went into this book completely blind and I think that is why I enjoyed it so much.

 

It is a rather interesting story, a very easy read. Nothing is too overly complicated, however, the world is rather interestingly constructed and it is not as easy to pinpoint who of either characters is supposed to be Belle and who is The Beast. Both Isra and Gem go through character development, which is great. The book is told from three different points of view, which I rather enjoyed as it showed that none of the characters were flawless or black and white.

 

Could I predict the book ending? Well, yes, as it is a retelling after all.

 

Did I know how the things were going to play out? Nope. I found twists and turns quite interesting and there were quite a few things that I didn’t see coming.

 

It was not the perfectly written book. It had flaws, especially in some of the character’s actions. However, I did like the characters, and all of my favourite moments were to do with the roses and garden. I swear, I was completely hooked by the story the moment when the roses turned out to be magical (it is not really a spoiler). Will probably never be able to view them as harmless flowers.

Personal rating: 3.5 stars

Décembre 3: 24e Salon du Livre de Toronto

My last class of French for this semester took place in public library. Pretty books and crepes afterwords - can MY every French class be like that?Here are some photos of picture books at the fair.

I did buy a couple of kids novels in the hopes of studying French on my own during the break (which is just my excuse for buying books).

Bon journée. 

September Read-A-Thons

I should have titled this post something like "September Read-A-Thons or How to Make Myself Even More Stressed During Vacation", because I will, hopefully, be away on vacation in September for about 3 weeks. Naturally, I do plan to take books with me (and I will post my TBR online) but participating in readathons while meeting with family and friends and traveling around? Ugh, madness. Anyway. I was catching up with YT today and saw 2 announcements that immediately made me want to participate. One is Banned Books Read-A-Thon "Banned Book-A-Thon" (announcement) and another one is Slow Read-A-Thon (announcement). I am posting these links mostly for my sake, as I know I will be scrambling later, trying to find them.

Slow Read-A-Thon

Slow Read-A-Thon (and I just love tags #slowathon and #booksnals) runs September 12 and September 18. There are some prompts/challenges, but it is not required to complete them all.

The prompts: 1) Read a book and mark it up! (Tabs, notes, underlining, etc.) 2) Create something inspired by the book you're reading! (Examples: write a poem, a song, do a sketch, a dance routine, a painting...) 3) Do a buddy read (with booktube or real life freinds) and discuss the book! 4) Read a book out loud (to someone or just to yourself.) 5) Read a book that intimidates you! 6) Reread a book and compare your reading experiences. 7) Read a book and review it on your platform of choice during the readathon week. 8) Read a book, then read secondary literature on it. Or a retelling/variation of the first book.

Banned Book-A-Thon

Banned Book-A-Thon starts at midnight Sunday, 25 September, and runs till midnight Saturday, 1 October. The theme for this year is "diversity." More info about Banned Books Week: http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/

Somehow in my brain I decided that participating in readathons during my vacation is exactly what I need on top of everything else. Hmmm... Nevertheless, I am excited about the prospect of picking books to fit some challenges. Of course, I don't plan to participate in all of them or reading a lot, but I can aim for 2-3 books, right?

Tell me, I am not crazy XD

I have done it again (disappeared and came back)

Managing this blog turned out a bit more difficult than I expected. I have no problems with posting photos here or videos but actually writing blog posts? Here is where I have a problem. So, here is my attempt at a comeback number umpteenth.

Anyhow, I was browsing books online today (simultaneously on BookOutlet, AbeBooks, Indigo and Amazon - no, I am not joking) and came to a conclusion that I seem to be resolving to buying books that I should probably be getting from the library. But. But. But. My library holds are maxed out, that is I have 100 books on hold. And some of those have been on hold disgustingly long.

See an example.

 

OutstandingHolds

I have been waiting for "We were liars" for almost 12 months AND I am still far from being at the top of the queue, as the library obviously does not have that many copies on hand.

So, I got so annoyed to the point that I went and ordered this book at BookOutlet. This book was consistently popping up in my recommendations and I want to read it but I didn't want to own it. Alas, there is a limit I can wait for a book.

Same thing for some other books. I purchased some of them on AbeBooks and cancelled more of my requests where I was not in the top 10-15 people as the wait was getting ridiculous.

I realized that I have been adding books on hold at the library as the way to remember to read them (I am bad with titles) and therefore I keep maxing out. Which is annoying. I even have a separate wish list on Amazon that I titled "get these books from the library", so that I don't accidentally buy them.

I am a horrible shopaholic when it comes to books. I spent a ridiculous amount of money in June. It feels like July might be no better.

Do I have that much money to spend?

No.

Do I have shelf space for all those books?

Nope.

Why do I keep buying books?

Because it makes me happy! Besides I am not buying expensive tech gear or clothes. I am buying books. Mostly discounted, on sales or in second hand stores. So, I am not THAT bad.

But I am bad, and I admit it.

I also found that checking out a whole bunch of books from the library (as well as having 100 books on hold) is very overwhelming. I am trying to figure out how to get rid (meaning, read) from all of those books I have right now, so I can go on reading what I want to read right now. (This is why I do really bad with TBRs in general.)

Today is the last day of BookTube-A-Thon is which I am participating. And not doing too well. I am not bad, but I still find it hard to adhere to a set tbr.

Here are my ranty post.

Cheers.

Books: January Wrap-Up

Yes, I am posting a January wrap-up today, on March 1. Yes, I am quite aware of it. I ran in a bit of a "writing reviews" slump. Apologies for that. Book video is up today as well.

I listened to a lot of audiobooks in January. To the point that I have already completed my goal of 10 audiobooks for this year. XD Yes, I am an overachiever, apparently.

I posted all of the reviews (long and short) on GoodReads with the exception of two (linked below), you will have to go to GR to read my reviews. I am sorry, if it is inconvenient.

Here is the full list:

(** - means a re-read)

Print books:

  1. "The Darkest Part of the Forest" by Holly Black (my review is HERE) - 5 stars
  2. "Otherbound" by Corinne Duyvis (my review is HERE) - 4 stars

Audiobooks:

  1. "Welcome to Night Vale" by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor (started as an print book but switched to an audiobook - my review is HERE) - 4 stars
  2. "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde, narrated by full cast - 4 stars
  3. "Stories for All Ages" by Oscar Wilde, narrated by Stephen Fry - 4 stars
  4. "Stephen Fry Presents a Selection of Anton Chekhov's Short Stories" - Anton Chekhov, narrated by Stephen Fry - 4 stars
  5. "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, #7)" by Conan Doyle, narrated by full cast - 4 stars
  6. "Click-Clack the Rattlebag" by Neil Gaiman, narrated by Neil Gaiman - 4 stars
  7. "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Poe - 4 stars
  8. "Shoggoth's Old Peculiar" by Neil Gaiman, narrated by Neil Gaiman - 4 stars
  9. "A Vintage Affair" by Josh Lanyon** - story 4 stars, performance 3 stars

Graphic novels:

  1. The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act (The Wicked + The Divine, #1) - 3.5 stars
  2. East of West, Vol. 4: Who Wants War? - 3 stars
  3. The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 2: Fandemonium (The Wicked + The Divine, #2) - 3.5 stars
  4. "Blankets" by Craig Thomson - 3.75 stars (review is HERE)
  5. The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman - 3 stars

E-Books (novels and short stories):

  1. Becoming Elite (Sin City #1) by Tricia Owens - 3 stars
  2. The Concubine Prince: Book One (The Concubine Prince, #1) by Cat Summerfield - 2 stars
  3. The Concubine Prince: Book Two (The Concubine Prince, #2) by Cat Summerfield - 2 stars
  4. The Concubine Prince: Book Three (The Concubine Prince, #3) by Cat Summerfield - 2 stars
  5. "My Dearest Holmes" by Rohase Piercy** - 4 stars
  6. "A Ghost of a Chance" by Josh Lanyon** - 4 stars
  7. "Learning from Isaac (Tarnished Souls, #1)" by Dev Bentham - 3.5 stars
  8. Spice ‘n’ Solace (Galactic Alliance #1) by K.C. Burn - 2 stars
  9. The Horse Mistress: Book 1 by R.A. Steffan - 3.75 stars
  10. "In Plain Sight" by Josh Lanyon** - 4 stars

 

New Year Resolutions

I'm quite aware it is February ;) I wrote those down a month ago, but never got to share them.

  • read 70 books*
  • listen to 10 audiobooks
  • see 10 theatre plays
  • watch 50 movies
  • start art journal again
  • write more
  • blog regularly (once a day)
  • take more photos and share them
  • consistently write book reviews
  • write plays/events reviews
  • take care of my health
  • start going to the gym again
  • travel to new places
  • meet new people
  • smile every day

*I set my goal at GoodReads for 70 books as well, but it is not the same. On GoodReads I keep track of both books and audiobooks, but in my journal I keep them separate. Which means that I will hit my GoodReads goal before my personal one.

I must say that my book reading challenge is going quite nicely AND I have already listened to 10 audiobooks, so that is quite encouraging :D

I also started a new art journal. I hope to keep doing that throughout the year.

I still suck at writing and posting reviews right after the events/plays/reading books. But I am working on it!

Books: December Wrap-Up

Okay, I have dwindled my thumbs enough - time to sit down and be done with it. Here is what I read in December - not as much as in November by any account, but still enough. I was pretty busy in December and I couldn't devote a lot of time to reading, so I ended up reading a lot of ebooks, which were generally shorter.

All of the ebooks I read in December are MM romance - I posted almost all of the reviews on GoodReads, and won't repost them here.

The two paperbacks that I read are very different. Adam Silvera's novel was terrific, but Illuminae left me confused about why everyone is so obsessed with it. See my reviews linked below.

I got lucky with graphic novels that month - all of them were terrific reads.

Books:

  1. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (my full review is here) - 5 stars
  2. Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1) by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman (my full review is here) - 3 stars

Graphic Novel/Picture Book:

  1. The Pied Piper of Hamelin (Russell Brand’s Trickster Tales, #1) by Russel Brand - 5 stars
  2. The Less than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal Volume 2: Wanderlust Kings by E.K. Weaver - 5 stars
  3. The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal Volume 3: Ten Days of Perfect Tunes by E.K. Weaver - 5 stars
  4. Baba Yaga's Assistant by Marika McCoola - 5 stars

Ebooks:

  1. Alien Christmas (The Traveler #1) by Max Walker - 3 stars
  2. Spring Mates (Pack Mates #1.5) by Lynn Tyler - 3 stars
  3. Seven Thousand Minutes: A #Not Safe For Work story (Tagged Book 0) by Ingela Bohm - 3 stars
  4. Marked (Northern Shifters #1) by Joely Skye (**) - 3.5 stars
  5. Called to Mate (Pack Mates #1) by Lynn Tyler - 3 stars
  6. Bleeding Heart (Mi Corazón Sangrante #1) by Melissa Graves - 3 stars
  7. Most Wonderful by  Hollis Shiloh - 3 stars
  8. Feral (Northern Shifters, #2) by Joely Skye (**) - 3.25 stars
  9. The Mark of an Alpha (Pack Discipline #1) by Kim Dare (**) - 3.75 stars
  10. The Strength of a Gamma (Pack Discipline #2) by Kim Dare (**) - 3.5 stars
  11. The Duty of a Beta (Pack Discipline #3) by Kim Dare (**) - 3 stars
  12. Without Reservations (With or Without #1) by J.L. Langley (**) - 4 stars
  13. With Caution (With or Without, #2) by J.L. Langley (**) - 4 stars
  14. Building Bonds (Kiss of Leather, #1) by Morticia Knight - 4 stars

(** - these books were re-reads)

Total: 2 books, 4 graphic novels, 14 ebooks (some of those were novellas, but it is hard to tell number of pages with ebooks)

I plan to make a wrap up video too. Will be posted shortly.

My Year in Books - 2015

goodreads2015 Here is my reading year at GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2015/3155103

I started my reading challenge in July and set a goal of 20 books. But I went far and beyond and finished the year at 70 books and 18,158 pages! Wow! I do hope that 2016 will be as good! I set up the goal of 70 books since this is what I already attained once.

My bro and I have been challenging each other as to who would read more books every year. And every year during that past 7-8 years, he always won.

Well, in 2015 I finally won! For the very first time! :) Even though I came very close once or twice ;) Need to mention that he used to read way more than me (150-200 books a year) but now he has no time with his job, and I managed to beat him :)

I am excited about all the books I plan to read in 2016!

November Wrap-Up Video!

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYL6LDEskxY[/embed] Yes, I created a new video!

Took me ages, because iMovie is experiencing a glitch with photos import. I did figure out new tricks in it though, that should make editing way quicker.

Not perfect, but I think I am getting a bit better ;)

Next video will be an unboxing video! And and actual video.

My full review/ November blog post is here.

Books: November Wrap-Up & Reviews

I had an amazing reading month in November. I didn't have a set TBR list for November. I got a lot of books from the library and simply tried my best to read them all. And I read  A LOT of books. Mostly due to the fact that I was sick for the majority of the month, even taking a couple of days off work, that allowed me to read more. (Although reading while being sick really sucks, let me tell ya.)

I split my list of read books into sections. The reviews will be at the bottom. This is going to be one hell of a post.

Books:

  1. Alex Gino "George"
  2. Kelley York "Made of Stars"
  3. Melissa Landers "Invaded"
  4. Alex London "Proxy"
  5. Alex London "Guardian"
  6. I.W. Gregorio "None of the Above"
  7. Nicola Yoon "Everything, Everything"
  8. Rainbow Rowell "Fangirl"

E-books:

  1. R.G. Alexander "Curious"
  2. Bonnie Dee "The Tutor"
  3. Laura Harner "Continental Divide (Separate Ways, #1)"
  4. E.M. Lindsey "Time and Tide"

Graphic novels:

  1. East of West, Vol. 1: The Promise by Jonathan Hickman
  2. East of West, Vol. 2: We Are All One by Jonathan Hickman
  3. East of West, Vol. 3: There Is No Us by Jonathan Hickman
  4. Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
  5. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
  6. Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy (Lumberjanes, #1-4) by Noelle Stevenson
  7. Blue is the Warmest Colour by Julie Maroh
  8. The less than epic adventures of TJ and Amal vol. 1 Poor boys and pilgrims by E.K. Weaver
  9. Emily Carroll "Through the Woods"

Books re-read:

  1. Marie Sexton "Promises"
  2. Marie Sexton "Strawberries for Dessert"
  3. Sue Brown "Nothing Ever Happens"

So, if my math skills do not deceive me, in the month of November I read 24 books. Holy moly! That's definitely way more than I expected! Granted, a huge part of those were short ebooks and graphic novels, but still! I don't think I will ever be able to beat that.

Okay, onto reviews then. All of these are posted on my GoodReads page, so I am only going to post reviews of books and graphic novels and will skip ebooks and books I've read before.

Reviews:

"George" by Alex Gino

Personal rating: 4 stars

I read this book in one go. It has less than 200 pages with huge font and it a middle grade novel.

I liked it. I think it is great that the author touches upon a topic of gender identity in a middle grade novel. Reading it, I couldn't help by sympathize with George. I think that her voice was very prominent and well defined.

I am happy that such books exist nowadays.

"Made of Stars" by Kelley York

Personal rating: 5 stars

You know there are some books that you finish reading and then next day you still keep thinking about it? For me it was "Made of Stars". (Where has this book been before?? Why haven't I read it sooner??)

This is a contemporary/suspense YA novel, that tells the story of three friends (a boy and his half sister and their friend, whom they see once a year during summer). One summer they all meet again, and things change. And their feelings change too.

Hunter and Ashlin start noticing the lies Chance is telling them and things he is NOT telling them. They start questioning things he says and does.

And then a murder happens.

It is not exactly a murder mystery, but the book has a very strong suspense undercurrent. I don't want to say anything or I might spoil the ending, but let's just say that I spent the last 20% of the book dreading what was about to happen while knowing that it would probably happen. Basically, I was just sitting here and yelling "NO!" a lot.

I couldn't put it down.

The ending was like a sucker punch. Have you read Allegiant by Veronica Roth? Remember THAT? Well, THAT thing in Allegiant gave me the same feeling as this book. Remember, how at some point in Allegiant (just by the way the POV is switched) you could totally tell that THIS was going to happen? Same thing here.

I spent some time trying to think of what might happen next, if there is hope, if there is any way that it could not have ended in so much heartbreak.

But no, there was no other way.

I both heartbroken and in awe with what the author did to my poor heart. It was painful and amazing.

I want more. I am definitely putting Kelley York on my list of favourite authors.

"Invaded" by Melissa Landers

Personal rating: 3.75 stars

(SOME MILD SPOILERS AHEAD!)

I read Alienated in September and was quite excited to get ahold of Invaded quite easily (I landed a copy from the library and it was a new copy which is a rarity at times).

I can't say I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed Alienated. For one thing, I really liked Cara's blog, which was barely there in Invaded, as well as her sense of humour (overall the novel felt more serious in tone than Alienated). The romance between her and Aelyx still ran true but Melissa used pretty much the same trick as in Alienated: creating a rift between them, only to bring them back together followed by a dramatic event. It felt rather boring to read the same plot twist in the second novel.

I did like the intrigue that was happening in both worlds, as well as depiction of L'eihr and its traditions, but I felt as if the first part of the book dragged a bit.

There was one character whom I really liked and who died, which really annoyed me, because it could have been avoided (seeing as other major characters are always saved by deus ex machina). This death affected another character, who has already been through a lot. I feel as if this was done for the sake of drama and it felt a bit cheap to me.

I feel like there might be a third novel. Invaded does not end with an obvious cliffhanger than Alienated had, but still there are some things that were left unresolved. The problem is that I am not sure how Melissa can create the third novel without making it even more boring. Will I be reading it? Perhaps, but it won't be high on my list.

"Proxy" and "Guardian" by Alex London

Proxy

Personal rating: 3.75

I couldn't wait to pick up this book. I heard great things about it. I can't say that I was disappointed but I wish my expectations hadn't been set so high. It is a great dystopian YA novel, with a unique world, but at times it felt as if it lacked depth, and some of the characters' actions didn't make much sense. There was a lot of talk about feelings and decisions, but I think that the author described things instead of *showing* them.

I did like the characters and I love the fact that this book had a main gay character, who was essentially "the chosen one".

Some events in this book didn't make much sense, but the ending had a good twist. And it made me a bit sad too. You will know why. (I would have preferred a different punch line at the end, as it felt a bit weak, but over all it was ok.)

Guardian

Personal rating: 4 stars

I think that this book is stronger than "Proxy". It is better written and it has more plot twists. I did enjoy both the relationships (a budding romance) between the characters and the main intrigue. I also liked how it was shown how "the chosen one", ex-proxy, was dealing with his fame.

The resolution of the moral peril in which the characters found themselves felt a bit too "deus ex machina", but I did like the ending. One might say, it is too open, or even a cliffhanger, but I enjoyed it.

Can't say this book is going to be high on my "re-read list" but it was enjoyable. I would love to read more dystopian YA with main queer characters.

"None of the Above" by I.W. Gregorio

Personal rating: 3.75 stars

I enjoyed the book because it is rather different from all other YA which is readily available on the market. It is the first book with an intersex character that I have ever read. I liked the book. I didn't love it though. I feel that it was more educational than anything else, as the plot was rather predictable (discovering herself, friends turning enemies, bullying at school, therapy) and some twists made me feel rather sad.

I liked Kristin. I liked that she is an athlete, she is a runner. I liked how her struggle to come to terms with her diagnosis was described. What I didn't like was how predictable everything else was (her boyfriend, her friends' reaction, etc).

I still recommend this book. It has to be read at least for the educational purposes. I feel that it was a bit overhyped for me in terms of the plot though.

"Everything, Everything" by Nicola Yoon

personal rating: 4.5 stars

This book deserves all the love and hype surrounding it! It is a very cute story about a girl who is allergic to everything. One day, a new family moves into a nearby house and she befriends their son.

I liked everything about this book. The way it is written. The fact that it is interrupted by illustrations and notes written by Madeline. The fact that this book has some similarities to "The Fault In Our Stars" but only it is way better and lighter and happier. (And also, HAWAII!)

The characters are unique and have very distinctive voices. I loved both Madeline and Olly. I loved the setting of the book. I loved all the descriptions.

I also loved the twist and the way the story resolved itself, even though I did suspect something like this would happen. (It also quite unexpectedly resonated with my own experience, which was a bit surprising.)

Can't say more but this book gave me rather happy, warm and fuzzy feeling. Even though it mostly about illness. Nicola Yoon has achieved something that John Green failed to do for me.

Read it. You will love it.

"Fangirl" by Rainbow Rowell

Personal rating: 5 stars

I thought this book was overhyped on booktube. I thought I wouldn't like it. I thought it was something like "shopaholic" novels.

I was so wrong!

This book is fantastic. It is well written, it has amazing characters and a very sweet romance. I loved Cath. She is very relatable. Levi is a sweetheart (I was rooting for him the whole book!). Wren is something. Reagan is something else altogether.

And Cath's father, Art, is adorable. (I have a soft spot for him. Because I don't know how you can NOT. It is probably the first time ever I feel so strongly about a secondary character.)

I don't even know how to express how much I loved this book (which can be confirmed by the fact that I ordered my own copy online while being only 50 pages into the library copy). It is everything my life is and is not, but potentially can be. This book made me feel less embarrassed about being "a fangirl". It also gave me a strong urge to write.

This book was so good, and so well written, that I want to read it again.

Also I need "Carry On" like RIGHT NOW.


All of other reviews you can read on my GoodReads page, as I don't want to make this post longer than necessary. I do want to point out that Nimona, Lumberjanes, Adventures of TJ and Amal, and Through the Woods are my favourite graphic novels of the month, while Blue is the Warmest Colour is the least favourite.

Let me know what you think!

 

Books: August-October Book Haul

Okay, so I admit, I have a book buying problem. At least now, I am mostly buying from bargain book shops, like BookOutlet, which means that I am spending a tiny bit less.

I got Andrew Smith's "Wringler" and "100 Sideways Miles" and David Levithan's "Another Day" from BookOutlet. When I went to Word On The Street book festival, I saw "Stand Off" being sold and I just had to get it. It was 20% off but still rather expensive as it is a hardback.

I already owned a copy of Scott Lynch's "Lies of Locke Lamora" (book 1) as a pocket paperback, but when I saw this edition, which is bigger and nicer for only $5 at Indigo, I couldn't resist myself.

After watching "The Danish Girl" movie at TIFF, I got really excited when I found out that it is based not only on a true story, but there is a book by David Ebershoff. I went to Indigo hoping to find a movie tie-in edition, but there was none. So I got myself this Penguin books edition. (As I am typing this in December, the movie tie-in edition did come out, which annoys me as I would have preferred to own a copy with with Eddie Redmayne on it.)

I love Katherine Kurtz books. She is a high fantasy writer and most of her books came out in 80-90s. I read Deryni series when I was a teen and they still remain my favourite high fantasy series ever. I am rather sad that only the first trilogy was ever re-published. I own almost all of her books (since some of them are out of print and I basically have to hunt for missing copies in bargain/used books), all of them mass paperback/pocket editions. But when I saw this hardcover copy for less than $5 at the BMV, I just had to get it. It is in a very good condition too! (I plan to do a bargain books/high fantasy books haul some time later.)

Right before my trip, I decided, on a whim, to buy more books. So I got "Me, Earl, and the dying girl" (even though I promised myself that I am not reading any more books like "The Fault in Our Stars") and "Will Grayson Will Grayson", which I tried to read once before but never finished (it was an audiobook in fact, I believe).

When I came back, I got my pre-order from Amazon with Elizabeth Bear, Sarah Monette "The Apprentice to Elves" and Welcome To Night Vale, both of which I was really excited to get.

I haven't started reading any of these books yet, except for WTNV novel, which I had to put on hold, as I got too many library books that I need to go through first.

Books: October wrap-up

I started writing down my November reading post and suddenly  realized that I forgot to post the list of books I read in October. Oops! My excuse is that I was away for 3 weeks in October and when I got back it was almost November. While I put together a small number of books that I planned to bring with me on vacation, besides my Kindle, but for better or worse I forgot to pack them! (I think it was actually for the better as I had a huge suitcase as it was.)

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(This was supposed to be my October TBR, but alas!)

I didn't read much in October and I am surprised I read as much as I did. I did catch up with some ARCs, so that was good. All of the reviews are available on my GoodReads page - https://www.goodreads.com/fox-rain.

Here is the list:

  1. Picture (Im)perfect by  Frankel, J.S. (novella, romance, 3/5 stars)
  2. Spanish Bay by  Hirschi, Hans M.  (m/m romance, 2/5 stars)
  3. Deadly Messengers by Susan May (mystery, 4/5 stars)
  4. Stranger in the Wizard's Tower by McNish, Deric (fantasy, m/m, 3.75/5 stars)

I have a feeling that I might have read more, but I am not sure right now. Out of all ARCs "Deadly Messengers" is definitely the best one.