Q3 Reading Stats | Q4 Goals

This has been a slow reading season for me. It started with a slump that carried over from Q2. I tried for a whole month just to finish one book before finally deciding to DNF it. So my real Q3 for reading didn’t even start until August, so I only read 8 books in total.

I’ve discussed the books I read in my wrap ups for the months.

Q3 Wrap-Ups:

In total I read 8 books for a total of 2,953 pages. In comparison, my Q2 total was 15 books and 5,565 pages. That’s… less than spectacular… but on the whole, I’m okay with it. It probably would have been closer to even if I hadn’t spent a whole month trying to force myself to read one book.

The average length of the books I read this quarter was 369 pages, compared to 371 pages in Q2, so more or less the same. There was a significantly larger standard deviation with that average this quarter, though.

I read more fantasy than any other genre, which isn’t surprising for me. Fantasy tends to be my go-to genre, and it tends to be at least 50% of what I read in any given period of time.

I read more female authors than male authors, which is slightly surprising for me as I didn’t read much YA this quarter. In fact the only YA book I did read was by a male author. I probably shouldn’t be surprised by that, and it definitely draws attention to my own biases about the adult and YA categories.

My average rating for Q3 was 3.5, which is a little above my all-time ratings average. Not something I’ll complain about. That means I generally enjoyed the books I read this quarter.

I had an oddly even spread of ratings this quarter, with the exception of 1-stars, which I gave to 0 of the books I read.

In general I think my average ratings have been trending higher since I started allowing myself to DNF books I’m not enjoying. I don’t give ratings to books I DNF and most of them (with the exception of library returns) would probably be 1-star, or 2 if I’m in a good mood. The thing is, I just don’t get a lot of enjoyment out of hate-reading. I love to be salty, but with the little time I have available to read, I just prefer to spend my time on things I actually like.

That said, I have written some salty things about some books I’ve DNF’ed recently and in the further past. In Q3 I DNF’ed a total of 3 books. (Two physical books and one audiobook.) I always post my reasons for DNF’ing a book to my Goodreads.


Looking to Q4. My main goal is to keep with at least the 4 books a month that I managed in August and September.

Some other goals I have for myself:

  • I want to read at least 2 horror books in October (not counting the audiobook I’m listening to now, because it’s not nearly horrifying enough for me to even really call it ‘horror’, but I’ll leave that for when I write a review of it.)
  • I want to read at least 5 of the books I already own. I currently have a stack of 13 unread books sitting on my shelf, and I’d like to read at least half of those before I bring in anything new. (I know that’s not too crazy, but considering half of what I read comes from the library, it takes me awhile to get to the books I actually own.)
  • I’d like to finish at least 1 series that I’ve been putting off.
  • And I want to start at least 1 new series I’ve been putting off.

Again, my main goal is to read at least 4 books each month in Q4, which means I’ll have read another 12 books by the end of the year. That being said, I’ve already more this year than I have in a long time, so I am not at all going to stress myself out over hitting any of these goals.

If you have any similar end-of-year goals, I’d love to hear them!

September Wrap Up

I read four books in the month of September, which is a pretty decent number for me and my schedule. It’s about the average for me.

I also rated two books 5-stars, which is fairly rare for me, so I’m pretty excited about the books I ended up picking up.

(On a slightly negative note, I did end up DNF’ing one book. I generally don’t care about DNF’ing books they generally either bore me or I can tell from the get-go I’m not going to like them, and I don’t force myself to read things, but if you’re interested I always mention why I DNF certain books on my Goodreads. I don’t mention them by title in my wrap-ups.)

I’m just gonna jump into the books in the order that I read them.

The Queen of Blood (The Queens of Renthia, #1)

The Queen of Blood (The Queens of Renthia #1) by Sarah Beth Durst

Page Count: 353

My Rating: ★★★★☆

[Goodreads Link]

This book was such a nice surprise. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it, and I don’t even remember how I found out that this book existed, and I’m so surprised it’s not more popular, especially among people who read YA Fantasy (though this book is technically adult, there’s definitely a lot of appeal for those who generally read YA.) I felt so strongly about this book deserving more popularity that I wrote a full review on it, which you can read here.

Gods of Jade and Shadow

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Page Count: 352

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

[Goodreads Link]

I really loved the premise of this and it definitely kept me entertained while I was bored at work. However I don’t think I was able to absorb all of it as well as I could have if I had read it physically, and I just had to like force myself to pay attention to the audiobook. This happens a lot with audiobooks for me, I use them as background noise and then accidentally tune out huge swaths of them, so I’m trying to only listen to them when I can focus on them like while I’m driving or cleaning so that I stop that habit. Anyways, I don’t think this one will be super memorable for me down the line, but I did enjoy it while I read it. I liked the dynamic between the two main characters and the focus on Mayan mythology.

The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3)

The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3) by Brandon Sanderson

Page Count: 572

My Rating: ★★★★★

[Goodreads Link]

This book took me nearly 3 weeks to complete, but man was it worth it. Everything about this series is so immensely well-done. The Mistborn series is not the best with pacing, which is my only complaint and one I’m entirely willing to overlook for how it ended. There’s not much I can say about this book that wouldn’t spoil things that happen earlier in the series, but holy shit. I just loved this so much, these books will always be at the top of my fantasy list, and I’m excited to dive further into Sanderson’s Cosmere universe.

Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Page Count: 292

My Rating: ★★★★★

[Goodreads Link]

I don’t read a lot of contemporary. I don’t read a lot of generally plot-less, 100% character-focused fiction. I don’t like a lot of the ones that I do read. But every once in a while I come across one that reminds me why I keep on reading them, and this was one of those rare cases. This book has a loose plot, but it’s less a story and more a study on grief, but even more than that it’s a portrait of a family. This touches on not only grief, but racism and sexism, both without forcing the point down your throat. It’s also about love, both romantic and familial, of the complicated relationships between siblings. I loved all three of the siblings. I related the most to Nath out of all the characters, empathized most with Hannah, and cried most over Lydia. I don’t know that I have the words to describe all the things I felt through reading this book, even though took me less than a day to read it. I have a feeling that this is one of those books that’ll never leave me and I’m very glad I read it.

That’s it for September! I’m hoping to read at least 4 books (but maybe more) in October, and I’m excited for that, because it’s spooky month, and I’ve never really been into horror as a genre, but I’ve always been intrigued, and this is the year I’m going to give it a chance- I already have a tentative TBR- and I’m excited to really dive into it.

Down the TBR Hole #2

My Goodreads TBR needs desperately to be cleaned out, so I’m doing these posts twice a month until I feel it’s manageable, or until I’m back at the beginning of the list.

The Rules

  • 1. Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  •  2. Order on ascending date added.
  •  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  •  4. Read the synopsis of the books.
  •  5. Time to Decide: keep it or should it go

I’m adding my own twist on this and adding a 6th piece: if I’m on the fence about a book after reading the synopsis, I’ll read the preview of a book and make that part of my decision.

Now that I’ve gotten all that out of the way, let’s just get started.

Memoirs of a Geisha

#1 Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

[Goodreads Link]

Now, I suspect that I could get a lot from this book if I read it. However, something about a white American man writing a book from the perspective of a Japanese Geisha is a little off-putting to me, and on top of that, a lot of the more ‘literary’ books I’ve tried recently have either felt underwhelming or have bored me to tears, so…

VERDICT: GO

The Girl in the Tower (Winternight Trilogy, #2)

#2 The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

[Goodreads Link]

I loved The Bear and the Nightingale when I read it back in 2018. I already own this book in hardback, I’ve just been waiting for the seasons to shift to pick it up. Likely I’ll be reading this in December or January.

VERDICT: KEEP

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)

#3 A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

[Goodreads Link]

If the Villains series is anything to go by, V.E. Schwab is a good writer but not necessarily my favorite. I have my criticisms of both of those books, but I still enjoyed reading them. The premise of this is so-so for me, I’m not big on multiple-world type stories or low fantasy in particular, however it is still intriguing enough that I do want to eventually give it a shot. That said, if I go through my TBR again and I still haven’t read it, it could go either way.

VERDICT: KEEP

The Golem and the Jinni (The Golem and the Jinni, #1)

#4 The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

[Goodreads Link]

After re-reading the Goodreads summary for this I’m reminded of how good it sounds and wondering why I haven’t read it yet. Seriously, what’s the deal @ me? That’s another good part of doing posts like these; they’re a good push to read something I should have read ages ago.

VERDICT: KEEP

The Bone Clocks

#5 The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

[Goodreads Link]

Almost three years ago now, I read Slade House— not realizing it was a companion to this book– and loved it. After putting that down and learning that it was related to this novel I had to add this to my TBR. Slade House isn’t a book I think about a lot these days, but I do remember immensely enjoying the story, plus this book is sitting on my shelf already… it’s just a thick ass book, so I’ve been putting off committing to it.

In total I am keeping 4 books and letting go of` 1. Definitely not as much of a dent as I was hoping to make, but there’s always next time.

Down the TBR Hole #1

My Goodreads TBR has been quickly getting out of hand so in an attempt to get it under control I’m going to start doing these once or twice a month.

The Rules

  • 1. Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  •  2. Order on ascending date added.
  •  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  •  4. Read the synopsis of the books.
  •  5. Time to Decide: keep it or should it go

I’m adding my own twist on this and adding a 6th piece: if I’m on the fence about a book after reading the synopsis, I’ll read the preview of a book and make that part of my decision.

This first one and possibly the next few will be a little bland with me not getting rid of much as I have culled my Goodreads to-read shelf a few times in the last few years.

Now that I’ve gotten all that out of the way, let’s just get started.

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard, #1)

#1 The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

[Goodreads Link]

Okay, this is a book I’ve been meaning to get to for ages and the only reason I haven’t is that I’m always hesitant to start new series that are unfinished and that haven’t been updated in years. From what I know the fourth book of the series is coming, but I’m not keen to start reading this series and catch up just to have to wait for the rest of the books. I definitely am excited to get to this series eventually, I’m just waiting for the right time to do so. Maybe when the final book is on its way and I can read it knowing that there will be an end to the series.

Verdict: KEEP

Uprooted

#2 Uprooted by Naomi Novik

[Goodreads Link]

This book is right up my alley. There’s fantasy, there’s woods, its protagonist is a young woman, there’s a man whose magic keeps their whole village alive. This is giving me some Deathless vibes, and that’s one of my all-time favorite books, so honestly there’s no way I’m letting go of this one. I’m not quite sure why I haven’t read it already, to be honest, and I think the longer I’ve put it off the less likely I’ve been to pick it up. I definitely want to change that soon, and it feels like a fall read to me so maybe sometime in the next couple months I’ll finally get around to reading this.

Verdict: KEEP

West (East, #2)

#3 West by Edith Pattou

[Goodreads Link]

This is the sequel to East which was one of my favorite books when I was younger. I still want to read this, but I plan on re-reading East first since it’s been probably 12 or 13 years since I’ve read it. That’s a long ass time. Even though I haven’t ever re-read it, it’s still one of the few books I still think about a lot. So I’m definitely looking forward to re-reading East and giving West a read as well.

Verdict: KEEP

Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse, #1)

#4 Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

[Goodreads Link]

This is a book recommended to me by my boyfriend. According to Goodreads it’s been on my to-read shelf since 2017, but I’m fairly certain he may have told me about it even before then. In any case, I definitely want to read it because of that, but also because of my own reading goals, one of which is read more science fiction. Plus I finally bought a physical copy of this book only a couple of weeks ago, so this will definitely be a book I get to sooner rather than later.

Verdict: KEEP

Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1)

#5 Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

[Goodreads Link]

Okay, so I was a little on the fence about this re-reading the synopsis on Goodreads, but the preview convinced me. This is one that I think I really will love when I get around to reading it; I just keep putting it off for some unknown reason. I don’t read a lot of portal fantasy, not because I don’t like it, but because it’s not a genre I think about very much. I definitely want to give this books and series a chance though, and it’s short which is a plus.

Verdict: KEEP

So in total I am keeping 5 books and letting go of 0, but like I mentioned above, I had a feeling that would be the case for this first post and possibly the next one as these books have already made it through multiple Goodreads culls that I’ve done in the past.

Review: The Queen of Blood (The Queens of Renthia #1) by Sarah Beth Durst

The Queen of Blood (The Queens of Renthia, #1)

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Date Published: September 20, 2016

Date(s) Read: August 29, 2019 – September 1, 2019

My Rating: ★★★★☆

The Queen of Blood is the first book in a High Fantasy series. The world has spirits, who exist solely to create and destroy things, and one of the things they want to destroy is Humans. Some humans are born with the affinity to spirits, which gives them the ability to bend the spirits to their will. Only women have the affinity, and so queens are chosen to keep the people (and the spirits, as well) safe. A new queen is chosen from a pool of “heirs” who have been trained extensively and hand-picked by the queen herself.

Despite there being a queen in power there, attacks on outer forest villages have been happening more and more frequently. The Champion Ven and his candidate to become heir (and our main character) Daleina try their best to help these villages, while not breaking the “Do No Harm” command between the spirits and humans.

I don’t want to give away too much, but a lot of politics and magic ensues.

Some people have this shelved as YA on Goodreads, enough that it’s only second to Fantasy, but it actually is not marketed as a YA series and was shelved with adult books at my library. However, I do see the crossover appeal. Our main character is a young woman who for a good part of the book is training at a magical school and then under a mentor. There are trials that then take place before the girls are selected as heirs. There’s background romances, strong female friendships, and a big part of this book is grappling with the idea of growing up and leaving home and coming to terms that home isn’t going to stay the same forever. Also there’s not any vulgarity, gratuitous violence, and there’s only mild sexual situations, so it’d definitely be appropriate for teens.

As far as writing style goes I can’t say I noticed it at all while I was reading it, which generally for me means it was pretty good. There were no distracting attempts at abusing a thesaurus nor were there any glaring flaws. It’s a straightforward style, which I tend to like.

The plot had a decent amount going on. Our main perspective is from Daleina, but we also get chapters from Ven, and occasionally from Queen Fara.

I really enjoyed the world here. The spirits are more a part of the world than they are anything else (except for one, but I won’t say more than that) even as a large part of the plot revolves around them. Aratay is a forest kingdom complete with houses and entire villages in the trees. It was such a fun setting to read and it was easy to become immersed in throughout the story.

There’s enough going on to keep things moving and intriguing, but not so much that I think it would confuse anyone. As far as fantasy goes this one is fairly accessible, and you know, I like that. Not every fantasy has to go out of its way to make the world and plot as complicated as possible (though I do love intricate world-building and plots with a lot of different folds, too, when done well.)

The stakes are high, and I won’t spoil anything, but the ending had all the payoff I was looking for.

The characters felt decently fleshed out to me.

There were points where I didn’t feel super connected to Daleina or where her choices and frustrations didn’t really make a lot of sense to me. But that wasn’t a problem throughout, and the times I felt that way didn’t ruin the overall story for me. Overall I enjoyed her a lot as the main character.

It was extremely refreshing to have a fantasy story revolve around a character that actually had to work hard to achieve their goals. I’m so sick of these perfect men (and women, though that’s more in YA) that are great at absolutely everything without even trying. Oh, and if they’re a man they also get all the ladies with just the bat of an eyelash. Those characters are hard to connect with, annoying to read about, and I don’t even want to root for them because I know they’re going to succeed no matter what. In this story, there was a real chance of Daleina not succeeding; there was a lot of emphasis on how much harder she had to work than all of her peers- not even to excel at the magical school she was at, but only to passably get through her training- and that makes her one of the more admirable main characters I’ve read about. I really cannot stress enough how much I appreciated this.

That said, Champion Ven was absolutely my favorite character of the whole thing. He’s disgraced toward the beginning of the book, and spends the rest of it adventuring among the outer forest and trying his best to save villages from spirit attacks. He tries his best to do the right thing and to be noble, but he has one major thing holding him back, a past affair with the Queen.

On that note, Ven and Queen Fara’s romance didn’t really translate well, in my opinion. The chemistry felt fabricated. There was a lot of telling rather than showing, and I didn’t feel any romantic or sexual tension in the scenes I think I was supposed to. It was in the background enough that it didn’t bother me too much, but I did sort of find myself rolling my eyes whenever they were together or whenever Ven thought about how beautiful she is.

Daleina and Hamon on the other hand were a couple I really liked. Their chemistry felt real, at one point they have an argument and that tension feels real and relatable as well, and I just really appreciated what we got of their romance, and I’m also glad it stayed mostly in the background.

Overall I really enjoyed this book, and I am planning on continuing this series. This series deserves way more attention than it’s got- if this first book is indicative of anything- and I’m so glad I gave it a shot. I literally only decided to see if it was at my library because I had nothing else to read and sorted my goodreads shelf by random to pick the first three books that came up. And I’m glad I did.

August Wrap Up

I read four books in the month of August, which certainly isn’t a lot, but it is more than I read in June and July combined so I’m pretty happy with that.

Beastly Bones (Jackaby, #2)

The Beastly Bones (Jackaby #2) by William Ritter

Page Count: 320

Dates Read: August 2-6

My Rating: ★★☆☆☆

This is the second book in a YA paranormal mystery series. The series is fun and lighthearted and often involves culprits that are mythical creatures. I really enjoyed the first book in this series but this one was a disappointment. I didn’t feel connected to the characters at all, including Abigail who we’re supposed to relate to in comparison to Jackaby. The supporting characters didn’t seem that important, and I didn’t really care much for the mystery. I may continue this series in the hopes it gets back to what I liked about the first book, but I’m not in a rush to read the next one.

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

Page Count: 171

Dates Read: August 7-8

My Rating: ★★☆☆☆

This is a book about a girl who grows up with a very strict and devout mother. Their religion, at times, seems like a cult. The main character starts to question everything she knows when she realizes that she loves women. The premise was very interesting to me as were the themes, but unfortunately the execution of this left a bit too much for me to be desired. I think I need to take a sabbatical from reading literary fiction, because I’ve been having a hard time with it in general recently and have had a tendency to just roll my eyes at how unnecessarily high-brow it all is. I ended up DNF’ing a literary fiction book in July, and I haven’t read any that have really felt like books I want to be reading in a few years.

Vengeful (Villains, #2)

Vengeful (Villains #2) by V.E. Schwab

Page Count: 478

Dates Read: August 9-13

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

This is the sequel to Vicious, which I read in April but which was published 5 years before this. While the first book of this series was also about 3-star read for me, this was noticeably worse. The new female characters were especially disappointing. Marcella had so much potential, but ended up just being a plot device who was characterized entirely by two tropes (the jilted lover and the femme fatale.) There was nothing about her that made me care about her ever though I really wanted to like her. June, who is— from how this book ends— actually supposed to be important doesn’t actually do much of anything nor do we learn all that much about her and certainly not enough for me to so much as pretend I wanted to care. I don’t think we needed this book or the one that may come after it. Vicious was not only fine on its own, but better on its own. I’ll probably read the next one, but to me this is just obviously a cash grab and I’m not wholly impressed.

Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #2)

Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2) by Mark Lawrence

Page Count: 415

Dates Read: August 17-29

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Ending the month on a strong note! I was so happy with this book, especially as I hadn’t been fully enamored with Red Sister when I read it. I think it was just a matter of timing, and reading this after a whole bunch of books I didn’t quite love made it that much better. Or maybe it was genuinely better than the first book. I really enjoyed Nona and her budding friendship with Zole and her continuing friendships with the other novices. I loved the final scenes. Joelie Namsis was a great antagonist; I found her extremely irritating but I’m also interested to learn more about her (which I don’t know for sure that we will.) The world of this series continues to keep me wanting to know more about it. I’m super excited to continue with this series and will being doing so after I catch up on a couple others.

That’s all I read in August! Have you read any of these books? Or what did you read in August? Let me know in the comments!