Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry - Neil deGrasse Tyson

I quit at a fourth of the way through it. I was just so bored with it, even listening to it. I've gone to one of his talks on this very subject years ago and it was interesting and engaging. This book was neither of those things. Even as short as it was, I wasn't willing to push through the rest. And some of his asides felt a bit mean-spirited and condescending. After I decided I was done, I skimmed my physical copy and one section near the end that I noticed in particular gave me those vibes. That was another thing I never got from his talk, so this was really disappointing. Then again, the author had been disappointing in real life in the past year or so, so perhaps I'm just noticing things I wouldn't have before.


DNF at 1/4 of the book.

January Books

I read 34 books in January with an average score of 3.68. 6 were graphic novels and 17 were YA. My most-read genres were fantasy, mystery, and romance.


My favorite book was Only Ashes Remain - Rebecca Schaeffer. I can't wait for the sequel to come out later this year. My least favorite book was Frankissstein: A Love Story - Jeanette Winterson. I wrote about how much I disliked it here.


From my 2020 Reading Plans list, I had 38 books that I wanted to try to read this year. I hit 3 of those this month, so I'm 3/38 so far. Not a bad start.


5 Stars

Only Ashes Remain - Rebecca Schaeffer Catch and Kill - Ronan Farrow  


4.5 Stars

Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare Vol. 1 - Yuhki Kamatani  Evvie Drake Starts Over - Linda Holmes  Runaways, Vol. 4: But You Can't Hide - Niko Henrichon,Rainbow Rowell,Andres Genolet  


4 Stars

Six Wakes - Mur Lafferty  Diana, Princess of the Amazons - Dean Hale,Victoria Ying,Shannon Hale  The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern  Little & Lion - Brandy Colbert  Damsel - Elana K. Arnold  Our Wayward Fate - Gloria Chao  

Heretics Anonymous - Katie Henry  The Lost and the Found - Cat Clarke  Dare Me - Megan Abbott  Pet - Akwaeke Emezi  Don't Date Rosa Santos - Nina Moreno  


3.5 Stars

Shallow Graves - Kali Wallace Zenobia July - Lisa Bunker The Babysitters Coven - Kate Williams  A Prince on Paper (Reluctant Royals #3) - Alyssa Cole  Now Entering Addamsville - Francesca Zappia  They Both Die at the End - Adam Silvera  

Akame ga KILL!, Vol. 1 - Takahiro Arai  Dear Justice League - Michael Northrop,Gustavo Duarte  Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens - Tanya Boteju  Young Jane Young - Gabrielle Zevin  The Girlfriend - Michelle Francis  


3 Stars

Reality Boy - A.S. King  The Secrets You Keep - Kate White  Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now - Dana L. Davis  Trouble is a Friend of Mine - Stephanie Tromly  Midnight Stranger, Vol. 1 - Bohra Naono  


2 Stars

Frankissstein: A Love Story  - Jeanette Winterson All of This Is True - Lygia Day Peñaflor 




Books by author gender:

  • Male: 3
  • Female: 28
  • Agender: 1
  • Non-binary: 1
  • Male/Female Mix: 1


Books by format:

  • Physical: 8
  • Audio: 26



Midnight Stranger, Vol. 1 & 2 (Complete Series)

Midnight Stranger, Vol. 1 - Bohra Naono Midnight Stranger, Vol. 2 - Bohra Naono

The titular story of the series, and also the one that made up the bulk of the 2 books, focused on Roi, a black goat spirit, and Xiu, the fire god he served. The two met when Roi was attacked by humans and about to be burned alive. Xiu saved him and gave him a human form, and the two had been together ever since as master and servant.


This was definitely not a cute and fluffy romance. Aside from their first meeting involving Xiu saving Roi from being burned alive after being beaten, shot with arrows, and stabbed, Xiu burned Roi alive when he got angry with him and Xiu's confession of his feelings to Roi is accompanied by him hitting him to the point of blood coming out so that when they have sex for the first time, Roi's face is covered in bruises and blood. That's all in the first chapter. I was honestly surprised at how brutal it was. The book instantly stopped that after the first chapter and didn't have anything like that between the two of them again until the end of the second book with a two page "funny" story about how any time Roi would try to grow a beard, Xiu would burn it off his face. I could have down without that.


Outside of those two sections, I enjoyed them as a couple, even if I just kept wishing they would simply talk to one another. They both had severe self esteem issues and thought the other would leave them once they realized there was "better" our there, not thinking about the fact that they've both been pining for the other for centuries.


Their story did throw in a sexual assault scene, unfortunately. It's thankfully not between the two of them. All their scenes were consensual. Instead, a side character started stripping Roi to have sex with him despite Roi's repeated protests. It's another one of those things I could have done without.


There were also 3 other stories in series, 1 in the first book and 2 in the second. The first was another supernatural story, although the supernatural elements were only hinted at in the beginning. The main character, Takara, was just fired again and his neighbor, Katabami, was hoping he'd finally let him take care of him. But Takara was determined to get a job and an old acquaintance had an opening to interview for. But nobody was quite who they seem in this story. This was an interesting one, but definitely a twisted romance once the reveal of what was going on came.

Takara was a reincarnated beserker without a soul because Katabami was his demon sword who ate his soul so that he could be one with his beloved master, but then regretted it because he wanted his master's body too. Katabami gave Takara a tiny part of his soul back, but kept most of it, so he got his master's soul and body by the end of it.

(show spoiler)


The next story featured side characters from the main story. It was a short story about the couple sorting out an issue with their relationship after having just gotten back together by communicating (it took a little bit of time to get to the communication). It was pretty sweet.


The last story was my least favorite and also felt out of place as the only contemporary story in a book of supernatural stories. It opened with a nephew and uncle having sex on page one of the story and things didn't get better. Additional revelations that the uncle had been the primary caretaker of the kid since he had been an infant because the parents kept leaving him with the uncle to go on extended vacations, that the nephew was still a kid, that the nephew didn't eat so that he'd stay skinny like he thought the uncle would like, and that the nephew didn't want to grow up because he though the uncle only liked young boys just made everything unpleasant. I was very happy it was a one-shot and the book went right back to Roi and Xiu after this.


Overall, it was an enjoyable series (except for the incest story, Someday's Dream, which I would just skip). It's certainly not for everyone, but if fantasy BL that gets a bit dark without going grimdark is your thing, this might be one to check out.

Evvie Drake Starts Over

Evvie Drake Starts Over - Linda Holmes

Evvie was in the process of leaving her husband, as in had the bag packed and was about to drive away, when she got the call that he had been in an accident and died in the hospital. Since she hadn't told anyone she was leaving him, this put Evvie in a weird position as everyone around her mourned the man who treated her terribly.


Dean was a major-league pitcher who now had the yips and was struggling with what to do now. He decided to take his childhood friend, Andy (who was also Evvie's best friend), up on an offer to stay for a few months and rented out the apartment in Evvie's house at Andy's suggestion.


This was a fun read, despite dealing with a main character coming to terms with the fact that she was in an emotionally abusive relationship, which was impressive. I really liked watching Evvie figure out how to navigate relationships with other people after the emotional damage caused by her husband. Evvie started the book fairly isolated with only Andy as a friend. I liked their friendship and how it was tested over the course of the book, but I was also happy to see Evvie become friends with Andy's girlfriend, Monica. There was not a lot of Monica, but she was lovely whenever she showed up. Evvie also learned how to establish boundaries with people who cause her pain for her own mental health. Evvie's journey to healing was my favorite part of the book by far.


Of course, there was also Dean and Evvie's relationship. The two of them were rather sweet. I liked how, while they could help one another, neither of them were the cure for the other's problems.


The book was just nice. When there were problems, people would talk it out (even if it sometimes took a little bit of time to get them back in a room together). And I loved how the story also focused on Evvie healing, even if the path wasn't always the straight line she'd like it to be.


Frankissstein: A Love Story  - Jeanette Winterson

The book jumped between the past and present. The past focused on when Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein. The present had Ron Lord, a sexbot salesman who believed sexbots were the answer to many of humanity's problems; Ry Shelley, a transgender non-binary doctor; Dr. Victor Stein, a professor who was an expert on AI and was Ry's lover; and several other characters.


I liked the past parts of the books featuring Mary Shelley. The book began with in the past, so things started off well. Then it switched to present day and was just a complete change from what the book started as and had liked that I had a hard time connecting to it. I was always relieved whenever it switched back to the past because I enjoyed those sections more.


Then there was the treatment of Ry Shelley. They were constantly misgendered, deadnamed, and had everyone obsessed with their genitals throughout the book. There were so many personal questions about Ry's body. Their lover, Victor Stein, was one of the people doing these things. I didn't understand what Ry saw in Victor.

And then Ry was sexually assaulted out of nowhere as well.

(show spoiler)


I picked this up because I knew there was a trans lead, but if I had known how much transphobia was constantly directed at said lead, I would have given it a pass. It was relentless. That was also part of the reason why I enjoyed the past sections more. Mary Shelley's sections are the only reason it's getting 2 stars. Otherwise, it'd be 1 star.

2020 Reading Plans

At the start of the year, I like to take a look through my TBR and create a list of the books I'm most looking forward to that are being released in the new year and books released in the previous year that I most want to read, but didn't get to. From last year's list, I only have one book left from that list (King of Scars - Leigh Bardugo), and I have it checked out from the library right now, so I should have it finished this month.


Looking ahead, I have 2 sequels I'm excited about that are being released in 2020:

Imagine Me - Tahereh Mafi 

The other book, Well Played by Jen DeLuca, doesn't have a cover yet.


For 2020 new releases, I've got a number I'm excited about. There are the cute-looking romances, which make up the bulk of my list:

The State of Us - Shaun David Hutchinson  The Falling in Love Montage - Ciara Smyth  You Should See Me in a Crown - Leah Johnson  Date Me, Bryson Keller - Kevin van Whye  We Are Totally Normal - Rahul Kanakia  The Honey-Don't List - Christina Lauren  The Gravity of Us - Phil Stamper  

Tweet Cute - Emma Lord  Lucky Caller - Emma Mills  If I Never Met You - Mhairi McFarlane  

There are the fantasy books:

Cinderella is Dead - Kalynn Bayron  The Winter Duke - Claire Eliza Bartlett  

The contemporary books:

Loveless - Alice Oseman  In the Role of Brie Hutchens... - Nicole Melleby  

And a mystery, Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, which doesn't have a cover yet.


For 2019 books that I didn't get to, but want to make sure I do this year, I don't have as many romances on this list:

Kissing Ezra Holtz (and Other Things I Did for Science) - Brianna Shrum  Our Wayward Fate - Gloria Chao  A Delicate Deception - Cat Sebastian  

The contemporary books:

Such a Fun Age - Kiley Reid  The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me - Olivia Hinebaugh  Furious Thing - Jenny Downham  Maybe He Just Likes You - Barbara Dee  Michigan vs. the Boys - Carrie S. Allen  

The mystery or thrillers:

Zenobia July - Lisa Bunker  A Good Girl's Guide To Murder - Holly Jackson  All The Bad Apples - Moïra Fowley-Doyle  Reputation - Sara Shepard  The Kill Club - Heard, Wendy  

The fantasy books:

The Guinevere Deception - Kiersten White  The Library of the Unwritten - A.J. Hackwith  Never Contented Things - Sarah  Porter  Beyond the Black Door - A.M. Strickland  


Catch and Kill - Ronan Farrow  Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion - Jia Tolentino  

Historical fiction:

The Downstairs Girl - Stacey Lee 


We'll see how well I do with getting to these books this year. And I will hopefully enjoy them when I do get to them. Last year's list ended up being mostly books I liked or loved, so it'd be nice to have that happen again.


2019 Books

I read 348 books in 2019, so it was a very good reading year. Most of my books ended up working out for me. Since my goal was to read 200 books for the year, I definitely achieved that.


Here are some of my favorite books from the year:



The Bride Was a Boy - Chii I Married My Best Friend to Shut My Parents Up - Kodama Naoko  My Solo Exchange Diary Vol. 1: The Sequel to My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness - Kabi Nagata  



The Queen of Nothing - Holly Black  Stepsister - Jennifer Donnelly  A Dream So Dark - L. L. McKinney  

The Queens of Innis Lear - Tessa Gratton  The Wicked King - Holly Black  



Red, White & Royal Blue - Casey McQuiston  The Bride Test - Helen Hoang  The Princess and the Fangirl - Ashley Poston  

Famous in a Small Town - Emma Mills  Well Met - Jen DeLuca  Sick Kids in Love - Hannah Moskowitz  

A Very Large Expanse of Sea - Tehereh Mafi  



We Are the Perfect Girl - Ariel Kaplan  Emmy & Oliver - Robin Benway  Full Disclosure - Camryn Garrett  

Radio Silence - Alice Oseman  On the Come Up - Angie Thomas  Scars - Cheryl Rainfield  



Little White Lies - Jennifer Lynn Barnes  Deadly Little Scandals - Jennifer Lynn Barnes  



SHOUT - Laurie Halse Anderson 



InSEXts Volume 1: Chrysalis - Marguerite Bennett,Mike Marts  Pumpkinheads - Rainbow Rowell,Faith Erin Hicks  Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Vol. 1: High School Is Hell - Jordie Bellaire,Joss Whedon,Dan Mora  

They Called Us Enemy - Steven Scott,Justin Eisinger,George Takei,Harmony Becker  



Feed - Mira Grant  Deadline - Mira Grant  Blackout - Mira Grant  



Eloquent Rage - Brittney Cooper  What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape - Sohaila Abdulali  Know My Name: A Memoir - Chanel Miller  

She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement - Jodi Kantor,Megan Twohey  The Witches Are Coming - Lindy West  Charged: the New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration - Emily Bazelon  

I Like to Watch - Emily Nussbaum  Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman - Lindy West  Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger - Rebecca Traister  

The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town - John Grisham  Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do - Jennifer Lynn Eberhardt  

December Books

I had a ridiculously good reading month in December. I read 33 books with an average of 4.06. 3 books were graphic novels and 20 were YA. My most-read genres were contemporary, fantasy, and romance.


I'm not sure what my favorite book was. I really read a lot of excellent books this month, so it's hard to choose between them. Maybe The Bride Was a Boy - Chii or The Queen of Nothing - Holly Black. But really any of my books in the 5 star section were excellent.


My least favorite book is much easier to pick. It's Dead Ever After - Charlaine Harris. It was a disappointing end to the series.



5 Stars

The Queen of Nothing - Holly Black A Very Large Expanse of Sea - Tehereh Mafi Eloquent Rage - Brittney Cooper  What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape - Sohaila Abdulali The Bride Was a Boy - Chii Know My Name: A Memoir - Chanel Miller  

We Are the Perfect Girl - Ariel Kaplan  Sick Kids in Love - Hannah Moskowitz 


4.5 Stars

Deadly Little Scandals - Jennifer Lynn Barnes Full Disclosure - Camryn Garrett  Technically, You Started It - Lana Wood Johnson  Serpent & Dove - Shelby Mahurin  The Water Dragon's Bride, Vol. 1 - Rei Toma  Emmy & Oliver - Robin Benway  


4 Stars

Wilder Girls - Rory Power The lost sisters  - Holly Black One Man Guy - Michael Barakiva  The Other F Word: A Celebration of the Fat & Fierce - Angie Manfredi  A Thousand Beginnings and Endings - Preeti Chhibber,Roshani Chokshi,Alyssa Wong,Aisha Saeed,Melissa  de la Cruz,Sona Charaipotra,Elsie Chapman,Renee Ahdieh,Rahul Kanakia,Julie Kagawa,Shveta Thakrar,Aliette de Bodard,Cindy Gerard,Lori Foster,David G. Myers,Ellen Datlow  The Best Lies - Sarah Lyu  

Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen - Jose Antonio Vargas  Can't Escape Love (Reluctant Royals #3.5) - Alyssa Cole  Dear Rachel Maddow - Adrienne Kisner  


3.5 Stars

Mooncakes - Suzanne Walker,Wendy Xu The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry - Jon Ronson  Once Ghosted, Twice Shy (Reluctant Royals #2.5) - Alyssa Cole  How the Dukes Stole Christmas: A Holiday Romance Anthology - Sophie Jordan,Sarah MacLean,Tessa Dare,Joanna Shupe  


3 Stars

The Last 8 (The Last 8 #1) - Laura Pohl  The Beautiful - Renee Ahdieh  Supernova - Marissa Meyer  By Any Means Necessary - Candice Montgomery  This Lie Will Kill You - Chelsea Pitcher  


2 Stars

Dead Ever After - Charlaine Harris 





Books by author gender:

  • Male: 3
  • Female: 28
  • Male/Female/Nonbinary Mix: 1
  • Male/Female Mix: 1


Books by format:

  • Physical: 8
  • Audio: 25




24 Festive Tasks - Advent Task 2

Task 2: Tell us: What is your favorite holiday tradition?


I've got two favorite holidays traditions, one that started when I was a kid and one that is more recent. Since I was a kid, my family would decorate sugar cookies together every year. We have all sorts of cookie cutters and make a huge batch. I always use a lot of red hots when decorating because I love them (and the fact that my dad is the only other one who will eat them is a bonus).


The newer tradition that my family started up several years ago is doing an escape room together right around Christmas. That's always a lot of fun. We weren't able to do it this year because we only had a few days where we were all in the same place at once and had plans each of those days. So we got a murder mystery game and escape room puzzle to do at night instead. Those ended up being a fun alternative.

24 Festive Tasks - Kwanzaa Task 2

Full Moon O Sagashite, Vol. 01 - Arina Tanemura

Task 2: Music is an important part of a Kwanzaa celebration. Which is / are your favorite book(s) where music plays an important role in the plot?


I've read, watched, and listened to the music of Full Moon repeatedly, so I knew this series had to be the one I went with. The main character is a singer and her music is central to the story.

24 Festive Tasks - Kwanzaa Task 1

Task 1: Share a shelfie or the picture of a stack of books or of an “object” (star, Christmas tree, etc.) created from books with red, black and green covers.


I decided to go with some of my manga (and one manhwa). I'm not motivated enough to make an object out of them, so I'm just doing a basic stack.


24 Festive Tasks - New Year's Eve / St. Sylvester's Day Task 2

Task 2: The reading year in review: How did you fare – what was good, what wasn’t?


It was a great reading year. I'm at over 340 books for the year and a lot of those were good.


Some of my highlights were:

The Wicked King - Holly Black  Famous in a Small Town - Emma Mills  Red, White & Royal Blue - Casey McQuiston  The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town - John Grisham  Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do - Jennifer Lynn Eberhardt  She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement - Jodi Kantor,Megan Twohey  

Not Even Bones (Market of Monsters) - Rebecca Schaeffer  Blackout - Mira Grant  Charged: the New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration - Emily Bazelon  Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman - Lindy West  Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger - Rebecca Traister  The Witches Are Coming - Lindy West  

SHOUT - Laurie Halse Anderson  Little White Lies - Jennifer Lynn Barnes  


And some of the not so great books:

Watch Us Rise - Renée Watson  Super Sons: The PolarShield Project - Ridley Pearson,Ile Gonzalez  Super Sons: The Foxglove Mission - Ridley Pearson,Ile Gonzalez  The Third Wife - Lisa Jewell  Sophia, Princess Among Beasts - James Patterson,Emily Raymond  We Know It Was You - Maggie Thrash  

The Magicians - Lev Grossman  A Night to Surrender - Tessa Dare  99 Percent Mine - Sally Thorne  

24 Festive Tasks - Hogswatch Task 4

Task 4:  In Terry Pratchett's and Neil Gaiman's Good Omens, who do you root more for: Aziraphale or Crowley? Or another character? (And in each case: why?)


I love both Aziraphale and Crowley, so choosing between them is difficult. I suppose Aziraphale edges Crowley out slightly by owning a bookshop. Being a book lover is a definite positive. Of course, there's also Agnes, who is utterly perfect with all her predictions and preparations for the future. She was very easy to root for.

24 Festive Tasks - International Children's Day Task 1

Task 1:  What was your favorite children’s book growing up? Your favorite middle grade book?


I'm not sure these were my absolute favorite books when I was a kid, but they're the ones that came to mind when I read the questions. I know I had my mom read Goodnight Moon to me a lot when I was a kid. Once I was able to read myself, I started reading everything I could get my hands on. Eventually, one of those books was The Westing Game. I would end up rereading that one many times. I adored both of these books.


Goodnight Moon - Margaret Wise Brown,Clement Hurd  The Westing Game - Ellen Raskin  

24 Festive Tasks - Twelfth Night / Epiphany

Nyxia - Scott Reintgen

Book: Read a book featuring three main characters, about traveling on a journey to a faraway place, a book that’s part of a trilogy, with a star on the cover, with the word “twelve” or “night” in the title, or concerning kings or spices.

24 Festive Tasks - New Year's Eve / St. Sylvester's Day Book

Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe - Dalibor Talajić, Cullen Bunn

Book: Read a book about an ending or a new start, where things go BOOM, with fireworks on the cover, set in medieval times, about the papacy, or where miracles of any sort are performed.

Currently reading

Escape Journey vol 1 by Tanaka Ogeretsu
Saiyuki: The Original Series Resurrected, Edition 1 by Kazuya Minekura
That Blue Sky Feeling, Vol. 1 by Atsuhisa Okura, Coma Hashii
After Hours, Vol. 1 by Yuhta Nishio
コヨーテ [Coyote] by 座裏屋蘭丸, Ranmaru Zaria
My Neighbor Seki, 1 by Morishige Takuma
Given, Vol. 1 by Natsuki Kizu
Penguindrum, Vol. 1 by ikunichawder, Isuzu Shibata, Lily Hoshino
Blank Canvas: My So-Called Artist’s Journey (Kakukaku Shikajika) Vol. 1 by Akiko Higashimura
Kakegurui - Compulsive Gambler -, Vol. 1 by Homura Kawamoto