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Niki’s Book Journal [July 2018]

Niki’s Book Journal [July 2018]

The biggest bookish thing that happened this month was that I finished work on my reading/creative space and could finally just sit and enjoy it (I’m planning a bookshelf tour at some point).

It was wonderful. Around two weeks in I decided to designate it the no-phone zone. If I want to listen to an audiobook while working on a project, I’d hookup my wireless headphones, leave the phone set to the right screen in the other room, and click it on remotely whenever I needed it. I think it’s brilliant.

Unrelated (but perhaps spurred by my new anti-phone productivity), I finally set myself into a blogging schedule and came up with a way to plan upcoming posts – more on that later. Not being organized in this area is part of the reason why I’m so bad at getting reviews written and posted. It’s an ongoing goal to pay at least a little attention to everything I read on this platform. People see me reading new things on Goodreads all the time, but never get more than a one sentence – I liked it! RTC (if I had a dime for the number of unreviewed books that still say RTC…).


Mini Reviews!!

Kiss of Death by Rachel Caine

Kiss of Death (Morganville Vampires #) [3/5 stars] by Rachel Caine

I guess it says something about the general lack of robustness of this series that I seldom have more than a paragraph or so to write about it. Possibly this is due to how short each book is, but I think it’s mostly because once you’ve read a couple, you’ve pretty much read them all. Kiss of Death did change it up a bit – taking the characters out of their main setting (for reasons that felt a little inconsistent with the plot so far, but whatever), and I have to say I genuinely enjoyed the journey. These really are the perfect bite-sized reads to help break up the heavy fantasy I’ve been reading and, although my reviews aren’t the most flattering, I’ll be disappointed when I run out of them. They’re slightly off-beat and would be great recommends for older teens (it doesn’t have anything explicit, but it definitely endorses underaged sex). I wish I had devoured these when I was younger and more able to appreciate them, but for now, I’m glad that it still has appeal to me as an adult.

Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Wildfire (Hidden Legacy #3) by Ilona Andrews [4/5 stars]

I devoured this trilogy so quickly that a lot of it feels like a blur now. If the authors hadn’t announced that there’ll be a novella to wrap things up and a spinoff trilogy on the horizon, I’d probably be complaining that Wildfire left the series a bit incomplete. But I won’t, because there is. :) As much as I love the back and forth between the main characters, my favorite element of this book was digging more into how the different “Houses” of this world function and learning more background info about those dynamics. I also have to give the book kudos for handling an aspect of the love story really well (having to do with jealousy and ignorance, but I won’t hash out the whole thing). In any case, Wildfire and the Hidden Legacy series in general perpetuated my fangirl attitude towards these authors and I can’t wait to devour the few unread series I still have from them.

The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince by Robin Hobb

The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince by Robin Hobb [3/5 stars]

Robin Hobb be like “Niki, you think Fitz and the Fool messed you up, you just wait. Ima gut punch you as many times as possible in under 200 pages.” Piebald prince, my friends, is a bonafide tragedy. It was also poignantly written and so starkly engaging at parts, which is exactly what you don’t want in a story that’s setting you up for a throwdown. It has been a month and I’m still not fully recovered. On one hand it was great to see a back history for why the “witted” are so despised in the main Elderling series, but on the other I think I may have been better off remaining ignorant lol. In all seriousness, this was a well-crafted novella on par with Hobb’s other works. My personal dislike of tragic stories definitely affected my rating because, although I love this author, I did not enjoy all the negative feelings stirred up in me while reading this story. Kudos to Hobb for being a skilled enough writer to evoke such a strong reaction in me (she’s my favorite for a reason), but suffice to say I won’t be rereading this tale anytime soon.

The Builders By Daniel Polansky [3/5 stars]

I saw this title pop up on my Goodreads feed and thought “you know, I’ve never tried a grimdark Redwall story – cool!” and then proceeded to devour it that afternoon. It had a clever infusion of woodland creatures into a dark tale of revenge, and I think had it been humans instead of animals I still would’ve enjoyed it. It made me ponder though – were the animals even necessary? In any case, I appreciated the creativity. This is probably the only time I will have the opportunity to refer to a tale of betrayal and murder as “cute,” but that’s exactly what it was. At the very least, it put this author in my radar. It’s a great snack-sized story that I’d recommend if you need something light between books.


Thanks for going on my book journey with me. How was your month in reading? :)

by Niki Hawkes

10 comments on “Niki’s Book Journal [July 2018]

    • That’s smart – I keep trying to mess with drawing a schedule up in my bullet Journal, but an already composed planner sounds like much less of a hassle. Do you find having a schedule helps? I’m only just now starting to appreciate them.

      As for the no-phone zone … I’m so pleased with it in theory, but now I actually have to start following my own rule more often haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s helped a lot with at least scheduling review requests and then I shift other things around those according to mood. But also just having a sense of being organized has helped keep me focused more haha.

        Oh, I totally get it. I often take books onto my porch to read to have less distractions but end up on the net on my phone! Lol

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s good. I think with my scheduling I need flexibility over everything else. I think I go in and mess with it at least once a day haha. Excessive. I mostly started scheduling to keep myself focused on my goals. If I don’t have a schedule, I don’t keep up with anything, so organizing has totally helped.

        Lol, it’s so hard not to do that. I was just commiserating with Bookstooge a few weeks ago that I always initially pick up my phone for a book-related thing, then I’m down the rabbit hole.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, flexibility is key for me because I tend to do everything by mood. So I do ‘musts’ and then ‘moods’. I started a word doc the other day too so that I can have a tentative reading schedule. I put all my review requests on it as hard schedules and then left open slots for other books where I have a TBR list of books to pull from for ‘mood reads’. I think it’s gonna be the balance that works, ya know? And you just have to find the right combo that works for you. Good luck!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Now I need to actually follow through with the idea (I’m currently sitting in the area replying on my phone #fail). 😁

      I will be adding more pictures at some point. I’m tearing apart the YA section that I wasn’t happy with but then I’ll be good to go. :)

      Liked by 1 person

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