I listened to the audiobook of the first novella in this series (Binti) previously, and then the wonderful Kari from Kar-ing for Books gifted me the bind up of the whole series. Considering the issues I’d had with the audiobook, I thought it was worth rereading the first story and so I read this bind up in its entirety.
It took me a little bit of time to get into this world, despite it being a Sci-Fi that’s based off of our world there was a lot here that was new to me. Primarily because this is based (on Earth) in Africa rather than Europe or North America. But once I got into the swing of things and understood the culture more, I adored it! And I was genuinely so sad when I finished the last novella and realised that there wasn’t anything else from this world for me to read!
It’s a beautifully done discussion on xenophobia, racism, cultural norms, misogyny, not feeling like you belong in any specific group but being a part of many, and following your dreams. All in three novellas and a short story. The way this series wraps up is so gorgeously done, I adored the character development and relationship developments between characters and how this had a major impact.
On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 8, Atmosphere: 8, Writing: 8, Plot: 9, Intrigue: 9, Logic: 9, and Enjoyment: 9, with an overall score of 8.57 and a 4.5* rating.
Highlight here for trigger warnings: animal death (mentioned), blood, death, gore, mass burder, racism.
I’m so glad I was able to read this whole series over a few days, it’s solidified that I really enjoy Okorafor’s writing and I definitely want to pick up more from her! Have you read anything from Okorafor before? And if so what did you think of it?! I need more!
May was, as always, a busy month! And yet somehow I managed to read 13 books. Let’s take a look at the books and then I’ll look at balancing out my tbr with the new books I brought in. If you’d rather see this in video format that’s linked below!
My first read was Rebel Heart by Moira Young, the second book in the Blood Red Road trilogy. This suffered a little from middle book syndrome, with the characters clearly just being moved into place for the final book. But it was still interesting to be back in this world and I’m looking forward to capping off the series, hopefully sometime soon.
My non-fiction for the month was Living Planet by David Attenborough which is a republication of a book from the 80s. In this repub they’ve updated the scientific information, as well as switching out examples of species to those which are more obscure. This was a fantastic book and I’m so glad I can add it to my shelves!
This month I discovered that Spotify has some audiobooks you can listen to for free, so I listened to The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien because it was way past time for me to read this one. It’s such a fun audiobook and I’m definitely more hyped to read the main LotR trilogy now!
Freak Like Me by Hannah O’Donnell is a teeny book, at only 10 pages, but it packs a punch. Talking about familiars and acceptance in society, I would adore to see a full sized book within this world (and am tempted to hound Hannah until she does it!)
My last audiobook for the month was Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, which is a novel written in verse. This is a really tough novel, discussing gang violence and deaths in Black communities in the US. It’s tackled beautifully and I want to read more from Reynolds!
A partial reread, Binti: The Complete Collection by Nnedi Okorafor includes the titular novel Binti, as well as two more novellas in the series and a final short story between books 1 and 2. I read Binti previously via audio, but when I was picking up this collection I thought that I should reread the first book before diving in. This is a gorgeous sci-fi series that tackles racism, leaving home, being from multiple cultures and not feeling like you fit it, and it does all of it beautifully. I was genuinely disappointed when I realised I didn’t have anything else in this world to read!
Graceling by Kristin Cashore is one that I should’ve read years ago! It’s one of those “classic” YAs from the 00s and is such a fun read. The naming conventions are ridiculous, but I really enjoyed the book and I’m super excited to delve into the rest of the series, and then read the brand new release that’s due to come out later this year! I need to get my butt in gear clearly.
By now, I think I’ve solidified that the Goldsboro GSFF box sends me books that I adore, because Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May was fantastic. A magical, witchy, dark book set on a small island in the 1920s with murder, lesbians, and non-binary rep. What else could you ask for?
Then I delved into some British ridiculousness with The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde which is a murder mystery, with Humpty Dumpty as the victim! I loved Fforde’s work in the Thursday Next series and this didn’t disappoint. Utterly stupid whilst also being brilliantly clever. I need to pick up more from Fforde.
Time for a little classic with The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, the synopsis on the back of my copy just talks about Wilde, and so I went into this knowing literally nothing. Colour me surprised when there was a fantastical element inside! There was one chapter that I really didn’t enjoy in here, but apart from that it was a fun classic with a really interesting concept I would love to see played with more.
Sticking with pictures, but this time it’s a contemporary read from Illumicrate. Portrait of a Thief by Grace D Li could’ve been so much more. It really needed better work on the character development, and the heist plots to steal back Chinese artefacts from Western museums needed a shade more believability. It was clearly a debut but I’m interested in anything else Li publishes in the future.
This Vicious Cure by Emily Suvada finished off the This Mortal Coil trilogy with a bang. The character development was fascinating, I adore the genetics and general science throughout all of this, and I actually really liked the ending! Looking forward to rereading this trilogy in the future.
Last but not least, I finished up my month with some Discworld in the form of Pyramids by Terry Pratchett, the seventh book in the series. This is a fun romp following the Pharaoh of not-quite-Egypt, who also happens to be a God and an assassin. In the ridiculous world on the back of the Great A’Tuin it’s a great standalone in the series.
And those are the thirteen books I managed to read this past month! I’m pretty happy with that if I do say so myself.
And then there comes the balancing. So I didn’t balance out my books for April (because it was a rough month) but I started May with 119 books on my tbr (honestly I really need to get this to a more reasonable number). I read 13 books, with 9 of them being from my tbr. I brought in 5 new books, and read 1 of those. All in all meaning that my new physical tbr count is 114. It’s went down!! I’m so damn pleased that I’m actually making some headway through this tbr!!
Let me know your favourite read of May. I’m spoilt for choice but I think Wild and Wicked Things might just have hit the top spot for me!
I’ve been having such a productive time with reading so far this year! I’ve read 14 books this month, including everything that I set out to read on my tbr. Which is just bizarre to me but I’m not complaining at all!
First up I read Binti via audiobook, starting and finishing it on the 1st of Feb. My audio files were corrupted and so played in the wrong order, meaning I lost a bit of the flow of the book. But despite this I still enjoyed it, and I think that says a lot for this novella!
The Princess Bride is another audiobook I read this month, and again I read this one all in one day on the 1st of Feb. I watched the film at the tail end of 2021 and decided to try out the book too. The film is a really faithful adaptation and both are so much fun!
Brown Girl Dreaming was my first read for the Missy Elliott Readathon hosted by KaShay from Shay with the Hobbies. I read this one all in one day too (look it was a good time at work for listening to an audiobook while getting on with shit) and found it super interesting.
Then I beta read a book for the lovely Pablo Suarez which is currently titled The Broken Oath and I loved it! It’s a fantastic fantasy short novel/novella which has been desperate for more books in this world. So excited for when more of you get to read this!
The Ivory Key was a cheeky second book that Illumicrate included in January’s box, and I wanted to read it straight away. This is a fantastic YA fantasy with Indian culture throughout. I highly recommend it and I’m so glad that I had something to motivate me to pick this up!
Then I read a book by our lovely Hannah O’Donnell at LadetteM, Fatlip, which was such an easy read and an enjoyable one too. I think more people need to pick this one up.
My MIL (mother in law) loaned me Piranesi in January and I wanted to read it this month to give back to her. This book was amazing. It’s so weird and confusing and engrossing and I simultaneously want more from this world and don’t want anyone to touch it in case they ruin it!
Finally I struggled my way through Double Cross, and that’s not to say this is a bad book. Just that I was struggling with it. This whole series (Noughts and Crosses) is a really rough one and I’ve not been in the mindset for it for a while. But it counted for quite a few of my Missy Elliott Readathon prompts and I did want to finally finish up my reread of the series. I still recommend this series, but I’m glad that book is finally done.
My Sister the Serial Killer is one I listened to. I started listening to it at “normal” speed but found myself utterly bored. So I sped it up. Thank god I did that or I would’ve DNFd it! This was a really fun book, although I think it focused a lot more on the inter-familial relationships than on the murder side of things.
My monthly reread of a Skulduggery book was Seasons of War this time, again with Bekka from Comic Book Sanctum. These more recent books I’ve only read once before so it was so interesting to reread this and get the reveals once again! So excited for Until the End.
With the aforementioned Hannah, we read Black Water Sister and (as Olivia predicted) I loved it! It totally wasn’t what I expected, but I loved the cultural influences of both Eastern and Western ideals as well as our protagonists character development. This one was in my mind every single day.
This Is How You Lose The Time War was one I was unsure about, as I’m not a big romance fan. But this incredibly slow burn combined with Sci-Fi/fantasy elements is right up my street. The prose is stunning and I found myself savouring this small book slowly. Utterly beautiful.
I like to read the Illumicrate book with the Discord group, and this month was no different. It was really interesting to see everyone’s reactions to This Woven Kingdom this time around because hoooooo boy. What was this book? I won’t lie, I enjoyed reading it and at points was reading past the daily allocated chapters because I wanted to know more. But at the same time there was no character development, ridiculous dodging around why or how events were achieved, and whilst there were some really interesting plot points they were mostly mentioned once and then never again. While other, more ridiculous, plot points were focused on. If you couldn’t tell I have a lot of thoughts about this one. It’s my lowest rated book of the month (2.5/5) and yet I’m still debating whether I’m going to carry on with the series or not. What is has told me is that I won’t be reading anything more from Mafi.
I FINALLY FINISHED Fall of Giants by Ken Follett AND I’M SO HAPPY!!! I know that I put finishing this on my March tbr but I actually sped through it last night (28th Feb) and finished it up! I have plenty of issues with this book, and the vast majority of them lay in how women are written and the ridiculous male gaze we’re forced to endure. But despite that it was interesting to read from a personal viewpoint. It was also interesting for me to read about WWI as I focused on WWII during my mandatory “obsessed with something in history” years.
And last but of course not least we have The Bridesmaid’s Survival Guide once again by our wonderful LadetteM. And again this is one I blasted through last night! I’ll say straight up that contemporary is not my usual genre, without some other factor motivating me I don’t pick the genre up. But this was so enjoyable. I found myself not wanting to put the book down and I could relate to so many of the characters. The love interest is god damn perfection and I found myself smiling and laughing through this. Another one that I hope finds a lot more readers!
And that’s it! She says after read 15 books 🙄 what a month! I started the month with 118 unread books on my tbr and I’m ending with 120. So apparently I need to unhaul 2 books. Wish me luck with that, it’s only the second month and already balancing the books has gotten tough! If you want to see more about the balancing action going on then keep an eye out on my BookTube channel for the video going up!