Monthly Archives: December 2015

Taking a break

I’ve been doing this blog thing for about three years, now, and it’s time to admit that I’m getting a little burned out. I just don’t look forward to it the way I used to, and I feel like somewhere along the line I ran out of new things to say. 2016 has a lot of changes in store for me. So, at least for the time being, The Bastard Title is going on hiatus.

What will I do with all my free time?

Well, for starters, I’ll get to meet my brand new niece or nephew soon.

(no, seriously. I have no idea.)

(no, seriously. I have no idea.)

Maybe I’ll finally learn to dance.


I’m going to continue the never-ending quest to get healthier.


I might move to a new, exciting/terrifying place.


But one thing’s for sure. I’ll still be reading way too much for my own good.



So we’ll see. Maybe I’ll miss this and pop back in once in a while. Maybe not. But in any case, thank you all for your comments and your friendship and for loving books and being amazing people. Happy new year!



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2015 End Of Year Book Survey

This is a bit of a weird end to a weird year for me. I’m having my Christmas in January, so for now I’m just sitting at home enjoying my days off alone and watching lots of Breaking Bad.

*cue “All Alone on Christmas“*

*turn it off and go watch more methheads and murders*

It’s a new Christmas tradition!

Ahem. Anyway. I figured it would be a great time-filler to do this End-of-Year survey compiled by The Perpetual Page Turner. Settle in, it’s a long one.


Number Of Books You Read: 129 [probably still time for 2 more.]
Number of Re-Reads: 3 [possibly 4. A Discworld I read felt vaguely familiar but if I’d read it already it was before I tracked my books.]
Genre You Read The Most From: Um…all of them? Fairly evenly split between nonfiction, fantasy, sci fi, romance, historical fiction, YA.



128752581. Best Book You Read In 2015?

My initial list was like 40 books long. Then it was 16. But, I guess, feet to the fire, it would have to be Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

A Study in Death by Anna Lee Huber. Don’t get me wrong, I love this series, and I’m still looking forward to more. But somehow this installment fell flat.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

In general I was surprised whenever I read erotica that turned out to have much better literary merit than would tend to expect. There were a couple of really surprising ones where the writing felt as good or better as most “literary” books I’ve read. In particular, I’ve gotta mention Scrap Metal by Harper Fox. Got a little soap-opera at the end, but a surprisingly well crafted story about building a home and a family in a place where you aren’t expecting it.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Um, I feel like I push any book I love but I think what I’m most proud of is getting my best friend to read NK Jemisin’s Dreamblood duology.

 5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?

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Series starter- The Magpie Lord by KJ Charles. These books are so much fun, I never want them to end but I keep vacuuming through them anyway.

Sequel- A Week To Be Wicked by Tessa Dare. Reading the first Spindle Cove book, I kept getting sidetracked because I thought the sequelbait couple was more interesting. I want to read that book, I said. And I did and man did it deliver.

Series ender- Police by Jo Nesbo. I…don’t actually know if this is the end of the Harry Hole series? He sets it up pretty hard for an eleventh book. But it’s the only thing on my list that might remotely qualify.

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

In terms of most books read to date, let’s say Max Gladstone. I met a lot of great new authors this year, but most of them I’ve only gotten around to once so far.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

22554204Lumberjanes vols. 1 & 2

I’m not a big comics reader. But given my job a lot of them have come across my desk this year, so I started to check them out. I’ve read The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and Spider-Gwen and Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel (are we sensing a theme here on what I am likely to pick up…), and I was also blown away by Bitch Planet even though it’s not really my aesthetic. But Lumberjanes is where it’s at. So much fun. I already loved Noelle Stevenson’s style (although, oddly enough, not really into her famous Nimona that much.) Lumberjanes takes it friendship to the max and its cute and funny and exciting and nostalgia-driven all at once.

(btw, none of these comics collections were included in my reading total. I’m still not sure how to categorize comics or all the sort stories I read over the course of a year.)

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

I read both KJ Charles’ The Magpie Lord and A Case of Possession in single sittings. That is not a thing that I ever do.

 9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Rainbow Rowell- Carry On. I kind of rushed through it and, anyway, I’m thinking of doing a full backlist reread of Rainbow Rowell in 2016.

2031246210. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

Jackaby by William Ritter. Damn.

11. Most memorable character of 2015?

Hmmm….Baz from Carry On? Yeah, Baz. I love you, Baz.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?

Say it with me, now. Tell. The. Wolves. I’m. Home.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?

Tell The Wolves I’m Home. I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but oh well. Maybe not so much life changing as life affirming.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? 

E.M. Forster- Howards End. Honestly most of my reading this year had not been on my TBR for a spectacularly long time or anything. This is a classic I should have gotten to earlier, though.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?

I’m not a big quoter. Actually I kind of think that people who live by ‘inspirational quotes’ like the kind that end up as FB memes are pretty awful in general? It just bugs me and seems so shallow.

That being said:

“I really wondered why people were always doing what they didn’t like doing. It seemed like life was a sort of narrowing tunnel. Right when you were born, the tunnel was huge. You could be anything. Then, like, the absolute second after you were born, the tunnel narrowed down to about half that size. You were a boy, and already it was certain you wouldn’t be a mother and it was likely you wouldn’t become a manicurist or a kindergarten teacher. Then you started to grow up and everything you did closed the tunnel in some more. You broke your arm climbing a tree and you ruled out being a baseball pitcher. You failed every math test you ever took and you canceled any hope of ever being a scientist. Like that. On and on through the years until you were stuck. You’d become a baker or a librarian or a bartender. Or an accountant. And there you were. I figured that on the day you died, the tunnel would be so narrow, you’d have squeezed yourself in with so many choices, that you just got squashed.”
Tell The Wolves I’m Home

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?

Shortest: Jagannath by Karin Tidbeck. Longest: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

Police by Jo Nesbo. I thought I was over his ability to shock me. I thought I had been desensitized to the fact that he routinely kills off my favorite characters in ways more gruesome than even George R. R. Martin. I thought a certain character was untouchable.

Reader, they were not. My face:


18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Simon and Baaaaaaaaaaaz.

No, no. Wait. Simon and Blue. (sidenote: why are there so many gay boys in books named Simon, anyway?)

Or. Wait. Alexander and Bagoas. (history otp).

Or my newest loves Lucien Vaudrey and Stephen Day.

Guys. I swear I do read about straight people sometimes. They just don’t inspire all my otp flailings, I guess.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Maddie and Julie, Code Name Verity. I’m still crying.


20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

 Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years Of Pilgrimage- Haruki Murakami. Hadn’t read Murakami in a while so I liked delving back into his style.

21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Hmm. I read Theresa Romain’s Secrets of A Scandalous Heiress solely based on a review and a recommendation from someone whom I asked for interracial historical titles. (The hero is 1/4 Indian which is…ok, looked at today would be judged pretty white, but in a historical setting had some interesting things to say about race and class.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?

Tyrannus. Basilton. Pitch. (Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaz.)

Oh and Winter Makepeace. *fans self*



23. Best 2015 debut you read?

I’m not sure I read any 2015 debuts, except The Girl On the Train which was…okay. Overhyped.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence world is one of the cooler fantasy settings I’ve visited in a while.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Right now, KJ Charles’ A Charm of Magpies books are making me laugh more than any books have a right to.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?

Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein had me weeping uncontrollably.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Hot Head by Damon Suede was supposed to just be a fun romp about fire fighters falling for each other…and instead it brought me all the feels.  Annnnd…I may have already read it twice. (not sorry.)

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Wilkie Collins- The Moonstone because it certainly felt like the longest book I read even if it wasn’t.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?

Charlotte Gordon- Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Live of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley. This book had a really interesting structure that took some getting used to but was ultimately fascinating.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood. Greenwood uses the lazy and highly offensive trope of asexuality = evil. I almost burned something down.




1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?

I abstain. I love you all.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?

I feel like, for a book review blog, I have not been doing all that much reviewing. But I guess maybe this one?

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

Had a lot of fun doing the Max Gladstone readalongs.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I really enjoyed participating in Austen in August a lot.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?


6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Keeping motivated.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

My short story Sunday posts always get the most views, although I guess they’re mostly spam. *shruggy guy*

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Any of my reviews. Really, any of them. They were the reason I wanted to write this blog to begin with and I feel like no one even looks at them. Which leads me to writing less of them. Which just keeps the cycle going.

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

I’m not sure that I made any.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I didn’t formally set out any challenges, but one of my goals was to read at least one book of nonfiction a month, and I generally wanted to focus on reading more diverse authors and characters. I read 13 nonfiction books in all, and I think I did an ok job on the diversity front.


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?

Three, because I’ve been a bad TBR reader and these will be the three I tackle first in January:

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The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, Of Noble Family by Mary Robinette Kowal, Winter by Marissa Meyer

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?

At the moment, the YA historical anthology A Tyranny of Petticoats. It just looks so good.

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I…don’t know any debuts that are coming out *fail*

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?

City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin. I won’t be able to read it until 2017, unfortunately [see below], but damn. It is time. I have been waiting for this book so long.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?

So, 2016 is officially my year of No Boys Allowed. Female-identifying authors only. A little experiment, and something I’ve wanted to do for a while.

I’m also hoping to up my nonfiction ratio to a full 25%. (right now, it’s hovering around 10%)

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

I have not read any 2016 releases. I have not read any ARCs in what feels like a very long time.


If you got through all that: have a cookie!

Ok…I don’t have any cookies. Have a good holiday if you celebrate, and a good day in general even if you don’t, how about that?


Filed under Book Talk

2015 Mix Tape

Getting off the subject of books for a moment, I thought I’d post about my favorite music of 2015.

I spent a lot of the year going back to things I missed in to 2004-2009 era for some reason. When it comes to albums that actually came out in 2015, my most played were probably (definitely) Lana Del Rey’s Honeymoon and Florence + the Machine’s How Big How Blue How Beautiful. And I recently discovered Marina and the Diamonds (I don’t usually listen to so many ladies! 2015 has been a change of pace.) But mostly I listen to singles and random songs because that’s just the way I roll.

So, in no particular order, here are some of my favorite songs of 2015:

Lana Del Rey- “Music to Watch Boys To”

the whole album is amaaaaazing, but I think this is absolutely my favorite song.

Deerhunter- “Snakeskin”

So funky.

Death Cab For Cutie- “The Ghosts of Beverly Drive”

I’m a pretty casual fan of Death Cab, but I really love this song. For some reason it reminds me of my dad.

The Decemberists- “A Beginning Song”

I am waiting, should I be waiting?

Night Terrors of 1927 ft. Tegan and Sara-“When You Were Mine”

These guys put out a fantastic debut (and I’m not just saying that because I’m eternally in love with Blake Sennett). I’m a bit surprised it hasn’t hit bigger than it did.

Disclosure ft. Lorde- “Magnets”

I mean, like I’m not going to love anything to do with Lorde. You crazy?

Beirut- “Gibraltar” 

That little clap beat thing. Yeah. All about that.

Belle and Sebastian- “The Party Line”

Surprisingly good song for the gym. (I guess my gym playlist is kind of weird.)

Florence + the Machine- “Third Eye”

I could have picked like 5 Florence + the Machine songs for this spot. Love her, always. But Third Eye hit me in a really hard, personal way.

Marina and the Diamonds- “Froot”

La la la la la la.

Of Monsters and Men- “Organs”

Of Monsters and Men sounds to me what my depression feels like. Which sounds like a weird sort of endorsement, but it totally is. They have just the most beautiful, vulnerable music.

Also they sound like fantasy novels.

Brick + Mortar- “Train”

So I finally got a new car with a working radio, and I literally know nothing about this band but this song is on all the time. This is the first time I’ve looked up the video; it’s super cute.

Declan McKenna- “Brazil”

Same with this kid, honestly. Radio, all the damn time. I had no idea he was so young until I looked for the video. But he seems like a promising songwriter. And good to see that my inner 13-year-old will always love floppy-haired boys, I guess.

Coast Modern- “Hollow Life”

This has been on repeat for a while in my apartment and at work. If their debut is this good, I can’t wait to hear what else this band has in store.

And. Ok. I have to do one Hamilton song. Forgive me?

It’s impossible to pick a favorite, but the Burr songs are the best and give me complicated feelings about our third Vice President. So. Wait For It.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Best of 2015


The topic of this Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is Best Books I Read In 2015.

This year I’ve decided to go month by month. Because what’s the point of all the random listmaking I do if I don’t get to play around with the stats? So, flagrantly disregarding the ‘ten’ thing, because I read way too much to narrow this down.

The best book I read in January was:












The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, The Persian Boy by Mary Renault.

The best book I read in February was:











Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.

The best book I read in March was:











The Girls From Corona del Mar by Rufi Thorpe

The best book I read in April was:












The Man Who Touched His Own Heart by Rob Dunn, Romantic Outlaws by Charlotte Gordon

(a nonfiction double feature!)

The best book I read in May was:











Jackaby by William Ritter

The best book I read in June was:











Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein.

The best book I read in July was:











Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt

(Cause WINTER. Ah, this is my favorite Maiden Lane book by leaps and bounds. I still have a few to get through, but I think it will stay on top.)

The best book I read in August was:

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A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare, Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

The best book I read in September was:











Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekback

The best book I read in October was:











Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, Simon. vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

The best book I read in November was:











City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

The best book I read in December (so far? I think I still have one or two books left in me, as I’m home all alone for Christmas) was:











Police by Jo Nesbo

I think the biggest surprise in this is how much YA is on this list. I didn’t realize I was reading so much YA, much less how much I have been enjoying it. But the YA books I did read were good. Good enough to edge out a ton of other great books.

What made your best list?



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Top Ten Tuesday: New To Me


The topic of this Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is Top Ten New-To-Me Favorite Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015

This year was weird. Most of my new-to-me authors I didn’t like very much. There were a few standouts, but mostly I found myself sticking with old favorites, because new-to-me authors left me cold. That said, there were some standouts.

(in effort to keep these lists somewhat different, I’m not including any debut novelists here. At least as far as I know. First timers get plenty of their own lists!)

1.  Holly Black

I still have not gotten around to reading more Holly Black and I don’t know why but it needs to be remedied asap.

2. Elizabeth Wein

Ahhhhh, tear out my heart and stomp on it and then send those pieces through the shredder and then light them on fire. And I will love every second of it.

3. Max Gladstone

I read three books by Gladstone this year. His worldbuilding is so cool and I look forward to reading the rest of his Craft Sequence series soon. (But not in 2016, alas. Because 2016 is my year of no dudes.)

4. Jo Graham

I was a bit surprised how much I enjoyed her debut, Black Ships. The writing was just so unusual and unexpected. I have a couple more of hers waiting on my ereader that I will hopefully get to in December or January.

5. Emily St. John Mandel

I haven’t checked out any of Mandel’s other stuff yet, and honestly I’m not even sure it appeals to me, but I did really enjoy Station Eleven.

6. Robert Jackson Bennett

City of Stairs was really, really, really, really good ya’ll.

7. Amy Jo Cousins

I don’t usually make a habit of talking about my taste in erotica cause really, no one wants to know that stuff. But holy schmaow what I’ve read by her so far (Off Campus and a couple of free novella things) is so good. And the characters act like adults and talk out their problems which I particularly appreciate in a genre that tends to manufacture tension simply because dumb people don’t use their words.

8. K.J. Charles

I’ve been hearing about The Magpie Lord for what feels like forever, but I kept putting it off and now I don’t know why. I flew through that book over Thanksgiving vacation, and it was so much fun. It reminded me a bit of a combination of Lynn Flewelling’s Nightrunner series and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. And there are sequels and I waaaaaaaaaaant them.

So that’s all I’ve got. Who did you read for the first time this year that you came to love?





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November Round Up



I finished 12 books in November and got a good chunk of a way into a 13th. Thanks, Thanksgiving vacation! (Seriously, airplane travel = epic reading time.) One book was a reread, one was nonfiction, and three were short story compilations with multiple authors- including one I started reading way back in February.

Reading Diversely

Three of the books were multi-author; 4 of the single authors were male, and 4 were female (with one female author being read twice.) I actually probably read more male authors than I would have normally read, because I’m trying to cut down my tbr and I don’t plan to read any male authors next year.

One of the short story compilations was specifically written by diverse authors from around the world. One of the single authors that I’m aware of is a POC. Three of the books featured QUILTBAG characters, and I was kind of pleasantly surprised by that…but at the same time, God am I tired of the Tragic Bisexual.


Things are not great in writer land at the moment.

Sometime soon I’ll be tallying up my submission/rejection stats for the year, which I’, sure you’re all just itching for.

TV Junkie

How To Get Away With Murder is going to be the death of me. Viola Davis is earning that Emmy, and as much of a hot mess as that show is, I have to give it props for how well it crafts such a damaged, unstable, complicated middle-aged female character. Women on TV so rarely get to be this complex, and it is wonderful to watch.

Other than that, I’ve been trying to avoid TV. Really into the true crime show A Crime to Remember lately, and my usual sitcoms and cartoons (Adventure Time‘s Marceline miniseries was amazing, btw), but I honestly am trying to stay away from cable.

Mix Tape

I’ve been listening to a ton of Marina and the Diamonds lately. I know, I know, I’m late to the party. But she’s great.

Also: this song. I am so into this song, it’s ridiculous:


So wow that’s almost it. This year has flown.


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