All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid—a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

Read from January 5, 2021 – January 6, 2021

This is one of those books that many people will read and think that it was made for them. I mean, it really doesn’t get any more relatable than a robot who hates interacting with humans, is addicted to (illegally) streaming TV shows, and avoids their responsibilities like I avoid that one grocery store in my hometown because there’s always a chance that I’ll run into someone from high school and that really awkward thing will happen where you make eye contact but you both pretend that you didn’t notice each other, but by some twisted fate you keep crossing paths with them around the store (unfortunately based on true events).

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The Devotion of Suspect X (Detective Galileo #1) by Keigo Higashino, Alexander O. Smith (Translator)

Yasuko lives a quiet life, working in a Tokyo bento shop, a good mother to her only child. But when her ex-husband appears at her door without warning one day, her comfortable world is shattered.

When Detective Kusanagi of the Tokyo Police tries to piece together the events of that day, he finds himself confronted by the most puzzling, mysterious circumstances he has ever investigated. Nothing quite makes sense, and it will take a genius to understand the genius behind this particular crime…

Read from January 7, 2021 – January 8, 2021

While the ending was shocking, I think I was more surprised by the fact that ‘Detective Galileo’ is actually not a detective, but a physics professor. I guess I didn’t expect this mystery series to be named after a dude who contemplates elementary particle physics for a living.

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Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

Franny Stone has always been the kind of woman who is able to love but unable to stay. Leaving behind everything but her research gear, she arrives in Greenland with a singular purpose: to follow the last Arctic terns in the world on what might be their final migration to Antarctica. Franny talks her way onto a fishing boat, and she and the crew set sail, traveling ever further from shore and safety. But as Franny’s history begins to unspool—a passionate love affair, an absent family, a devastating crime—it becomes clear that she is chasing more than just the birds. When Franny’s dark secrets catch up with her, how much is she willing to risk for one more chance at redemption?

Epic and intimate, heartbreaking and galvanizing, Charlotte McConaghy’s Migrations is an ode to a disappearing world and a breathtaking page-turner about the possibility of hope against all odds.

Read from January 2, 2021 to January 4, 2021

Literary fiction is not a genre that I read much of as I usually prefer plot-driven stories over character-driven stories. However, this year I want to continue reading books from genres I don’t normally gravitate towards, and my best friend got me this book for Christmas, so it worked out. And yes, I’m painfully aware of the fact that I just posted about how long my TBR list is and how I need to work on making it less long, and I know that this book is not on that list. Look at me, already off to a great start.

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21 Books I Want to Take off My TBR Shelf in 2021

I didn’t realize that it was possible for a combination of 3 letters to strike so much fear within me. My TBR shelf, the physical manifestation of my shame and inability to get anything done, is embarrassingly big. I am constantly adding books to it, but I never read any of them; I literally don’t know how to control myself. This post is my way of holding myself accountable, and hopefully I can turn back to it throughout the year to guilt myself into finally reading these books.

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Posted in TBR

How to Rule an Empire and Get Away with It (The Siege #2) by K.J. Parker

This is the story of how the City was saved, by Notker the professional liar, written down because eventually the truth always seeps through.

The City may be under siege, but everyone still has to make a living. Take Notker, the acclaimed playwright, actor and impresario. Nobody works harder, even when he’s not working. Thankfully, the good citizens of Classis appreciate an evening at the theatre even when there are large rocks falling out of the sky.

But Notker is a man of many talents, and all the world is, apparently, a stage. It seems that the Empire needs him – or someone who looks a lot like him – for a role that will call for the performance of a lifetime. At least it will guarantee fame, fortune and immortality. If it doesn’t kill him first.

Read from December 21, 2020 to December 31, 2020

If you can imagine someone furiously reading, that would be me yesterday. I was trying so hard to finish this book before the new year because there was no way that I was going to carry anything more than necessary from 2020 into 2021.

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My 2020 Year in Books

So, 2020 was an absolute sh*t show, and the coping strategy that I chose was reading. In the past, I remember feeling bad about staying in and reading all the time, and I would constantly tell myself that I should probably leave the house more often. However, this year gave me an opportunity to reframe this guilt, and I was able to tell myself that I was just doing my part (yay me).

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The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth (Illustrator), Malcolm Jones III (Illustrator), Mike Dringenberg (Illustrator)

New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman’s transcendent series THE SANDMAN is often hailed as the definitive Vertigo title and one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling. Gaiman created an unforgettable tale of the forces that exist beyond life and death by weaving ancient mythology, folklore and fairy tales with his own distinct narrative vision.

In PRELUDES & NOCTURNES, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his 70 year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine, and an all-powerful madman.

This book also includes the story “The Sound of Her Wings,” which introduces us to the pragmatic and perky goth girl Death.

Read from December 25, 2020 – December 26, 2020

Neil Gaiman is a literary juggernaut, and I’ve always felt like I should read at least one thing by him. I’ve looked at his books, but none of them seemed like something that I’d enjoy. However, The Sandman explores some myths and legends that I haven’t heard of before, and I was really intrigued by Dream, The Sandman‘s mythical protagonist who just so happens to look like a My Chemical Romance song personified.

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Flyaway by Kathleen Jennings

In a small Western Queensland town, a reserved young woman receives a note from one of her vanished brothers—a note that makes question her memories of their disappearance and her father’s departure.

A beguiling story that proves that gothic delights and uncanny family horror can live—and even thrive—under a burning sun, Flyaway introduces readers to Bettina Scott, whose search for the truth throws her into tales of eerie dogs, vanished schools, cursed monsters, and enchanted bottles.

In these pages Jennings assures you that gothic delights, uncanny family horror, and strange, unsettling prose can live—and even thrive—under a burning sun.

Holly Black describes as “half mystery, half fairy tale, all exquisitely rendered and full of teeth.” Flyaway enchants you with the sly, beautiful darkness of Karen Russell and a world utterly its own.

Read from December 12, 2020 to December 21, 2020

As soon as I saw the word ‘gothic’ in the synopsis, I immediately added this novella to my Want to Read shelf. Then, when I saw that there would be some f*cked up family dynamics involved, I instantly moved it to my Currently Reading shelf. What can I say? I love reading about problems that aren’t my own.

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Poirot Investigates (Hercule Poirot #3) by Agatha Christie

The very first collection of superb short stories featuring Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings…

First there was the mystery of the film star and the diamond… then came the ‘suicide’ that was murder… the mystery of the absurdly cheap flat… a suspicious death in a locked gun-room… a million dollar bond robbery… the curse of a pharaoh’s tomb… a jewel robbery by the sea… the abduction of a Prime Minister… the disappearance of a banker… a phone call from a dying man… and, finally, the mystery of the missing will.

What links these fascinating cases? Only the brilliant deductive powers of Hercule Poirot! Get ready for:
1. The Adventure of The Western Star
2. The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor
3. The Adventure of The Cheap Flat
4. The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge
5. The Million Dollar Bond Robbery
6. The Adventure of The Egyptian Tomb
7. The Jewel Robbery at The Grand Metropolitan
8. The Kidnapped Prime Minister
9. The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim
10. The Adventure of The Italian Nobleman
11. The Case of The Missing Will.

It should be noted that the above stories are the contents of the original UK edition. The American edition, which came out a year later in 1925, had three extras and more Hercule Poirot. They are:
12. The Veiled Lady
13. The Lost Mine
14. The Chocolate Box

Read from December 6, 2020 – December 11, 2020

The moral of the story is: stick to the Sherlock Holmes short stories. I prefer the Hercule Poirot novels over the Sherlock Holmes ones, but Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is the OG detective short story author. (I’m still going to read the rest of the Poirot anthologies because my goal is to read the whole series, but it doesn’t mean that I have to like them all.)

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The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher

A young woman discovers a strange portal in her uncle’s house, leading to madness and terror in this gripping new novel.

Pray they are hungry.

Kara finds these words in the mysterious bunker that she’s discovered behind a hole in the wall of her uncle’s house. Freshly divorced and living back at home, Kara now becomes obsessed with these cryptic words and starts exploring the peculiar bunker—only to discover that it holds portals to countless alternate realities. But these places are haunted by creatures that seem to hear thoughts…and the more you fear them, the stronger they become.

Read from November 28, 2020 – December 1, 2020

I went into this book hoping that it would make me pee my pants, and it almost did, but not because I was scared. It was because this book was surprisingly hard to put down and it almost made me forget about the fact that I have a bladder and that it needs to be relieved frequently.

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