2016 Wrap Up, Germany trip, and What’s Ahead

Total Books Read in 2016: 35

Total Comic Volumes Read in 2016: 11

I am really happy with having read 35 books in 2016. I started reading more heavily last May and it has been a pleasure to fall in love with reading once again.

These are my favorite reads of 2016. When I graduated from college two years ago, I scooped up as much contemporary literature I could find. I read Lauren Groff, Rebecca Solnit, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Celeste Ng, and Emily St. John Mande, to name a few. So when 2016 began I felt a shift. The last book I read in December of 2015 was Seveneves, a sci-fi book by Neal Stephenson about the destruction of our moon and a worldwide attempt to save the human race. Only a handful of people survive and the book then jumps 5000 years and we see seven distinct races comprised of 7 million people and I loved every moment of this book. The world-building, the complex female characters, the science. I was hooked.

So 2016 became the year of science-fiction and fantasy reading. Four of my top six picks are within those genres. I also grew to love graphic novels and comics. The first comic I ever read was Ms. Marvel, which tells the story of a muslim girl outsider and boy, did I pick a great character to start my journey with comics. I read the Harry Potter series for the first time. It was, of course, incredible. I also was introduced to Sarah J. Maas’ fantasy series and even got to meet her and get all my books signed. If you love sci-fi and kickass, complex female characters, check her out.

My top book of the year was, without a doubt, Ta-Nehesi Coates’ Between the World and Me. I wrote an in-depth review that you can check out here. Coates paints a striking picture of racism in America and I would recommend anyone read it.

This year was also the first time my boyfriend and I traveled together outside of the United States. We spend two weeks in Germany, exploring Bavaria, and it was an awesome experience. Lots of pictures coming, as I recap my trip via my photo diary.

Our favorite moments included hiking through the Black Forrest:

Visiting breathtaking castles:

Seeing as many museums and art as possible:

Spending two days at Oktoberfest in Munich:

And just enjoying the quiet of the southern Germany countryside:

One thing I will never forget about our trip is the feeling of riding our bicycles through the pouring rain, late at night in the murky darkness that is a midnight downpour, eager to get back to our small home after a day of museum exploring and drinking with new friends. We had taken three buses and then unlocked out bikes at the local train station. It was such a distinct feeling of an unideal situation and feeling exhausted but absolutely loving the moment in this strange country that had started to feel a bit less unknown.

If you read through this entire post, I’d like to thank you for sticking around. 2016 has been a challenging and exciting year. I’ve completed my year-long internship as a Volunteer Coordinator at a Bay Area nonprofit and I’ve been officially unemployed for a month now. I’m working at my internship, and dog-walking, and babysitting while I job hunt. This is the first time I haven’t worked fulltime in about 8 years and it’s a strange experience. I’ve enjoyed my time off but it is also my greatest wish to be able to post about a new job offer at I’ve accepted (at some awesome nonprofit that’s working to combat human right’s issues and systemic racism) sometime within the next two months. I’m excited about the coming year.

Reading Goal for 2017: 50 books!

That’s about a book a week. I plan on continuing to blog and I think I’m going to do a book review once a month on the best book I read for that month. I will also be letting you know which books I’ve read and doing a super quick review at the end of  every monthly TBR list.

That’s it for now. I’ll see you guys next year!


Book Review: Hot Dog Taste Test


Hot Dog Taste Test by Lisa Hanawalt

Rating: 5/5 stars

Guys, read this graphic novel. I kid you not. Even if you’ve never read a graphic novel before. Especially if you’ve never read a graphic novel before. This book is funny, weird, completely over-the-top and filled with some real depth. Hanawalt focuses in on foodie culture (deconstructed food, perfectly edited Instagram shots of fancy breakfast foods) and our relationship to food (filling your shopping cart with healthy foods and wondering if people assume you’re super healthy and put together, a food diary that keeps track of how many chocolate-covered almonds you consume in a day). It’s freakin’ great social commentary that never feels preachy, only cutting and hilarious.

I’m going to include a few excerpt here so that you can get a feel for the book without me spoiling a bunch of great stuff. Check it out:

I received Hot Dog Taste Test in my monthly Landfall Freight subscription box, but you can get it over on Amazon. Please let me know if you read it because I don’t know anyone else who has!

July and August TBR List

Here we go again (I realize that I’m a bit late for July so I’m sharing my combined July and August TBR lists):

  1. When We Collided by Emery Lord (Illumicrate box)
  2. Hot Dog Taste Test by Lisa Hanawalt (Landfall Freight Box)
  3. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  4. Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
  5. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  6. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Wolf
  7. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  8. Captain America, Masculinity, and Violence: The Evolution of a National Icon by
  9. Whatever graphic novel Landfall Freight sends for July

I love reading, and I’m so thrilled because I’ve read two books in two days and it’s such an accomplishment. I would love to keep up the pace, but sometimes all a girl wants is to lie down and marathon some Buffy with her boyfriend. And that’s okay. But books are awesome and I have to try to read as many before I die.

Here are all the books I’m reading during the last week of July and all of August. I tried to keep the summaries spoiler-free and short.

When We Collided is a YA contemporary novel that follows to people who meet and fall in love over the course of a summer. It was book chosen for Illumicrate‘s last quarterly box and I’m excited to enjoy it this summer.

Hot Dog Taste Test is a graphic novel that pokes fun and rips apart pop culture and our current obsession with food and how to market ourselves in relation to food (ex. stylized photos on Instagram of our hip breakfast). Part screwball, part social commentary, all hilarious.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is a a contemporary novel about a bookstore during the Great Recession. I don’t know anything else and I’m kinda digging the no spoilers, so that’s all you get for now.

Wolf by Wolf is YA historical fiction/science fiction. It takes place in an alternate reality where the Axis and Imperial Japan rule the world and it follows Yael, a death camp survivor and her plan to kill Hitler.

An Ember in the Ashes is the first book in a planned trilogy. It is an epic YA fantasy novel that follows the female protagonist’s journey to save her brother in a tyrannical society.

A Room of One’s Own is an extended essay that argues for a literal and figurative space for women in literature. I read excerpts in high school and I’ve been feeling a need to complete it.


Jane Eyre is one of my favorite genres: a gothic romance.

Captain America, Masculinity, and Violence: The Evolution of a National Icon is a nonfiction book that analyses the every evolving Captain America and connects superhero traits to a shifting patriarchal view of what it is to be a man. I stumbled into this while hanging out at my boyfriend’s campus and I’m obsessed.

There is no fantasy on this list and that is killing me a little so I may read Queen of Shadows which is the latest book in Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series. Or Cindi Williams Chima’s The Demon King. Yes, reward lots of reading with fantasy. Sounds great.

(For those of you who haven’t been following along, I was an English major in college and so I read A LOT of classics and “important” books that I loved and then my first year out of college I read EVERY contemporary novel that was published that year, and now I’m obsessed with fantasy and sci-fi. I’m reading Asimov’s Foundations Series and Neil Stephenson, and every book Sarah J. Maas has wrote and this summer is my attempt to diversify my reading a bit).

Also, I haven’t been doing too well with actually reviewing the books. I’m either working or reading and I know I need to get better with that so I’m going to try. This Sunday I’m going to post a few reviews and I’m going to figure out how that will look. Stay tuned.

**Question** When I’m not reading I like to binge-watch a bunch of Netflix. I’m into genre shows at the moment. I just finished Stranger Things and I freakin’ loved it. Let me know if you’re watching it or any shows I should be watching.


Reading Update: First Half of June

Hello to anyone following along!

Yesterday was June 15th, so I should be halfway through with my reading list. Sadly, I am not where I aimed to be, but I am (possibly naively?) optimistic that I can get all of my June To Be Read books completed before the month is up.

Here are the books I’ve completed so far:

I plan on finishing Truthwitch by Susan Dennard today and The Witches by Stacy Schiff tomorrow. So I will have completed 4 out of 8 books at roughly the halfway point of the month. AND I have a three day weekend that starts this Friday, AND I have four days off during the last week of the month. I’m going to finish all of the books! 😀

Here’s a quick review of both of the books I’ve completed. A full review will be posted on the last day of June.

A Discovery of Witches

3 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed the mythology and the setting of this novel very much. I also enjoyed the characters for a lot of the book. The reason that it only received 3 out of 5 stars is because the writer fell into a lot of clichés that really took me out of the book. The female protagonist is so so special (see Chosen One definition) and the love interest is dark and broody (which I could deal with) and so protective that he ventures into controlling (and this is meant to be okay and attractive but it’s really not). The parts of the book that I loved were parts that dived into witchcraft or the relationship between the main pairing that had little to do with control and specialness. Also, this book has insta-love (love at first sight, soulmates immediately) which is something I dislike. I promise to talk about more of the things I liked in my longer review! haha.

Ufology # 1

4 out of 5 stars

This graphic novel was beautifully illustrated. I received it in this month’s Landfall Freight Box, which is a monthly graphic novel box subscription that focuses on female friendly graphic novels (they’re either written by women or feature strong female characters). I thoroughly enjoyed Ufology and I finished it in two readings. I think the pacing was great. I had trouble putting it down because the sense of mystery was so well developed that I just HAD to know how everything would end.

Okay, I’ll check in with you guys soon. Let me know what you’re reading this week in the comments!

What I’m Reading In June

So here is my To Be Read for the month of June list!

I downloaded an awesome little app on my Android called “To-Read” and it lets me set goals for what I will be reading during a given time period.

First, let me just say that while the books I’m reading in June span over a whole lot of different genres…there is a theme. I didn’t intentionally set out to read so much on one subject, but it’s a subject that I have loved for years and it looks like that love isn’t going away any time soon.

So the theme for June is….WITCHCRAFT

I finished reading all the Harry Potter books a couple of months ago and I just finished reading A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas and I just can’t bear to let the magic go.

Okay, on to the books.

Eight books in June. I know, a bit of a crazy amount. As it’s already June 8th, I have already finished A Discovery of Witches, and The Witches. So I’m off to a good start!

Here is some information on the books I’ve chosen. If any of them sound interesting to you, feel free to read along and we can discuss. The books are ordered in the lineup I will be reading them:

  1. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Genre: Fantasy. This book is about a female scholar who though aware of her ancestor’s magical history and her own powers, has turned away from magic. The story deals with her being forced back into that world. I don’t know much else as I’ve been actively avoiding spoilers. An internet friend told me I would love it because it’s a sort of HP for adults.
  2. The Witches: Salem 1692 by Stacy Schiff. Genre: History. I picked this book up at my local library because the cover caught my eye. I then did a bit of research and found that Schiff had one a Pulitzer another historical book, Cleopatra. I like to explore new genres, and what a great way to dive in: reading an in-depth historical look at the Salem Witch Trials.
  3. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. Genre: YA High Fantasy. I love Sarah. I am so happy to jump back into the Throne of Glass series. I only took a break because I needed to read ACOMAF, which is the second book in her A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy, because I knew that spoilers for it would be everywhere and seeing them would break my heart. If you haven’t read any books by Sarah J. Maas I suggest you read the first two books of her ACOTAR series. And then of course Throne of Glass. She has kickass feminist characters and lots of awesome magic, mythology and romance.
  4. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. Genre: YA Fantasy Okay. This book. This book was all over booktube and bookstagram and all booklover parts of the internet. So I bought it and I read it and…I didn’t understand the hype. I haven’t been able to finish this book because the writing is so poor but I am committed to finishing it this month, because I feel the need to give it one more chance. We shall see. I’m going to try to make it past the first two chapters.
  5. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by. Robin Sloan. Genre: Fiction. A book about a bookstore with lots of secrets. That’s all I have for you. Everyone was reading this book a few years back and it’s been sitting on my bookshelves for almost a year now and the time has come.
  6. Lovely, Dark, Deep: Stories by Joyce Carol Oates. Genre: Short Stories, Fiction. Joyce Carol Oates is a prose master. I’m steadily making my way through all her writings. This collection contains ten stories that take a fascinating look into the darker sides of being human.
  7. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Genre: Fiction, Gothic. I need more classics in my life. I miss the life of an English major, so I am adding one classic novel to my monthly reading and this month’s is Jane Eyre.
  8. UFOLOGY by James Tynion IV, Noah J. Yuenkel, Matthew Fox, and Adam Metcalfe. Genre: Graphic Novel. This is the Landfall Freight Box book of the month and I am psyched to read it.  

Okay, I have to run, but I wanted to make sure this went up today. Happy reading!

Let me know what book you guys are reading now, in the comments.

Giveaway: Sarah J. Maas Personalized Signed Book

Hello lovely people who are following me as I begin this whole blogging journey.

As you may know, I’m currently reading the Throne of Glass series, and I am LOVING it. And as luck would have it, in about a month I get to meet Sarah J. Maas!

I will be attending an event for the release of A Court of Mist and Fury, the second book in her A Court of Thorns and Roses series. I love getting to meet authors I admire and having some of my favorite books signed by them is such a great experience. So I want to open up this small gift to you guys, so that one of my followers can get a signed copy for themselves.

So here are the **GIVEAWAY RULES**

  1. You must be following my blog: https://endlesslyshifting.wordpress.com/
  2. You must live in the United States, as I will be shipping the signed copy out to you.
  3. You must leave a comment on this post, saying what you love most about Sarah’s writing, characters, books, etc.
  4. I will be allowing submissions up until April 30th. I will select one person to receive a personalized, signed copy of Sarah’s newest book, A Court of Mist and Fury.


What I’m Reading: April 11

I have so many feelings.

I finished both books on my TBR list, so let’s just jump into that.

Last week I read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling and Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. And I enjoyed them both so much.

So, Harry Potter. As I mentioned last week, I am reading the Harry Potter books for the first time and I cannot explain just how much I love them. J.K. Rowling’s world building skills are phenomenal and the characters are fantastic. I was obsessed with books on magic when I was younger (and still am) and I can’t believe I didn’t read this series sooner. Because I am loving being in the HP world of adventure, friendship and magic and I don’t want to speed through the process, I’m trying to pace myself. So the goal is to read a HP book and then three other non-HP books before reading the next HP book. It’s hard, because I want to immediately pick up the next book after I finish one, but I know that my patience will make this whole thing more fun.

The Goblet of Fire is my favorite HP book thus far. **SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW** I always liked Harry, but I think this is the book that made me really fall in love with him as a character. All the tests that he goes through were great, and the book was a perfect blend of action and character development. The final battle scene between Voldemort and Harry was perfect and I had to go back and read it several times because it was that good. The fact that Harry stood his ground and decided that he would rather die standing up straight, like his father, made me cry way more than I was prepared to. I was out in public, reading at a local coffee shop, and I had to hide my face as I silently sobbed. Cedric asking Harry to take his body back, Lily talking to her son, UGH. It was heartbreaking. That whole scene was beautiful and a great end to a great book. The Goblet of Fire was SO good that it made me excited to finish and reread the entire series just so I could reread this one.

HP & The Goblet of Fire: 5/5

Now, on to Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies. I need to preface this by saying that I went into this already loving Lauren Groff. I read her first novel The Monsters of Templeton last year and I would easily recommend that book to anyone. It was an incredible debut novel and it’s one of my favorites books of all time. It blends historical fiction, folklore, magic, and hyper-realism into a great tale about family and the mundane life issues everyone faces. Fates and Furies got so much more attention than her other works, but I have to say, I was slightly disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the majority of the novel, but the ending, which I will not spoil, left me pretty unsatisfied. I felt like it was a cheat, an ending that’s shock-value wasn’t earned. I don’t like to feel that I was manipulated by an author, and the twist of the novel left me sort of feeling that way.

Lauren Groff is a prose master. Fates and Furies gave a realistic portrait of the ups and downs marriages face, and the characters were so human in their highs and lows. Both of the main characters are brilliant and highly talented people who are deeply flawed, and if I separate the first 95 percent of the text from the ending, I think they are incredibly believable.

Here is a a quote from the book. Mathilde is contemplating her marriage:

“Great swaths of her life were white space to her husband. What she did not tell him balanced neatly with what she did. Still, there are untruths made of words and untruths made of silences, and Mathilde had only ever lied to Lotto in what she never said.”

Groff beautifully and precisely writes about the way that people can never truly know other people, at least not fully. Despite my distaste for the book’s ending, reading Fates and Furies left me with so much to contemplate and damn, Groff’s prose. So it’s hard for me to not recommend this book to people. I’m torn between rating this book a 3.5 and a 4, but I have to make a decision, so here we go.

Fates and Furies: 4/5

Now, on to what I will be reading this week:

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Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. This book is a YA high fantasy novel about a teenage assassin who lives in a tyrannical kingdom in which magic has been wiped out. I’ve heard a lot of my kick-ass feminist internet friends praise this book and I’m so excited to read it.


Purity by Jonathan Franzen. This is a novel that came out in Sep of 2015 and it’s about recent college grad named Pip, who is $130,000 in debt with and she is increasingly becoming aware of how far from “normal” she is. Her mother has never been honest with her about who her father is or what her real name is. I’m ready to dive into this world.

If you can’t tell, I’m trying to read a wide mix of things. There will be YA, contemporary lit, sci-fi, fantasy, memoir, and whatever catches my eye. Feel free to send me recs! I love them.

Catch you next week 🙂