My Favorite Genres of All Time

My Favorite Genres of All Time

I think I might have written a post like this in the past, but I’ve been thinking a lot about books and genres. It’s probably because I’m in the process of moving across the country and that means whittling my book piles down to the ones that I truly want to read.

I rummaged through all my books, made lists, and figured out that the top billings for genres that I love to read. Here’s what I got:

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General Fiction

My general fiction contains everything from literary greats to the beach read. I love fiction in general, but there’s a time and place for all of it. I like to keep a mix of books available so that I can pick and choose depending on my mood. Most times, I’ll read a fun summer read because I’m always in the mood for those. I didn’t think that my general fiction pile would be so big, but I guess that’s because it’s got some literary fiction, womens’ fiction, some romance novels, and my diverse books.

Most literary fiction I read is from an author of color. I just love the stories that they tell and they always make me think a little harder and understand a little deeper.

The sad thing about this list is that there’s not a lot of literary fiction here. Most of these books are fun reads or “womens’ fiction.” I think the reason for that is because I’ve read so many stories about the young woman moving to New York in pursuit of something. Or that couple that’s on the verge of breaking up and they’re doing what they can to stay together. As I get older, I’m noticing that my tastes are changing and I’m moving away from books by the Jonathans (Safran Foer, Franzen, etc) and more into books that let me escape a little from my life.

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Science Fiction/Fantasy

Sci-fi and Fantasy is my next biggest genre. If anything, sci-fi/fantasy is my favorite genre. The list here is small, but I also have all my bigger fantasy reads on my Kindle.

When I was growing up, I was in love with science fiction and fantasy. I even ran the sci-fi/fantasy literary magazine at my high school! However, I didn’t read a lot when I was a kid and therefore don’t have a lot of the classic sci-fi/fantasy novels under my belt. While I don’t have many of those classics in my TBR pile, I do have aspirations to read them all. Hello, I haven’t even read Hitchhiker’s Guide yet…

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Non-fiction

My non-fiction pile is strangely tall. I also included my poetry books in here as well. I think the reason for that is because I haven’t read them. I love reading non-fiction essays and memoirs, but fiction just always happens to take over when I’m reading books. I think I’ll change it this summer and at least read one non-fiction book per month. This way, I’ll get some non-fiction in my life!


Sometimes I like to throw in some thriller, some romance and some YA to mix things up. I always thought I was a YA reader, but I guess most of the YA I’m reading is also Science Fiction and Fantasy. When I think back to my reading life, I think of the Twilight series and Harry Potter and The Hunger Games being big in my life. Isn’t it funny how sometimes your favorite genres are just sitting right in front of your face?

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

It took me a quick second to get into this book, but once I got into it I was hooked. I’ve read a lot of fantasy and this has to be one of the best fantasies I’ve read in a while.

I didn’t think this was an easy read. I didn’t think this was one of those grip you and take you on an adventure kind of books either. It was a thinker. It was a delicious meal and I wanted to savor every bite.

Continue reading “Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi”

The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller

The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller

I’ve always been worried that if Hogwarts was a real place and people could get into it that I would be one of the unlucky people who wouldn’t get in. Let’s also keep in mind that I’m American and that already disqualifies me.

But what if magic was studied instead of inherited? What if you stumbled across a sigil while playing in the sandbox and you realized you have a predilection for something called “empirical philosophy?” What if you were a man and you realized that this is a very female-centric area of study? What would you do then? This is one story from one man who answered all of these questions for himself.

A little bit more about the story

Eighteen-year-old Robert Weekes is a practitioner of empirical philosophy—an arcane, female-dominated branch of science used to summon the wind, shape clouds of smoke, heal the injured, and even fly. Though he dreams of fighting in the Great War as the first male in the elite US Sigilry Corps Rescue and Evacuation Service—a team of flying medics—Robert is resigned to mixing batches of philosophical chemicals and keeping the books for the family business in rural Montana, where his mother, a former soldier and vigilante, aids the locals.

When a deadly accident puts his philosophical abilities to the test, Robert rises to the occasion and wins a scholarship to study at Radcliffe College, an all-women’s school. At Radcliffe, Robert hones his skills and strives to win the respect of his classmates, a host of formidable, unruly women. 

Robert falls hard for Danielle Hardin, a disillusioned young war hero turned political radical. However, Danielle’s activism and Robert’s recklessness attract the attention of the same fanatical anti-philosophical group that Robert’s mother fought years before. With their lives in mounting danger, Robert and Danielle band together with a team of unlikely heroes to fight for Robert’s place among the next generation of empirical philosophers—and for philosophy’s very survival against the men who would destroy it.

I honestly and truly wished I loved this book. I felt like there’s a lot of potential for it being a great series, but after only reading the first novel from both the author and the series I wasn’t all too excited. This was definitely more like Harry Potter where magic (also known as Empirical Philosophy) exists alongside the very real world. This “magic” is not inherited, but learned and anyone can basically pick it up. It requires the use of sigils and specific minerals. For example, using a particular sigil with cornmeal will help you to fly and how you write your sigil will determine how well you fly. It’s a practiced art and you don’t need a certain birthright to do it.

I will say that the story did hold my attention and there definitely was some practical use of the philosophy. But a lot of what was happening in the book felt like a direct reflection of what’s going on today. Women being the dominant gender to use Empirical Philosophy, Robert Weekes is one of only three men at his college. He’s constantly teased and talked down to because men just don’t do Empirical Philosophy. It just feels like a role reversal for what’s happening nowadays; women being overlooked because they’re women.

The bad guys in this book are called “Trenchers.” These dudes remind me of the extreme right movements in America right now. They are constantly fighting against Empirical Philosophy and trying to make it illegal. They think it’s unnatural and the women kill their babies. It’s against God and the Bible and people who study it are abominations. They’re out trying to kill philosophers so that their numbers dwindle and they disappear. It really reminds me of the news and everything that’s going on recently. There was even a march where philosophers went down to Washington DC to march for their rights to use this philosophy.

I think this really bothered me the most in this story especially since it’s fiction and really could draw from anything and it’s just a reflection of what’s going on today.

Being that this is the first fantasy novel, I feel like a lot of this story was just explaining the universe as well. There was a lot of history that coincided with the very real United States history. The wars being fought are also fought by philosophers. There was a lot of explaining the philosophy, what it does, how it works, how it can be manipulated. I feel like I was in a class listening to a lecture about Empirical Philosophy than actually seeing it in action.

When you do see it in action, it’s great. The fighting against Trenchers and even The Cup was fun to read. However, reading passage after passage of Robert learning how to fly at a certain speed, his training regiment, or reading about him carry 100-lb bags for practice all just seemed to keep the story very still. The pacing was pretty slow and even though every few chapters had headers with how much time went by, it feels like no time at all.

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I get with new fantasies there’s a lot of groundwork to cover. There’s a lot of creating how each sigil worked and how the transporters moved and how flight paths can be determined. I don’t want to discredit this novel because it’s the first and the first always shares some of that knowledge. I just wish there was more excitement or something to move the story forward.

Reading about a young country boy going to college in a big city for the first time is basically all I’m getting from this story. Aside from the fact that he can practice philosophy which is uncommon for men, it really just reads like someone’s first adventures being alone and falling in love and learning new skills that he wouldn’t have learned before. There’s definitely growth for everyone and everyone miraculously knows what they want in life, but it took a long while to get there and a lot of reading.

We learn a lot by the end that will probably set you up for the next one, but really it could have happened right in the middle of the book rather than the end. Honestly, at less than 100 pages left in the book I was worried that nothing would happen at all and that I’d have to wait for the next book. Perhaps then we’ll see a lot more action for Robert and can chalk up this first book to first-time jitters.

I’m going to be looking out for the second book in the future. I really want to like this book and that’s why I’m rating it with three stars. The book kept me interested albeit a little wobbly at times, but I did find the whole Empirical Philosophy thing to be interesting and the battle with the Trencher party compelling. I hope I’m just as compelled in the next one.

I received this book from Simon Books in exchange for an honest review. My opinions have not been influenced by the method I received this book and I was not paid to write this book review.

Simone and Her Books is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way affects my opinion of the above book.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

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Wow. I sat down with this book over the past few days and I couldn’t put it down. Honestly, I would try and use the bathroom and hold it for an hour only succumbing to the excruciating pain of holding it for that long. I’m lucky it’s the beginning of the year and there wasn’t much going on because I think both Cinder and Scarlet has cemented my love for this series. I legit just went onto Amazon and used my Christmas money to buy the other books.

Here’s a little more about the book

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. 

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

My thoughts

If you’re into books with a lot of adventure and action, then this is the book for you. While it does expand a little more on what will happen next in the Lunar Chronicles, I think this book just cements the predictions we all made at the end of Cinder. I won’t give those away, but let’s just say that the rumors were true.

I think the most significant part of this story is the wolves. I was impressed by how Marissa Meyer was able to take the wolves and Little Red Riding Hood and connect that back to the moon and Luna. It was a really interesting way of wrapping together two stories into one.

Similarly to Cinder, if you’re looking for the old fairy tale, you’re not going to find it. Yes it has the hooded girl and the grandmother and the wolf, but to say this is Little Red Riding Hood is an insult to both the authors. This is not that fairy tale and I’m so glad that it isn’t. It would make way more predictable.

What I loved the most about these stories (and hopefully in the other books in the series) is the strong female characters. They’re not damsels in distress and they’ve been touched by a lot of tragedy in their lives to waste away as some helpless person. They’re fighters and thinkers and stronger than their male counterparts. It makes you feel alive and wonder if you’re capable of that kind of strength.

The best part is that it’s not completely high fantasy. There’s a lot where you can relate to these characters and nothing feels forced or pushed on them by some hidden agenda with the author. They all have faults and they all have strengths and it makes the characters all feel real in this made-up world.

I think at this point in the series, I want to see what happens next. I couldn’t put this book down and I’m pretty certain I won’t be able to put down the rest. I feel like I’m right at the top of the hill and ready for my rollercoaster ride down to the end. I can’t wait to read the next books in the series!

  • Paperback: 452 pages
  • Publisher: SquareFish
  • Rating: 5/5 stars
  • Buy Scarlet on Amazon

Simone and Her Books is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way affects my opinion of the above book.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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I know I’m eons behind when it comes to reading this series, but I’ve been making a conscious effort to incorporate more books from my TBR into my regular reading. Hello, book buying ban. Goodbye, new reads that I’m slightly excited about but not enough to actually want to read and not hoard the book forever.

So I decided to read CINDER by Marissa Meyer because it’s been sitting in my TBR for years and I’ve heard so many good things. Don’t you hate it when you hear so many good things about a book that you haven’t read? Does it feel like you’re cheating yourself for not reading it when the hype with up?

Here’s some more about the book:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

CINDER is the first book in the Lunar Chronicle series. Much like the other stories in this series, it’s loosely based on the story of Cinderella except in this story she’s part cyborg living in the futuristic Beijing as a mechanic. The story  has all the trappings of the fairy tale; there’s the evil stepmother with her wicked stepdaughters. There’s the handsome prince that she stumbles across randomly. There’s even a fairy godmother, but she’s also an android and one of Cinder’s only best friends. However, that’s where the book stop resembling Cinderella.

It’s set in the future. There’s a wild plague killing thousands of people and the Moon (Luna) and the Earth do not get along.

I love a good story with a strong female lead who is more determined to save herself than wait around for the handsome prince. Cinder was definitely the girl that saves herself in the end. Being adopted by her stepmother who didn’t love her, she had to fend for herself. I think in the fairy tale, I found that to be off the mark. Why would someone who doesn’t have anyone who loves her so desperate to find love? You would think that she would grow a thick skin and learn to love herself.

That’s what CINDER delivers here. You’re reading about a girl who was abandoned by everyone that loved her and come to live with someone that couldn’t stand her. Instead of crying about it and desperate to fall in love and get away from those people, Cinder is often found looking for ways to escape. She’s fixing up an old car so that she can use it as a getaway car. She’s trying to make some money behind her stepmother’s back so she has some funds to take care of herself. This seems much more on par with a modern feminine story than the old fairy tale.

I will say that this story was a bit on the predictable side. I figured out early on in the book that Cinder was who she was and her function in the entire story. However, predictability never means that the story is going to suck. It just means that it’s not going to be shocking when you find out that twist.

Marissa Meyer did a great job incorporating the predictable parts right at the moments when you needed to hear it. At one point, I thought my predictions were wrong and then the next chapter revealed everything.

Predictability aside, I didn’t really find that many flaws in this book. I was upset when Cinder was upset. I was rooting for her when she was championing against her enemies. I was also squinting my eyes in hopes of seeing past Queen Levana’s glamour and seeing just how ugly she really is. All in all, a solid story that will definitely run for the next one in the series. I already have the second one in my shopping cart.

  • Published 2012
  • Published by Square Fish
  • 400 pages
  • Rating: 4/5 stars
  • Purchase Cinder on Amazon