Why I Love Reading (Top 5 Tuesday)

I’m doing something different with this week’s Top 5 Tuesday. I managed to come up with five reasons, but saying words simply like “escapism” and “imagination” didn’t feel right, even if they are true. So, I’m just going with it.

Why do I love reading? Honestly, I never gave much thought to it.

Reading is something that has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My dad read to me before bed every night when I was little. Then, I started reading on my own.

12.4.18top5tuesdaycover

I do remember there were certain periods of my life I was not reading much. I was into computer games and I liked being outside on my swing set. As I entered middle school, books became my constant companions, mainly because I didn’t have a lot of friends.

            While I was picked on, especially for liking books so much, for the most part people were nice to me or they ignored me. I kept to myself. I didn’t try so hard to get in with the “It” crowd. Still, I wasn’t exactly getting invited to birthday parties or to hang out after school.

In a way, I’m sure I had it easier than a lot of other kids in high school. I didn’t dread going to school out of fear of getting harassed daily. I tried extracurriculars, mainly so it would look good on college applications and to get my mother off my case about not having a social life. But everything I joined—book club, SADD, Youth Court—all got taken away so the budget could favor the football team.

 

I guess I liked people, at least sometimes, but I preferred books. It wasn’t until college that I made real friends who appreciated my love for reading. During that time, reading felt more like fun, mainly since I wasn’t sticking to just one genre of novels anymore.

Books got me through a difficult time in my life. The last two and a half years were rough. Throughout my four years of undergraduate, there was the underlying tension in my family as my mother’s health deteriorated. My friends helped me through those moments where the fear of losing my mom was real and I could distract myself with homework. But after I graduated, the security blanket college provided was gone.

Even though the people that cared were a text or phone call away, my mom’s condition was constantly in my face. For several months after graduation, I was unemployed. Then, the summer I left college, I had my own health scare. Between finding a job, worrying about my mother and managing her various doctor visits and other medical needs, and trying to take care of myself, books got me through it.

Reading books also came through for me when my mom went on hospice towards the end of 2017. For few times each day, I didn’t have to think about what was going on.

1211T5Tcover

OK—enough sadness.

On a better note, I love reading because it helped me find my passion: writing. When I was eight years old, I read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume and immediately after finishing it, wrote my own “novel.” After that, I couldn’t stop.

My parents said I was spinning stories before I could actually write. Reading books simply encouraged my natural storytelling ability. The ones I read at different stages of my life influenced my writing as well. When I was obsessed with the Sweet Valley books, I wrote about twins, or some “perfect” girl with mediocre problems. When I was obsessed with Meg Cabot books, I wrote about overly dramatic teenaged girls in chick-lit novels.

But none of those kinds of stories “clicked” with me in terms of writing. That didn’t happen until I was fifteen and I read The Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong. I could write about overly dramatic princesses, but only if said princess was a witch or had fallen in love with a vampire.

 

A love of reading led me to be an English major in college. I wrote a play that was performed on stage by my college’s theater my senior year. I started this blog because I love to read books.

In short: I love reading. I love books.

I just do.

 

Advertisements

Christmas/Early Birthday Book Haul

Remember all those books I had on my Christmas wish list? Turns out, only one of them was under the tree. From my dad’s point of view, it makes sense, since I buy myself so many books throughout the year. I got a lot of other nice things, like three Harry Potter Funko pops, new jackets, and Amazon gift cards.

But the best part about Christmas? Having a birthday in January.

Dog Happy Dance GIF

(I fully accept the fact I am greedy.)

There are still a lot of books featured in this haul. Some I bought or received before Christmas, the rest I got with my Amazon gift cards or bought while shopping at Target recently as an early birthday present to myself. And, like always, this will be a long one.

 

Pre-Christmas Books

 

The Deepest Blue by Sarah Beth Durst

thedeepestbluearc

On the last day of my recent library temp job, the departments had their annual Christmas cookie crawl. In addition to cookies, the Reading Advisory department was also handing out wrapped advanced reader copies of books the library received from publishers trying to sell their books. I picked the one that read “adult fantasy, nature spirits, and a competition to be queen” written on the label. To my surprise, it was The Deepest Blue, which is by an author, Sarah Beth Durst, and part of a series I have been interested in for a while.

 

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

bonegap

Bone Gap is a book I have wanted to read for years, but I always forgot about. It is a magical realism contemporary novel that is a retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth set in a strange small town.

 

The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

thepearlthief

Code Name Verity is one of my all-time favorite novels. The Pearl Thief is the prequel to that novel. It follows Julie before she was Verity as she investigates a murder and theft her new friends are suspected to be involved in.

 

The Spring Girls by Anna Todd

thespringgirls

If I am being honest, the cover was part of the lure for this book. The Spring Girls is a modern-day retelling of Little Women, following the daughters of a high-ranking solider growing up on an army base. It seems like fun, maybe a little trashy, the kind of book I might save for a reading slump.

 

The Rattled Bones by S.M. Parker

therattledbones

Another slight impulse buy, The Rattled Bones is a young adult horror novel following a girl haunted by the visions of a ghost. When she becomes involved in an archeological dig, she uncovers a dark history about her waterfront community and a tragedy that has been kept silent for many, many years.

 

Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper

salt&storm

Family drama, evil mother, daughter trying to claim her birthright from said evil mother, witches, and a dark, secluded island protected by magic. Salt & Storm checks off a lot of my boxes.

 

Mechanica and Venturess by Betsy Cornwell

Mechanica is a retelling of Cinderella set after she gets her happily ever after. Mechanica is an inventor living with her wicked stepmother and stepsisters until she sneaks out one night to attend the ball. She meets the prince and falls in love. Then, she wonders if it is really what she wanted after all. Venturess is the sequel to Mechanica.

 

Christmas Day

 

The Lost Queen by Signe Pike

thelostqueen

The one book on my Christmas 2018 wish list that I found under the tree, The Lost Queen is set in sixth-century Scotland and tells the story of a queen lost from history, whose twin brother inspired the legend of Merlin. I am glad I have it; the synopsis is fascinating to me and the cover is stunning facing forward on my bookshelves.

 

Amazon Gift Cards

 

Persepolis and Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi

A banned book I have been dying to read for years now, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel memoir. The daughter of Marxists and the great-granddaughter of the country’s last emperor, both volumes cover her life, beginning with her childhood during the Islamic Revolution and leading up to her early adulthood as a university student as the chauvinist government rises to power.

 

Gareth Hinds is a graphic novel artist I happened upon randomly and fell in love with his artwork. From what I have seen on Amazon, he retells classics in graphic novel format, using different color schemes that seem to somehow match the theme of the story. I had to refrain myself from buying so many of his works, but I narrowed it down to:

Beowulf and The Odyssey, two epics I wanted to reread on my own, outside of school. Reading them in graphic novel format made them less daunting.

Poe: stories and poems is probably my favorite graphic novel I bought ever. I had to stop myself from reading it so soon and focus on my library books first.

Romeo and Juliet, I bought this one because I almost borrowed it from my college advisor but felt bad about taking it. I also figured this one would be a good Shakespeare play to read in a different medium.

 

The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag

thewitchboy

One of the cutest books I own now, The Witch Boy is a middle grade graphic novel. Aster comes from a magical family where boys are shapeshifters and girls are witches. Only he can’t get a hang of shapeshifting nor can he help looking in on the witch lessons the girls get. When one of the boys in his group goes missing, Aster risks breaking the rules to use the magic he’s learned to help.

 

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

theprinceandthedressmaker

The Prince and the Dressmaker is another graphic novel breaking the gender rules. Prince Sebastian of Paris is looking for a wife, or at least his parents are looking for one for him. While trying to deal with his duties as prince, he has a big secret. By night, he puts on dresses and becomes Lady Crystallia, the glamourous fashion icon. The only other person who knows is his best friend and dressmaker, Frances. But with her own dreams on the line, how much longer can she protect her best friend?

 

Spell on Wheels by Kate Leth, Megan Levens, and Marissa Louise

spellonwheels

Spell on Wheels is one of those books that suddenly popped up on YouTube with everyone talking about it before vanishing again. I wanted to get into graphic novels more and this one appealed to me. It’s about three witches and best friends who go on a road trip of revenge to find the person that stole their spellbook. Plus, it looks like only one volume is out, so I don’t have to get caught up in a series. Except from what I’ve heard, I could be disappointed by that like other people.

 

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

heykiddo

Besides graphic novels, memoirs and nonfiction are other kinds of work I want to get into. Like Persepolis, Hey, Kiddo is a graphic novel memoir about the author growing up with a drug addict mother. He is raised by his grandparents until he finds information about his mysterious father.

 

Early Birthday Books

 

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

queenofairanddarkness

The third and final book in The Dark Artifices trilogy. This will be the year I will read Lord of Shadows back to back with Queen of Air and Darkness. It will happen. Can’t wait.

 

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

theclockmakersdaughter

One of the books I originally had on my Christmas wish list, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a historical fiction novel set in dual time periods. In modern-day London, archivist Elodie Winslow finds a woman’s photograph and a sketch inside an old satchel believe to be connected to the events that happened at Birchwood Manor. No one knows what really happened the summer of 1862 besides one woman was murdered, another disappeared, and a man’s life was ruined.

 

Puddin’ by Julie Murphy

puddin'

Puddin’ is the companion novel to Dumplin’, which I have not yet read. I haven’t watched the Netflix movie either. I have the book and I will read it before I watch the movie. I just want to read these books for the body positivity and plus-size main characters.

 

The War Outside by Monica Hesse

thewaroutside

Haruko and Margot meet at the high school in Crystal City, a family internment camp in 1944 America for people accused of assisting the enemy. Despite being different in many ways, the girls bond over their shared situation as their families fall apart. But in an atmosphere of fear, their friendship is tested as they struggle to trust anyone, even each other.

 

Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

littlewhitelies

Little White Lies is a young adult contemporary mystery novel set in the American South. Eighteen-year-old Sawyer Taft accepts a six-figure contract from her estranged grandmother to participate in this year’s debutante season. Besides needing the money, she sees it as an opportunity to find out who her father is. But Sawyer gets more than what she bargained for when she makes friends with the other debutantes and discovers her family is not the only one with skeletons in the closet.

 

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

thetattooistofauschwitz

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is the real life story of Holocaust survivor, Lale Sokolov. A Slovakian Jew that can speak multiple languages, his captors make him the tattooist of Auschwitz, permanently marking his fellow prisoners. For two and a half years, he will bear witness to the monstrosity of human nature as well as bravery and compassion, eventually using his privileged position to sneak in food to keep the prisoners alive.

I already know my heart can’t take it.

 

What was your favorite gift you received for Christmas?

 

My Favorite Books of 2018

When I was making this list, I realized I read a lot of good books in 2018. More than I have in previous years, I think. In finding my favorites, I stuck with the ones who left a lasting impression on me, made me feel a lot of feelings, or I found myself thinking about often. Thus, save one, these books are arranged in no particular order.

Still, it was hard to keep the number down.

 

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

theprincesssavesherselfinthisonefeb18

If I had to choose which book was my absolute favorite of the year, it would without a doubt be The Princess Saves Herself in This One. Even more surprising, it is a book of poetry, something I don’t often reach for. I even remember the day I read it.

I read The Princess Saves Herself in This One roughly a month after my mother died. In addition to dealing with my grief, there were other things going on that took a hit at my self-esteem and self-worth. I picked up The Princess Saves Herself in This One at bedtime then didn’t stop until I finished it until the wee hours of the morning. Amanda Lovelace had said the words I needed to hear. I had felt validated and empowered.

 

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

thelasttimeilied

I find it ironic: last year, Riley Sager’s debut novel, Final Girls, was on my disappointing reads of the year. The Last Time I Lied, in my opinion, was way better. It was fast-paced and engaging. The plot had me guessing and the author did a good job leaving breadcrumbs, building the suspense. Most of the characters were likeable, but they were not all innocent. And the ending blew me out of the water. I would definitely reread The Last Time I Lied, now that I own my own copy.

 

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

huntingprincedracula18

I don’t know where to begin in describing my love for the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. Audrey Rose is strong, smart, and sassy, but she has a vulnerable side she learns to embrace. Thomas Cresswell is flawed, but still knows how to pull at your heartstrings and he really does try to do right by those he cares for. The setting of Romania was beautiful; the way Kerri Maniscalco wrote it made me want to visit the country, especially the old castle the medical school is set in. Lastly, the mystery was fun and twisty, and more than a little bloody.

 

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

elizaandhermonsters18

Eliza and Her Monsters was another book that hit me with the feels. I saw a lot of my teenaged self—and my current self—in Eliza. She was shy and had trouble making friends. She wanted to let people in, but it felt safer in the world of fiction. She loved the art she created, putting herself into something that her family didn’t really understand. Then, she met someone who allowed her to let her walls down. The romance was adorable. Eliza and Her Monsters was a quick read that played with my emotions. I actually felt seen in this book.

 

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

myladyjanemar18

There is no other word to describe My Lady Jane better than fun. While I had read Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly trilogy and enjoyed it, I went into My Lady Jane with low expectations. It was good that I did, though. The world was a good blend of history and fantasy. The authors wrote this book like an entertaining textbook where they broke the fourth wall and narrated the story to the reader like this is actually what happened to the real-life Lady Jane Grey. The characters were amazing and the romance was adorable. Why did I wait until 2018 to read it?

 

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

heartlesscover1

I absolutely adored Heartless. The writing was delicious and lyrical. The world of Wonderland was as magical as it was dark, better than Lewis Carroll’s version, in my opinion. The story was compelling, watching Cath go from a sweet girl who only wanted to open a bakery with her best friend to the evil Queen of Hearts. It didn’t just happen; there were different factors that contributed to her falling apart in what I thought was a realistic way. I know it’s a stand-alone, but I really want a sequel to Heartless where Cath meets Alice.

 

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

flameinthemistmar18

I know a lot of people were disappointed by Flame in the Mist. It was advertised as a Mulan retelling but it didn’t really have that. I personally still enjoyed the book regardless. Mariko is the kind of protagonist I want to see more of in young adult: her brain is her weapon instead of a sword. The romance was steamy, even if it felt a little like insta-love. I liked the world of feudalist Japan Renee Ahdieh created. The writing was as beautiful and captivating as ever. Flame in the Mist is the kind of book I would be scared to reread someday because I don’t want to find anything that could taint my love for it.

 

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

thehazelwood918

One of the most polarizing books published in 2018, I originally checked out The Hazel Wood from the library because I had no idea how I would feel about it. As you can see, I enjoyed it very much. Melissa Albert writes so beautifully you would never guess this was her debut novel. The protagonist, Alice, was unlikeable in every sense of the word, but she had a reason to be the way she was. The world of the novel was dark and creepy. My favorite part of the book was definitely the fairy tales, how they were way more twisted than even the Grimm Brothers, without the moral lessons at the end. The Hazel Wood is written like a stand-alone, though I am glad we are getting more books.

 

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

theastonishingcolorofafter

The Astonishing Color of After was one of the most hyped books of 2018, and it is well deserved. Others said it was slow, but I read it in two days. I was immediately sucked in. The writing was beautiful and handled the topic of suicide in a delicate yet hopeful way. Emily X.R. Pan blended contemporary and magical realism beautifully. The characters were realistic in that some of their decisions made me mad. I loved Leigh, the protagonist, and how she handled her mother’s passing and her determination to get the answers she deserved. Unfortunately, I currently don’t own a copy of The Astonishing Color of After but once I do, I just might reread it (eventually).

 

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

thesonofneptune

I read books one through four of The Heroes of Olympus series in 2018. I liked The Lost Hero. The ending of The Mark of Athena broke my heart. The House of Hades put me on the edge of my seat. But I didn’t love those as much as I did the second novel in th series, The Son of Neptune. The plot was fun and not as intense, at least until the end. Percy was at his finest, and beats Rhysand in the book boyfriend department (fight me). Hazel and Frank are my two new favorite demigods, after Leo Valdez. And I laughed a lot while reading The Son of Neptune, which is a surefire way to get on my favorites list.

 

Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

daughterofthesirenqueen918

The concluding novel in the Daughter of the Pirate King duology was just as fun, exciting, and steamy as the first one. Alossa is a fiery, prideful protagonist I could not help but adore. Riden is swoon-worthy and the romance was written in a way that made me feel all of what they were feeling—love and pain. The story was fast-paced and thrilling. Life on the seas was brutal but there was never a dull moment with Alossa and her pirate crew. Plus, there was a great fantasy element thrown in with the world of sirens as well as watching Alossa battle with her dual nature.

 

What was your absolute favorite book that you read in 2018?

 

Least Favorite Books of 2018

I really don’t like it when I don’t like a book.

I don’t like it when I dislike a book because I know the author worked hard to produce it. I don’t like hating a book because it makes some people feel bad for liking said book. Most of these books have pretty decent ratings on Goodreads, so I know people like them. But no one reads the same book.

If you have read any of these and liked them, I am glad. If any of these sound interesting to you, I still encourage you to read them if you want to.

Here are my least favorite books of 2018:

 

The Life and Death Parade by Eliza Wass

thelifeanddeathparadescreenshot

This is a book I went into fully prepared for the fact I might not like it, due to a previous negative reading experience with Eliza Wass’s debut novel, The Cresswell Plot. Still, the concept of The Life and Death Parade fascinated me.

I genuinely liked Eliza Wass’s writing style. The Life and Death Parade was very atmospheric. The portrayal of the protagonist Kitty’s grief felt realistic. Unfortunately, that was all the book had going for it. The characters were flat and had virtually no motivation or development. The book was wrapped up way too quickly. And the plot was weak, the little that was there.

 

Lizzie by Dawn Ius

lizziescreenshot

When I first heard about this book, a modern-day retelling of the Lizzie Borden murders, I was all for it. Then, I checked it out from the library and, the entire time I was asking myself: what am I reading?

            It was literally uncomfortable to read. That’s all I remember about it. That’s how bad this book was for me.

 

A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell

asimplefavorscreenshot

I picked up A Simple Favor from the library because of the movie. In theory, it sounded like a fun chick-lit mystery. Then, I opened it to find bad writing, boring characters, and predictable plot. This was another book that was admittedly painful for me to read. It is also likely my most viewed book review, too. I don’t hold back on my feelings for A Simple Favor.

 

Girls on the Line by Jennie Liu

girlsonthelinescreenshot

Despite the seriousness of the topics covered in this novel—bride trafficking, the One-Child Policy in China—Girls on the Line was ultimately a dry read that dragged on for how short it was. The characters had some depth to them and it focused heavily on female friendship, except it took forever to get to the point and the ending for one character is not one I would have chosen for her.

 

Charlotte’s Web & Stuart Little by E.B. White

There is no other word to describe these two little novels but dull. Maybe because I’m 25 reading a book meant for children. I didn’t feel the emotional impact Charlotte’s Web was supposed to deliver nor did I understand the motive behind Stuart Little. Again, it could be my age, but the writing style just did not do it for me.

 

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

aristotleanddantescreenshot

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is probably one of the most beloved young adult novels to be published in the last ten years. Unfortunately, for me, the writing was cringey and repetitive. It was also overly philosophical for two fifteen-year-old boys, yet dumbed down. As characters, I could put up with Aristotle, at least in the beginning, but Dante got on my nerves most of the time (the boy whined too much). The boys were a little too obsessed with each other to be healthy. The romance felt completely forced. And plot, what plot?

I’ll stop now….

 

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

letstalkaboutlovescreenshot

For what it’s worth, Let’s Talk About Love is packed with diversity. The protagonist, Alice, is black and biromantic asexual. Her love interest, Takumi, is Japanese. There are all kinds of great quotes on asexuality as well as how love and sex are not mutually exclusive. On the flip side to that, the writing was too juvenile. The characters were supposed to be college-aged, yet it felt like they were younger than that. And there was a lot of other drama thrown in that was not as developed as it should have been.

 

What was your least favorite book of 2018?

 

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Books I NEED to Read in 2019

I have no idea how I kept this list down to five….

I have full series I want to read. I have books that are part of series I want to get into or finish. I have popular books I bought with every intention of reading as soon as possible when I bought them. I have books that have been on my TBR for longer than they should have been.

In short, I have a lot of books I want/need to read in 2019. For the sake of this list (and my sanity), I selected the first five I thought of, which are:

 

Tower of Dawn & Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

 

Pretty sure Tower of Dawn was on my list last year too…. While I might not be as infatuated with the Throne of Glass series as I was before, I still want to finish it. There are characters I care about, like Chaol and Dorian, and I’ve come so far, it seemed like a waste to stop now. This series is genuinely entertaining, despite its flaws.

(And, in case you were wondering, A Court of Wings and Ruin is another Sarah J. Maas book I plan to get to finally in 2019.)

 

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

lunarchronicles18

I bought Cinder years ago and received the remaining books for Christmas last year, yet I wasn’t entirely sure if I would love this series as much as everyone else seems to. Fairy tale retellings are some of my favorites, but at the time I wasn’t into science fiction. However, since then, I have read and adored Marissa Meyer’s stand-alone Heartless as well as picked up some science fiction. So, 2019 is the time to read the Lunar Chronicles.

 

Lord of Shadows & Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

 

I bought Lord of Shadows almost as soon as it came out, but I have a legitimate reason for putting it off. I meant to read it right after I finished Lady Midnight. Then, life started to happen, stuff that caused me to not want to read such a huge book. After that, the reviews started coming in. I knew that once I read Lord of Shadows, and I didn’t have the next book, I’d go crazy. So, I waited until Queen of Air and Darkness was released. Now, I can binge read the last two books in The Dark Artifices trilogy. This trilogy might be my favorite Shadowhunters series after The Infernal Devices.

 

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

acrownofwishes718

A Crown of Wishes is one of those books on my TBR I have no idea why it’s still there. I enjoyed the first book, The Star-Touched Queen. Everything about the synopsis—a dangerous magical race, a princess having to team up with an enemy to fight for her freedom—promises that I will like this book, too. The spine even catches my eye on my bookshelves. Needless to say, A Crown of Wishes will be read in 2019.

 

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

childrenofbloodandbonecover

With hyped books, I tend to wait a little bit after they are published to read them. I want to form my own opinion of the book without being influenced by any excitement. There is also the worry I might not like it as much as everyone else. Admittedly, Children of Blood and Bone is the one on this list I can put off a tiny bit longer. The sequel, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, is coming out in March and this series seems like a good one to binge.

 

What books do you need to read in 2019?

2018 Bookish Survey

This is going to be a super long post, but I got this survey off the blog Perpetual Pages. 2018 is the first year I’ve done my reading stats, so here it goes!

 

Reading Stats

Number of books you read: 57

Number of rereads: 3

Genre you read the most from: young adult

 

Best in Books

Best book you read in 2018?

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

theprincesssavesherselfinthisonefeb18

 

Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn’t?

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

letstalkaboutlovelibrarybook

 

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

This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter

thisheartofmine

 

Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did)?

I talked a lot about certain books this year, but as far as I know, I hadn’t been able to convince anyone else to read them.

 

Best series you started in 2018?

The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

 

Best sequel of 2018?

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

huntingprincedracula18

 

Best series ender of 2018?

Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

sirenqueen718

 

Favorite new author you discovered in 2018?

Amanda Lovelace

 

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

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

skywardlibrarybook

 

Most action-packed/thrilling/un-put-downable book of the year?

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

themarkofathena

 

Book you read in 2018 that you would be most likely to reread next year?

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

(Once I get my own copies.)

 

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

 

Most memorable character from 2018?

Cath from Heartless by Marissa Meyer

heartlessapr18

 

Most beautifully written book read in 2018?

The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

thebeastisananimalapr18

 

Most thought-provoking, life-changing book of 2018?

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

theprincesssavesherselfinthisonefeb18

 

Book you can’t believe you waited until 2018 to finally read?

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler. I really needed a book like this when I was fifteen.

theearthmybuttbigroundthings

 

Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2018?

“Sometimes your heart is the only thing worth listening to.” Heartless, Marissa Meyer

“Does ‘doing exactly what I want’ mean not thinking about other people’s feelings? Because that’s just not the kind of person I am.

Maybe it can mean whatever I want it to mean, like taking care of myself and not letting people walk over me.” The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, Carolyn Mackler

“If I ever have a daughter, the first thing I will teach her to love will be the word “no” & I will not let her feel guilty for using it. – “no” is short for ‘fuck off’” The Princess Saves Herself in This One, Amanda Lovelace

 

Shortest and longest book you read in 2018?

Shortest book: Stuart Little by E.B. White (131 pages)

Longest book: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (734 pages)

 

Book that shocked you the most.

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

thepoppywarlibrarybook

 

OTP of the year (you will go down with this ship)

Alosa and Riden from Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

Leo and Calypso from The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

 

Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year.

Alys and her foster mother in The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

 

Favorite book you read in 2018 from an author you’ve read previously

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

 

Best book you read in 2018 that you read solely on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure/bookstagram, etc.

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

thepoppywarlibrarybook

 

Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?

Remy from The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Wallace from Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

 

Best 2018 debut you read?

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

theastonishingcolorofafter

 

Best world-building/most vivid setting you read this year?

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

skywardlibrarybook

 

Book that put a smile on your face/was the most fun to read?

The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser

thebookjumper918

 

Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2018?

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

historyisallyouleftme18

 

Hidden gem of the year?

The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser

The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

 

Book that crushed your soul?

Sold by Patricia McCormick

The Opposite of Innocent by Sonya Sones

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

 

Most unique book you read in 2018?

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

tessoftheroadlibrarybook

 

Book that mad you the most mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

aristotledantelibrarybook

 

Blogging/Bookish Life

Only answered the questions relevant to me.

 

Favorite post I wrote

Recommending Books I Didn’t Love, But You Might

 

Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2018?

Getting nominated for all these different award posts (some of which I didn’t get around to responding to, but thank you so much to those who tagged me!).

 

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

Putting my blog on the back burner when school started and realizing my reading habits will change as my life does.

 

Most popular post this year on your blog (whether it be by comments or views)

People seem to like my salty review of A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell.

 

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

I didn’t read 100 books like I wanted, but I did manage to complete about half of my reading goals, like reading more debut novels and writing more book reviews.

 

Looking Ahead

One book you didn’t get to in 2018 but will be your number one priority in 2019?

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

acourtofwingsandruin

 

Book you are most anticipating for 2019 (non-debut)?

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, which is the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale.

Lovely War by Julie Berry

Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich

 

 

2019 debut you are most anticipating?

Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin

crownoffeathersscreenshot

 

Series ending/a sequel you are most anticipating in 2019?

Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco

 

One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2019?

Maintain a good amount of reading while adulting, such as choosing it as a better option of self-care than watching TV or YouTube.

 

There’s my 2018 bookish survey!

What is one thing you hope to do in your reading life in 2019?

2018goodreadsscreenshot

Top 5 Reading Resolutions for 2019

Happy New Year all!

When it comes to the New Year’s Resolutions, I’m like the general population: I can stick with them for maybe the first three months of the year, but by the summer they are out the window. Reading, of course, falls under that umbrella most times.

For this list, I settled on my top five reading goals for 2019. These are the ones I want to focus on. Some I want to get sorted out as soon as possible, maybe within the first month of the year. We shall see.

My top five reading resolutions for 2019 are:

 

“Unofficially” read 30 books

When I say “unofficially,” I mean I will set a Goodreads goal of 30 books, but I won’t actively try to read 30 books in 2019. Admittedly, this is a low number for me. Right now, I’m on break from school. I have three weeks of ample free time that I plan to use for reading. But after that, school will be back in session.

When the new semester starts, not only will I have classes, I will also have an internship and hopefully a part-time job. Any time I have will be devoted to schoolwork, including the majority of weekends. Of course, I will make time for reading and post wrap-ups as much as I can, except school takes priority in everything.

 

Prioritize and marathon book series

I have so many series on my bookshelves as well as on my Goodreads TBR it’s embarrassing and just a tiny bit overwhelming. There are some series where I own the first book or several installments. There are others I own that are completed and some I don’t have all the books yet. Some series are almost completed. It’s all over the place.

Last year, I set a goal of reading and finishing ten series. That was an epic fail. This year, I plan to prioritize series and read them through completion. While I own several completed or almost-completed series, there are plenty other older ones I want to get to. Most likely, I will check them out of the library.

 

Make smaller TBRs but be flexible

For the longest time, I thought I was a mood reader. In the past year, however, I realized I like to make reading lists and sticking to them. Problem is I want to read every unread book I own and I can never make up my mind on the order of my TBR. Not to mention I don’t always take into account whatever library books or new purchases I pick up.

The idea I have is to select a specific amount of books off my TBR at home that I want to read at the moment, as well as have room for any library books. As of right now, I am forgoing monthly TBRs for the sake of school. Ideally, I plan on doing reading wrap-ups at least every two months, to update you guys on what I’m reading. Hopefully, this system I have in mind will keep me from getting frustrated with my reading while juggling schoolwork.

 

Unhaul books

As painful as it is, every few years I make myself do a purge of my bookshelves. There are ones I’m not sure I would love as much as I did as a teenager if I reread them now. Many I kept for nostalgia reasons, like the Meg Cabot books, but I’m almost positive if I read them now, I wouldn’t love them much anymore. I already went through that sad disillusionment when I reread the Harry Potter books. Not a pleasant experience.

Other books, like the Archie Sheridan series by Chelsea Cain, I realize now have some major problems in them. After I recommended the books to a friend, she pointed it out to me. Now, I have a pretty bad taste in my mouth. I’m even debating on getting rid of my beloved Kelley Armstrong books, like The Darkest Powers trilogy or her Women of the Otherworld series. I want to reread the Women of the Otherworld series, but do I have the energy, the desire, and what would I do if they turn out to be more problematic than I remember?

As I continue to dwell on this, my Amazon wish list grows….

 

Practice borrowing before buying

I did pretty well with checking out more books from the library instead of buying them. I even put holds some 2019 releases my library has already ordered. The trick, though, is to read them on time.

Yes, the books are free and I’m supporting a great institution where I plan to build my career. The flip side to that is I check out more than I can read. I feel bad renewing books I don’t read when someone else could be reading them or I send the book back unread if it doesn’t get checked out that often. Besides, there’s not enough room on my nightstand for more than a few books at once. Got to think practically here.

 

What are your reading goals for 2019?

 

December 2018 Wrap Up

How is 2018 over?

Every year around this time, I see people talking about how such-and-such year was the “best year” or the “worst year” for them. I personally don’t agree with those statements—unless every day of your life for a year was total crap, then I am deeply sorry.

The beginning of 2018 was hard. I lost my mom and my grandmother within three weeks of each other. Grief is something I have been living with, will probably continue to live with, for a while longer. I had the scare of my life when my dad got into a car accident in October (he’s fine, thank God). But I also got my acceptance letter to graduate school in January and had a successful first semester. No year will ever be perfect, but no year could be terrible, either.

On a happier note, I had a good reading month in December, a nice way to wrap up my 2018 reading year. In the past, I got hit with a huge reading slump in December. That wasn’t the case this year. I read a total of five books, which were:

 

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

4 stars

thehouseofhades

It took me almost two months to read The House of Hades—not because I hated it, but because of graduate school. And the emotional turmoil I was in for most of it.

I won’t get into too much because of spoilers, but if you have not read the Heroes of Olympus series, I’m sure you can guess where the seven chosen demigods have ended up. While I enjoyed the character development, as well as several of the relationships presented in this installment, and the moments that pulled on my heartstrings (I seriously love Bob), The House of Hades was not my favorite in the series. Some scenes took too long to resolve, some problems seemed to be unnecessary to have, and there were too many POVs yet there were characters I thought didn’t get enough page time. I plan to wrap up reading this series by reading The Blood of Olympus during my winter break from school.

 

Sold by Patricia McCormick (library book)

5 stars

soldlibrarybook

An older title on this list, Sold is set in Nepal and follows thirteen-year-old Lakshmi, who narrates the story in verse. While life is hard and her stepfather is not the most responsible individual, Lakshmi finds happiness in the simple pleasures of life. Then, a monsoon destroys her family’s crops. Her stepfather informs her she will go work as a maid in the city to support the family. Though sad to leave her home, Lakshmi is more than happy to help. Only it is too late when she realizes she’s been sold into prostitution.

In her author’s note, Patricia McCormick explained she took inspiration from stories of many girls, like Lakshmi, who were sold into prostitution either intentionally or unintentionally by their parents. Besides the disgusting treatment she receives at the hands of the men she is forced to serve, Lakshmi is also abused by the brothel madam, who cheats her and the other girls out of their earnings. Aside from Lakshmi, you get the stories of the other prostitutes and the children growing up in the brothel. Even in those dark moments, there is happiness for Lakshmi and that really got to me.

 

Girls on the Line by Jennie Liu (library book)

2 stars

girlsonthelinelibrarybook

After reading Sold, I was looking for another short, intense book I could fly through. Girls on the Line is set in modern-day China (2009), told through the eyes of two seventeen-year-old orphans, Luli and Yun. After turning of age, Luli leaves the orphanage she has lived in since she was eight and joins Yun at a factory. While shy Luli is trying to get her footing in the real world, Yun is thriving on the independence and head over heels with her boyfriend Yong, ignoring the rumors about him being a “bride trafficker.” Then, she gets unexpectedly pregnant and fired in the same day. And, several days later, goes missing.

Girls on the Line covers the laws in China surrounding the country’s One Child policy and its mistreatment of women, as well as discussions around bride trafficking, in which men pay for young women to be kidnapped and brought to them, and child trafficking. The book focuses heavily on female friendship and covers the different issues young women, specifically young Chinese women, face in the modern day. However, the story was terribly slow, despite being roughly 250 pages. I was really bored the entire time I was reading Girls on the Line.

 

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson (library book)

4 stars

skywardlibrarybook

My first Brandon Sanderson book and I am glad to say I enjoyed it. He is an author I have been interested in picking up for years, but he has so many books I never know where to start. Skyward caught my interest after Booksplosion announced it as their December read.

Set on a planet where the supposed last of humankind is defended by pilots, Skyward follows Spensa, a sixteen-year-old girl who lives in the shadow of her father, who was labeled a coward and killed after fleeing a battle. She is determined to get into flight school and fulfill her dream of becoming a pilot. Despite other people’s efforts to break her will, Spensa refuses to back down. Then, she makes a shocking discovery in a cavern that changes everything.

Skyward was fast-paced and fun. Spensa was a bold, brash, and interesting heroine. I actually did not like her at first. She is flawed but she grows throughout the novel. There are side characters I also enjoyed that I hope we will know more of in future books. My main complaint about the book was how long it was; it could have shaved a few hundred pages and done fine, I think.

 

Part of Your World by Liz Braswell (library book)

2 stars

partofyourworldlibrarybook

I honestly don’t have much to say regarding Part of Your World. The latest installment in the Twisted Tales, a reimagining of Disney movies in book form. While I enjoyed As Old as Time, the Beauty and the Beast retelling I read earlier this year, I was not blown away by it. Sadly, I was even more disappointed by Part of Your World.

            The plot takes place five years after the events of the original film, only Ariel did not defeat Ursula and King Triton was killed. She returned to Atlantica as its voiceless queen and Ursula, disguised as Princess Vanessa, marries Prince Eric and rules his kingdom. When she receives word her father could still be alive, Ariel returns to the human world, where she is reunited with the prince she thought she would never see again.

Part of Your World was just boring with overly flowery writing. The characters were flatter than the original Disney creations. The motivations didn’t make any sense. It was honestly a struggle to get through.

 

Happy New Year everybody! Looking forward to 2019!

The Book Addiction Tag

Why is it called “book addiction?” What is the difference between that and being a reader?

When I first saw this tag on My World of Books, the title struck me as something to do with book buying. Yet, the questions pertain most to reading. I call myself a “book addict” in the sense I buy too many books at once or I check more from the library than I can read. My dad is not a reader, but he likes the look of filled bookshelves in a room. Does that count?

Let’s see how much of a “book addict” I am.

 

What is the longest amount of time you can comfortably go without picking up a book?

1211T5Tcover

Roughly a week, if I have a lot going on. Such as, during the semester, I could only read in the mornings on the weekend. If I was awake enough, I would spend the hour and a half bus ride to work doing school reading. On the days I worked, I would get out at 2:15, then sit in the library until 6pm doing homework. By the time I got home, I was too zonked to do much of anything but eat dinner and watch YouTube. I wanted to read, only I didn’t have the energy for it.

 

How many books do you carry on your person (or kindle) at any time?

I can fit no more than one non-school book in my backpack. And, in general outings like shopping, I don’t bring a book with me.

 

Do you keep every book you buy/receive or are you happy to pass them on to make space for more?

mostexcitedreads

Every few years, I make an effort to unhaul books to make room for new ones. Sometimes, I’m actually relieved to get rid of some, especially if I really did not like them. I will also occasionally donate books I bought if I never read them and lost interest. I have given away books I received, since my parents mostly bought books for me until I had my own income. There are books on my shelves that I didn’t love, but a close friend gave them to me or someone signed it, so I am more likely to keep them or at least donate them at a later time.

 

How long would you spend a standard visit in a bookstore?

At the most, maybe a half hour…or until I have so many books in my arms I can’t carry anymore.

 

How much time per day do you actually spend reading?

On a good one, I can read maybe three to five hours, if I manage to work it in around my schoolwork or if I am behind on blogs. On a very good day, maybe six to eight hours of reading, if I have nothing else to prioritize over it and no other plans.

 

Where does the task “picking up a book” appear on your daily to do list?

Reading is not actively on my daily to do lists. It is my reward to completing all my responsibilities for the day. Or my distraction, depending on how much I want to avoid said responsibilities.

 

How many books do you reckon you own in total (including e-books)?

booksineedtoreadcover

I do not own any e-books, even though I probably should for the sake of space. Not that I would ever admit that to my dad. In terms of physical books, I own approximately somewhere between 590-600 books (and counting).

 

Approximately how often do you bring up books in conversation?

read a book books GIF

At school, conversations about books come up in my classes at least once. We talk about books we’ve read or the ones we recommend or what we want to read. That’s a given—library school is Bookworm Central. Outside of school, not much bookish conversation happens. At work, sometimes I’ll talk about books with my co-workers. My dad is not a big reader and neither is my brother, though he’s slowly getting back into it. Occasionally, my friends will ask for book recommendations. That’s about it.

 

What’s the biggest book (page count) you have finished reading?

gobletoffirejune2018

The biggest book I’ve read—this year, at least—was in fact a reread of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Examples of other big books I have read are City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, and A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas.

 

Is there a book you had to get your hands on against all odds (i.e. searching bookshops, online digging, etc.)?

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith and A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir were two books I had to get as soon as I could. The latter I bought off of Amazon as a pre-order, but the former I got from my favorite indie bookstore.

 

A book you struggled to finish but refused to DNF?

mansfieldpark718

That would be Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. Not because I disliked it. I was enjoying myself while reading it, with all the 19th teen soap opera like drama going on. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of the semester. Reading a classic novel was probably not the best idea at the time.

 

What are 3 of your main book goals for 2019?

  1. “Unofficially” read 30 books
  2. Prioritize and marathon series
  3. Unhaul books

 

Have you ever had the privilege of converting someone into a reader (maybe via inspiration or incessant nagging)?

read beauty and the beast GIF

I have recommended books to my friends that they read and enjoyed. I’ve had people tell me on Instagram that they got good recommendations from my feed. At my library job in undergrad, I wrote book reviews on fiction novels in the collection that people later checked out. But, to my knowledge, I have not turned anyone into a reader.

 

Describe what books mean to you in five words.

jon stewart book GIF

  1. Escape

  2. Tranquility

  3. Joy

  4. Comfort

  5. Imagination

I tag:

Shanah

Crystal

Grey

Sophie

Taylor

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

 

 

Black Friday 2018 Book Haul

What does one do on Thanksgiving, after two helpings at dinner, two glasses of blush wine, a slice of pecan pie, and a bowl of vanilla ice cream? Go onto Barnes and Noble’s website and indulge more in the Black Friday sale.

I purposely waited until Black Friday to buy these nine books I had been itching to get my hands on. And, of course, I regret nothing.

On Black Friday, I bought:

 

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

kingdomofash

No way was I buying this behemoth of a book at store price. Kingdom of Ash is the final novel in the Throne of Glass series. At this moment in time, I have not read Tower of Dawn, although I think it might be better that way. I have a habit of putting so much space between Sarah J. Maas books that I forget some of the details that happened in the previous installments, especially when there is so much going on.

 

And The Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness and illustrated by Rovina Cai

andtheoceanwasoursky

I read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness a few years ago and enjoyed it. Though I haven’t gotten around to his other books yet, And The Ocean Was Our Sky, his latest release, is one that attracted me the most. It is a reimagining of Moby Dick told through the eyes of the whales as they hunt humans. I’ve skimmed through it since it came in the mail and the artwork is stunning.

 

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

theladysguidetopetticoatsandpiracy

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy is the companion novel to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, which I have not yet read. It follows the younger sister of the main character in the first book, Felicity, who is an allegedly asexual aspiring doctor in the 18th century travelling to Germany to become an apprentice to a physician. She receives money from a mysterious benefactor for the journey and in return Felicity allows the woman to join her disguised as a maid. But soon she learns that the motives of her benefactor are not as benevolent as they appeared.

 

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

whatifitsus

Ben is on his way to the post office to send back his ex-boyfriend’s things when he bumps into Arthur, a theater nerd interning at his mom’s New York law firm. From there, the boys have a series of several failed first dates that lead them to wonder if they are meant to be. Though I haven’t heard the best things, I still hope the insides of What If It’s Us is as cute as the outside.

 

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

girlsofpaperandfire

Likely one of my most anticipated releases of 2018, Girls of Paper and Fire is set in a world where the cruel emperor chooses eight girls every year to serve in his harem as concubines. This year, a ninth girl has been chosen and she has every intention of taking the patriarchy down from within. And, in the process, has the forbidden romance you least expect. I want to read Girls of Paper and Fire immediately in 2019…along with many, many other books.

 

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean

empressofallseasons

Mari has spent her whole life training to compete to be the next empress. The competition should be simple enough: conquer the palace’s seasonal rooms—Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall—and then marry the prince. All girls can compete, except for the yokai, supernatural beings the current emperor is bent on enslaving and destroying. And Mari is one of the yokai. Struggling to keep her true identity secret, she meets Taro, a prince with no interest in ruling, and Akira, a half-yokai outcast. Together, these three will determine a fate of a kingdom where not everything is what it seems.

 

An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason by Virginia Boecker

anassassinsguidetoloveandtreason

Another of my anticipated releases, An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason is set in Elizabethan England. After Lady Katherine’s father is killed for being an illegally practicing Catholic, she discovers he was part of a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I. To get revenge, she joins a theater troupe performing William Shakespeare’s newest play in front of the queen. Only what she doesn’t know is that it is all a ruse planned by the queen’s spy Toby Ellis. He and Katherine are cast as the lead roles, but as they grow closer, the situation becomes much more complicated.

 

The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

the71 2deathsofevelynhardcastle

Every night, Evelyn Hardcastle is killed at a gala party hosted by her parents. Every night, Aiden Bishop fails to save her. He is given seven days to catch Evelyn’s killer by living the same day over and over, in another guest’s body each time, until he solves the mystery. But it seems everyone at the party has a reason to hurt Evelyn.

 

The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner

thesistersofthewinterwood

Jewish sisters Liba and Laya live sheltered lives in the woods. When their parents leave to visit their dying grandfather, the girls witness their mother turn into a swan and their father into a bear. This leads them to wonder if the old fairy tales are true. Then, despite their mother’s warnings, one of the sisters falls for a stranger when a group of mysterious men pass through town. But there are far more dangerous things lurking in the woods.

 

Did you buy any books on Black Friday?