Who Am I? A Book Tag

I saw this tag on YouTube, done by Samantha from Thoughts on Tomes. It is inspired by the PBS miniseries The Great American Read, in which people vote on the best book ever written out of 100 well-known classics, such as Harry Potter and The Handmaid’s Tale. As far as I known, no one on the blogs has done this tag. It looked so interesting I couldn’t pass it up.

 

If your life were a book genre, what would it be?

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Logically, it would be more like a contemporary, something Becky Albertalli might write. It would read like an introverted twenty-five-year-old bookworm trying to “adult” with little social life and an awkward love life. A little mystery thrown in there, too, like “what the hell am I going to do with my life?”

 

What villain from a book do you identify with the most?

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Though she doesn’t start off as a villain, she becomes one. It’s Catherine Pinkerton from Heartless by Marissa Meyer. At the beginning of the novel, she’s a sweet girl with big dreams. Then, her parents force her into an engagement she doesn’t want, she’s being courted by a guy she doesn’t love, her best friend turns her back on her, every attempt she makes to pursue her dreams gets squashed, and she loses the one person that accepted her for who she was. I experienced similar things, where people lacked faith in me and wanted me to do something else, because they didn’t think I could do the things that I wanted or they wanted me to become someone else. In a way, I could relate to Catherine “turning over to the dark side” because, after getting hurt so much, I turned people away until I found those I could let in.

 

What protagonist are you most similar to?

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I picked three characters I related to the most, for different reasons. The first is Molly from The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. I related to her social awkwardness regarding the opposite sex and her inexperience with dating, plus the weight problems and body image. Not only does she gain confidence in dating, she learns to accept her body for what it is.

The next is Elodie from The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller. She was the oldest daughter who had to take on adult responsibilities in her family. With my mom being sick for so many years and my dad being stressed out between trying to do right by her and my autistic younger brother, I had to take on more responsibilities than other people my age had, much like Elodie.

Lastly, there is Eliza from Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. Reading from Eliza’s perspective was the first time I saw a genuine portrayal of myself, especially when I was a teenager. Besides the love of her art and the social awkwardness, there were similar feelings of anxiety in social situations, like being in a room with a lot of people. That, and just feeling disconnected from others in general, save for a few.

 

Which book did you connect with in the past that you no longer do?

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I hate to say it but…Harry Potter. In my reread of the series, I made it to the fourth book and the magic has, unfortunately, kind of faded for me. I still see the value in the stories, of course. But I’m 25 years old now. Reading the books now are more about gaining a new perspective on a popular series rather than nostalgia or even serious enjoyment.

 

What recent book read would you love to be a character in?

Naturally, The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan, to hang out with Percy Jackson and all the other demigods. Also, in the past month, I’ve read The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager, which I can’t stop thinking about. Despite what went down, and knowing I am not a nature or camping person, I would not have minded being a character in that novel.

 

How do your reading habits show off your personality?

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My reading habits have taught me I am a control freak in every aspect of my life. For the longest time, I thought I was a mood reader. In recent months, I figured out that I like to make reading lists. Just picking up whatever book I feel like or using a number generator to pick my next read doesn’t work for me. My TBR is organized in a Word document in the order I want to read them in. If I do change my mind about the certain order, I can easily go back and fix it.

 

What book taught you something about yourself?

Not just one book has taught me something about myself. I’ve learned various things from almost every book I read. To name a few:

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler: I saw someone with my body type portrayed in a young adult novel, trying to shop for cute clothes. Like Virginia, I learned to embrace my body type for what it is and take care of my body. Not to be more attractive, but to take care of myself. My only responsibility is to myself.

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The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace: This poetry collection taught me that I have more power than I know, I don’t owe anybody anything, and I have the right to put myself first if I need to.

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Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume: This is the book that made me realize I want to be a writer and that is where my passion lives.

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The Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong: These books taught me I want to be a writer in the fantasy/paranormal genre as well as the mystery genre.

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The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli: This book taught me that I am not the only one with a virtually nonexistent dating life during a time where it seems everyone else has more experience than I do.

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I tag!

Shanah

Crystal

Katie

Kelly

Grey you’re going to have LOADS of fun when you get back 😉 (Also, let me know if it’s annoying! I don’t want to bug you!)

Kristin

Joe

Sophie

 

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Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 LGBTQ+ Books I’ve Read in 2018

When I saw this topic on Shanah’s list of August Top 5 Tuesday, I tore through my bookshelves and Goodreads for enough LGBTQ+ books I’ve read.

Good news: I’ve read enough to come up with five.

Bad news: I have not read enough LGBTQ+ books as I should have.

Some of these I really liked, others not so much. But I want to recommend them because they still have value for what they represent.

Five LGBTQ+ books I’ve read in 2018 are:

 

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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One of the cutest books ever, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda filled me with so much happiness when I read it. The romance between Simon and Blue pulled at my heartstrings. Not only that, I loved the solid friend group Simon had. It was nice to see in a young adult novel.

 

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

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My first Adam Silvera book and he lived up to his reputation as a soul-crusher. Griffin grieving the loss of his first love Theo and how badly it affected his OCD hit me in the gut. You could tell the boys genuinely loved each other; that it was really hard to let go of the past out of fear of losing the other person as a friend. While I enjoyed History is All You Left Me very much, it just made me nervous for the emotional roller coasters in More Happy Than Not and They Both Die at the End.

 

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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Carry On is probably one of the most hyped books on BookTube. While so many people were giving it 5 stars, I gave it 3.5. To be fair, when I first read it, my mother had just died, so I wasn’t in a good headspace. I did enjoy how it turned the Chosen One trope on its head as well as the romance between Simon and Baz. However, as characters, I preferred Baz to Simon.

 

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

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Let’s Talk About Love follows Alice, whose entire summer is thrown off course when her girlfriend breaks up with her after Alice confesses she is asexual. While I loved the quotes on asexuality and how love and sex are not mutually exclusive, the writing of this novel was way too juvenile. It was like nails on a chalkboard for me. I liked Alice, who had a big heart and knew when to put her foot down, and Takumi, her love interest, was a sweetie. Other than that, it was not my favorite book of the bunch. But if you are looking for a book with asexual representation, I recommend you check out Let’s Talk About Love.

 

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

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One of the top ten books I wanted to read in 2018, Of Fire and Stars had a solid female romance with a satisfying enough of a slow burn. I liked both leading ladies, though I found Mare’s voice to be stronger than Denna’s. If you are looking for a diverse high fantasy in a world without homophobia, Of Fire and Stars is a good place to start. However, the plot was similar to a lot of other high fantasy I’ve read, so that was a little bit of a let-down for me personally.

 

What is your favorite LGBTQ+ book you’ve read in 2018?

Three Books and the Memories Attached to Them

I saw this post done on Books Amino by someone named Storm Rodrigues, so thank you to them for giving me the idea!

It was a struggle to come up with at least three books with solid memories. My memory is crap. I’m pretty sure there are more memories regarding books I own. But these were the ones I came up with.

These memories are all over the place. Some books have more than one memory attached to them. They all hold significance.

 

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

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I read The Princess Saves Herself in This One back in February or March of this year. My dad had asked me to take care of my grandmother, who was just diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This was barely a month after my mom passed away, after fifteen long weeks of me taking care of her when she went on hospice.

I said no. I wanted to go back to work with the temp agency and get a full-time job. But Dad threatened to quit his job if I didn’t do it. We need the insurance, so I agreed to watch my grandmother once a week and my dad made the arrangements with my uncle. Thankfully, shortly thereafter my aunt got wind of what the two brothers were doing and squashed it. She didn’t want to put me through that again. Still, the way my dad treated me, more concerned about the house my grandmother owns than my mental health, it seemed I was the built-in caregiver.

I had gotten The Princess Saves Herself in This One out of the library. One night, I couldn’t sleep, so I picked up the book. And I kept reading until the wee hours of the morning, only breaking for a few hours of sleep, and then picking it right back up as soon as I awoke.

Everything Amanda Lovelace wrote in her first poetry collection was exactly what I needed to hear at the time. I had a complicated relationship with my mother. I had felt like I was being used by family members to deal with problems they didn’t want to. The Princess Saves Herself in This One reminded me that I do have power, and I can say no, even if other people get pissed off. My own well-being should be my priority, always.

 

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

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There are two different memories attached to this book. First, is my high school book club in my freshman and sophomore years.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was the first book we read freshman year. I thought the title was stupid; then, I read it in two days and loved it. The best part was sitting around with the other club members and the librarian who advised the group talking about it. After so many years, I thought I finally found my people. Unfortunately, the book club was disbanded my junior year because the librarian in charge, Mrs. Davis (who I adored), retired. So, you can imagine my anger when, on my last day ever of high school, I found out the book club had been revived by another school librarian.

In my sophomore year of college, I was a teaching assistant for my school’s First Year Seminar program. In addition to the summer reading book, the professor I worked with liked to have other books for the students to read, specifically ones about other cultures. When she asked for recommendations, the first book I thought of was The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. She read it, loved it, and we used it for our students.

The professor I was TA for submitted The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian as an option for the first-year summer read for the incoming freshman class. Other professors on the committee read it and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. After a vote, it was picked for the freshman summer read in 2014. Several events throughout the first semester were held in honor of the book. Such as, a Native American woman from a local tribe gave a presentation and we watched Smoke Signals. The professor in charge of the entire first-year seminar program, a professor I had in another class, gave me a shout-out for recommending the summer reading book at the viewing of the movie.

The best part, though, was that my students loved the book.

 

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

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The oldest memory on this list and one I will always hold dear. I read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing when I was eight or nine years old. After I finished the book, I had the urge to find a notebook and pencil and write my own story.

In ten “chapters” (ten pages), I wrote a whole story about how a ten-year-old girl’s life changes after her older brother leaves for college. First off, I was eight years old and I am the first-born. There was no one in my life at the time that was old enough to be in college. I have no clue how I came up with that idea. Second, the main character’s name was Mariah, named after a Ralph Lauren girl (long story). Third, her older brother’s name was Gohan after a Dragon Ball Z character…. Lastly, that “novel” was not the last time I heard from Mariah (which was actually not spelled that way, but I forget the way I wrote it). I wrote several other stories from her perspective, as well as two other girls named Chelsea and Elizabeth.

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing awoke something in me that wanted to be a writer. My parents said I was always a storyteller, making up stories on the spot. Up until then, I never wrote anything down. Once I did, I couldn’t stop. I filled every notebook I could get my hands on. I was putting my imagination to good use. And I have Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (and Judy Blume, too), to thank for that.

 

What is your greatest memory attached to a book?

 

Discussion Post: Is There Such a Thing as Too Many Books?

I know. You all are probably looking at me like:

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I never thought I would say it either. Looking at my bookshelves, packed with books I read and want to read, fills me with joy. One of my life goals is to have a personal library. Despite its size, I don’t feel overwhelmed by my to be read pile. For the first time in a long while, I’m excited to read every book. And, of course, there is the local library, which, as you know, I’m a big supporter of.

Recently, though, I noticed I am as obsessed with books I don’t own as much as I am with books I already possess…if not more so, in some cases.

I talk about book buying bans a lot on my blog. Over the years, I tried various methods to keep my somewhat unhealthy book-buying habits under control. One method that worked for me the longest time was reading a certain list of books off my TBR before buying anymore. Then, there were the times I was unemployed or only working for a limited time period and my finances basically forced me not to go anywhere near bookstores or Amazon. Those times, I tended to use my library more often.

In and of itself, that’s not a bad thing. There are books I know I would rather check out from the library than buy, like old backlist titles such as The Selection series by Kiera Cass. Plus, library books are free and you can check out an unlimited amount.

There would be months I’d only check out no more than five books from the library. Other times, I check out more than I can read by their due dates and, unfortunately, sometimes lost interest even after I renewed them. There were books I had checked out twice, expecting to read them on time. Then, for one reason or another, never did. Most of those I bought later on, so I could read them whenever I wanted.

As of this moment, I’m still unemployed, waiting for either a temp assignment or hopefully getting a job at my school’s campus. My funds are getting tight and the last thing I want is to ask my dad for money. Yet, I have made individual wish lists on Amazon for Black Friday, Christmas, my birthday in January, and other books I plan to buy next, most of them I previously had checked out from the library but didn’t read them. And each list is well over ten books.

If anyone else does this, please tell me so I can feel less like a crazy person.

My point is: book buying and library borrowing are starting to feel more like a need rather than a want, if that makes any sense. I’m at a point where saying I’m on a “book buying ban” doesn’t do much for me anymore.

I know from a poll I did a few months ago on Books Amino that most people don’t do book-buying bans. But for me personally, book buying and even book borrowing, feels like an addiction. Sadly, I want to buy books more than I want to read them lately.

After spending two weeks cleaning out the basement with my dad and filling a whole dumpster with thousands of dollars worth of impulse buys left behind by my mother, I should know better.

Of course, you all would argue that a book has more value than a knickknack of a cow wearing a dress (not even the weirdest thing my mother bought). I’m sure many of you also know what it’s like to browse through Barnes & Noble or Amazon, and end up buying so much your wallet hates you. Or you check out so many books from the library your arms hurt carrying them home.

The natural answer should be—and, really, is—that there is no such thing as too many books. But when does book buying start to become an addiction?

 

UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT: A Somewhat Spoilery Rant on Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

As I begin to type this, I am very glad there is a solid wall between me and the rest of the world….

I know I’m not the only person that feels this way about Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. I like to think that readers are generally accepting of other people’s opinions. Personally, hyped books are a hit or miss for me. I don’t know why, they just are. Knowing that about myself, I kept my expectations neutral for probably one of the most beloved novels to be published in the last ten years. Unfortunately, I was let down.

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On the surface, the plot was interesting: a coming of age novel about two Mexican boys in 1980s Texas, one of them realizing he is gay while the other struggles with his identity. But upon reading the novel, there was little plot to speak of. Just a lot of talking, or, in the case of Aristotle, not talking, and describing the various things the boys did together over the summer. The writing was cringey, repetitive, and overly philosophical (we’re talking fifteen-year-old boys here), yet dumbed down, like you’re talking to a moron and trying to teach him life lessons in layman terms.

As characters themselves, Aristotle and Dante were all right. Aristotle’s anger was understandable, if frustrating. He learned from his parents not to talk about his feelings, especially not to ask questions about his brother in prison, so he bottled everything up until it exploded. Surprisingly, I realized I related to some of his anger. When I was younger, I was told often to stop talking, even when I had something I wanted to say. Sometimes, I felt like my feelings were being ignored. Eventually, I found people I could talk to, though I was older than Aristotle was when that happened.

As for Dante, I’m not sure how I feel about him. Mostly because he is what I feel like I need to rant about.

So, if you have not read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, there will be spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

It really, really bugged me when Dante pressured Aristotle to kiss him. Then, he got all pouty when Aristotle avoided him for a few days. After that, he admitted to Aristotle when he was kissing that other boy, he was thinking of kissing Aristotle. And Dante again confessed his love for Aristotle, saying he was all Dante thought about. It didn’t help that their parents noticed. As far as I was concerned, it seemed as though Dante was trying to force his feelings onto Aristotle, who may or may not have returned the sentiment.

I completely understand Dante had his feelings hurt. Believe me, I’ve been there. But it was obvious Aristotle was not ready. I don’t blame him in the slightest. An openly gay Mexican boy in Texas? Those of us that have read the novel know how well that turned out, at least for Dante.

I did find Aristotle’s borderline obsession with Dante weird. Although, I would sum it up to his lack of non-pushy friends (those girls Gina and Susie would annoy me, too, if I knew them in real life). Except that didn’t bug me so much. It was how much of a roll the parents played.

Why did his parents have to tell Aristotle he was in love with Dante? Why didn’t Aristotle figure that out on his own, like Simon did in Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli? Aristotle can’t love Dante like a friend? Don’t we want to protect our friends as much as we would our significant others?

If I’m missing something, please tell me.

I know how this sounds. But I want to stress that I am all for LGBTQ+ books and a healthy gay romance. I am not for forced romantic relationships; does not matter if it is heterosexual or otherwise. I honestly did not see how Aristotle and Dante were romantically compatible. Best friends, yes, but boyfriends I’m not so sure.

Despite my rant, the novel was an easy read, at least in the beginning. Towards the middle, I wasn’t really enjoying myself anymore. Even though I liked Aristotle’s wise-ass sense of humor, after a while, I was starting to find the characters annoying.

Overall, I give Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz 2 stars. I liked Aristotle’s sarcasm and I could relate to him in some degree. I also appreciated the realistic approach to family, giving the boys healthy relationships with their parents. Unfortunately, the cringey writing, lack of plot, and feeling of a forced romance didn’t do it for me.

 

Let’s discuss Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Is there anyone that shared my opinions? Do you want to try to bring me over to the other side? Have at it!

I Cracked: A Book Haul

I have no excuses.

I am currently jobless.

I already promised myself I’d go on a book-buying ban until Black Friday.

I have sixteen library books sitting in my bedroom at home.

I went to a mall for the sole purpose of visiting the Barnes & Noble there.

I told myself just LOOK.

Instead, I listened to the little bookish devil on my shoulder when he said, “But you came all the way out here. And they are 20% off.”

Bottom line? I am a hypocrite and it’s my own fault.

While I do feel guilty, the look of these books still makes me embarrassingly happy. But I am writing this post to publicly shame myself into not buying any more books, at least not until my next temp assignment comes in and I’m getting steady income.

Will I stick to it this time? I hope so.

Until then, here are the books that I bought:

 

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

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I’m starting to get more into science fiction, a genre I rarely picked up before. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe follows Romy, the daughter of astronauts that travelled along with her parents and their crew on a spaceship to another planet on a mission to establish civilization there. En route, there is a horrible accident, leaving Romy the sole survivor. For years, her only contact is her therapist from NASA, but the messages take months to transmit. Then, she gets good news: another ship is on its way to her. But as she starts texting the spaceship’s captain and receives bizarre messages from NASA, Romy starts to wonder if maybe being alone isn’t such a terrible thing.

 

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

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Likely my most anticipated read of the summer after A Reaper at the Gates and My Plain Jane, I was too impatient to wait for my library to come up with a copy, so I bought one. Sea Witch is a reimagining of the origin story of the sea witch in Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale The Little Mermaid. The witch was once a girl named Evie, who is close to the royal family but ostracized by the rest of the kingdom. As a child, she lost one of her best friends, Anna, in a drowning accident. Then, years later, a mysterious woman appears bearing a striking resemblance to her dead friend, leaving Evie to find out if her friend is really alive or if some sort of dark magic is at play.

 

Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry

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I found out about Heretics Anonymous through Emma from emmmabooks on YouTube. Besides her singing its praises, what interested me most about this novel was the Catholic school setting. As a child, I briefly attended Catholic school and, like the characters in this novel, I didn’t fit in. Heretics Anonymous is about a boy named Michael, an atheist that is sent to a Catholic school by his parents. While there, he meets an assorted group of students that don’t fit in either—a girl that wants to be a priest, a gay Jew, a wiccan, and a Utilitarian—and urges them to challenge the hypocritical religious hierarchy at their school.

 

Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier

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One of the books in this haul I’m super excited for, Isle of Blood and Stone follows Elias, a young ship captain that is best friends with Ulises, the king of St. John del Mar. The kingdom is still haunted by the disappearance of the king’s two older brothers eighteen years ago and Elias never forgot his father, who died trying to defend the princes from their kidnapper. Then, two maps appear with troubling riddles written in Elias’s father’s handwriting, raising questions about what really happened to the lost princes. Elias, Ulises, and their best friend Mercedes follow the clues in the maps, leading to long-buried secrets and shocking betrayals others will do anything to keep hidden.

 

The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen

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How many novels in the world are there about the Great Khan and the Mongol Empire? Not many. The Bird and the Blade follows Jinghua, a slave girl that helps Prince Khalaf and his father escape after their kingdom is conquered by enemy forces. At first, she plans to flee to her homeland the first chance she gets, but her already slim chances are made even more impossible when she falls in love with the prince. Khalaf comes up with the idea to forge a marriage alliance with Turandokht, the beautiful and cunning daughter of the Great Khan in hopes of saving his kingdom. But Turandokht will only marry the man that can solve her three riddles and, should they fail, they will be executed. With the prince’s life and his kingdom in the balance, Jinghua agrees to help him solve the riddles, all the while hiding her own dangerous secrets and accepting the fact she will lose the boy she loves to a girl that will sooner kill him than love him.

 

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

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A fantastical reimagining of the Gunpowder Plot, Thomas Fawkes has been infected by the Stone Plague and, if he doesn’t do something soon, he will become a lifeless statue. Unfortunately, the kingdom is divided between the Keepers and the Igniters, who blame each other for the cause of the plague. Thomas is the son of Guy Fawkes, the leader of the Keepers. His father comes up with a plan to use thirty-six barrels of gunpowder to assassinate the Igniter King, puting an end to the plague. Only doing that will kill the family of the girl Thomas loves. With his own life on the line and the kingdom falling apart, he must decide where his loyalties lie.

 

Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton

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A book I recently mentioned in my Random TBR post, Heart of Thorns is a young adult high fantasy with elements that remind me of The Handmaid’s Tale and the Salem Witch Trials. Mia has trained her whole life to be a Huntress to kill the Gwyrach, half-girl, half-god monsters in a world where only women can possess magic. Then, her father announces she will marry Prince Quin instead. Only she’s not having that. On the eve of her wedding, she escapes and discovers she is one of the Gwyrach. But as she looks into her past for answers and questions the motives of former friends, Mia wonders if everything she was raised to believe is true.

 

OK…I know I should feel guilty, except now I reminded myself how awesome these books are.

 

Have you read any of these books?

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Villains More Interesting Than the Hero

I really had to think about this one.

On principal, I generally like the protagonist more than the antagonist. The antagonist is that way for a reason. Authors often make it easy; the villains are often evil for the sake of being evil.

Some of the villains on this list are more interesting than the hero, the rest I just find interesting in general. Such as, these particular villains have shown a vulnerable side or their reasons for doing what they do are unclear.

So, here are the top five villains I find more interesting than the protagonist:

 

Aku from Samurai Jack

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Aku is one of those villains that are evil for the sake of being evil. He’s an ancient demonic force that destroys everything and everyone against him. Bottom line, he is soulless. But he is sassy. Every time I laughed watching the Samurai Jack cartoon, it was due to something funny Aku said or did. Samurai Jack is the iconic unselfish, brave hero that does the right thing because it is the right thing. Only he does it without so many on-point one-liners.

 

The Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

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I always found the Queen of Hearts more interesting than Alice simply because she was the one chopping people’s heads off. After reading Heartless by Marissa Meyer, though, my interest in this character peaked. I have never read Through the Looking Glass, so I can’t say for sure if Lewis Carroll himself ever gives any background information on the Queen of Hearts. Was she just born crazy? Or was she once a sweet girl named Catherine who only wanted to open a bakery with her best friend and ended up getting her heart broken by virtually everyone she loved?

 

The villain in Everless by Sara Holland

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I almost forgot about the villain in Everless, mostly due to forgetting about the entire book until now. There is a villain in the novel that I think to be more fascinating than the protagonist, Jules, in certain aspects of her personality. However, I can’t give away who the antagonist of the novel really is; it’s a major spoiler. But know this villain is methodical and merciless and she’s hell-bent on taking revenge.

 

Sebastian & Valentine Morgenstern from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

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I put Sebastian and Valentine on this list because they are, by far, the most interesting villains in the entirety of the Shadowhunter Chronicles. These two honestly believed in what they were doing. They were not evil for the sake of being evil; they were evil because they wanted to serve the greater good. There is also that Valentine didn’t try to force anyone to join his cause. Like in City of Glass, when Jace refused to join him, Valentine did not threaten him or retaliate in any way. He accepted Jace’s decision and freed him. Then, Sebastian showed a vulnerable side in City of Lost Souls, something I would not have expected from someone like him.

 

The Commandant from An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir

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At this point in time, I have not yet read A Reaper at the Gates, but I know from the ending of A Torch Against the Night a major secret was revealed about her past that made me question her motives to what she was doing with the Nightbringer and why she hated her son Elias so much. I love Laia and Elias—still warming up to Helene unfortunately—but I am definitely looking forward to learning more about the Commandant. From my understanding, she is one of the POVs we follow in A Reaper at the Gates, or at least I hope so.

 

What other villains are more interesting than the heroes?

10 Books I Don’t Talk About Often on My Blog

I glanced at my bookshelves the other day (as I do often) and I noticed there are books on my shelves that I don’t think I have mentioned ever having read on my blog. Some of these are quite popular, or at least they were back in the day. Others I read years ago, not as well known, that affected me at the time I read them.

Ten books that I don’t talk about often on my blog are:

 

Prey by Lurlene McDaniel

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One of the older books on this list, Prey centers on the taboo topic of teacher-student sexual relationships. Fifteen-year-old class clown Ryan catches the eye of Ms. Settles, the beautiful new history teacher at his school. While his best friend Honey is suspicious of the teacher’s motives, Ryan falls under Ms. Settles’ spell and the two embark on a secret romance that could only ever end badly.

Prey disturbed me as well as sucked me in when I read it. Not only do we get Ryan’s POV, but we also see what is going on through Honey’s eyes, as well as see the thoughts of Ms. Settles as she goes about seducing Ryan. The ending of this novel floored me.

 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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I read The Night Circus when I was a freshman in college, roughly a year after its publication, I think. I remember enjoying it, although I did not fall in love with it like so many other people seemed to. While I was interested in the synopsis—two young magicians that fall in love pitted against each other in a competition midst a magical circus that only comes out at night—it was really out of my comfort zone at the time. Thus, I’m not sure I gave it the fair chance it deserved. Someday, however, I will reread The Night Circus.

 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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I think I mentioned Fangirl in a post when I first started my blog two years ago, but it has not come up since. I read it when I was a senior in college; young enough where I could enjoy it, but old enough to not be able to relate to it. To clarify: I could relate to Cath’s fangirl impulses—her desire to keep writing fan fiction for a book series she adores—and her passion for writing, as well as some of her social awkwardness, but that’s about it.

Despite what others might have thought, I was not scared to go to college. I wanted to go, very badly, after being a loner throughout high school. It was easier for me to socialize once I became a college freshman because so many other people were desperate to find someone to latch on to. I didn’t feel as left out. Once I got my bearings, like everyone else, it was ten times easier to find my people.

 

The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

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The Catcher in the Rye is one of those books you either love or hate. I remember walking around the student center at dinner time, asking people if they read it and what they thought of it (majority hated it). I’m the unicorn that falls somewhere in the middle. While I get Holden is annoying, it is not without good reason. If you read the book, you might understand why he is acting out. Plus, he’s fifteen and everything is dramatic at that age. I just took everything about The Catcher in the Rye with a grain of salt.

 

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

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I watched the Peter Pan movie loads of times growing up, but I didn’t read the book until I was in my twenties. I think I read it in a day or two, it was so easy to read. Despite the seriously offensive portrayal of Tiger Lily and the other Native Americans in Neverland, I still gave Peter Pan four stars.

 

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

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An OG urban fantasy young adult novel, Blood and Chocolate is about Vivian, a beautiful young werewolf that falls in love with a human boy named Aidan. This was published in the 1990s, well before the Twilight era. It takes a more “realistic” approach to the human/werewolf interpersonal relationship, as well as shows the supernatural world is not as darkly romantic as humans think. What I appreciated most about it was that the author was true to the werewolf folklore and the ending was bittersweet, the kind that young adult authors nowadays probably won’t dare to write in order to placate readers. (Veronica Roth is a perfect example.)

 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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Yes, I did read The Fault in Our Stars. And, really, I only read because pretty much everyone else was at the time. Admittedly, the book didn’t bring me to tears like it did so many other people. I’m not a book crier in general, so that’s probably not a fair assessment. I always chalked it up to having read a mystery novel where a serial killer was using an octopus to kill people desensitized me the same time I was reading The Fault in Our Stars. Although I wonder now, after what I’ve been through, if I would feel differently?

 

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

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Another book I read at the peak of its popularity, right when the movie came out. I liked If I Stay, more than its sequel Where She Went, but not as much as Gayle Forman’s other book published after that, I Was Here. I distinctly remember thinking: “If this were my parents, and I chose to leave this world when I still had a chance to live, they’d be waiting at heaven’s gates to kick my ass.” I have not read another book by Gayle Forman since I Was Here, though I am interested in reading her newest publication, I Have Lost My Way. I will get it from my library, eventually.

 

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

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I recently saw Burial Rites on Shanah’s blog. I can’t remember the last time I have talked about this book, if ever. Set in the nineteenth century, is a historical novel about the events leading up to the last public execution in Iceland. A woman named Agnes is convicted of murdering her lover/employer and sentenced to death. Before her execution, she is sent to a farm to be monitored by a reluctant host family and the young minister selected to be her spiritual guide has doubts of her guilt. Only it might not be enough to save her if Agnes can’t tell the truth. I read Burial Rites in the heat of summer yet I could feel the freezing cold of the Iceland landscape. My biggest qualm with the novel, that I can remember, is that the ending was anticlimactic, leading up to something then nothing happened.

 

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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I always forget about Nicola Yoon’s books! I don’t know why. Even making this list, I almost forgot about her again. But I distinctly took off one book solely for the purpose of replacing it with Everything, Everything. Admittedly, I had some problems with this book, like using a boy as motivation to make the main character finally take a chance a break free from her sickly bubble. Only one has to remember to think like a teenaged girl in these situations. I know I was one once, not that long ago. And I know why the big reveal didn’t sit right with a lot of people. Again, I didn’t approve of it either, but I understood the motivation to a degree. Overall, Everything, Everything was a cute, fun read regardless.

 

Have you read any of these books and what did you think of them?

Random Books on My TBR Round 1: August 2018

For a while now, I’ve seen people do these posts called “On My Shelf,” in which they pick random books they own, whether they’ve read them or not, and talk about why they read it/want to read it, etc. I came up with my own version of that.

I currently have 255 books on my TBR, all listed in a Word document on my desktop. I found a random number generator, put in numbers 1-255, and then whatever number came up, wrote about the book that matched to it. It will make more sense once I start.

Random books on my TBR:

 

#167: A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom

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A Tragic Kind of Wonderful is a young adult contemporary novel about a sixteen-year-old girl with bipolar disorder trying to hide it from her friends. I first saw this on emmmabooks YouTube channel, where I get most of my mental health recommendations these days. She raved so much about it; I initially checked this book out of the library to read it right away. Unfortunately, as is often the case, I didn’t get to it that time. Later, I bit the bullet and bought it.

 

#25: A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

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One of my most anticipated releases of 2018, A Reaper at the Gates is the third book in the An Ember in the Ashes series. With any luck, I will read this before the end of the year, once I have read all the other priority books on my TBR. If not, it would be a great way to start off my reading in 2019. (Yeah, I know, I’m a crazy person.)

 

#84: Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton

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A very recent addition to my TBR pile (more on that another day), Heart of Thorns is a young adult fantasy set in a world where only women possess magic and all are suspected of magic. It follows Mia Rose, a Huntress bent on killing all Gwyrach, half-girl, half-god monsters that killed her mother. Then, after spending her whole life training, her father declares she will marry the prince instead. Only Mia isn’t having that. On the eve of her wedding, she escapes, but soon discovers she is one of the Gwyrach. This leads her to wonder if what she was raised to believe is what is actually true.

I had seen Heart of Thorns floating around on the Internet. At first, I was not that interested, until I started hearing the synopsis compared to books like The Handmaid’s Tale and how it sounded so much like the Salem Witch Trials. I’m down for that.

 

#68: The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes

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The Arsonist is a World War II novel following three teenagers, one a dead seventeen-year-old East German resistance fighter and the other two charged with catching her murderer.

Molly doesn’t believe her mother killed herself three years ago and thinks when her father is executed for his crimes, her mother will return. Pepper is a boy with the worst seizure dog in history. These two are tasked with solving the murder of Ava Dreyman, whose death is somehow connected to the destruction of the Berlin Wall. Though the synopsis is fascinating, I am certain I will enjoy The Arsonist because I loved Stephanie Oakes’s debut novel, The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly.

And, recently, I learned that The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is now a TV show on Facebook Watch called Sacred Lies. I binge-watched the first four episodes Friday night. Can’t believe I had no idea this was happening until now!

 

#189: The Appearance of Annie van Sinderan by Katherine Howe

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The Appearance of Annie van Sinderan is one of those TBR books I sometimes forget I have until something, like this post, brings it up. And, when it does, I am reminded of why I want to read it. The novel is about a college-aged boy named Wes, an aspiring filmmaker that is instantly infatuated with this mysterious girl named Annie, whom he meets while filming a séance in New York City. He takes it upon himself to help her find an important missing ring and in doing so uncovers her dark, mysterious past.

Fun fact: I bought The Appearance of Annie van Sinderan at a bookstore in Salem, Massachusetts. Of all places to find a scary book.

 

#147: Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett

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Another book I initially checked out of the library with the intention of reading it but didn’t get to it before its due date. It is a novel about sisters competing against each other during an exploration mission on a dangerous mountain. Books about expeditions are not something I read often. I first saw it on YouTube videos, featured in Fairyloot unboxings and occasionally in other videos last year. Other than that, I have not heard much about Even the Darkest Stars. Which, actually, works out for me because I tend to have better luck with the under-hyped books than the really popular ones.

 

I enjoyed writing this post. As my TBR shrinks—or goes, whichever comes first—I will do more of these in the future. It’s a great way, I think, to check on your TBR and maybe remind yourself of books you otherwise might have forgotten about.

 

What do you guys think?

 

Get to Know Ya Tag!

I found the Get to Know Ya Tag on Kristin Kraves Books. I saw the opportunity to talk about some books I have not mentioned on my blog for a while now, or maybe some I’ve never mentioned before. Plus, it’s a super fun tag getting to know people.

I don’t know who created it, but if you do know, give them a shout out.

 

Favorite book of all time

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I honestly have no idea how to answer this question. It’s like asking me to choose my favorite child, or more appropriately, since I am childless, my favorite friend. That, and I firmly believe that nobody can have just one favorite book. How is that even possible?

So, I’m going to choose five of my all-time favorite books, which are:

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

 

Favorite book five years ago

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At first, I was going to say maybe The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong or Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. For the heck of it, I checked on Goodreads for my reading stats in 2013. That was the year I picked up Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson.

Confessions of a Murder Suspect was the first novel in a young adult mystery/thriller series following Tandoori “Tandy” Angel, the daughter of two extremely wealthy parents who are found dead in their bedroom. The only suspects are Tandy, her twin brother Harry, and her younger brother Hugo, as well as their older brother Matthew. There were a lot of twists and turns as Tandy tries to figure out who killed her parents, even if it means she did it, but the plot twist shook me to my core. I was obsessed with Confessions of a Murder Suspect, as well as its sequel, The Private School Murders, which I also read in 2013.

 

Favorite Duology/Trilogy/Series

Not surprisingly, I have an answer for all three of these.

Duology: It’s a tie between The Wrath and the Dawn duology by Renee Ahdieh and the Passenger duology by Alexandra Bracken. Both of these made me feel everything plus they were fun, exciting reads with characters I adored.

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Trilogy: Easily the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. I found very little fault in these books when I read them. However, since I have not read Lord of Shadows yet and Queen of Air and Darkness is not out until December, I’m wondering if maybe The Dark Artifices will soon take its place as my favorite trilogy. And there are a few other contenders on my TBR that could prove worthy competition.

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Series: Does it count if your favorite series are incomplete? The two series (again, I’m indecisive) that I am certain are my favorites are the Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco and the An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir. I just loved everything about these books.

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Last book you read

At the time I am writing this, the last book I read was A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell, a cheesy thriller about two mothers you think are best friends but they both have deep, dark secrets they use to manipulate each other. Unfortunately, it was not that entertaining.

 

Last book of poetry you read

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The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace, which I read and bought as soon as it came out. While I did enjoy it, sadly, I did not love it as much as her debut collection.

 

What book most influenced your life?

Honestly…I can’t say it was just one book, because a lot of books have influenced me in different ways throughout the years. To name a few:

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume is the book that awoke my passion for storytelling and inspired my first “novel” when I was eight years old.

At fifteen, The Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong made me realize my strongest writing niche was in the fantasy and paranormal genres.

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The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace and The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur came to me earlier this year, making me feel empowered when I wasn’t really feeling like it.

 

 

 

 

 

Book that made you ugly cry

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Definitely A List of Cages by Robin Roe made me ugly cry. It takes a lot to make me cry in books in general. With this book, it was a full on sob fest.

 

Book that made you laugh

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All the Rick Riordan books I’ve read so far. That includes the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series plus the first two books in the Heroes of Olympus series, The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune.

 

Character you’d like to be for a day.

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No brainer: Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I get to practice magic and go to Hogwarts, plus share a brain with one of the most badass women in literature.

 

Book so good you dreamt about it

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Hmmm…. I don’t remember my dreams. I remember my nightmares though. One book that was really good but also one I should not have read before bed was The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich. There was a scene with a mirror…and I have one in my bedroom, right across from my bed, so it took me a while to go back to sleep after.

 

Book you DNF’D

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After You by Jojo Moyes, which I tried to read over a year ago. I got about 35 pages in before I had to put it down. I think it bothered me that Me Before You got a sequel when it was perfectly fine as a stand-alone, in my opinion. However, I’ve heard decent things about the third book, Still Me, when Louisa goes to New York City, so I might pick up After You again, eventually.

 

What book are you most excited to read?

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

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

…To name a few.

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I tag….

Grey (once she’s back from her hiatus! I completely forgot. Sorry Grey!)

Crystal

Shanah

Joe

And anyone else that wants to do this tag!