BIG Birthday Book Haul 2019

Looking at the number of books I bought, my bank account, and my diminishing shelf space, I came to the realization that I have a problem. I mean, I always knew I did. Now, I really know.

The goal moving forward is not buy so many books at once or check out so many from the library and find a good place to donate books I likely won’t read again. Even though I don’t want them anymore, that doesn’t mean I do not care where they end up. I want to give these books to people who will appreciate them.

Regardless, every single book in this haul is one I am excited about.


Vengeful by V.E. Schwab


In case you live under a rock, Vengeful is the sequel to Vicious. I bought Vicious a few months ago when the new cover was released. This is one of the series I’m planning on reading in the next few months.


Fierce Like a Firestorm by Lana Popovic


Fierce Like a Firestorm is the sequel to Wicked Like a Wildfire and the concluding novel. It picks up right where the previous novel left off. While the world inside these novels is beautiful, the covers are just as gorgeous. However, Fierce Like a Firestorm looks about 100 pages shorter than Wicked Like a Wildfire. Truthfully, this has me a little worried.


Bright We Burn by Kiersten White


Going along with my reading resolutions, I bought Bright We Burn to finish the Conquerors trilogy, the previous two books being And I Darken and Now I Rise. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to finish this series. And I Darken was one of my favorite books the year I read it.


The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo box set


Shadow and Bone

Siege and Storm

Ruin and Rising

This is a series I have wanted to get into for years. I had the Grisha trilogy saved on my both my Amazon wish list and a list of books I wanted to check out from my library at various points. Then, I couldn’t take it anymore. I bit the bullet and bought the box set. Leigh Bardugo is an author I’ve heard so many good things about, yet it’s taken me far too long to finally pick up her books.


The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys

The Dream Thieves

Blue Lily, Lily Blue

The Raven King

I know…I planned on checking this series out of the library. Then, life happened and/or I checked out too many books (as is often the case). I didn’t even get to read the first book. I do like paranormal books. Maggie Stiefvater is another author I have known about for years and I want to read her books. And these seem like they might be easy reads for when I’m in the throes of graduate school stress. There is a strong chance I will (hopefully) enjoy The Raven Cycle series.


The Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes

Falling Kingdoms

Rebel Spring

Gathering Darkness

Frozen Tides

Crystal Storm

Immortal Reign

A similar case to the Grisha trilogy and The Raven Cycle, Falling Kingdoms is a series I was interested in reading for years yet never knew if I wanted to buy it or borrow it. I took a chance buying the Falling Kingdoms series because I like high fantasy, even if the reviews of the later books are not that great. From what I’ve heard from those that have read Falling Kingdoms, this series is best read back to back anyway.


The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams


The Summer Wives is a historical fiction novel set in dual time periods following the people connected to a murder that took place on an island of wealthy families. Historical mysteries are some of my favorites to read. Also, this beautiful hardcover book, like several others in this haul, were in the 50% off sale at Barnes & Noble.


The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White  


Likely one of my favorite book covers in this haul, The Glass Ocean follows three women in two different time periods with ties to RMS Lusitania, which was sunk by a German U-boat in 1915. Struggling novelist Sarah Blake is looking for her next book idea when she finds a trunk belonging to her great-grandfather, who died on the Lusitania. Enlisting the help of a disgraced former Parliament member, whose family is connected to the tragedy, she finds something that could turn history on its head.

The other storyline is on the Lusitania in 1915. Southern Belle Caroline Telfair Hochstetter is trying to save her marriage while finding herself and resist her attraction to an old friend. Meanwhile, con woman Tess Fairweather is desperate to get out of the game, but she’s gotten herself in way over her head.


The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson


The Bookshop of Yesterdays is one of those books that checks off a lot of my boxes in the adult fiction genre. It’s set in a bookstore, there are family secrets involved, and a strong mystery element more on the sad, fluffy side of things. This is one of the books I want to read ASAP—as soon as I clear off the TBR pile I already have, of course.


What They Don’t Know by Nicole Maggi


Admittedly, What They Don’t Know was an impulse purchase. I had never heard of it until I saw it on the Barnes & Noble website under the 50% off sale. Told in journal entries, it follows teenaged girls Mellie and Lise. After something horrible happens to Mellie, she withdraws from everyone and faces a life-altering choice on her own. Lise notices the changes in Mellie’s behavior and attempts to reach out to her. But in doing so she risks exposing a secret she wants to protect, even if it could help Mellie.

I read some reviews on What They Don’t Know and found out Mellie’s secret is that she was raped and became pregnant as a result. The only other book I read that covered such an important topic was Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston. If you ask me, more books need to talk about things like this.


Broken Things by Lauren Oliver


A book I previously checked out from the library and renewed twice but still didn’t get around to reading (because I’m a heathen), Broken Things is a young adult mystery novel. It follows two girls named Mia and Brynn, who were accused of murdering their friend Summer five years ago. The girls were obsessed with the novel The Way into Lovelorn, especially its villain Shadow, so much so fiction blurred into reality. Everyone thinks Brynn and Mia are responsible, particularly because of the manner Summer was killed. But when something once insignificant related to Summer’s murder resurfaces, the surviving former friends are reunited to face a long shadow of memory that has been waiting.


The Darkest Legacy by Alexandra Bracken


The spin-off to The Darkest Minds trilogy, The Darkest Legacy is set five years later after the final novel. Now seventeen, Suzanne “Zu” Kimura is a spokesperson for the interim government, advocating for the rights of other children like her. But when she is accused of a horrific act, she must go on the run with people she’s uncertain she can trust to clear her name as well as find a way to save those that were once her protectors.


Damsel by Elena K. Arnold


When Ama wakes up in the arms of Prince Emory, she has no memory of being rescued by him or being held captive in a dragon’s lair. She is one in a long of damsels rescued by a crown prince from a dragon and brought back to his kingdom as his bride. Ama is all on board for being a princess, but once she gets the court, she realizes there is more to the tradition of dragons and damsels than anyone knows. I love novels that turn fairy tale tropes on their heads.


Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart


Sisters Serina and Nomi live in a world where women have no rights. Serina was groomed to be a Grace, the image of a perfect woman to sit beside the prince on his throne. Then, her headstrong younger sister Nomi catches the eye of the heir. After failing to protect a dangerous secret, Nomi is forced into a position she never wanted while Serina is sent to an island where she must fight to the death to survive.


A Heart in the Body in the World by Deb Caletti


In the spirit of Forest Gump, Annabelle runs from Seattle to Washington D.C. in an attempt to outrun the tragedy of her past and the person that haunts her. Accompanied by her grandfather in his RV and her two friends, her cross-country run captures media attention, along with various distractions. Despite the overwhelming support, Annabelle cannot escape the feelings of shame and guilt of what happened back home. Slowly, she leaves the past behind her as she runs to her destination, as well as what lies ahead.


Save the Date by Morgan Matson


I checked out Morgan Matson’s most popular novel, Since You’ve Been Gone, from the library last summer, but didn’t get around to reading it. When I saw Save the Date on sale from Barnes & Noble, I took a chance. The author’s most recent release, it takes place over the course of a weekend at protagonist Charlie’s older sister’s wedding. With all four of her older siblings under the same roof for the first time in years, Charlie is looking forward to the wedding. Only nothing is going according to plan.


How She Died, How I Lived by Mary Crockett


A year ago, Kyle texted five girls and only one, innocent Jamie, was kind enough to respond. And it got her killed. Now, the four who could have been are grappling with their survivor’s guilt in different ways, but the narrator in particular is stuck between the horrifying past and her anger. When she becomes drawn to Jamie’s boyfriend Charlie, their relationship is haunted by what-ifs as Kyle’s trial goes underway. But how does one learn to live again knowing she could have met the same fate as Jamie?


The Last to Let Go by Amber Smith


Brooke Winters comes home one day to find her mother has killed her abusive father. Her dreams of transferring schools and getting away from her dysfunctional family are shattered. Now, she and her siblings are left to fend for themselves. In the year following, she is left with the aftermath of the truth of her family and if what her mother did was murder or self-defense—and if it wasn’t wrong.


Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood


Hag-Seed is a modern-day retelling of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest in a prison. After his production is cancelled by his scheming assistant, artistic director Felix takes a job teaching theater to prisoners at a correctional facility. Comforted by the ghost of his daughter Miranda—twelve years dead—Felix uses the play the prisoners put on to get revenge on those who cheated him out of his career. But another unexpected plot twist happens when his ghost daughter wants to be a part of the prisoners’ production.


Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin


Along with Hag-Seed, I found Lavinia inside a used bookstore a block away from a library I went to for a job interview. Besides being in perfect condition and at a cheap price, something about Lavinia called to me.

Much like Helen of Troy, Lavinia, princess of Latium, started a war. Unlike Helen of Troy, Lavinia started a war because she wouldn’t be given or taken by a man she didn’t want. Though being told by a soothsayer she is destined to marry a great hero and be the mother of a mighty dynasty, Lavinia’s parents want her to marry someone else. Her chance arrives in the form of warships sailing into the mouth of Tiber and she takes the opportunity to finally put her destiny into her own hands.


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


The only book in this entire haul I have read. The Astonishing Color of After was one of my favorite books of 2018, so I’m glad I finally have a copy (even though I probably shouldn’t have spent the money on it yet). It follows grief-stricken Leigh after her mother commits suicide. Believing her mother turned into a bird, she goes to Taiwan to meet her estranged maternal grandparents and find the bird. While there, she uncovers secrets of her mother’s past and learns how those revelations can help her move forward.


Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo box set

Six of Crows

Crooked Kingdom  

This Six of Crows box set was an impulse buy and not. It’s a series I’ve wanted to get into for a while. All I know about it is that it follows six people on a heist set in the same world as the Grisha trilogy. Lots of people seem to love these books. Which only makes me more cautious going into the Six of Crows duology with all this hype around it. I’m pretty confident I will at least like it. Besides, the covers are gorgeous.


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

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