April 2020 Book Haul

Me, at the start of the quarantine:

Hustling Dave Chappelle GIF


Me, by Easter:

Make It Rain Reaction GIF


It’s all the coronavirus’s fault. When the isolation started and I saw commas for the first time in my checking account, I planned on not buying any books in April. The pre-orders I had coming in May are the only books I thought I wanted at the time. I did, however, finally subscribe to Book of the Month, which I’ve been following for ages but never actually bought. One of the April selections was calling to me and, compared to other book subscription services, Book of the Month is pretty cheap.

Then, I fell into a weird funk on Easter. It had been happening on and off over the past month. While my dad and brother were engrossed in our yearly watch of The Bible miniseries on the History Channel, I went on an Amazon shopping spree. Then, last week, I went on Books a Million’s website and bought three more books. After that, I was done…at least for April.

It’s another long book haul. Do you expect anything less from me at this point?


The Library of Legends by Janie Chang


My first ever purchase from Book of the Month, The Library of Legends, was a book I knew I had to have. An early release, it is a historical fiction novel set in China circa 1937, following a group of students travelling to Shanghai to escape the Japanese bomb attacks and protecting a collection of ancient Chinese folklore books. The cover is beautiful, but the “library” part and any plots about literature blurring into reality are my buzzwords.


Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

Annelies by David Gillham

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

Bear No Malice by Clarissa Harwood

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal

The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray

The Familiars by Stacy Hall

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

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These next few are books I’ve had marked as priority on my Amazon wish list, yet I kept buying other books over them. Roshani Chokshi and Lyndsay Faye are authors I read before, so I have high expectations for The Gilded Wolves and The Paragon Hotel, respectively. Some of these books, If We Were Villains, The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls, and The Familiars were previously library books I checked out. I am positive I will enjoy all these, so I bought them instead of borrowing them again.

Once Upon a River is a magical mystery involving the disappearance of a young girl later found by curious people at a tavern. Unmarriageable is a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice set in Pakistan. Bear No Malice is a post-World War II romantic drama and mystery. Annelies is a historical retelling where the author imagines who Anne Frank would have been like as an adult had she survived the Holocaust. Lastly, The Island of Sea Women is all about female friendship in a community where women are the fisherman.


Amber & Dusk / Diamond & Dawn by Lyra Selene

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman / The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl by Theodora Goss

The Storm of Life by Amy Rose Capetta

Bid My Soul Farewell by Beth Revis

The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty

Between Burning Worlds by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell

Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan

Sword in the Stars by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy

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43663313. sy475 The Storm of Life (The Brilliant Death, #2) 38475566

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I am so, so bad at keeping up with series that in many cases, they finish before I actually get around to reading them. Amber & Dusk, along with its sequel Diamond & Dawn are two books in either a duology or otherwise series I’ve wanted to pick up for a while. Since I bought it from Amazon through an independent seller, I actually received the Owlcrate exclusive edition of Amber & Dusk. It’s pretty cool and in good condition, plus it’s signed, and it will look good with the red cover of Diamond & Dawn.

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman and The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl are the second and third books to The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter. The Storm of Life is the sequel to The Brilliant Death. Bid My Soul Farewell is the sequel to Give the Dark My Love. The Kingdom of Copper is the second book in the series, the first book being The City of Brass. Between Burning Worlds is the most recent installment in a series, the previous book Sky Without Stars. Ruthless Gods is the second book to Wicked Saints and Sword in the Stars is the sequel to Once & Future.  


Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao


I have yet to read a book by Julie C. Dao, who also wrote Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, a retelling of the origin story of the Evil Queen from Snow White based in Asian mythology. I also own its sequel, which I got back in January, Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix. Song of the Crimson Flower is about a spoiled nobleman’s daughter that turns down the marriage proposal of a sweet physician’s assistant. She has a change of heart later, only to realize the boy’s soul is now trapped inside his flute, cursed by a witch that only love can set him free. Even though he now despises her, the heroine sets out on a quest to free him.


The Confession by Jessie Burton

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Jessie Burton is an author from the UK whose previous books, The Muse and The Miniaturist, are some of my favorites. By happenstance, I was checking up on authors I hadn’t seen anything from in a while and discovered she had a new book, The Confession. This is another dual timeline historical fiction, in which a daughter tries to track down a woman from her late mother’s past to unravel a shocking family mystery. Of all Jessie Burton’s books so far, The Confession has the best cover and since most of her book covers are gorgeous, that’s saying something.


What books have you bought this month?

No (BLEEPING) Shelf Control: a *huge* book haul

Do you all expect anything less from me at this point?

January was my birthday month. During that time, I promised myself that, after January, I would stick to the resolutions I set at the beginning of the year. I preordered books I knew I really wanted. Then…I’m not sure what happened.

There were series I wanted to read for ages. 2020 was the year to start crossing them off my TBR. Of course, in between the packages arriving from Amazon, I visited Target and the bookstores near where I work. Because I have a problem. Needless to say, my bank account was not happy with me.

This introduction is long enough. Let’s get to the books!


The Young Elites, The Rose Society, and The Midnight Star by Marie Lu

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Of all the good things I’ve heard about Marie Lu, I have yet to read any of her books. The Young Elites trilogy was the one I was most interested in. A historical fantasy series with an anti-heroine as the main character? I’m in.


When You Ask Me Where I’m Going by Jasmin Kaur

Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris

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A few days after Christmas, I went to Target with my dad to get started on my birthday books. I had checked out Imaginary Friend from the library at the end of 2019, but didn’t finish it in time. I really liked what I did read, so I bought my own copy. When You Ask Me Where I’m Going was another library book I didn’t get around to reading. Bridge of Scarlet Leaves is a World War II book about an interracial couple who are sent to an American Japanese internment camp that I thought was a cover buy but turned out it was already on my Goodreads from years ago under a different title. The Bromance Book Club is an adult romance that sounds like a ton of fun and Cilka’s Journey is by the same author, as well as supposedly a sequel to, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.


Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini


You know 2020 is going to be a good year when you wake up on New Year’s Day to an email that you got a free book! I won a Goodreads giveaway for the first time ever.


The Vanishing Stair and The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson

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The second and third novels in the Truly Devious trilogy. I’m looking forward to binge-reading this series this year.


Sea Witch Rising by Sarah Henning

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The sequel to Sea Witch, which is an origin story to the sea witch from The Little Mermaid.


I Stop Somewhere by T.E. Carter

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A dark contemporary that has been compared to Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.


Ember Queen by Laura Sebastian

The King of Crows by Libba Bray

Devil Darling Spy by Matt Killeen

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Besides The Hand on the Wall, I preordered Devil Darling Spy, the sequel to Orphan Monster Spy; Ember Queen is the final novel in the Ash Princess trilogy; and The King of Crows is the final novel in The Diviners series. These came out after my birthday in January and in the first week of February.


The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende

Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah

History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

Delicate Edible Birds and Other Stories by Lauren Groff

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

At the Wolf’s Table by Rosella Postering, translated by Leah Janeczko

Longbourn by Jo Baker

Ahab’s Wife; or The Star-Gazer by Sena Jetter Naslund and Herman Melville

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There is a used bookstore a block away from where I work. Admittedly, some of these were impulse buys I had never heard of before but their synopsis drew me in. Most of the books were already on my TBR or buy authors I wanted to read more of.


Skyward and Starsight by Brandon Sanderson

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Ever buy something and then regret it almost immediately after? I checked out Starsight from the library in December and made it halfway through before getting hit with a reading slump. I could have checked it out from the library again. I mean, I did like Skyward and what I read of Starsight. And yet…I’m not sure why I bought them.


The Night Country by Melissa Albert


The sequel to The Hazel Wood that I want to read RIGHT NOW!


Song of the Dead by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Seraphina and Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

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Song of the Dead is the sequel to Reign of the Fallen, a book on my priority TBR that I want to read this year. Seraphina and Shadow Scale are a young adult series about dragons I’ve wanted to read for years.


The Fruit of the Tree by Edith Wharton

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland

Before We Visit the Goddess by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

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One thing I love about the city I work in is that there are bookstores practically everywhere. There is a used bookstore in the area I walk through to get to my bus. Edith Wharton is a 20th century author I’ve read and loved before. I had never heard of The Fruit of the Tree, which is about assisted suicide—a subject that must have been very, very taboo during this time period. The Age of Light and A Reliable Wife were already on my Goodreads TBR. The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae and Before We Visit the Goddess were books I bought based off their synopsis that reminded me of other books.


Frostblood, Fireblood, and Nightblood by Elly Blake

Song of the Current and Whisper of the Tide by Sarah Tolcser

The Queen’s Resistance by Rebecca Rossa

Legendary and Finale by Stephanie Garber

Two Dark Reigns and Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake

A Sorrow Fierce and Falling by Jessica Cluess

Shadow Song by S. Jae-Jones

Imprison the Sky by A.C. Gaughen

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao

The Cursed Sea by Lauren DeStefano

The Dark Days Deceit by Alison Goodman

Ozland by Wendy Spinale

Allied by Amy Tintera

Winter Glass by Lexa Hillyer

All the Wandering Light by Heather Fawcett

Endless Water, Starless Sky by Rosamund Hodge

Lost Crow Conspiracy and Winter War Awakening by Rosalyn Eves

Poison’s Kiss and Poison’s Cage by Breeana Shields

The Falconer, The Vanishing Throne, and The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May

Ever the Hunted, Ever the Brave, and Once a King by Erin Summerill

The Traitor’s Kiss, The Traitor’s Ruin, and The Traitor’s Kingdom by Erin Beaty

Poison Study, Magic Study, and Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder

As She Ascends and When She Reigns by Jodi Meadows

The Defiant and The Triumphant by Lesley Livingston

The Traitor Prince and The Blood Spell by C.J. Redwine

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A Sorrow Fierce and Falling Shadowsong Imprison the Sky The Winter of the Witch Muse of Nightmares  Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix The Cursed Sea The Dark Days Deceit

Ozland  Allied  Winter Glass  All the Wandering Light

Endless Water, Starless Sky Lost Crow Conspiracy Winter War Awakening Poison's Kiss

Poison's Cage The Falconer The Vanishing Throne The Fallen Kingdom

Ever the Hunted  Ever the Brave Once a King The Traitor's Kiss

The Traitor's Ruin The Traitor's Kingdom Poison Study  Magic Study (Study #2)

Fire Study  As She Ascends  When She Reigns The Defiant

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These are all the series and sequels that I wanted to buy for ages. This haul is already long enough as it is, so I won’t go into synopsis for each one. Hopefully, you will see at least some of these in 2020 monthly TBRs and wrap-ups.


Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely


Gunslinger Girl is set in an alternative Wild West world set after a Second Civil War in the U.S. To escape her suffocating life at home, Serendipity “Pity” Jones goes to the lawless city of Cessation. But her freedom comes at a price.


A School for Unusual Girls, Exile for Dreamers, Refuge for Masterminds, and Harbor for the Nightingale by Kathleen Baldwin

A School for Unusual Girls Exile for Dreamers  Refuge for Masterminds Harbor for the Nightingale

I read A School for Unusual Girls from the library and it was one of my favorite books of 2019. My library didn’t have the other books available, otherwise I would have read the rest of the series right away. This is another series I want to get to in 2020.


The Skylarks’ War by Hilary McKay

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Another FREE book! A girl in my children’s literature class offered it to me. Turns out, she already owned a copy of the book under a different title, but didn’t realize it when she pulled it out of the “free books” cart of the children’s literature department (that I never found). It’s a middle grade novel set during World War II about a family trying to adjust after one of the sons enlists in the war effort.


The Rosie Result by Graeme Simison

The Sleeping Prince and The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Sailsbury

Between the Spark and the Burn by April Genevieve Tucholke

Still Me by Jojo Moyes

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At this point, I had told myself that is it. I was not going to buy any more books. Then, I realized I had forgotten there were other unfinished series that I had wanted to finally get to. The Rosie Result is the final novel in a trilogy which the first novel is The Rosie Project, one of my all-time favorite adult contemporary novels. Still Me is also the final sequel novel to Me Before You. Between the Spark and the Burn is the sequel to Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, a book I read back in 2015. Same goes for The Sleeping Prince and The Scarecrow Queen, books two and three in a young adult high fantasy trilogy following a girl who, in The Sin Eater’s Daughter, has a poisonous touch.


Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Women Talking by Miriam Toews

Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly

The Power by Naomi Alderman

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Like I said, I planned on taking a break from book-buying after that last bit. Then, I go into one of the bookstores and I see four books I want are 30% off…can you blame me? Daisy Jones and the Six is a book everyone seems to adore as much as its predecessor, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo…both of which I have not read. The Power got a lot of buzz when it came out. Lost Roses is a companion novel to Lilac Girls, one of my favorite historical fiction novels. Women Talking is a book about women trapped in a cult where men are abusing them and how they plan on getting out.


Break Your Glass Slippers by Amanda Lovelace

Break Your Glass Slippers (You Are Your Own Fairy Tale, #1)

 At the time I am writing this, I’ve already read Break Your Glass Slippers, because I am absolute trash for Amanda Lovelace. You will see my full thoughts in my March wrap-up.


Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Manon

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

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Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1)    44778083

These next four books were some anticipated releases for 2020. Though I have not read anything by Sandhya Manon, I am trash for any Beauty and the Beast retelling. Becky Albertalli, Cassandra Clare, and Sarah J. Maas are auto-buy authors. Even though I have not finished The Dark Artifices trilogy or the Throne of Glass series, or have read A Court of Wings and Ruin.


Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Writers & Lovers by Lily King

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Warrior of the Wild and The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

A Curse so Dark and Lonely and A Heart so Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

Heart of Flames by Nicki Pau Preto

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43446574. sy475 35702241 A Curse So Dark and Lonely A Heart So Fierce and Broken    52016138. sx318 sy475

Other people buy toilet paper…I buy books. In these dark times, we have to do what we can to keep the economy going.


If you are still here, thanks for sticking around! Let me know which of these books I should move higher up on my TBR.

The Coronavirus Made Me Do It: March 2020 Library Book Haul

It’s not entirely the Coronavirus’s fault…I already broke my New Year’s resolution of not checking out too many library books. But the extended spring break and then the announcement that my grad school will be finishing the rest of the semester online made me want to leave my house—i.e. go to the library to get more germs. I mean, books.

Do I have a lot of books at home I could be reading? Yes. Problem is, I needed an excuse to get out of the house. Plus, I have been visiting my library’s account more often recently. There were books I had saved on lists for as long as I had that account (three years). Books I really wanted to read for years. I even checked out two books from my school’s library—great timing, right?

Naturally, there are a lot of books here, so let’s get right to it.


I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan


This is one of the books I checked out from my school library, before the Coronavirus mania reached my school’s campus. I had heard of this book, even randomly saved it to my wish list on Amazon then deleted it. I Work at a Public Library seemed better to read from the library, as recounts the author’s experiences as a librarian in a public library. And I’ve already read it, so you will see it in a future reading wrap-up.


Coraline graphic novel adaption by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by P. Craig Russell


Coraline was on the same display as I Work in a Public Library. I had seen the Tim Burton movie adaption a couple of years ago. I have already read this book too and you will see my full thoughts in a wrap-up.


Doll Bones by Holly Black


The only book in this library haul that was actually for school, Doll Bones is for an assignment in my children’s literature class. At the time I am writing this, I’m currently reading Doll Bones and a little over 50 pages in. And the main character Zach’s dad is a dumbass jerk.


The Winter King and The Sea King by C.L. Wilson

The Winter King (Weathermages of Mystral, #1)    23496336

A few weeks ago, I did a project on paranormal romance novels for my collection development and management class. This was a genre I had not read much of in the past few years, at least not of the more adult variety. I actually deleted a lot off Goodreads. However, The Winter King and The Sea King were ones I did not delete. They are a series of companion novels set in an elaborate fantasy world following sisters with elemental magic. I’m slowly working my way through The Winter King (both are over 500 pages). So far, it has some of the typical paranormal romance tropes that C.L. Wilson is doing her best to make less toxic.


One Night with the Valkyrie by Jane Godman

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One Night with the Valkyrie was a book I borrowed before The Winter King, and the book I think really instigated the desire to read more adult paranormal romance, besides working on the project I just mentioned. I was drawn to this one primarily because the man is the human and his love interest is a Valkyrie that escorts souls back to Valhalla. She falls for him, but their relationship violates the laws of the gods. And we all know how well that goes.


Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

Darkfever (Fever, #1)

The Darkfever series I’ve had saved on Goodreads and on my library account for ages. When I saw it on the list of “Best Paranormal Romance Novels” on Goodreads, I convinced myself to pick up the first book. In case you didn’t know, Darkfever follows Mac, a young woman who goes to Ireland to investigate her sister’s murder and discovers she has the ability to see fae. I’ve heard these books are very good books and has a great slow-burn romance.


Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead

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9833184  8709524  The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, #6)

This series was recently featured on my anti-haul a few days ago. I got Bloodlines from the library because, if I’m being honest, I fell a little out of love with the Vampire Academy series. I was not Team Adrian Ivashkov, though I know now Dimitri probably wasn’t much better. Still, I need something fluffy to read. Richelle Mead’s books fit the bill.


Fallen series by Lauren Kate

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Another series from my anti-haul, the Fallen series is from an era of young adult literature where the heroine’s primary motivation is getting close to the dark, broody bad boy. All that I have ever heard about these books is that they are a cringe-fest. It was also another book I think was mentioned on the Goodreads “Best Paranormal Romance Books.” So, we shall see.


Dark Lover by J.R. Ward


A staple in adult paranormal romance, Dark Lover is the first book in the popular, ever-growing Black Dagger Brotherhood series. All I need to know is that it has vampires and sex.


Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh

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I’m pretty sure I had Angels’ Blood on my Goodreads TBR for a while, then I deleted it. After watching the TV show Evil on CBS, I was looking for stuff specifically with angels and demons. A vampire hunter named Elena is hired by the archangel Raphael for a dangerous mission and, as you’d expect, he’s ridiculously hot.


Stray by Rachel Vincent


Shapeshifters are some of my favorite supernaturals. Stray follows a young woman, a werecat, who is forced to go back home to her Pride after an attack reveals a string of disappearing female werecats like her.


Shiver trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater

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One of the series I’ve had saved on Goodreads for the longest, I figured it was time I read the Shiver trilogy before reading The Raven Boys. I know I do not necessarily need to, but I’m way behind on Maggie Stiefvater’s backlist books.


Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick

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Besides being casually mentioned in a Polandbananasbooks YouTube video, I chose the Hush, Hush series primarily because my library recommended it for those who liked the Unearthly trilogy by Cynthia Hand. This might be another cringe-fest, though.


Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

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The most recently published paranormal romance novel in this library book haul, Trail of Lightning is set in a post-apocalyptic world where Native American gods are alive and only those who lived on the reservations survived the end of the world.


The Night Before by Wendy Walker

The Night Before

I read Wendy Walker’s debut novel from the library, Emma in the Night, a few years ago and liked it, though it was not what I expected. Like that book, The Night Before also follows sisters. After getting dumped, Laura leaves her life in New York to live with her sister Rosie in Connecticut. When Laura doesn’t come home from a date with a man she met online, Rosie begins to fear the worst. Not that the man did something to Laura, but that Laura did something to him.


Marlena by Julie Buntin

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When Cat was fifteen, she became infatuated with her neighbor, an older girl named Marlena. Beautiful and manic, Marlena introduces Cat to the wilder side of life, until she is found drowned in six inches of water. Years later, as Cat looks back on those days, she is forced to face the guilt she feels and finally forgive herself.


The Last Equation of Isaac Severy by Nova Jacobs

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After her adoptive grandfather, famed mathematician Isaac Severy, commits suicide, struggling bookseller Hazel receives a letter from him. She is sent on a scavenger hunt to find mathematical treasure, where she interacts with other mentally unstable members of the Severy family. But when things do not go according to plan, Hazel is forced to enlist the help of those whose motives are questionable.


The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller


All I know about The Philosopher’s Flight is that a male scientist is sent to work with a crew with all female scientists and gender roles are flipped on their heads. I don’t need to know anything else besides that.


The Murderer’s Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers

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I’ve had The Murderer’s Daughters saved on Goodreads since 2012. The story follows thirty years of two sisters’ lives after their father kills their mother right in front of them.


Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter


Karin Slaughter was the author almost everyone was talking about a year or two ago. I’ve been cautious to read her books after I watched a review of how graphic her books are. Pieces of Her was her book I was most interested in, primarily because it focuses on a mother-daughter relationship. The mother has a secret past the daughter never knew about, and it is said to not be the most graphic of Karin Slaughter’s books.


What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman


Another book I had saved on Goodreads since 2012, one a friend had actually recommended to me, What She Left Behind also follows a mother-daughter relationship. In this one, the daughter is trying to put together her family’s history after the death of her mentally ill mother. It begins after she discovers the diary of her ancestor, who reveals something deeply disturbing about the family.


The Girls by Emma Cline


The Girls is a book I heard about when it was released and kept it on my radar after a friend recommended it to me. It’s a retelling of the Manson Family cult. At least, that’s what I heard. And I think I girl has a crush on another girl.


The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh


The Language of Flowers has been on my TBR as long as The Murderer’s Daughters. It follows a young woman that grew up in the foster-care system and makes her living as a florist. When she meets a mysterious vendor, she questions what is truly missing from her life and confronts a painful secret from her past that has been holding her back from happiness.


The White Devil by Justin Evans


The White Devil is set in a British boarding school with a connection to the poet Lord Byron. Seventeen-year-old American Andrew Taylor is sent there by his wealthy father after some problems at home. As one would expect, the school is haunted. Andrew soon becomes fascinated with Lord Byron’s time there as a student, when the young poet uncovered a dark mystery about the school.


The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler


I found The Imposter Bride completely on a whim. It was recommended on Goodreads for those who have read The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan. Thing is, I didn’t necessarily like The Painted Girls…yet the idea of a daughter uncovering her late mother’s past and learning she stole someone else’s identity as a mail-order war bride was simply too intriguing. It seemed like fate when I saw that my local library had a copy.


The Lucky One by Lori Radar-Day


Alice, a survivor of a childhood kidnapping, never forgot how she was nabbed from her backyard in a small Indiana community and how her cop father found her 24 hours later. Despite her family moving to Chicago to forget it all, she never did and volunteers with the Doe Pages to find missing people. Then, she sees the face of the man who abducted her and teams up with a woman named Merrily Cruz to find him before he hurts someone else.


Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

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I have never read a Colleen Hoover book and, seeing all her books saved on my library account, I made it a mission to leave the library with whatever book of hers they had on hand. Without Merit was the only one currently not checked out. This is one of her books I was most interested reading anyway. Without Merit is about a girl that blows the whistle on her family’s dirty laundry, thinking she has an escape plan. But when that escape plan falls through, she is forced to face the consequences of her actions.


The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman

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Again, The Marriage of Opposites has been on my Goodreads TBR for too long. I have not read a book by Alice Hoffman since Aquamarine in sixth grade. After buying The Dovekeepers from a used bookstore and seeing the gorgeous cover of The World That We Knew everywhere when it came out, I was reminded of how far beyond I am in Alice Hoffman’s books. I had forgotten The Marriage of Opposites until I read the synopsis: the love story of painter Camille Pissarro’s parents.

Side note: I have no idea who this painter is.


Still Lives by Marie Hummel

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Kim Lord is an artist that has an upcoming collection of self-portraits as famous dead women. Before the grand opening of her gala, she goes missing. Editor Maggie Richter gets drawn into the case by both her fascination with Kim’s art and that her ex-boyfriend is a suspect in Kim’s disappearance. To find answers, she goes deep into a world built on money and secrets against the backdrop of a society that normalizes violence against women (aka our modern society).


The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell


In the 1920s, Rose Baker is a typist for the New York Police Department. She types up confessions of criminals during the day, and by night goes back to being a woman sticking to her Victorian values. She’s a proper lady, until enigmatic new arrival Odalie introduces her to jazz and speakeasies. Except an innocent fascination soon turns into an obsession that sends Rose down into a dangerous spiral.


Have you read any of these library books? Particularly, any Colleen Hoover or Karin Slaughter? What did you think of them?

10 Book Series I Want to Read But Not Buy: an anti-book haul

Wait…Jillian the bookaholic actually does not want to buy books?

Despite the amount of book hauls that have appeared on my blog in the past, I am an avid supporter of the library, as evident by my choice of Master’s degree. I use my library card as much as I use my debit card. Sometimes, I use my library so much I ignore the unread books I have at home.

You can decide if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

Most of the time, I will either borrow or buy a book, whichever comes first. If I am uncertain, I will check a book out from the library first. Others I know I will love and will buy it automatically. Lastly, there are the books I will only ever get from the library.

The book series’ on this list are in one of two categories. The first is from a generation of books whose hype has come and gone. But I’ve had them saved on Goodreads for so long I still feel compelled to read them. The second category are books that have not received the best reviews, yet I’m intrigued enough to read them.

Ten book series’ I want to read from the library are:


Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead


Unpopular opinion alert: I did not love Adrian Ivashkov from the Vampire Academy series. I found him annoying, though I admit Dimitri wasn’t much better. I have since unhauled the Vampire Academy series. Regardless, I currently have the entire Bloodlines series checked out from the library, because I want to be back in this world. Richelle Mead’s books are the kind you need when you need something fluffy.


Mara Dyer trilogy by Michelle Hodkin


Mara Dyer was at its prime between 2009 and 2011. Then, the final book came out and suddenly everyone hated it. The series is pretty dated at this point, so I expect a lot of not-so-great tropes from that era of YA. Despite this, I tend to like books with unreliable main characters.


The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima


The Seven Realms series has been saved on my Goodreads since 2012. I know next to nothing about it or the author. It came out during a time where I was not as into fantasy as I am now. Despite my lack of attention, I have heard good things.


The Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard

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I think the Red Queen series is likely the most polarizing on this entire list besides Mara Dyer. Since the publication of book one, this series has not gotten the best reaction from readers. But I want to read more high fantasy with elements of blood magic.


The Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French

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The Dublin Murder Squad series is one I go back and forth on. It has great reviews, and is even being turned into a TV show. However, while I love crime TV shows, I have a somewhat shaky history with them as books. I don’t know why. My guess is I prefer the drama if I can see it on a screen versus reading it. We will see if the Dublin Murder Squad can confirm this theory.


The Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout


I have read only one book by Jennifer L. Armentrout, but it was a serious young adult contemporary. While I am getting more into science fiction, alien invasion stories are still a hit or miss for me. Lux was at its height about five years ago, so there will likely be some cringe-worthy tropes from that era. Plus, from what I have heard of these books, they are dramatic to the point of ridiculousness. Not to mention the covers….


Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick


Another series I currently have checked out, Hush, Hush was at its prime during the days I was not as enthralled with BookTube. It wasn’t until Polandbananasbooks casually mentioned it in a video a few months ago that I remembered the existence of this series. After reading the Unearthly trilogy by Cynthia Hand, I was looking for more angel books.


Ruby Red trilogy by Kerstin Gier


The Ruby Red trilogy was on my Amazon Wishlist for years. There were too many other, shinier books coming out that were always more appealing. I remember next to nothing about it, besides it being a time-travel series, the main character didn’t know she could time travel and there is an insta-love story. This might be another cringe-fest….


Fallen series by Lauren Kate

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Along the line of cringe-fest, the Fallen series seems to be the first answer people have for “cringey.” From what I remember, the series follows a half-angel who falls in love with another angel…I think? Isn’t there reincarnation involved? I’ll let you know once I read it, since I already have it checked out.


Shiver trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater


I do not know why it has taken me so long to get to the Shiver trilogy. Thanks to Jacob Black, I love werewolves as much as vampires. This is another series I had on my wishlist for ages, but now have it checked out from the library. There are so many books I want to own even more than I could ever want the Shiver trilogy. I just want to read them. Also, I’ve heard this trilogy is not Maggie Stiefvater’s best work.


Which of these series have you read?


What did you think of them?


Are there any on this list you want to see me individually review?

The Haul That Made My Wallet Weep

Are you getting sick of book hauls on this blog yet?

Almost as soon as Thanksgiving dinner was over, I indulged even more in the Black Friday online sales. Unlike previous hauls, I went into my Black Friday shopping with a plan. I knew which books I wanted to buy. Some I had already read previously from the library and others were my most anticipated releases of the later part of 2019. The rest were on my young adult literature class’s reading list. That class had some really good selections.

It was going to stop there. With Christmas coming up, I wanted to spend more money on my friends and family than myself. Then, on my last day of work before Christmas break, I wondered if my dad bought me books. With three bookstores nearby…you can guess what happened.

Here are the books I bought as gifts to myself…but not the last books I bought in 2019…more on that later….


Thunderhead and The Toll by Neal Shusterman

Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

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Is anyone surprised to see Thunderhead and The Toll? After reading Scythe in 2019, I was not going to put off reading the rest of the trilogy for too long. They are currently sitting on my nightstand, in fact, so you know I’m serious. Another book currently residing on my nightstand, Girls of Storm and Shadow, the sequel to Girls of Paper and Fire. The first book was one of my most anticipated books of 2018. Naturally, I put off reading it. Now, I own both books and I can marathon the duology.

As for The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White and The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh, I had been waiting on pins and needles for both. Though I’ve heard from other reviewers that there are not as much vampires as expected, I am not disappointed in The Beautiful. I love Gothic romances and Renee Ahdieh is the master of angst, in my opinion. In regards to The Guinevere Deception, it is a King Arthur retelling with Guinevere as a changeling sent to protect Camelot. I don’t care to know anything beyond that.


The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee


The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky is the companion novella to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy. All of these are currently on my nightstand. They are fun, lighthearted, and diverse young adult historical fiction novels that I put off far too long. Expect to see these books in a wrap-up within the first half of 2020.


The Hidden Witch and The Midwinter Witch by Molly Ostertag

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The Witch Boy, the first book in this graphic novel series, was one I bought on a whim a while back. After my young adult literature class, where we talked about diverse young adult books, I remembered this one. A boy wants to be a witch in a world where only girls can be witches and only boys can be shapeshifters. We see more books focused on gender expectations for girls, not so much for boys. The Witch Boy, The Hidden Witch, and The Midwinter Witch seem like a good place to start.


I’m Just Me by M.G. Higgins

Girls Like Us by Gail Giles

Far Far Away by Tom McNeal

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Frogkisser! By Garth Nix

The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan

If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth

The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

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All of these books were on the list for recommended reads in my young adult literature class. They are a mix of different genres: realistic fiction, historical fiction, and fantasy. I had them all checked out of the library a few months ago, but school got so busy. That was one of the things that made the class fun, the professor came up with so many good options.


I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

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The next three books had been checked out from the library early in 2019, when I was deep into my book buying ban. I Am the Messenger was one of my favorite books of last year, with Marina and The Darkest Part of the Forest coming in as honorable mentions. Marina was an atmospheric Gothic mystery set in Spain; I Am the Messenger was an intense contemporary; and The Darkest Part of the Forest was a freaky young adult fantasy with dark fairies.


The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

American Panda by Gloria Cho

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

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The Queen of Nothing, American Panda, and Pet I bought at my favorite bookstore before Christmas. I have not read The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King, the books before The Queen of Nothing, but this trilogy seems like a fun one to marathon.

To go along with reading more diverse historical fiction, I want to read more diverse young adult contemporary. As the daughter of a Portuguese immigrant, I realize my experience is very different from others. My dad is what you would call “Americanized,” whereas that is not the case for Mei Lu, whose Chinese parents have a whole set of rules for her to follow: go to school to become a doctor and marry a Chinese doctor. As you can probably guess, that is not what she wants at all.

After J.K. Rowling made her unsavory comment about transgender people, several library pages I follow released lists on trans-friendly fantasy novels. Pet was one I recognized, as I had seen the cover everywhere online. I also read it already. It is a contemporary-feeling Utopian/dystopian society where “monsters” no longer exist. The main character, a selective mute transgender girl named Jam, believes this until her mother’s painting brings to life a beast named Pet, who claims he’s here to hunt a monster. At first, Jam doesn’t want anything to do with Pet. But when he reveals that the monster he is hunting lives inside Jam’s best friend’s house, the beautiful, peaceful reality Jam has grown up in completely shatters.


But in all seriousness…are you sick of book hauls? What other content would you guys like to see on my blog?

When You Work Near Three Bookstores (a book haul)

You read that right. I work near three bookstores.

When I’m strapped for cash, I can control myself. But when I’m getting a steady flow of money, my self-control is pretty much nil. There were points I tried to reign myself in. As you can probably tell, it didn’t always work out.

Oh well, I got new books. Pretty new books for you guys to look at.


A Gushing Fountain by Martin Walser, translated by David Dollemayer


I found A Gushing Fountain inside the free books cart at the library I work in. It follows a young boy growing up in small-town Germany trying to live a normal life when Hitler comes into power. Though the people around him whisper Hitler can save them, the reality of what is happening does not fully hit the main character, Johann, until his older brother dies on the battlefield.


The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

To Drink Coffee with a Ghost by Amanda Lovelace

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These two books were some of my most anticipated releases of 2019. I wasn’t going to buy The Testaments right away, then I saw it for 30% off at one of the bookstores and hesitation went out the window. As for To Drink Coffee with a Ghost, I had planned on reading this right as I bought it, as I usually do when I get a new Amanda Lovelace book. But once I realized this book was about the her tumultuous relationship with her late mother, I had decided it might be better if I put this one off. (You will find out how that went in a reading wrap-up.)


A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams

The Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

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The next six books I bought at the used bookstore. All of these were in amazing condition, and most of them new released hardcovers. I read Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale a few years ago and heard good things about The Great Alone. Jacqueline Woodson is an author I have heard so many great things about, yet I read only one of her books since middle school. I had been seeing Red at the Bone everywhere; the cover is too pretty to ignore.

A Certain Age is the third book I own written by Beatriz Williams and is an adult historical fiction featuring an age-gap romance. A Single Thread, The Night Tiger, and The Map of Salt and Stars were books I had been planned on getting from the library, eventually. I jumped at the chance to buy them when I saw them at such low prices.


The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis

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In my favorite bookstore near my work, they have a section where they sell discounted books in new or good condition. The Dollhouse was on sale for five dollars and I had ten….But I genuinely wanted it. Fiona Davis is a women’s fiction/historical fiction author I want to read more of. I really enjoyed her book The Address. The synopsis of all the books she has published thus far, as well as the next one she has coming out this summer, promise her a spot on my favorite historical authors list, right along with Ruta Sepetys.


Through the Woods by Emily Carroll


I originally read Through the Woods Halloween 2016 from the library. I finally got around to buying my own copy, intending to reread it Halloween 2019. That didn’t happen, but I did reread it. Through the Woods was my first read of 2020, and I’m glad I did it was. (More on that in a future wrap-up.)


The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

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One of the most hyped-up books of the 2019, The Fountains of Silence is set in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. I want to read this book right now, but so many other books on my TBR have priority right now, including Ruta Septeys’s debut novel, Out of the Easy.


Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

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I’ll admit…these three were impulse buys. Well, two of them, really. My school’s bookstore was selling some books 50% off. I was only going to get An American Marriage, as it was the one I wanted the most. Swing Time was on my radar, yet a book I kept forgetting about. Then, I read the synopsis more closely, realizing it follows an adult female friendship tested by a competition. Reading more diverse authors is something I need to work on. As for Warlight, it was a World War II mystery. That’s all I needed to know.


Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco


The final novel in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series and will definitely be reading within the first six months of 2020. This series ending is both bitter and sweet. Thankfully, I have Kerri Maniscalco’s next book, Kingdom of the Wicked, to look forward to.


Now Entering Addamsville by Francesca Zappia

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In a past post, I said Francesca Zappia could probably write magical realism well. Now Entering Addamsville, which I found out was coming out after publishing that blog post, is a horror/mystery novel following a girl that can see ghosts and is being blamed for a series of murders. I have had a good track record with Francesca Zappia, so I’m hoping it stays that way with Now Entering Addamsville.


I, Claudia by Mary McCoy

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I, Claudia was one of the recommended books for my young adult literature class. I picked up to read from the library, except failed to finish it before it was due back, even after renewal. What I did read, however, I really enjoyed. I probably would have bought a copy anyway, if I had read it all the way through the first time.


The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey

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The Library of Lost Things was a book I was low-key anticipating for 2019. It came out in October, and follows a teenaged girl trying to lead a normal life while hiding her mom’s extreme hoarding. My mom was a hoarder. Maybe not as bad as ones you might have seen on Hoarders, but the fact that it took such a big dumpster to clear out most of her stuff was enough to confirm it. Also, lately I’ve noticed I am more drawn to books, either young adult or adult, that center on relationships between mothers and daughters. Mostly bad ones, obviously.


Girls Like Me by Lola St. Vil


Girls Like Me was a book I had my eye on for months after casually finding it on the shelf at one of the bookstores. Told in verse, the book follows a plus-size girl grieving the death of her father and dealing with bullying at school. Then, she falls for a boy online and wonders if she dares to open herself up to a new person.


Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider

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Invisible Ghosts was one of my favorite reads of 2019 and one I originally read from the library. I loved the book’s portrayal of grief and coming out of one’s shell. I saw so much of myself in Rose, the main character. I still think about it often, too.


Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds

Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

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 These last four books were on a “20% off” table at the bookstore where I eat at least once a week. Look Both Ways I bought because I had just read and loved Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. I have already read it, but more on that in a wrap-up. The Last True Poets of the Sea I knew about since late 2018 or early 2019, as it is a queer intergenerational magical realism story about women on the sea, and it’s been a high priority to buy since then. Same for Patron Saints of Nothing, which follows a teenaged boy travelling to the Philippines to investigate the suspicious death of his cousin. Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All has the kind of synopsis that leads me to think I’m better off going into it blind.


If you worked near a bookstore, what would you do?

(Belated) Barnes & Noble Blowout Book Haul

I was actually in the process of typing this original post in September when I started school. I forgot I had it until I realized I never actually shared what I bought during the Barnes & Noble blowout sale summer 2019. Which is a shame, because all of these books I am excited for and some of you have convinced me to read with your own blogs.

This haul is round one of my “End of 2019 book haul” posts. It is what happens to me when I have money.


Never-Contented Things by Sarah Porter


Never-Contented Things was an impulse buy. I own Sarah Porter’s novel Vassa in the Night that I got from an Owlcrate box but have not read. When I saw this book on sale, I resisted. Then, I saw that Never-Contented Things is about an evil fairy Prince’s obsession with two mortal foster-siblings. After reading Holly Black, I want to read more into darker side of fairies.


Slayer by Kiersten White

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Though I have only read one or two of Kiersten White’s books, I like her writing and storytelling. Slayer takes place in the same world as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Admittedly, I never watched Buffy. I was too young when the show aired and my love of vampires really didn’t happen until Twilight. I do like the concept of Slayer though: a girl who resents Buffy Summers discovers she is the last Slayer, a fate she does not want. I like it when books turn the Chosen One tropes on their heads.


White Stag by Kara Barbieri


A lesser-known fantasy, White Stag follows Janneke, the youngest of seventeen sisters that was raised to be the male heir. The sole survivor of her village’s massacre, she is abducted by goblins. To survive, she dives deeper into her more “monstrous” side, all the while luring her captor, Soren, further into the world of humanity. White Stag should be an interesting one.


Crown of Feathers by Nicki PauPreto


I have wanted to buy Crown of Feathers for so long, since it came out February 2019. When I saw it on sale, I did not hesitate. Two sisters on opposing sides, one an evil queen and the other disguising herself as a boy to join an elite group of phoenix riders. Best part, the sequel, Heart of Flames, is coming out in two months.


Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte


Four Dead Queens has gotten mixed reviews since its release. It has been compared to Divergent by some reviewers. However, it is a stand-alone fantasy with a murder mystery and the protagonist is a thief that accidentally gets swept up in the plot, teaming up with someone else to save the queens before they are assassinated. Thus, I’m willing to give it a chance.


Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith

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Another book I have wanted since it came out, Bloodleaf is a retelling of The Goose Girl with blood magic. A princess with blood magic, hated by her own people, is forced to go on the run. As a peasant, she has the freedom and happiness she never had before. But when her past comes back to get her, she must ask herself if she’s willing to give up all she has now to save the people that wanted her gone.


Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell

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Yet another book I have wanted to buy since it came out, Sky Without Stars is sold as Les Miserables in space. After I watched the anniversary production on TV, I’m more fascinated with the original story. So, naturally, I have high expectations.


Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young


I will admit…I did not pay much attention to Sky in the Deep when it came out. I was not that interested in Vikings. Then, everyone started raving about it. The book finally got my attention when the sequel, The Girl the Sea Gave Back, was released. As for Sky in the Deep, it follows a seventeen-year-old warrior who sees her brother, who she thought dead, fighting on the battlefield with an enemy clan. This leads to her clan and her brother’s new one to put aside their differences to defeat an ancient enemy out to kill them all.

Side note: I like stories where enemies have to team up to take down another, bigger bad.


The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala


The Tiger at Midnight is another story where enemies have to team up. I had this book on another Top 5 Tuesday post, my most anticipated debuts this summer. After reading The Wrath and the Dawn and An Ember in the Ashes, I was looking for more desert fantasies. Best part, an assassin and a solider, both with ties to a bloodthirsty, powerful general, work together but they both think they are calling the shots. Only both are pawns in a deadly political game.


Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum


Soon-to-be seventeen-year-old Abbi’s life has been forever marked by a photo: her as a toddler in a paper crown, holding a balloon as the Twin Towers burst into flame behind her. When she gets a job as a camp counselor two towns over, she thinks she finally has a reprise from notoriety. But when she meets Noah, whose life has been impacted by “Baby Hope,” the two must work together to ask difficult questions neither is sure they want the answers to.


With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo


I bought With the Fire on High right after I bought The Poet X for school. Now that I know I love Elizabeth Acevedo’s writing, my expectations are through the roof. I also have not read a lot of books with teen mothers as protagonists or where cooking is at the forefront. And can we take a moment to appreciate how gorgeous this cover is?


Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

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I read We Were Liars a few years ago and really liked it. Genuine Fraud is another book by this author has gotten mixed reviews. I’ve also heard that this one is as mind-boggling, if not more so, than We Were Liars. That’s all I want to know. I think Genuine Fraud is one of those books best to go into blind.


Nocturna by Maya Motayne

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Nocturna is a fantasy based in Dominican mythology following a grief-stricken prince and a shape-shifting thief. And there is death magic. If the insides are as beautiful as the outside, I expect a very, very good novel.


All Our Broken Pieces by L.D. Crichton


Lennon Davis is a troubled girl with OCD trying to escape her tragic past. Kyler Benton is her neighbor that watches her flick her light switch twenty-five times a night from his treehouse. Despite his father’s warnings, Kyler can’t stay away from Lennon, his new muse, even as he hides from everyone else under his oversized hoodies. Can anyone say angsty teen romance?


The Things She’s Seen by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

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A murder mystery told through a perspective of a ghost? I’m in! Beth watches over her grief-stricken detective father since the accident she died. He is the only one that can see and hear her, until Isobel. Isobel is the only connection Beth’s father has to the crime he investigating, a fire at a youth correctional facility where a body burned beyond recognition was discovered. This leads into a heartbreaking mystery and friendship that transcends life and death.  


Amelia Westlake was Never Here by Erin Gough

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Isn’t this cover adorable? Harriet is a wealthy, smart, perfect overachiever and Will is a troublemaker who has never met an injustice she didn’t fight. And they hate each other. But when the swim coach’s inappropriate behavior is swept under the rug, the girls join forces (see a theme here?). They pose as Amelia Westlake, who takes on the wrongs happening at their private school. And fall for each other in the process.


The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg


Ana is one of the seven princesses, an android working in The Kingdom, an immersive fantastical theme park. Her only purpose is to make dreams come true…until she falls in love with a park employee named Owen. When she is charged with his murder, it ignites a trial of the century. Through courtroom testimonies and her memories, Ana will unravel a story of love and lies, and learn what it means to be human.


This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura

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Another beautiful cover, This Time Will Be Different follows a teen girl and her aunt trying to save their family’s flower shop from the family that turned on hers when her grandparents were sent to an internment camp during World War II. Not much else I want or need to know.


The Haunted by Danielle Vega


Danielle Vega is an author where I own most of her books and have read none of them. The Haunted follows a teen girl with a wild past that moves to an old haunted house in a small town with her family. She thinks her new town won’t offer any excitement, but it will get her away from the horrors she experienced in her old one. Only when weird things start happening inside her new house, she enlists the help of a local boy to get to the bottom of it before she’s next.


Midnight Beauties by Megan Shepard

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Midnight Beauties is the sequel to Grim Lovelies, a fantasy set in Paris following animals turned to humans trying to solve the mystery of who killed the witch that turned them. And I have not read Grim Lovelies yet. I’m looking forward to reading this duology, though I’m not sure when I will get to it.


Which of these books have you read? What did you think of them?  

Christmas 2019 Book Haul: Santa Clause was Good to Me

To be honest, I was not expecting to get books, or at least all of the ones I asked for. That’s why I decided to treat myself after work two days before Christmas. That will be in a separate book haul following the delivery of my “after Christmas” sale purchases. But I have to say…I had a good Christmas this year. One for the books.

Figuratively and literally speaking.


The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang


When I read The Poppy War from the library last year, I really enjoyed it but did not love it. Then, I loved The Dragon Republic. I even reread the ending scenes of The Dragon Republic because I was so excited to own these books. The trilogy finale, The Burning God, cannot come fast enough.


The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes


The Giver of Stars is about horseback-riding librarians in the 1930s delivering books to people during the Great Depression in the Midwest. The fact that these women actually existed makes the book even more amazing. I’m behind on Jojo Moyes’s books, but The Giver of Stars is on my priority list.


Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo


I now can say I own all, save one, of Leigh Bardugo’s books. And I have not read any of them. But I will remedy that in 2020. Ninth House, an adult mystery about secret societies using magic at Yale, is one I really want to get to. But only after I read the Grisha trilogy and the Six of Crows duology. Whenever that may be.


The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern


The cover of The Starless Sea is gorgeous in person. If I had more room on my bookshelves, I would have it faced front and center. It feels as mysterious as the synopsis. I read The Night Circus, her debut, years ago and enjoyed it, though not as much as almost everyone else. However, The Starless Sea is centered around stories and the protagonist finding the story of his life written before he was ever born. That’s all I need to know.


Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi


The sequel to Children of Blood and Bone as well as one of the books you will see in my first reading wrap up of 2020. I will not fall more behind in this series than I already have.

(And I probably just jinxed myself by saying so.)


Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens


All I know about Where the Crawdads Sing is that it is a mystery set in the swamps of the American South. And it is very popular—enough to have its own deluxe edition within a year of its publication. It will probably sit on my TBR for a while until I get the books I marked as priority read. Whenever that will be.


Cursed by Thomas Wheeler and Frank Miller


I was initially interested in this book because it is going to be adapted into a Netflix TV show starring my girl Katherine Langford. Now that I know it is a retelling of King Arthur with the king turned into a queen, my interest is even more peaked. Cursed is another book I want to go into blind. Hopefully, I will read it until the show comes out, but that likely won’t happen.


Do not forget to treat yo’ self this holiday. I am behind on my book haul posts, books I bought before and during the semester. This is the first you will see over the next few days/weeks. Stay tuned….


Books I Have Read But Do Not Want to Own: an Anti-Haul

I know…that sounds strange, coming from me.

I make it known on my blog that I am an avid library user and in school to become a librarian. I borrow books from the library for a multitude of reasons. Nine times out of ten, when I read a book I enjoyed from the library, I buy my own copy later. Or, I wanted to read it but didn’t get around to it. On the flip side to that, if I did not like a book I read from the library, I don’t even consider the possibility of buying it.

Yet, something I realized recently, after watching Emma from emmmabooks on YouTube make such a video, there are books I read and enjoyed from the library that I do not want to own. While there have been incidents where the book is out of print or so old finding a copy on even Amazon is hard to come by, there have been other situations where copies were available for purchase and I still felt no inclination to add them to my own personal book collection.

Here are books I have borrowed from the library over the years, enjoyed, and I have no desire to own them. All for various reasons. Those books are:


The Red Tent by Anita Diamant


I read The Red Tent from my college’s library right when the Lifetime miniseries was announced. It follows the younger sister, Dinah, of Joseph, the man of technicolor coat fame. She is a footnote in the Book of Genesis, as a girl who was raped by an Egyptian prince. But Anita Diamant takes that footnote and tears it apart. She gives Dinah a whole new story, and a brilliant backstory to a tribe of fascinating women. However, I gave The Red Tent four stars, which is by no means a bad rating. There were too many points where I was bored while reading and I did not connect to the characters like I expected.


Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane


Shutter Island was a case where I saw the movie before reading the book. And, dare I say it, I enjoyed the movie more. That’s why I have never owned my own copy. The plot of this book, a federal marshal investigating the disappearance of a criminal mental patient at a secluded hospital, is meant more for the screen than the page. There are too many visual clues that most readers would only catch during a reread or after watching the movie. If you have seen the movie of Shutter Island with Leonardo di Caprio, you might know what I am talking about.


The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky


I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower because so many of my non-reader friends said they loved it. This is yet another blasphemous situation where I liked the movie more than the book. And, in all honesty, I did not love the movie either. I just prefer it to the book.


The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth


The Secrets of Midwives is a great book for anyone that likes women’s fiction with strong themes of family, especially relationships between mothers and daughters. However, I will not buy my own copy because one of the three main characters made choices that made me too uncomfortable.


The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos


The Mystery of Hollow Places was a young adult mystery focused on family that I gave four stars. But it is not a book I think about often, or at all. I barely remember much about it, to be honest.


The Memory Book by Lara Avery

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The Memory Book is one I have gone back and forth about buying. It follows a teen who is dying from a neurological illness and she keeps a journal to record memories for herself as she loses track of time. It felt like a realistic portrayal of a kid living with illness, one that actually acts like a teenager, not a philosopher. The fact that I have not bought it by now, since I read it back in 2017, says something else.


Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor

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Reggie, the main character of this book, is one of the best I have read in a book about a teen with mental illness. The primary reason I do not want to own Definitions of Indefinable Things is her love interest, Snake, who, in my opinion, was a total douchebag. Reggie wanted him to pay more attention to the girl he got pregnant, but he would not leave her alone. He was way too pushy and arrogant, grating on my nerves.


Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik

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Despite the great autism representation and how it affects families, namely siblings, I did not love Things I Should Have Known. The plot twist was not something I approved of, meant more for drama. The characters and plot were flat. I still recommend it if you are looking for books with autism representation, though.


Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone


In all honesty, I go back and forth on this book. I really enjoyed Every Last Word for turning the “popular mean girl” trope on its head, the OCD representation, and great character development. There were so many things I liked about this book, yet the big reveal was so far out there, it took me out of the story. Then again, I am not a psychological medical professional, so what do I know if such a thing could happen?


On the Fence by Kasie West


On the Fence is one of Kasie West’s earlier works, which I have heard are not as great as her more recent published novels. On the Fence was a little sexist, if I am being honest. Why should a girl have to take sports pointers from a boy when she clearly knows what she is doing? And what’s wrong with being a tomboy?


The Opposite of Innocent by Sonya Sones


I do not have a problem with pedophilia in books, but it does make me uncomfortable sometimes. While The Opposite of Innocent is a book I think handled the subject well, the fact that Luke, the predator of this novel, had a similar description to a man I like got under my skin.


Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar


Vanessa and Her Sister is a book you might see on my favorites list this year, most likely under the “honorable mentions.” Given that I’m not sure if I would ever reread it, I don’t think I want my own copy. At least not right now.


Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan 


Rainbirds had beautiful writing and messes with your brain cells. Only it was one of those “once is enough” books for me. Unless I really wanted to not get out of my head. Regardless, you might see this also under the “honorable mentions” of my favorites list.


Praise Song for the Butterflies by Bernice L. McFadden

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Praise Song for the Butterflies was the first book I read in 2019. It was a library book that I almost gave five stars. I would compare this book to The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: a beautiful punch in the gut. It centers around shrine slavery in West Africa and the horrors of what these girls go through. While I appreciated the topic it covered and highly recommend it to anyone that wants to learn more about it, Praise Song for the Butterflies is definitely another “once is enough” book for me.


There are probably more books I have forgotten. The books on this list were ones that I particularly liked. I didn’t mention the library books I read that I didn’t like, because that would make this list much longer than it already is.


What is a book you read from the library, or in another format, that you would not want to own a copy?  

A Large TBR & a Small Haul: Books for My YA Literature Class

Remember how around this time last year, I was worried about how much I would be reading come graduate school? I won’t have to worry about that Fall 2019.

In my reference services class last fall, one area of library and information science we covered was reader’s advisory. As the name suggests, these librarians recommend books to patrons as well as select books for the library stacks, among other things. It was my favorite section of the whole course. When I mentioned to my advisor, who also happened to be the professor that taught the reference services class, that I was interested in reader’s advisory, she recommended I take the Collections and Materials Young Adult course.

The professor teaching the course (which is online) released the reading list for the course last week. If I am reading it right, for each section we will have to read at least two books a week: the required book and one out of the five or six others she recommended. Fortunately, I own a lot of them. Some are even on my TBR or I have already read. Even better, there are some on this list I’ve wanted to own for a while. Now, I finally had an excuse to buy them.

However, unfortunately, there are a lot of really good books on this list I am interested in. I’ve already gotten some of them from the library, and will likely get more

throughout the semester.

So, yeah, I don’t have to fret about not reading this semester.


The book haul

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry was a book I had marked as “read” on Goodreads since summer of 2016. I got it out from the library back then. However, at the time I “read” this book, I was recovering from an unexpected health scare. I was in a lot of pain and the medication made me very sleepy. In other words, I’m not sure if I finished The Passion of Dolssa. While I do want to read it again, there are other books in the historical fiction section of the course that I want to reread. (The struggle is real for this class.)

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo is a book I’ve heard so, so many good things about. I see it in the bookstores, along with Elizabeth Acevado’s sophomore novel, With the Fire on High, resisting the urge to buy them. Now, I finally had a reason to buy The Poet X. Even though I need to read it for school, I’m pretty positive I will still really love this book.

March: Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin is the required read for the nonfiction section of the course. I’ve seen this graphic novel floating around, only I never paid much attention to it. All I know is it’s about the Civil Rights movement.

The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater is one of the recommended books from the nonfiction section. I bought it mostly because, of all the ones on the list, it was the only one I recognized. I mentioned before that I struggle with nonfiction sometimes. The 57 Bus, though, I think I might like. It is a true crime story about two teenagers, one being accused of committing a hate crime against the other.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman was a book I intended to get out of the library, due to my conflicted relationship with dystopian. However, with the finale of the trilogy coming out around the same time my class will get to this book (which is the required read for the final section of the course), I didn’t want to chance a possibly long library waitlist. Despite whatever apprehension I feel, Scythe will definitely be an intriguing book to study.

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins is the required read for the historical fiction section of the course and another book I’ve wanted to get for myself. It has one of my favorite tropes: intergenerational family stories. It follows five women of the same family as they come to terms with their identities while also still holding onto their Indian culture.


TBR Books I Will Read for the Course (or might not, depending on my mood)

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy is a book with a plus-size teen heroine that I have wanted to read for ages. When I saw it on the list for the recommended reads of the first section, I got really excited. Problem is, there are other books on the list I’ve already read that I want to reread from an academic perspective. I still might read Dumplin’, just because I want to.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds is one of the recommended reads for the same section as The Poet X. Jason Reynolds is an author so many people sing praises for. Long Way Down is told in verse during an elevator ride where a grief-stricken, angry teenaged boy on his way to commit murder encounters people from his life that have passed on.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi is one of the recommended reads for the final section. Though there is a reread on that list I think would be fascinating to study and other books that have peaked my interest, if I am being honest, I will likely pick Children of Blood and Bone. Mostly because it has been on my TBR for longer than it should and the sequel will be close to release by then.


Other Books on the List I’ve Already Read and will be (or not) Rereading

 The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon is the first required read of the class for the semester. Looking forward to finding out what my classmates have to say about this one.

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson was on the same list as Dumplin’ as part of the first section of books to read for the semester. Though Dumplin’ and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli were also on this list, I’ve wanted to reread The Impossible Knife of Memory. Also, of these books, it would be the most intriguing to discuss in an academic setting, due to topics covered like PTSD and children living with mentally ill parents.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys is the one I’m torn between for the historical fiction section. Like The Impossible Knife of Memory, I have wanted to reread Salt to the Sea and I think it would be a good book to study academically. However, I also want to read The Passion of Dolssa…I’m in such a predictament at the moment. Hell, I might end up reading both.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer is one I had no idea if I wanted to add to the “possibly reread” list. At first, I was not going to. Like two other books on the recommendations lists, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia, I initially thought it too early to reread. I only read them last year. On the flip side, I can’t deny the academic appeal. Fortunately, I have until the near end of the semester to make up my mind.


Other Books on the List I Want to Read

The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle is part of the same section as The Sun is Also a Star and The Impossible Knife of Memory. Though not one of the ones I bought, I could not help myself when I saw my local library had a copy. A closeted gay budding filmmaker struggles to come out of his shell following the tragic death of his sister. Then, he meets a guy that inspires him to take back the starring role of his own life.

Burn, Baby, Burn by Meg Medina doesn’t come up until the historical fiction section in a few months but a book I felt like I needed to read right this second or I might die. It is set in New York City during the terror that was Son of Sam while a teenaged girl is still trying to live her life in fear of getting shot with her new boyfriend. I don’t need to know anything else beyond that, honestly.

I, Claudia by Mary McCoy another book on the recommendations list for the first section of the course, I, Claudia was a book I had seen floating around but never paid attention to. When I saw it on the list, realized it followed a girl who never wanted power is suddenly thrusted into power, and my library had a copy, I felt more compelled to read it. And I already checked it out of my library.


The rest of these I have saved onto a list on my library account. A lot of them are part of later sections in the course. Like I said, this class offers a lot of great choices. I actually would not read them for school, if I ran out of time to use them for their respective sections.

#Not Your Princess: Voices of Native American Women by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Girls Like Us by Gail Giles

I’m Just Me by M.G. Higgins

The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan

If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric L. Gansworth

Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson

Far, Far Away by Tom McNeal

Frogkisser! By Garth Nix


Have you read any of these books?

Which ones do you think I should or should not read or reread?

Do I make library school sound fun?