Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Book Covers (so far) of 2019

When Shanah announced September’s topics and I saw this on the list, I realized three things.

  1. I have never done a post specifically on book covers on my blog before, or none that I can recall.
  2. I don’t do posts dedicated to book covers because I have no idea how to critique them or give an explanation as to why I like them so much.
  3. I am not a fan of most of the book covers I’ve read so far in 2019.

 

In the initial draft of this post, I was going to focus on book covers of books I had bought so far this year, though the majority of them I have not read. Only that turned into a post with more books than I had the time to write about.

Aside from not loving most of the covers, a lot of the books I have read this year I got out of the library. In most cases, I don’t own copies yet. That was part of the reason I initially focused more on the books I bought this year.

Most of these will I buy eventually, or maybe ask as presents for Christmas. I am currently on another book buying ban that might last for the rest of 2019.

Until then, here are my favorite book covers (so far) of 2019:

 

Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

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I love the hardcover copy of Marina, as it fits the creepy yet romantic atmosphere of the novel. Sadly, it’s one of the books I don’t own yet.

 

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

aurorarising

After the fail that was Illuminae for me, I had no intention of reading Aurora Rising. I confess, besides the synopsis, I was drawn in by the cover. I love this particular shade of purple.

 

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

acrownofwishes718

If I had to pick one of the prettiest books I own, it would be A Crown of Wishes. I love the color scheme and the mysteriousness of the girl riding on the horse.

 

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

vicious

I had known about Vicious for years, never bothering to buy my own copy or reading it from the library. Not until the reprint of the cover. And, as far as I’m concerned, it was worth the purchase. It fits the story way better than the original did.

 

Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider

invisibleghostslibrarybook

Another book on this list I don’t own yet, the Invisible Ghosts cover gives off a cheerful kind of sadness. If you have read the book, you might understand what I mean.

 

What are your favorite covers so far of 2019?

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Rereading Books: Yay or Nay? (Discussion Post)

When the professor for my YA literature class released this semester’s reading list, there were a lot of books I have read. Quite a few I have wanted to reread for a while. Now, I finally had a reason.

But did I really need one?

Rereading books is something I don’t do enough. I did it more when I was younger. I relied on money and gift cards on my birthdays and Christmas to get new books. My high school library was all right, but I didn’t have a lot of access to it by junior year. More often than not, I reread books because when I found something I liked, I was all in. I would literally read nothing else than the books by the same author, over and over.

Once I got a job, I could buy the books I wanted to read. I did not think of using my college’s library until my senior year, when my boss at the school library asked me to start writing book reviews for the library’s Facebook page. When I graduated college, I found out my local library had improved so I started using it more. Thus, I had basically stopped rereading books.

I do like rereading, though. Revisiting an old favorite is always fun. You find things you missed the first time. Sometimes, rereading an old favorite, like a Harry Potter book, helps me get out of a reading slump. Rereading my favorite parts of books also improves my mood sometimes, too.

On the flip side, reading tastes change. I attempted to reread Twilight a year or two ago, only to put it down after 200 pages. It was not as good as I remembered. Or, it was better to a sixteen-year-old than a twenty-five-year-old.

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Last year, I reread Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll before picking up Heartless by Marissa Meyer. When I first read it, I gave it three stars. That was during a time I was scared to give books low rating, unless I truly hated it. Turns out, when I read Alice in Wonderland again, I did hate it more than I thought I did.

You might also notice problems that do not sit well with you anymore. Regarding Twilight, I was Team Jacob, so Edward was already a dickhead in my eyes. However, when thinking about the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong, there was a toxic relationship that would make today’s readers puke. At sixteen, I was able to ignore this as best I could, even if they made me uncomfortable most of the time. At twenty-six, I’m not so sure if I can put up with Elena and Clay’s BS anymore.

Then, of course, there is the age-old argument against rereading that your unread books are ignored. By rereading books, you put yourself at risk of missing out on new stories. This is primarily why I don’t reread books as much as I want to. I’m constantly adding books to my TBR on Goodreads. I have had enough income over the years where I could buy new books. My local library has a good selection. In other words, with so many new stories coming into my possession or within my reach, I didn’t see any reason to read books I had already read.

Personally, I have come to realize I am not big on rereading as much as I was years ago. With all the new books coming out, I felt as though I was missing out. I also don’t like the idea of possibly realizing I don’t like an old favorite as much as I thought I did. I would rather not taint my memory of an otherwise good experience. That’s what happened with me during my Harry Potter reread last year.

To be honest, I sometimes would like to reread more often than I do now. I buy books I read from the library to add to my collection, as well as to possibly reread in the future. Only after my Harry Potter reread, I’m not quite sure how I feel about rereading overall anymore. I will most likely reread first books in series before continuing with the remaining books if I took too long to get around to them. This was the case with The Rosie Project trilogy by Graeme Simison and the Masque of the Red Death duology by Bethany Griffith. I enjoyed the first books and own the sequels, except I haven’t read the following novels. I read The Rosie Project in 2014 and Masque of the Red Death in 2012. I have forgotten a lot of what happened in these books.

For the next few months, the rereading I will mainly be doing is for my YA literature class. Given that The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson, and Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, I am looking forward to it.

 

How often do you reread books?

Do you like to reread books or do you prefer to read new stories?

 

Inside and Out Book Tag

“No book tags,” I told myself. “Make up your own stuff.”

So far, I have done that. For the most part. Trouble is, the day this goes up is my last free weekend before I start my next semester of graduate school. I wanted something fun to write before throwing myself headfirst into academics again. Plus, I like tags where I don’t have to come up with a specific book for an answer. Kristin Kraves Books knows how to get to me with the book tags she posts on her own blog.

 

Inside flap/back of the book summaries: too much info or not enough?

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A summary is usually what draws me to a book, after title and cover. Often times, I find a book with a gorgeous cover, only to put it back on the shelf because the information on the front flap or back cover just does not do it for me. I personally want to know what I’m reading and if it is something I want to put time into. Even though it can be annoying, I also sometimes don’t mind if a synopsis offers too much information or is too vague. If it has the right buzzwords, I’m game.

 

New book: what form do you want it to be in? Be honest: audiobook, e-book, paperback, or hardcover?

fox films book GIF by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Despite the current overflow in my bedroom, I prefer books in physical format. Hardcover or paperback, it doesn’t really matter to me, so long as the book is in good condition.

 

Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books, take notes, make comments, or do you keep your books clean, clean, clean?

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CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN!!! I absolutely cannot bring myself to write in my books. The only books I can justify scribbling in are textbooks I bought for school. For my YA literature class, I will be taking notes in my notebook while I read.

 

Does it matter to you whether the author is male or female when you’re deciding on a book? What if you’re unsure of the author’s gender?

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An author’s gender has never even been a considering factor for me when choosing a book. If I took a hard look at my Goodreads, I would probably find that 90% of what I have read is by white female authors. But there have been books by male authors that I have truly enjoyed, too. I think it is more important to focus on whether or not you are reading books by people of color or are of a different sexual identity than yours.

 

Ever read ahead? Or have you ever read the last page way before you got there?

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Sometimes, I read ahead if I am worried about a certain character. I will flip a few chapters to make sure they are alive by the end of the book. I try not to read the last page to avoid major spoilers. Most times I don’t care about spoilers, but I still do like to be surprised sometimes.

 

Organized bookshelves, or outrageous bookshelves?

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I would love to have organized bookshelves, preferably in alphabetical order by author. However, lack of space and a somewhat impulsive book buying addiction makes them outrageous.

 

Have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?

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Yes and no. What I mean by that is, I will be drawn to a book because of the cover. But only after I read the synopsis do I bring myself to buy it, such as was the case with books like The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston and The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova. A book I can say I specifically bought for the cover was the reprint hardcover edition of Vicious by V.E. Schwab. It was a book I had wanted to read for years. And, admittedly, I thought the new cover was cooler than the old one.

 

Take it outside to read, or stay in?

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Nine times out of ten, I stay inside to read. I cannot tell you how many times this summer I have promised my dog Ziva I will take her outside on cooler days, and then I end up staying inside with the AC. Plus, my dog is nine years old, and the heat takes a lot out of her to begin with. I also have a really stupid pet peeve where I don’t like wind blowing the pages while I’m trying to read.

 

I tag:

Shanah

Sophie

Rebecca

Sahi

Joe

Grey

 

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?

The Book Snob Tag

I never understood how a “book snob” could exist until I met one. You know the type—the ones that only read Pulitzer Prize winners or consider reading primarily classics as “real reading” or say their favorite book is something outrageous like Dante’s Inferno.

Considering readers have gotten bad rep over the years, this is just wrong.

I was trying to avoid tags and make use the creativity I won an award for in college. Then, earlier this week, I saw Heather of Bookables do this tag. Mainly what drew me to it was that I did not have to think of a book for each answer. It is specifically an opinion piece.

I like giving my opinion.

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Let’s find out if I am a book snob. (Spoiler alert: I’m totally not!)

 

Adaption Snob

Do you always read the book before you see the movie?

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If I can and if I want to. One example is Fifty Shades of Grey. I have no interest in reading the books. I did want to see the movie though, out of curiosity to see if I liked erotica at all. However, there are times I do want to read the book before seeing the movie or TV adaption. This was the case with Good Omens. I didn’t want to watch it without having read the original material. But my dad wanted to watch the show and when he finds a new TV show he wants to watch, he binges the show. So, of course, I got sucked in. If anything, it made me want to read the book Good Omens even more.

 

Format Snob

You can only choose one format in which to read books for the rest of your life. Which do you choose: physical books, e-books, or audiobooks?

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The only format I can, and want, to read is physical books. I’ve tried e-books, but I’m uncomfortable reading on my phone or computer. Audiobooks were spoiled for me in grade school, with storybook narrators that put you to sleep. It also does not help that I love the look of bookshelves.

 

Ship Snob

Would you date or marry a non-reader?

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Absolutely yes. It makes me sad when bookworms give prospective partners a hard pass just because they don’t like reading. I also do not like it when they try to force said prospective partners to like reading. To me, dating or marrying a reader is more of a bonus than a requirement. As long as he does not look down upon my love of reading or outright hate it and try to make me stop, it’s fine if he himself does not enjoy it.

 

Genre Snob

You have to ditch one genre—never to be read again for the rest of your life. Which one do you ditch?

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Nonfiction is a genre I would give up. However, this one is a cop-out. I rarely read anything from this genre. Most of the times I did read it was for school. I doubt I would miss it much, honestly.

 

Uber Genre Snob

You can only choose to read from one genre for the rest of your life. Which genre do you choose?

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Fantasy, which is another easy answer. It’s mostly what I read and what I am drawn to. Plus, the genre itself is so vast, I doubt I would get bored.

 

Community Snob

Which genre do you think receives the most snobbery from the bookish community?

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It’s a tie between romance and adults that read young adult literature. I am 26; the majority of what I read is young adult. Though I personally have not dealt with it (yet), I know many adult readers of YA get crap about “reading their age.” Truth is, most adults read YA because they are easy to get through and we need something to help us decompress from daily adulting.

Romance I know is a genre that gets snubbed a lot. I know I am one of those people that would not touch romance novels for years. This was mostly because I thought they were all about relationships and sex without any actual plot. Now, having read blogs and watched BookTube, I know better. With my own lack of love life, as well as overall new interest, I’m drawn more and more to picking up romance novels.

 

Snobbery Recipient

Have you ever been snubbed for something you have been reading or for reading in general?

season 5 netflix GIF by Gilmore Girls

When I was younger, I was definitely snubbed a lot for liking to read. I was made fun of for “reading too much,” too. Nothing truly nasty happened to me, but still, the scorn was there. And it wasn’t just kids either. A lot of adults in my life did not like my reading so much. They thought I should be more “social.” But I became a deeper introvert after forcing myself to put the book down. More often than not, I still found myself sitting alone at lunch anyway. Thankfully, at college I met people who appreciated my love of reading as a part of who I was.

Now that that therapy session is over, I tag:

 

Shanah

Rebecca

Grey

Crystal

Kristin

Sophie

Where I Find Books I Want to Read

As I’m sure you all can understand, books pretty much take up my life. I’ve also been thinking a lot about my career in library science.

One of the areas of library science that is high on my list is reader’s advisory. This has gotten me thinking about where I get my own reading recommendations. This was probably one of the easiest lists I ever made.

 

Goodreads

Screenshot_2019-08-16 Recent updates Goodreads

I joined Goodreads in high school, the Facebook for bookworms. To this day, it’s the only social media I can actually say I like. I’m constantly adding books to my TBR on that site. I read the lists people make as well as the recommendations Goodreads gives based on other books I added. I know Goodreads has gotten a bad rep over the years, but I can’t shake my loyalty. I would forget so many potentially great books if it were not for Goodreads.

 

Book of the Month and other subscription boxes I can’t afford

Screenshot_2019-08-16 Book of the Month       Screenshot_2019-08-16 OwlCrate - Monthly Book Subscription Box

This one is kind of random, I’ll admit. I signed up on their website, though I technically have not subscribed to the service. Despite this, I look forward to the Book of the Month selections, as well as the Book of the Month YA selections, each month. Most times, they have books I probably would not have found on my own. And they cover a multitude of genres. I’ve gotten some interesting recommendations since I started following Book of the Month on their website. The same goes for services like Owlcrate, which I was subscribed to years ago but sadly had to cancel due to lack of funds.

 

Browsing bookstores, libraries, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble and Books a Million online

Screenshot_2019-08-16 Online Bookstore Books, NOOK ebooks, Music, Movies Toys

I have found some really good (and not so good) recommendations while casually browsing my local library. I spend my lunch breaks browsing the bookstores near my work (one of which has a great café, by the way). There are books that I found I’m really interested in reading, so much so I have had to refrain myself from buying them all at once. Particularly since I would have to carry them all on the train, then walking to the bus, and then walking home after getting off the bus.

I also spend a lot of time browsing on Amazon and the websites for Barnes & Noble and Books a Million. Amazon gives me recommendations based on books I have bought as well as books I added to my wish list. Barnes & Noble has a lot of backlist titles on sale and I keep up with new releases on there as well. Books a Million somehow finds all these new releases that no one else knows about, introducing me to cool books to add to my TBR.

 

Watching BookTube videos and reading book reviews on blogs

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Nowadays, BookTube is where I get the bulk of my book recommendations. While browsing the library and bookstores in person as well as online introduce me to more hidden gems, BookTube keeps me up-to-date with the popular releases, as well as somehow manages to hype up books I might not have picked up otherwise. I even recommended BookTube as a source of finding book recommendations in my reference services class last fall.

The same can be said about book blogs. Many of you guys have a knack for finding those hidden gems. BookTube, as well as book blogs, have also introduced me to genres I thought I would read. Mainly, adult romance. Watching Smut-a-thon vlogs and reading romance reviews, listening to people rave about Christina Lauren and Tessa Dare and the Reluctant Royals series has convinced me to give the genre a chance. Enough that, the next time I’m at the bookstore, I might just stock up on those romance mass market paperbacks.

 

Where do you guys mainly find your recommendations?

Favorite Bookmarks

Apparently, I can’t function without posting a Top 5 Tuesday anymore. Since Shanah is on vacation, there was no topic provided for this week. You would think that would mean a little less extra work (if you consider blogging work). Then, I had this somewhat random idea.

I probably have as many bookmarks as I do books. When I start a new book, one of my favorite things is matching a bookmark to it before I begin reading. It’s a whole process. Often times, I know exactly which bookmark I want to use for a book. Other times, I will literally dump all my bookmarks on my bed, then shift through them until I find the one I deem perfect.

I almost did a bookmark collection—I still could, in the future, if you guys are interested—but for now, I stuck to some of my favorites.

 

My collection of Happy Hello Art bookmarks from Etsy

randomhappyhellobookmarks

I learned about the Happy Hello Art store on BookTube and, late last year, finally caved in. Not only are these bookmarks super cute, they are good quality and affordable. Happy Hello Art covers a variety of fandoms. Most of what I own are bookmarks inspired by Sarah J Maas and Disney characters, as well as a few other favorites. I plan to add to my collection soon enough—once I figure out which ones I want next.

SJMhappyhellobookmarks 

disneyhappyhellobookmarks

 

 

Harry Potter quote bookmarks

HPquotebookmarks

These in particular are recent additions to my bookmark collection. I found these at one of the bookstores near my work. Do I really need to explain why I love these?

 

Free bookmarks from the library

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Aside from the fact I didn’t have to spend money on these and the librarians didn’t bat an eye to how many I took, these bookmarks are super cute. They are made of slightly cheap paper, but so far, they have withstood the abuse that comes with being inside a book that gets moved around a lot in a cramped purse. And can we just take a moment to appreciate the cats?

 

Magnetic bookmarks

favoritemagneticbookmarks

I really, really like magnetic bookmarks. They stay where they are in your book and there is zero chance of them falling out or getting caught in between pages. I have a lot of them—two little boxes worth. My favorites are these cupcakes, butterflies, puppies, and owls.

 

Metal bookmarks

metalbookmarks

These metal bookmarks are a more recent discovery. Up until now, the only one I had was this silver hook with butterfly charms my friend gave me for my birthday a few years ago. Then, at one of the bookstores near my work, they had a beautiful selection that I found myself drawn to. My favorite that I’ve bought so far is this green one with a dragonfly charm on the green ribbon. On the front is a quote by Josephine Billings (whoever that is): “To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.”

 

What is your favorite bookmark that you own or favorite kind of bookmark?

Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag! (2019)

It’s that time of year again! To freak out on how much I’ve read this year and what I have not…mostly the latter….

I entered 2019 with low expectations for reading. I set my Goodreads Reading Challenge to 30 books, under the assumption I would not have a lot of free time to read once I started my second semester. To my shock, I had more than I anticipated. I had two days in the middle of the week entirely devoted to homework, leaving more wiggle room on the weekends. In May, I beat my goal. Currently, I have completed 34 books and working on a 35th. I do not plan on raising the goal any higher.

While I’m glad I beat my goal, admittedly, I am feeling rather meh towards my reading so far this year. That’s my fault. From January to April, I was on a book-buying ban. Instead of diving into the plethora of unread books I already own, I checked out books from the library. Obviously, that’s not a bad thing. I did read some pretty good books, too. The trips to the library were meant to quench the annoying desire for “new” books. Also, I have come to the realization that I have an irrational fear of running out of books to read as well as the masochistic urge to deny myself what I want. There are unread books I own, yet I continuously refuse to read them because I fear I won’t have money to buy more later.

Being a bookworm can be weird.

Now, enough of the therapy session and onto what you all really came here for: the Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag!

 

The best book you’ve read so far this year

I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but not a lot of books this year have felt like “the best book of the year.” I’ve given a few 5 star ratings, although none of them stand out more than the rest. However, here are seven books I’ve read so far this year I consider favorites, in no particular order:

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

To Make Monsters Out of Girls by Amanda Lovelace

Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott

A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Your favorite sequel this year

Screenshot_2019-07-06 Saga, Vol 9 (Saga, #9)

 

Not a lot of sequels read this year so far, which is honestly unacceptable. I have way too many series sitting unread and uncompleted on my bookshelves. Even so, my favorite sequel hands-down this year will have to be Saga, Vol. 9 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples.

 

A new release that you haven’t read yet but really want to

Where to even begin with this one? One new release that I really want to read is Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuistan. The others are Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich and Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson, two books I was anticipating that I recently bought.

 

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco, the final novel in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series is likely the most anticipated release of the year for me. Another is To Drink Coffee with a Ghost by Amanda Lovelace, which comes out in September. I almost completely forgot about The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh, a Gothic vampire romance coming out in October. Also coming out in October is The Fountain of Silence, a young adult historical fiction novel by Ruta Sepetys set during the Spanish Civil War. Lastly is The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, the sequel/companion novel to The Handmaid’s Tale releasing in September.

 

Your biggest disappointment

I thought I only had one…turns out, I have a few. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab was not the best, although I’m not surprised since it was her debut novel. Though I gave them pretty decent ratings, Vengeful by V.E. Schwab and The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan did not live up to their predecessors in their respective series.

 

Biggest surprise of the year

Screenshot_2019-07-06 True Notebooks

 

I had to read True Notebooks by Mark Salzman for one of my classes. On my own, I rarely read nonfiction. I certainly would not have read one set in a prison. True Notebooks centers on a struggling author teaching creative writing to students in a juvenile detention facility. The book covered a lot of different issues within the American prison system, as well as unexpectedly humanized these young criminals society had cast aside.

 

Favorite new to you or debut author

It’s a tie between Karen M. McManus and Robyn Schneider. I liked their writing styles, how they developed plots, and their realistic young adult characters. I’ve only read one book from each of them so far, but I enjoyed Two Can Keep a Secret and Invisible Ghosts so much I plan to get my hands on their other books.

 

Your new fictional crush

Again, I could not narrow it down.

The first is Sebastian Wyatt from A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin. If you love Thomas Cresswell from Stalking Jack the Ripper, Sebastian will turn your knees to jelly. The other is Liam Gerling from Evermore by Sara Holland. In the first book, Everless, he’s portrayed as an arrogant loner with a supposed nasty streak. In Evermore, we see a sweeter side to him that is impossible to resist. Lastly, Tyler and Kal from Aurora Rising by Aimee Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Both of them were handsome, strong, and serious men that could be utterly adorable (especially Kal, the alien fae, OMG).

 

New favorite character

There are few characters I can say I have truly seen myself in. One of those is Rose Asher from Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider. She was smart and sensitive, and had a lot to offer, but her own insecurities (and the ghost of her whiny dead brother) kept holding her back.  I also really liked Sydney Clarke and Victor Vale from Vicious from V.E. Schwab. Both were complex and flawed, especially Victor. And though I don’t think I would call her my new favorite character, I was fascinated by Tetisheri, the protagonist of Death of an Eye by Dana Stabenow, a book I stumbled upon at the library. She was a private yet caring young woman with a strong will and a sharp mind. Plus, she had a complicated backstory we don’t know much about yet.

 

A book that made you cry

Voices: the Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott made me feel all the feels. It hurt me knowing a heroic young woman was ultimately killed by the patriarchy she was trying so hard to save. Saga, Vol. 9 slapped me so hard across the face, it took me a minute to fully absorb how hard I’d been hit.

 

A book that made you happy

kissmeinparisscreenshot

A book I found browsing my library, Kiss Me in Paris by Catherine Rider, was an adorable young adult/new adult romance set during a 24-hour exploration of Paris. Serena arrives to Paris on a mission to collect mementos for her family after a tragedy until her strict schedule goes out the window. Broody Parisian photographer Jean-Luc is determined to show this uptight American girl the “real” Paris. As you can imagine, neither gets what they bargained for. If you love The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, I highly recommend Kiss Me in Paris.

 

Your favorite book to movie adaption that you’ve seen this year

season 1 friends GIF by Good Omens

I have seen two book to movie adaptions so far this year. The first is Good Omens, the Amazon Prime show based off the book by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I haven’t read the book yet. I only ended up watching the show because my dad was interested in it. Still, the Good Omens adaption was entertaining and made me want to read the source material.

season 2 trevor GIF by NETFLIX

The other is about two or three scores away from the original, and I’m not entirely sure if I watched in early 2019 or late 2018, but it’s the Netflix adaption of Castlevania. Castlevania is the name of a video game the show is supposed to be based on. Only there are elements in the storyline taken from Bram Stoker’s Dracula that make me still qualify it as a book adaption. The second season made up for the fail that was the first season with its dark humor and complicated views on humanity.

 

Favorite blog you’ve published this year

I’m not sure if I have one. To be honest, I was lacking in creativity during school (and now, if I’m being honest). I liked my Book Buying Ban Challenge post as well as the Game of Thrones tag. Book Blogger Confessions was fun. The Top 5 Tuesday on Slytherin House recommendations was also a good one.

I can’t pick one. Are you sensing a theme here?

 

The most beautiful book you’ve bought or received this year

Screenshot_2019-06-23 Sorcery of Thorns

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

 

What are some of the books that you need to read by the end of the year?

Where to begin?

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (PLEASE DON’T AT ME!)

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

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

There are plenty more where those came from. I had these books on the list last year. They WILL be taken off this year.

 

What are some books that have been on your TBR for too long?

How Do I Choose to Borrow or to Buy? (Discussion Post)

To borrow or to buy?

As someone pursuing her Master’s in Library and Information Science, the answer should be simple, right? However, while I love the institution of libraries as a whole, I am still a book lover and a book collector (or addict or hoarder) overall.

I do my best to borrow and buy in equal measures. But when choosing which to do for which books, it depends on a number of different factors.

The first is the most obvious: finances. Sometimes, I simply do not have the means to buy a ton of books I am only interested in. Like the first four months of this year, I had no choice but to use the library to sedate my book-buying urges. There have been times I do have money, except I still need to be choosy on how I spend it if I need to save for something else (cough student health insurance cough).

pay me kim kardashian GIF by GQ

There have been books I was interested in reading, except not enough to justify spending money. In other scenarios, it was a matter of which came first. Books I wanted to check out from the library were then available at a discounted price at Barnes and Noble. There have been books that I wanted to read right this second and I did not hesitate when I saw it available at my library. Only that often led to checking out more books than I could read and having to return them unread.

This leads into a problem I’ve created for myself. For a while, whenever I did not read a library book, I checked it out again at a later date. Sometimes, I did manage to read them on time. But more often than not, I did not read them a second time around, for one reason or another. I know librarians don’t care how many times you check out a book, but it got embarrassing after a while.

studying high school GIF

Instead of getting over this embarrassment, whenever I return unread library books, I add them to my Amazon wish list to buy at a later date. In a way, I feel like this cheats the “borrowing before buying” system. Especially since some of these books were random titles I found while browsing the library stacks. Still, this somehow influences my desire to buy them anyway, even if that was the first time I had heard anything about them.

Another factor that determines whenever I borrow or buy a book is the level of hype surrounding it compared to my overall interest. Such examples include Everless by Sara Holland and The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton. Both of these books got a significant amount of buzz when they were released. I sometimes buy into hype more than I care to admit. Only the synopsis for both these books seemed so far out there for me to comprehend (even for fantasy novels), that I could not convince myself to spend money. In some cases, there are books that were so hyped, I’d get so excited for them, I borrowed them or bought them, depending on whichever came first.

christmas books GIF

The next factor is my previous experience with a specific author or a book similar to something I read before that I didn’t enjoy. A recent example of this scenario is Aurora Rising by Aimee Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I had bought into the hype surrounding their previous work, Illuminae. At the time, I was not deep into reading science fiction yet, so I got it from the library. Unlike most people (and their brothers and mothers), I did not love Illuminae. I don’t plan on continuing with the series either. So, when Aurora Rising was released, I had no interest in picking it up.

Once again, the hype won out. Also, I could not deny that this plot was much more intriguing to me than Illuminae. The cover being super pretty didn’t help. So, I caved and got it from the library. Thankfully, this time around, I was not disappointed. However, there have been other situations where I was disappointed again by an author I had faith in. And, no, I do not want to talk about Whitefern by V.C. Andrews….

season 1 books GIF by Portlandia

Availability of a book has recently, unexpectedly, become a factor of whether I borrow or buy. To my naïve surprise, not all books are readily available online. If I wanted an older title, such as Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson, I would have had to scour the Internet to find a used copy in relatively good condition, whereas I could just wait a couple of days for the interlibrary loan to go through (and not have to spend any money, of course). Sometimes, if a book is not easily accessible through other avenues, or it’s a book I don’t think I will want to buy later (as was the case with Aurora Rising), I will keep that library book to read instead of returning it.

book GIF

If you use your local library, how do you decide what books you want to check out?

How do you decide what books you want to buy?

If you read a book from the library and enjoyed it, do you buy it later?

What are your thoughts on borrowing and buying overall?

Let’s discuss!

2019 Reading Resolutions Check-In

I had this idea in the shower the other day (TMI?) on doing a check-in for my reading resolutions. In a similar vein to the “Mid-Year Freak Out Tag,” (which I will be posting in a few days) I did an update on how far, or not, I’ve come in sticking to my 2019 New Year’s Resolutions. And figure out if I want to bother continuing with them or not.

 

“Unofficially” read 30 books

read a book books GIF

At the beginning of the year, I set a Goodreads goal of 30 books and, miraculously, I beat it in May. I did this under the assumption I would have the bare minimum of reading time once I started the second semester of graduate school. I wanted to set the least stressful goal, even though I promised myself I would not make a big deal out of it.

The first few weeks of the year, I was on winter break. I read a few graphic novels as well as a few lighter books in between job hunting. By the time the semester began, I was still unemployed with only two days a week available. Naturally, that did not help my chances in finding part-time work. But it did help my reading.

Since I had two full days totally devoted to homework, I had more time to read on the weekends, as well as on the commute to and from school. Right now, I am well into summer break. I don’t plan on raising the goal higher. I’m just going to keep reading as much as I can without stress.

 

Book buying ban of 2019

books libraries GIF

I had to go on a book buying ban for the first three or four months of the year, which I decided after my original resolutions post. By the beginning of February, my optimism at finding a new job had dwindled. After making an impulsive book purchase, I quickly realized that certain things had to take priority. Books were not one of them.

I am proud to say I was successful in this. I lasted until April, when taxes came through for me and I finally allowed myself to buy books again. I probably shouldn’t have, since I was technically still unemployed, but going to the library wasn’t doing it for me anymore.

Now, I have a job for the summer at an academic library surrounded by bookstores. I’ve bought three books in the past few weeks. However, being twenty-six sucks. I have to pay my school to provide health insurance. The bill is due in August. So, instead of taking advantage of my current financial situation and bookstore access, it looks like I’m going to have to go on another ban. Or, at least, cut back on the amount of money I spend.

 

Prioritize and marathon book series

stressed homer simpson GIF

Fail, fail, and more fail. I have not prioritized series. I have not marathon any this year, either. I have read first books in series or the concluding novels or sequels. The rest are stand-alone. I did check out completed series from the library and pull ones I intended to read off my bookshelves. Then, after a while of sitting around unread, I ended up returning them to where they belonged.

Going forward into the remaining half of the year, I have selected series I want to complete before January 1st, 2020. Some of those series are:

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes

Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray

The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson

 

Make smaller TBRs but be flexible

books reading GIF

Honestly, I’m not sure what my plan was with this one.

I was not doing monthly TBRs because of graduate school. I read what I wanted when I had the time or energy to do so. I read mostly library books for the first few months, a combination of the book buying ban and using library books to make sure I kept up a healthy reading habit. Not that it always worked.

I like making reading lists and sticking to them, but I’m learning to be flexible when a “mood” hits. Lately, though, with all the books I want to read, the “moods” have been kind of annoying.

 

Unhaul books

shocked the favourite GIF by Fox Searchlight

Of all the resolutions I set for myself in 2019, this is the one I am happiest I completed. I was running out of room on my bookshelves. There were books I knew I was never going to read again that taking up space. My Amazon wish list was getting longer.

Then, in April, my advisor announced the department was holding a book drive for an elementary school’s library in Rwanda. The books that they didn’t give to the school would be used in a book sale to collect money for the students’ materials.

Every Friday, I came to school with an extra bag full of books to put inside the donation bin. While I was sad to see some go, I knew they were better off going to people who would appreciate them more. And I was better off, too. At the same time, it was also an euphoric relief. I kind of want to do another one later this year, should the opportunity arise again.

 

Practice borrowing before buying

dog read GIF by Originals

This has been successful: there have been books I read first from the library and bought later or I plan to. Only upon reflection, the frequent library use of the year has brought on some unexpected problems.

Aside from not reading all the books I checked out (that should be a drinking game), I was not reading books I already owned. Worse still, I often lost interest in the library books, in addition to running out of time even after renewing them. So, in a sense, I was not thinking “practically.”

At the time I am writing this, 21 out of 34 books I read so far this year were library books. The book buying urges as well as free days in the middle of the week influenced the frequent library trips. Various times, I found myself with more than thirty books checked out at once.

In the past, I would have returned the books, then got them from the library again at a later date. Except even then, I still didn’t read them most of the time. I have a habit of borrowing books and not reading them, only to buy them later. In a way, it’s cheating the “borrowing before buying” system.

I think I might have to avoid the library for a few months. Easy enough, since it’s closed on the weekends July through August and I work during the week. While I obviously love the institution of libraries, there are books at home that have been gathering dust.

 

How have you done on your 2019 reading goals so far?