Behind the Blogger Book Tag

It’s catch up time now!

With school, I didn’t have a lot of energy for creativity and I wasn’t reading enough to do individual book reviews. I found the Behind the Blogger Tag on Rebecca’s blog a while back. Now, I’m finally getting around to posting it.

Trying not to babble too much. On to the tag!


Why did you start blogging and why have you kept blogging?

alexis bledel books GIF

I started my blog in the fall of 2016. I had just graduated from college and found myself unemployed. Between filling out job applications and sometimes getting an interview and always getting rejected, I was slowly going insane. Worse still, I had story ADD—I could not settle on what novel project I wanted to focus on. I needed something to keep me grounded.

My friends had encouraged me to start a book blog. I don’t have a lot of readers in my life and social media offered a platform to find like-minded people. Most importantly, it would keep up my writing habit. After more deliberation, I wrote my first blog post on WordPress.

Three years later, I am still blogging. Besides meeting a ton of nice people in the comments, blogging has been overall therapeutic. It was a distraction when my mom was sick. It has continued to help me relieve stress in between homework and school projects. Though this past semester was relatively easy, one before was really stressful. Writing helped a lot.


What is your favorite type of blog post to write?


Though I haven’t done any this year, monthly TBRs and wrap-ups. I’m a goal-oriented person. I like picking books I want to read in a month and then see how I did at the end. But in 2019, I wanted to try something different in order to work around my school schedule. That, and I wanted to see if I liked having the general reading wrap-ups, usually posted once I get around to it, over a monthly commitment.


What are your top 3 favorite blog posts?


The first I thought of was the Recommending Books I Didn’t Love but You Might. I’m not a fan of bashing a book, even if I genuinely hated it. No one reads the same novel and I would feel guilty if I deterred someone from finding something they might enjoy just because it was simply not my cup of tea. The books on this recommendations post were ones I rated between 2 and 3 stars. Only they were not without their qualities I think other people would appreciate.

The second favorite blog post is the most recent: Top 5 Tuesday Slytherin House recommendations. I consider myself as far away from Slytherin as one can get. Yet, of all the House recommendations in Shanah’s Harry Potter themed February, the Slytherin post was the most fun.

The last of my favorites is a tie between the Random Books on my TBR post and the Hidden Gems Recommendations. The former was meant to remind me that there are books quickly gathering dust at home that deserve my attention. The latter I wrote while still on a high after reading four great books in a row. It was a blog series idea I had, since I tend to read a lot of books that fly under the radar. I still might do another one in the future.


What are some of your favorite things to do to relax?

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The main thing I do to relax is read. Writing for my blog helps me unwind sometimes, too. Although, lately, watching BookTube videos and Netflix shows has been my preferred choice of relaxing.

Another thing I like to do to relax or to stay focused is make lists. Lately, it’s TBR lists of books I own and books I will buy/read eventually. Sometimes, my mind drifted off during class (I woke up at 4:15 in the morning, guys). To stay awake, I made a list or two in my notebook. Once I do that, I’m able to get back to task at hand.


What are 3 of your favorite things?

I made a point of picking things that are not related to books or writing, i.e. Happy Hello Art magnetic bookmarks or libraries….

One of my favorite things is Christmas. While everyone is stressed out trying to shop for everyone, I like shopping. I like going to stores, picking out new ornaments to put on the tree and cute wrapping paper at Target. Fortunately for me, my dad and my brother are easy to shop for. I love Christmas music and movies. I like the cozy feeling. Lastly, I love the wrapping up of one year and the anticipation of another.

happy santa claus GIF by Macy's

A second favorite thing is my dog Ziva! She is a nine-year-old female shorkie, a half-shih tzu and half Yorkshire terrier mix. We got her in July of 2010. She was named for Ziva David, my family’s favorite character on NCIS. It’s a rather odd name for a dog, but her quirky, high-energy, and feisty personality make it a perfect fit. She refuses to sleep on her dog bed in the kitchen anymore. Whenever we tried to make her stay, she knocked down the gate and proceeded to sleep in the living room on her favorite chair. We’ve given up at this point. Ziva also likes naps, peanuts, eggs, and running around outside.


My third favorite thing is Beauty and the Beast. The live-action film, the animated film, retellings, and any merchandise. I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but my bedspread is the glass window design from the original Disney animation movie. I was 25 when I got that for Christmas, but I asked for it and I don’t care. Sadly, I don’t have as much merchandise as I would like. I practically drool while browsing Hot Topic Beauty and the Beast stuff online.

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What are your proudest blogging moments?

Honestly, just starting a blog in the first place. I had to learn to “put myself out there,” so to speak. I had to learn how to build my platform and gain followers without being a troll. I took to Instagram and other apps to advertise whenever I posted. I became more involved in the blogging world, like participating in Top 5 Tuesday and commenting on other people’s works. When I started this blog, I had no intention of making it big. I only wanted to write and talk about books. I still only want to write and talk about books.


What are your hobbies outside of blogging?

Besides, reading and blogging, I don’t have a lot of hobbies. I like to go for walks, but I hate walking around aimlessly so I must have a destination in mind whenever I do. I watch a lot of BookTube videos. I watch movies on Netflix and sometimes TV shows; most recently, it was Castlevania (Alucard my babe <3).

ready to fight season 2 GIF by NETFLIX

With Criminal Minds ending next season, I’ll have to find another TV show to watch. I want to say “hanging out with my friends,” is another hobby. However, after college, the majority of my friends moved out of state or our lives are so busy adulting we haven’t had a lot of opportunities to make plans. Fortunately, we text daily.

A hobby I want to get back into is coloring books. I got some coloring bookmarks from my latest trip to my local library. I forgot how therapeutic the activity can be.


Describe your personality in 3 words

Hard working: I put all I have into my school work and any job I have. I want my degree and I want money so I can move out of my dad’s house, into my own space.

Smart: Though I didn’t always feel like a smart person growing up, or even sometimes now, I know I am. I have to keep reminding myself that I possess my own type of intelligence that does not make me better or worse than anyone else.

A slightly extroverted introvert: Part of what drew me to the archives field of library science was that the job would not require too much interaction with the “public.” Then, I started my archives internship. While I had my own space to arrange the materials to best help me organize, not having frequent opportunities to interact with people was more uncomfortable than I anticipated.

When I met with my advisor to pick my classes for next semester, she asked if I ever considered reference or outreach in archives. She brought attention to what I had been wondering for weeks: that I might be a more sociable introvert than I always believed. It’s given me a lot to think about in terms of my career.


What are your top 3 pet peeves?

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  1. People who call and don’t introduce themselves. I got this all the time when I answered phones at my various jobs. I even don’t like it when it’s people I know who call me on my cellphone.
  2. Sexism on both sides, i.e. women can’t sleep around with whoever they want or a man can’t cry.
  3. I hate all of it.


What’s something your followers don’t know about you?

I repeated the first grade. I was never formally diagnosed with a learning disability, but I struggled in school as a child. For kindergarden and the first time I went to first grade, I attended Catholic school. My parents initially planned to enroll me in public school, but my mom changed her mind and somehow convinced my dad to send me to a private Catholic school.

Kindergarden was fine—my teacher so happened to be my grandmother’s godchild—only the first grade teacher was a horrible woman. I was a bubbly, quirky kid. I did not fit in with the norm. Worse still, even as they made parents pay through the nose for a supposedly top-notch education for their children, they did not have any resources to help me. My parents pulled me out of that school when they could, except it was too late. I was put into a box of expectations no one would let me out of it until I was well into my 20s.

Now, I have a Bachelor’s degree from a four-year college where I graduated Magna Cum Laude, and I’m now getting an advanced degree from a well-respected university.

F—k the haters.


I tag:






An Unofficial Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Popular Books I Have No Interest in Reading

Since there was no Top 5 Tuesday topic this week, I decided to make my own. A controversial one at that.

I pride myself on reading widely. I read long books and short books. I read both young adult and adult books, across a variety of genres, overhyped or under-hyped. I think that’s why I’m so drawn to a career as a reader’s advisory librarian: I read so many books, I want to encourage others to do the same.

But like any reader, there are books I have no interest in. No matter how much praise it’s getting, it’s not drawing my attention in libraries or bookstores or gaining a spot on my ever-growing Goodreads TBR and Amazon wish list. Some of the books on this list I originally had on Goodreads, but have since taken off. With all the unread books I own and the ones I want to read eventually, not to mention stories I someday want to reread, there are even some beloved titles that just don’t make it to my list of priorities.

Those are:


An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

Screenshot_2019-04-09 An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

I know lots of people love An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. Thing is, I don’t get it. Alien robots and social media? While I liked Hank’s brother John Green’s books when I read them, I didn’t love them either. In fact, I unhauled them recently.

Regarding An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, I have come to the conclusion you have to be involved to a certain level of social media to really get anything out of it. For me, blogging is a hobby I don’t take too seriously. Social media is more of a platform to kill time on. I don’t care that much.


The Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin

Screenshot_2019-04-09 A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)

Me not wanting to read the Song of Ice and Fire has nothing to do with me watching the show. In fact, I could care less about Game of Thrones. I’ve watched episodes occasionally, but it’s more of something I ended up watching because my dad is hogging the TV.

Actually, I used to resent Game of Thrones because I would get kicked out of my own bedroom on Sunday nights. My mom hated it, so my dad would watch it on the TV he stashed in there while I was in college. That hasn’t been an issue for a while—I got new bedroom furniture as a graduation present and it took up enough space where the table with the TV no longer fit—but still. Game of Thrones and I don’t have the best relationship.

game of thrones drinking GIF by Sky

Tangent aside, I’m not intimidated by larger books. Larger adult high fantasies are something I’ve gotten more into recently. It’s my lack of interest in the overall Game of Thrones that is a big deterrent.


Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Similar to Game of Thrones, I have seen bits of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, yet never had the desire to pick up the source materials or even see the film adaptions through. I realized I don’t have a problem with too many characters and storylines. If done right, I find them entertaining. But for whatever reason, like Game of Thrones, I have just never been compelled to read the Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit.

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Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Screenshot_2019-04-09 Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians, #1)

I have a strong suspicion I won’t like the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy by Kevin Kwan. How can you not tell your girlfriend about your family? How could you let your mother and grandmother treat her like that? It’s already making me mad. Aside from that, reviews I’ve seen say Crazy Rich Asians is dense and the POVs can get mixed in together so much you don’t quite know who is narrating. I don’t have time for that, sorry.


The rest of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon

I read Outlander a couple of years ago. I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t head over heels in love like so, so many other people. I liked Claire, but, sadly, Jamie Fraser doesn’t do it for me. I had the rest of the books in this series on my Amazon wish list for the longest time. I intended to pick up the rest of the series, yet seemed to forget they existed. Right now, there are about nine books in the series and they are all long. That is not what’s keeping me away. It’s the fact that Outlander was so boring for me for most of the time I was reading it.

At this point in time, I have no interest in completing the series. However, it is a hard maybe. If I were, I would definitely have to reread Outlander. Which, admittedly, is not something I’m looking forward to….


What popular books do you have no interest reading?

My Book Buying Ban Challenge of 2019

I’m calling this a challenge as if I have any say in the matter….

I am a month into my second semester. I like my classes so far and I started my archives internship, which could either be pretty fun or really complicated. While I have two full days in the middle of the week where I don’t have to travel two hours into the city and I can devote it entirely to homework, it’s slowly becoming a problem. My temp agency has had a heck of a time finding me part-time work. I’ve applied to several places over these past few weeks, but not all of them responded and the one that did was a rejection.

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Between Christmas, my birthday, and those weeks I didn’t have work on my last assignment, my funds are stretched thin. Buying books right now is not a good idea. I learned that the hard way when I bought two books I really wanted. Whatever money I have left must go towards lunch at school, train rides, and bus fare.

For the next I don’t know how many months, I’m on a book buying ban. Even if the assignment my consultant recently found for me works out, my bank account needs a break. It would be wise if I waited to get my finances under control before I splurged on my next book haul. Especially since it is a big kick in the gut every time I have to accept the money my dad offers me.

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While I have many unread books at home, there are a select few that have been on my TBR for longer than they should have been. Those are the ones I should focus on. I also want to spend this time taking full advantage of the library, checking out books I am interested in, and rereading old favorites.

Recently, I realized I rather like having large TBR piles. It is my over indulgent book hauls that are the problem. In the past, to get my spending under control, I did the “you read X number of books off TBR, you can buy more.” Sometimes, it worked, at least for a few months. Now, I have a stronger motivation of saving money.

The books I want to cross off my TBR the most are:

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

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

Vicious and Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh

Fierce Like a Firestorm by Lana Popovic

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

Windwitch, Sightwitch, and Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

Now I Rise and Bright We Burn by Kiersten White

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

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson

Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes

The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo


I’ve been an avid user of libraries for years. Now that I’m on track to being a librarian, it’s been an even bigger push to practice what I preach. There is a long list of backlist titles I have wanted to get to for years, like The Selection series by Kiera Cass and the Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi. Those I am checking out from the library in the next few months, once I get through the stacks I have currently. Also, there are other books that have caught my eye while browsing various places, books I am interested in reading but not enough where I want to risk the money to buy them or they are so old I would have a hard time buying a copy anyway. Or I actually do want to buy them except my bank account is like…

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Thank God for the library.

In case you were wondering, these are the books I currently have checked out:


Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

True Notebooks by Mark Salzman (this is actually a book I checked out for school)

A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin

Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider

Where I Live by Brenda Rufener

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce

Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez

Even When You Lie to Me by Jessica Alcott

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary by NoNieqa Ramos

Black Flowers, White Lies by Yvonne Ventresca

Dead to Me by Mary McCoy

Blood and Salt and Heart of Ash by Kim Liggett

Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard

Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliot

My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller

The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long

Born of Illusion by Teri J. Brown

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors

The Looking Glass by Janet McNally

The Healer by Donna Freitas

In Paris with You by Clementine Beauvais

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life by Rachel Cohn

The Second Life of Ava Rivers by Faith Gardner

The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson

If Only by Jennifer Gilmore

Reader, Come Home: the Reading Brain in a Digital World by Maryanne Wolf (another book I checked out by recommendation of a professor)

Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

White Stag by Kara Barbieri

The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me by Olivia Hinebaugh

The Antidote by Shelley Sackier

Stolen Time by Danielle Rollins


Yes. I am a crazy library person. But I will read all these books. Even if I have to renew them.

Rereading books is something I’ve wanted to do for so long. There are series I own in which I read the first book, bought the rest of the series, then never read them. It’s been so long, I have to reread the first book before I even thinking about reading the others. These include the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series by Ransom Riggs and The Queen of the Tearling trilogy by Erika Johansen.

Second, there are books I own that I have marked as “read” but I don’t remember reading them. Before college, I had a habit of reading multiple books at a time, then I would get bored with certain ones and mark them as “read” on Goodreads without having finished them. I was a lazy reader back then, sadly.

My main reading resolution of 2019 is to do an unhaul. There are books I know I will never read again, I realized problems with them, like the Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell series by Chelsea Cain. The same can be said for the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong; I don’t know if I would be able to tolerate the borderline problematic urban fantasy tropes now like I did at sixteen. Other books I outgrew them and I’m mainly keeping them for the nostalgic value, like The Mediator series by Meg Cabot and the Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer. Unfortunately, with limited shelf space and outrageous book-buying urges that are constantly at odds with the dedicated librarian, nostalgia has to step aside.



Right now, I have typed up a whole reading list of books I want to read before I break my book buying ban. Will I be able to stick to this? I have no idea and, if I know myself, there is a strong probability I will change my plans to something else. All I know is that I cannot buy books right now. Which I’m sure my bank account will be very relieved about.


Do you have tips for a book buying ban? Any are much appreciated!






Why I Love Reading (Top 5 Tuesday)

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


OK—enough sadness.

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

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

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


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

In short: I love reading. I love books.

I just do.


My Favorite Books of 2018

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

Still, it was hard to keep the number down.


The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace


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

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


The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager


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


Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco


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


Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia


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


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


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


Heartless by Marissa Meyer


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


Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh


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


The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert


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


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


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


The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan


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


Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller


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


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


Least Favorite Books of 2018

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

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

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

Here are my least favorite books of 2018:


The Life and Death Parade by Eliza Wass


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

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


Lizzie by Dawn Ius


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

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


A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell


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


Girls on the Line by Jennie Liu


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


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

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


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


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

I’ll stop now….


Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann


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


What was your least favorite book of 2018?


2018 Bookish Survey

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


Reading Stats

Number of books you read: 57

Number of rereads: 3

Genre you read the most from: young adult


Best in Books

Best book you read in 2018?

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace



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

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann



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

This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter



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

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


Best series you started in 2018?

The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan


Best sequel of 2018?

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco



Best series ender of 2018?

Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller



Favorite new author you discovered in 2018?

Amanda Lovelace


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

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson



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

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan



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

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

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

(Once I get my own copies.)


Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

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


Most memorable character from 2018?

Cath from Heartless by Marissa Meyer



Most beautifully written book read in 2018?

The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale



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

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace



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

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



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

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

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

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

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


Shortest and longest book you read in 2018?

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

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


Book that shocked you the most.

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang



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

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

Leo and Calypso from The House of Hades by Rick Riordan


Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year.

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


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

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

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


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

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang



Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?

Remy from The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Wallace from Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia


Best 2018 debut you read?

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



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

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson



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

The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser



Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2018?

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera



Hidden gem of the year?

The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser

The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale


Book that crushed your soul?

Sold by Patricia McCormick

The Opposite of Innocent by Sonya Sones

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan


Most unique book you read in 2018?

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman



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

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



Blogging/Bookish Life

Only answered the questions relevant to me.


Favorite post I wrote

Recommending Books I Didn’t Love, But You Might


Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2018?

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


Looking Ahead

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

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas



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

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

Lovely War by Julie Berry

Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich



2019 debut you are most anticipating?

Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin



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

Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco


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

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


There’s my 2018 bookish survey!

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


Top 5 Reading Resolutions for 2019

Happy New Year all!

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

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

My top five reading resolutions for 2019 are:


“Unofficially” read 30 books

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

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


Prioritize and marathon book series

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

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


Make smaller TBRs but be flexible

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

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


Unhaul books

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

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

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


Practice borrowing before buying

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

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


What are your reading goals for 2019?


Reflecting on My 2018 Reading Resolutions

I have seen this floating around recently, people reflecting on their reading goals for 2018 to see if they completed them. I had no idea how well, or bad, I did in completing these resolutions, but I am itching to take advantage of the winter break by writing as much as I can.

Which of my reading resolutions for 2018 was most successful?


Yes or no: set a Goodreads goal of 100 books.

Answer: NO

In the summer of this year, I realized that my reading habits changed as I got more in the throes of adulting. When 2018 began, I had more free time. I wasn’t working; therefore I had more time devoted to reading. I honestly thought I could make it into 100. Then, February happened….

Books helped me get through that hard time in my life. But after fifteen weeks of being stuck at home, I was eager to get back into the work force. Once I did get a job, I had to get up super early in the morning that by the time I got home at night, I was normally too tired to read.

In the spring, I found myself seven books behind on the reading challenge. I realized there was no way I was going to reach 100 books. Reluctantly, I lowered my goal to 50. In September, I beat it, right before I started school, which definitely stole away any energy I had for reading. Now I’m at 54 books read this year. Still, I can’t deny it would have been nice to reach 100.


Yes or no: Practice borrowing before buying.

Answer: Yes

I think I did a pretty good job sticking to this rule. What helped was getting my acceptance letter to library school in January. If I want to be a librarian, I should practice what I preach. The majority of the books I read this year in fact were ones I checked out of the library. Some of them I later bought my own copy of or I intend to the next time I can.

When it comes to selecting which books I check out and which ones I buy, it depends on a combination of my intuition about the book and my financial situation. With books such as The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton or Everless by Sara Holland, I was interested enough in the stories I wanted to read them, but not enough to buy them. Others, such as The Life and Death Parade by Eliza Wass, I was apprehensive about because of a previous experience with the author, so there was virtually no chance of me spending money on the book. Often times, I check out books from the library only to buy them later because I didn’t read them in time before returning them. While one could argue that is technically “borrowing before buying,” that didn’t mean I read the books like I was supposed to.


Yes or no: finish rereading the Harry Potter series

Answer: No

This was a goal I was die hard to finish back in January. I honestly enjoyed rereading the Harry Potter books when I first started near the end of 2017. Unfortunately, by the time I got to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, my nostalgia had evaporated.

I started to see the Harry Potter world through the eyes of an adult. Thus, I noticed more problems than I ever intended to.

You barely punish inexperienced children for taking on a troll on their own, yet they get detention in the Forbidden Forest and fifty points taken from their House because they snuck out of bed in the middle of the night? Dumbledore didn’t do anything when fourteen-year-old Harry’s name was put in the Goblet of Fire. The majority, if not all, of the characters are white and straight. I could go on.

I read the first fifty or so pages of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix before I put it down. Then, I attempted again and only made it through the first chapter. I gave up on my Harry Potter reread for newer books I want to read more. Maybe someday I will try again, though.


Yes or no: reread the Women of the Otherworld series

Answer: No

This was the goal that was lowest on the scale of priorities. I actually forgot I made it until now. Since there are thirteen books in the series, this is something I think I would be better off making a full one to two month commitment if I am serious about finishing the Women of the Otherworld. We will see about that.


Yes or no: Read 10 classics

Answer: Almost yes

I thought I completely failed this one. Turns out, I read six classics in 2018, one of them being a reread. Actually, I’m going to make it seven since Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire counts as a modern classic….

I am making a valiant effort to ignore the nasty little voice taunting me “you could have read more.” I learned after taking two months to read a Rick Riordan book that no way would that have happened while in graduate school. I am not reading classics to declare myself a “worthy” reader or to become more cultured. I’m reading classic novels because I enjoy the experience.


Yes or no: Read/finish 10 series

Answer: Epic fail

I read first books in series or books part of a series, but I came nowhere near reading or finishing ten series. The only series I finished was Daughter of the Pirate King duology by Tricia Levenseller when I picked up the final novel, Daughter of the Siren Queen, this summer. I could finish the Heroes of Olympus series, since now I only have The Blood of Olympus left. But there are library books I want to read and return before the year is over. Struggles.


Yes or no: Read at least 5 new releases

Answer: Success!

I read FOURTEEN books that had a release date in 2018! Admittedly, vanity drove me to it: I wanted to participate in the voting of the Goodreads Best Book of the Year Awards. I know it’s dumb; there were still books on the list of nominees I had not heard of. At least now they are not backlogged on my TBR or library reading lists like so many other books.


Yes or no: write at least 3 book reviews and at least 1 book recommendations post a month.

Answer: 50% completed

Prior to starting graduate school, I was publishing three book reviews a month. While I worked a nine to five job during the week in a city approximately an hour and a half from where I live, the majority of my blogging was done on the weekends. Once school started, homework and projects had taken over my life.

As for the book recommendations post, I had so many ideas. I wanted to do “if you like this, you might like this.” I wanted to do another “hidden gems” recommendations. I think some Top 5 Tuesday memes this year covered similar topics, like “books I loved that others didn’t.” Those might count, but I know there was so much more I could have done and wanted to do.


Yes or no: participate in all Top 5 Tuesday posts

Answer: Mostly

The main reason I wanted to participate in every single Top 5 Tuesday was to challenge my writing skills and keep consistent content on my blog. Then, as Shanah posted each month’s topics, writing certain ones I hit a brain block. So, I did the ones I could, then left out the ones I didn’t.


Yes or no: read between 5-9 books a month

Answer: Completed (before graduate school)

Another goal I forgot I set. I went back and checked out all my monthly wrap-ups before the beginning of the semester. I managed to read six or seven books a month, with some months reading five, and once or twice reaching eight. I never made it to nine books read.

In June, September, and October, I managed to read only two or three books. In September and October, it was because of school. As for June, I’m not sure what happened there. I think I was in a slump at the time. I don’t think I finished a single book in November; that was the time I had four projects going on at once with the end of the semester on the horizon. Overall, I am pleased with how much I read.


Did you complete any of your reading resolutions for 2018? Did you have any of the same ones I did?



An Update: My TBR Problem & the Weirdest Reading Slump of My Life

Hi everyone!

First off, I want to say thank you. You guys have been super patient with me since I started school. Of course, you all have lives of your own, so why would you bother yourselves with mine? LOL

Since I started school, my blogging schedule has been out of whack. I knew this would happen though. The workload is manageable (this semester anyway), but it’s still a lot. I’m getting home at 8pm almost every night. Once I’ve had dinner, I either do a little bit more homework or I just take my laptop into bed and watch YouTube. I have time to read or blog on the weekends, but those are usually reserved for excess homework I didn’t get done during the week.

It’s not that I haven’t been reading for fun at all. There are weekends where I get up early enough to chill out blogging or reading a book with a book. Still, if you saw my last post, you know I only read four books between the beginning of September to the middle of October. In the time since, I’ve read one book, but I hardly count it because it was a collection of ghost stories that I read on Halloween and I barely finished it. Of all the library books I checked out in October, I only read two of them. I ended up returning the rest even after renewing them, because I lost interest in all of them save for two. I checked out Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik and Part of Your World by Liz Braswell again, along with a lot of new books.

It’s not that I don’t want to read. I still throw a book into my backpack every morning thinking maybe I will have time or the energy for it at any point during the day. Except it never fails: November first rolls around, I get into a reading slump.

In the past, even when I was not in school like I am now, the slumps were generally a result of burnout or being overwhelmed and/or bored with the books on my TBR. This year is different.

I want to buy books as much as I want to read them, if not more so. Not necessarily because I want to read the new books right now, but so I can read them later. I even made three wish lists on Amazon. Like I have the money for all those books….

Recently, I had to delete my TBR document off my desktop because it was too much of a distraction. I was actually adding books I had not even bought yet. Instead, I picked four books I wanted to read off that list and put them on my nightstand. Those are The House of Hades and The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan, Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, and Little Women by Louise May Alcott (saving this one for Christmas). Any other books I read are coming from the library.


Is this even a reading slump? I’m not sure. All I know is, I needed to focus on school and, unfortunately, my TBR is going to have to wait a while.