The Haul That Made My Wallet Weep

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

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

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

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

 

Thunderhead and The Toll by Neal Shusterman

Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

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

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

 

The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee

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

 

The Hidden Witch and The Midwinter Witch by Molly Ostertag

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

 

I’m Just Me by M.G. Higgins

Girls Like Us by Gail Giles

Far Far Away by Tom McNeal

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Frogkisser! By Garth Nix

The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan

If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth

The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

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

 

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

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

 

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

American Panda by Gloria Cho

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

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

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

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

 

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

When You Work Near Three Bookstores (a book haul)

You read that right. I work near three bookstores.

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

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

 

A Gushing Fountain by Martin Walser, translated by David Dollemayer

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

 

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

To Drink Coffee with a Ghost by Amanda Lovelace

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

 

A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams

The Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

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

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

 

The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis

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

 

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

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

 

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

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

 

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

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

 

Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco

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

 

Now Entering Addamsville by Francesca Zappia

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

 

I, Claudia by Mary McCoy

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

 

The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey

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

 

Girls Like Me by Lola St. Vil

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

 

Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider

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

 

Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds

Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

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

 

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

Top 5 Tuesday: Five Books I NEED to Read in 2020

I admit…I was not going to do this week’s Top 5 Tuesday….

I realized two things. First, I apparently like to deny myself things I want to read. Second, when I went on that book buying ban at the beginning of 2019, I was consumed with library books to compensate for not being able to buy any. Between these, I ignored the books I wanted/needed to read off my TBR.

Four out of the five books from last year’s post are still on my TBR. It would be too embarrassing and anxiety-inducing to repeat the list. But the ones on today’s post are books I have wanted to read for ages anyway. Most of them I plan on reading within the next few months, as they are already sitting on my nightstand.

Five (of many) books I need to read in 2020 are:

 

Escaping from Houdini and Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco

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I hesitated reading Escaping from Houdini for fear of a book hangover when it came out in 2018. That, and the reviews were not great. Now, Capturing the Devil is out, with more promising feedback. Although, there is something bittersweet to the end of one of my favorite series.

 

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue/The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy/The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee

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This series by Mackenzi is just one I really want to get into. Diverse historical fiction is something I want to read more of. Plus, there is a fourth book in this series coming out in 2020, The Nobleman’s Guide to Ships and Scandals.

 

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

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I loved My Lady Jane by these authors. I love Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I love historical fantasy. I loved the other books written by Cynthia Hand I read. In short, I want to read My Plain Jane and stop denying myself things I want.

 

Prisoner of Night and Fog/Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

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The Prisoner of Night and Fog duology is a series I have owned for literally years and never read it. In case you didn’t know, it is a young adult historical fiction set in World War II Germany and follows Hitler’s niece, Gretchen, who learns what an evil man her uncle truly is and helps a Jewish reporter uncover a conspiracy. If that doesn’t sound awesome, I don’t know what does.  

 

The Madman’s Daughter, Her Dark Curiosity, and A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepard

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Another series I have owned for years and not read. I honestly have no idea why. Each book is a retelling of a classic horror novel following the daughter of a mad scientist trying to outrun her father’s legacy while coming to terms with her own dark impulses. I definitely need to read The Madman’s Daughter trilogy in 2020.

 

Sadly, these books are not the only books I need to read in 2020. They are just the tip of the iceberg….

(Belated) Barnes & Noble Blowout Book Haul

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

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

 

Never-Contented Things by Sarah Porter

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

 

Slayer by Kiersten White

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

 

White Stag by Kara Barbieri

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

 

Crown of Feathers by Nicki PauPreto

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

 

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

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

 

Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith

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

 

Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell

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

 

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

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

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

 

The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala

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

 

Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum

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

 

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

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

 

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

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

 

Nocturna by Maya Motayne

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

 

All Our Broken Pieces by L.D. Crichton

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

 

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

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

 

Amelia Westlake was Never Here by Erin Gough

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

 

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

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

 

This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura

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

 

The Haunted by Danielle Vega

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

 

Midnight Beauties by Megan Shepard

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

 

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

Christmas 2019 Book Haul: Santa Clause was Good to Me

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

Figuratively and literally speaking.

 

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

 

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

 

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

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

 

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

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

 

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

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

 

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

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

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

 

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

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

 

Cursed by Thomas Wheeler and Frank Miller

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

 

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

 

Top 5 Tuesday: Dear Santa, I Want ALL THE BOOKS!

You would think I would be sick of books, after buying so many over these past few months….as if that could happen.

However, while I went a little crazy on Black Friday (and other days), there are books I have come close to buying yet I did not. Usually, it was because of money. I can only work so many hours while juggling school, not to mention lunch and bus and train fare. And, of course, Christmas is around the corner.

Somehow, I managed to keep this list to eight books. These are ones I know I really want. Some of these I have read already from the library, while the rest are some of my most anticipated books.

For Christmas 2019, I asked Daddy/Santa for:

 

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

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I read The Poppy War last year from the library and I never got around to buying my own copy. Mostly because I did not love it as much as everyone else did. It wasn’t until I read The Dragon Republic did I seriously become obsessed with this series.

 

Cursed by Thomas Miller and Frank Wheeler

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I love King Arthur retellings, though admittedly I have not read a lot of them. I also love gender-bent retellings. That is what Cursed is, as well as containing illustrations and an unreliable main character. Plus, Cursed is already going to be a Netflix film, starring my girl Katherine Langford. I’m stoked for this book. And I know it will take me forever to get to it—because that’s how I roll.

 

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

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The Starless Sea has been everywhere since it was released last month. Honestly, I don’t remember the synopsis for this one and I kind of don’t want to. I want to go into it blind. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern was pretty magical, so I’m expecting The Starless Sea to be the same.

 

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

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Where the Crawdads Sing was one of those books that came out of nowhere, at least to me. For a while, I ignored prize winners, mostly because I struck out reading some in the past. Then, I actually read the plot of Where the Crawdads Sing—a mystery set in the swamps of the South. I finally wanted to read it.

 

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

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Jojo Moyes is one of my favorite adult contemporary/women’s fiction authors that wrote a book about horseback-riding librarians in the 1930s. Enough said.

 

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

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I have not read anything by Leigh Bardugo, despite owning the Six of Crows duology and the Grisha trilogy. But when I hear there is a book about a secret society practicing magic and a girl that can see ghosts investigating murders, I don’t really care who wrote it. I just want to read it.

 

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

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I have not read Children of Blood and Bone primarily because I know there will be a major cliffhanger and I’m not going to be able to handle it. Once I have Children of Virtue and Vengeance I will (hopefully) marathon the two books, then proceed to have the book hangover of my life.

 

What did you ask Santa Clause for this year?

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Series I Need to Finish

I have a very, very, very bad habit of not completing series in a timely manner. I’m sure many of you can relate to that. Thing is, I tend to have years in between books.

I have a lot of series, in various stages of completion, on my shelves. Often times, I buy the first book and then don’t read it until the series is finished. Most, however, have been gathering dust for longer than they should have. These are the ones where I really loved the first book, bought the second one almost immediately after, and then proceeded to not keep up with each release.

Most of the books here are on my list for books I want (need) to read before the end of the year. Then, I jinx myself by not doing exactly that.

Right now, the series I currently need to finish are:

 

The Dark Artifices trilogy by Cassandra Clare

I read and loved Lady Midnight in 2017. When I read it, Lord of Shadows came out shortly thereafter. Then, of course, I didn’t read it. Now, Queen of Air and Darkness is out in the world and in my possession. I actually think The Dark Artifices could be my new favorite Shadowhunters series, neck and neck with The Infernal Devices trilogy. Thing is, Cassandra Clare’s books are massive and her chapters too long. Even if I wasn’t in graduate school, her books take a lot of energy for me to get through.

 

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

I have the same problem with Sarah J. Maas’s books as I do with Cassandra Clare’s. While I enjoy them overall, the books can be hard to get through due to their length. Also, part of the reason I sometimes put off Sarah J. Maas new releases is that she has a tendency to butcher characters for the sake of making another one look good. But with the Throne of Glass series, I made it this far (surviving Empire of Smut) that I cannot avoid seeing through the last two books.

 

The Conqueror’s Saga by Kiersten White

I read And I Darken, the first book in the trilogy, two ago from the library. Then, I bought my own copy, and then the other two books, Now I Rise and Bright We Burn when I could. Unlike most people, I really liked And I Darken. I’m pretty positive I will enjoy the remaining two books as well. I also like to deny myself things even more.

 

Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh

Screenshot_2019-08-29 Smoke in the Sun (Flame in the Mist, #2)

Smoke in the Sun is the sequel to Flame in the Mist and the concluding novel in the duology. I gave Flame in the Mist five stars, based more on enjoyment. But since then I’ve reconsidered some things, like the romance was not quite up to par with The Wrath & the Dawn and Renee could have gone a different route with it that would have done much better. Regardless, I still enjoyed it. That, and with there being only two books, it seems ridiculous not to finish what I started.

 

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

Screenshot_2019-08-29 Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity, #2)

I honestly have no idea why I have not read Our Dark Duet yet. It’s the concluding novel in the duology. This Savage Song was amazing. I like Victoria Schwab as an author. That is all I have to say for myself. I have no excuses.

 

What series on this have you finished (or not)?

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?

Top 5 Tuesday: Six TBR Books I Do Not Talk (or Think) About Enough

There are a lot of books that I have read I don’t talk about, like Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. However, over the last couple of weeks, I noticed there are many unread books on my shelves that I somehow seem to forget I have. Most, admittedly, I bought on impulse.

This week’s Top 5 Tuesday got me thinking about my reading goals for next year…but more on that in December. Right now, here are six (because one I felt I had to mention) randomly selected TBR books that I do not talk, or think, about enough.

 

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

Screenshot_2019-08-13 The Notebook (The Notebook, #1)

Yes, you read that right….

In hindsight, I’m not sure why I bought this tiny mass market paperback from Rite Aid back in 2015. The Notebook, in case you live under a rock, is a love story between a rich girl and a boy from the wrong side of the tracks who are separated by circumstances. Nicholas Sparks has had virtually every single one of his books made into a movie. That says something about his writing, right? Even though I’m trying hard to forget how he tried to stop his school from hosting a LGBT book club….(Google it)

 

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Screenshot_2019-08-13 The Casual Vacancy

I bought The Casual Vacancy during the same trip to Rite Aid as The Notebook. With this one, I know the main reason I have not picked it up was because of polarizing reviews. People said it was “boring” and “not as good as Harry Potter.” Now, having read her Cormoran Strike series, I know J.K. Rowling is a good writer regardless of genre. I’m still going into The Casual Vacancy with mediocre expectations, knowing that not everything can be compared to Harry Potter. Because Harry Potter is in a class all his own.

 

Love Story by Erich Segal

Screenshot_2019-08-13 Love Story (Love Story, #1)

In college, my friend took a romantic literature course and, when she couldn’t sell certain books back to the school bookstore, I offered to take them off her hands. Love Story by Erich Segal was one of them. It was interesting to me, similar to The Notebook only in a more modern setting with an ending not nearly as hopeful. What really pushed me to read this book was the movie Dark Shadows, as it is the book the two lovers of the film bond over.

 

The Madman’s Daughter trilogy by Megan Shepard

There is no excuse I can give as to why I have not read The Madman’s Daughter trilogy by Megan Shepard. Each is a retelling of classic Gothic literature: The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Frankenstein. The protagonist, Juliet Moreau, is a genius in her own right struggling with her presumably inherited madness from her father.

In other words, why have I not read these books yet?

 

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Screenshot_2019-08-13 A Tale of Two Cities

Before someone asks: no, I did not buy A Tale of Two Cities because of the Infernal Devices trilogy. Over a year after completing my Bachelor’s in English literature, I felt compelled to read classics again. It was embarrassing to me how little I’ve actually read, since mainly the only time I read them was for school. A Tale of Two Cities, which follows a love triangle set during the French Resolution, seems like something I might enjoy. Not just because it was mentioned in the Infernal Devices trilogy.

 

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier

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My Cousin Rachel is the book I could not resist the urge to add this list. I read Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca when I started using my local library. I enjoyed it, though I have yet to buy my own copy. I bought My Cousin Rachel impulsively while having a bad day at Target. But it sounds a little more interesting than Rebecca, anyway.

Philip Ashley takes in Rachel, the widow of his recently deceased favorite cousin, but rumors surrounding his cousin’s death make him suspicious of her. As he searches for answers, Philip cannot deny his attraction to Rachel. Except he can’t figure out if she’s a conniving murderess or a victim of circumstance. If Daphne Du Maurier is the writer I think she is, it’s both.

 

What books on your TBR do you forget you have? 

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Backlist Dystopian Novels on My To Be Read Pile

I read dystopia back when dystopian novels were a thing. I liked the genre and I didn’t. I loved The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I overall enjoyed The Darkest Minds trilogy by Alexandra Bracken, though in the end I was left disappointed. And I’m not going to waste more time by discussing the Divergent trilogy.

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Despite my on-again, off-again relationship with dystopian, lately, it has been drawing me back in. I’m drawn to dystopia with more adult themes. There are books that came out back in the day that I never got around to reading for one reason or another. I would likely still read them now when I need something light and entertaining to hold me over during a slump.

Of the series on this list, I own two of them. The other I plan to check out from the library or buy my own copies, whichever comes first. Most of you have probably already read these books, so you can let me know if they are good or not.

Those backlist dystopian series are:

 

Matched trilogy by Ally Condie

Screenshot_2019-08-13 Matched (Matched, #1)

From what I remember, the Matched trilogy is set in a world where everyone is assigned a romantic partner based on science and the government controls what poetry or artwork people can look at. If I’m being honest, it was the latter that made me want to read this series more than the former. I also remember someone mentioning that the main character’s inner rebellion begins when her grandfather recites a forbidden poem on his deathbed. I also heard this series goes downhill after book two, but that is the case with most young adult dystopian.

 

Legend trilogy by Marie Liu

Screenshot_2019-08-13 Legend (Legend, #1)

I’m not sure why I never read the Legend trilogy when it first came out. The best (worst) explanation I can offer is that the trilogy came out during a time where I didn’t have my own income to buy books, relying mostly on gift cards. I had to be selective with what I bought. Then again, I didn’t seem to think to use the library, either. Somehow, the Legend books fell to the wayside, even though I was drawn to the idea of a criminal and a socialite teaming up to take down the government.

 

Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver

Screenshot_2019-08-13 Delirium (Delirium, #1)

Thinking about it now, I’m almost positive I had no interest in reading Delirium during the height of its popularity. At the time, it seemed too romance-heavy for my liking. In recent months, though, I have been drawn more and more to Lauren Oliver’s books. I also heard that the Delirium trilogy has an interesting ending regarding the love triangle of the series, which had me more intrigued.

 

Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi

Screenshot_2019-08-13 Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)

I checked the Shatter Me series out from the library to read for two reasons. First, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, especially once Restore Me came out. Second, because I felt like I should read the author’s original work before picking up her contemporary, A Very Large Expanse of Sea. As you can guess, I did not read the series. I wanted to check them out from the library again, since I’ve heard less than ideal things about the writing and plot. But, I have to admit, those new covers are super pretty….

 

Forget Tomorrow trilogy by Pintip Dunn

Screenshot_2019-08-13 Forget Tomorrow (Forget Tomorrow, #1)

I first heard of Forget Tomorrow on Benjamin of Tomes YouTube channel a few years ago and that was the only place I saw or heard of it again. It is set in a world where, on your seventeenth birthday, you are given a vision from your future self. The main character, Callie, receives a vision of her murdering her younger sister and is then arrested. The rest of the trilogy is her trying to figure out why and if she can change her future before becoming the criminal everyone thinks she already is. I really hope these books are as good as they sound.

 

Which of these dystopian series have you read?