Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Summer Reads

In the past, I avoided posts like these, recommending books based on seasons. Even more winter themed books, unless it is set during Christmas, I will read in the summer and vice versa.

Thanks to Top 5 Tuesday, I’m going to test my book recommendations skills by suggesting five summer reads. All of these have similar qualities: fast-paced and action-packed. The kind of books to keep you entertained during summer vacation. Or, in our current scenario, a quarantine.

 

City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

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Set in Kenya and the Congo, City of Saints and Thieves follows a teenaged thief, Tina, set out to take revenge on the man she believes killed her mother. When she and her gang break into the man’s house, she finds evidence that sends her whole world into a tailspin. This book gets dark, really dark, but the action starts right on the first page. And you can travel to exotic Kenya while stuck at home.

 

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

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The Forbidden Wish is a fun desert fantasy romance you can read at the beach or by the pool. It is also a retelling of Aladdin told through the perspective of the genie, a girl. And did I mention there is a badass princess with a squad of equally badass lady assassins? Have I sold you on this book yet?

 

Daughter of the Pirate King duology by Tricia Levenseller

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If pirates do not equal summer, not much else will. Plus, there are sirens and a fun crew of lady pirates. Throw in a steamy romance and lots of blood and action, the Daughter of the Pirate King duology is great to read over a weekend when you’re stuck inside with the AC.

 

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

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Most people associate historical fiction with winter instead of summer. While Code Name Verity is a World War II novel and not exactly what you would call “lighthearted,” it’s the kind of book that sucks you in. Two female pilots and best friends fight to get back to each other after one is lost after a crash and held hostage by the Germans. Besides all the suspense, the ending will make you sad. But you will be sweating so much it won’t matter.

 

Anything by John Green or James Patterson

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I put these two authors in the same slot on this list for the same reasons. Their books do not have much depth to them, but they are quick, entertaining reads. If your brain cells are fried—like mine after such a crazy semester—these authors have the kind of books you read when you just want to read. Ideal summer books.

 

 

What is your favorite summer read?

 

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Series I Want to Start

Story of my life…round two….

Sometimes, I am not very good at keeping up with series I start, even if I am really into it. In recent years, I started to wonder if I like to deny myself things I like or what I want. However, it is usually because older books on my TBR are waiting to be read or other cool series pop up as I’m waiting for the next installments. Occasionally, I even want to wait until the series is finished because I can’t stand the idea of waiting for the next books.

In short, there are a lot more than five series that I want to start. For the sake of this post, five of those book series are:

 

Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

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I haven’t read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom solely on the principal that I have not read the original Grisha trilogy. Regardless of the fact you do not need to read the first Grisha trilogy to read Six of Crows, I still want to. Doesn’t matter if the spoilers are minor; I like to read books in publication order. Of all the series on this list, if I can read at least Six of Crows, I will be happy.

 

Caraval trilogy by Stephanie Garber

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I know a lot of people fell out of love with Caraval, only I love the idea of a magical circus and sisters saving each other. And flowery writing is one of my favorite things, though I admit it can be overdone sometimes. Plus, the covers of these books are gorgeous, especially Finale, which is my favorite.

 

Three Dark Crowns series by Kendare Blake

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I read Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood duology in high school and it is one of my favorite series to this day. I bought each book in the Three Dark Crowns series as they came out, yet still have not gotten around to reading them. This is one of the series I want to read the most in 2020.

 

The Folk of the Air trilogy by Holly Black

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At this point in time, I have read enough of Holly Black’s books to determine if she has potential of being a new favorite author. I enjoyed The Darkest Part of the Forest and Doll Bones. I’ve heard great things about The Folk of the Air trilogy, primarily the first two books, The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King. The Queen of Nothing hasn’t gotten the best feedback. But I think we all know by now finales are hard.

 

A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab

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Besides the Six of Crows duology, A Darker Shade of Magic is another series I genuinely want to read in 2020. At this point, I’ve read This Savage Song, Vicious, and Vengeful, and enjoyed all of them. The main reason I haven’t picked up A Darker Shade of Magic is because I want to read Our Dark Duet, the sequel to This Savage Song, which I’ve ignored for much too long now.

 

What popular series do you want to read?

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Popular Books I Haven’t Read Yet

Story of my life….

Despite my best efforts, I don’t always keep up with popular releases. I might buy them during the top of their hype, but more often than not, it will be another year or even longer before I actually read it. All this is usually because my backlist TBR is so long and I feel bad for reading new books when older ones are still waiting. Sometimes, if I opt to get a book from the library, I will manage to read it before the hype wears off.

There are a lot of popular books on my TBR that I have not read yet. 2020 is the year I hope to knock some of these off.

Five popular books I haven’t read yet are:

 

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

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After I read I Am the Messenger last year, Markus Zusak officially had the potential of becoming a new favorite author. Bridge of Clay came out in 2017 and it had been his first book in over ten years at that point. After its publication, though, I did not hear a lot about it. From what little I did hear about Bridge of Clay, it was not all that enthusiastic. If I recall, Bridge of Clay is about five brothers in rural Australia, supposedly a mystery involving the youngest.

 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Yes…I know…I think I had this book on another popular books I hadn’t read yet two years ago….I honestly have no explanation as to why I have not yet felt compelled to read The Hate U Give. I still have not seen the movie, either. 2020 is the year I read The Hate U Give.

 

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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When Dimple Met Rishi is another beloved young adult novel I still have not read. At the time it was released, I think I was not quite into contemporary as I was into fantasy. But I like the idea of a diverse novel following an arranged marriage between two teenagers with very different ideas about their Indian culture. I recently bought Sandhya Menon’s newest book, Of Curses and Kisses, facing its beautiful cover front and center on my bookshelves. All her other books keep calling to me, but I refuse to read any others until I read When Dimple Met Rishi.

 

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

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I bought a signed copy of What If It’s Us from Barnes & Noble from a Black Friday sale the same year it came out, if I remember correctly. By that time, I had read History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera, as well as Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli and enjoyed all of them. Unfortunately, What If It’s Us did not get the best feedback, so I am cautiously optimistic.

 

Circe by Madeline Miller

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The only adult fantasy book on this list, Circe was yet another book I had checked out from the library with every intention of reading except I didn’t. I probably would have bought a copy anyway, since I love Greek mythology and I was interested to see what Madeline Miller did with such a minor character like Circe. This is another book I have front and center on my shelves—mostly because it can’t fit anywhere else in the mess—but I am hopeful this book will replace the Bernadette Peters Circe in my head with a new one.

 

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

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Sanity Savers – Things I’m Enjoying While in Isolation

Top 5 Tuesday > homework I should be doing right now.

The first couple of weeks of this unexpected isolation were hard. With the local library closed, I don’t have anywhere else I can go without distractions as I try to keep up with my schoolwork. Hopefully, it will open again in April. I might go there a few times a week to study as we go on with the social distancing.

Surprisingly, it hasn’t been books that helped me adjust to the forced isolation. I’ve had a hard time focusing and settling on what to read next. It’s like I want to read, and then I don’t, if that makes any sense.

This week’s Top 5 Tuesday are the things that I am enjoying during the isolation and saving my sanity.

 

Not having to work my schedule around a bus

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One of the biggest tips that people have given on working from home is continuing with your usual schedule as if you were going to work. See, the thing is, during my normal schedule I get up at 4am on a regular basis. I tried that…by the afternoon, I ended up falling asleep on the couch for an hour, then felt too groggy to do anything.

After the first week and a half, I realized I could sleep in as well as I can work as late as I want. I didn’t have to catch a bus or a train. I normally don’t work past 6pm, but mostly because that is how my brain is programmed. I tried it the other night and I got a lot more done in a day.

 

Saving money

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Yeah, I know that’s weird. I’m not working, but my job is still paying me approximately the number of hours I’ve worked each week since January through when the university closed in March. Plus, I still live at home with my dad and he’s an essential employee. I’m eating the food at home, rather than getting takeout at lunch like I did when I went to work or school. Also, since I have no idea how long this isolation is going to last, I’m not inclined to spend money on things like books or new clothes. But believe you me, I want to stress-shop very badly.

 

Schoolwork

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As annoyed as I am that the rest of the semester is online and I won’t be getting a commencement after two years of working so hard for my Master’s degree, I know in the scheme of things it’s best for everyone. But without homework, I don’t know what I would be able to do with myself in a day. I think I might go insane…even with all the books I have.

 

Writing and making reading lists

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The way I space my homework out throughout the week, I have more time to work on a backlist of blog posts and, of course, participate in Top 5 Tuesday. I still feel guilty when I set aside homework to start blogging, but it is the best method I have to relieve stress.

As for making reading lists, this gave me a distraction as well as caused me an irrational amount of stress. I currently have 43 books checked out from my local library, plus pulled random books off my shelves that were not on my priority TBR pile that I made at the beginning of 2020. It took me a couple of days, but I finally arranged my new to be read pile in a way that I want and I don’t plan on changing it anytime soon. If anything, feeling organized in my reading has resurged the desire to read again.

 

Netflix, Disney + and YouTube

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On Netflix, I’m watching older episodes of Criminal Minds. I just watched Season 3 of Castlevania. I’ll probably get back into season 3 of Thirteen Reasons Why eventually. I rewatched one of my favorite movies, Hotel Transylvania 3, the other night. On Disney + I watched Toy Story 4 and I’m praying the rumors of releasing the live-action Mulan on there are true. I’ve been itching to watch the animated Disney version of Robin Hood lately, so that could be next. Ironically, I’m also watching scary story channels on YouTube, namely Mr. Nightmare, Corpse Husband, and Lazy Masquerade. I find their voices extremely soothing.

 

What has kept you sane during this isolation?

Books That Exceeded My Expectations

The good thing about being unexpectedly stuck at home? More time to read and work on my blog while still doing homework.

The bad thing about being unexpectedly stuck at home? I cannot focus on anything but the fact that I’m stuck at home because school, work, and everything else is closed.

I have an assignment due tomorrow that I should be working on right now, but blogging might help me destress and get my brain juices flowing.

Books that exceeded my expectations was another Top 5 Tuesday topic I missed. When I pick up certain books, I go in with minimum expectations. There are books I pick up from the library that I think I might not like for one reason or another but I’m too curious to not read it. The ones I read for school definitely fall under this category sometimes, too. Who likes a book they are forced to read?

Few things make me happier when a book exceeds expectations. Those books are:

 

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

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I read Riley Sager’s debut novel, Final Girls, from the library shortly after it came out and did not love it. The book had such a good concept, but poor execution. I wondered if the same might happen with The Last Time I Lied. Since this one was set at a summer camp and involved complicated female friendship, I couldn’t ignore it. Most preferred Final Girls over The Last Time I Lied. For me, I thought the sophomore novel was better. I was engaged the whole way through The Last Time I Lied.

 

True Notebooks by Mark Salzman

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Until 2019, nonfiction was a genre I touched primarily for school. Very, very rarely on my own, honestly. True Notebooks I had to read for my literacy services class last spring, which is about a writer that volunteers to teach creative writing at a juvenile hall. The whole book was basically about the importance of literacy to certain populations, particularly prisoners. Though I would probably never reread it because the whole book had an unrelenting sadness throughout, True Notebooks showed how society can fail young people born into specific situations, as well as how books can help and heal.

 

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

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When Two Can Keep a Secret came out last year, it was right after I heard some rather negative things about Karen M. McManus’s debut, One of Us is Lying. That, and young adult thrillers are sometimes kind of cheesy and overdone. However, the idea of three murders of high school girls taking place in the same small town over a period of twenty years inside a theme park known as “Murderland,” was intriguing. As you can already guess, Two Can Keep a Secret was not a disappointment. I was entertained the entire time, loved all the characters, and it had the best ending line in a young adult mystery I had read to date.

 

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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Initially, I had zero interest in reading Aurora Rising for two reasons. First, I didn’t really like Illuminae by this author duo. Second, science fiction was a genre that I did not give much thought to, as most of its subjects go right over my head. Then, I kept seeing the cover of Aurora Rising everywhere and saw my library had a copy. I picked it up on a whim, then could barely put it down until I finished it. Sadly, I was not surprised when it was not getting the best feedback from other readers. Illuminae set the standards too high. But I liked all the characters and I thought it was a fun, solid first book in a series.

 

City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

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The main criticism regarding City of Saints and Thieves that I heard was that it was not an OWN voices author. Despite Natalie C. Anderson’s history of working with refugees from the Congo, I had to admit, a white American writing about those types of experiences could be a delicate situation. I thought she did a good job though; the plot was exciting, the setting heartbreakingly realistic, and the main character was a strong, smart girl that knew how to think on her feet.

 

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

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When The Hazel Wood came out a couple of years ago, the reviews were so mixed it was scary. As much as I loved the concept and the cover, I could not bring myself to take the risk on purchasing it without having read it first. While the main character is not exactly likeable, the writing and the world-building was lush and beautiful. The fairy tales were how I like them: dark and gruesome. I flew through The Hazel Wood. I’m expecting the same thing to happen when I get around to reading the sequel, The Night Country.

 

What books exceeded your expectations?

 

Books That Were Not What I Expected

What do you do when you find a book that was not what you expected?

This was another Top 5 Tuesday topic from February that I missed. I know this sounds like a negative subject, however reading a book that is not what you expected can be a good thing also. Unfortunately, as evident by this list, reading a book that was not what I expected was commonly more a negative experience than a positive one.

 

Sabrina by Nick Drnaso

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Sabrina was the third book I read in 2020, recently purchased two or three months ago. I already want to unhaul it. That right there should be enough of an explanation. Sabrina supposedly won awards, yet I was so bored the entire time I was reading. This was not the mystery/thriller graphic novel I was expecting.

 

Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan

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Rainbirds gives off the vibe of being a domestic thriller set in Japan circa 1990s. Except this is one of the cases where a book not being what I expected was not entirely a bad thing. The protagonist, Ren, infiltrates a small town after his older sister, Keiko, is killed. He goes as far as even to replace her as an English teacher in the local cram school and moving into her old room in the local politician’s house. While it turned out to be a contemporary, Rainbirds ultimately had more pros than cons.

 

The King of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany

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The King of Elfland’s Daughter is supposedly one of the “greatest fantasy novels of all time.” Sadly, I found nothing “great” about it. How the hell did people figure out what was going on?

 

Kiss Me in Paris by Catherine Rider

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I picked up Kiss Me in Paris needing something short to get ahead in my yearly reading challenge before going back to school last year. Only this romantic comedy in Paris had more depth to it than I expected. I would compare this book to The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon: a whirlwind 24-hour romance that brings up some serious issues and handles them quite well.

 

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

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Everything I Never Told You sounds like a mystery when you first read the synopsis. It is about an interracial family as they unravel after the beloved middle daughter is found dead in the lake. While mystery behind the daughter’s death is the most constant thread throughout, the book’s main focus are the shifting family dynamics and how this tragedy brought forth the problems they have spent years ignoring.

 

Lizzie by Dawn Ius

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A retelling of Lizzie Borden set in the modern day? Sign me up! I can’t tell you how excited I was for Lizzie when it came out. While I know fanatically religious parents still exist, the book just felt too Victorian for something supposedly happening in the 21st century. The writing made me cringe. Not to mention the insta-love lesbian romance.

 

Part of Your World by Liz Braswell

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I really don’t want to talk about it, but I kind of have to, don’t I? Granted, I went into this retelling of Disney’s The Little Mermaid movie with low expectations. It is supposed to be set five years after the events of the movie and what would have happened if Ursula won. It was not nearly as dark and fun as I thought. I was not expecting great literature, but I wasn’t expecting to be bored.

 

And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman

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And When She Was Good felt like a Lifetime movie in book form. While I typically enjoy those kinds of books—if written well—I picked up this book expecting a thriller instead of a drama. With all the flashbacks, it took ages to get to the point and nothing major happened.

 

Invisible by James Patterson

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As a reader of James Patterson, I should know by now not to expect anything from his books. His books either hit or they miss. Obviously, Invisible was a miss. It started off well, but by the end he was recycling plot twists he had used before. Very, very boring.

 

A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell

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I went into A Simple Favor expecting a book about the complexities of female friendship when both have big secrets. Instead I got…not that. Normally, a sociopath would be fun to read about, but this woman was just extra. And the other’s secrets were taboo in a fun way, but were revealed too soon. A Simple Favor had so much potential.

 

What books were not what you expected?

Ten of My Bookish Habits

I can’t begin to explain the unfair FOMO I felt when Shanah announced February’s Top 5 Tuesday topics. The life of a graduate student is filled with Top 5 Tuesday FOMO.

But this blog needs content and I need to get over my FOMO. And I really want to talk about my bookish habits. Because I have ten, not five. Or, well, I probably have more than ten, but who has time to go that deep?

Ten of my bookish habits are:

 

Using my local library

I am getting my Master’s in library and information science, so I should practice what I preach, right? As if I need to justify free books. While I love supporting the great institution I aim to spend the next thirty or so years of my career, it becomes a problem when I’m ignoring the unread books I have at home. Like right now.

 

No dog earring!

I have so many bookmarks it’s a sin. There is no excuse for me to dog-ear my books while I read. Every time I pick my next read, I painstakingly pick a bookmark that best matches it. I will even dump all of them on my bed until I find the right one.

 

I read only one book at a time

I’ve been trying this lately and it is confirmed: I cannot read more than one book at a time. How do I know this? I lose interest in the other book(s) I’m reading to focus on just one until it is finished. No matter how long it is.

 

I carry a book with me almost everywhere

Even if I know I will likely not have time to read during the day, I still bring a book with me.

 

I keep track of books I read in a month inside a notebook

I started using a notebook to track my monthly reading around the time everyone else was going crazy over bullet journals. I was too lazy to go through making spreads and what not, but I like making lists. Using a notebook seemed like the easiest way to keep track of what I read during the month as well as what I rated each book.

 

Buying books without reading more of the ones I own

All the three-part book hauls on my platform—and my bank account history—can attest to this. I mean, I love supporting bookstores as much as libraries and, since it’s my money, I can do what I want with it (within reason, of course).

 

Using Goodreads

I participate in Goodreads yearly reading challenges and I use it to keep track of all the books I read in a year. Whenever I have read a certain amount of pages, I update the status on Goodreads. I add books to my Goodreads “want to read” every day. I enter giveaways. Of all the social media I have, Goodreads is the one I use the most.

 

Taking forever to finish book series

This is a habit I am sure many of you can relate to. We read the first book, love it, and then wait two or three sequels before finishing the series. Or there’s a series you want to read, but the whole series comes out before you actually get around to it. I own several unread series that I have every intention of reading. Eventually.

 

Making reading lists and monthly TBRs

I love making reading lists. It’s a calming thing, a way to get my thoughts in order when I’m struggling to focus. I make lists of books I want to read at the moment or future TBRs. Do I stick to the reading lists? Not always. I do my best, though.

 

Rarely rereading books

I used to reread a lot when I was younger. That was before I had access to a well-stocked library or my own income to buy books. Now, I rarely do it.

 

 

Do you have any of the same bookish habits I do?

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Anticipated Books for 2020

I love to watch and read people’s anticipated book releases, always looking forward to adding more books to my ever-growing Goodreads TBR. Thing is, I have not made my own anticipated releases posts. At least, not since I started my blog in 2016. This is mostly because there are so many books, by both old and new to me authors, that peak my interest. There is no way I can keep any list down to five.

For the sake of Top 5 Tuesday, I chose books by favorite authors and the next installment of currently running series I’m reading. My six (I told you I could not keep it to five) most anticipated books for 2020 are:

 

The Burning God by R.F. Kuang

May 28th, 2020

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The Burning God is the final novel in The Poppy War trilogy. This is one of the books on this list I plan to read as soon as I can get my hands on it. If the two previous books are any indication, The Burning God will be too long for me to read from the library (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I am both dreading and looking forward to this prospect.

 

Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

May 5th, 2020

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Personally, I have not seen the sequel to Aurora Rising on anyone else’s “most anticipated” lists. I assume it’s on other places I haven’t looked yet, or at least I hope so. I really enjoyed the first novel and will gladly clear away whatever TBR I currently have in May to read Aurora Burning.

 

Break Your Glass Slippers by Amanda Lovelace

March 17th, 2020

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I simply cannot put off Amanda Lovelace’s books…I’ve tried. I can last for a month at best before I cave and put aside my current TBR books to read her latest poetry collection. Break Your Glass Slippers is supposed to be the first in a new poetry series by Amanda Lovelace called You Are Your Own Fairy Tale. So, naturally, I expect more women empowerment and badass-ness from this new book.

 

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

May 19th, 2020

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I both love and hate the idea of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Love, because it is a new book by Suzanne Collins. Hate, because I kind of wish she wrote something else instead of going back to The Hunger Games universe, even if it is set sixty-four years before the original trilogy. But is that going to stop me from reading it? No, obviously.

 

The Night Country by Melissa Albert

January 7th, 2020

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The most recent release on this list, The Night Country is the sequel to The Hazel Wood. I admit I am slightly disappointed that The Hazel Wood was not a stand-alone, but since we are spending more time in the fantasy world of the fairy tales in The Night Country, I’m not mad about it.

 

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

March 3rd, 2020

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Chain of Gold is a given for anyone who is a fan of Cassandra Clare. I want to read this book in 2020. Only at this point I have not finished The Dark Artifices trilogy nor read Ghosts of the Shadow Market, which features characters from the upcoming The Last Hours trilogy. I don’t feel right about starting a new Shadowhunter series without completing the previous one. I shouldn’t fall behind any more than I already have.

 

Are you anticipating any of the same books I am?

 

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Reasons I Rate a Book 5 Stars

What makes me rate a book five stars? I never thought about that before….

When Shanah released the list of topics for January 2020, this is the topic I was most excited to write. I like it when I actually have to think of an answer.

For me to rate a book 5 stars, the book must have:

 

Great writing

If I don’t love an author’s writing style, chances are I’m not going to give it 5 stars. Sometimes, I do not mind juvenile or simplistic writing, as long as it goes with the narrative, such as the novel is told from the perspective of a younger protagonist. But if I find the writing too simplistic or cringey or repetitive, then forget it. If I think the writing style is beautiful, then I will give it a high rating.

 

A well thought-out plot and character development

Plot and character development go hand in hand in my book. Sometimes, I can overlook one for the sake of the other, but it has to be for a good reason. If a book is more of a character study and the protagonist goes through a major development, but there isn’t much a consistent plot, I’m fine with it. If a novel is more plot-driven without so much of a focus on characters, but the plot is entertaining, it’s no big deal. But to get 5 stars, the book has to have both in equal measures.

 

The ability to hold my attention, even when I’m not reading it

A common indicator that I will give a book 5 stars is if I’m thinking about reading it when I’m not reading it. If I am at work or school and I look for any excuse I can to take a break so I can read more, that is when I know a book is on the 5-star track. If I am in the process of reading the book and it’s the only thing holding my attention, that is also usually a sign of a 5-star read.

In short: if a book makes me ignore my responsibilities or my friends or my family, it’s a good book.

 

The ability to make me really think and feel something

I read for the enjoyment of reading. But I also don’t read just for the act of reading. I will read fluffy books to pass the time and relax. On the flip side to that, I tend to gravitate towards books with heavy plots or themes more often. If a book challenges my way of thinking, makes me consider something I hadn’t before, or makes me feel like I’m a real character in the book, then it is a candidate for a 5-star rating.

 

The ability to make me cry

I am genuinely not a book crier. I cry in movies, because the act of seeing it on the screen versus reading it on the page bothers me more. However, there are the exceptions that have made me cry in real sadness from what I read. And I’m talking real crying, not getting misty-eyed. If a book makes me shed tears, it’s a 5-star, hands down.

 

What makes you rate a book 5 stars?   

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….