2020 Reading Resolutions Check-In

I was ambitious in my reading resolutions for 2020. 2019 had not been the best year in terms of reading—despite a lot of other great things—so I wanted 2020 to make up for it. But I was also in my final semester of graduate school. As you can imagine, there is a lot of reading involved in the field of library and information science. The work was just demanding in general, on top of maneuvering it around a part-time job. I knew I had to practice the best self-care, even if it was watching scary story videos on YouTube instead of reading.

Regardless, I’m checking in on my reading resolutions to figure out which ones I want to carry on with for the rest of 2020. Those reading resolutions were:

 

Set a Goodreads goal of 50 books

COMPLETED

Thanks to my children’s literature class, I read 50 books by March. Initially, I planned on leaving it alone, to just read books without the pressure of reaching a new goal. Then, the quarantine happened and reading suddenly became a struggle with all this new amount of time on my hands. In April, I raised my Goodreads goal to 80 books in hopes competitiveness will spur my reading. As of right now, it has helped. At least somewhat.

 

Read more of the books I own than library books

NOT QUITE…

At this moment in time, 54 out of the 69 books I’ve read this year were library books. About 43 of those library books I read for the children’s literature course. I should have just stuck to those. However, I suddenly became obsessed with obtaining more library books. I needed an excuse to get out of the house when my previous job went into lockdown and school went online. Then, of course, the public library also went into lockdown for the quarantine.

 

Buy books for every 10-20 amount of books I own that I read

FAIL (OBVIOUSLY)

I am not quite sure what I was thinking when I made this resolution. In fact, I had forgotten about it. The majority of the books I read in the first three months of the year were from the library. Even after my enormous birthday splurge in January, I still could not stop shopping for books. I would try not to buy books at all, then buy so many in one go. Can anyone blame me though? I worked near two bookstores.

Fortunately, my bank account will rest easy for the time being. I don’t have the funds for books now, honestly. I joined Book of the Month in April as a graduation present to myself, then cancelled it this month (July). I would have stayed subscribed if I was not unemployed. I do like the service, regardless of the current controversy.

 

Complete the series on my priority TBR pile

NOT YET COMPLETED

I plan on finishing this before the end of the year. I put off the series I started and books I was excited for to focus on school. Now, I no longer have the distraction. In fact, I’m in need of a distraction. Until I get a job, I have all the time in the world to take a hammer to my TBR pile.

 

Get back into writing book reviews, monthly wrap-ups and TBRs

Book reviews: nope

Wrap-ups: yes

TBRs: yes

Between the COVID-19 lockdown and my school/work schedule, I did manage to squeeze in writing monthly TBRs and wrap-ups. On the book review front, I wrote one individual book review in the past six months. The rest? I guess I did not have a lot to say about them. Hopefully, that changes in the coming months.

 

Stick to reading lists, but be flexible

YES…AND NO

Regarding this one, I would manage to select books, but change my mind constantly throughout the month. This is nothing new. Like in previous years, I would go to the library and borrow too many library books because I was trying to stop myself from buying more. With my owned TBR books, I thought I settled on what I wanted to read next, then I would change my mind later. It goes on.

After the recent Black Lives Matter movements, I grabbed unread books I own by Black authors. It was the first time I felt truly grounded in a TBR pile. This then spurred me to make a reading list I hope to complete by the end of 2020. I am finally happy with what I want to read next. I am positive it will stay that way for the rest of the year.

 

Reread books

YES

So far, I’ve reread seven books in 2020. I started my reading year with a reread. I had heard people saying starting the new year picking up an old favorite spurs their reading on. They were right.

There were also a few picture books my dad read to me as a little girl, like Madeline, that I read again in my children’s literature class. I reread The Boxcar Children, my favorite book in elementary school, for that class as well. In May, I reread two books, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes, when I fell into a reading slump. Those books helped me out of it.

Will I continue this for the rest of the year? The only book I want to reread now is The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand. Only in December, close to Christmas.

 

Read before bed

SOMETIMES…

I thought reading before bed might help me sleep. Without having to get up super early in the morning to go to work or school, I was having trouble falling asleep at night. Turns out, I have to be careful what I read before bed. If I read something particularly sad or exciting, I cannot fall asleep. I still read before bed, on and off. I want to be more consistent, though.

 

Read all library books borrowed and not take out so many at a time

DO YOU HAVE TO ASK? FAIL

After my school and work went into quarantine, I checked out over 40 library books. These were all books I wanted to read. Being home more, I thought I would have time to read. Technically, I did have time to read—I just wasn’t making it. Eventually, it became hard to concentrate on anything not schoolwork. As usual, I made my way through some of the library books, but could not bring myself to read them all. Then, I proceeded to get more. This time around, though, I have an amount I know I can reasonably get through.

 

Unhaul books

NOT COMPLETED (BUT IT’S NOT MY FAULT)

I had every intention of doing another unhaul this year. My school was already hosting a book drive when they suddenly closed for quarantine. The local library isn’t accepting donations right now, either. But I have a list of books I want to donate once I’m able to.

 

Do a blog series

FAIL

For the past few months, I was absorbed in school. It sucked up my creativity; a lot of ideas died during brainstorming. I might do one later this year…maybe?

How did you do on your reading goals so far for 2020?

What am I Going to Read in July of 2020?

Ever get so excited to read, you want to read all the books yet can’t focus on anything?

Yeah, that’s me, right now.

There are a lot of books I own that I want to read in 2020. However, I’m going stir crazy stuck inside my house all day. My local library has entered Phase 2, where we are allowed place holds and pick them up. I know I should not. My books at home are being ignored. But there are a few library books I checked out before the quarantine that I want to finish. And I’m having a hard time focusing on reading my TBR books. When I fall into a reading funk like that, usually library books are the only thing that can get me out of it.

I really want to challenge my reading in July. I am still unemployed, with nowhere to go and nothing else to do. I debated on whether to raise my goal on Goodreads as a way to motivate myself to read. We will see what happens in July.

Here are books I want to read in July 2020:

 

Currently Reading

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

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I picked up both of these books in the middle of June, only to put them back down again. I made it to the middle of With the Fire on High, then stopped. I honestly don’t know why, because I liked what I read. At this point, my lack of enjoyment of With the Fire on High is probably all on me.

The same can be said for Homegoing. At this moment, I am 59 pages in and have not read anymore since. Hopefully, in July, I will finish both of these.

 

Library Books

The Fiery Heart, Silver Shadows, and The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

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The last three books in the Bloodlines series are remainders from my pre-lockdown library book haul and the only ones from that haul I still wanted to read. I started reading The Fiery Heart right before I was hit with this reading slump at the end of May. I felt compelled to set the series aside in favor of others, but I do want to finish the Bloodlines series. The books are fun.

 

Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer

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I’ve had Echo North on my radar for a while. It’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, where the beast character is a wolf. When she discovers her father being held captive by a wolf, a girl named Echo makes a deal with the wolf to live in his enchanted house for a year. As she explores the house, she finds secrets lurking inside the library, along with a mysterious boy trapped inside a world of mirrors. To save herself, the wolf, and the boy, Echo must solve the mystery behind the wolf’s enchantment.

 

The Dragons, the Giant, the Women: a Memoir by Wayetu Moore

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The Dragons, the Giant, the Women is the one that started the new library book haul after I saw an advertisement for it on my library’s website. This book covers the war in Liberia, a part of history I know little about. It then leads into the author’s experience growing up in the United States as an immigrant and a Black woman in Texas. If I want to be educated on such a topic, nonfiction seems the best way to go.

 

Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman

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I forgot I had Snow, Glass, Apples saved on my library account. Since I like to read graphic novels when I’m in a “reading funk” as I call them—not quite a slump, though close to it—I reach for graphic novels. Snow, Glass, Apples is a retelling of Snow White where the wicked stepmother is actually a good queen and Snow White is the villain. Let’s see what Neil Gaiman does with this.

 

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

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I had Akata Witch saved on my library account, intending to read it eventually. After more than one of my frequently watched BookTubers talked about it, I figured it was a sign from the universe to read this young adult fantasy novel about a magical school in Nigeria and gifted teenagers looking for a child murderer.

 

TBR Books

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

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I am way behind on the hype train for The Hate U Give, but after reading Dear Martin by Nic Stone, I need more educational fiction on police brutality. Little & Lion I had meant to read for Pride month, but I got held up by other things. Pride is a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice set in modern-day Brooklyn. I will read either Akata Witch or one of these books for the Off-the-Grid-read-a-thon Shanah is hosting later this month.

 

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

Thunderhead and The Toll by Neal Shusterman

Fierce Like a Firestorm by Lana Popovic

Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh

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These are five out of the fifteen books I need to read before the end of 2020. All of them have been on my TBR for too long.

 

Amber & Dusk and Diamond & Dawn by Lyra Selene

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There were a lot of books on my shelves that were calling to me in a way I could not ignore. Amber & Dusk along with its sequel Diamond & Dawn were two of them. Sylvie is a gifted illusionist, an ability her guardians called a curse. To put her talents to good use and get out of her situation, she changes her name Mirage and, under orders from the empress, infiltrates the royal court to claim her supposed rightful spot in their ranks. I like fantasy books with intrigue, especially with a main character that appears to lean more towards Slytherin. Haven’t heard anything about Amber & Dusk, since its release, so let’s see how this goes.

 

Any ambitious reading plans for the second half of 2020?

June 2020 Wrap Up

In June, my reading game went up and down in waves. I did not have a TBR for June, so I could pick whatever I felt like. I read two books I was excited for in 2020. After those two books, I went back and forth on what I wanted to read next. Then, the Black Lives Matter movement took over social media.

With all the discussion floating around, I realized I added more books by Black authors to my TBR pile than I read them. So, I took a few off my bookshelves I wanted to read. I couldn’t remember the last time I felt so settled in a monthly TBR pile.

Then, towards the end of the month, I wanted to read everything and nothing. I went back to the library, the last thing I should be doing. Yet, somehow, those books made me want to read more. It’s because of library books I have six books in this wrap-up instead of four.

Books I read in June 2020 are:

 

Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

5 stars

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Aurora Burning gave me the book hangover of my life. I thought I would like it as I did the first one, Aurora Rising. Only Aurora Burning played with my emotions—I equally laughed and felt on the verge of tears. I loved the romance. I loved the individual characters. It was hard to put down Aurora Burning. I read the book at the beginning of June and I am still thinking about it.

I need the next one. NOW!

 

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

3 stars

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Thinking back to it now, with time away from it and reading other people’s reviews, I was wondering if I was generous in my rating of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

Truthfully, I did not go into this book expecting much. I went into Snow’s origin story knowing a guy like that was always a sociopath. If they are done right, I have a weakness for sociopathic narrators. I find it fascinating getting inside their heads, seeing their thinking process. Obviously, Snow has no humility, as evident how he handled his family’s decline in financial status and how he used others to get what he wanted. His relationship with his family provided humanity to him, only not much. It’s rare to see a young adult book with such a truly awful protagonist that does not have a redemption arc.

While I enjoyed the conflicted commentary on the Hunger Games, how war effected the society and how people treated each other, the pros did not outweigh the cons. The pacing was off. Not much happened, with the only exciting part being the Hunger Games. The ending definitely dragged and we got how fully deplorable Snow was. But, admittedly, it was fun being inside this sociopath’s head.

Mark Twain would have appreciated The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. If you know anything about his work or his criticism of the “penny novels” of his day, you will know why.

 

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

3.75 stars

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To be honest, I added the .75 to my rating mostly for the ending. I love books written in verse. However, in the case of The Crossover, I felt disconnected the narrator, Josh, as well as the other characters. It seemed things moved too fast for me to process and not all issues were fully addressed or resolved. Plus, I’m not a sports person. I did not care for the basketball references. On the flip side to that, I enjoyed the writing style and the portrayal healthy familial relationships.

 

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

5 stars

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With all that happened in the past month, Dear Martin was a book I needed to read. I wanted to learn more about police brutality. Dear Martin was more than what I bargained for, though. This book made me think. I loved Justyce as a main character. I loved the questions about police brutality, race, and other issues that were answered, sometimes in more than one way. Most importantly, I love how fair Nic Stone was to everyone. There was no preaching, only educating. With all that Dear Martin made me think and feel, I am excited for the sequel coming out this fall, Dear Justyce.

 

Say Her Name by Zetta Elliott (library book)

3.5 stars

When the Stars Wrote Back: Poems by Trista Mateer (library book)

5 stars

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I know I said no more library books, but I needed an excuse to get out of the house and I fell into a weird funk in my reading. I was in the middle of one book and could barely get past 50 pages of another. I set those aside for the moment to pick up more library books.

Say Her Name is a collection of poems by Zetta Elliott and others on the repression of, or lack thereof, Black female voices within the Black Lives Matter movement. The drawings accompanying the poems were pretty and colorful. While I liked the writing style, most of the poems fell flat for me. I found it insightful on the Black women’s experience, how it is different from other women’s as well as how their stories are not always as heard as Black men’s stories. Say Her Name is a book I would recommend be taught in schools.

When the Stars Wrote Back: Poems was a book I saw everywhere when it came out a few weeks ago. Needless to say, I think I’ve found a potential new favorite contemporary poet after Amanda Lovelace. I loved Trista Mateer’s style of poetry. A lot of what she had to say hit home for me, especially her experiences with eating disorders and body image. She also wasn’t shy about disclosing on personal stories, some most people would be surprised by. I read When the Stars Wrote Back in under an hour and loved every second of it.

 

When was the last time you visited your local library?

 

The Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag! The 2020 Edition

Does this tag even need an introduction?

The Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag is my favorite tag to do every year. I like looking back on the books I read so far in the year. It gets me motivated to keep going. I also use it to plan my reading for the rest of the year. Of all the ones I’ve done previously, I think 2020 is my favorite.

So, let’s get right to it then.

 

The best book you’ve read so far this year

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I’ve read a lot of genuinely good books in 2020. As of writing this, I have given eighteen books 5 stars. One of those books was a reread. Twelve were picture books I read for my children’s literature class. Those were based more on my enjoyment than anything else. But it’s a tie between To Drink Coffee with a Ghost by Amanda Lovelace and Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff for the best book of the year so far.

 

Your favorite sequel this year

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Easily Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, which put me in the biggest book hangover of my life. I found little to no fault with it. I loved all the character arcs and the world building. Another sequel I enjoyed so far this year is The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead, the second book in the Bloodlines series.

 

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

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A lot…a few I already own is My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell, Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Manon, and The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner. Other new releases I want to read but do not own yet are Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo; Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know by Samira Ahmed; My Calamity Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows; Agnes at the End of the World by Kelly McWilliams; and The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu.

 

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

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The two releases I need in my life as soon as yesterday are Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco and A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir. I plan on finishing the remaining books by the respective authors in the coming months, close to the release date for these new ones. Because I don’t know what I would do with myself without the fantasy and the angst.

 

Biggest disappointment

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins was a let-down, but you were expecting that weren’t you? In all fairness, I went into that book with low expectations. Other books that truly disappointed me were Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater and Sabrina by Nick Drnaso.

 

Biggest surprise

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I had a few surprises in 2020. The first was The Winter King by C.L. Wilson. For an adult fantasy romance with ten-page sex scenes, the plot had a lot more depth than I expected. The romance was slow-burn and the world building was entertaining. The next was the Bloodlines series, at least books 1 to 3. I had not expected to like the series or the characters as much as I did. Lastly, is A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, which is technically a reread. It impacted me more this time around, having been through everything I did in the four years since I first read it.

 

Favorite new to you or debut author

Hmmm…I don’t quite have an answer for this one. Most of the new to me authors I’ve only read one book of, so it’s hard to say for sure. Two I want to read more of is Nic Stone and C.L. Wilson. There is also a middle grade author, Erin Entrada Kelly, whose book Hello, Universe I read for my children’s literature class, that I want to look into.

 

Your new fictional crush

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Maybe it’s a sign of me getting older, but I did not have a lot of new fictional crushes this year. The only exception this year is Wynter Atrialan, the male lead of The Winter King by C.L. Wilson. He was not one of those morally gray bad-boy love interests. Wynter was truly a good, honorable man, who wanted to do the right thing for his people. Even if it meant sacrificing his humanity.

 

New favorite character

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As much as everyone else seems to not like her, my new favorite character is Sydney Sage, the protagonist of the Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead. I relate to her; she’s an intellectual that lives too much inside her head but always puts her responsibilities first. She is also not the best at picking up on social cues, which I too identify with. While I understand her reluctance to be with Adrian is frustrating to others, I understood it. She grew up in a society that viewed vampires as evil beings. That doesn’t go away overnight just because of some cute boy, even if it is Adrian Ivashkov. Another new favorite character is Sarah-Jane Friedman in Dear Martin by Nic Stone, and she was a boss.

 

A book that made you cry

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To Drink Coffee with a Ghost by Amanda Lovelace and A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness both left me crying my eyes out at one in the morning. These books hit a nerve. Hard.

 

A book that made you happy

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I don’t want to repeat answers, but Aurora Burning made me laugh out loud as much as it pulled my heartstrings. I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks by Gina Sheridan also caused me to laugh out loud while reading. The stories in this collection were so funny because they were true.

 

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

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I have bought so many beautiful books this year:

Catherine House by Elisabeth House—probably my favorite book cover ever.

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner—this cover gives me a ridiculous amount of life.

Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel—is my favorite shade of pink and has a butterfly on it. Cutesy with an ominous feel.

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare—I have this facing front on my bookshelves just so I can stare at it whenever I want.

 

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

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All the books…but I narrowed it down to fifteen. Others I want to read in the next six months are The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas; My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows; Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi; Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan; and Lethal White by Robert Galbraith.

 

What are you going to read for the rest of the year?

15 Books I NEED to Read Before the End of 2020

…and I mean need to read.

Truth be told, there are a lot of books sitting unread on my bookshelves for far too long. That’s a given when you have both a book-buying problem along with a love of the library. Falling behind on my to be read pile these past few years has been due to a combination of graduate school, adult responsibilities, and getting distracted by new, shiny books. But there are parts of series that I kept putting off no matter how much I loved the previous installments. Those are the ones on this list.

Fifteen books I need to read before the of 2020 (because there is no reason to keep putting them off anymore) are:

 

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

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This is one of the cases where I do have a reason putting off A Reaper at the Gates. After reading An Ember in the Ashes and A Torch Against the Night back to back only to find out the third book, A Reaper at the Gates, would not be coming out for another two years, I was not happy. Now that the final book in the series, A Sky Beyond the Storm, is coming out in December, I don’t have to wait forever for the next book.

 

Escaping from Houdini and Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco

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Similar to A Reaper at the Gates, I put off Escaping from Houdini until Capturing the Devil was released and I owned it. Initially, I was going to read it right away—then the reviews happened. Reviews that promised me, my heartstrings, and my OTP a lot of unnecessary pain at the hands of Kerri Maniscalco. Yes, I know what happens, but now I am prepared for it. I have Capturing the Devil to cushion my fall.

 

Thunderhead and The Toll by Neal Shusterman

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I read Scythe last fall for my young adult literature class. I had put it off, only to enjoy it way more than I thought I would a young adult dystopian novel. I also don’t want to fall behind on this trilogy in general, like I have so many other series.

 

Fierce Like a Firestorm by Lana Popovic

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Fierce Like a Firestorm is the sequel to Wicked Like a Wildfire, a low fantasy/magical realism novel I read from the library back in 2017. I don’t think I will have to reread my copy in order to remember what happened—it’s a pretty basic storyline. However, I admit I’m a little worried how Fierce Like a Firestorm will compare to Wicked Like a Wildfire, since it’s approximately 100 pages shorter in length.

 

Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

Now I Rise and Bright We Burn by Kiersten White

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These next few books are on this list because graduate school got in the way. Smoke in the Sun is the sequel and concluding novel to Flame in the Mist; Our Dark Duet is the sequel to This Savage Song; Now I Rise and Bright We Burn are the second and third novels in a trilogy, with the first book being And I Darken. I read and enjoyed all the first books, so much that I am positive I will enjoy the succeeding novels also. However, I did not want to be so distracted from school.

 

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

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

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In all honesty, I have a love/hate relationship with Sarah J. Maas’s books. I am still bitter about my OTPs. I mean, I like Rhysand and Rowan, but if you were ever Team Tamlin or Team Chaol, you know Sarah J. Maas has a bad habit of ruining one love interest for the sake of another. Also, her plots are kind of flat in some places on top of being romance heavy. Regardless, it does make them a lot of fun. If only they were at least 200 pages shorter.

 

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

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Someone recently described Cassandra Clare’s books like a “CW TV show with all the drama and pretty people falling in love.” I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. I had fun reading Lady Midnight, the first book in The Dark Artifices trilogy. So much so, I distinctly remember buying Lord of Shadows as soon as it came out. Then, all I heard about was those last three sentences in Lord of Shadows and all the character deaths and all I could think was oh crap….not to mention the length of these books….So, I waited for Queen of Air and Darkness.

 

What books have you put off reading for too long?

My Favorite Fictional Fathers

I am a little late to the game on this one….

I had trouble coming up with names for this list. Like the mothers, the fathers are not always present in books, particularly young adult literature. And if they are, they are usually not nice people. Admittedly, it’s a smaller list than my fictional mothers list last month. Or maybe my own standards for dads are too high. Still, all the fathers and father figures on this list are worth it.

 

Arthur Weasley from the Harry Potter series

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All the controversy of JK Rowling aside, you can’t deny that Arthur Weasley was a good dad as much as Molly Weasley was a good mom. He found happiness in the little things and accepted people as they were. If he met you, he was just happy to know you. And he was as protective of Harry as he was to his own children.

 

Hans from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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Hans is Liesel’s foster father. Unlike his wife, Rosa, he’s warm, caring, and attentive towards Liesel from the beginning. He helps her learn to read, even as he struggles with it himself. He quietly protested against the Nazi party, teaching Liesel how to think for herself by reading different books, and hiding a Jewish boy without hesitation. Hans is genuinely a good person, and a good dad.

 

Marko from the Saga graphic novels by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

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Marko is the softie to his wife Alana’s hard-ass. He stayed home and looked after Hazel while Alana went to work. He taught his daughter kindness. He loved his family and would kill to protect them. And he was not afraid of his emotions, something men and boys need to be taught more.

 

Wynter Atrialan from The Winter King by C.L. Wilson

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For the majority of The Winter King, Wynter is technically not a dad; he’s trying to conceive an heir with his wife, Kham. When he was sixteen and his little brother was three, their parents were killed. From there, Wynter had to basically raise his brother. Wynter also had that kind of “dad” personality with just about everyone. The kind of person that you both adore when he’s not driving you crazy for getting way too protective.

 

Who is your favorite fictional dad?

Series I Don’t Mention a Lot (or at all) on My Blog

As I’m sure many of you can relate to as fellow book bloggers, we get into a rhythm of repeating the same books over and over. It’s a combination of reading new or favorite books and wanting to talk about them. Obviously, I was reading before I started this blog, yet I do not mention all those books I read prior to 2016.

I was big into reading series when I was in high school. I still do like series, but I am not always as consistent with keeping up with them like I was back then. Some of these I never finished, nor do I have any plans to do so. Others I read within the last few years, since starting my blog.

Seven of those series are:

 

The Dollenganger series by V.C. Andrews

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I don’t think I have ever talked about the Dollenganger series, which is Flowers in the Attic, Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, and Garden of Shadows. This is surprising, honestly, because I was obsessed. While I am uncomfortable with the aspect of sibling incest, in this case, it was realistic. Chris, Cathy, and twins Cory and Carrie were locked in an attic for five years by their greedy mother and fanatically religious grandmother. Chris and Cathy had to grow up fast, acting as parents to the twins during the delicate age of puberty. Plus, the series gets darker in the later books.

 

Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz

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There are not a lot of series I read in high school that I would reread now. Blue Bloods is one I go back and forth on. I remember it had such interesting vampire mythology (at least back then). In the world of Blue Bloods, the vampires are reincarnated souls of cursed fallen angels. The romances in this series were okay, not as toxic as most romances in YA in the early 2000s. The plot was pretty dark for young adult books at the time. I made it up to book four or five, but then I stopped reading. Why that was, I’m not entirely sure. I know there was an element of incest in these books, though I remember surprisingly being okay with it. I think I would still like them, only I’m scared to find out if that’s no longer true.

 

House of Night series by PC Cast

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I loved the House of Night books in high school. I read these right after riding the high of the Twilight saga. I read the first two or three books in rapid succession then, for whatever reason, it took me until my senior year of college to pick up the books again. Sadly, I made it up to book six before realizing I had “outgrown” the House of Night series. I hate using that word, except it’s true. I still loved the world of vampires practicing Wiccan magic and the fun, cheerful characters. I would have pushed through if it were not for the cringey writing.

 

1-800-Where-R-U series by Meg Cabot

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What I remember most about the 1-800-Where-R-U series? It was my least favorite series ever. The concept is cool—a girl gets the psychic ability to find missing people after being struck by lightning—but the execution was weak. I didn’t like the main character. I didn’t like her love interest. The only thing I liked was the representation on PTSD in the final book. That was the first time I saw something like that in a young adult book.

 

Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr

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I distinctly remember reading the first and second book in the Wicked Lovely series, but I don’t know if I finished them. Back then, I had a bad habit of not reading books all the way through, unless I really liked them. I think I genuinely like Wicked Lovely back then. It was the book that introduced me to the darker side of faeries, based on actual fairy mythology. Only if I reread them now, I’m not so sure.

 

Passenger duology by Alexandra Bracken

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Ironically, I rarely talk about the Passenger duology on my blog and it is one of my favorite series. I enjoyed the time-travelling element as well as the complicated family dynamics. I liked the heroine, Etta, and the male lead, Nicholas, both who were genuinely good people. While their romance was insta-love, it was the kind of insta-love that I did not hate. Unlike Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds trilogy, the Passenger duology is a series I would gladly reread.

 

The Boy series by Meg Cabot

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I read the books in this adult companion series—The Boy Next Door, Boy Meets Girl, and Every Boy’s Got One—right as I was coming out of my Meg Cabot obsession phase. They were rom-coms written in email format following three different women working in the same fictional New York newspaper. Each of these were fun and funny; my favorite was The Boy Next Door. Since reading the first three books, another companion novel, The Boy is Back, has been published. I don’t know when I will read it, though.

 

What is a series you read in high school you might reread?

Books by Black Authors I am Reading Right Now

I like to believe people are generally good. I like to believe that the world is improving day by day. However, these last few weeks have reminded me that for every good person there are ten more bad apples.

Recently, I watched the 1987 movie Overboard with Goldie Hawn and a character said a great quote: “Most people live life with their own blinders on.” Or something along those lines. But you get the idea, right? Unless they are exposed to it, most people don’t know much beyond themselves.

I want to believe that racism is no longer a thing and Martin Luther King Jr. and many other great people stomped it out of existence. Sadly, racism is the acne scar that won’t go away. Worse still, most people don’t even notice when they or others around them are acting racist, because it’s so normalized. Even after four years at a liberal arts college and two more at a large university in a very Democrat blue city, I realized I was not as up to date as I should be. There is more that I can do, and that I actively want to do going forward.

While I do not approve of the looting, I do support the peaceful Black Lives Matter protests. After overly indulging in a book haul days before George Floyd’s death (I will go into further publicly shaming myself later), I do not have funds right now to donate. However, I looked at my shelves and realized I own books by Black authors that I have not read yet. If I want to do better, the first step would be to read books by Black authors as much as I add them to my TBR.

These are some of the books by Black authors that I own that I plan on reading over the next several weeks. Those books are:

 

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

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The Crossover was one of the books recommended in my young adult literature class last fall. Written in verse, it’s about thirteen-year-old twin brothers, both with a love for basketball, gradually drifting apart upon entering seventh grade. At the time I am writing this, I have already read The Crossover. More on my thoughts in my monthly wrap up.

 

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

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I read Dear Martin right after finishing The Crossover. I read this one specifically for the subject of police brutality and racial profiling, topics I have not thought much of since my Women and Gender studies classes in undergrad. While reading Dear Martin, all I could do was think about these things and it made my head spin. More on my thoughts in my June reading wrap-up.

 

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

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The book I am currently reading. I read The Poet X, Elizabeth Acevedo’s debut novel, for my young adult literature class last fall. I loved it and I bought With the Fire on High around the same time. It has one of the most beautiful book covers and I’m a little over 30 pages in, but as soon as I pick it up again, I’ll probably fall right back in.

 

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

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Alongside With the Fire on High, I am currently reading Homegoing. Homegoing got some buzz a few years ago when it came out. It is an intergenerational family saga following two half-sisters and their descendants in both Ghana and the United States. One sister lives a life of luxury married to a British solider in Ghana, but her children and grandchildren grow up in political unrest. The other sister is sold into slavery and sent to America, following her descendants from the Civil War to the Jazz Age.

 

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

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I found Red at the Bone at one of the used bookstores near the last place I worked. Another intergenerational family story, this one following two families from different social circles connected by an unexpected pregnancy and the daughter it produced. For all I’ve heard about Jacqueline Woodson, my expectations are high for Red at the Bone.

 

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

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Besides Jacqueline Woodson, Octavia E. Butler is another iconic Black author I forgot I owned a book by. I received Kindred as a gift from my Women and Gender Studies professors when I graduated from undergraduate (I was a WGS minor, in case you didn’t know). I had heard good things about Octavia E. Butler’s books, yet Kindred fell to the back end of my TBR pile. I don’t know why—it’s a time-travel novel about a young Black woman sent back to the antebellum South and is forced to save the boy who would eventually go on to become the slaveowner that abused her ancestor.

 

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

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A retelling of Pride and Prejudice in modern-day Brooklyn, New York? I don’t need to know anything else. I intended to read Pride this year anyway, it was just a matter of fitting it in with the other books I needed to read.

 

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

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Coincidently, I had planned to read Little & Lion for Pride Month (though I’m not sure I will get around to it in June at this point). The main character is a bisexual Jewish Black girl who leaves her New England boarding school to go home to California to help out her stepbrother, who is struggling with mental illness. In doing so, she meets the girl that is detrimental to her brother’s bipolar disorder and also falls for her, putting herself at odds with the person she loves most.

 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Yes, I know—I have not read The Hate U Give. After everything that has happened, it was time to forget the hype and educate myself more on police brutality. Like Pride, I had planned to read The Hate U Give this year, it was just reading it around the series I needed to finish. Now, I have no excuse not to read The Hate U Give.

 

Children of Blood and Bone / Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

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In case you can’t already tell, I have a tendency to fall way behind on the hype train. It’s either I like to deny myself things or I get distracted by newer ones. Since the publication of the third book has not been announced yet, or even given a title according to Goodreads, it’s time to get on this series before too many books are out. Plus, it is a young adult fantasy novel based in West African mythology. It is impossible to explain why I would put off Children of Blood and Bones and Children of Virtue and Vengeance any more than I have.

 

Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas

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The most recent purchase on this list, Catherine House was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020. Not only is the cover gorgeous, it has an intriguing premise: a young woman with a checkered past goes to a prestigious school for young women to better herself, only to find out dark secrets. It wasn’t until I looked at the book’s dust jacket did I find out the author was Black, and a debut author no less.

 

 

These are not the only books by Black authors that I own, just the ones I feel most compelled to read right now. What is your favorite book by a Black author?

Which of these books have you read?

 

My Five First Book Boyfriends

Thanks to the announcement of Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer, the long-awaited retelling of Twilight as told through Edward Cullen’s perspective, there was a renewed talk of the Twilight saga and its problematic content. Those who read Twilight back during its prime know now that it was not as great as we remember it. But, for many of us, it got us into reading and introduced a whole new young adult genre, plus opened the door for new authors.

After some recent rereads, I looked over my shelves, both in person and on Goodreads, at books I haven’t read in years. It got me thinking about other books I loved at the same time I read the Twilight books. And all the book boyfriends I had back in the day.

Here are my five most notable first book boyfriends I had:

 

Jacob Black from the Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer

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Yes…I was Team Jacob. After New Moon, Edward Cullen was on my shit-list. I don’t think I liked him much to begin with; why did Bella want to be with a guy that wanted to kill her? Plus, moody, broody boys don’t do much for me, even back then. While Jacob’s friendship helped Bella through heartbreak, I admit he probably wasn’t much better than Edward. Jacob was sweet, but he had a temper and could be as possessive as Edward. Still, you can’t deny the eye candy that was Taylor Lautner….

 

Jesse da Silva from The Mediator series by Meg Cabot

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Jesse was the one that started it all. While anyone else who read Meg Cabot probably swooned over Michael from The Princess Diaries, I could not stand him. Even at fifteen, I knew it was weird for him to like a fourteen-year-old…but I digress. Jesse, on the other hand, was patient, mature, polite, caring, and protective but not possessive. He was smart and genuinely wanted to help people, despite being a ghost.

 

Derek Souza from The Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong

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Another werewolf, Derek was a grump when he was first introduced in The Summoning. Gradually, he opens up and becomes less of a grump. He can be a little too overprotective of Chloe and his brother Simon, but his intentions are always good. He knows his size can intimidate people, so he tries to downplay it by wearing big clothes. He pretends the discrimination doesn’t bother him, yet he goes out of his way to try to be good all the time. And I’m pretty sure Derek is the reason I like green eyes so much.

 

Will Wagner from Avalon High by Meg Cabot

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Meg Cabot wrote a lot of my book boyfriends back in the day. Aside from Jesse, Will Wagner was one of my favorites. Since he was the reincarnation of King Arthur, he was honorable and good-natured. His dad was a hard-ass, his stepbrother a pain in the ass, and his girlfriend was cheating on him with his best friend, yet Will rolled with it all in the most mature way. He’s the reason I wonder why there are so many jerk love interests in young adult literature.

 

Theseus Cassius Lowood from the Anna Dressed in Blood duology by Kendare Blake

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I don’t always love the sarcastic, snarky boys in YA. Theseus Cassius Lowood, aka Cas, is one of the exceptions. His sarcasm is more no-nonsense. He is smart and thinks on his feet. He doesn’t glamourize killing ghosts and is motivated, if obsessed, with his mission. Those who do have his loyalty, though, Cas is devoted to.

 

Is anyone else NOT going to read Midnight Sun, like me?

The Stuck at Home Book Tag

Sadly…this tag is still relevant.

I saw the Stuck at Home Book Tag, created by Ellyn, on Bookishly Rebecca’s blog. I’m slowly going nuts from not being able to go to work. Since I have nothing else to do without homework, I basically had to force myself to get my head together. Hopefully, you guys will be seeing more content from me in the coming weeks.

To the tag!

 

What are you currently reading?

Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2)

With all the library books I still have checked out, it took me a hot minute to pick my next read. But I finally settled on Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. And, after only 36 pages, I’m glad I did.

 

What’s your favorite “can’t-leave-the-house” activity?

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Besides reading, my favorite at-home activity is watching Netflix or YouTube. Since the 4th season of Thirteen Reasons Why is airing in the first week of June, I’m finally getting back into the show after stopping in the middle of the third season because of school. Another at-home activity I enjoy doing is blogging. Getting back into writing has been so nice.

 

A book you’ve been meaning to read for forever.

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Thing is, I don’t have a book for this question. I have a bad habit of putting off books, whether because I like to deny myself things or I’m distracted by new, shiner ones, or a combination of the two. A few books I have been meaning to read for so long are:

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

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

 

A intimidating book on your TBR

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins, a recent addition to my owned-books to be read pile. It’s 517 pages, except the size doesn’t intimidate me. It’s the fact that I’m worried how it could compare to The Hunger Games trilogy.

 

Top 3 priority books on your TBR

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I have over 80 books on my priority to be read pile…but to name a few:

Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

Fierce Like a Firestorm by Lana Popovic

 

Recommend a short book

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A short book that I enjoyed but rarely mention on my blog is Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. It’s a great, quick read that feels like a slap in the face.

 

Recommend a long book

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One of my favorite long books is The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova, which an intense historical art mystery with beautiful writing.

 

Something you’d love to do while stuck at home

Things I want to do more of while stuck at home are go for walks and work out on the rowing machine in the basement. Instead, I sit on the couch and drink coffee in the morning, then proceed to sit on my computer or doing anything else that does not involve physical activity.

 

What do you plan on reading next?

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After I read Aurora Burning, I’m going to move on to The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Normally, I would wait for the hype to die down. Only this time, I’m making an exception.

 

What have you been doing during quarantine?