Part Two of My 28th Birthday Book Haul

I knew this was going to happen….

            Though I still had a gift card from Christmas, for a while I avoided the current big blowout sale at Barnes & Noble. I had a list of books I wanted to buy that were not in the sale. Except said sale had other titles I also really wanted….

            In short, I cracked. And this won’t be the last part of my birthday book haul, either.

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

52822210

I do not think I’m alone in saying I loved Big Mav from The Hate U Give, and was super excited to learn he was getting a prequel novel.

The Damned by Renee Ahdieh

Tales from the Hinterland by Melissa Albert

The Damned (The Beautiful, #2)
Tales From the Hinterland (The Hazel Wood, #2.5)

These next two books are sequels/companions to series, one I have begun and the other I have not. Tales from the Hinterland is the book of fairy tales that inspired the events of The Hazel Wood. The Damned is the sequel to The Beautiful, a vampire romance series I hope to start at some point this year.

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin

Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove, #1)
Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove, #2)

I’ve wanted so badly to read Serpent & Dove and its sequel Blood & Honey. Besides witches, one of my absolute favorite supernaturals, it’s set in historical France and has a hate-to-love romance between a witch and a witch hunter that are forced to get married. I know these books have received some mixed reviews, yet I can’t deny the excitement I feel.

The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline

The Exiles

Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore

Valentine

Florence Adler Swims Forever by Rachel Beanland

Florence Adler Swims Forever

The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim

The Last Story of Mina Lee

I love adult literary fiction and they had some great selections in the Barnes & Noble sale. I managed to narrow it down to these four as ones I absolutely had to own. Two of these, Valentine and The Last Story of Mina Lee, were previous Book of the Month selections I was interested in. The Exiles is a historical fiction on England sending unwanted individuals to their colony in Australia. Lastly, Florence Adler Swims Forever is a family drama set during World War II that I had high on my radar.

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Today Tonight Tomorrow

I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick

I Killed Zoe Spanos

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

The Black Flamingo

Most Likely by Sarah Watson

Most Likely (Most Likely #1)

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

Punching the Air

Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei, #1)

The Ravens by Kass Morgan and Danielle Paige

The Ravens (The Ravens, #1)

Traitor by Amanda McCrina

Traitor: A Novel of World War II

Smash It! By Francina Simone

Smash It! (Smash It! #1)

More Than Just a Pretty Face by Syed M. Masood

More Than Just a Pretty Face

Faith: Taking Flight by Julie Murphy

Faith: Taking Flight (Faith Herbert Origin Story, #1)

I don’t think my love for young adult literature is going to change any time soon. These titles in particular are what made me blow money on the sale. Especially, The Black Flamingo and Punching the Air, two coming-of-age stories told in verse, and Faith: Taking Flight, which is about a plus-size superhero.

Today Tonight Tomorrow, More Than Just Like a Pretty Face, and Loveboat, Taipei sound like adorable YA romances that will do a good job distracting me until I find a job. I Killed Zoe Spanos, Traitor, and The Ravens sound like thrilling, entertaining YA mysteries and fantasies I will fly through. Lastly, Most Likely and Smash It sound like the empowering young adult novels I wish I had when I was younger.

What is your favorite thing to do for yourself on your birthday?

The Reread Tag

I don’t often reread books. Exploring new books always seemed way more exciting than revisiting old ones. Although admittedly, in the past couple of years, I’ve wanted to do it more often. However, in 2021, I don’t want to reread books at all. There are so many new books I want to read way more.

            Even though I don’t want to reread books, it does not mean I don’t want to talk about the ones I would reread. So, thanks to Kristin Kraves Books for introducing me to this book tag!

A childhood favorite that you could read 100 times and still love

I honestly don’t know if I have a specific answer for this one. Like I said, I don’t reread books often enough. Not as much as I did in high school, when I didn’t want to venture too far out of my comfort zone. Frankly, some of my childhood favorites I’m nervous to reread because I know they potentially did not age well, like any of the earlier Meg Cabot books.

A book you DNF’ed but would be willing to give a second chance to

After You (Me Before You, #2)

One example I can think of is After You by Jojo Moyes. It is the sequel to Me Before You that came out several years ago. I tried to read it, got 30 pages in, and set it aside. If I’m being honest, I had mixed feelings on its publication. However, despite my initial apprehension, I still bought the third and final novel, Still Me, without having read After You. I liked the main character, Louisa; I wanted to find out what happened to her following the events of Me Before You.

A newer favorite you would reread

The Fountains of Silence
Before the Ever After

I have a few answers for this one. I would reread The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys, because I really like her writing and the characters in this novel were my favorite. I read Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson from the library and I would definitely reread if I get my own copy.

A book you hated and never want to read again

Woman of God

Woman of God by James Patterson…I despised this book. So why do I think about it so much? Because one of the protagonist’s “love interests” had one of the descriptions of my dream man and he was completely whipped by a woman who had no personality, no agency, etc.  

A classic you read in school but want to try again

The Age of Innocence

I own copies of a few classics I read in high school that I bought years after I graduated. In my sophomore year, I became briefly obsessed with Edith Wharton after we read Ethan Frome in my English class. I read her book The Age of Innocence for a book report that same year, I think. I barely remember anything about it but I want to reread it for fun without having to analyze the text.

An author you would reread anything from

With the Fire on High
Salt to the Sea

It’s a tie between Elizabeth Acevedo and Ruta Sepetys. Both of them have a beautiful writing style that sucks me in immediately.

A series you want to reread for the fun of it

Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)

If I would ever reread a series, my first choice would most likely be The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. If I ever wanted to get absolutely lost in my feelings, I would pick up these books.

A book you’ve read but want to listen to the audiobook

The Poet X

If I were to listen an audiobook, it would be the one for The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. It is written in a slam poetry style and read by the author, a slam poet herself. I’m not an audiobook listener at all, though I would consider giving this one a chance.

What’s your favorite audiobook?  

Let’s Talk Bookish: Why Do I Blog?

Why do I blog? That’s a good question.

            I started my blog in September of 2016. I had graduated from college that summer and was still unemployed. I spent my days sending out job applications, only to get rejected left and right. Prior to this, my friends had suggested I start a book blog. It wasn’t until I was in desperate need of something to do that I finally considered it.

            I started my blog for several different reasons. First, I wanted to put my hard-earned English degree to good use by keeping up a regular writing habit. At the time, I was an almost full-time nurse for my mom. As a result, I was struggling to come up with ideas for the books I spent four years dreaming of writing (that I still dream of writing). Writing a blog seemed easier, since I was reading a lot of books and watching at lot of BookTube.   

The next purpose of starting my blog was to build my portfolio. I didn’t often know what employers were looking for, but I at least wanted to show them I had a website I posted consistently on. Writing a book blog also provided the opportunity to discuss books with other bookworms, since I don’t have many of those in real life.  

            Finally, I mainly started my book blog to keep busy during times I was in desperate need of a distraction and something to fill my days, like I needed in 2016 and the majority of 2020. And, especially, during the time my mom was on hospice, which was October 2017 to February 2018.

            What keeps me motivated to continue blogging? The primary motivation to continue blogging is simply to write. I’ve loved writing since I was eight years old. The last thing I want is to lose it. The other motivation is to talk about books. This is helpful as a future librarian, learning how to review books and staying on top of publishing trends. It also allows me a platform to recommend books to other readers. Lastly, I continue to blog because writing helps me destress and use my creativity. This is especially helpful, since I have not been storytelling or worked on any novel projects in two years.

            All this aside, have I ever thought about not blogging anymore? Occasionally, yes. Blogging is not something I want to do forever. If I had the choice, I would write books instead of blog about them.

What would make me go on a hiatus for forever? A full-time job with other full-time responsibilities, i.e. kids. If I really wanted to, I could probably make an effort to squeeze it in. However, if I completely lack the desire to blog at all, then I would have no problem going on a forever hiatus.

While I still have the urge to blog, I do have some specific plans for my blog this year. I want to get back into writing book reviews and book recommendations as consistently as I did when I first started my blog. I also want to get back into posting monthly TBRs and reading wrap-ups. After two years of graduate school and not having a lot of time to read, these were the kind of posts I missed doing the most. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to post TBRs after 2020, but I find that they motivate me to read, in order to meet a goal. Plus, there is a level of satisfaction documenting the amount of books I read in a month and knocking them off my overall to be read pile. 

I would like to continue participating in bookish memes like Top 5 Tuesday and Let’s Talk Bookish. I hope to do more discussion posts outside of Let’s Talk Bookish, as those are some of my favorites to write. I would like to make a meme of my own, though what that meme would be I don’t know yet. I’ve gone back and forth on doing a blog series. Once in a while, I do a “recommending books I did not love, but you might” post, but only if I had an adequate amount of books to recommend.

I had done a blog series where I reread the Harry Potter series. I wrote posts reflecting on how the stories made me feel as an adult. I made it up to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire before giving up. I’m not sure I want to go back to that, given the size of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and my developing mixed feelings about the overall Harry Potter books. However, I am considering the idea of rereading my favorite books from middle and high school, then write reflective posts on how I feel about them as an adult.

After everything that happened to me between 2016 and 2020, I’ve never been more grateful for making the choice to create my book blog. I’m glad I listened to my friends and bit the bullet. I want to keep doing it for as long as I can.

Part One of My 28th Birthday Book Haul

When I made my reading resolutions for 2021, my primary goal for the new year was to set a limit of buying no more than ten books a month.

            Except my birthday month.

            Fortunately, my birthday is the first month of the year. Turning 28, I’ve reached the stage where people primarily give me money and gift cards. Which is fine, since I have no problem treating myself. There are few times in life when an individual is allowed to be selfish. Birthdays are one of them.  

            I don’t know yet how many parts 28th birthday book haul will be. But after what a crappy year 27 was, thanks to the pandemic, I deserve it even more.

January 2021 Book of the Month Selections

The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.

52576333

The Prophets is a historical fiction novel following two enslaved men in an innocent romantic relationship. When a fellow enslaved man becomes enthralled in the Christian religion and seeks to please the master, the young lovers find themselves in severe danger. 

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

The City We Became (Great Cities, #1)

I’ve been itching to get into N.K. Jemisin for years. When I saw The City We Became as an add-on for January, I thought now was my chance. It follows individuals who are the literal embodiment of the boroughs in New York City. When a super-powered “Karen” invades, they have to band together to protect the city. Since The City We Became appears to be a stand-alone, I figured it would be a good place to start with N.K. Jemisin.

The Heiress Gets a Duke by Harper St. George

The Heiress Gets a Duke (The Gilded Age Heiresses, #1)

I had The Heiress Gets a Duke added on Goodreads and my excitement was immediately peaked when I saw it as an add-on. I’m especially drawn to historical romances with a strong heroine motivated by something not marriage, which is the main character of The Heiress Gets a Duke. She wants to take over the family business, but when her parents promise her younger sister to a jerk duke, she steps in. Both the heroine and the duke in question get more than what they bargained for.  

Other Books

Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith

Troubled Blood (Cormoran Strike, #5)

I’m aware of the subject matter of Troubled Blood—a man disguised as a woman killing people. However, I am of the belief to separate work from the author, especially in the case of J.K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith. Unless Troubled Blood really screws it all up, I love the characters Strike and Robin too much and enjoyed the previous books too much to give up on the Cormoran Strike series yet.

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked, #1)

I want desperately to read Kingdom of the Wicked, a romantic historical fantasy about witches and demons in Italy. Only I refuse to read it until I finish the last two books in Kerri Maniscalco’s Stalking Jack the Ripper series. If Kingdom of the Wicked is anything like those books, it will be entirely worth the wait.

Lore by Alexandra Bracken

Lore

I’ve heard Lore described as The Hunger Games with Greek gods. I don’t need to know much more than that. This sounds like the kind of book you need to go into knowing as little as possible for the fun of it.

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

My Calamity Jane (The Lady Janies, #3)

My Calamity Jane is the final novel in the The Lady Janies trilogy and the one that has gotten the least positive feedback of the three. It is a fantastical retelling of Annie Oakley with werewolves. I like the story of Annie Oakley and I want to read more Westerns, so I’m going into My Calamity Jane still optimistic.

Mad, Bad, & Dangerous to Know by Samira Ahmed

Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know

Mad, Bad, & Dangerous to Know is a young adult historical fiction novel set in Paris told in dual timelines with a Muslim main character. Obviously, I’ve wanted to read this book since I heard about it. Actually, all three of Samira Ahmed’s books sound incredible and I own all of them.

The Forgotten Kingdom by Signe Pike

The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty

Sex Criminals, Vol. 6 by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

The Lost Book of the White by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu

Dear Justyce by Nic Stone

How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black

The Forgotten Kingdom (The Lost Queen Trilogy, #2)
The Empire of Gold (Daevabad Trilogy, #3)
Sex Criminals, Vol. 6: Six Criminals
The Lost Book of the White (The Eldest Curses, #2)
Dear Justyce (Dear Martin, #2)
How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories (The Folk of the Air, #3.5)

The second to last batch of books on this haul are sequels, prequels, or final novels to series I’ve either started or have not begun yet. Dear Justyce is the companion to Dear Martin, following a character mentioned that was sent to prison during the first book. How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories is the prequel to The Folk of the Air trilogy, which I have not read yet. Sex Criminals, Vol. 6 is the last installment in a graphic novels series I’ve only read the first volume of, but now own all the rest and plan on marathoning when I’m in the need of a raunchy laugh.     

The Lost Book of the White is the next book in the series following Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood. The Empire of Gold is the final novel in an adult historical fantasy trilogy that includes The City of Brass and The Kingdom of Copper. The Forgotten Kingdom is the second novel in a historical fiction series set in medieval Scotland, the first being The Lost Queen.  

The Devil’s Slave by Tracy Borman

The Fallen Angel by Tracy Borman

44643354
54615783. sx318

The Devil’s Slave and The Fallen Angel are the second and third novels in the Frances Gorges trilogy. The first novel, The King’s Witch, follows a young woman who was a respected healer in the court of Elizabeth I. After the queen’s death, Frances plans to retire to the countryside. Only she gets dragged unwillingly to the court of the new king. Her fondness of the king’s daughter further drags her into political intrigue, leading to the infamous Gunpowder Plot. The trilogy in question supposedly follows that healer, Frances Gordon, before, during, and after those events.

Have you read any of these books?

Review of To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo (Spoiler-Free)

I had to sit on this review for a few days to figure out how I really feel about the book…let’s see if I got my point across.

            To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo is a darker retelling of The Little Mermaid with sirens. Lira is a siren and the daughter of the Sea Queen. Elain is a prince, pirate, and siren killer. Their paths cross when, as punishment for killing one of her own, Lira is turned into a human by her vicious mother. After that, she’s given until the solstice to collect a lost artifact, the same one Elain is also searching for.

            To Kill a Kingdom is a novel I’ve wanted to read since it came out in 2018 and kept putting off for various reasons. It is one of the many novels I wanted to make a priority in 2021. Plus, it is a Little Mermaid retelling, my favorite fairy tale after Beauty and the Beast. Mermaids and sirens are some of my favorite mythological creatures. As such, I went into this book with slightly high expectations.

            That being said, I was not entirely disappointed by To Kill a Kingdom. But it didn’t completely hit the mark, either.

34499221. sy475

            I would describe the story as plot-driven. Things happened and the characters reacted to them. Sometimes, the characters made decisions that led to certain incidents. Only, often times, the problems the characters encountered resolved too quickly or too easily. There was no real sense of urgency in any of the disasters. Nor did it feel like the decisions they made had no real consequences. The single action that seemed to provide any was Lira accidentally killing a mermaid and being turned into a human.

            While the author did not shy away from the gruesomeness of siren society, all the characters and their relationships felt two-dimensional. Lira and Elian had entertaining banter. Both were misfits in their respective kingdoms, thus they had a certain outlook on their respective societies. This made them slightly more interesting as protagonists. Except they, their romance, and all their other positive relationships did not feel as fleshed-out as they could have been.  

There was a lot more telling than showing in To Kill a Kingdom. The writing made me feel like I was expected to believe such things without having any real evidence to show for it. This mainly applies to Elian’s relationship with his friends and his crew on the ship. As for Lira’s toxic relationship with her mother, that was more complex than any of the healthier relationships in the book. It is also Lira where her relationships, positive and negative, helped her question what she’s always believed in a new perspective.

            As for the romance between Lira and Elian, I’m not sure if I can get behind it. They saw a lot of themselves in each other, which helped bring them find common ground. But given how fiery they were as individuals, I expected a little more spark in their relationship. I was even more baffled by the fact Elain didn’t figure out Lira was a siren; it seemed so obvious to me. Elian and Lira seemed to be better apart than together, which is disappointing for a retelling of The Little Mermaid.

            The writing of To Kill a Kingdom was good, but it is definitely a debut novel. The author sometimes uses overly flowery language when simpler descriptions would suffice. Because of this combined with the longer descriptions, I felt more taken out of the story than I was brought in. Surprisingly, the beginning was fast-paced and entertaining. Then, it proceeded to drag for the rest of the novel as the author started in on the info-dumping.

On the flip side to that, the siren/mermaid mythology blended both traditional elements well with the author’s own idea of sirens. The world-building was darkly atmospheric, yet frequently info-dumpy. The author provided more information than was needed in the writing. This did not allow the reader to come to their own conclusions or use their imagination.

Overall, I give To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo 3.25 stars. Despite the overly long  descriptions, info-dumping, and slightly weak romance, I did enjoy the storytelling, the world-building, and the author’s take on sirens. While it felt like a debut, but the writing was promising enough that I still want to read Alexandra Christo’s other books. Lastly, I would still recommend it, specifically to people that like mermaids and/or are new to fantasy. A reader new to fantasy might appreciate the longer descriptions more comfortable in the genre.    

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Books I Will Definitely Read This Year

First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

            Why does 28 feel so old and yet so young at the same time?

            I have many books on my TBR pile that I have every intention of reading this year. Books I was so excited for when I got them. Ones by authors I adored. Series I want to start and finish, along with others I am desperately behind on and need to finish. It was hard to keep this list to five, honestly.

            The five books I definitely will read in 2021 are:  

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

17285330

After reading The Afterlife of Holly Chase, My Lady Jane, and the Unearthly trilogy, Cynthia Hand is on the fast-track to becoming a favorite author. The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a contemporary novel with a more serious edge to it, though. After her brother Tyler committed suicide, Lex has had her grief under lock and key. Trying to forget the text message from her brother that could have changed everything, she eventually realizes a ghost does not have to be real to keep you from moving on. 

The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily by Laura Creedle

33413929. sy475

Lily Michaels-Ryan is off her ADHD meds and failing one of her classes when she meets Abelard, a gorgeous boy on the spectrum. They bond over their shared love of medieval literature and fall hard for each other. But when things start to get complicated, Lily decides to do what she does best: destroy things. The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily is a novel I randomly found at Barnes & Noble that I have not heard anyone else talk about. Is that for a reason or have I found a hidden gem?

Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry

34659293. sy475

When an atheist is sent to a Catholic high school, he finds a group of misfits who get together to challenge the religious hierarchy at their school. Since Heretics Anonymous came out around 2015 or 2016, I’ve heard good things from those that have read it. I also want to read Katie Henry’s books, as the concepts of the other two she currently has out sound as interesting as Heretics Anonymous. Although, that might not happen in 2021.

What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard

31145120

What I Lost follows a teenaged girl in treatment for an eating disorder receiving strange packages she presumes are from her ex-boyfriend. These packages are what help her realize why resisting treatment is not a good idea and her mother’s encouraging her obsessive calorie-counting is part of the problem. As I am well aware of how touchy the topic weight and body image can be between mothers and daughters, that aspect of What I Lost has the possibility of hitting a nerve.

You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon

30339479. sy475

Turns out, I’m a magnet for “sick mom” lit. You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone follows twin sisters whose mother has Huntington’s disease. When they get tested for the disease, one has the gene but the other does not. This adds further strain on the sisters’ already tense relationship. Rachel Lynn Solomon is another author I want to get into, starting with You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone.

What books do you definitely plan on reading in 2021?

Bookish Memes: Worthwhile or Worthless? (Let’s Talk Bookish)

I’ll be honest—it took me a while to get into bookish memes.

            When I started blogging, I did not go out of my way to become involved in the blogging community. I did my best to advertise my content, yet did not pay attention to others. After all, why would anyone bother with my work if I did not provide them the same amount of traffic?

Eventually, I realized book tags, wrap-ups, and TBRs were not all I could be doing. Bookish memes opened the door a lot wider.

            As of right now, I only participate in two bookish memes. The first, and most recent I joined, is Let’s Talk Bookish. The other, which I’ve been doing for around two years, is Top 5 Tuesday. Despite my best intentions, I don’t write for all the topics in every month. I enjoy working on them and do try to go out of my comfort zone in writing. However, sometimes I don’t have anything to say or the topic is honestly not particularly appealing to me. That being said, there have been occasions where Top 5 Tuesday or Let’s Talk Bookish come up with ideas I never would have thought of. Those are often the most fun.

            Do I interact with other people’s weekly memes? Not as much as I should. It’s definitely not as much as people interact with my weekly posts.

When I first began participating in the bookish memes, it was as much about posting content as much as having an opportunity to interact with other book bloggers. Sometimes, it is still primarily about posting content. My blog is basically my portfolio, for when/if I ever found a job involving writing book reviews or another sort of writing job.

            Regarding interaction—the amount of interaction I get with other book bloggers make the time spent working on the posts worth it. I’ve had predominantly positive interactions with people who comment on my posts. Besides the views and content it provides my blog, I have found like-minded people I can talk to about books. I hope to maybe participate in more bookish memes, or even create one, as I continue blogging.

            In short, I think bookish memes are worthwhile. If while participating in a bookish meme bloggers are provided with a topic they might not have thought of, it could provide a spark of creativity. It could also provide the opportunity to think outside of their comfort zone. Bookish memes also deliver traffic to book bloggers’ platforms, having a bookish meme as a jumping off point for other bloggers to find them. Lastly, bookish memes offer the opportunities for interaction with other book bloggers and creators.

            What would make anyone think bookish memes are worthless? 

21 Books to Read in 2021

2021 is the year I want to take a hammer to my physical TBR. Thanks to my lack of self-control in terms of book-buying and utilizing the library way too much in 2020, I own over 600 unread books.

            There are a lot more than 21 books I want to read in 2021. These are just the tip of iceberg.

            14 of the books on this list are my unread 2020 Book of the Month selections. I would rather get to them as soon as possible. Those are:

The Library of Legends by Janie Chang

The Library of Legends

The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe

The Knockout Queen

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

52698452. sx318 sy475

A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight

49246460. sy475

One to Watch by Katy Stayman-London

One to Watch

The Boy in the Red Dress by Kristin Lambert

The Boy in the Red Dress

The Shadows by Alex North

The Shadows

Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein

Head Over Heels

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Girl, Serpent, Thorn

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany

White Ivy by Susie Yang

White Ivy

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights, #1)

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Legendborn (Legendborn, #1)

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

53137893. sy475

What other books do I want to read in 2021? For the sake of keeping this list to 21, here are 7 more that are on the higher end of my to be read pile:

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

53287484

When Midnight Sun was announced in May, I went back and forth on whether or not I wanted to buy it or borrow it, if I even wanted to read it. Now, I’m going into it with very, very low expectations.

The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye

37970853

The Paragon Hotel is set in 1921, following a young white woman on the run following an drug deal gone wrong. She finds sanctuary at the black-only hotel in Portland, Oregon called the Paragon Hotel, right as the KKK invades the city, and helps the residents find a missing mulatto child no one else cares about.

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

The Jane Austen Society

The Jane Austen Society follows survivors of WWII coming together over their mutual love of Jane Austen. Besides the cover alone filling me with such happiness by looking at it, I’m positive I will love this book.

Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

Darling Rose Gold

Years after testifying against her mother’s lifelong abuse, everyone is shocked when Rose Gold lets her mother live with her when she is released from prison. Unknown to Rose Gold, her mother has plans for revenge. Unknown to her, Rose Gold has a plan of her own.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

My Dark Vanessa

I have mentioned My Dark Vanessa in several TBR posts since I bought it. Even though the subject matter is typically touch and go with me, but I’m still hopeful My Dark Vanessa will not disappoint.

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal

Unmarriageable

A retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in Pakistan where the Lizzy Bennet character is a teacher actually teaching Pride and Prejudice and feminism to her female students? I seriously hope I get to this one in 2020.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Shockingly, I have not yet read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, the darling of the book world. But 2020 is going to change that. Time to see what all the hype is about.  

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock

When the captain of his ship sells it for a mermaid, merchant John Hancock’s life is turned upside down, in more ways than one. The mermaid’s existence propels him into high society, where he meets a beautiful courtesan named Angelica Neal. This meeting leads to a collision of ambitions that could either make or destroy them.

What backlist books do you want to read in 2021?

The Last 10 Books Tag

Go figure…a month of spitting out content and now the idea pit is dry. But that’s why we have book tags, don’t we?

            I found this tag on Kristin Kraves Books, who has earned the title of my Book Tag Provider. So, thank you my friend!  

The Last Book I Gave Up On

33648131. sy475

Last year, when I was naively thinking of all the things I wanted to accomplish in 2020, I made a list of books I wanted to unhaul. That unhaul would include a slight purge of my TBR pile. One of those TBR books was The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. I have absolutely no interest in reading this book anymore. If I’m being honest, I bought it on impulse while walking through Rite Aid, during the first year I started earning my own income.  

The Last Book I Gave Up OLast year, when I was naively thinking of all the things I wanted to accomplish in 2020, I made a list of books I wanted to unhaul. That unhaul would include a slight purge of my TBR pile. One of those TBR books was The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. I have absolutely no interest in reading this book anymore. If I’m being honest, I bought it on impulse while walking through Rite Aid, during the first year I started earning my own income.  

Last Book I Re-read

8621462. sx318

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, which I reread in May during a reading slump and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning crying over.

Last Book I Bought

Dear Justyce (Dear Martin, #2)
34605974. sy475

The books I recently acquired at the same time were Dear Justyce by Nic Stone and The Lost Book of the White by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu.

Last Book I Said I Read But Actually Didn’t

148639

The last time I said I read a book but I didn’t actually was when I was a sophomore in college. In my British Writers II class, we read Waterland by Graham Swift. It was the driest book we read in that class, which might not have been so bad since we also read Hard Times by Charles Dickens. But I absolutely could not stand the narrator in Waterland, to a point where I could not bring myself to finish it. I just looked on SparkNotes for a summary instead.

Last Book I Wrote in the Margins Of

girl depois dos 15 GIF by Salon Line

I highlighted and scribbled in textbooks I used in school, but to me, those don’t count. I never write in books.  

Last Book That I Had Signed

37825423. sy475

I haven’t been to a book signing since college, when I went to my professor’s book launch party. The most recent signed book I acquired was last year, when I accidentally bought an Owlcrate copy of Amber & Dusk by Lyra Selene through Amazon.

The Last Book I Lost

39127647

I don’t know if it counts, but the last book I “lost” was His Hideous Heart by Dahlia Adler. It was a library book I am positive I returned. After I finished it, I put it the backpack I use when I return library books. I distinctly remember leaving it in the outside bin designated for returns and all the other books I returned with it were cleared. Plus, on top of that, my bedroom is so small, it’s impossible I would not be able to see it if I did still have it. Yet, His Hideous Heart is marked as “overdue” on my library account. Fortunately, because of the pandemic, the library is not charging fines. But if it continues, I might have to call them about it.

            (Pray for me.)

The Last Book I Had to Replace

kyle hill whatever GIF by Because Science

I can’t remember having to replace a book, ever. While a lot of my books have some wear and tear, none are damaged enough to qualify for a replacement.

The Last Book I Argued Over

12000020

I didn’t necessarily arguewith anyone over it, but Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. When I admitted I didn’t love the  writing style, the people I talked to on the Internet were polite in disagreeing with me. Still, posting a rant review on such a beloved novel made me a little nervous.

The Last Book I Couldn’t Find

43697186

Over the summer, when I was pulling books by Black authors off my shelves, I almost forgot about Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson. Only it wasn’t where I thought I put it. After a few moments of panic, I found it in the back of the shelves inside my bed.

Have you ever lost a library book?  

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Anticipated Debut Novels and Books by New-to-Me Authors of 2021

In the last week of December, I wrote a post on my most anticipated books of 2021 by authors I’ve already read from. Turns out, there are more debut authors and authors I’ve wanted to get into for years also coming out with books in 2021. However, I managed to narrow it down to five for today’s post.

            Five of the debut novels and new-to-me authors that make me worry about my wallet in 2021 are:

The Wide Starlight by Nicole Lesperance

45011202. sy475

When I read in the synopsis for The Wide Starlight it is “for fans of The Hazel Wood and The Astonishing Color of After,” I didn’t need to know anything else. A teenaged girl goes looking for her mother, whom she believes is lost in the Northern Lights. I don’t know if it’s going to be fantasy like The Hazel Wood or magical realism like The Astonishing Color of After, but I’m here for it.

What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo

48560025. sy475

When I read that What Big Teeth was a modern Addams Family, I clicked the “want to read” button pretty quickly. Normal-looking Eleanor returns home to her monstrous family after they sent her away to boarding school years prior. The only person that truly welcomes her home is her Grandmother Persephone. When Grandmother Persephone suddenly dies, to keep her family from falling apart, Eleanor calls on her other grandmother, Grandmere. But when she finds herself under tyranny, Eleanor is forced to finally face the monstrosity lurking inside her. 

These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan

53422971. sy475

These Hollow Vows followsBrie, a human that hates the Fae. When her sister is sold to the king of the Unseelie court, Brie ventures into the faerie world to save her. She makes a deal with the king to collect ancient fae relics in exchange for her sister’s freedom, posing as the potential bride to a faerie prince while working with the leader of a rebel fae group. Both men are dangerous, seductive, and winning her heart.

Does it sound like A Court of Thorns and Roses? Yes. Am I still trash for it? Absolutely.

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

49125661. sx318

Whenever I find a book with any sort of plus-size representation, especially a young adult novel, it immediately has my attention. Charlie Vega is plus size and proud, with a supportive best friend. When one of the cutest boys in school asks her out, Charlie is super excited…until she learns he asked out her friend first. I didn’t even read full synopsis on Buzzfeed before I added Fat Chance, Charlie Vega to my Goodreads TBR.

If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy

55660420

Julie Murphy is an author whom I own three books by and still have not read yet. When it was announced she was writing an adult series of fairy tale retellings with plus-size heroines, I nearly jumped up and down with excitement. If the Shoe Fits is a loose Cinderella retelling, following an aspiring shoe designer who volunteers to be a contestant on her stepmother’s dating show in order to jump-start her fashion career. Instead, she finds herself a plus size fashion icon, filled with unexpected inspiration, and even discovers, most unexpectedly, love.

I NEED. THIS. BOOK. 

What is a debut novel you are anticipating in 2021?