Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Series I Need to Finish

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

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

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

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

 

The Dark Artifices trilogy by Cassandra Clare

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

 

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

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

 

The Conqueror’s Saga by Kiersten White

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

 

Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh

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

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

 

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

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

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

 

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

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Round One of Summer 2019 Book Haul

I said I was going to cut back on the book-buying this summer.

I say a lot of things.

Turns out, the issue of the student health insurance worked out (yay for student loans!). Which means, I have more money now for new clothes, textbooks…and, you know, books. Still, this job is only going at least until August. So, every paycheck, I put money into my savings account. Whether or not I have anything left for books after that is a bonus.

I’m calling this book haul “round one” for two reasons. First, I know I’m going to buy more books later. It’s a guarantee I accepted. Second is, if I wait until the end of summer break to post a haul, I’m not going to have a lot of time to write about all the books I bought.

In hindsight, buying ten books over a course of two and a half months is actually not a bad thing. Given that, in the past, that would be the amount I’d buy in a single trip to the bookstore….A sign I am on my way to becoming a full-fledged adult. (Now all I need is to move out of my dad’s house….)

Between May and the first two weeks of July, I bought:

 

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

theprioryoftheorangetree

Samantha Shannon’s The Bone Season is on my Goodreads, yet so low on my radar I forget it’s there. The Priory of the Orange Tree immediately got my attention, though. I don’t know much about it, other than it’s about two warring kingdoms ruled by queens and there are dragons. And I bought this book online from Barnes & Noble—you better believe I wasn’t lugging this behemoth on my arm, on a bus or a train.

 

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

blackleopardredwolf

Black Leopard, Red Wolf is advertised as an “African Game of Thrones.” Despite not being a GOT fan, the idea behind this novel did intrigue me. Plus, the cover always caught my attention whenever I was in a bookstore. It’s gorgeous and, of course, expensive. Even on Amazon. Thankfully, a sale at Barnes & Noble came to my rescue.

 

Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Kelly Link, and Robin Wasserman

ghostsoftheshadowmarket

The latest of Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter Chronicles novella bind-ups, it is low on my priority list at the moment. If I don’t read Ghosts of the Shadow Market before the end of 2019, I have no problem leaving it for my Chain of Gold hangover cure. I did not love Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy and I keep forgetting The Bane Chronicles exists. Ghosts of the Shadow Market is allegedly best read before Queen of Air and Darkness, as it explains certain things that happened. But the two new novellas also include spoilers, so I think I better not.

 

Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich

teethinthemist

One of my most anticipated releases of the year, Teeth in the Mist is a young adult horror novel following three girls in three time periods. I want to know as little as possible before I read this book. If it is anything like Dawn Kurtagich’s previous works, I expect a dark fantasy storyline, an unsettling atmosphere, and a twisty plot.

 

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

sorceryofthorns

Another of my anticipated releases of the year, Sorcery of Thorns follows a young librarian, Elizabeth, charged with protecting magical books inside a library. When the demons contained in the books get out, she is held responsible and must turn to her mortal enemy, a sorcerer named Nathaniel, along with his demonic sidekick to clear her name. Even though I have not read Margaret Rogerson’s debut novel, An Enchantment of Ravens, I have a feeling I will like her books. And the covers are gorgeous.

 

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer

librariansoftimbuktu

I found The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu while browsing one of the bookstores near my work. It took me a couple of trips, but eventually I cracked. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu is set in Africa when the Al Qaeda invaded in the 1980s. To protect the country’s valuable documents, librarians smuggled them out to safety to preserve their homeland’s history.

 

Anne Frank’s Diary graphic novel adaption by Ari Feldman and illustrated by David Polonsky

annefrankgraphicnovel

After reading the graphic novel adaptions of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, classic or popular novels adapted into graphic novels have become my new favorite thing. I read the original Anne Frank’s Diary, or at least excerpts of it, in middle school. I’ve wanted to reread it for years, though.

 

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and illustrated by Fred Fordham

tokillamockingbirdgraphicnovel

I love To Kill a Mockingbird. The cover and a flip through of the book showed some gorgeous artwork. I want to read this book right now. I might, hopefully, at the end of the year when I’m looking for lighter reading material.

 

Sabrina by Nick Drnaso

sabrina

I can’t begin to describe the synopsis of Sabrina. It’s a mystery graphic novel revolved a missing woman in a futuristic modern society where technology has taken over. Or that’s my interpretation of it anyway. I’m starting to wonder if Sabrina is a book I’m better off not knowing anything about it before reading.

 

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

goodomens

Good Omens is an adult urban fantasy where an angel and a demon are charged with finding the misplaced Antichrist before apocalypse happens. I bought this book because I enjoyed the show. This is the second Neil Gaiman book I own; the first being American Gods (which I have not read). But after watching the Amazon Prime adaption of Good Omens and reading The Sleeper and the Spindle from the library earlier this year, his books are slowly working their way higher up on my TBR pile.

 

What books have you bought because of their TV show or movie adaptions?

Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag! (2019)

It’s that time of year again! To freak out on how much I’ve read this year and what I have not…mostly the latter….

I entered 2019 with low expectations for reading. I set my Goodreads Reading Challenge to 30 books, under the assumption I would not have a lot of free time to read once I started my second semester. To my shock, I had more than I anticipated. I had two days in the middle of the week entirely devoted to homework, leaving more wiggle room on the weekends. In May, I beat my goal. Currently, I have completed 34 books and working on a 35th. I do not plan on raising the goal any higher.

While I’m glad I beat my goal, admittedly, I am feeling rather meh towards my reading so far this year. That’s my fault. From January to April, I was on a book-buying ban. Instead of diving into the plethora of unread books I already own, I checked out books from the library. Obviously, that’s not a bad thing. I did read some pretty good books, too. The trips to the library were meant to quench the annoying desire for “new” books. Also, I have come to the realization that I have an irrational fear of running out of books to read as well as the masochistic urge to deny myself what I want. There are unread books I own, yet I continuously refuse to read them because I fear I won’t have money to buy more later.

Being a bookworm can be weird.

Now, enough of the therapy session and onto what you all really came here for: the Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag!

 

The best book you’ve read so far this year

I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but not a lot of books this year have felt like “the best book of the year.” I’ve given a few 5 star ratings, although none of them stand out more than the rest. However, here are seven books I’ve read so far this year I consider favorites, in no particular order:

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

To Make Monsters Out of Girls by Amanda Lovelace

Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott

A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Your favorite sequel this year

Screenshot_2019-07-06 Saga, Vol 9 (Saga, #9)

 

Not a lot of sequels read this year so far, which is honestly unacceptable. I have way too many series sitting unread and uncompleted on my bookshelves. Even so, my favorite sequel hands-down this year will have to be Saga, Vol. 9 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples.

 

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

Where to even begin with this one? One new release that I really want to read is Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuistan. The others are Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich and Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson, two books I was anticipating that I recently bought.

 

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco, the final novel in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series is likely the most anticipated release of the year for me. Another is To Drink Coffee with a Ghost by Amanda Lovelace, which comes out in September. I almost completely forgot about The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh, a Gothic vampire romance coming out in October. Also coming out in October is The Fountain of Silence, a young adult historical fiction novel by Ruta Sepetys set during the Spanish Civil War. Lastly is The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, the sequel/companion novel to The Handmaid’s Tale releasing in September.

 

Your biggest disappointment

I thought I only had one…turns out, I have a few. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab was not the best, although I’m not surprised since it was her debut novel. Though I gave them pretty decent ratings, Vengeful by V.E. Schwab and The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan did not live up to their predecessors in their respective series.

 

Biggest surprise of the year

Screenshot_2019-07-06 True Notebooks

 

I had to read True Notebooks by Mark Salzman for one of my classes. On my own, I rarely read nonfiction. I certainly would not have read one set in a prison. True Notebooks centers on a struggling author teaching creative writing to students in a juvenile detention facility. The book covered a lot of different issues within the American prison system, as well as unexpectedly humanized these young criminals society had cast aside.

 

Favorite new to you or debut author

It’s a tie between Karen M. McManus and Robyn Schneider. I liked their writing styles, how they developed plots, and their realistic young adult characters. I’ve only read one book from each of them so far, but I enjoyed Two Can Keep a Secret and Invisible Ghosts so much I plan to get my hands on their other books.

 

Your new fictional crush

Again, I could not narrow it down.

The first is Sebastian Wyatt from A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin. If you love Thomas Cresswell from Stalking Jack the Ripper, Sebastian will turn your knees to jelly. The other is Liam Gerling from Evermore by Sara Holland. In the first book, Everless, he’s portrayed as an arrogant loner with a supposed nasty streak. In Evermore, we see a sweeter side to him that is impossible to resist. Lastly, Tyler and Kal from Aurora Rising by Aimee Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Both of them were handsome, strong, and serious men that could be utterly adorable (especially Kal, the alien fae, OMG).

 

New favorite character

There are few characters I can say I have truly seen myself in. One of those is Rose Asher from Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider. She was smart and sensitive, and had a lot to offer, but her own insecurities (and the ghost of her whiny dead brother) kept holding her back.  I also really liked Sydney Clarke and Victor Vale from Vicious from V.E. Schwab. Both were complex and flawed, especially Victor. And though I don’t think I would call her my new favorite character, I was fascinated by Tetisheri, the protagonist of Death of an Eye by Dana Stabenow, a book I stumbled upon at the library. She was a private yet caring young woman with a strong will and a sharp mind. Plus, she had a complicated backstory we don’t know much about yet.

 

A book that made you cry

Voices: the Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott made me feel all the feels. It hurt me knowing a heroic young woman was ultimately killed by the patriarchy she was trying so hard to save. Saga, Vol. 9 slapped me so hard across the face, it took me a minute to fully absorb how hard I’d been hit.

 

A book that made you happy

kissmeinparisscreenshot

A book I found browsing my library, Kiss Me in Paris by Catherine Rider, was an adorable young adult/new adult romance set during a 24-hour exploration of Paris. Serena arrives to Paris on a mission to collect mementos for her family after a tragedy until her strict schedule goes out the window. Broody Parisian photographer Jean-Luc is determined to show this uptight American girl the “real” Paris. As you can imagine, neither gets what they bargained for. If you love The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, I highly recommend Kiss Me in Paris.

 

Your favorite book to movie adaption that you’ve seen this year

season 1 friends GIF by Good Omens

I have seen two book to movie adaptions so far this year. The first is Good Omens, the Amazon Prime show based off the book by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I haven’t read the book yet. I only ended up watching the show because my dad was interested in it. Still, the Good Omens adaption was entertaining and made me want to read the source material.

season 2 trevor GIF by NETFLIX

The other is about two or three scores away from the original, and I’m not entirely sure if I watched in early 2019 or late 2018, but it’s the Netflix adaption of Castlevania. Castlevania is the name of a video game the show is supposed to be based on. Only there are elements in the storyline taken from Bram Stoker’s Dracula that make me still qualify it as a book adaption. The second season made up for the fail that was the first season with its dark humor and complicated views on humanity.

 

Favorite blog you’ve published this year

I’m not sure if I have one. To be honest, I was lacking in creativity during school (and now, if I’m being honest). I liked my Book Buying Ban Challenge post as well as the Game of Thrones tag. Book Blogger Confessions was fun. The Top 5 Tuesday on Slytherin House recommendations was also a good one.

I can’t pick one. Are you sensing a theme here?

 

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

Screenshot_2019-06-23 Sorcery of Thorns

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

 

What are some of the books that you need to read by the end of the year?

Where to begin?

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (PLEASE DON’T AT ME!)

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

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

There are plenty more where those came from. I had these books on the list last year. They WILL be taken off this year.

 

What are some books that have been on your TBR for too long?

The Book Buying Ban is Over!

My book buying ban is over guys! Well, sort of…

I got a temp job at a fine arts library for the next twelve weeks. I’m itching to apply for another job, too, one that’s recently opened up that I really, really want (and it could potentially be longer term, too). If not that, then an internship.

Thing is, the temp assignment only started this week….

I was out of a job for months. Taxes came through for me this year. I thought I could hold out until the summer before I bought more books. Then, as you will see, I cracked. I managed to get to my favorite independent bookstore. Barnes and Noble had new releases for half price as well as sales and so did Books a Million. But, to be honest, I’m pretty impressed with myself that I lasted for so long.

As for the “sort of” part…the right thing for me to do is save money for the next two months as I get settled into my new job. Will I stick to that? I hope so.

Until then, here are the books I bought:

 

Sightwitch and Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

The novella and the third book in the Witchlands series. I wanted to get into this series after reading the first book Truthwitch then buying the second novel Windwitch, then never did. Technically, I bought Sightwitch and Bloodwitch back in February, which led me into the book buying ban in the first place. But these are priority reads for the summer.

 

The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One by Amanda Lovelace

themermaidsvoicereturnsinthisone

One of my most anticipated reads of the year. I bought the pretty Target exclusive edition. Amanda Lovelace is neck and neck with Emily Dickinson as one of my favorite poets, but sadly, I didn’t love The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One like I was expecting to. Check out my latest reading wrap up for my full spoiler thoughts.

 

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

thelibrarybook

A mandatory read if you are a librarian or a library science student. It is a nonfiction novel surrounding the fire at the Los Angeles Public Library in the 1980s and the author’s speculations on who/what caused the fire and why. She also goes into her love of books and libraries overall. I had this on hold at my library, but the list was long and my demanding school schedule caused me to cancel the hold (and return all the other books I had checked out at that time). Now, I own it.

 

The Handmaid’s Tale graphic novel by Margaret Atwood and illustrated by Renee Nault

thehandmaidstalegraphicnovel

A semi-impulse buy, I found this while browsing the book section of Target. I’ve wanted to reread The Handmaid’s Tale, especially with The Testaments coming out this fall. I didn’t want to read this right away, only I kept picking it up to gaze at the artwork. I read this recently, too. More on that in my reading wrap up.

 

Mist, Metal, and Ash by Gwendolyn Clare

mistmetalandash

This is the sequel to Iron, Ink, and Glass, which I have not yet read. It is a series set in an alternate history of 18th century Italy. The main character and her mother have the ability to, literally, rewrite reality through an ancient magical form of writing called scriptology. When her mother is kidnapped, the protagonist, Elsa, joins a secret society of people like her with an assassin on her tail. Unfortunately, I’ve heard virtually nothing about this series on social media, but I’m still hopeful.

 

The Wicked King by Holly Black

thewickedking

At this point in time, I still have not yet read The Cruel Prince. To be honest, I was hesitant about Holly Black after reading The Coldest Girl in Coldtown last year. Then, I read The Darkest Part of the Forest from the library and really enjoyed it. I like Holly Black’s take on fairy lore. Hopefully, I will get to both The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King around the time The Queen of Nothing comes out in November, so I can marathon.

 

Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian

ladysmoke

Lady Smoke is the sequel to another unread book I own, Ash Princess. It follows a princess who uses political maneuvering instead of a sword to get her kingdom back from the tyrant that murdered her mother then held the protagonist captive for ten years. From what little I’ve heard, Ash Princess has gotten mediocre reviews and there’s been next to nothing about Lady Smoke. That’s fine with me, though.

 

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

theimmortalists

The Immortalists follows the four Gold siblings: Simon, Klara, Daniel, and Varya. In 1969, they sneak out in the middle of the night to have their fortunes told by a travelling psychic. She tells them when they are going to die, thus impacting each of the children differently as they move forward in their lives.

Literary fiction is a genre I’ve been getting more into within the last year or so, and most of what I read, I enjoyed. The Immortalists sounds like an interesting, thought-provoking one.

 

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

thechalkman

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are bored kids when they find a dismembered dead body in the woods surrounding their small English village. Next to the body is a chalk figure, just like the ones they use as their secret code. In 2016, now an adult, Eddie is trying to move on with his life when he receives a letter in the mail with a chalk figure drawn on it and then finds out his friends got the same message. One of them is dead.

I tend to enjoy mysteries that surround secrets or trauma from the main character’s childhood. The Chalk Man is an underrated adult mystery/thriller and I tend to really enjoy those. We shall see.

 

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

agentlemaninmoscow

A Gentleman in Moscow is set in 1922 Russia. Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to house arrest inside a luxury hotel, deemed an unrepentant aristocrat under the Bolshevik tribunal. Despite being trapped, the tall, imposing count has the perfect view of the political unrest in his country, as well as his eccentric, eclectic neighbors in the hotel. I don’t know much about Russia’s political history, so A Gentleman in Moscow will be an interesting read for me.

 

Losing It by Emma Rathbone

losingit

Admittedly, Losing It does not have the best reviews on Goodreads, only the plot hits so close to home. Julia Greenfield is still a virgin at twenty-six. She goes to visit her mysterious aunt Vivienne in North Carolina and discovers her aunt, at fifty-eight, is also a virgin. While trying to unravel the secrets of her aunt’s past, Julia spends the summer trying to prevent meeting the same fate.

 

The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu

theredscrollsofmagic

The first book in an adult fantasy trilogy set in the Shadowhunters universe, The Red Scrolls of Magic following Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood. While they are on vacation in Paris, an old friend of Magnus’s arrives to inform them a cult called the Crimson Hand is going around Europe raising demons. The cult was allegedly started by Magnus years ago—as a joke—but he’s taking the blame for it. Now, he and Alec have to chase the cult’s mysterious leader to clear his name. And, I would just like to point out, The Red Scrolls of Magic is probably the shortest Cassandra Clare book I’ve ever seen.

 

Night Music by Jenn Marie Thorne

nightmusic

Night Music is one of those hidden gems I found at the indie bookstore I’m shocked I haven’t seen anywhere on social media. It follows two music prodigies who are forced to work together when the boy becomes an apprentice to the girl’s famous composer father. After she flunks an audition to a prestigious music school where her father is on the faculty, Ruby has no idea what to do with herself. Oscar is a talented young composer determined to make a name for himself and does not intend on falling for his white benefactor’s white daughter. But with the connection between the two of them as hot as the New York summer, it’s easier said than done.

 

The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees

thewakingforest

While the plot of this next hidden gem does intrigue me, if I’m being honest, it was the cover that lured me in. The Waking Forest follows two main characters. The first is Rhea, whose backyard is at the edge of the Waking Forest, home of the Witch, the second protagonist. Rhea sees dark shapes lurking in her backyard that quickly vanish when she reaches them. The Waking Forest is home for the Witch, who sits on her throne of bones waiting for dreaming children to beg her to grant a wish. Both girls are approached by a mysterious stranger that offers them a chance to answer their wishes, if only they are willing to play a game. Rhea’s path collides with the Witch as the two find themselves trapped in the midst of deadly secrets to survive.

 

The Weight of a Thousand Feathers by Brian Conaghan

theweightofathousandfeathers

I apparently have a knack for finding “sick mom lit,” because I happened upon this one at the indie bookstore, too. The Weight of a Thousand Feathers follows Bobby Seed, who is trying to keep it together while taking care of his terminally ill mother, watching his younger brother, and navigating the waters of his relationship with his best female friend that wants a different kind of title. All while being a teenager still in high school. Then, his mom asks him to help her end her pain for good. Though the synopsis doesn’t outright say it, The Weight of a Thousand Feathers sounds like it’s going to be touching upon the topic of assisted suicide, which is a bold move to make for a young adult novel.

 

Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

shout

Shout was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. It is a free verse memoir poetry collection by Laurie Halse Anderson, beginning with her rape at thirteen by a “friend,” leading into her becoming an author and an advocate for survivors of sexual assault. I also recently read Shout, so you can find my full thoughts in my reading wrap up.

 

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

longwaydown

Long Way Down was previously a library book I had checked out but had not gotten around to reading. It is another free verse poetry novel, this one taking place during a teenaged boy’s elevator ride on his way to kill the person who murdered his brother. The elevator stops at different floors and he meets people who have already died that try to talk him out of his mission. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve been really getting into free verse novels lately. And, so far, I’m enjoying them.

 

A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena

agirllikethat

The cover of A Girl Like That—a girl wearing sunglasses and a hijab on the cover along with the pink cheetah-print spine—has always caught my eye whenever I saw it in the library or the bookstore. For some reason, I never picked it up until now, when I finally read the synopsis.

The religious police is Jeddah, Saudi Arabia are called to the scene of a car accident where sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia and her eighteen-year-old boyfriend Porus Dumasia are found dead. Though a good student and a bright, vivacious orphan, Zarin was labeled “a girl like that,” a troublemaker, by other kids’ parents. But when the police begin their investigation, everyone soon realizes there was more to Zarin than they ever knew.

 

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

thehistorian

A classic vampire novel, The Historian is a book I’ve known about for years that I finally caved into buying when I saw it for sale at the bookstore. An unnamed young woman finds a series of letters hidden in her father’s study that lead her to finish his journey to uncover the truth behind Vlad the Impaler’s ties to the infamous Dracula. Along the way, she unravels her family’s history, how her father’s madness and ruin may have led to the death of her mother. If The Historian is anything like The Swan Thieves, I expect beautiful prose and a twisty plot to keep me up until two in the morning to finish it.

 

Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford

suicidenotes

I had heard of Suicide Notes years ago and added it to my TBR on Goodreads, then proceeded to forget it existed. Then, just recently, it was repackaged and I found it at the bookstore. In case you don’t know, Suicide Notes is about fifteen-year-old Jeff, who wakes up in the psych ward after what appears to be a failed suicide attempt. Forced to endure a forty-five day sentence, he’s convinced there’s nothing wrong with him, not like the other patients. Then, his fellow inmates stop seeming so crazy.

 

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

wickedsaints

Wicked Saints has blown up on BookTube. Though it has been getting rather mixed reviews since its release, it strikes me as the kind of book you should go into knowing as little as possible anyway. All I know it is about two warring kingdoms (as usual in high fantasy) and follows three main characters: a princess that can talk to gods; a prince that uses blood magic; and a monster boy. That’s really all I need to know.

 

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

twocankeepasecret

Yet another book I’ve already read, Two Can Keep a Secret was previously a library book I featured in a reading wrap up a few months ago. It is a young adult mystery set in a small town where three girls have been murdered in the last twenty-five years, the first being the aunt of one of the main characters. True crime buff Ellery and her twin brother Ezra move in with their grandma just as another homecoming queen goes missing. As a series of threats appear around town, she takes it upon herself to get to the bottom of it.

 

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez

iamnotyourperfectmexicandaughter

As I frequently do, I recently checked out too many library books that I didn’t get to before their due date. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter was one of them. It is a young adult contemporary novel about Julia, whose sister Olga was the “perfect Mexican daughter” that didn’t leave home to go to college or anything else their parents did not approve of. When Olga dies, something about her death doesn’t feel right to Julia. Enlisting the help of some friends, she digs into her sister’s life and finds there was more to Olga than their family knew.

 

Internment by Samira Ahmed

internment

A contemporary with a dystopian twist, Internment is set in an alternate universe where all Muslim Americans are forced into internment camps. Seventeen-year-old Layla and her family are among them. To fight for their freedom, she builds friendships with others inside the camp, receives help from her boyfriend on the outside, and forges an unexpected alliance. This leads them into a rebellion against the internment camp’s director and the guards. I haven’t read Samira Ahmed’s debut novel, Love, Hate, and Other Filters yet, but Internment is making me eager to read her books.

 

Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy

once&future

As soon as I saw Once & Future on the Internet, I knew I had to read it. I own The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta, which I’m also interested in reading. But Once & Future is a reimagining of the tale of King Arthur set in space and the king is reincarnated in a teenaged girl. That’s all I needed to know. And the cover is gorgeous.

 

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe and translated by Lilit Thwaites

thelibrarianofauschwitz

The Librarian of Auschwitz was another book I previously checked out from the library a while ago and, of course, didn’t read. It is a nonfiction/historical fiction book about a young Jewish girl sent to the concentration camp Auschwitz and is the deemed the protector of the few books the prisoners managed to smuggle in with them. She does everything she can to keep the love of books alive as she and those she cares for endures unimaginable horrors.

 

How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow

howtomakefriendswiththedark

How to Make Friends with the Dark is a book that covers a topic I can relate to. A teenaged girl named Grace, otherwise known as Tiger, ends up in foster care following the unexpected death of her mother. Her dad not in the picture, it was always Tiger and her mom against the world. Now, she’s on her own. How to Make Friends with the Dark is about her coming to terms with grief and moving on after losing the only family she had. Yes, I am a sucker for “dead mom” literature, apparently.

 

Lovely War by Julie Berry

lovelywar

I’ve read Julie Berry’s other books, All the Truth That’s in Me and The Passion of Dolssa and enjoyed both. Lovely War is a multi-generational story set between World War I and II. It is narrated by the goddess Aphrodite as she tells the story to her lover, Ares, and her husband Hephaestus in a Manhattan hotel room. It begins in 1917, where shy pianist Hazel falls in love with soldier James, who is later shipped off to the killing fields.

Along with him is Carnegie Hall musician Aubrey Edwards, who is a member of the all-African American regiment sent to help end the Great War. Romance is the last thing on his mind, until he meets a Belgian girl named Colette Fournier, a survivor of unspeakable tragedy at the hands of the Germans.

Are you already getting the feels? Because I am.

 

The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston

theprincessandthefangirl

I love fairy tale retellings, especially if set in a modern setting. The Princess and the Fangirl is the companion novel to Geekerella, a reimagining of Cinderella centered around a convention. The Princess and the Fangirl follows the co-star of the male lead in Geekerella, who is blamed for the leaking of a movie script and does a switch with a mega-fan that looks like her to find the culprit. At this point, I’ve heard several reviews of The Princess and the Fangirl. Unfortunately, they haven’t been as great as the ones for Geekerella. But there are so few retellings of any works by Mark Twain (The Princess and the Fangirl is a retelling of The Prince and the Pauper) that I still want to give it a chance.

 

Heroine by Mindy McGinnis

heroine

Mindy McGinnis is yet another author I’ve wanted to get into for years, even owned one of her books for the longest time, but, of course, have not gotten around to it. She is one where her books get mixed reviews. Such as, great things have been said about A Madness so Discreet and The Female of the Species, except some of her other works got flack. Heroine is her most recent novel. It is a contemporary, following a teenaged athlete who becomes addicted to drugs to keep playing sports after an injury. I rarely see these kinds of books, even though the topic is so relevant.

 

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

dearmartin

I want to improve on the amount of the diverse books on my TBR. Dear Martin is similar to The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. African-American teenager Justice finds himself in handcuffs after driving his ex-girlfriend home and he has no idea why. Told in letters to Martin Luther King Jr., he comes to terms with what is happening around him as one unfair thing leads to another.

 

Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith

fieldnotesonlove

Another book I recently checked out from the library but did not read, Field Notes on Love is a cute, fluffy young adult romantic contemporary. When his girlfriend dumps right before a cross-country train ride, British-born Hugo gives her ticket to Mae, who happens to have the same name as his ex (Margaret). An aspiring filmmaker, Mae challenges Hugo to follow his dreams, but will their romance end once the train ride does?

 

You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman

youaskedforperfect

Ariel Stone has built his entire life around getting into college—violin first chair, community volunteer, and valedictorian candidate. After a failed Calculus quiz, he starts to pull all-nighters to keep his classmates from seeing any weakness. Reluctantly, he accepts help from a tutor, Amir, who provides too much of a distraction. But a relationship might be the thing that finally makes Ariel snap under pressure.

 

The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg

themusicofwhathappens

Another LGBTQ+ romance, The Music of What Happens follows two openly gay boys in Mesa, Arizona, Max and Jordan. Laidback Max is gay and him nor anyone in his life is making a big deal about it. But despite this, he can’t bring himself to talk about an encounter with an older boy. Uptight Jordan is trying to hide the fact that his mom is spiraling while searching for his first kiss from Mr. Right who might not like him to begin with. In the heat of summer, their chemistry will be as hot as a June in Arizona. And this cover is adorable!

 

We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett

werulethenight

A young adult fantasy stand-alone that sounds a lot like Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Revna is a factory worker caught using illegal magic and general’s daughter Linne disguised herself as a boy to join the army. Both are offered a reprieve from punishment by joining a secret women’s military flight. The girls can’t stand each other as they are forced to take on terrifying missions under the cover of night. But if they can’t figure out how to work together, the enemy will kill them before they kill each other.

 

The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie

thelastvoyageofpoeblythe

The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe follows a young captain who is hell-bent on taking down the individual who murdered her beloved and robbed her of everything two years ago. As she navigates the treacherous waters of the Serpentine River, Poe discovers there is a traitor lurking her crew. From there, she will learn to move forward in her grief and anger, making a new path for herself. I haven’t read Ally Condie’s Matched trilogy, the cover for The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe (and my love of lady pirates) drew me in.

 

Izzy + Tristan by Shannon Dunlap

izzy+tristan

This one was an impulse buy. After learning the legend of Tristan and Iseult in my college English courses, I’ve been fascinated by the story. If you are unaware, it is an earlier version of the Lancelot and Guinevere legend. Izzy + Tristan is a retelling of the tale set in a modern-day Brooklyn neighborhood. Two teenagers are in an ill-fated love affair after Izzy starts dating Tristan’s cousin but falls for him instead.

 

Voices: the Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott

voicesjoanofarc

I had heard about Voices through BookTube and bought it when I saw it on sale on Barnes & Noble’s website. It is a retelling of the final hours of Joan of Arc as told through different forms of medieval poetry, through the eyes of Joan, her friends and family, and others, including objects. I finished it in a day, unable to put it down as soon as I started reading. It was also in my latest reading wrap up, if you want to know my thoughts.

 

Squad by Mariah MacCarthy

squad

You know what sold me on this novel? An outcast cheerleader gets involved with a transgender boy in what feels like love, only it isn’t. The cheerleaders at Marsen High School are normal girls trying to master the sport. But when Jenna finds herself suddenly on the outskirts, she sets out to take revenge on her former best friend while trying to come to terms in post-cheer life.

 

What is the best book you’ve bought recently?

Books I Want to Read Tag

I’m currently on spring break. It’s been nice, only I wouldn’t exactly call it “spring,” since we just had a big snowstorm nor would I call it a “break,” since I’ve been up to my next in homework assignments.

Other than that, I am proud to announce, the book buying ban is still going strong (it helps not having any money to spend). I’ve been using the library like crazy. I know there are books at home that I can/should read, but the library has been so helpful maintaining my book buying urges. Which brings me to the situation of my TBR.

Like many of you, I have a massive TBR, at home and on Goodreads. There is no chance of it getting smaller. But I like big to be read piles, so I’m fine with it. And I like to talk about the books I want to read. It decreases the likelihood I’ll forget about them. So, when I saw this tag on Kristin Kraves Books blog, I knew this is exactly what I needed for a homework break.

The Books I Want to Read Tag was created by Jamishelves. Thank you!

On to the tag!

 

A book that you feel like you need to read because everyone talks about it.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seann McGuire

Screenshot_2019-03-08 Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1)

To be fair, if you can sell a book to me, chances are, I will want to read it. When Every Heart a Doorway first came out and everyone was reading and loving it, I was neutral. Novellas aren’t my thing. It wasn’t until Beneath the Sugar Sky came out that I really felt compelled to pick up Every Heart a Doorway, as well as the companion novels. I plan on checking the series out from the library in the next month or so.

 

A book that’s really long.

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

kingdomofash

I think I have said this before, but I’m not as madly in love with the Throne of Glass series as I used to be. Only I’m too invested into certain characters to not finish it. The series finale, Kingdom of Ash, is well over 900 pages, so it will probably take me a while. Still, Sarah’s books are easy enough reads that, if I focused, it wouldn’t take me too long.

 

A book you’ve owned/had on your TBR for too long.

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

Sadly, I could name three books for this question. I attempted to read Wicked almost two years ago now, got about 50 pages in, and then set it aside. Not because I wasn’t enjoying it; I was in the throes of a reading slump brought on by the feeling of “I have no idea what to do with my life and there’s all this other stuff going on I can’t deal with.” But Gregory Maguire’s writing spoke to the English nerd in me. I definitely plan to pick this book up again.

As for The Magician’s Lie and The Shock of the Fall, there isn’t any explanation as to why I haven’t read these books yet. I have owned both of these books since my sophomore or junior year of college. And I still want to read them. The Magician’s Lie follows the Amazing Arden, a magician who is arrested for murder and the novel takes place over the course of a single night, as the detective interrogating her tries to unravel her secrets. The Shock of the Fall is a contemporary novel about a mentally ill young man struggling with his personal demons and the hidden truths behind the tragic death of his older brother years before.

Needless to say, I should have read these books a long time ago.

 

A book that is “required” reading.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Northanger Abbey is the only Jane Austen book I have not read. I have enjoyed every single one of her books, so there is a strong possibility I will also like Northanger Abbey. That will be remedied this year. As for Wuthering Heights, it was a summer reading book in high school that I know for a fact I did not finish. I read just far enough where I could gather quotes for the worksheet they wanted us to fill out. I don’t think I liked it back then. Only now that I have had more Bronte exposure, I want to read it cover to cover this time.

 

A book that intimidates you.

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

Screenshot_2019-03-08 The Queens of Innis Lear

I checked this book out from the library months ago and stopped reading. I knew I wasn’t going to finish it, even if I renewed it. I just wasn’t feeling it at the time, or I thought I wasn’t.

I am 50/50 on The Queens of Innis Lear. The writing was dense, but also lyrical and the atmosphere the author created was beautiful. In the 50 pages I read, I hated the three female leads, but felt drawn to their male love interests. The synopsis still intrigues me, even as the mythology intimidates me. I really don’t know at this point.

 

A book that you think might be slow.

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

queenofairanddarkness

While I do enjoy them overall, because of their page length and the on-again, off-again pacing, sometimes Cassandra Clare’s books feel slow to me. While I am excited to complete The Dark Artifices trilogy with Lord of Shadows and Queen of Air and Darkness, it will likely take me a couple of weeks. Apprehensive is the word I’d use to describe my feelings.

 

A book you need to be in the right mood for.

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Villette by Charlotte Bronte

A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

The Beautiful and Damned and This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

I don’t consider myself a “mood” reader. I make TBR lists and, for the most part, stick to them. Only there are some books that I do need a particular mood for when I read them. I learned that a few months ago when I attempted to read Leaves of Grass. I love Walt Whitman’s poetry, yet this one was a struggle bus to ride for some reason. I ended up putting it down.

Besides Leaves of Grass, the other ones I own are Villette, the Fitzgerald novels, and the Dickens books. Villette by Charlotte Bronte is a big book, which at the moment, is likely the only reason I haven’t given it much thought. Bigger classics are sometimes a chore, no matter how much you may or may not love the author. I loved The Great Gatsby when I read it in high school, though Tender is the Night was a disappointment. That only makes me apprehensive about the remaining two I own. The same goes for the Charles Dickens books. I grew up loving A Christmas Carol and I distinctly remember reading Oliver Twist as a child, but his book Hard Times, which I read for a college literature course, fell flat.

As for the rest of them, the thick, dense, complex books Anna Karenina, Moby Dick, and Gone with the Wind, those are on my unofficial “book bucket list.” I want to read them, mostly to say I did, but I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t.

 

A book you’re unsure if you will like.

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

Screenshot_2019-03-08 For Whom the Bell Tolls

Of all the unread books I own, For Whom the Bell Tolls is at the very, very bottom of the pile. I read two other books by Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms, and was not crazy about either of them. I know he covers the more serious, less happy times of an era the modern world glamourizes, which I appreciate. However, his writing style in these books are like nails on a chalkboard to me and I don’t like how he portrays his female characters. After those rather unpleasant reading experiences, I don’t know when (or if) I will read For Whom the Bell Tolls. But I would never get rid of these books—they were passed down to me by my parents.

 

What are books on your TBR you’re not sure if you will like?

 

I tag:

Shanah

Grey

Crystal

Sophie

Rebecca

And anyone else who wants to do the tag!

My Book Buying Ban Challenge of 2019

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

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

rejected no kiss GIF

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

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

sad ice cream GIF

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

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

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

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

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

Vicious and Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh

Fierce Like a Firestorm by Lana Popovic

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

Windwitch, Sightwitch, and Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

Now I Rise and Bright We Burn by Kiersten White

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

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson

Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes

The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

 

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

the office no GIF

Thank God for the library.

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

 

Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

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

A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin

Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider

Where I Live by Brenda Rufener

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce

Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez

Even When You Lie to Me by Jessica Alcott

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary by NoNieqa Ramos

Black Flowers, White Lies by Yvonne Ventresca

Dead to Me by Mary McCoy

Blood and Salt and Heart of Ash by Kim Liggett

Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard

Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliot

My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller

The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long

Born of Illusion by Teri J. Brown

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors

The Looking Glass by Janet McNally

The Healer by Donna Freitas

In Paris with You by Clementine Beauvais

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life by Rachel Cohn

The Second Life of Ava Rivers by Faith Gardner

The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson

If Only by Jennifer Gilmore

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

Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

White Stag by Kara Barbieri

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

The Antidote by Shelley Sackier

Stolen Time by Danielle Rollins

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas/Early Birthday Book Haul

Remember all those books I had on my Christmas wish list? Turns out, only one of them was under the tree. From my dad’s point of view, it makes sense, since I buy myself so many books throughout the year. I got a lot of other nice things, like three Harry Potter Funko pops, new jackets, and Amazon gift cards.

But the best part about Christmas? Having a birthday in January.

Dog Happy Dance GIF

(I fully accept the fact I am greedy.)

There are still a lot of books featured in this haul. Some I bought or received before Christmas, the rest I got with my Amazon gift cards or bought while shopping at Target recently as an early birthday present to myself. And, like always, this will be a long one.

 

Pre-Christmas Books

 

The Deepest Blue by Sarah Beth Durst

thedeepestbluearc

On the last day of my recent library temp job, the departments had their annual Christmas cookie crawl. In addition to cookies, the Reading Advisory department was also handing out wrapped advanced reader copies of books the library received from publishers trying to sell their books. I picked the one that read “adult fantasy, nature spirits, and a competition to be queen” written on the label. To my surprise, it was The Deepest Blue, which is by an author, Sarah Beth Durst, and part of a series I have been interested in for a while.

 

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

bonegap

Bone Gap is a book I have wanted to read for years, but I always forgot about. It is a magical realism contemporary novel that is a retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth set in a strange small town.

 

The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

thepearlthief

Code Name Verity is one of my all-time favorite novels. The Pearl Thief is the prequel to that novel. It follows Julie before she was Verity as she investigates a murder and theft her new friends are suspected to be involved in.

 

The Spring Girls by Anna Todd

thespringgirls

If I am being honest, the cover was part of the lure for this book. The Spring Girls is a modern-day retelling of Little Women, following the daughters of a high-ranking solider growing up on an army base. It seems like fun, maybe a little trashy, the kind of book I might save for a reading slump.

 

The Rattled Bones by S.M. Parker

therattledbones

Another slight impulse buy, The Rattled Bones is a young adult horror novel following a girl haunted by the visions of a ghost. When she becomes involved in an archeological dig, she uncovers a dark history about her waterfront community and a tragedy that has been kept silent for many, many years.

 

Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper

salt&storm

Family drama, evil mother, daughter trying to claim her birthright from said evil mother, witches, and a dark, secluded island protected by magic. Salt & Storm checks off a lot of my boxes.

 

Mechanica and Venturess by Betsy Cornwell

Mechanica is a retelling of Cinderella set after she gets her happily ever after. Mechanica is an inventor living with her wicked stepmother and stepsisters until she sneaks out one night to attend the ball. She meets the prince and falls in love. Then, she wonders if it is really what she wanted after all. Venturess is the sequel to Mechanica.

 

Christmas Day

 

The Lost Queen by Signe Pike

thelostqueen

The one book on my Christmas 2018 wish list that I found under the tree, The Lost Queen is set in sixth-century Scotland and tells the story of a queen lost from history, whose twin brother inspired the legend of Merlin. I am glad I have it; the synopsis is fascinating to me and the cover is stunning facing forward on my bookshelves.

 

Amazon Gift Cards

 

Persepolis and Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi

A banned book I have been dying to read for years now, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel memoir. The daughter of Marxists and the great-granddaughter of the country’s last emperor, both volumes cover her life, beginning with her childhood during the Islamic Revolution and leading up to her early adulthood as a university student as the chauvinist government rises to power.

 

Gareth Hinds is a graphic novel artist I happened upon randomly and fell in love with his artwork. From what I have seen on Amazon, he retells classics in graphic novel format, using different color schemes that seem to somehow match the theme of the story. I had to refrain myself from buying so many of his works, but I narrowed it down to:

Beowulf and The Odyssey, two epics I wanted to reread on my own, outside of school. Reading them in graphic novel format made them less daunting.

Poe: stories and poems is probably my favorite graphic novel I bought ever. I had to stop myself from reading it so soon and focus on my library books first.

Romeo and Juliet, I bought this one because I almost borrowed it from my college advisor but felt bad about taking it. I also figured this one would be a good Shakespeare play to read in a different medium.

 

The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag

thewitchboy

One of the cutest books I own now, The Witch Boy is a middle grade graphic novel. Aster comes from a magical family where boys are shapeshifters and girls are witches. Only he can’t get a hang of shapeshifting nor can he help looking in on the witch lessons the girls get. When one of the boys in his group goes missing, Aster risks breaking the rules to use the magic he’s learned to help.

 

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

theprinceandthedressmaker

The Prince and the Dressmaker is another graphic novel breaking the gender rules. Prince Sebastian of Paris is looking for a wife, or at least his parents are looking for one for him. While trying to deal with his duties as prince, he has a big secret. By night, he puts on dresses and becomes Lady Crystallia, the glamourous fashion icon. The only other person who knows is his best friend and dressmaker, Frances. But with her own dreams on the line, how much longer can she protect her best friend?

 

Spell on Wheels by Kate Leth, Megan Levens, and Marissa Louise

spellonwheels

Spell on Wheels is one of those books that suddenly popped up on YouTube with everyone talking about it before vanishing again. I wanted to get into graphic novels more and this one appealed to me. It’s about three witches and best friends who go on a road trip of revenge to find the person that stole their spellbook. Plus, it looks like only one volume is out, so I don’t have to get caught up in a series. Except from what I’ve heard, I could be disappointed by that like other people.

 

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

heykiddo

Besides graphic novels, memoirs and nonfiction are other kinds of work I want to get into. Like Persepolis, Hey, Kiddo is a graphic novel memoir about the author growing up with a drug addict mother. He is raised by his grandparents until he finds information about his mysterious father.

 

Early Birthday Books

 

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

queenofairanddarkness

The third and final book in The Dark Artifices trilogy. This will be the year I will read Lord of Shadows back to back with Queen of Air and Darkness. It will happen. Can’t wait.

 

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

theclockmakersdaughter

One of the books I originally had on my Christmas wish list, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a historical fiction novel set in dual time periods. In modern-day London, archivist Elodie Winslow finds a woman’s photograph and a sketch inside an old satchel believe to be connected to the events that happened at Birchwood Manor. No one knows what really happened the summer of 1862 besides one woman was murdered, another disappeared, and a man’s life was ruined.

 

Puddin’ by Julie Murphy

puddin'

Puddin’ is the companion novel to Dumplin’, which I have not yet read. I haven’t watched the Netflix movie either. I have the book and I will read it before I watch the movie. I just want to read these books for the body positivity and plus-size main characters.

 

The War Outside by Monica Hesse

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Haruko and Margot meet at the high school in Crystal City, a family internment camp in 1944 America for people accused of assisting the enemy. Despite being different in many ways, the girls bond over their shared situation as their families fall apart. But in an atmosphere of fear, their friendship is tested as they struggle to trust anyone, even each other.

 

Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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Little White Lies is a young adult contemporary mystery novel set in the American South. Eighteen-year-old Sawyer Taft accepts a six-figure contract from her estranged grandmother to participate in this year’s debutante season. Besides needing the money, she sees it as an opportunity to find out who her father is. But Sawyer gets more than what she bargained for when she makes friends with the other debutantes and discovers her family is not the only one with skeletons in the closet.

 

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

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The Tattooist of Auschwitz is the real life story of Holocaust survivor, Lale Sokolov. A Slovakian Jew that can speak multiple languages, his captors make him the tattooist of Auschwitz, permanently marking his fellow prisoners. For two and a half years, he will bear witness to the monstrosity of human nature as well as bravery and compassion, eventually using his privileged position to sneak in food to keep the prisoners alive.

I already know my heart can’t take it.

 

What was your favorite gift you received for Christmas?

 

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Books I NEED to Read in 2019

I have no idea how I kept this list down to five….

I have full series I want to read. I have books that are part of series I want to get into or finish. I have popular books I bought with every intention of reading as soon as possible when I bought them. I have books that have been on my TBR for longer than they should have been.

In short, I have a lot of books I want/need to read in 2019. For the sake of this list (and my sanity), I selected the first five I thought of, which are:

 

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

 

Pretty sure Tower of Dawn was on my list last year too…. While I might not be as infatuated with the Throne of Glass series as I was before, I still want to finish it. There are characters I care about, like Chaol and Dorian, and I’ve come so far, it seemed like a waste to stop now. This series is genuinely entertaining, despite its flaws.

(And, in case you were wondering, A Court of Wings and Ruin is another Sarah J. Maas book I plan to get to finally in 2019.)

 

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

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I bought Cinder years ago and received the remaining books for Christmas last year, yet I wasn’t entirely sure if I would love this series as much as everyone else seems to. Fairy tale retellings are some of my favorites, but at the time I wasn’t into science fiction. However, since then, I have read and adored Marissa Meyer’s stand-alone Heartless as well as picked up some science fiction. So, 2019 is the time to read the Lunar Chronicles.

 

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

 

I bought Lord of Shadows almost as soon as it came out, but I have a legitimate reason for putting it off. I meant to read it right after I finished Lady Midnight. Then, life started to happen, stuff that caused me to not want to read such a huge book. After that, the reviews started coming in. I knew that once I read Lord of Shadows, and I didn’t have the next book, I’d go crazy. So, I waited until Queen of Air and Darkness was released. Now, I can binge read the last two books in The Dark Artifices trilogy. This trilogy might be my favorite Shadowhunters series after The Infernal Devices.

 

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

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A Crown of Wishes is one of those books on my TBR I have no idea why it’s still there. I enjoyed the first book, The Star-Touched Queen. Everything about the synopsis—a dangerous magical race, a princess having to team up with an enemy to fight for her freedom—promises that I will like this book, too. The spine even catches my eye on my bookshelves. Needless to say, A Crown of Wishes will be read in 2019.

 

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

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With hyped books, I tend to wait a little bit after they are published to read them. I want to form my own opinion of the book without being influenced by any excitement. There is also the worry I might not like it as much as everyone else. Admittedly, Children of Blood and Bone is the one on this list I can put off a tiny bit longer. The sequel, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, is coming out in March and this series seems like a good one to binge.

 

What books do you need to read in 2019?

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Books I Didn’t Get to in 2018

Sadly, there are more than five books I can put on this list….

In the beginning of 2018, I was doing good, reading books off the top ten I had prioritized for the year. Then, life happened.

21 of the 52 books I read so far this year were library books. And likely you will see more in my final reading wrap up of the year. In theory, that’s a good thing. I love the library (obviously). After I got my acceptance letter, I made more of a point to check out books whenever I could. On the other end of that, my books at home were often ignored.

Some of these, I have a reason for why I kept putting them off. The rest, not really.

The five books I did not get to in 2018 are:

 

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

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When I first got into Sarah J. Maas’s books, I was obsessed. I loved the first three books in the Throne of Glass series and I adored A Court of Thorns and Roses. Then, somewhere between Queen of Shadows and A Court of Mist and Fury, my passion for these two series just…dissipated.

I blame the fandom on this one. I acknowledge that Sarah’s books are not perfect. There are not enough diversity among the characters in terms of sexuality or ethnicity, as well as some problematic themes in the romantic relationships. But the people who are die-hard for anything Sarah J. Maas were really starting to get on my nerves. While any distaste readers feel towards characters such as Chaol Westfall or Tamlin are justified, that does not give them the right to verbally attack those who still love and support these characters.

I will still read A Court of Wings and Ruin because, despite everything, there are still characters in this series I like. Though I was spoiled for something MAJOR involving everyone’s favorite High Lord of the Night Court, it doesn’t bother me because I’m just in it for the smut. And if I do want to read A Court of Frost and Starlight, I’ll get it from the library.

 

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

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I read Lady Midnight in 2017 and it was one of my favorite books of the year. Shortly after I initially read it, I bought Lord of Shadows intending to read it after a short break, and then…it didn’t happen. By the time I realized I had not picked up Lord of Shadows yet, it was getting too close to the first day of school and, with only a few months before Queen of Air and Darkness came out, I figured I would be better off waiting. That way, I can marathon the remaining books in the trilogy. And, hopefully, not completely die inside.

 

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

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I honestly have no explanation for this one. I don’t know why I didn’t pick up Our Dark Duet. It’s not that I didn’t like This Savage Song or I was so upset about it being a duology. I still remember the key points that happened in the first book, so I’m not in too much trouble yet. Still, I ask myself “why?” all the time.

 

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

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I am not emotionally, physically, or mentally prepared to read A Reaper at the Gates. I’m just not. Worse still, once I pick it up, all other responsibilities will cease to exist. Not exactly the wisest decision for a graduate student.

 

Windwitch by Susan Dennard

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As is the case with Lord of Shadows, I enjoyed the first book of this series, Truthwitch, and I picked up its sequel, Windwitch, almost right after reading it in 2017. I had every intention to read it as soon as possible. Then, of course, stuff happened, as it does. Not only that, I found out there was to be a big gap between Windwitch and the third book in the series, Bloodwitch, so I wasn’t very happy about that. Only now there is the prequel novella Sightwitch. My plan, also as with the last two books in The Dark Artifices trilogy, is to marathon the next three books in the Witchlands series after Bloodwitch comes out in February. Then, have a massive book hangover of the ages.

 

What books did you hope to get to in 2018 but didn’t?

 

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Characters I Want as a Best Friend

This one was kind of hard for me. There are a lot of characters I have read over the years that I would love to have as a best friend or who I think might be a good influence on me in some ways or that their personalities might match well with mine. It took some narrowing down, but I got it now.

Top five characters I want as a best friend are:

 

Leo Valdez from The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

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Leo is too funny, but he can be serious when he needs to be. He doubts himself a lot, which I can relate to, only I think we could build each other up. Sometimes, I go back and forth on whether I want him as a best friend or a book boyfriend. That’s how much I like Leo.

 

Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

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No brainer! I love Luna. Not only would I love to be her best friend, I want to be her, more than I ever wanted to be Hermione Granger. She is unapologetically quirky and unbelievably sweet. I could go to her for virtually anything and she would help me, no questions asked.

 

Percy Jackson from the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

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With Percy, the situation is the same as with Leo. I love his sense of humor and his loyalty. He’s a natural leader and he keeps everyone together. He’s both a good friend and a good boyfriend. Percy Jackson does not make it easy to choose. At all.

 

Cristina Rosales from Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

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I completely forgot about Cristina until I was coming up with people for this list. She was one of my favorite characters in Lady Midnight. Sometimes, I liked her a little more than Emma. Cristina was levelheaded and she was a good listener. I think she is someone I could go to if I needed either a pep talk or a reality check.

 

Sophie Collins from The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare

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Another character I almost forgot about until I made this list! I really liked Sophie. She was quiet but strong. She was compassionate but knew when to put her foot down and stand up for herself. She treated everyone with respect, even people who might not have deserved it. I think Sophie’s and my personalities would mesh well.

 

What character would you want as your best friend?