The Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book Tag

I’ve been a slump in just about every way of life since school ended. This quarantine does not help. But thanks to Grey tagging me, I feel the first spurt of energy I’ve felt in days. Well, okay, that’s a little dramatic (even if true) and Percy Jackson makes me ridiculously happy regardless. Especially now, since Disney + is turning it into a TV show.

Now if only we can go places….

To the tag!

Side note: this tag was created by May and I forgot to link her before. Many thanks to Grey for letting me know who the creator was and many thanks to May for making it! ❤

 

Percy Jackson: your best/favorite book of the year

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No matter how many other good books I manage to read in 2020, my answer will remain To Drink Coffee with a Ghost by Amanda Lovelace, which was the second book I read in 2020. This poetry collection focuses entirely on Amanda Lovelace’s tumultuous relationship with her mother, and she talked about things that hit a nerve. I finally let myself cry over things I hadn’t before. It was a relief.

 

Annabeth Chase: a book where you’re in awe of the author’s genius

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And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie was like Criminal Minds, circa 1930s. The ending and the plot twist was not what I saw coming at all. It’s why Agatha Christie is called the queen of mystery.

 

Grover Underwood: a book you love that’s under-hyped

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The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough is a novel I don’t talk about often on my blog but I really love it. The best way I can describe this book is how I wrote it in my Goodreads review when I read it five years ago: a combination of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak with a little bit of Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell thrown in. Love and Death personified play a game with each other where they pick two lovers, like Romeo and Juliet or Antony and Cleopatra, and one tries to outdo the other to see their own outcomes. But Death has always won. Then, there is Henry and Flora.

Spoiler alert: this is on my June 2020 TBR….

 

Luke Castellan: a book that you thought you’d hate but didn’t

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I wouldn’t say I went into this book expecting to hate it, but I didn’t go into it thinking I would enjoy it as much as I do, either. That is the Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead. At the time I am writing this, I have read the first three books—Bloodlines, The Golden Lily, and The Indigo Spell. I enjoyed books 1 and 2 immensely, though The Indigo Spell was a little weak in comparison. I thought I would dislike these books because I had been disappointed by its predecessor, the Vampire Academy series. While there are still some similar problems, it has not been as bad as I expected.

 

Chiron: a book that will always feel like home

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Admittedly, I do not reread books enough to have a solid answer for this question. The best I can say is books by favorite authors, like Amanda Lovelace and Cassandra Clare, can feel like coming home because I enjoy their stories so much that I easily get swept right in.

 

Tyson: a book with a sibling relationship you adore

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Percy Jackson and his cyclops brother Tyson, hands-down. Cinnamon roll Tyson is already one of my favorite characters in all the Percy Jackson books. I love his relationship with Percy.

 

Thalia Grace: a book where time froze when you read it

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Hmmm…this is a hard question to answer. Books in general can freeze time for me if I am not distracted by anything else. Ones that I can say with certainty made time feel frozen when I read them were Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys and The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

 

Nico di Angelo: a well-loved book you love too

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The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand is a book that fills me with joy just thinking about it. Just like it does everyone else and their mother. I’d reread it right now if it was not such a Christmas book.

 

Calypso: a book you’d be marooned on an island with

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All the books I can have with me, in between trying to figure out how to survive on an island.

 

Rachel Dare: a book you predict you will give five stars

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The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd and A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir are two five-star predictions currently on my to be read pile. All other books I’ve read by these respective authors were 5 stars. Naturally, my expectations for these two are high.

 

Jason Grace: an upcoming book you’d get hit by a brick to read now

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Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco, which is coming out this fall. I think I might set aside every other book on my priority TBR if I somehow was graced with a finished hardcopy of this book. I don’t think—I know I would do that.

 

Piper McLean: a book you loved that someone convinced you to read

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I do not have a lot of readers in my personal life. However, if a non-reader friend tells me of a book they actually liked, I almost immediately pick it up. Such as Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I had this book on my radar for years because it was a banned book. But I didn’t get around to it until one of my good friends, a non-reader, told me she absolutely loved this book.

 

Leo Valdez: the funniest book you’ve read

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Not a lot of books make me laugh out loud. I always hold back when I read around other people. Except a book I absolutely could not hold it in for was My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows, a hilarious historical fantasy that broke the fourth wall.

 

Hazel Levesque: an old book/book you read a long time ago but still love

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It’s a three-way tie between The Mediator series by Meg Cabot, The Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong, and the Anna Dressed in Blood duology by Kendare Blake. I read and loved all these books back in high school. They are the books I am terrified of rereading because I don’t want to find out they are not as good as I remembered.

 

Frank Zhang: a book you were afraid to reach the end of

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I was always excited to finish a book I started reading until Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. Besides the warnings about the sad ending in the reviews I saw on YouTube prior to reading, I expected there would be a sad ending anyway. Forbidden is about sibling incest, a brother and sister genuinely falling in love. It is impossible to anticipate a happy ending in such situations.

 

Reyna Ramirez-Arellano: a book everyone hates but you love

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Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh, a book that was pitched as a Mulan retelling when it was anything but. For most other people I know read this book, it was a massive disappointment. While I was initially displeased with the revelation, by the time I figured it out, I already loved the book for what it was. I love Renee Ahdieh’s writing style and I finally found a protagonist in a young adult fantasy novel where her weapon was her brain. I loved Flame in the Mist simply for those reasons.

 

Octavian: a book you would punch without hesitation

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Sadly, there are a few books I would punch…Woman of God by James Patterson…A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell…I’ll stop there.

 

Percabeth: a book with the best romance

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Besides Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase, Thomas Cresswell and Audrey Rose Wadsworth, from Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco, are romance goals in books. That’s why I have taken so long to pick up Escaping from Houdini, because from what reviewers have said, I don’t know if my heart can take it.

 

I tag…ALL THE DEMIGODS!

My Reading Plans for the Rest of 2020

I’m posting this here, so I can hold myself accountable. I want to stick to this plan.

At the end of May, I will officially be unemployed. When this COVID-19 quarantine began, my place of work (which happened to be a university) made it clear that people in my position may or may not have a job after May 28th. I will still be getting paid until then, but after that, it will be a while before I see another paycheck. Especially if businesses are not up and running again.

Even though I will officially have my Master’s in Library and Information Science, that doesn’t mean I will find a job immediately. Plus, my exuberant book haul from April showed me a cold reality: I do not have a lot of room left on my bookshelves.

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Does that mean I’m going on another book buying ban? No, not necessarily. If anything, I am cutting back on book-buying and focusing on reading books I already own.

I typed up and printed out my reading list of priority TBR books. These are books I’ve owned far too long unread—series I started but never finished, completed series I have not started, and other books I was very excited for when I bought them. Once I’m done with all my library books, I’ll move right on to those books.

I want to get started on my priority books right now. Only I also still want to read all the library books I checked out prior to the quarantine. This is the first time where I have the opportunity to read the insane amount of books I borrowed in the first place.

Speaking of library books, I plan on cutting back on those as well for the rest of 2020. The longer I am unemployed, the chances are I will feel the need to get out of my house and the only place I would want to go is the local library. Except I want to not visit the library so much with all those unread books at home, but I know myself too much at this point to say that won’t happen.

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As for buying books, the only ones I am bringing in are what I get through Book of the Month. Under the rules of their subscription, I can pick up to three a month (the monthly selection plus two add-ons). Reasonable enough—I’m getting my fix while maintaining a budget for new books.

After my May pre-orders come in, the goal is to not buy any other books besides my selections for Book of the Month. Ideally, I’d like to keep it up until December and then blow all my Christmas and birthday money on books I want. But if I make it to at least September (and I have a full-time job), I will be happy.

At this point in time, I’m going back and forth between doing a post on my monthly selections from Book of the Month, or including them in the monthly wrap-up. I don’t want to prioritize new books over old ones, but I’d hate to leave my Book of the Month selections unread and unrated. Since they are the only books I am buying at the moment, it seems only right that I should just read them now rather than put them aside. It doesn’t help that Book of the Month app tempts you with a yearly challenge of their own.

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Apparently I have developed this new competitive streak with my reading. A few weeks ago, I increased my Goodreads reading goal to 80 books. By March, I had already beat my original goal of 50 books in 2020. Three weeks into the quarantine, I was not reading as much as I wanted to. The library books piled on my desk were a constant reminder that I was ignoring my primary method of self-care. I thought raising my goal on Goodreads would motivate me to pick up a book instead of watching YouTube videos or binging old Criminal Minds episodes on Netflix. It has, but still not as much as I wanted.

That’s why I plan to take full advantage of the free time I will have until the world turns itself right side up again. Reading and writing will be much more fun now that it’s not for school anymore. I want to take a hammer to my priority TBR. Possibly part of that priority TBR will be my Book of the Month selections; if they are the only books I buy, it seems I read them before they gather dust. We will see if that changes in a few months, particularly if I think I need to unsubscribe for the sake of money. (Even though Book of the Month is cheaper than most book subscription services.)

If you’re curious, here are some of the books I marked “priority” on my to be read pile:

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The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

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

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

Escaping from Houdini and Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco

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

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

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Now I Rise and Bright We Burn by Kiersten White

 

Unemployed and stuck at home, I am so, so tempted to see if I can make it to 100 books read. But I’m not going to test my luck.

At least, not yet.

50 Bookish Questions

I love talking about books (obviously). I love book tags. I love answering questions about books. That is why, when I saw this tag on Sahi’s blog a few weeks ago, I knew I was going to do it even if she hadn’t tagged me.

This one is going to be a long one, so let’s get right to it!

 

What was the last book you read?

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At the time I am writing this post, the last book I read was The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. I had to read it for my children’s literature class.

 

Was it a good one?

I liked it.

 

What made it good?

Cute drawings and a beautiful color palette, with an important social message, I think.

Would you recommend it to other people?

Yes, but only to those who enjoy children’s picture books.

 

How often do you read?

I try to read at least 20 to 30 pages a day. There were times (like right now) I went several days without reading. Usually, though, I don’t last longer than a day.

 

Do you like to read?

Is water wet?

What was the last bad book you read?

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Sabrina by Nick Drnaso

 

What made you dislike it?

There was no character development and a one-dimensional plot.

Do you wish to be a writer?

Yes. I want to get back into creative writing in 2020. I even have a notebook set aside to write story ideas.

 

Has any book ever influenced you greatly?

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Most of the books I read influence me, to a certain extent. Two examples include The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace, a book that empowered me when I did not feel powerful, and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume, inspired me to start writing.

 

Do you read fan fiction?

Not as much as I used to. I was more into it during high school until college, eventually only going back to read really smutty ones when I was bored.

 

Do you write fan fiction?

I did in middle school, I think.

 

What is your favorite book?

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I do not have a specific favorite book. For the sake of the question, though, I will say my favorite book that I have read so far in 2020 is To Drink Coffee with a Ghost by Amanda Lovelace.

 

What is your least favorite book?

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A surprisingly easy answer: Woman of God by James Patterson.

 

Do you prefer physical books or reading on a device (like Kindle)?

I exclusively read physical books. Too much screen time makes me feel nauseous.

 

When did you learn to read?

According to my dad, when I asked him for an assignment last semester, when I was one year old I was pretending to read. But when I actually learned to read, it was probably around five years old.

 

What is your favorite book you had to read in school?

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I enjoyed most of the required reading I did in school. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton….The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald….The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde….The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo….Those are the first ones I thought of, but there are a lot.

 

What is your favorite book series?

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Ummm…I don’t have a single favorite series. Who does? My current top three favorite series are Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco, The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare, and An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir.

 

Who is your favorite author?

Again, how do you pick just one? Off the top of my head, a few of my favorite authors are Kerri Maniscalco, Sabaa Tahir, Renee Ahdieh, Cassandra Clare, Cynthia Hand, Laurie Halse Anderson, Robert Galbraith, Markus Zusak….

 

What is your favorite genre?

My favorite genre is fantasy, both adult and young adult.

 

Who is your favorite character from a series?

A recent new favorite character is Xiomara from The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. She is a strong-willed girl that tries to hide her vulnerable side because the people around her just won’t get it, or at least she thinks most of them won’t. I felt so much for her and I identified with her.

 

Has a book ever transported you somewhere else?

It’s easy for me to get lost in a book, unless I am distracted.

 

Which book do you wish had a sequel?

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The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager, though I’m not sure how the plot would work out. The twist revealed at the end of this book has potential of being another good psychological thriller, depending on how the author chooses to go about it.

 

Which book do you wish DIDN’T have a sequel?

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Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes, the companion to You, should not exist.

 

How long does it take you to read a book?

It depends on a bunch of different factors. If I have a lot going on, I sometimes don’t have the energy to read. In those cases, it would take me longer than a week to finish a book. It also depends on page count; longer books, 500 and up, tend to take a while for me to get through, even if I do not have much going on.

 

Do you like when books become movies?

If it is done right.

Which book was ruined by its movie adaption?

Divergent (Divergent, #1)

Divergent by Veronica Roth, no question.

Which movie has done the book justice?

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, a movie I dare say I liked more than its source material.

 

Do you read newspapers?

Not as much as I should.

Do you read magazines?

Nope, I find them boring.

Do you prefer newspapers or magazines?

Neither.

 

Do you read while in bed?

Yes, I have gotten back into reading before bed, although I lapsed after starting the new semester.

 

Do you read on the toilet?

Ummm…no.

 

Do you read while in the car?

Does reading on a bus count? If not, no, I don’t read while in the car. I don’t know how to drive, so I am always the passenger looking out the window. On the bus, I will read if I am awake and the lighting allows it.

 

Do you read while in the bath?

If I had a bathtub or owned any kind of fancy bath products, I might. I don’t read in the shower, either. I don’t wear my glasses and I would hate to get my book wet.

 

Are you a fast reader?

I consider myself a fast reader, for the most part. Although sometimes maintaining my focus is hard.

 

Are you a slow reader?

Sometimes, if I’m struggling to focus or I’m not that invested in a book.

 

Where is your favorite place to read?

My living room couch.

 

Is it hard for you to concentrate when you read?

If there are too many distractions or I am just not in a good headspace at the moment, then I do have a hard time concentrating on reading. But if a book is really good, I can usually mentally block out noise around me.

 

Do you need a room to be silent when you read?

Not necessarily. If I am reading in my bedroom, I prefer to have my white noise machine on. I have managed to focus on reading in other noisier situations as well. Although, now I’m thinking about it, I might prefer silence.

 

Who gave you your love for reading?

My dad, who read bedtime stories every night when I was a child, and my aunt, who is a librarian and continued to encourage me to read while my parents wanted me to do more “normal” kid things.

 

What book is next on your list to read?

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Right now, I am currently reading The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan. While I am working my way through that, I will pick up the next books I need to read for my children’s literature class from the library.

 

When did you start to read chapter books?

Third grade.

Who is your favorite children’s author?

J.K. Rowling or Rick Riordan.

Which author would you most want to interview?

Carlos Ruiz Zafon seems like he would be interesting to talk to.

Which author do you think you would be friends with?

Christine Ricco of Polandbananasbooks on YouTube and the author of Again, But Better. She’s out loud quirky and I love those kinds of people. I think our respective energy would feed off each other.

 

What book have you reread the most?

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, a book I have read at least three times.

 

Which books do you consider “classics?”

Books that have already been labeled “classics” are the books I think of as classics. Though Harry Potter is a good contender for this title.

 

Which books do you think should be taught in every school?

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Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan, and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

 

Which books should be banned from all schools?

NO BANNING BOOKS! PERIOD!

I tag…EVERYONE!

Would you ever ban a book from a school? If so, which one?

(POST AT YOUR OWN RISK!)

When You Work Near Three Bookstores (a book haul)

You read that right. I work near three bookstores.

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

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

 

A Gushing Fountain by Martin Walser, translated by David Dollemayer

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

 

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

To Drink Coffee with a Ghost by Amanda Lovelace

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

 

A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams

The Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

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

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

 

The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis

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

 

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

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

 

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

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

 

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

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

 

Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco

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

 

Now Entering Addamsville by Francesca Zappia

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

 

I, Claudia by Mary McCoy

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

 

The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey

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

 

Girls Like Me by Lola St. Vil

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

 

Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider

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

 

Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds

Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

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

 

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

My Most Notable Books of the Decade

My memory is terrible. Most times, I don’t remember what I did the day before, never mind what happened ten years ago. Then, people on YouTube and WordPress started sharing their “favorite books of the decade.” I didn’t open a Goodreads account until 2012, but I did keep record of books I read prior to that. It also helps that I reread books a lot in high school.

I tried to keep this list as short as possible. Only I realized that picking one book for every year was easier said than done. So let’s get right to it.

 

2009

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Rapunzel: The One with All the Hair by Wendy Mass

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Bliss by Lauren Myracle

Jinx by Meg Cabot

The Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong (2009-2011)

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (2009-2011?)

 

2010-2011

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Avalon High by Meg Cabot

My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong (2011-2015)

Heather Wells books 1-3 by Meg Cabot

 

2012-2013

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The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins (2012-2014)

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff

The Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

2014-2015

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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare (2014-2015)

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas (2014-2017)

Confessions series by James Patterson (2013-2015)

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Saga graphic novels

 

2016-2017

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We Believe You by Annie E. Clark and Andrea L. Pino

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

An Ember in the Ashes and A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (2016-2017)

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

2018-2019

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Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

To Make Monsters Out of Girls by Amanda Lovelace

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

 

The Secret Life of Bees and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian were books I read for book club, one of the few things I loved about high school. I would read the latter for about three more times over the next five years. Meg Cabot took up most of my junior high and high school years. I loved the Heather Wells series, despite never having finished it to this day, as well as Jinx and Avalon High. I read The Mediator series, my absolute favorite work ever by Meg Cabot, before the decade began, probably 2007 or 2008. Avalon High, as well as Rapunzel: The One with All the Hair by Wendy Mass, were I think the ones that inspired my love for fairy tale retellings.

If I had to pick the most notable books on this entire list, it is The Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong. Besides introducing me to my favorite genre—fantasy—it helped me find my niche in terms of writing. While I might enjoy reading contemporary or historical fiction, fantasy was the most fun and where I thought I produced my best work. Anna Dressed in Blood and The Space Between were other big influences on writing, as well as the dark, creepy novels of V.C. Andrews. I was also reading a lot of adult mystery thrillers at the time, hence the James Patterson books.

I started college in 2012 and graduated in 2016. 2012 is when I found Goodreads, which I found through the early days of BookTube, though I wasn’t so hardcore into it at that point. By 2015, however, I was reading a lot of the popular titles like Throne of Glass, The Mortal Instruments, and An Ember in the Ashes because of the steadily growing BookTube community. I was also adding books to my TBR left and right, and buying books now that I was making my own income. Something I’m sure many of you can relate to.

Though BookTube might have encouraged me to stretch my wallet a little too far, it also introduced me to a variety of books I never would have picked up on my own. 2015 or 2016 was the year I picked up graphic novels, which led to me finding the Saga series.

Honestly, it is truly hard for me to explain why so many of these books are notable. They just are. There are books, like The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace, that came to me right when I needed them. There are books like The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo and Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia where I saw myself genuinely portrayed in a fictional character. Even books I only read once and didn’t necessarily love I still think about from time to time. All the books I read impact me in some way or teach me something I needed to know. I would like to think this is the same for all readers.

 

What were your most notable books of the decade?

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Escaping from Houdini and Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

History of My Bookshelf Challenge

With a month off from a school, I can finally talk about books for fun.

Emma from emmmabooks created this tag in where you go through your bookshelves and find books based on a series of prompts. It seemed like a fun idea, going through my current collection as 2020 nears. Working for my own money within the last seven years of the decade certainly contributed to my book addiction.

On to the tag!

 

The oldest book on your shelf

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It is a tie between my Ernest Hemingway novels, Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut, two bound editions of Sherlock Holmes stories, and a beautiful edition of Pride and Prejudice. All of these belonged to my parents, which they gave to me a few years ago when they were cleaning out the bookshelf in their bedroom.

 

A book you read in 2013

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, my favorite book of that year. I was obsessed with the American film with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, too.

 

A book you read in 2014

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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, the first book I read because of BookTube. I watched Chapterstackss the most at the time and it was one of her favorite books.

 

A book you read in 2015

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas is the book I associate with 2015, because it reminds me of all the books I read that summer, and that year in general. It was also my favorite book of that year and still one of my all-time favorites. People seem to forget its existence in the presence of A Court of Mist and Fury.

 

A book you read in 2016

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Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco, one of my favorite books of that year as well as an all-time favorite. I remember I got it out of the library and was sad when I had to return it.

 

A book you read in 2017

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Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, a WWII novel that was almost 5 stars. However, I still gave it 4.75 stars and I eventually want to read its companion, Lost Roses.

 

A book you read in 2018

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Simon vs. Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, a book I remember reading early on in the year, when I was diving headfirst into reading to distract myself from my problems.

 

A book you read in 2019

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Vicious by V.E. Schwab, a superhero book that I gave into the hype for. I have not regretted it.

 

A book you’ve read more than once

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. I have read this book at least three times.

 

A book you waited over a year to be published

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The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, the companion to The Handmaid’s Tale.

 

A book you read on vacation/away from home

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Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare; I read it when my family went on vacation to New Hampshire in 2015.

 

A book you got from some place special (anything that’s not your local bookstore/online retailer)

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It might not be special to some of you, but it was technically not local to me. I bought Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, among other books, from Half-Price Books in Dallas, Texas when I visited my aunt in 2015.

 

A book that made you cry

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A List of Cages by Robin Roe is always my go-to answer for this question.

 

A book you read in one sitting

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Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, although not exactly in the best place. I went with my mom to the hospital for a procedure and I read this book while I was waiting for her.

 

A book that was gift

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Lost Lake by Phillip Margolin, a birthday gift from one of my best friends while we were still in college.

 

A book you read before owning (library, borrowed from a friend)

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I have quite a few of those. But to keep it short, I’m going to pick A World Without You by Beth Revis. It was a book I never expected to love like I did.

 

A book you lent to someone else

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Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare, lent to my dad only for three reasons.

  1. I live with him
  2. I want him to read more
  3. It’s not one of my favorite plays, anyway, so it’s not a big deal if/when he returns it.

 

A book that has been damaged

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Men of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong is probably the most damaged (loved) book I own.

 

A book you got on sale/discounted

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Swing Time by Zadie Smith, bought for 50% off at my grad school’s bookstore. (More on that purchase, and others, in an upcoming book haul!)

 

A book you read with someone else (buddy read/read with a book club)

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Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, a book I read for my young adult class and I was part of a discussion group for it. Not quite a buddy read or a book club, but I did not want to repeat answers.

 

A book you associate with a song

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I associate the song “Bom Bidi Bom Bom” by Nick Jonas and Nicki Minaj with A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. If you are unaware, “Bom Bidi Bom Bom” is from the movie Fifty Shades Darker. I’m pretty sure I read ACOMAF the same time the movie came out and replayed that song constantly. If you know anything about either the book or movie, then you know why this is seriously hilarious.

 

A book you got years ago that you probably wouldn’t buy now

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The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks, which I bought impulsively at a Rite Aid. This was back in 2015, when I started making my own money, my local library was not quite that well-stocked, or so I thought, and I wanted to read “modern classics.” I think I still want to read it, but if I don’t by the end of 2020, I will likely unhaul it.

 

A book you associate with a specific time in your life

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Sadly, I associate Carry On by Rainbow Rowell with February 2019, to the weeks I lost both my mom and my grandmother. I was trying to figure out how to live life without taking care of a sick person and familial BS. It was not a good time for me. The fact that I didn’t love Carry On did not help.

 

A book you used to like, but don’t anymore

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The Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong; a series I do not necessarily say I don’t like, but I keep it more for the nostalgia purposes.

 

The newest book on your shelf (at this time)

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The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang, one of the books I got for Christmas…another book haul to look out for!

 

I tag:

Shanah

Grey

Sophie

Rebecca

Kristin

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

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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

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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 Anticipated Releases Book Tag!

I was tagged by Rebecca to do the Anticipated Releases Book Tag. So thank you!

To be honest: sometimes, I don’t pay too much attention to new releases unless it’s a book I’m very, very excited for, such as the next installment in a favorite series. More often than not, I forget when books come out until I see them available on Amazon or at the bookstore and library. I try to focus on the books that are currently released and in my possession or I have access to before I think about the ones not out yet. Somehow, though, I came up with enough answers for this tag.

 

Your most anticipated release of the year

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Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco, the final novel in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. I am deliberately putting off reading Escaping from Houdini so I can marathon finish the series.

 

A book you’re not anticipating

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This might hurt some of you, but Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell. Wayward Son is the sequel to Carry On. While I’ve enjoyed most of Rainbow Rowell’s books, sadly, I did not love Carry On like so many other people have. Chances are, I won’t read Wayward Son.

 

Most underhyped anticipated release

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Lovely War by Julie Berry, which I already own since Barnes and Noble had an amazing sale recently. I have read two of Julie Berry’s novels and I immensely enjoyed both of them. Even if I had not read any of the author’s previous works, I would have been drawn to it anyway. It is a fantasy historical fiction novel told through the eyes of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, as she tells the story of doomed lovers to Ares and Hephaestus in a Manhattan hotel room.

 

A book you’ve been waiting on forever

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Though it is technically not a new release at this point—it came out summer of last year—a book I waited for what felt like forever for was Lethal White by Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling. It is the fourth book in the Cormoran Strike series and the one that got pushed aside in favor of the disaster that was the Crimes of Grindelwald. As far as I am concerned, JK Rowling needs to retire her Boy Wizard and focus on her adorable, grumpy London private investigator.

 

A book you’re anticipating that’s out of your comfort zone

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That would be Starsight, the sequel to Skyward by Brandon Sanderson. I picked up Skyward last year because I’ve been wanting to get into Brandon Sanderson’s books for years and I wanted to read more Sci-fi. It’s not something I often reach for, compared to other genres.

 

Your top 3 “Can’t Wait” Books of the Year

Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Technically, all three of these books are out by now, but they were all ones I was anticipating when I first heard of their publication. Contradicting my previous statement that I don’t pay too much attention to new releases unless it is by authors I’ve read previously, that is partially true.

Teeth in the Mist is Dawn Kurtagich’s third novel, and I read, and enjoyed, the other two. I bought Margaret Rogerson’s debut novel An Enchantment of Ravens when it came out, though I haven’t read it yet. But if a synopsis has any mention of libraries, magic, and sorcerers, like Sorcery of Thorns does, I am all for it. And I’m trash for Beauty and the Beast, so you bet your bottom dollar A Curse so Dark and Lonely, which came out way back in January, is on the list.

 

Top 5 most anticipated backlist books on your TBR

 

 

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

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

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I came to a slightly uncomfortable revelation about myself this year: I want all the books yet I continuously deny myself what I actually want to read. All of these books should have been read by now, among so many others. Yet I keep putting them unfairly on the backburner. No idea why. I guess I am a masochist.

 

What is a backlist book you keep putting off “for the right moment?”

(TAG! You’re it!)

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Mind-Blowing Mysteries/Thrillers

Mystery and thriller novels were, and still are, some of my favorite genres. Growing up with crime shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Law & Order: SVU led into it. I was obsessed with James Patterson in high school (not the case anymore). Mystery is actually how I got into urban fantasy. Most of the ones I read had a murder mystery plot or had a main character that was some sort of investigator.

Nowadays, I don’t think I read as much mysteries or thrillers as I used to. But I’ve definitely read enough within the last year or so that blew my mind. Those are:

 

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

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The third book in the Cormoran Strike series, Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling explored the more dark side of humanity in this one. We dive deeper into Cormoran Strike’s backstory, mainly the death of his mother Leda Strike and his interactions with two very evil men he investigated while he was still with the army. We also learn more about Robin’s past, which leads me into a trigger warning for rape, domestic violence, and child sexual abuse. Aside from that, I flew through this book as it took me through one twist after the other. After finishing the book, it took me a while to emotionally recover.

 

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

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And Then There Were None is a classic mystery, published in the 1930s. It follows ten people, who are lured to an island off the coast of England by a mysterious stranger that then traps them inside with the promise of killing them all for their respective crimes. There is no other way on or off the island, so it has to be one of the “guests.” But just when you think it might be one person, they get killed off. Agatha Christie does a good job at making everyone look guilty. And having the characters die one by one to coincide with a creepy nursey rhyme adds a level of gruesomeness to it.

 

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

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The most recent read on this list, Two Can Keep a Secret is set in a small Vermont town with a reputation for killing teenaged girls. True crime buff Ellery and her twin brother Ezra move to this town to live with their grandmother when another girl goes missing and strange, frightening threats appear. While I’m not sure many would call this book “mind-blowing,” since it is a young adult mystery, I still enjoyed it. I was surprised by who the killer was. Two Can Keep a Secret was highly entertaining and I wanted to give it five stars, only it didn’t quite get there.

 

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

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After being disappointed by Riley Sager’s debut novel, Final Girls, I went into The Last Time I Lied with low expectations. It follows Emma, who returns to the camp she visited fifteen years ago to find out what really happened to her three friends who vanished the summer she was thirteen. Like Final Girls, I flew through it, but I enjoyed The Last Time I Lied ten times more. I particularly like mysteries where not all of the characters are likeable, including the main character. The plot kept me guessing and entertained, and the ending I didn’t see coming.

 

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

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Hunting Prince Dracula is the second novel in the Stalking Jack the Ripper and probably my favorite in the series so far, even though I haven’t read the third book, Escaping from Houdini. Hunting Prince Dracula was set in Romania, at a medical school inside a castle. There was a lot of blood, a lot of death, a lot of mystery, and a lot, a lot of steaminess. I actually almost gave Hunting Prince Dracula four stars until the end blew me out of the water.

 

What is your favorite mystery novel you’ve ever read?