Top 5 Wednesdays: Bookish Happiness

This kind of prompt tends to come up at least once a year, and for some reason, I always struggle with it! I’ve mentioned before that I think it’s because of the kinds of books I typically read. My favourites tend to be thrillers, YA fantasy, and hard-hitting YA contemporaries, although over the past few years I’ve been reading a lot more contemporary romances too. When I think of books that make me happy, I still tend to gravitate mostly toward children’s books and graphic novels, especially ones that are collections of comics (ie. Fowl Language by Brian Gordon). Contemporary romances can definitely make me smile too, although I’ve definitely noticed a trend toward many of them including some harder-hitting content, such as grief, family issues, or sometimes even abuse, so it’s a little harder to view them as straight-up “happy” books. The same goes for YA contemporaries, but that’s probably because of the kinds of books I pick. I’m not super interested in very straightforward YA romances anymore, so I tend to go for books that have a bit more a spin on them, often involving social justice issues. Looking back on books that make me happy, it definitely leans heavily toward illustrated books.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) In Love & Pajamas by Catana Chetwynd and Oddball by Sarah Andersen – I have mentioned both of these series before in posts on similar themes, but they are still very much series that make me happy! Both are collections of comics that feature moments from the author’s real lives. Catana Chetwynd’s comics focus mostly on her relationship with her husband, and Sarah Andersen’s are about a variety of topics. Both are series that I followed on social media before realizing they had also been published as books. They are very quick reads, but I love them!

2) The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter – I picked this book up mostly because of nostalgia, and it definitely made me happy because of the adorable illustrations! Like most collections, I enjoyed some of the stories a lot more than others (mostly the ones I was already familiar with), and next time I probably wouldn’t read them all in a row, but this collection is so fun to read. I’ve always loved stories involving animals and Peter Rabbit is one of my favourites. Even just looking at the illustrations in this book makes me happy.

3) The Babysitter’s Little Sister graphic novels series by Katy Farina – I chose the graphic novel versions of the Babysitter’s Club last time, so it seems only fair to also include the Little Sister series. I didn’t really read much of the original version of the series because I was already too old for it by the time I found out about it, but it’s been a lot of fun to revisit them as a graphic novel. I’m definitely outside of the target age range for these books, but they tend to have the same kind of hilarious “little kid logic” like the Junie B. Jones series, so they’re still fun to read and very cute!

4) Heartstopper by Alice Oseman – I was a little hesitant to include this series because it does contain some more serious content about mental health as well, so it’s not quite as fluffy as the rest of the books here, but this series definitely made me happy. The relationship between Nick and Charlie is just so sweet and I love the way they support each other. The Netflix series did an amazing job of adapting the first books too, so that’s also very much worth watching.

5) Any book by Robert Munsch – I am shocked that I haven’t chosen any of this author’s books for any of the posts on this kind of topic, since his books are almost guaranteed to make me smile, especially Purple, Green and Yellow. His books are absolutely hilarious, and I also love the illustration style used to bring them all to life, at least for the books illustrated by Michael Martchenko. Even as an adult, I still have fun reading these books.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Hilarious Book Titles

I struggled a lot with this kind of prompt when it came up last year, and it was just as much of a struggle this time! I think I just don’t have a strong enough concept in mind of what makes a book title funny for me. I’ve looked at so many lists online of titles that are supposedly funny and didn’t really get why most of them were included. Even looking back at my choices from last time, there are only one or two that I would still find mildly funny. It took me a very long time to look through my massive Goodreads TBR (4784 books currently) and find books that even remotely fit, and most of those were books that stood out because the title was a little weird or unusual rather than outright hilarious. I definitely did not have enough books added within the past year or so that struck me as funny, so I actually ended up going all the way back to the beginning of my Goodreads TBR list and searching through some of the books that had been on there for a while. Actually, where I found the most luck is with graphic novels and collections of comics, which was a bit of a surprise. Like last year, I also want to add the disclaimer that when choosing these books, I was looking only at the titles, and not the content, so I hope that I’m not accidentally making light of any more serious books or darker topics.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

1) You Can Only Yell at Me for One Things at a Time: Rules for Couples by Patricia Marx and illustrated by Roz Chast

2) Lobster is the Best Medicine: A Collection of Comics about Friendship by Liz Climo

3) Mother, Can You Not? by Kate Friedman-Siegel

4) Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto

5) Love in the Time of Serial Killers by Alicia Thompson

6) We Don’t Eat our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins (it’s a children’s book, but it’s definitely a funny title!)

7) How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix

8) To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

9) Why My Cat is More Impressive Than Your Baby by Matthew Inman

10) The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming by Lemony Snicket

Reader Struggles: Meme Mini-Series (Revival #3)

It’s been a while since I revisited this list of Weird Things Book Nerds Do, but upon looking through it, I was reminded right away of how strongly I relate to most of the comics here. The characters do tend to read more literary fiction than I tend to pick up, but many of concepts of the comics still apply. This time, the one that stood out to me the most was the comic below about going to the bookstore. Last month was my first visit to a physical bookstore since the start of the COVID pandemic. I went away for a week and there was a huge Chapters right near my hotel, which I always love to visit! I actually went there twice, and it was hard to restrain myself from buying more books! I only bought 3 since any more would have been too hard/too heavy to carry back home, but there were so many others that I really wanted.

Even though I now do most of my book shopping online, I still really love the feeling of wandering through a bookstore. I can easily spend hours just walking up and down the shelves, even when I have nothing specific that I’m looking for. On my recent trip, I was very lucky to notice a copy of The Lying Game by Ruth Ware, which I’ve been struggling to find for years! For some reason I’ve easily been able to find all of her books, but this one has always been out of stock. I was thinking maybe it was because it was a little older of a book, but it was published in 2017 which really isn’t that long ago. I also bought a copy of A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, which has also been a bit tricky to find, and a copy of Local Gone Missing by Fiona Barton because it was discounted as a new release.

I saw a ton of other books that I really wanted to buy, but ended up waiting because most were easily available to me from home by ordering online from Indigo(same company as Chapters). It seemed silly to try to lug them all back home when I could just get them shipped straight to me, although it was really hard to see books that I wanted and grab them right then and there! To be fair, I was a little disappointed to see that some of the thrillers I really wanted were not available in hardcover. Paperback copies were available, sometimes even at a pretty deep discount, and it seemed that hardcovers in general were not stocked so often. I also find it a little annoying that discounts rarely end up applying to hardcovers, which are way more expensive to start with! New releases are sometimes offered for 30% off, but that only seems to apply to paperbacks. I wish they would discount the hardcovers since that would bring them down to a much more affordable price, instead of further discounting the already affordable paperbacks.

The four feelings shown in the comic above are all definitely things that I’ve felt while browsing bookstores. I think I relate most strongly to the first panel, because it’s so exciting to find that book I’ve been searching for, especially if I’ve been waiting a long time to get it. That was my experience this time with The Lying Game, since it’s been on my wishlist for quite a while! I actually almost missed it on the shelves because it was the only copy and it was one shelf above the other Ruth Ware books, but I happened so spot it right at the last second before I moved on to the next section. I also relate quite strongly to the panel directly below that, about finding books that you’ve heard are good but aren’t sure about reading. One of the reasons I love going to the bookstore is because I get to wander up and down the shelves and directly see the books themselves. I know you can also look them up online, but that requires me to remember and actively search for it, whereas in a bookstore I can just look at the shelves and I’m often reminded of books that I’d been meaning to try.

Even before the pandemic, I wasn’t able to physically go to bookstores quite so often. The nearest one is about a half hour bus ride away, and even that one has now closed. The next closest location is at one of two malls, both of which are 45 minutes to 1 hour away by public transit (I don’t drive) from my house, and I rarely go to either of them. It’s really sad to me that bookstores aren’t more easily accessible, since there really isn’t anywhere to physically buy books in my immediate area, except maybe Walmart or a few paperbacks at the pharmacy. I know there’s been a huge shift to more online shopping in general, even before COVID, but it’s unfortunate that this comes at the cost of the experience of actually walking through the shelves and discovering books to read that way.

Top 5 Wednesdays: Strong Female Characters

I could have sworn I’d done this topic so many times over the years, so I was very surprised to look back through all of my posts and realize that I hadn’t! The only topic that was even remotely similar was Independent Women from 2019. Considering how much strong female protagonists have been a trend over the past few years, especially in fantasy, I was surprised this topic hadn’t come up more. My original intent was to find some characters, even from movies or TV, that had a more unconventional kind of strength. I was inspired by my rewatch of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, specifically because of Tara. Although she is not the “traditional” version of a strong character (ie. physically strong, aggressive, snarky), she has her own quieter kind of strength that really shines through, especially in the show’s sixth season (spoiler alert for this paragraph — skip ahead to below the Top 5 Wednesday tagline below if you do not want to see spoilers for Buffy). We see Tara progress from being incredibly shy from her first appearance in Season 4, to someone who is able to stand up for herself and the people she loves, and even to take time and space away from her relationship when it was becoming unhealthy. I really wish we could see more of this kind of strong female character, in addition to the more traditional version. Most of the books below feature more of the stereotypical strong female character, who were great characters as well, but I do wish there was a bit more variety.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Books Set in Places I’d Love To Visit

It’s kind of ironic that this topic came up now, because I was just saying on one of my Goodreads groups that I belong to that I don’t love picking books based on geography. The Around the Year group on Goodreads is currently in the process of suggesting and voting on prompts for next year’s reading challenge, and setting prompts are often suggested. I know a lot of people have goals around reading “around the world” or one book for each of the 50 states in the US, etc., but I’ve never been that interested in doing that. I guess it’s no surprise since geography was one of my least favourite subjects in school. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy books that have an interesting setting, especially fantasy worlds, but it’s not really a factor in my choice of books. This week’s topic is also a bit of a challenging one for me because I’m not much of a traveler. I have some places that I would theoretically like to visit one day, but I have a lot of anxiety around travelling (especially flying) so I don’t know how realistic it is. I decided to go through my TBR and find some books that were from places that sound interesting, even if I’d never actually want to go there in real life. A few of these are books that I’ve already read, but most are books that I’m still planning to read.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

1) Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult (The Galapagos Islands – I’d love to see the animals!)

2) One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle (Italy)

3) The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary (England & Scotland)

4) The Guest List by Lucy Foley (Ireland — although all of the books I have that are set here seem to be thrillers!)

5) The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth (Australia)

6) Well Met by Jen DeLuca (A small-town Renaissance Faire – I don’t think this specific town is real, but this sounds like fun)

7) Tweet Cute by Emma Lord (New York, and I’d especially love to visit both characters’ family’s restaurants if they were real)

8) I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn (Japan)

9) The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (Chicago)

10) The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (I chose this book specifically for France, but then I remembered it also included NYC, London and Italy as well, so really all of those places)

Stacking the Shelves (#56)

I didn’t even remember adding a ton of books to my TBR this month, so I was very surprised to see that I’d already added 75 (plus 3-5 more that I added while writing this post)! This month was a bit of a weird one. I went from having COVID (extremely mild) right at the end of June, followed one week later by a 24-hour stomach bug, so that definitely put a damper on the start of my month. July is always a bit of an unusual month for me anyway since it’s when the day program I work for closes for two weeks of training and planning for the upcoming year, and then I tend to take two weeks off. I always expect that I’ll read so much during that time, yet somehow that never seems to be the case. Strangely, this month has felt both super slow and super fast at the same time. The majority of the books that I added this month were upcoming releases from authors that I’ve either tried or at least already had on my TBR. Unfortunately, I didn’t really keep track of where I first saw them so I have no idea how I first heard of most of these books!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week. It is hosted by TyngaReviewsand ReadingReality.

1) My Other Husband by Dorothy Koomson

I’ve been meaning to read more of this author’s books for years now, but they tend to be a little hard to find here in Canada. Luckily, it seems that her newer books are becoming a little easier to access through Amazon or Indigo, at least in paperback. I read The Ice Creams Girls by this author back in 2016 for one of my reading challenges and really enjoyed it, but haven’t read anything else by this author ever since! This book is her newest release due out in August. The synopsis is quite vague, but it seems to be about an author who is being framed for murder using the same methods they write about in their books, but she can’t tell the police or use her alibi because that would mean revealing all of her own lies. This is one of my favourite thriller premises and I’m very excited to give it a try. From what I can see, it is only available as an ebook so far which does not really help me, but I hope another version comes out soon too!

2) Lark & Kasim Start a Revolution by Kacen Callender

I delayed reading Felix Ever After for such a long time because it seemed overhyped, and then it ended up becoming one of my favourite books last year! I was very interested to see Kacen Callender had another new book coming this fall, due out in September. This book is about a non-binary teenager named Lark whose ex-best friend Kasim accidentally posts a thread to their Twitter declaring his love for his crush, which brings the whole school’s attention to Lark’s tweets. To protect her friend, Lark decides to take the blame and pretend they posted the thread about someone else, allowing Lark to get closer to their crush while keeping Kasim’s privacy intact. However, the lie soon starts to take its toll as Lark tries to keep up appearances for their online following, and Kasim soon starts to find himself growing closer to Lark again, just like things used to be. To be honest, I added this book to my TBR on author name alone without even looking at the synopsis, but now that I’ve seen it, I’m even more excited for this book!

3) Friends Don’t Lie by Nell Pattison

I’ve read two books so far in this author’s Paige Northwood series, and I believe this is her second standalone book. This is another case where the synopsis is incredibly vague, but from what I can gather, this book is about a woman named Isabel Butterworth who is mistaken for another woman of the same name. It took some careful delving into Goodreads reviews (hopefully without seeing too many spoilers) to get any more information, but it seems that Isabel is attacked by a man who was targeting the other woman, so she decides to try to warn the other Isabel that she may be in danger. This sounds like an interesting premise, although to be honest, I was a little disappointed with the second book I read by this author after absolutely loved The Silent House. I’m still willing to give her another chance, and I’m actually hoping to read the third book in the Paige Northwood series pretty soon as well. I wouldn’t necessarily say this book is at the top of my list to try, but I’m interested in giving it a chance at some point.

3) Such a Beautiful Family by T.R. Ragan

I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this author before, but it’s no surprise that this book ended up on my TBR given that it has a house on the cover, and for some reason that always draws me in. I can’t even remember where I first saw this book, but I think it may have just come up on my Goodreads feed. It is about a woman named Nora who has a great marriage with two children and a shot at her dream career, working for a software consultant named Jane who seems determined to have Nora on her team. However, Nora soon notices that Jane is acting more like a friend than her boss, and she seems a little too attached to Nora’s family, especially her daughter and her husband, leaving Nora to question whether Jane is just lonely or if there’s something darker behind it. Like many thrillers, the reviews for this one seem quite mixed, but it sounds like a very interesting premise. I tend to love books about someone trying to weasel their way into a relationship or a family, so this seems right up my alley.

4) Never Vacation with Your Ex Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka

I definitely assumed this book was another adult contemporary romance, so I was a little surprised to see that this was YA. The cover style is more in line with this author duo’s adult romances so I guess that makes sense. I was very surprised to realize that their next adult romance has somehow already been on my TBR for a year, even though it is not due out until 2023 and I was convinced that it had only recently been announced. This book is also due out next year, and it is about a 17-year-old volleyball star named Kaylee whose only break from her carefully controlled life is her family’s yearly vacation in Malibu with the Freeman-Yus. However, this year’s trip is bound to be awkward since Kaylee dated Dean Freeman-Yu and she just recently dumped him. To spare them both an uncomfortable summer, Kaylee decides to walk Dean through her steps to getting over an ex, but as the pressures of her family legacy and future career loom, she finds herself falling for Dean all over again and has to make the choice whether to do what’s expected of her or take a chance on love. This sounds so cute, and I’m excited to give it a try!

5) Something Certain, Maybe by Sara Barnard

I added this book to my TBR mostly because of author name recognition, because I absolutely loved Goodbye, Perfect when I read it in 2020. I have quite a few more of this author’s books on my list to try as well. This one is her latest release which just came out at the beginning of July, and it is about a girl named Rosie who is excited to be starting university, but soon realizes that it might not be what she expected. She doesn’t really like her program or her flatmates, her friends all seem much happier than she is, and back home, doctors are struggling to figure out what is wrong with her mother. Soon, Rosie meets Jade and everything starts to look up, but only when she’s with Jade, causing her to question whether their relationship is enough when everything else seems to be falling apart. There are so few books that seem to focus on the transition to university beyond the application process, so that alone was enough to draw me to this book. I loved Goodbye, Perfect a lot more than I expected at the time, and I’m hoping to love this one just as much.

6) This Is Our Place by Vitor Martins

Now that I’m thinking about it, I remembered that I found many of these books (including this one) on a list of upcoming LGBT YA books at, although to be fair, I had to dig back a bit in my internet history to remember exactly where I’d seen them. This book is another one that drew me in because of the cover art. Apparently it doesn’t matter if it’s a real house or an illustrated one, a house on the cover will still get me every time. This book is about three queer teenagers who have all lived in the same house over three different decades — 2000, 2010 and 2020. This seems like such a unique concept, and I’m especially interested in how the author tackles the 2020 storyline which will involved the COVID pandemic. This book is by a Brazilian author and is not due out until November, and the majority of the reviews so far are in Spanish (which I do not speak). I’m very curious to see more about this book closer to the release date.

7) What We Saw by Mary Downing Hahn

I don’t add a ton of middle grade to my TBR, but this one seemed very intriguing. This book is about two best friends, Abbi and Skylar, who witness a secret meeting between a woman and someone in a dark van. The girls take this as a mystery to liven up their summer, and become determined to find out what the meeting was really about. However, when a local woman goes missing and is found dead in the woods, they soon realize that their interest in the mystery may hold the key to solving the murder. As tensions rise, the girls find themselves in danger and must choose between keeping the secret or exposing the truth. The main reason I don’t read a ton of middle grade is because I tend to find it hard to relate to characters in that age range, however this one sounds interesting because it’s more of a thriller. I actually don’t think I’ve ever read a middle grade thriller before (at least not as an adult), so this seems like it could be a good place to start.

8) Poster Girl by Veronica Roth

I’m going to be upfront right away, and say that I liked the Divergent series but didn’t love it. However, I’ve been curious to try more of this author’s books anyway. I bought a copy of Chosen Ones not too long ago although I haven’t read it yet, and I’m also interested in Carve the Mark. This book is due out in October, and it is about a girl named Sonya who was the former poster girl for The Delegation, a group that kept control of society using constant surveillance and a very strict moral code, until their rule was ended by a revolution. Sonya had been imprisoned for 10 years for her role as the poster girl, but when an old enemy comes to her with an opportunity to earn her freedom by finding a missing child, Sonya finds herself digging deeper into her past and her family’s secrets. I love the concept of a character coming to terms with the dystopian society they were a part of and the whole idea of uncovering what was really going on. It sounds like such a unique premise, and although I didn’t love this author’s writing in Divergent, I’m willing to give her another try.

9) Little Red House by Liv Andersson

Again, I was drawn to this book mostly because of the cover, which I believe came up on my Goodreads feed. This book is about a woman named Eve whose daughter Kelsey ran away and vanished in 1997. Eve is convinced that Kelsey was victim to a serial killer who had been in the area, but her body was never found. Years later, Eve dies and leaves everything to her adopted twin daughters, with the majority going to the “good daughter” Lisa, and her sister Connie inheriting only a small amount and property, which she assumes is another one of her mother’s cruel games. Connie arrives in New Mexico to find a small red house which has a mysterious caretaker living on the property, and soon learns that there has been a string of women killed in the area. Connie soon realizes that this house may be yet another of her mother’s dangerous games, leaving her in a race to save herself and what’s left of her family. I love these kinds of darker thrillers, and this sounds so interesting!

10) The Ex-Husband by Samantha Hayes

This was one of several thrillers I added to my TBR within the past few days after going down a bit of a rabbithole of books in the “Readers Also Enjoyed” section on the sidebar of Goodreads. I have several books by this author already on my TBR although I haven’t tried any yet. This book just came out at the end of June, and it is about a woman named Leah who thinks she’s finally free of her abusive ex-husband Craig after moving to a new house with their children. Leah is shocked to see her ex walking past her window and into the house next door, and realizes that he and his new partner are her neighbours! Although Craig insists that it is just a coincidence, Leah is sure that he moved there on purpose and her nightmare soon begins again, and she is left to question whether anyone will believe her, even as their secrets are revealed. This sounds very intriguing, and I definitely need to try at least one of this author’s books since I have so many on my list already.

11) The Kind Worth Saving by Peter Swanson

I purposely didn’t look too deeply into what this book is about because (embarrassingly enough) I still have not read The Kind Worth Killing because I didn’t want to risk any spoilers! That book was one of my top priorities to read in 2020, but I had a really hard time finding a hardcover copy of it like I wanted, so I didn’t get it until too late in the year to prioritize it. However, there is absolutely no excuse for why I didn’t get to it in 2021 or even this year! I have so many of this author’s books that I still need to get to, and I have no idea why I haven’t read them yet when they have all been so high on my list. I’m hoping that this book will give me that extra push I need to finally pick up The Kind Worth Killing, although I really shouldn’t need any more of an excuse since it’s already something I really want to read. This book is due out next March, and I am very excited to read this too!

12) Big Bad by Lily Anderson

It’s perfect timing that I came across this book yesterday, because I’m currently in the middle of rewatching Buffy and finally making my way through Angel. Buffy is one of my all-time favourite series, although I’ve never quite been able to get into Angel as much. I must have seen all the episodes at some point but I’ve never watched the entire series all the way through in order. The last time I tried, I got all the way to the second half of season 5 and the show was pulled off of wherever I was watching it. I like Angel, but I’m definitely not as attached to the show as I am to Buffy. In any case, this book is set in an alternate reality version of Sunnydale, now known as Demondale, where the Mayor managed to open the Hellmouth and the town has become a safe haven for monsters. Jonathan and Andrew are trying to hold their own in the town, while Anya is looking for a way to give her life purpose again, teaming up with some of Demondale’s most notorious villains to save their world from Buffy, who they see as the Big Bad for trying to root out all the evil. I’m a little nervous about this because it’s such a twist on the storyline (and I also don’t understand why Anya is only 300, when in the show it’s established that she’s over 1000 years old), but it does sound like a fun concept, and realistically, I’m very likely to read anything Buffy-related.

Top 5 Wednesdays: Disability Pride

Apparently yesterday was National Disability Independence Day, another holiday which I have never heard of so I would imagine it is specific to the US. I was a little embarrassed to realize how few books I’ve read that have disability representation this year, despite it being such a buzzword for me. I do not have a disability myself, but I work at a day program for adults with physical and cognitive disabilities and I find it very interesting to see how different authors tend to tackle the topic of disability in fiction. I actually read a very interesting non-fiction book last year about disability in fairy tales, called Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability and Making Space, which talks about how disability is represented in fairy tales and Disney movies, and the commentary it offered about how this can affect attitudes toward real people with disabilities as well. I’m not generally a fan of non-fiction, but this was easily one of the most interesting I’ve read! When it comes to disability representation in books in general, it seems to be quite a difficult topic to address well especially when individual experiences of any disability may vary so greatly. What seems to be strong representation to some may not reflect others’ experiences at all. Looking back on the books that I’ve read in the past couple of years, I found a few examples of representation that I thought was well-done, although as I do not have the disability myself, I may not be the best judge.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) The Brown Sisters series by Talia Hibbert – I am still relatively new to the romance genre in general, but this was series was one of the first I’ve seen that focuses on main characters who have a disability. In the first book, Chloe Brown has fibromylagia, a chronic pain condition, and both main characters in Get a Life, Eve Brown have autism. I honestly cannot remember if the middle book in the series included any disability rep, nor do my notes about it mention any. I really loved the way the author portrayed both conditions, especially fibromylagia since it was something that I knew so little about. In Eve Brown, I also really liked how the author used the two characters to show different aspects of autism, highlighting how the same condition may present differently in each person. I loved how the disability representation was woven directly and naturally into the storyline, without taking over and making it the sole defining trait of each person. I’d highly recommend this series!

2) The Kiss Quotient series by Helen Hoang – Thinking about it now, this series was actually the first romance series I saw (about a year before Chloe Brown) that featured characters with a disability, and it was actually that representation which first drew me to it. Each book in the series features characters on the autism spectrum. I was especially interested in this series because of the focus it gave to many of the social difficulties the characters had and the impact it had on their relationships, including with family. I especially enjoyed The Heart Principle, which I read earlier this year, which focused on some of lesser-known aspects of autism such as masking and autistic burnout. I also enjoyed the focus all three books placed on how autism was part of who the characters were and they did not need to change themselves to be happy. This was another series that I thought did a great job incorporating the representation and making it a focus while still feeling natural to the story.

3) The Aurora Cycle by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman – This is a series that I finished just this month after putting it off for years, and I’m including it because I hadn’t even realized it had disability representation until l picked it up! This series includes a character named Finian who has nerve damage and impaired mobility as a result of a plague that he caught as a child. Finian built himself an exosuit which he wears throughout the series to allow more independent movement, but his mobility and energy can be affected if his suit is damaged. I was very surprised to see this element woven into the book and although it was not necessarily the most prominent, there were mentions throughout the series of how Finian felt about his limitations or his perceptions of how others viewed him. I thought it was very interesting to see this including in a sci-fi series since it is something I have rarely seen before, and I liked how the authors addressed it.

4) The Silent House by Nell Pattison – Technically I should probably include the second book in this series since I read that one this year, but I thought The Silent House was better overall. This series features a sign language interpreter named Paige Northwood who works with the police to help investigate crimes in the Deaf community. In The Silent House, the case is of a young girl who was murdered overnight in her home, but her family are all Deaf so no one could hear what happened. I absolutely loved the focus on Paige’s role as an interpreter and the explanations provided about how interpretation works and why it is needed, and also loved the discussions around many of the stereotypes and attitudes toward the Deaf community. While I still enjoyed the second book in the series, I found it a little more repetitive and the case much less interesting. While it could be argued that the representation in this series is less direct since the main character herself is not Deaf, I thought the whole premise of these thrillers offered a unique and interesting way to offer representation.

5) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – This is another series that I read quite a while ago now, but it very quickly became a favourite series. One of the things that really stood out for me was the disability representation, which at that time, I had very rarely seen in fantasy at all. The main character Kaz has PTSD, touch aversion, as well as physical disabilities including chronic pain from an injury that never fully healed, causing him to limp and walk with a cane. This was one of the first fantasy series I’ve seen with such a prominent character who had disabilities, and I found it very interesting how the author showed Kaz using others’ assumptions about him to his advantage. I definitely need to reread this series sometime!

Top 10 Tuesdays: Books from My Past Seasonal TBRs that I Still Haven’t Read

I definitely went down a bit of a rabbithole with this topic! My original intent was to just go back through my most recent seasonal TBRs (excluding summer 2022, since there’s still plenty of time to complete that one) and just find the first 10 books that I haven’t read yet. However, the further back I went, the more curious I became about what books I’d chosen in the past and whether I’d actually ended up reading them. This year, I think I’ve done pretty well overall. While I’m not sure that I’ve completely finished any of my TBRs within the season, I’ve come very close! On the other hand, I know that often wasn’t the case in the past. I decided to dig as far back as I possibly could to see how many books I had remaining from each of my seasonal TBRs. I’m hoping it won’t be too embarrassing when I get to some of the older lists! Instead of describing each book in detail here, I’ll link to the original post where I mentioned it. In terms of the number completed, I’ll obviously be referencing how many have been completed to date, and not necessarily within that season. I decided to go in reverse order from most recent to furthest back, although I’m hoping not to have too many remaining from those older lists! Most of these lists were past Top 10 Tuesday posts, but occasionally I snuck 11 books on there by pairing two together.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Spring 2022

Completed: 8/10

Still Remaining:

Winter 2021/2022

Completed: 9/10

Still Remaining:

Fall 2021

Completed: 8/10

Still Remaining:

Summer 2021

Completed: 7/10

Still Remaining:

Spring 2021

Completed: 8/10

Still Remaining:

Winter 2020/2021

Completed: 9/10

Still Remaining:

Fall 2020

Completed: 9/11 (I had a Top 10, but had 2 books by Moira Fowley-Doyle both listed together for #5)

Still Remaining:

Summer 2020

Completed: 11/11! (Again, I counted two by the same author together for a slot)

Still Remaining: Nothing! I finished the majority of them within the summer, and the remaining two that fall.

Spring 2020

Completed: 8/10

Still Remaining:

Winter 2019/2020

Completed: 9/11

Still Remaining:

Fall 2019

Completed: 9/10

Still Remaining:

Summer 2019

Completed: 11/11!

Still Remaining: Nothing! Most were read in the summer and a few carried over into fall and even winter of the same year, but there were also a couple that I didn’t get to until another year.

Spring 2019

Completed: 11/11!

Still Remaining: Nothing! Not only did I finish all of these, but they were all finished in Spring 2019 as planned!

Winter 2018/2019

Completed: 11/11!

Still Remaining: Nothing! This one was definitely a case of finishing the books to date, and not within the season that I chose.

Fall 2018

Completed: 10/10!

Still Remaining: Nothing! They weren’t all in the fall, but they were all finished by the end of that year.

Summer 2018

Completed: 10/10!

Still Remaining: Nothing! All but one were finished in summer 2018, and the last one was finished in early 2019.

Spring 2018

Completed: 10/10!

Still Remaining: Nothing! These were all over the map in terms of when I finished them, but all were within 2018.

Winter 2017/2018

Completed: 10/10!

Still Remaining: Nothing! All of them were read within the season too!

Fall 2017

Completed: 10/10!

Still Remaining: Nothing! All of them were read within the season!

Strangely enough, I didn’t have any more seasonal TBRs before this point. I started my blog in October 2016 and kind of experimented around for a while with different kinds of posts before finally figuring out what I really wanted to do, so I guess it makes sense. Just to wrap up, I was very pleasantly surprised by how few books I have remaining from past seasonal TBRs! Out of the 190 books mentioned in these posts (excluding the occasional extras that went past 10), I only have 17 books remaining that I have not yet read! More importantly, none of those books were particularly surprising either. I fully expected there to be a couple of books I had completely forgotten about, but luckily that wasn’t the case.

I was very surprised to realize that I have completed my entire TBRs from 2018 and 2019! To be fair, I don’t think that would have been the case if I had counted only the books I read within the assigned season. I also noticed an interesting pattern in terms of where my books were coming from. In the years where I chose my TBR list mostly from books from the library, I managed to complete the whole thing, however during the years where I chose from books that I owned (essentially the pandemic years), I was more likely to have leftovers.

I think there are three possible explanations for this. The first is that I’ve had more time to get to the books on those older lists that tended to be more library-focused, so even if I didn’t finish the books at the time, by now I likely would have. However, in many cases I finished those books within the same season or at least year. The second possibility is that there was a built-in time limit with the library books, so I had a bit more of an incentive to pick them up faster. The third possibility is that when I made my older posts, I specifically made a point of choosing books that were in my library stack, so odds were I was going to pick them up within that season anyone. I do remember doing this at least some of the time, especially around the 2017/2018 posts, so it was a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy since I was picking books I already knew I was going to read. In any case, I was very happy to see how on-track I’d been with the majority of these lists, and I hope to keep the same momentum going forward!

Another (Huge) Summer 2022 Book Haul!

As usual, I ended up buying a lot more books than I realized in the month and a half since my last haul! To be fair, some of these were preorders that I was already expecting to show up around now, but I also found Book Outlet has been putting in a lot of very recent releases lately. I was especially excited to see many of my most anticipated thrillers for the year showing up there (often very low in stock, so I had to be quick!), which was a great chance to get them for a much more affordable price. Some of these were books that I’ve literally been waiting the whole year to grab, but I didn’t want to spend $38 dollars each for the hardcovers. I definitely went a little overboard with my Book Outlet orders, but I actually think it was worth it since I got so many books for the same price it would have cost me for just those thrillers if I got them brand new! I still generally prefer to get brand-new copies of my most anticipated books if possible just because they are less likely to be damaged, but not when the price is so high!

This first photo is the books that I bought from Indigo and a few from Amazon, most of which were preorders. I was especially happy that the price for The Paris Apartment dropped suddenly on Amazon. I think it was one of those one-day lightning deals that I happened to catch. I can’t wait to read these!

This next picture is a combination of multiple Book Outlet orders, which I organized into stacks loosely by genre. On the left are mystery and thrillers, and on the right is mostly adult contemporary romances plus The Atlas Six which just didn’t really fit in anywhere else. In the thriller stack alone are four books that I was very highly anticipating (The Night Shift, Reckless Girls, A Flicker in the Dark, and The Younger Wife), so I was especially excited to get those!

The last phot is also a combination of multiple Book Outlet orders, but this time it’s the YA books that I chose. This is definitely the stack where I had the most impulse purchases, but all of these are books that I am very interested in trying (plus a few that I’ve already read and wanted to have my own copies). I was especially excited to see I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys since that is a very recent release!

If anyone would like to follow along with my reading challenges and see what I’m currently reading in addition to book hauls, please follow me on Instagram here

Top 5 Wednesdays: Characters You’d Want as a Sibling

I always find this kind of prompt very challenging for some reason. I guess I’ve never put too much thought into what kind of traits I’d look for in a sibling. I have an older brother and we get along very well, so it’s never really been something that’s crossed my mind. The only way I could really think of to tackle this prompt is to pick characters who had some kind of interesting hobby that I’d want to try, or a character who I thought I might get along with. It’s a bit tricky since I read quite a few books with unlikable characters (ie. thrillers), but I also read quite a few fantasy series with a wide range of characters to choose from. On the other hand, I don’t often find that I relate too well to fantasy characters because of the unusual circumstances they are in, so it’s a bit hard to imagine myself as their sibling either. I ended up looking through my Goodreads list of books I’ve read before, and picking a few characters that I thought I’d get along with very well.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) Violet Baudelaire from A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket – I could easily pick either Violet or Klaus for this, but I decided to give the slight edge to Violet because I think her interest in inventing things is so cool! I know nothing about creating the kinds of things she comes up with, and I’d love for her to teach me.

2) Jo March from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – I’m much more similar in personality to Beth than Jo, but I think Jo and I could get along very well. I love her creativity and maybe she would have actually motivated to keep writing, especially if it was something she was open to doing together. I used to love writing stories but never ended up finishing any, so maybe Jo and I could work on them.

3) Pepper from Tweet Cute by Emma Lord – Pepper and her sister run a dessert blog together that just sounds like so much fun! I love desserts so I think it could be really cool to experiment and develop some new ideas. I also generally thought Pepper seemed like someone I could easily get along with, so the dessert blog is just an added bonus.

4) Julian Blackthorn from the Dark Artifices series by Cassandra Clare – Julian is such a great brother, although he has way too much on his shoulders! I love the entire Blackthorn family in general and I think any of them would make great siblings, but I think Julian could really use someone to help and support him. I also think we’d get along pretty well just personality-wise.

5) Simon from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – This was more of a random pick since it’s been so many years since I’ve last read this, although I’m intending to reread this book before the end of the year. I think Simon would be a great brother and/or friend because we share an interest in Harry Potter (and a love of Oreos), and I think he would be a lot of fun to hang out with.