The Reader Problems Book Tag

This is another one of those tags that I could have sworn I’d already done, but if I did, it wasn’t here. I know one of my Goodreads groups often does book tags as part of their read-a-thons a few times each year, so it must have been over there. This tag was originated on About To Read back in 2014, but it has become quite a popular one since then. I’ve felt like I’ve been in such a slump lately that I decided this would be a fun way to start thinking about my reading habits.

1. You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?

Well, my TBR hasn’t hit 20,000 books yet but I’m getting dangerously close to 2000! Since I do reading challenges, I start each year with a list of 150 or so books that I want to read to fit my challenge prompts, so that cuts things down considerably. Of those, I choose based on a few factors. I get the majority of my books from the library, so I usually try to request as many as possible and put them on hold but suspended until I need them. To help me decide what to read next, I sometimes look at what my challenge groups have picked for Book of the Month or monthly themes and choose accordingly. Otherwise, it’s a combination of what I’m in the mood for and what’s available. I tend to release 10 or so at a time from the library, so I make sure that I have a mix of different genres and lengths in that mix to keep things varied.

2. You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?

I have only ever quit reading one book, and that’s because it was something I picked up completely randomly while sitting at the library and hated. It was a “choose your own adventure” style story about a girl in high school, but very poorly written. The paths overlapped in illogical ways, so that following one thread of the story referenced characters or events from other storylines that you wouldn’t have read yet (or at all). Otherwise, I hate to DNF books, especially when I’m more than halfway through. It’s especially a problem when reading books for a challenge since I don’t want to “waste” the time I spent on the book by abandoning it, since I wouldn’t count a book I didn’t finish for my challenge. At least if I can get through it, I can cross a prompt off my list.

3. The end of the year is coming and you’re so close, but so far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?

I would absolutely try to catch up, and I have done that a couple of times in the past. Usually what I do is pick some graphic novels or shorter books that still interest me so I can read more quickly. Sometimes I do feel like it’s cheating to purposely put books off until the next year, even though there’s no one policing my challenge.

4. The covers of a series you love do. not. match. How do you cope?

It annoys me a bit, but not as much as it seems to drive other people crazy. I do my best to buy copies that all match whenever possible, but at the end of the day, the contents of the book are much more important to me than the cover.

5. Every one and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?

This is a tough one. None of my friends read as much as I do or have very similar taste to me. Come to think of it, there is one person I work with who also loves to read and we do tend to have similar opinions, but we don’t have much time to discuss books.

6. You’re reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?

I would close the book and escape to a washroom or something to compose myself. This hasn’t happened to me, but then again I don’t do much of my reading in public.

7. A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?!?!?!?

It depends on the book. Ideally, I’d love to re-read the first one if it is a book that I enjoyed, but in reality what I usually end up doing is look for a synopsis or Wiki page that gives a detailed plot summary. I also have a (bad?) habit of waiting until a series has all been published before I pick it up, so I often end up reading them all pretty close together.

8. You do not want anyone. ANYONE. borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people nope when they ask?

I hate lending out my books! Lucky for me, no one ever asks. Most of my books are scattered in piles on my floor or put away in my closest since I don’t have anywhere near enough shelves, so it’s very easy and believable for me to say that I have the book but don’t know where it is.

9. Reading ADD. You’ve picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over your reading slump?

Good question, since I kind of feel like I’m in a slump now. I’m not the type to abandon books so I probably wouldn’t have started and stopped multiple in a row like this. For me, a slump usually looks more like taking absolutely forever to get through even a short book. To get over it, I usually read some shorter books or graphic novels, or pick up a book that I’m very excited for and pretty confident I would love, although this is a bit risky since the slump might affect my enjoyment. If all else fails, I’ll revisit favourites like Harry Potter or Jodi Picoult’s books.

10. There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?

Given how expensive books have become, I’m hesitant to buy anything new unless I’ve read it and know that I enjoy it. I’ve recently started using Book Outlet to get cheaper books, and I’m a lot more flexible with those ones. I’ve received 2 orders so far, both of which were mostly books I hadn’t read but really wanted to. Otherwise, I mostly use the library.

11. After you’ve bought the new books you can’t wait to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf before you get to them?

Longer than I would like! Another reason I don’t often buy books is because I have so many in my library stack that I know I won’t get to them any time soon. It’s actually pretty rare for me to start reading a book immediately after I bought it, which is a bit weird since if I haven’t already read it and I’ve decided to buy it, it’s something I really want to read.


Top 5 Wednesdays: Children’s Books to Read as an Adult

I was always a huge reader, and I can still remember many of my favourite children’s books. Whenever my family went shopping, my reward for behaving myself in the store was to get a new book. I had a massive collection of the Little Golden Books series. My favourite things at school were the Scholastic book fairs and order forms, and it’s because of those that I had a constant supply of new books to read. Even now as an adult,  I love revisiting some of my favourite children’s books. It can be so much fun to try these books again from a different perspective, and seeing how my views on these books might have changed. I have so many children’s books that I still love reading to this day, both for the nostalgia factor but also because some of them are genuinely fun. I am purposely leaving out some of the big names like Harry Potter, A Series of Unfortunate Events,  Charlotte’s Web, etc. because I’m sure they will be popular choices already, and pretty much go without saying.

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) Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes

825081I’ve mentioned this book several times before, but it is one that I really think is valuable to read as an adult. Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse is about a young girl named Lilly who is very excited to bring her new purple purse to class. She is so obsessed with it that she can’t focus, and her teacher confiscates it, causing Lilly to become angry and act out. The book carries a very powerful statement from Lilly’s teacher, who not only recognizes and acknowledges her feelings, but helps her understand that it is still not acceptable to misbehave. He tells her “Today was a difficult day. Tomorrow will be better.” It is such a powerful message because it shows children that it is okay to be angry and to have bad days, but that it is possible and even probable to move on from them and have a better day next time. It also shows one of the most realistic student-teacher interactions I’ve ever read. Plus, the illustrations in this book are just adorable!

2) Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss
816484There are several Dr. Seuss books that I think would be great to re-read as adults: Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat in particular come to mind. I picked Horton Hears a Who because it is a book that has always stuck with me. The book is about an elephant named Horton who suddenly hears a voice calling for help from the top of a flower. He soon learns that there is a tiny race of people living in a place called Whoville, and agrees to protect them from harm. Horton is bullied and ridiculed by the others around him for believing in something that no one else can see or hear, and they threaten to destroy the flower. To protect his new friends, Horton encourages them all to make noise and convince the others that they are there. The theme of this book can probably best be summarized with the now-famous quote “A person’s a person, no matter how small” to show that every voice matters. Even though the Whos were tiny, they saved themselves by speaking up and every last individual needed to speak out to make change happen.

3) The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka

407429I never actually owned a copy of this book, but it has always been a favourite. I first read it at my best friend’s house, and it was my probably my earliest exposure to satire. This book consists of hilarious parodies of famous fairy tales. For example, The Stinky Cheese Man is a parody of the Gingerbread Man, who thinks everyone is after him when really they are trying to avoid his stench. The stories are accompanied by very strange illustrations that fit the weird and jumbled nature of the book as a whole. In a sense, the entire thing is a parody of what a book even is since it has a table of contents that lists stories that aren’t found in the book, and characters sometimes interrupt each other’s stories, and text is written in odd sizes on the pages so some parts of the story are hard to read. This book is so much fun every time I pick it up, and I’m actually kind of surprised I never bought myself a copy to keep at home.

4) Purple, Green and Yellow by Robert Munsch

201434Honestly, this one might be mostly nostalgia for me, since this was my favourite book in elementary school. I love just about everything Robert Munsch has written (although some of them are really, really weird — Murmel, Murmel, Murmel for example). This book is about a young girl named Brigid who wants her parents to buy her new markers, and her parents give her strict rules about what she can and cannot colour on. As Brigid gets bored with each set of markers, she starts to ask for progressively more advanced kinds — including more colours, scents, and even permanent markers. Of course, like many children her age, Brigid decides to push the boundaries a little on her parents’ rules and decides to colour all over herself. This book was so much fun to read, and it was so easy as a child to imagine being tempted like Brigid. I re-read this book not too long ago as an adult, and it was still just as much fun!

5) The Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park

958277This was another huge childhood favourite for me. This series is about a kindergarten student named Junie B. Jones and the mishaps she gets into in a variety of situations. The best book in the series is still Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, which focuses on her first day of school and her fear of riding the school bus. Barbara Park did an excellent job of capturing a child’s voice and thought process, although to be fair, I found the books less interesting as Junie B. Jones moved on to first grade. I read most of the books when I was in elementary school myself, and re-read them last year because I couldn’t remember most of them. Even as an adult, I found them fun to read. I love the hilarious examples of “kindergarten logic” to explain how Junie B. processed what was happening in her life. This is a great series that I think children would love, and they can be a lot of fun to revisit too!

Top 10 Tuesdays: Top Ten Books that Surprised You (In a Good Way or a Bad Way)

One of the advantages of my reading challenges over the past three years is that they really pushed me out of my comfort zone and got me reading a lot of books that I might not have tried otherwise. I’ve actually become pretty good at getting a sense of whether I will really enjoy the book before I pick it up, although every year I still end up stuck with a few that I’m not necessarily that interested in because of prompts that don’t really appeal to me. There are even a few books that I really expected to love and they end up surprising me by going in a different direction, or just not being nearly as strong as I’d hoped. However, ever year I’m also lucky enough to find some pretty great books that have come as a real surprise.

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) Who R U Really? by Margo Kelly

21444891I think this book gets the unique distinction of a book that I simultaneously liked and didn’t like. It also really surprised me to learn that this book was published in 2014! This book is about an overprotected 14-year-old named Thea who starts a relationship with a person she meets online through a game, who she believes is a 19-year-old living in another state. Thea decides to keep her boyfriend a secret, despite his increasingly concerning behaviour, and soon learns that he may not be who he says he is. I was a bit surprised to find that this book was published only 4 years ago since we seem to have moved past the “online predator” storyline with more recent social media-focused books. However, as irritating as Thea was as a main character, I do think her behaviour was very believable and her situation reminded me quite a bit of someone I knew who was in an online relationship with a person who seemed suspicious. There were parts of this book that genuinely creeped me out, but parts of it also felt very juvenile. I’m glad I finally read it though, since it had been on my TBR for quite a while!

2) Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

31434883I’ve wanted to read this book since I first saw the synopsis on Goodreads, because I assumed it would be along the lines of The Rosie Project or The Seven Rules of Elvira Carr. The book is about a young woman named Eleanor Oliphant who has difficulty in social situations and runs her life by a set schedule. Eleanor befriends Raymond, the IT guy from her office, and together they help to save Sammy, an older gentleman who has fallen. Through her friendships with these two, Eleanor begins to come to terms with her difficult past. I was expecting this book to be about a woman on the autism spectrum who is learning to develop relationships with the people around her, but instead this book is a much deeper story about loneliness and even depression. Although I still do think Eleanor could be classified on the autism spectrum, it is never stated on the page. This book went completely above and beyond my expectations. It was very different from what I thought it was going to be, but ended up being a powerful read with some excellent quotes.

3) Beartown by Fredrik Backman

33413128I’d been hearing about this book everywhere since it came out last year, but I never had much interest in reading it since I have no interest at all in sports. The only reason I picked it up at all was because I had a challenge prompt that required a  book about sports, and this one came highly recommended by someone I met through Goodreads. This book is about a hockey-obsessed small town called Beartown, where a star member of the team is accused of an act of violence against a female classmate. I found it a bit odd that so many of the reviews tried to keep the incident so secretive, since I assumed what would happen long before I ever even decided to read the book. It didn’t come as a shock to me, but the story was so brilliantly handled. I’d heard so many people rave about Fredrik Backman’s books but had never tried any. As soon as I finished this one, I immediately added the rest of them to my TBR. I was so impressed with way the book was written. Although I found it a little slow-paced in the beginning, once I got into it I was absolutely hooked.

4) Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia

enter-title-here-book-coverI’ve mentioned this book so many times before, but it is definitely one that really surprised me! The synopsis to this book does not do it justice at all. This book is about an extremely competitive and driven high school student named Reshma Kapoor who wants to write a book to push her application to Stanford over the edge. She decides that to make her book more interesting, she needs to start having more “normal” teen experiences, like making friends and going on a date. It would have been so easy for this book to devolve into a generic story about an unusual girl trying to change herself to fit in. Instead, what we get is one of the most unlikeable protagonists I have ever read, but one that you can’t help rooting for. Reshma is an extreme perfectionist who manipulates others and will do absolutely anything to get ahead. It was so interesting to see a YA book tackle issues of academic pressure and competition, and it was one of the most unique YA stories I’ve ever read.

5) Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov

3486989I honestly think the main reason I enjoyed this book so much was because I listened to the audio version narrated by the brilliant Jeremy Irons (voice of Scar from The Lion King). This book has long been on my list of classics I felt like I should read, but the subject matter put me off. This book is told from the perspective of Humbert Humbert, a man who has become obsessed and entered into what he perceives as a consensual relationship with an 12-year-old girl he calls Lolita. I went into this book really not expecting to enjoy it at all because of the subject matter, but it ended up becoming one of the books I enjoyed most. Jeremy Irons’ narration was a huge factor in bringing the character to life, and it was really creepy to hear how Humbert Humbert attempted to justify his obsession to himself and to the readers. For a topic like this, it would take a really strongly written book to make me really get invested in the characters and interested in finding out what happened, and this one definitely succeeded. I was not expecting to love this one at all, and I’ve actually had quite a few disappointing classics over the past few years, so it was definitely a surprise!

6) Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas

20649195This book was a surprise in the literal sense because it was not at all the genre I expected. It is about a boy named Ollie who meets his best friend Moritz online. The two boys can never meet because Ollie is allergic to electricity, and Moritz requires a pacemaker to keep him alive. I expected this to be a typical YA contemporary about two boys who develop an online friendship, which is a trope I love. I was initially put off by some really weird plot points, which I won’t specify here since they might be spoiler-y, but I will just say that there were some unexpected sci-fi elements to this story. It was really off-putting at first because I had no idea from the Goodreads page that this book was sci-fi at all, although the genres list on the page has since changed to include 50 or so users who tagged the book as sci-fi. When I first read it, it kind of gave me the impression that “This is good, but this isn’t the book I wanted.” It was interesting enough to keep my interest and I’m actually glad that these elements were included because they helped make sense of what was otherwise some plot points that were difficult to reconcile with a contemporary. I’m interested enough to try the sequel, especially now that I have a better idea of what to expect.

7) Goodbye Days by Jeff Zatner

30649795I will start by saying that I really enjoyed this book, but I was surprised to find that a huge chunk of the plot focused on a point that I just couldn’t quite come to terms with. The book follows a teenage boy named Carver whose three closest friends were killed in a car accident, for which Carver blames himself because he texted the driver shortly before the accident occurred. I was surprised to find that some of the story focused on the possibility of Carver being charged as a criminal because he texted his friend, knowing that his friend was driving at the time. I have no idea if this is a law elsewhere, but it seemed very backwards to me and it was difficult for me to get into the story because of that. However, this book also really surprised me because of how strong the portrayal of grief was. Carver approaches the family members of his friends to go on “Goodbye Days,” where he joins them for a day in place of their family member who died. This book ended up being a powerful story, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it despite getting stuck on the legal issues.

8) Whisper to Me by Nick Lake

26030238This was another book that was not at all what I expected. According to the synopsis on Goodreads, it is told in the format of an apology letter from Cass to the boy she likes, offering him the whole story of what happened over the summer they met and why she hurt him. In reality, the book is much more complex, with a very strong focus on mental illness that is introduced very suddenly within the first 30 pages. It was very jarring at first to start reading what I assumed was a pretty light and casual contemporary romance, and end up with a heavier story about mental illness. I thought the mental illness representation was very well-done (although I do not have the same condition as the character myself), but I found the book overall dragged on a bit too long. I was also a little annoyed with the author deciding to censor all swear words out with asterisks, since it seemed unrealistic. If you don’t want any swearing in your book, just don’t write any. It was an interesting book, but it surprised me because it was not at all what I expected.

9) The DUFF by Kody Keplinger and 10) The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

69313565139I’m including these books together because they both surprised me in a bad way, and for very similar reasons. I first saw the movie versions of both of these and absolutely loved them, so I was looking forward to reading the books. Unfortunately, I found both of them disappointing. The DUFF was almost complete a different story with characters who were so irritating, instead of the charming protagonist of the movie version. It focuses on Bianca, a girl who is insulted when a classmate, Wesley, calls her the Designated Ugly Fat Friend of her friend group. Although the basis of the story is the same, the book version just didn’t appeal to me at all.  The Devil Wears Prada was just a very boring book for me. I had no interest in read descriptions of fashion, even though I expected them to be a major part of the story. In both cases, the book was nowhere near as good as I had hoped. Both of these were unfortunately a surprise in a bad way.


Reader Struggles: Meme Mini-Series (#9)

I have been in such a slump lately! Since the beginning of the month, I’ve only read 4 books, one of which was a graphic novel of sorts that took only an hour. It’s pretty frustrating to actually want to read (and have a whole stack of books from the library that I want to read), but completely lack motivation to pick anything up. That’s just one of my many reader struggles, but I found the next meme on the list (found here) fits me perfectly!

This is exactly the reason that I avoided reading many series for a long time. If I start a series and enjoy the first book, I definitely feel compelled to continue the series. The problem is, I have so many books on my TBR in general that I sometimes don’t want to feel “stuck” reading so many in a series in a row. I actually have a problem reading series in general, since I tend to get bored reading multiple books set in the same world in a row, but also tend to forget details if I wait to long to try the next one. I have to somehow find a good balance of spacing them out but not too far that I can’t remember what was going on.

This year, one of my biggest goals was to tackle some of the major series that I’d been avoiding. I started many popular series over the past couple of years that I really loved, and decided to commit to finishing them. I used to self-impose a rule for my reading challenges that I would only read one book per author to try to encourage variety, so obviously a series would be impossible. That’s now gone completely out the window since I don’t want to wait 3+ years to finish off many of the series I started! One of my problems with series is that some of the ones I’d like to read are just so long (ie. Throne of Glass) that it’s a bit intimidating to get started.

Another kind of annoyance that I think fits the above image well is when you read a book thinking that it will be a standalone, and then the author decides to make it into a series. There seems to be an absolutely overwhelming number of series out right now, and it almost feels like every single book is getting  a sequel (whether is needs it or not). There is nothing more frustrating than absolutely loving the first book, and have it followed up by a disappointing sequel or multiple sequels. There are some books that really don’t merit being split into more than one, and I find it is a common problem with trilogies especially that there is that middle “transition” book where not too much necessarily happens, but it’s still needed to move the characters from start to finish.

I’ve really come around to enjoying series more again in the past few years. I went through a long phase of only wanting to read standalones, with a few key exceptions. I’m really glad I decided to give some of the series a chance because they’re quickly becoming favourites and have even been some of the few books that I actually enjoyed enough to buy my own copies. Maybe some of these series will be what it takes to get me out of my slump!

Top 5 Wednesdays: Freebie — 5 Books I Bought Recently from Book Outlet

**Please note that this post is in no way sponsored by or associated with Book Outlet. I am merely commenting on my own experiences with them.

I’m a pretty recent convert over to using Book Outlet. I’d been hearing about it for a while through various vloggers, but was always hesitant to give it a chance because I can be picky about the condition of the books I buy. If I’m getting a new book (as in, not secondhand), I’d like it to be in as close to perfect condition as possible. It bothers me when the covers or pages are bent or torn, when the dustjacket is ripped, or when the book is very dirty. I decided to give Book Outlet a chance around Christmas because they had a great deal going on which essentially evened out to getting several books for free. I was so impressed with the quality of books that I received that I also took advantage of their recent Family Day offer of triple reward points. I was a bit disappointed to find that either their rewards system had changed or I had misunderstood it, so I got fewer points than I expected, but I still got some great books! Here is a list of 5 of the books I got recently through Book Outlet that I am most excited about!

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) We Were on a Break by Lindsey Kelk

30813401It is literally impossible for me to see this title without thinking of the infamous line from Friends, and honestly, it was the title that drew me to the book in the first place. This book is about a couple named Liv and Adam who are getting engaged, until Adam “accidentally” suggests they take a break. I’m not entirely sure how it is possible to accidentally take a break, so that alone might be interesting to see. The book follows the couple (or ex-couple?) as they try to figure out where they stand, and what exactly it means to be on a break. It is supposed to be a romantic comedy and it sounds like it could be a great read. I’ve never been a huge fan of the (irritatingly named) “chick lit” genre, but I’ve been getting into it a lot more often recently, and often really enjoying it. This book sounds like it could be very funny, but also has the potential to be very meaningful.

2) What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross

This was one of a few books that I bought as a motivation to finally get them off my TBR! I have quite a few books that have been on my list since 2015, many of which I haven’t picked up yet just because it’s been tough to find a copy. This book is a about a woman, Lucy,  who kidnaps a baby from a shopping cart and raises the child as her own. As Mia becomes an adult and discovers the truth about the only mother she’s ever known, she sets out to find her birth mother while Lucy is forced to flee. Part of the reason I added this book to my TBR in the first place is because I thought the cover art was very interesting, and it seemed very creepy. It sounds like such an interesting storyline, and I’m actually a bit surprised that I haven’t picked it up yet. I’m not entirely sure I’ll manage to fit it in this year, but I may need to shuffle things around.

3) The Guilty One by Sophie Littlefield

I actually read another book by the same title not too long ago, but this one has been on my TBR since 2015 also. It is about a woman named Maris whose daughter was murdered by her boyfriend. The young man’s father, wracked with guilty, calls Maris from the Golden Gate Bridge, where he is standing ready to jump with one question — should he jump? I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have someone’s life in my hands, so this book sounds like such an intriguing concept. It opens up all kinds of moral questions. The Goodreads reviews have been a little mixed, and one of the most common complaints seems to be that the book is often mislabeled as a thriller. Even if it is not a true thriller, it still seems like it could be a very interesting look at the relationships between the characters.

4) Your Perfect Life by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

18443302This is the kind of book I would have been so unlikely to even try a few years ago, but after The Status of All Things by these two authors became a favourite last year, I decided I wanted to give more of their work a chance. This book is about Casey and Rachel, two childhood friends who have grown up to live very different lives. One day, the two of them wake up to discover they have switched bodies and have to live each other’s lives. This is a fairly common movie trope but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it done in a book, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out on the page. I do tend to enjoy TV shows or movies where characters have to switch places, although that’s often because of getting to see the actors try to become each other’s roles. I can’t really imagine how the authors will develop the characters well enough to pull off the switch convincingly, but it sounds like it could be fun to read!

5) Daughter by Jane Shelmit

20505127I bought this book because it was part of my whole push to try more thrillers, so I added a whole bunch of them to by TBR. I was first drawn to this one because of the kind of creepy cover. It is about a successful doctor named Jenny whose 15-year-old daughter, Naomi, does not come home after a school play. A year later, the trail has gone cold, but Jenny is still searching for answers. She soon discovers that everyone has been keeping secrets from her, especially Naomi. The synopsis for this one reminds me quite a bit of Reconstructing Amelia, which I loved. Both of the books are about a mother trying to piece together whatever information they can about their daughters, and discovering that they may not have known the girls as well as they thought. It’s another book that’s received some pretty mixed reviews, but the plot seems like something that would interest me.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Favourite Book Quotes

I really wish I was better at keeping track of my favourite quotes from books! I’ve often come across lines that I really enjoy while reading, and although I would love to save them, I never want to interrupt my book long enough to write them down. I can’t stand any writing in my books so I would never mark up the page, and I also don’t like having sticky notes hanging off the edges because they get very ripped and messy. I’ve tried to keep up-to-date with my Quotes page on Goodreads, but unfortunately, that tends to get overlooked most of the time. Honestly, I could probably compile a list of 10 quotes I love just from Harry Potter and A Series of Unfortunate Events alone, but I’ve tried to include some variety.

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.

“Sometimes, when you don’t ask questions, it’s not because you are afraid that someone will lie to your face. It’s because you’re afraid they’ll tell you the truth” — Jodi Picoult, Vanishing Acts

“Today was a difficult day. Tomorrow will be better.” — Kevin Henkes, Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse

“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.” — Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give

“It is a condition of monsters that they do not perceive themselves as such. The dragon, you know, hunkered in the village devouring maidens, heard the townsfolk cry ‘Monster!’ and looked behind him” — Laini Taylor, Daughter of Smoke and Bone

“Although it’s good to try new things and to keep an open mind, it’s also extremely important to stay true to who you really are” — Gail Honeyman, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

“Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing” — Emma Donoghue, Room

“You love me. Real or not real?”
I tell him, “Real.” — Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at h ow he treats his inferiors, not his equals” — J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

“Reader, I married him.” — Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

“Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean that it isn’t so” — Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning

Monthly Recommendations: Duologies

It’s only really in the past year or two that I’ve started to commit to reading series again. For a long time, I kept putting them off because I didn’t want to commit. Once I start a series, I have to complete it, as long as I’m reasonably enjoying it. The problem is that many of the series I wanted to read are on the longer side, with 4 or more books. Through my reading challenges the past couple of years, I finally started to tackle some of the series that I’d been putting off and I’m so glad I did! Duologies, on the other hand, still seem to be quite rare. It seems that most authors tend to go for trilogies or even more, and many of the books that I thought would be standalones end up being part of a series. In the past few years, I’ve read only three very strong duologies, if I count only those where I’ve finished both books, but all three are highly recommended!

Monthly Recommendations is a Goodreads group created by Kayla Rayne and Trina from Between Chapters. Monthly topics cane be found on the Goodreads page here

1) The Monsters of Verity by Victoria Schwab

2329951232075662This was the first series by Victoria Schwab that I ever tried, and I immediately fell in love with her writing style. This duology is an urban fantasy about a world where people’s sins spawn monsters, who have taken over the city. The monsters are controlled by Kate Harker’s ruthless father, who makes people pay for protection. The book follows Kate, who is trying to prove herself to be as tough as her father, and August, a monster who wants to be human. Although I found the books a tiny bit confusing at first since you are thrown straight into the world without much context, it quickly captivated me and became an easy favourite of the year. My one small regret is that I had to read Our Dark Duet spread over several days this year because of my work schedule. I wish I’d read it when I had more time to read straight through!

2) Between the Lines and Off the Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer

1228326123278280I first read Between the Lines several years ago when it came out, and had Off the Page on my shelves for years before I finally decided to pick it up. This is an amazing duology that Jodi Picoult co-wrote with her teenage daughter, about a girl named Delilah who falls in love with the Prince in her favourite fairy tale book. The characters in this book have lives of their own when the book is closed, and “act out” the story whenever it is opened. Prince Oliver, the main character in the story, dreams of having the freedom to live his own life instead of being forced into the fairy tale story, and wants to escape the book to be with Delilah in her world instead. The story concept was amazing, and the books were so well-written and fun to read. I absolutely love the whole “fairy tale character tries to adapt to real world” trope and I wish we could see more of that! These books are just adorable.

3) The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

1618177523492671This duology is definitely one of my favourites of all the books I’ve read over the past few years. It follows Don Tillman, an eccentric professor of genetics, who decides that he wants to get married, and tries to find an ideal wife using The Wife Project, a scientific approach he devises himself. He soon meets Rosie, who seems to be the opposite of what he is looking for in every way, and sets out to help her with her plan to find her biological father. Although the author has said he never intended for Don to be on the autism spectrum, the character definitely reads that way. I love the dynamics between him and Rosie. I’ve seen a lot of reviewers complain that the second book is just not good at all, but I really enjoyed it. I agree that The Rosie Project is better overall, but I thought The Rosie Effect was still great.