Top 5 Wednesdays: Books Featuring Mental Health (Still on my TBR)

My original intent when I saw this week’s topic was to mention some of the books featuring mental health that I’ve read, but I realized that many of those are books that I’ve already mentioned many times before. Instead, I decided to focus on a few of the books relating to mental health that are still on my TBR, many of which have been on my TBR for several years now. Obviously since I have not read them yet, I can’t really comment about the representation but these are all books that I’ve heard great things about and have waited way too long to read. I think in most cases, the reason I haven’t read them is because I just had so many YA contemporary books on my list that it wasn’t possible to keep up with them all. These are all books that I’m still very interested in trying at some point, so maybe this will give me a bit of a push to actually pick some of them up soon.

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) By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters

6609549I think this is one of the books that has been on my TBR the longest in general, and it is one that I found specifically while looking for YA contemporary or realistic fiction recommendations. It is about a girl named Daelyn who has repeatedly attempted suicide, and joins a website for other people with suicidal thoughts/intent. On this site, she blogs about her life and reveals her history of bullying that has persisted all her life. When she meets a boy named Santana at school, despite her efforts to be left alone, he is determined to become her friend. I think part of what put me off picking this book up initially is that it seemed like it might have the common YA trope of a new relationship being enough to change a person with a mental illness. That’s a trope that tends to be very annoying because it’s just not realistic. I am kind of intrigued by the whole blogging aspect though since that is something I tend to really enjoy in books, and I’m interested to see how such a creepy kind of website is portrayed. I’m not sure when I’ll be getting around to this one, but I’m still interested in giving it a chance.

2) Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

28245707I actually have tentatively added this one to my plans for this year, so there is a good chance I’ll be getting to it soon. Strangely enough, it took me quite a while to even confirm whether this book did have a mental health element to it, but judging by several of the reviews I have read, I think it fits. As far as I am aware, this book has a character with social anxiety and another character who is on the autism spectrum, both of which are topics that really interest me. It takes place over the span of a few days where three friends are attending SupaCon, a convention for an upcoming movie. The book is narrated from the dual perspectives of Charlie who is the star of the movie and a vlogger, and who is nervous to meet her hero/crush Alyssa at the convention, and Taylor, who is more introverted and has a crush on her best friend, Jamie. I’ve heard such amazing things about this book in general, and it sounds like it will be a lot of fun to read. I was glad to see that it would fit for my challenge prompts that required a book relating to mental health since I’ve been wanting to read this for a while.

3) Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

30653843This is another book that I’m intending to read this year, and another one that I had difficulty confirming whether it had a mental health element to it. It is about a girl named Frances who is obsessed with a podcast called Universe City, which she posts fan art for online. When she meets a boy, Aled, who turns out to be the creator of the podcast, they quickly develop a strong friendship which makes Frances feel like she can finally be herself. To be honest, I’m still not 100% sure if mental health is involved in this book, so hopefully it’s not a mistake to list it here. My understanding is that there is some anxiety representation, but I’ve had a lot of trouble figuring out if that is the case. Either way, I’m very interested in this one because it focuses on a platonic friendship, which is extremely rare in YA books, and I also love that it has a focus on the podcast and Frances’s online life. I have been hearing about this book non-stop for a couple of years now, and it always comes highly recommended, so I’m very excited to give it a try.

4) Paperweight by Meg Haston

23361172This is another book that has been sitting on my TBR since 2015, with no immediate plans to try it. The main reason I’m including it here is because I recently saw it highly recommended by EmmmaBooks, one of my favourite Youtube channels. I don’t even think they were recent videos, but she has repeatedly talked about this book as one of her favourites because of it’s accurate representation of anorexia, which was very true to her own experience with the disorder. Paperweight is about a 17-year-old girl named Stevie who is in a treatment center for eating disorders, where she is expected to stay for 60 days. However, Stevie is also just under a month away from the anniversary of her brother’s death, for which she feels responsible, and is planning to end her own life as well. None of this is spoilers, since it is all revealed in the Goodreads synopsis upfront. I think I’ve been putting this one off quite a bit because it’s rare for me to have the strong motivation to pick up books about characters with eating disorders, since the ones I have read have all felt pretty similar. Given how strongly Emma recommends this one on her channel, I’m starting to change my mind.

5) Everything All At Once by Katrina Leno

28926581Of all the books here, this is the one most recently added to my TBR after hearing so many rave reviews for this author lately. It is about a girl named Lottie who has always struggled with severe anxiety, and whose aunt has died unexpectedly leaving her with a series of letters meant to push her outside of her comfort zone. Lottie’s aunt was also a famous author of a bestselling book series, along the lines of a J.K. Rowling kind of celebrity. As an introvert myself, I’m always a little wary of books that focus on an anxious or introverted character being pushed outside of their comfort zone. While I agree that it can be helpful to have some kind of external motivator to try new things, I can’t help but feel like some of these books (and I’m not necessarily saying this one, since I haven’t even read it yet) might carry the message that it is “better” to be more outgoing or adventurous. I’m willing to give this one a chance specifically because I’ve heard such amazing things about Katrina Leno, and I’m hoping to love it as much as others have.

 

Top 10 Tuesdays: Favourite Books Released in the Past 10 Years

This topic was really hard! I had no idea going into it that it would be so difficult to narrow things down to just one favourite book for each year. I did find that the further back I went, the fewer options I seemed to have per year. I didn’t really start heavily reading again until 2015, and I read books from a variety of years for each reading challenge, so it was a bit surprising to realize just how many recent releases I’ve read. When I was going through my list, I was able to narrow down each year to about 3 or 4 options (sometimes more!) but really struggled to pick just one book for each. I’m sure it is partly dependent on my mood as I’m looking through the list now. I’m not entirely sure if the person who suggested the topic meant for us to start with 2019 or 2018, but I decided it didn’t make sense to include 2019 yet since we are less than halfway through the year and I haven’t read many 2019 releases yet. In a way, I think this is the most difficult topic we’ve had so far!

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.

2018 Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson

2017 The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

2016 A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

2015Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

2014Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

2013Vicious by Victoria Schwab

2012Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

2011A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

2010Room by Emma Donoghue

2009The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Stacking the Shelves (#19)

Somehow, I’ve just noticed that the tagline I include in each Stacking the Shelves post notes that it is a weekly meme. I’m not really sure how I never noticed that before! I’m sticking to monthly Stacking the Shelves though, otherwise these posts would be completely overwhelming.  This was another month where I felt like I didn’t add too much to my list, so I was surprised to realize that I’ve somehow managed to add 60 books. It is definitely not the highest number of books I’ve ever added in a month, but it was a lot more than I expected. Many of the books I added this time around were because I saw them mentioned by various other blogs or vloggers online, although some were just because of the author name alone.

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) Beyond the Black Door by A.M. Strickland

42642042I can’t even remember where I first saw this book, but it sounds very interesting. I’m fairly certain that I saw it mentioned on Destiny’s blog HowlingLibraries, but I’m having trouble finding exactly where. It is a YA fantasy book due out this October, which is about a “soulwalker” named Kamai who can go into other people’s souls while they sleep. Kamai has always been warned never to open the black door that follows her into every soul, but after a tragedy strikes, she opens it. I was drawn to this book because of the very intriguing cover design and because it was listed as a “dark fantasy” that has court intrigue, both of which really appeal to me. It is also supposed to have several LGBT characters, including a main character who is asexual. It’s only really been in the past couple of years that I started to read a lot of fantasy again, which has led to a massive number of them on my TBR. I’m interested to see more about this one as we get closer to the release date.

2) Troll by D.B. Thorne

34007676This one caught my attention because it fits perfectly with my interest in books involving social media. It is a psychological thriller about a man named Fortune, whose daughter Sophie disappeared in a case that even the police have given up investigating. Fortune takes it upon himself to figure out what happened, and realizes that his daughter was being harassed by an online troll, and starts to suspect that her disappearance is related to this. I love thrillers and especially tend to love anything to do with social media or the internet, so this sounds like a very interesting concept. This may sound a bit silly, but it puts me off a bit that the main character is named Fortune because it is hard for me to process that as a person’s name. I have read a few thrillers that involve social media, but nothing yet that involves trolling directly. In case anyone does not know, a “troll” is a person who intentionally making random and/or controversial comments online with the intent of derailing the discussion and sparking an argument. Essentially, it is provoking someone to get a reaction from them, usually through false information, stupid questions, etc. but it is usually obvious that the person is trolling. In the case of this book, it sounds like the trolling is much more persistent and much darker than the typical case, and it sounds like a very interesting story.

3) Minecraft Volume 1 by Sfe R. Monster and Sarah Graley

42058411Part of the reason I added this to my TBR is because I love Minecraft, and another part is because I love Sarah Graley’s comics. This is not the kind of book that would usually interest me very much, since I rarely read middle grade, but I could’t resist adding it when I saw it on HowlingLibraries (linked above). I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a huge gamer, but Minecraft is important to me because it is one of the few games that my boyfriend and I both like and play together. We actually haven’t played in a while, but it is a fun game. This book is about a boy named Tyler whose family is moving away, and wants to stay connected to his best friends through playing Minecraft. This is a very short book, with only 88 pages, and it is due out this June. I wouldn’t necessarily say that is very high on my TBR list, but I think it will be a lot of fun to read because of my interest in the game itself.

4) Dead Weight: Murder at Camp Bloom by Terry Blas, Molly Muldoon and Matthew Seely

36580712I think at this point I need to credit Destiny for a good chunk of the books that I added this month, since I’m realizing now that many of them were added after seeing them on her blog, so thank you! This is a graphic novel about a group of young detectives who are working on solving a murder mystery while at a weight-loss camp. The story focuses on two teenage boys and two teenage girls who are trying to figure out who is responsible for the death of a favourite counselor, with the only clue pointing to another staff member as the killer! I used to love reading Nancy Drew, the Boxcar Children, and those kinds of mysteries, so it might be fun to try something along those lines again again. I was a little worried that the book was portray the camp or the characters in a stereotypical way, but so far every review I have seen have gone out of their way to mention that the representation is very well done. This book has been out for a little over a year, and I’d never heard of it until recently, but it sounds like a lot of fun to read!

5) Camp by Kayla Miller

42873833Again, this is a book that is a bit outside my comfort zone. I am well outside the target age range, but this one caught my attention because the style reminded me of Raina Telgemeier, whose books I tend to enjoy. I actually didn’t realize that this was the second story featuring Olive, so I’ve also just added the first book Click as well. This book specifically is about Olive’s friend Willow, who is having trouble making new friends at the camp that the girls are both going to. Willow decides to latch onto Olive instead, which causes her to feel smothered. When I was younger, I hated going to camp because I never knew anyone there, and I only ever went to day camp. It always seemed like everyone else came there with built-in friend groups already made, and there was no room to add anyone else. I was also incredibly shy and socially anxious, so I’m sure I didn’t exactly seem comfortable talking to anyone either. I think it’s great to see stories like this because I’m sure there are many other kids who are struggling with the same kinds of completely normal experiences. I would have loved to see a character going through the same thing as me when I was going to camp.

6) The After Wife by Cass Hunter

39104835This book drew me in both because of the intriguing cover, and because of the comparisons to The Time Traveller’s Wife and Me Before You, which are two of my favourite books. It is about a couple named Rachel and Aidan, who expected to be together forever. When Rachel dies, she leaves behind her life’s work which is called iRachel, which from what I can gather is some kind of robot with AI that she designed to take her place.  The story is told from the perspectives of Rachel, Aidan, their teenage daughter Chloe, Rachel’s lab partner, and Aidan’s mother. I don’t read a lot of sci-fi, but this sounds like something that would be right up my alley. It also reminds me a little of Bicentennial Man, which is one of my favourite movies. I was surprised to realize that this book has been out for just over a year already, since I hadn’t heard of it at all until recently. I can’t even remember where I first saw this one, but it really sounds like something I will love.

7) The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett

45354731I’ve been bombarded with this book recently through Facebook advertisements, but I’m not sure I would have heard about it otherwise, so I guess it was worth it. It is about a woman named Lisa, whose health has been quickly deteriorating. As one last group activity with some friends, she decides to go to an escape room. Regaining consciousness in the hospital two days later, Lisa learns that one of her friends has died, and saved her life in the process. She soon realizes that one of her friends may be hiding a secret, and someone is determined to make sure it doesn’t get out. I’m mostly curious about it because it has been compared to Friend Request by Laura Marshall, which I read last year, although I don’t necessarily see an obvious connection between the two books. Given how many thrillers I have on my TBR in general, I’m not sure how quickly I’ll be getting to this one, but I’m definitely interested in finding out a bit more about it when it comes out next month.

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

38609428I have no idea how I ended up with so many camp-themed books on my TBR this month! This one is about two 12-year-olds, Avery and Bett, who are both being raised by single dads who are gay. When their dads fall in love with each other, Bett and Avery are sent to the same sleepover camp, with the hope that they will become friends and eventually sisters. The Parent Trap (the Hayley Mills version, not the Lindsay Lohan one) was always one of my favourite movies, and this book seems to be along the same lines. The book is told in the form of e-mails between Bett and Avery, and I tend to enjoy books that are written in this style. It seems like it could be a lot of fun to read. Thinking about it now, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Parent Trap type of story in a book, and I’m not entirely sure how well it will work in this format. I still think it is worth a try though, and hopefully it is just as fun as the movie! I’ve heard quite a bit about Meg Wolitzer as an author but never had much interest in any of her books, although I don’t have any of her other books on my TBR. To be fair though, I’m sure a middle grade camp story is not the best way to judge whether I might be interested in any of her other books.

9) Amelia Westlake Was Never Here by Erin Gough

43225480I’ve been hearing quite a bit about this book very recently, even though it was first published about a year ago. It is an Australian YA book, so I’d imagine the recent buzz about it is because it’s probably been re-released elsewhere. It is about two teenage girls, Harriet and Will, who create an imaginary student, Amelia Westlake, to try and expose their swim coach’s inappropriate behaviour. As Amelia starts to attract more attention, it calls into question how long the girls will be able to keep it a secret — as well as the feelings that are starting to develop between them. There are definitely starting to be a lot more books that tackle feminist topics and social injustices, with young people taking it upon themselves to fight back and call attention to the issues. I think this book has a very interesting concept and I’m especially interested to see how the girls manage to create a completely fictional student at their school without anyone realizing that she isn’t real, but I’ve also seen some pretty mixed reviews overall. It interests me enough to try it for myself though, so hopefully I enjoy it as much as many of the reviewers have.

10) Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak

41716929I found this book while looking for new and upcoming thrillers. It is about two best friends, Stella and Violet, who have known each other since college. After graduation, Violet moves to New York and works her way up in a cable news network, where she is glad to be finally out of Stella’s shadow. She does very well, until Stella decides to use her connections and charm to get hired at the same network, and soon becomes the face of the channel, getting all the credit for the stories that Violet produces. With both women striving for success, they both need to decide how far they will go to get there, even if it is at their friend’s expense. This sounds like such a fascinating, character-driven thriller, which is exactly the kind of story I tend to enjoy. It reminds me a little of Jessica Knoll’s The Favourite Sister, which is one of my favourite books so far this year. This book just came out last week, but I’m already looking forward to reading it at some point!

11) The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Waters

45701350This book is a bit outside my comfort zone since it is tagged as horror, but I’m willing to give it a try. It is about a woman named Heather, who used to be part of the Dead Girls Club with her friends in the early 90s, due to their obsession with the macabre. Her best friend, Becca, insists that the Red Lady, a vengeful witch, is real and that she could prove it, which ultimately leads to Becca’s death. Thirty years later, Heather has done her best to put it all behind her, until a necklace suddenly shows up in the mail, and it is one that she has not seen since the night Becca died. This book sounds so spooky and I’m hoping I’ll actually be able to handle reading it without freaking myself out! I rarely (if ever) read horror because they creep me out so easily, but there are a few that catch my attention enough to seem worthwhile. This one seems more along the lines of the thrillers that I tend to enjoy than a true horror story, although there may be elements of both. It is not out until December of this year though, so it will be quite a while before I can try it.

12) All Her Secrets by Sue Watson

44316412I don’t know why I always seem to be drawn to thrillers that have some kind of creepy view of a house on the cover, but they always seem to catch my attention. This book is about a woman named Lucy  who makes friends with her neighbour, Amber, who is a minor celebrity due to being the town’s weather girl on the news. When Amber starts acting strangely, she confides in Lucy that she is being threatened and wants to stay at Lucy’s house until things calm down, but Lucy is not sure how much she can trust her new friend. I’ve seen a few complaints in the reviews so far that none of the characters are very likable, but otherwise the early reviews for this one have been excellent. It was also a bit surprising to realize that this book is such a departure from Sue Watson’s usual style. Upon looking her up to see if she had written anything else, I saw a long list of contemporary romances and women’s fiction, many of which seem to be Christmas (and cake) themed. This one is definitely very different, although to be fair, I haven’t read any of her other books either so it shouldn’t matter.

13) The Starter Wife by Nina Laurin

42785826I noticed this book on Goodreads last week, and immediately added it to my TBR. It is about a woman named Claire who is married to a man to a man, Byron, whose first wife has disappeared in a suspected suicide although her body was never found. The Goodreads synopsis itself intrigued me because it is either a snippet from the book itself, or at least written in the form of one, with Claire picking up the phone only to hear a woman that she suspects might be Colleen, the wife who was presumed dead. Claire becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened.  One of the things that really struck me about this book as I was looking through reviews (carefully, to avoid any spoilers) was how much the story seemed to resemble Rebecca. Both books are about a young second wife who feel that they are living in the shadow of the wife who came before them. This book comes out in early June, and I’ve already entered a Goodreads giveaway for it, even though I never seem to win, but I’m very excited to read it. I’m not sure yet if I’ll be able to fit it into my plans for this year, but if not, it may be high on the list for next year.

14) The Two Lila Bennetts by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

43236278I was surprised to come across this one on Goodreads because I had no idea this author duo was releasing another book yet. I have only read one of their books so far, but have another planned for this year and lots more on my TBR. The premise of this one seems a bit weird. It is about a woman named Lila Bennett whose life has literally been split in two by her choices. In one life, she is hostage forced to face what she’s done, otherwise she will be killed. In the other, she manages to get away but is hunted by someone who is determined to expose all of her secrets, taking down her marriage and her career in the process. In order to figure out who is behind all of this, Lila must make a list of everyone she has wronged and decide which parts of her life are even worth saving. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about having the same character living out two alternate lives, since I’m a little worried it will get confusing but it also sounds very intriguing.

15) Waisted by Randy Susan Meyers

42201430This is another book that just came out last week, and that I hadn’t really heard of until very recently. It focuses on Alice and Daphne, who meet at the Waisted program which promises fast results, if the women agree to be part of a documentary series, along with the five other women in the program. The women soon realize that the filmmakers are exploitative and decide to fight back. I’m a little worried about some of the reviews so far which suggest that the representation isn’t the best, but I’ve also seen many comments suggesting that the book brings up some great points about body image and self-acceptance. Given that the book deals with an exploitative documentary, I wonder if some of the more potentially problematic elements are due to the negative attitudes of the filmmakers, in which case it makes sense as part of the story. I will have to try this one to find out for myself. As a side note, I was surprised to realize that I have two other books by this author already on my TBR, both of which have been on my TBR for several years already!

 

Top 5 Wednesdays: Emerald Book Covers

It’s hard enough trying to find green book covers, but being limited even further to just emerald ones was even more of a challenge! I have nearly 150 pages on my Goodreads TBR, and struggled to find even a handful of green covers. It’s too bad we weren’t asked for blue, since there are tons of those! To be honest, I wasn’t too strict about the qualification that the covers had to be emerald green, mostly because I couldn’t get a straight answer about what emerald looks like. Even looking it up online, my first image search showed me 4 very different shades that were all labelled emerald. I went with what seemed closest to me, so hopefully all or at least most of these are emerald!

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) Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

33958230I heard quite a bit about this book when it first came out, but surprisingly not very much since then, especially since a sequel is already out, with another book due this November. This book is about an 18-year-old girl named Xifeng who grew up as a peasant, but may be destined to be Empress if she willing to use the dark magical powers she has in order to get there. There was a lot of hype surrounding this one for being an East Asia-inspired fantasy book, but the reviews since then have been a bit more mixed. I find it interesting how so many of the reviews describe it as a darker fantasy book with an unlikable main character, which reminds me a bit of And I Darken. I’ve recently finished and really enjoyed that series, so this one may be worth a try too. I’m always up for a good anti-hero book, and this one sounds like it might be along those lines. I do find it a bit odd that so many of the reviewers I follow who loved the first book either didn’t enjoy or didn’t read the sequel, but I guess I will have to try this one at some point and see for myself.

2) Not Your Villain by C.B. Lee

35018774I’m not 100% sure if any of the greens on this cover count as emerald, but it was definitely one of the most green covers on my TBR. I read Not Your Sidekick last year after seeing one of my favourite vloggers, CeCe from ProblemsOfABookNerd, raving about it and I really enjoyed it. That book was about a teenager named Jess Tran who is struggling to accept the fact that she may not have superpowers like the rest of her family, and begins an internship that turns out to be for one of the city’s most famous villains. This book focuses on Bells, who is transgender and also a shapeshifter, working with his friends (including Jess) to find the Resistance. Bells was a great character in Not Your Sidekick and I’m excited to read a book from this perspective. I found the first book in this series a tiny bit too predictable, but it was a lot of fun to read and I’m very interested in continuing with the series, even though it is not in my immediate plans.

3) Truly, Wildly, Deeply by Jenny McLachlan

36178510I have no memory of adding this to my TBR, but it still sounds very interesting. This book is about a girl named Annie who has cerebral palsy, and who is excited to be starting college where she will finally have some freedom. She meets a boy named Fab, who is immediately drawn to her and decides she will be his girl even though the last thing Annie wants is to give up her independence. It’s rare to see a YA book take on characters who have a disability like CP, so that alone was enough to draw me to this book. I’m not always very interested in YA books where the romance is the main focus, but this one just sounds adorable and I like how it is coming at it from a slightly different angle by including the disability representation as well (which I hope they do well!). It sounds like a book that will be a lot of fun to read, and I’d love to give it a chance at some point, although I wouldn’t say it is particularly high on my list.

4) A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

29939047It’s a little embarrassing that I haven’t read this duology yet, especially considering that I’ve been interested in it for years. The Star-Touched Queen is about a girl named Maya whose world is torn apart when her father arranges for her to be married for political reasons, making her the Queen of Akaran. To be honest, I don’t know very much about the storyline of this series, but I have seen quite mixed reviews for both books, which is probably why it has taken me so long to consider picking them up. What’s even more confusing is that I’ve also seen this book referred to as more of a companion novel than a sequel, and you don’t need to read The Star-Touched Queen in order to read this one. If anyone has read these books, please clarify! In any case, I chose it for this list because of the beautiful cover and it was one of the few books that I thought was really emerald green. I was first drawn to these books in general because of the beautiful cover art, but the mixed reviews always put me off a bit whenever I considered picking it up.

5) The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

30038906I’m cheating a bit with this one since only a section of the cover is green (possibly emerald?), but I think it still counts. This book is about a teenager named Lucy whose mother’s cancer has recently come back, causing her to separate herself from all the constants in her life. Lucy takes a job working at a camp for children who are going through a hard time, where she feels overwhelmed and just wants to be back home with her family, until she starts to bond with her coworkers. While at camp, Lucy discovers a secret that suggest there is more to her family and her faith than she realized. I’m not generally a fan of books where religion/faith are a major theme, but this one sounds very interesting. I’ve read When We Collided by this author, which I liked but didn’t love, and I also adored Emery Lord’s contribution to Meet Cute. I have many of her books on my TBR, but this is the one that interests me most. To be honest, it was the stunning cover that first drew me to this book too, but I think it will be worth a try.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Books That I Refuse to Let Anyone Touch

I kind of feel like this week’s prompt doesn’t apply to me, since I rarely let anyone borrow my books anyway. If I lend out a book at all, it’s generally something that I’ve already read so I won’t mind if it takes the person a long time to get it back to me. I’m not very inclined to lend my books out though because I don’t like when my books get damaged. I’m a little more lenient with the books that I bought from Book Outlet, but otherwise the books I buy tend to be expensive (hardcovers, usually) so I don’t like to risk them getting ruined. I know it’s kind of selfish of me and I’d like to think that people will take care of borrowed items, but you never know. I’ve damaged or stained a few of my own books too, so there’s definitely always a risk. Rationally I know that a book is meant to be opened and read and it shouldn’t really matter if it isn’t in perfect condition anymore, but it still really bothers me.

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.

I’m not going to go into detail about the books I’ve chosen since the reasons are mostly the same. Many of these are books that were on the expensive side, or that I waited a long time to get, so I’m especially reluctant to let go of them:

  1. The Addams Family: An Evilution – This was a birthday present and quite a pricey book!
  2. My Harry Potter series – I’ve already smudged Prisoner of Azkaban with chocolate once, so I don’t really want anything else to happen to them.
  3. My Throne of Glass boxset – I had to wait until this was on sale and I had a gift card before I would even consider buying it, so I’m now very hesitant to let go of any of the books
  4. Crosstalk – It took a really long time to find a copy of this one that didn’t cost more than $30
  5. My Daughter of Smoke & Bone boxset – These are softcovers, so I’m especially worried about them getting damaged. I would have preferred hardcover for such long books, but they didn’t seem to exist.
  6. My A Court of Thorns and Roses boxset – Again, it was a bit on the expensive side and I’d really like to keep them in good condition
  7. The Thirteenth Tale – I very recently bought this one from Book Outlet, after agonizing for quite a while about whether it would be in decent condition (it was!) but it is softcover, and I would like to keep it in good condition
  8. The Raven Cycle series – There wasn’t a boxset for these so I bought all of the hardcovers separately, and given that they have mostly white cover/spines, they seem very easy to mess up
  9. My Jodi Picoult books – All but the most recent one of them are softcovers, and considering she is my favourite author, I don’t want anything to happen to them.
  10. My Red Queen series – I bought all four of these because I loved the first book, and although I can see why people have problems with the series, I really enjoyed it. I don’t want anyone to touch them because four lengthy hardcovers were quite expensive!

TBR Throwback Follow-Up (#1)

I was struggling quite a bit to come up with an idea of what kind of post to make this week. Anything that I had in mind already seems to be an upcoming Top 10 Tuesday topic. While looking back at my blog to get some ideas, I came across posts I had made whenever it was a “freebie” topic in the past — a look back at the books that have been on my TBR for the longest that I hadn’t read yet. I started a TBR in 2015 when I first made my Goodreads account. At first, I pretty much added any book I had even the slightest interest in reading (mostly classics) just to see how the list worked, but since then, it has grown into a genuine and massive list of all the books I would like to read at some point. I know a lot of people end up splitting their Goodreads lists into different “shelves” such as long-term and short-term TBRs, by genre, etc. but I actually find it more confusing to have to look in several different places to find a book.

I find it strangely fun to look back at my TBR and see all the books that I had marked as something I want to read. It’s still extremely rare for me to actually remove anything from the shelves, even though some have been there for about 4 years now. When I go back and read the synopsis again, it reminds me of why I wanted to read it in the first place, and ends up staying. I think the hope of making previous posts about the books that had been on my shelves the longest was to give myself a bit of a push to remember to read them. To be fair, when I make those posts, I don’t do it very methodically. I don’t write about every single book that I added, but instead I pick a few highlights. In a sense, this is similar to the “TBR Shame” tag, but I really didn’t want to go through the process of listing all of the nearly 3000 books on my TBR, or even compiling a list of the unread books that I own. For now, I will just look back at my first two posts (July 2017 and September 2017) and see whether I’ve actually followed through and read them. Since in most cases I’ve already given a synopsis and/or explanation of why I added it, feel free to check out the original posts to see more specifics about the books!

From my July 2017 Post

1) Looking for Alaska by John Green
Date Added: March 9, 2015
Read: Yes! Almost exactly three years late, on March 26 & 27, 2018
Why/Why Not?: I had a reading challenge prompt that required reading a book from the first 10 added to my TBR, and this was one of the only books in my first ten that was not a lengthy classic.

2) Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
Date Added: March 9. 2015
Read: No
Why/Why Not?: This was a gift from my brother’s girlfriend at the time (now wife), so I feel a bit bad that I haven’t read it yet! I just haven’t been in the right mood to pick it up.

3) The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Date Added: March 9, 2015
Read: No, and I’m not sure I will to be honest. I might take it off my TBR.
Why/Why Not?: I added it to my list in the first place because I had it in mind for a reading challenge prompt during my first year of challenges, but ended up replacing it and haven’t been that interested ever since. I was never super interested in it, and I’m a little over dystopians in general right now.

4) Before the Storm by Diane Chamberlain
Date Added: March 14, 2015
Read: No
Why/Why Not?: I had this one in mind for a 2015 challenge prompt as well, but couldn’t read it because my library’s only copy went missing, and I was told it was out of print so they couldn’t get another one. A few years later, I found a copy at a library book sale, so I now own it! I just haven’t read it yet.

5) The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
Date Added: July 22, 2015
Read: No
Why/Why Not?: I have a ton of YA realistic fiction on my TBR in general, so I just never got around to it. I have a copy from Book Outlet now, but no immediate plans to read it yet, even though I’ve heard great things about this author.

6) The Kindness of Strangers by Katrina Kittle
Date Added:
May 22, 2015
Read: No
Why/Why Not?: I had trouble getting a copy of it from the library, and it wasn’t the highest priority for me at the time. I now own a copy of this one too from Book Outlet, and might read it this year as part of my reading challenge.

7) Who R U Really? by Margo Kelly
Date Added: April 21, 2015
Read: Yes! I read it on February 27 & 28, 2018
Why/Why Not?: I hadn’t read it up until then because I couldn’t find a copy from the library, so I was pretty excited to find it at a library book sale. As soon as I got it, I incorporated it into my challenge plans right away.

8) Creepy and Maud by Dianne Touchell
Date Added: July 29, 2015
Read: Not yet, but I will soon!
Why/Why Not?: It was completely inaccessible. Even asking the library to buy a copy didn’t work since they said it was out of print. I was lucky enough to notice it on our library’s online ebook system earlier this year, and immediately worked it into this year’s challenge plans.

9) #scandal by Sarah Ockler
Date Added: August 20, 2015
Read: No
Why/Why Not?: I own a copy of it from Book Outlet now, which I picked up in the first place because I knew it had been on my TBR for so long. I haven’t read it yet because I need to be in the right mood for this kind of YA story, especially one that involves some kind of celebrity.

10) Things I Want My Daughters to Know by Elizabeth Noble
Date Added: June 5, 2015
Read: No
Why/Why Not?: It wasn’t the highest priority when I added it, but interests me enough to keep it on my TBR. I keep putting it aside in favour of other books that I wanted to read first.

From my September 2017 post

1) Songs of the Humpback Whale by Jodi Picoult
Date Added: March 9, 2015
Read: No, and this is probably the most embarrassing one considering she is my favourite author.
Why/Why Not?: I’ve owned this one for years, but kept putting it off because I’m always a little hesitant about very early books by favourite authors, where their style is likely to be pretty different.

2) A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Date Added: March 13, 2015
Read: No, and I’m on the fence about whether I want to.
Why/Why Not?: I added it to my TBR in the first place because I own a copy that I got many years ago through a library book sale. I’ve heard some great things about this series and especially about Libba Bray as an author, but I’m not sure how interested I am in trying this one anymore.

3) When Lightning Strikes by Kristin Hannah
Date Added: March 14, 2015
Read: No, and I’m on the fence
Why/Why Not?: I’ve really enjoyed the few Kristin Hannah books that I’ve read so far, but this is one of her much earlier works and I’m not sure how much the story really interests me. I haven’t even been able to find an online preview to read a couple of pages and see.

4) While My Sister Sleeps by Barbara Delinsky
Date Added: March 14, 2015
Read: No
Why/Why Not?: There’s no specific reason, I just haven’t been able to fit it into my reading challenges yet since there are always other books that I want to prioritize more. I’ve enjoyed the two other Barbara Delinsky books that I’ve read so I’m sure I’ll like this one too.

5) Me & Emma by Elizabeth Flock
Date Added: March 14, 2015
Read: No
Why/Why Not?: My library doesn’t have it and it’s not something that I want to read strongly enough that I’d consider buying although I do still want to read it eventually.

6) The Lies We Told by Diane Chamberlain
Date Added: March 14, 2015
Read: No
Why/Why Not?: No specific reason. I’m slowly making my way through Diane Chamberlain’s books in general, but in no particular order. There have just been others that have interested me more, so I’ve read those first.

7) The Good Sister by Drusilla Campbell
Date Added: March 14, 2015
Read: No
Why/Why Not?: Honestly, I forgot about it completely. I see it whenever I look through my TBR list and remember that it seemed interesting, but it’s not really something that I think of when choosing books for my challenges. It’s also not available at my library so it would be hard to get a copy.

8) Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
Date Added: March 28. 2015
Read: No, but there’s a (slim) possibility that I’ll read it this year.
Why/Why Not?: I think this is the only John Green book I still have left to read, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet because I prioritized his other books first. I will definitely read this at some point, but I’m not sure if it will end up being this year.

9) Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr
Date Added: April 8, 2015
Read: No
Why/Why Not?: Technically, this has been on my TBR from before I even started on Goodreads. I saw it one day while browsing Amazon and it interested me, but I never actually picked it up. I keep putting it off now because I’ve probably outgrown it a bit, but I kind of still want to read it on principle since I’ve been meaning to for so long.

10) No One You Know by Michelle Richmond
Date Added: April 25, 2015
Read: No
Why/Why Not?: I have many other similar books on my TBR, so this one ended up being lower priority. For some reason, I also thought it would be hard to find a copy but it is actually available at my library so I don’t know why I thought that.

Wrap-Up

Of the 20 books that I listed over the course of those two posts, I’ve only read a grand total of 2! There are another 2 or 3 that I might end up removing from my list, but also at least 2 that I plan on reading this year. A huge factor in why I haven’t read some of these books seems to be a matter of accessibility. Especially in the cases of Creepy & Maud and Before the Storm, I really wanted to read them and planned to read them several years ago — I just couldn’t find a copy! I was also a bit surprised to realize that I hadn’t made nearly as many blog posts on this topic as I had thought, so if anyone is interested in seeing more of my backlist books, please let me know! Looking ahead at my other backlist posts, my track record with the books listed there really isn’t any better, but it still might be a fun way to motivate myself a bit, or at least discuss some of the books that probably wouldn’t come up much otherwise.

 

 

 

Top 5 Wednesdays: Best Friends in Sci-Fi & Fantasy

I misread the topic for this week’s post at first, and thought that it was specifically about sci-fi or fantasy characters that we would want to be friends with. It’s hard for me to process characters that way, or at least to remember many of them in detail after the fact. Luckily, upon re-reading the post, I noticed that was one option but not the only option for the topic. Instead, I chose to focus on books that had great friendships between the characters themselves. Last fall, there were a couple of similar topics that focused on platonic relationships and friendship groups, and it was surprisingly hard to think of different characters this time around. I read very little sci-fi in general, and although I’ve started to read more fantasy over the past few years, I still don’t feel like I’ve read enough to have a huge range of characters to choose from. At the very least, I tried my best to focus on specific friendship pairs instead of the larger groups, even when most of them would apply.

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) Nina and Inej from the Six of Crows duology – There are so many amazing character dynamics in this duology in general, but one of the pairs that really stood out to me was the amazing friendship that developed between Nina and Inej. Both are incredible characters on their own, but it was so nice to see how they supported and protected each other. I know a lot of people really look out for positive female friendships in books, and I think these two are a great example. There were many very interesting character dynamics in this series, but Nina and Inej were really the ones that stood out to me as true friends.

2) The entire group from The Lunar Chronicles – I know I said that I was trying to focus on specific pairs instead of groups, but it is actually the group as a whole that came to mind for this series. In so many books, the main focus stays on the relationships between characters and their main love interests, but this series managed to craft a dynamic cast of characters who formed a true group. In Winter specifically, all the major characters end up grouped with someone other than their love interest for a good chunk of the book, and it was very interesting to see how everyone interacted with someone other than their expected partner.

3) Blue and Ronan from The Raven Cycle – I’ve mentioned the Raven Boys in both of my previous posts linked above, but it really is a series that stands out for its strong friendships. This time, I decided to focus specifically on Blue and Ronan because I feel like it is a pairing that tends to get overlooked quite, but the two of them have such a fun, almost brother-sister kind of relationship. I love the sarcastic banter between the two of them, and it was such a great addition to the series. Of course, Blue had great friendships with all the boys and it was another series that I loved for the characters.

4) The Inner Circle from the ACOTAR series – I was originally going to pick just Cassian and Morrigan, or the trio of Rhysand, Azriel and Cassian, but there were so many great friendships in this series that I just couldn’t narrow it down. To be honest, it’s been long enough since I read the series, apart from A Court of Frost and Starlight earlier this year, that it’s hard for me to remember all of the friendships in detail, but I thought the characters were all so beautifully written and I love the way everyone came together to create such a strong found family. I loved how each character was a unique and distinctive person with their own history, yet they cared for and supported each other as a group. Most of these characters were only introduced in the second book of the series, but they are a huge part of the reason why I enjoyed it so much!

5) Agniezska and Kasia from Uprooted – This is another great example of a fantasy book with a strong female friendship. Agnieszka and Kasia are best friends, and although it is a bit of a shock when Agnieszka is chosen by the dragon instead, the two of them help and support each other. It has been a couple of years since I read this so it is hard for me to remember specific details at this point. I do remember that a significant part of the book is about Agnieszka’s attempts to rescue her friend. The two of them were considered a bit of an unusual pair because Agnieszka was clumsy and more of a tomboy, whereas Kasia was considered very sweet and beautiful. Even so, I don’t remember there being much jealousy or rivalry between the girls, and instead they were another great example of friendship.

 

Top 10 Tuesdays: From Page to Screen Freebie

I struggle a bit when it comes to adaptations, in the sense that whichever version that I see or read first is the version that I generally end up most attached to. As much as I can appreciate filmmakers taking some creative liberties with the material, it always tends to bother me a bit when the movie or TV series does not stay true to the book, at least if I’ve read the book first. On the other hand, if I see the movie or show first, I almost always find the book a bit underwhelming. I think a big part of my issue is because I grow attached to the story one way, and it really throws me off when things are radically changed, especially when the movie changes the ending (My Sister’s Keeper!). I understand that it’s impossible to include absolutely everything in an adaptation, and sometimes they decide to add new things too, in order to move the story forward at a better pace or possibly to cover up plot holes. I just always find myself comparing the two versions. With that said though, there are still many adaptations that I’ve loved over the years and it’s something I don’t necessarily discuss very often.

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) A Series of Unfortunate Events (Netflix series)

I was in the minority who really enjoyed the first Series of Unfortunate Events movie with Jim Carrey, although it frustrated me that they condensed so many books into barely an hour and a half. I thought the Netflix series did an amazing job of bringing the books to life while mostly staying true to the original stories. The cast was brilliant, and in general I thought this series was one of the best adaptations I’ve ever seen of any series.

2) You (Netflix series)

I was so hesitant to watch this one at first because I’d just finished watching Gossip Girl for the first time, so I was stuck with the idea of Penn Badgley as Dan in my head. It was hard for me to envision him playing a character like Joe Goldberg, but he ended up being a perfect casting choice. I saw this series so long after I read the book that I couldn’t remember it well enough to compare like usual, but I know there were some key differences. I really enjoyed this series and I’m very interested in seeing Season 2.

3) Bones (TV series)

I’m not sure this trailer really does the show justice, but this show was one of my favourites! I started watching it before I even realized that it was a book series, and unfortunately, I didn’t really like the one book I read from the series this was based on. By the time I finally tried one of the books, I had such a distinct impression in mind of what the characters were supposed to be like that I couldn’t help but be disappointed that they weren’t written that way. I loved the series for the amazing character dynamics, and there were many very interesting forensic cases.

4) The Devil Wears Prada (Movie)

I adored this movie, but couldn’t get into the book at all! I only read it in the first place because of how much I had enjoyed the movie, even though I have no interest in the fashion world. Meryl Streep is just amazing in general, and I also like many of the other actors involved in this one (Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, etc.). I found it so interesting to see how Anne Hathaway’s character tries to navigate an unfamiliar field and an impossible boss, and it’s too bad that I couldn’t connect with the book.

5) The DUFF (Movie)

This was another book that I only read because of how much I enjoyed the movie, and unfortunately I did not like the book much either. To be honest, I went into this movie in the first place not really expecting very much and ended up loving it! I thought Mae Whitman was a great choice for the main character, and made her a lot more likable and interesting for me than in the book. I was surprised to see that the movie had changed quite a bit from the book. I didn’t really love the writing style, and I found the story repetitive, but luckily the movie was much easier for me to get into.

6) Matilda (Movie)

This movie is such a childhood classic for me. I related so strongly to Matilda’s love of reading and interest in learning, although luckily my family was much better than hers. I watched this movie so many times and it is still one of my favourites. It wasn’t until much, much later that I finally decided to pick up the book and although it was decent, it didn’t capture the magic of the story for me the same way that the movie had. I don’t even remember if anything was terribly different in the two versions, but I thought the movie had already brought the characters to life so well for me that the book was bound to be a bit disappointing.

7) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Movie)

I’m referring specifically to the Gene Wilder version of this story, not the later Johnny Depp version, which I didn’t really like that much. This was another childhood classic for me, and it is one that I watched over and over. It was so much fun to watch children getting to explore a chocolate factory, even if it is one as bizarre as Wonka’s. I also thought the characters were generally a lot of fun to watch, and seemed a bit less like the caricatures of different vices that they were meant to be. I read the book many years later and thought it was decent but again, it didn’t have the same magic for me as this movie.

8) The Wizard of Oz (Movie)

I don’t think I even really understood that this movie was based on a book when I initially watched it. I have the entire series on my TBR as a very long-term goal, but I read the first one as part of a children’s literature class in university. I may even have read it once before that too, but I’m not 100% sure. Compared to the movie, I found the book a little boring and it is definitely a story that works well when you have the amazing visuals to go along with it. There’s good reason that this movie has become such a classic.

9) The Phantom of the Opera (Movie & Play)

I know a lot of people weren’t particularly impressed with the 2004 movie version of The Phantom of the Opera, but I’ve always been attached to it because it was the first version of the show I’d ever seen. My best friend has always been absolutely obsessed with this musical, and a group of us went to watch the movie soon after it first came out. I was immediately blown away by the music and the story, and since then, I’ve seen the stage version at least three times, including once on Broadway. I tried to read the book once when I was a teenager and couldn’t really get into it. I think I finished it but was completely thrown by the fact that it was different from the musical, even though I knew going into it that this was the case. I’ve since read it again and absolutely loved it (although I still think I prefer the stage version!).

10) Wicked (Play)

Obviously there isn’t a great trailer for this one since it has not yet become a movie, but I am absolutely obsessed with this show! This was another one that I can thank my best friend for. He had an extra ticket and offered it to me as an early birthday present one year, when I knew literally nothing about the show and had very little interest in seeing it. I went anyway because it was such a generous offer, and completely fell in love with this story! It is almost completely different from the book, which I’ve read twice and enjoyed. For anyone curious, the clip above is Shoshana Bean as Elphaba and Megan Hilty as Glinda, which were the cast I first saw (and so far, still my favourites!). I guess I’m cheating a bit by including this one since it isn’t  a screen adaptation, but I keep hearing rumours that one is eventually coming.

The Mom and Me Book Tag

In honour of Mother’s Day, I thought it would be fun to find some kind of Mother’s Day-themed book tag. I found this one on Candis Barbosa’s blog (here), which is a tag she created on Mother’s Day two years ago. I think I’m such a huge reader in general because of my mom. Reading has always been a huge part of my family, and I remember going to the library with my mom all the time, and especially library book sales. My parents always made sure there were lots of books in the house, and my brother and I were given books as gifts or offered them as a treat at the end of shopping trips when we were little. My parents read to us often, and I also would read books to them. I thought this tag would be the perfect way to celebrate Mother’s Day, since my mom and I often have quite similar tastes in books (which, surprisingly enough, was not really reflected here!) and it seemed like fun!

1) Book or eBook?
MOM: Books

ME: Definitely books. I don’t focus as well when I’m reading from a screen for some reason, even though I have no problem reading things on my computer in general.

2) Paperback or hardcover?
MOM: I don’t care.

ME: I keep changing my mind. I like paperbacks because they are cheaper and lighter to carry around, but hardcovers are more durable and don’t get damaged so easily. It kind of depends on the book.

3) Who are you favorite authors?
MOM: That’s tough, it depends on what I’m reading at the time. Some are Greg Illes, Jim Butcher, Jeffrey Deaver, Michael Connolly, Connie Willis, N.K. Jemisin, Peter Brett, and C.S. Friedman

ME: Jodi Picoult, Liane Moriarty, Victoria Schwab, Sarah J. Maas, Laini Taylor, Leigh Bardugo

4) What are your favorite genres?
MOM: Sci-fi, fantasy, mystery/thriller and historical

ME: Mystery/thriller, contemporary, and fantasy. I like historical fiction, but I have to be in the right mood for it.

5) Favorite non-fiction books to read?
MOM: Cookbooks

ME: I very rarely read non-fiction because I find most of it very dry. The only kind I tend to like are stories about families of children with autism or other disabilities, or psychological case studies.

6) What is your favorite book series?
MOM: I can’t choose one. It changes depending what my mood is.

ME: Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, ACOTAR, The Lunar Chronicles, The Villains duology, and the Six of Crows duology

7) Who is your favorite book character?
MOM: No idea

ME: It’s hard to choose. Probably Hermione Granger or Katniss Everdeen.

8) What was the last book you read?
MOM: The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey and The Pagan Night The Pagan Night by Tim Akers

ME: The Boxcar Children for the first time in many years, and before that was A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

9) What book(s) are you currently reading?
MOM: The Iron Hound by Tim Akers

ME: Enduring Love by Ian McEwan

10) Name some books on your TBR (To Be Read) list.
MOM: The rest of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, The Ancestor Series by Mark Lawrence, Dandelion Dynasty by Ken Liu, and N.K. Jemisen’s The Dreamblood duology. Also, Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff

ME: Daisy Jones and the Six, The Kiss Quotient, The Last Mrs. Parrish, The Silent Patient, Spinning Silver, The Wife Between Us and many more

11) Do you read comics? If so, what is your favorite graphic novel or comic series?

MOM: No

ME: Not really comics, but I do read graphic novels and even set myself a goal of reading more graphic novels.

12) What do you think was a good book to movie adaptation?
MOM: The Expanse. I haven’t read the book yet, but I’ve heard the movie is very good.

ME: I really liked Atonement, and I loved the movie version of  A Walk to Remember more than the book. If we count Netflix series, the recent adaptations of A Series of Unfortunate Events was excellent!

13) What’s one book you wish would be made into a movie or TV show?
MOM: Anne Bishop’s The Others series, and Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files would make a good movie.

ME: I’m not sure, since they are so rarely done well! I would love to see The Lunar Chronicles adapted, or maybe the ACOTAR series.

14) Who’s your pick for OTP (One True Pairing) in pop culture?
ME: No idea.

MOM: Cory and Topanga from Boy Meets World, or Willow and Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I also really liked Joey and Pacey on Dawson’s Creek.

15) What are your go-to bookstores?
MOM: To buy or to browse? To buy, it is pretty much anywhere that has the books I want in stock. I use Amazon, Indigo or BookOutlet.

ME: Indigo, Amazon or BookOutlet. Recently, I’ve mostly bought books from BookOutlet, but I use Indigo or Amazon if I want a brand new copy of a book.

16) Do you have any book buying tips?
MOM: Don’t be afraid to check out second hand stores. Wait for the pocket book or mass market comes out, or when the movie comes out, the books are often cheaper. If an author becomes popular again, sometimes there books get reissued again so it can be easier to find them.

ME: If you aren’t too picky about the condition your books are in, library book sales, secondhand stores, or BookOutlet are great places to get lots of books for cheaper. If you’re unsure about a book, consider borrowing it from the library to try it before you commit to spending the money.

17) What are your favorite book related events to go to?
MOM: Library book sales or getting books from friends/family when they get rid of their books

ME: Library book sales. I also love BookOutlet’s “Spend and Save” events which happen a couple of times a year, although it’s not really something you go to.

18) Do you have a favorite book related memory?
MOM: As a child, every weekend after visiting relatives in the hospital, as a treat we would be given a small amount of money, and my sister and I could buy whatever we wanted at the bookstore. The other one is going to my university’s annual book sale where I would often come away with 15 bags of books. I would drop books off at my sister’s place nearby and go back to buy more, and my husband would have to drive over later and pick everything up.

ME: Scholastic Book Fairs at school were always a lot of fun. I also remember reading The Stinky Cheese Man with my best friend in his basement. I always loved this book but never owned a copy, so the only time I could read it was when I went to his house or if I got it from the library.

19) How did you get into reading?
MOM: Books were always part of our household. I was read to. We talked about books. Books were everywhere. Going to buy a book was a treat. I never saw my father without a book in his hand at home.

ME: It was similar for me. We’ve always had tons of books in the house, and we would read them together. I would get books as a gift from my grandparents whenever they visited, and my dad would bring me back those interactive books which made sound effects when you pressed buttons every time he went on a trip. My mom volunteered in my elementary school’s library, and I’d go and help her sometimes as recess. When she worked at our local library, I’d have to go with her on any days off school, and spent the day reading while she worked. I was always surrounded by books and reading was just a natural part of our life.

20) What books did you like to read as a child?
MOM: When I was very young, it would have been mysteries like Nancy Drew or Trixie Belden. When I was a bit older, I discovered the golden age of sci-fi, so it would have been Asimov, Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Andre Norton, Mary Stewart and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Also, Agatha Christie.

ME: Junie B. Jones, Little Critter, The Babysitter’s Club, Bailey School Kids, Robert Munsch’s books, The Berenstain Bears, The Royal Diaries, Wayside School, The Boxcar Children, and when I got older, Harry Potter and A Series of Unfortunate Events.

21) What’s your favorite thing about reading?
MOM: If it’s fantasy or sci-fi, I like the world-building. If it’s historical, it’s getting a new perspective. For mysteries or thrillers, it’s engaging to try and solve the puzzle.

ME: I find it entertaining but also relaxing. I love to get absorbed in a story and its characters, and I think it is a great way to get exposed to all kinds of different perspectives, experiences, etc.

22) What’s one book you could read again and again?
MOM: It would be a fantasy book, but I couldn’t choose a specific one.

ME: I think the Harry Potter series is the obvious answer, and I have definitely read them over and over already.

23) What’s one book or book series you think everyone should read at least once?
MOM: I don’t know of one specifically, but everyone should read one elaborate fantasy that has a defined world-building and makes you think about things in a different way.

ME: It’s really hard to pick one, because everyone’s taste is so different. I think something like The Help would be a great book for people to read, or some of Jodi Picoult’s books because they are very thought-provoking and bring up interesting ethical questions.

24) What would you say to today’s generation of youngsters to encourage them to read?
MOM: Be open to trying new things, and try different genres. If you don’t think reading on the page, try ebooks or audiobooks. There is something for everybody if you find the right thing. Don’t think you have to read as education, you can read just for fun. I you have to be willing to invest a little bit of time and patience.

ME: Try a variety of books, genres and formats until you find something that you like. Don’t force yourself to read something you’re really not enjoying or when your’e really not in the mood to read, because you’ll just end up putting yourself off. A reading challenge could also be a great way to motivate yourself.

25) What author would you like to meet someday?
MOM: I don’t really care. Meeting the author doesn’t mean anything to me. I’m interested in the book, not really in the person behind it.

ME: I also don’t particularly care about meeting authors or celebrities of any kind, but if I had to pick one, I’d pick Jodi Picoult.

26) If you could be the author of your own book, what genre would you write?

MOM: Sci-fi or fantasy

ME: Maybe a thriller. I’ve had a couple of ideas for stories, but don’t have the  time or the motivation to actually follow through and write anything.

27) What book world do you wish you could visit?
MOM: I don’t have a specific things. Probably one of the fantasy worlds.

ME: The Wizarding World from Harry Potter

28) What was your favorite book or book series you’ve read together?
MOM: We don’t read things necessarily at the same time, but we have exchanged recommendations. We’ve both read and loved Defending Jacob, and I also read Daughter of Smoke & Bone because you loved it so much.

ME: We’re constantly talking about the books that we’re reading and trading suggestions. I read The Hunger Games because of my mom’s recommendation, so I think I’ll have to go with that one.

29) Who’s your favorite mother/daughter duo from a book, movie, or TV Show?
MOM: I have no idea.

ME: I don’t really have one. Maybe Joyce and Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I may just be choosing them because they are the ones that I remember most.

30) What book do you recommend your mom/daughter to read?
MOM: You might like The Widows of Malabar Hill.

ME: I’ve been telling her for a while to read The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult, or really anything by Jodi Picoult. Also, Harry Potter!

Top 5 Wednesdays: Best Mothers/Mother Figures

I could have sworn I already had a post on this topic from a previous year, but after literally days of searching for it, it seems that I never did. It’s really strange because I can distinctly remember writing about several of the characters I had in mind. I started to search for the post in the first place because I wanted to avoid repeating myself with the exact same comments again, and realized that I apparently had never made the post at all. It was surprisingly hard to find mother figures (outside of the Harry Potter series) since there are so many books where parents in general are either absent, very minor characters, or not very good people. When it comes to many of the YA books that I read, the parents might be great characters, but I often don’t find them particularly memorable so it can be hard to think of the best ones after the fact in any amount of detail. It was actually much, much easier to remember negative mothers or maternal figures than it was to think of positive ones!

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) Ma from Room by Emma Donoghue – I’m not even sure of this character’s real name to be honest, but she is the first one who stood out to me when I saw this prompt. For those who don’t know, Room is told from the perspective of 5-year-old Jack, whose mother was kidnapped and held captive for years by Old Nick. Jack has lived his entire life in Room, the only place he has ever known, with Ma as the only person he interacts with. Ma was such a fascinating character, especially for the way she did everything in her power to keep Jack safe and bring him up as normally as possible, given their horrific situation. This is easily one of the best books I’ve read in the past few years, and Ma definitely stands out as an interesting mother figure.

2) Marmee March from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – This was one of the characters that I could have sworn I’d already mentioned in the post that apparently never existed. I know a lot of people who have read this book recently take issue with how moralizing it seems, but this is one of my favourite classics and I love the March family. Marmee is essentially raising all four of her daughters on her own, while her husband is away at war. She was well aware of the distinct personalities of each of her daughters and ensured that each of them received the lessons they needed most as they grew up. Not only did she take care of her own family, but she also made sure to help others and instill those values in her children as well. Even though they had very limited means themselves, they were still expected to think of others and help when they can.

3) Maura Sargent from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater – Really I could have mentioned any and all of the women that Blue lives with, but I decided to stick to Maura since she is Blue’s mother. Blue is a very supportive and loving parent to Blue and they have a great relationship. She gives Blue a lot of freedom and room to make her own decisions, but is always available and prepared to support her. She does her best to protect Blue and along with the other relatives, they make up a great network of people who love and care for her. I don’t specifically remember too much about Maura as a character, but I remember thinking she was a great mother.

4) Oana from The Conqueror’s Saga by Kiersten White – I’m sure I wouldn’t be choosing this character if I hadn’t very recently finished the series, because I’m not sure she is someone that would necessarily stand out long-term. Oana is the mother of Lada’s childhood best friend Bogdan, and also served as Lada’s nurse. Oana had a relatively small role in the series overall, but she was so much fun to read! She provided some much-needed comic relief, but aside from that, she seemed to be the mother figure that Lada never had. As much as Lada fought against Oana’s attempts to take care of her, it was obvious that there was a strong bond there, especially by the third book in the series. The dynamics between the two of them were so interesting, and really showed another humanizing side to Lada.

5) Miss Peregrine from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – It took me a while to think of Miss Peregrine, but the more I thought about the character, the more she seemed to fit. Miss Peregrine reminds me in some ways of Professor McGonagall, because of the way she can be strict but is also very devoted to the children who are in her care. She has taken in quite a few children and works to keep them safe and protected in the time loop. Not to mention the fact that the individuals who are in her care as mostly teenagers who are stuck at that age, and who each have some kind of unusual ability. Miss Peregrine takes care of all of them on her own, keeping the time loop active for their protection, while also providing a relatively normal living situation and dealing with day-to-day aspects of behaviour, food, etc.