The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag (2019)

I can’t believe we are already halfway through the year! Last year, I’d commented that it was my biggest reading challenge ever, and I’ve somehow managed to even exceed that. I set myself the whopping goal of 252 books this year since I was indecisive and didn’t want to give up any of the challenges I found. Obviously that number is not the most realistic, so like last year, I’ve extended the timeline on several of these challenges. It would be amazing to be able to finish everything by December, but I highly doubt that will be possible! I’ve currently read 84 books in total, which is 33% of my total. It’s a bit disappointing in a sense that I’m only a third of the way through my challenges at the halfway point of the year, but not very surprising given the huge total.

I’ve also found this year a bit of a weird reading year in general. I’ve read many books that I’ve really enjoyed, with the vast majority being either 4 or 5 stars, but somehow have trouble picking out a few clear favourites. I think part of the reason my progress has felt relatively slow is because I’ve read quite a few longer books. I re-read the entire Harry Potter series (which will be excluded from the questions in this tag, since we already know how much I love those books), and most of the Throne of Glass series. I’m actually pretty much on par with where I was at this point of the year in 2018, but it feels like I’m more behind because the overall total is so much higher. It was an extremely ambitious goal, and at this point I’ve kind of shifted my mindset more toward finishing as many as I can, instead of getting hung up on finishing everything.

I decided to do this tag again because it is a great way to reflect back on my reading progress this year, and start to get excited for the second half! This tag was originally co-created by Chami (video here) and Ely, whose video/post I could not find.

1) Best book you’ve read so far this year

40389527. sy475 As I’ve mentioned above, for some reason I have a really hard time picking one clear favourite, even though there were many books that I loved. I almost wonder if a part of that is because many of the books that I read were series, and I kind of blend them all into one book somehow. I have rated 41 books 5 stars on Goodreads, which is very close to half of my total reads so far. I think if I had to choose just one book that really captured my interest, it would be The Woman in the Window. I know there is a lot of controversy around this author right now, but I was able to put that aside while reading and just enjoy the book for what it was. It was a very engaging thriller that I devoured in just two days, and I could hardly put it down. I just wish I hadn’t accidentally spoiled myself for one of the twists when I was about halfway through by looking at a Goodreads review! One of the trigger warnings that someone included in their review gave away an important detail, although to be fair, I had a suspicion that was what was happening anyway.

2) Best sequel you’ve read so far this year

22299763. sy475 I definitely have to give this one to Crooked Kingdom, although Vengeful probably comes in a pretty close second. I went into Six of Crows late last year not expecting much because I’m generally not interested in heist stories, but ended up falling in love with the characters. I was so excited to read this sequel and get even more of them, and it definitely delivered. I thought the writing was so strong, and Leigh Bardugo crafts some very complex and interesting characters. I’d love to see more of this world.  I actually considered this book for the previous question as well, but for the sake of diversifying the list a bit, I decided to give that category to a different book since I knew this one would also be a top choice here. I’ve read quite a few great sequels in general this year, including the majority of the Throne of Glass series, but I find I have an easier time differentiating the story when it is just a few books than for longer series. I still have quite a few more sequels planned for the rest of the year, so it will be interesting to see if anything knocks this one out of the top spot. Somehow I doubt it, but you never know. Looking ahead at the other series I have in mind for this year, there actually aren’t any that I expect to top this one, except maybe Kingdom Of Ash. If that book can keep my attention for nearly 1000 pages, it might just deserve the title of best sequel!

3) New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

36285129. sy475 I made it a goal for myself this year to try and read more new releases, so there are quite a few that I’m very excited to try. To make it easier on myself, I’m only including books that have been released up until now, and not any that are coming out in the second half of 2019. I think the new release that I’m most excited for and definitely intend to read by the end of this year is Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson. I’m sure I’ve mentioned her before, but she has very quickly become one of my new favourite YA authors and I love the unique premises of all of her books so far. I’m very excited to read this one, and it is one of my top priority books for this year. It was just released in May, and my library already has copies of it, so I’ll definitely be getting to it as soon as possible!

Just to name a few other new releases I’m interested in reading, and likely to read this year: King of Scars, You Asked for Perfect, The Silent Patient, and Slayer. These have all been released since January 2019, and all of them are books that I’m hoping to get to before the end of December!

4) Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

It’s hard to pick just one! It’s very unlikely that any of these books will make it into my challenges for this year, just because it might be hard to get a copy of them in time, but here are some of the upcoming releases that I’m most excited for:

5) Biggest Disappointment

12813630I’d have to go with The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black. I have her Folk of the Air series earmarked for next year, and realized I’d never read any of her books, so I decided to start with this one. I didn’t hate it, and actually there were some parts of it that I really loved, but I found it a bit underwhelming overall. I liked Holly Black’s writing style at least, which is promising given that I’d like to read more of her books, but the story in general was very slow and I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. It made it hard for me to remember what had happened from day to day, when I picked the book back up.  I also really didn’t buy into the romance at all, so I wasn’t very invested in the story. I liked the backstory offered in every second chapter, and I thought the vampire mythology was interesting because it was a bit different from what I’ve seen before, but I expected a lot more from this given how much hype there is around Holly Black in general. To be fair though, after reading the book, I saw several reviews who commented that it is far from her best, so maybe it wasn’t the right place to start.

6) Biggest Surprise

36967019I’d have to say The Favourite Sister by Jessica Knoll. I went into this book not necessarily expecting very much, and ended up really loving it. It is full of unlikable characters, but it didn’t bother me because they were all so interesting. This book is about a group of young and ambitious women who are featured on a reality TV series called Goal Diggers, with the intent of showing how women support each other in their ambitions. It is told from the perspective of three of the cast members, and is based around the idea that one of these woman has been killed, and it is unclear who is responsible or why she was targeted. This book surprised me because it had a lot more depth to it than I expected. It was a bit of a slower read than I thought it was going to be, but also very interesting. I’m generally not very interested in stories that involve celebrities of any kind, but I thought the reality TV angle was unique and I loved seeing the dynamics between the women. I also really loved the writing style and the way each of the characters was developed to be realistic, often unlikable but sympathetic at the same time. I expected to like this one, but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did!

7) Favourite New Author (Debut or New To You)

35887193I was a bit surprised to realize that I haven’t read very many books by new-to-me authors ye, or at least not too many that were 5 stars for me. Aside from both A.J. Finn and Jessica Knoll, who I’ve already mentioned above, I think my favourite new-to-me author would have to be Aimee Molloy. The Perfect Mother was one of the books that I was most excited to try this year, and I really enjoyed it! It didn’t quite take the direction that I expected with the story, and was definitely less of a thriller than I thought, but it was still a very interesting book, and another one that I devoured in just two days. I loved how Aimee Molloy touched on so many different attitudes toward motherhood through the perspectives of different characters. Her writing style drew me in immediately and kept me wanting to find out what happened next. The reveal at the end also caught me off-guard, although it was completely plausible. Thinking back on it now, I think this one might actually be up there with The Woman in the Window as a favourite of the year.

8) Newest Fictional Crush

I always struggle with this question because I don’t really get fictional crushes. I did really like Curtis in On the Come Up, although I don’t find him particularly memorable either. I had to look up his name before including him here. Other than that, I’d probably have to go with Matthias in Crooked Kingdom or maybe Rowan from the Throne of Glass series, although I’m a little on the fence about him. I like him as a love interest in the series, but I’m not sure if I personally would crush on him.

9) Newest Favourite Character

35887567. sy475 Easy choice for this one. I’d have to go with Bri from On the Come Up. I was so nervous going into this book because I wasn’t sure if it could possibly live up to The Hate U Give, but I ended up loving it. Bri is the 16-year-old daughter of a deceased rap star, who wants to become a famous rapper herself to help support her family since they are struggling financially. I thought Bri was a very compelling character and one of the most realistic teenagers that I’ve read in a long time. She was impulsive and sometimes got herself into trouble by reacting to things without thinking them through, but also very motivated to tackle the injustices that she sees around her. I thought Angie Thomas did a great job of striking the balance so that Bri genuinely seemed like a teenager, whose actions had real consequences and who struggled to make some very difficult decisions. This was another book that I absolutely devoured, and I’m so glad it lived up to all the hype.

10) A Book That Made You Cry

25613472It’s very rare for a book to literally make me cry, but the one that probably came closest was A List of Cages by Robin Roe. I’d been meaning to read this one for three years now, so I’m glad I finally decided to pick it up. It is about a teenage boy named Adam who is working with the school psychologist, and is assigned to track down a freshman student who is avoiding his appointments. Adam soon discovers that this boy is his former foster brother Julian, who now lives with his abusive Uncle Russell. The book is told from the perspectives of both boys, and I loved how they were each given a distinct voice. I loved the brotherly relationship between them, and I also really liked how even the side characters were relatively well-developed and helped to flesh out Adam a bit more. I thought this book was very powerfully written and handled an incredibly difficult topic so well. It was hard to read at times, but I think that just goes to show how well Robin Roe handled the story. I look forward to reading more of her books whenever she releases something new.

11) A Book That Made You Happy

34092885I think the one book that really stands out as one that made me happy was Always Never Yours. This was a 4-star book for me, but it was so much fun to read. Actually, I gave it 4.5 but ultimately rounded it down to a 4 on Goodreads because of a few plot points that I found a bit annoying. It is about a girl named Megan, who always seems to date a guy just before he finds his “true love.” Megan is also surprised to be cast as Juliet in her school’s production of Romeo & Juliet, which she only signed up for because she needs an acting credit to get into the school of her choice to become a director. Although I found Megan a bit annoying at times, I thought this was a fun story and I especially loved all the Shakespeare references. I liked that Megan was confident in going after the relationships she wanted and not ashamed of having dated several people, which is unusual for a female YA protagonist. I also loved how the authors tackled the idea of reputations, through other characters’ opinions of Megan and her choices, without that necessarily being the sole focus of the story. This book was a lot of fun and I liked that it had a bit more of a unique spin on the typical YA romance, although it definitely was one.

12) Favourite Book to Film Adaptation You Saw This Year

I don’t keep very good track of the adaptations that I watch, but I really enjoyed the third season of Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. They did such an amazing job with this series in general, and really captured the atmosphere of the books. I also really enjoyed watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which I didn’t even realize at first was an adaptation. Even when I saw that there were comics for it, I’d assumed that the series came first and the comics were the adaptation of the show. And I almost forgot — I really loved the first season of You! It was a bit different from the books, but I thought they did a great job of it.

13) Favourite Review You’ve Written This Year

I don’t really write reviews in general, but here are a few of my favourite posts that I’ve written so far this year:

14) Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought or Received So Far This Year

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15) What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year?

Considering I’m only a third of the way done my challenge, there are many books that I “need’ to read, but these are a few that are highest priority:

Top 5 Wednesday: TBR Benchwarmers (#4)

I think this stage of my TBR list was when I really started to figure out Goodreads properly, and learn how to search for the kinds of books I really wanted. The books here are from the 17th page of my TBR list, still in late December of 2015 and I definitely notice a trend toward more books that are much closer to even my current interests. I think it also helps that this part of my TBR has moved off of the classics that I consider long-term goals, and has veered more toward thrillers and adult contemporary, as opposed to mostly YA. Looking at these books once again reminds me of how much I wanted to read them at the time, even though I’ve repeatedly put them off ever since!

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) Don’t Try to Find Me by Holly Brown

18698861I actually grabbed this book from Book Outlet within the past year, so I’m hoping that will give me a bit of a push to actually pick it up. It is about a 14-year-old girl named Marley who seems to have run away, leaving a note on the board in the kitchen saying “Don’t try to find me.” As days pass, her parents Rachel and Paul realize that the police are not much help, and decide to take it upon themselves to find out what happened to their daughter,. Paul turns to social media and launches a website, but the public exposure leads to scrutiny of both parents, especially when Rachel messes up an interview, convincing the public that she must have something to hide. I’m very interested in reading this one because it has all of the elements that I enjoy —  family secrets and social media. I’ve seen this book compared to Reconstructing Amelia, which I loved, and I’m actually surprised I’ve put it off for so long. I think it ended up getting lost in the shuffle of all the other thrillers that I had on my list, but now that I’ve seen the synopsis again, I’m very interested. Hopefully owning my own copy will help me get to it sooner.

2) Safe With Me by Amy Hatvany

18143780I bought this one within the past year from Book Outlet too! It is about a mother named Hannah who is grieving the loss of her daughter, but she has also agreed to donate her daughter’s organs. A year later, Hannah unexpectedly meets Olivia Bell, whose daughter Maddie was saved by one of the organs donated by Hannah’s daughter. The Bell family is struggling to return to a normal life, with Olivia feeling bound to the abusive husband she’d wanted to leave, and Maddie frustrated by her illness and afraid of her father. When Maddie is healthy enough to return to school, she realizes that a normal life is not necessarily any easier than the life she’s had. I have all six of Amy Hatvany’s books somewhere on my TBR even though I haven’t read any of them, because she just seems like an author that I would likely enjoy. If I remember correctly, I’ve even seen her books recommended by Jodi Picoult herself, or at least saw them suggested as books that are good for Jodi Picoult fans. All of her books sound very interesting to me, so I’ll have to make sure to try them.

3) The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond

332348Clearly there was a theme to the book covers I added around this time, although strangely enough these were all added to my TBR on different days. I’ve also just realized that this may be the book I mistook The Deep End of the Ocean for! This book is about a photographer named Abby who makes the mistake of briefly looking away from her soon-to-be stepdaughter while at the beach. When the child disappears, Abby refuses to believe she is dead and searches for clues about what really happened that day. I’ve seen quite mixed reviews for this one, but it sounds like it could be a very interesting story. The reason I say I think I mixed this one up with The Deep End of the Ocean is because I read that book a couple of years ago convinced it was about a family whose child goes missing at the beach, but that is not at all what happened. Since I read it, I’ve been trying to figure out which book I’d really been thinking of, and I think this might be it. Hopefully I enjoy it more than I liked The Deep End of the Ocean though.

4) Little Children by Tom Perrotta

I know that I’ve had this book on my TBR for ages now, but I keep forgetting what it is about. I think it’s because the synopsis itself is pretty vague. It is about a group of parents who all have young children, living in a quiet suburb. One summer, a convicted pedophile moves back into the area, and two of the parents begin an affair. That is literally all that the Goodreads synopsis offers, aside from some details about several of the main characters.  Even skimming the reviews does not give me very much to go on, which is probably why it’s taken me so long to get around to this one. I’m kind of curious to see how the two storylines mentioned in the synopsis are tied together, because they don’t necessarily seem to connect. I tend to really enjoy very character-driven books, and it definitely seems like this will be one. I’m not sure it is particularly high on my list right now, but it interests me enough to keep it on my TBR anyway.

5) Brass Ring by Diane Chamberlain

949466I’m slowly making my way through the many Diane Chamberlain books that are on my TBR. Of all of them, I think this is one that is on the lower-priority side, but it still seems worth a try. I’m always a bit wary at this point about older books by favourite authors since their style can change so much over time, and this book is already over 20 years old! I’m especially hesitant since I’ve seen a lot of more recent reviews commenting that it wasn’t her best. It is about a woman named Claire who runs a foundation to help people with spinal cord injuries with her husband, Jon, who has a disability himself. Claire witnesses a woman jump to her death from a bridge, which triggers forgotten memories that leave her feeling scared, and she becomes obsessed with trying to understand them and whether to block them out again or try to find their source. It sounds like an interesting story which quite similar to several other books that I have on my TBR so it seems like something that I’d enjoy. My local library does not have a copy of it though, so it may be a while before I can get to it.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Books on My Summer 2019 TBR

I’m so glad I’m able to make this post on time, since I completely lost internet yesterday and didn’t know when it would be back on! I have a hard time making TBR lists in general because as soon as reading starts to feel like a chore, I lose interest. The main way I make a TBR is by choosing a stack of books from my library holds or the books I own, and mood-reading my way through them. I’m also not great at reading seasonally, aside from somewhat keeping scary books and/or thrillers to read near Halloween. In the summer, I tend to read more because I have some time off work and one of my major projects is on break, giving me back most of my weekend time. On the one hand, I like to read YA and “beach read” type books in the summer because they go quickly, but on the other, I also sometimes tend to read longer books since I have the time to devote. I’m hoping to read all of these books at some point this summer!

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) Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

32333296. sy475 As much as I don’t read seasonally, this book seems to be the perfect summer read. It is a YA contemporary about a girl named Amelia, who works at an ice cream stand that was founded by a woman who opened it to help cheer up her friends while their boyfriends were away at war, and is getting ready for her first summer being in charge. When the founder of the ice cream stand passes away before Amelia has her first day, she is not sure what to do, until a young relative arrives with some changes in mind to help keep the business going. I need to be in the right mood to really get into a YA romance like this by this point, but I’m sure the warm weather will help! I really like the whole concept of the ice cream stand setting since that sounds like a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the reviews from several of the Goodreads reviewers that I follow haven’t been the best, so that’s not the most encouraging. It was lucky I found this book since I had a difficult reading challenge prompt that required the word “sweet,” “salty,” or “bitter” in the title, so this was a great fit.

2) Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

36896898. sy475 This is one of the books that I’m most looking forward to reading this year, and I’m already planning to take it with me on vacation. I read Uprooted in July two years ago, likely also while I was on vacation, so somehow it’s become an association in my mind that this would be a good book to bring with me. This book is a loose retelling of Rumplestiltskin, focusing on a girl named Miryem who has set out to collect the money owed to her father. When her grandfather lends her a pouch of silver, she brings it back full of gold, earning her the reputation of being able to change silver into gold. This sounds like a very interesting book, and I like retelling books in general, especially when they bring something a bit different to the story. Uprooted quickly became a favourite when I read it, so I’m really looking forward to reading another one of Naomi Novik’s books.

3) The Silent Patient by Alex Michelides

41601079. sy475 This is another book that I’m intending to bring with me on vacation, and I’m hoping to find a copy with the cover art shown here since it is much less creepy! I often end up bringing one or two thrillers with me on any vacation because they are usually so compelling and also fast to read. I’ve been seeing this book literally everywhere lately, and it sounds so interesting! It is about a woman named Alicia who shoots her husband Gabriel five times, and then stops speaking. Theo Faber, a forensic psychotherapist, is sure he can treat her and soon discovers that her silence goes much deeper than he though. I’ve seen quite a few thrillers in the past few years that deal with women who are refusing to speak, and about women who have injured or killed a husband or partner, so it definitely seems to be a trend. I’m a bit intrigued by the amount of hype this one as garnered so far, especially since this is a genre that I already tend to enjoy. I guess of all the books here, it is the least summer-themed, but I like to read thrillers in the summer because they are so fast-paced!

4) Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan and The Truth About Happily Ever After by Karole Cozzo

35843729. sy475 31145157I’m cheating a bit by grouping these two together, but they are both YA contemporaries set at a theme park, so they both really say “summer” to me. Hot Dog Girl is about a girl named Lou who gets a job working as the dancing hot dog as a theme park, where her crush also works, and she also wants to set her best friend up with the perfect girl. The Truth About Happily Ever After is about a girl named Alyssa who works as Cinderella at her favourite theme park, but starts to realize that what should have been her idea of a fairy tale life is not what she expects. Both of these books sound like a lot of fun to read, and I’m very interested in seeing the theme park elements of the stories.

5) Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol

30623067This book is definitely more along the lines of an expected summer read, and I actually just bought a copy of it from Book Outlet which arrived yesterday! This book is a graphic novel from the author of Anya’s Ghost, which I love! It is a middle-grade graphic novel memoir of Vera Brosgol’s experiences as a Russian summer camp. I mentioned this book about a year ago as part of a post about summer-themed reads, so it’s definitely about time that I pick it up. I was very interested in this one because I loved Anya’s Ghost, and was very excited to read more by Vera Brosgol. I also thought it would be an interesting story to read about someone else’s experiences at summer camp, considering it was something I never really enjoyed myself. I only ever went to day camp, and even then, I didn’t like it very much. I’m very interested to see what a Russian summer camp would be like, and I hope to love this book as much as I loved Anya’s Ghost.

6) Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash

24727094This is another one that I’ve earmarked for the summer because it is camp-themed, and it also happens to be a graphic memoir. This one is about Maggie Thrash coming to terms with her sexuality while at a camp for Christian girls. While at camp, she is soon drawn to a counselor named Erin and develops a crush, although she is surprised to find herself having feelings for a girl. I’ve had this book on my TBR for quite a while because it sounded pretty interesting, so this year’s reading challenges gave me the push to finally give it a try. I find in general that I prefer graphic memoirs over most other non-fiction, so hopefully this one will be interesting to me too. Even then, I still tend to prefer fiction over non-fiction as a whole, but I’m willing to branch out a bit, especially for a book that I’ve been meaning to try for so long. I chose this one for the summer specifically because it is set at a camp, so it seemed like a logical choice to read at some point this season.

7) Geekerella and The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston

3072413239725622. sy475 Geekerella is one of those books that feels like it’s been on my list forever, even though it hasn’t been. I’ve had it on my TBR for about two years now, which is arguably forever I guess, but it was the release of the second one that gave me a bit of a push to pick this one up. The two books are set in the same world, but as far as I know they are otherwise completely separate. Geekerella is about a girl named Elle who is obsessed with the sci-fi series Starfield, and joins a cosplay contest in hopes of winning an invitation to ExcelsiCon, to meet a new actor who is joining the reboot of the show. The Princess and the Fangirl is about Imogen, another Starfield fan, who wants to save her favourite character from being killed off, even though the actress, Jessica, wants to leave. Imogen and Jessica happen to look a lot alike, and a case of mistaken identity ends with them switching places to try and find the person responsible for leaking scripts for the show. Both books sound like they will be a lot of fun and quick to read, and I’m excited to give them a try.

8) From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon

36373464. sy475 This was a relatively late addition to my reading challenges, but I think it will be a great summer read. I really enjoyed When Dimple Met Rishi, so I was excited to try something else by this author. This book is about a girl named Twinkle who is approached by another film geek, Sahil, to direct a movie for the Summer Festival. Twinkle dreams of becoming a director, and is also very excited to have the chance to get closer to Sahil’s twin, who is also her crush, Neil. When she starts getting mysterious e-mails, Twinkle is convinced they must be from Neil but starts to realize that working on the movie together has also made her develop feelings for Sahil too. While Dimple Met Rishi had its problems, I found it a lot of fun to read and it sounds like this book will be too. I didn’t even realize that it was based around a Summer Festival, so that makes it an even better fit for this summer.

9) Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

40189670I have so many Christina Lauren books that I want to read, especially after how much I loved Autoboyography last year. This book is about two best friends, Josh and Hazel, who decide to start setting each other up on blind double-dates. With each date becoming a disaster, it starts to seem more and more likely that they are missing the obvious connection between them. This book does sound pretty predictable, but it also sounds like it can be very funny. I’m especially intrigued because I’ve seen several reviewers comment that they were disappointed in the ending (no spoilers please!), so I wonder if it’s a little less predictable than I’m assuming. It’s another book that seems perfect for summer to me because it seems so fluffy and fun. I really had to limit myself this year when it came to Christina Lauren books because there were so many that I wanted to try, but I didn’t want to burn myself out on them by reading too many too quickly. It looks like this will be a good place to start!

10) The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare

7171637. sy475 I’m not sure if this would typically be considered a summer book, but I really want to read this one over the summer so I can prioritize the rest of The Mortal Instruments in September/October when I know I have some more time off since those books are huge! I have never read this series, but I have heard such great things about it for so long that I finally decided to give it a try. I think if I had to pick a season for this series, I would say fall or maybe even winter, but I decided to keep it to the summer when I had some time. I’m a tiny bit behind on some of the longer series I wanted to prioritize this year, so I’m using the summer to catch up. This book is set in 1878, and it focuses on Tessa Gray who is searching for her missing brother in London’s underworld, where she soon meets Will and Jem, both Shadowhunters who team up with her to fight against the secret Pandemonium Club and stop them from taking over the British Empire. The plot sounds a bit weird to me, but I’ve heard a lot about this series and especially the characters, so I’m very interested in trying it for myself.

Stacking the Shelves (#20)

I think this month may be one of the lowest total numbers of books I’ve ever added. To be fair, this might be because I’m making my Stacking the Shelves post about a week earlier than usual due to all the half-year wrap-up themes coming up. I decided I’d rather save those until the real half-year point to avoid missing out on any books I read in the next week or so. This month, the vast majority of the books that I added are upcoming releases for 2020 from favourite authors, or at least authors that I have a very strong interest in trying. I generally don’t post books until they have a synopsis and/or cover art, so it makes my list for this month especially limited. I have several untitled V.E. Schwab and Maggie Stiefvater books that I added this month!

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) The Hive by Barry Lyga and Morgan Baden

43522552Bang by Barry Lyga was one of the best books that I read last year, so I was very interested to see that he had written something new.  It is about a girl named Cassie McKinney, who lives in a world where social media spun out of control until The Hive took over. If a person got into trouble too many times online, a crowd would come after you and teach you a lesson in real life. Cassie is entering her senior year of high school and her friends persuade her to make a controversial joke online, catching the attention of The Hive and forcing her to go on the run. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I love stories that have to do with social media, and this one seems like a very interesting twist on the whole concept of being careful what you post. This book isn’t due out until September so it will be quite a while before I can read it, but it sounds very interesting. I have a couple of other Barry Lyga books on my TBR too since reading Bang, and he always seems to have such unusual concepts.

2) The Phantom Forest by Liz Kerin

40755701I was drawn to this one by the intriguing cover art. It is about a girl named Seycia whose father has always told her stories of The Forest of Laida, where all souls go to rest. When Seycia is chosen to be her village’s ritual sacrifice, she is sent to the Underworld and teams up with the demon to whom she was sacrificed in attempt to protect the rest of her family. It sounds like a very interesting story, and somehow reminds me a tiny bit of Uprooted, although that may just be because of the tree. This book is due out in mid-July, but has already received some excellent early reviews. It’s surprisingly rare for me to find a YA fantasy standalone book, although I guess it is still possible that this one might be turned into a series eventually. It is also this author’s debut novel and it sounds like such an interesting story. I’ve seen it described several times as a dark fantasy and a haunting book, so it sounds very appealing to me!

3) The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller

43263486I like historical fiction, but it is not a genre that I tend to reach for very often anymore. I was drawn to this one specifically once I saw that it was described as gothic. It is set in 1875, following a woman named Alva Webster whose reputation was ruined when she fled from her abusive husband. Upon her husband’s death, Alva is able to start over in New York and restore her mansion, Liefdehuis, and her reputation. When stories of her house being haunted begin to reach her, Alva reluctantly teams up with an eccentric professor named Samuel Moore to help uncover the secrets of her house. As much as I like historical fiction, I am not particularly interested in historical romances, so I was a bit worried when I saw this book tagged as one. I’m hoping that the mystery aspect of the story is enough to keep my interest, although looking at the reviews now, it seems to be primarily a historical romance. I’ll have to go into this one with an open mind if I decide to pick it up at some point, but it sounds like it could be something I would like.

4) My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

33572350I actually thought I’d added this one to my TBR quite a while ago, so I was surprised to see that I hadn’t. It is about a 14-year-old girl named Turtle who lives alone with her abusive father, who starts to realize that a better life could be possible for her if she breaks free. Looking at it now, I think the main reason I didn’t add this one to my TBR like I originally thought is because it is supposed to be incredibly graphic in its depiction of sexual abuse. Even now, I’m questioning how much I really want to read this because I’m sure I will struggle with that kind of content. It sounds like it could be an interesting story about the complexities of Turtle’s feelings about her father and her situation, but I’m not sure if it is something I’d really be able to read. I don’t mind dark or disturbing books in general, but many of the reviews I’ve seen for this one, including several reviewers who often have similar tastes to mine, have described the content as gratuitous and even an insensitive portrayal of abuse. I’m leaving this one on my TBR for now, but I’m on the fence about whether I’ll really end up reading it.

5) The Divorce by Victoria Jenkins

45162578This book definitely seems like something that is more along the lines of what I usually read. It is about a couple, Lydia and Josh Green, who are going to see Karen, a therapist, to help their troubled marriage. The more time Karen spends with them, the more she starts to feel uneasy about them, especially because something about their behaviour forces her to recall traumatic incidents from her own past. Like many thrillers, the synopsis is relatively vague and the reviews so far have been quite mixed. I have seen it compared to Gone Girl and The Wife Between Us, both of which I really enjoyed. It is one of the many thrillers that I have on my TBR so I’m not sure it will be especially high priority, but it sounds interesting enough to be worth a try. I’d love to see a few more reviews for it after it is released (due out July 4), although it’s always a bit risky to since reviews for thrillers sometimes tend to give spoilers! I think part of the reason this one drew my attention is because the cover reminded me of a version of the cover of The Silent Patient, which had two empty chairs. I also tend to enjoy books that have to do with psychology in general, so the couples’ counselling setting sounds pretty interesting.

6) Mr. Nobody by Catherine Steadman

44908618I haven’t read Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman yet, but this one sounds just as good. It is about a man who washes up on a British beach with no memory at all of who he is. Dubbed “Matthew” by the media, he seems like the perfect opportunity for a study of retrograde amnesia and his case is taken on by Dr. Emma Lewis, who soon realizes that this man has many secrets and may remember more than everyone thinks. I guess I’ve very pre-emptively added this one to my TBR considering it is not due out until January 2020, and I haven’t even read this author’s previous book yet, but it sounds like a great thriller. There definitely seems to be a trend lately of books focusing on therapists or psychiatrists who are trying to unravel complex cases, and many of those books easily end up on my TBR. I’m very interested to find out more about this one closer to the release date.

7) You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekannen

45046742I’ve very recently finished The Wife Between Us for the first time, and I’m still struggling to figure out whether to keep my 4 star rating on Goodreads or up it to 5 stars. I really enjoyed it, and the more I think about it, the more I’m considering changing my rating. This book came up in a list of upcoming releases for next year, so I immediately added it to my TBR. Actually, to be honest, I’d added it a couple of weeks before I even read The Wife Between Us, so it’s a good thing I enjoyed that one! This book is about a woman named Shay Miller who sees another woman jump into the path of a subway train, and realizes that her life could have led her down the same path. Shay is drawn to the Moore sisters, Cassandra and Jane, who are part of a group of women who seem to have it all, and she is invited to join them with the promise “You are not alone.” The further she gets involved with these sisters, the more Shay’s life seems to improve, but she starts to wonder what at what cost these changes are coming. This sounds like another very intriguing thriller from these authors, and I’m very interested in giving it a try.

8) Fan Art by Sarah Tregay

17924987Immediately after adding this one to my TBR, I discovered that there were quite a few reviewers who commented that this book is problematic and stereotypical. It is about a high school senior named Jamie who is gay and has fallen for his best friend, Mason. Although Jamie is not out yet, other people at school notice his interest in Mason and are determined to help get them together, even though Jamie himself isn’t sure if this is what he wants since he thinks coming out might ruin their friendship. On the one hand, this book sounds like it could be a very fun story, but the comments about the problematic elements of the story have made me a bit cautious about trying it. Aside from struggling with his own feelings for Mason, this book also focuses on Jamie’s decision whether to stand up for what he believes in when a comic about LGBT characters is rejected from the school’s art magazine, on the grounds that the editors didn’t want to feature characters who are LGBT. I’m still interested enough in this one to think it is worth a try and see for myself, but it was a bit surprising to see so many negative comments.

9) We Are Totally Normal by Rahul Kanakia

39297951I’m very excited to see another YA book by Rahul Kanakia, who wrote Enter Title Here, a book that quickly became one of my favourites. This book is due out in March 2020, so it will be quite a while before I finally get to read it. It is about a high school junior named Nandan, who has a plan to make this year perfect and also wants to help his friend Dave become popular. When Dave and Nandan hook up one night after a party, Nandan’s plans change. He has never been interested in guys before, but he is willing to give it a try because he likes Dave. The longer their relationship lasts, the more he starts to feel anxious about what it means for himself and his social life, and starts to wonder whether it is better to just break up with Dave, even though he is the only person who really gets him. I loved Rahul Kanakia’s first YA book because it took what could have easily been a fairly typical plotline and explored it in a really unique way, so I’m hoping he will do the same here. It sounds like a very interesting story, and it is definitely high on my list for next year.

10) Untitled Panem Novel by Suzanne Collins

46346381I’m completely breaking my rule here of waiting to post until the book has a cover or at least a title, but I had to include this one. It’s funny because I was already intending to re-read The Hunger Games series next year, so it was a nice surprise to see that this book was just announced. I have only read the series once and it is one of my all-time favourites, so I’m looking forward to reading more in this world. I’m generally not really interested in prequels or “between the numbers” kinds of books since they often seem unnecessary, but this one sounds like it could provide some great backstory. it is set 64 years before the events of the original trilogy, in the reconstruction period after the war that shaped the world to become the way we saw it in the books. I have seen a lot of speculation that this book is going to focus on Mag, but I don’t think that’s been confirmed yet. I guess it’s a good thing I’d already picked next year for a reread of the series!

11) Careful What You Wish For by Hallie Ephron

41154239I don’t know why I keep getting drawn to books that have houses on the cover! I’ve noticed that so many of the thrillers I’ve added in the past few months have covers that focus on a house or neighbourhood of houses. This book is about Emily Harlow, a professional organizer who helps people clean up and declutter their houses. Her own husband is a hoarder, and Emma soon finds herself commiserating with a new client of hers, and involved in a plot against their frustrating spouses. This sounds like a very interesting thriller that is along the lines of the kinds of books I usually enjoy, but unique enough to feel refreshing. I really like the focus on hoarding, since that is a topic that I don’t see mentioned very often in books, so that alone brings something a bit new to the table.  To be honest, I find the synopsis a tiny bit confusing because I first thought the client that Emily was working with also had a husband who was a hoarder, but upon reading it again, it seems that the client is a hoarder herself. I’m not entirely sure if that makes a difference, but this book definitely interests me enough to try it.

12) The Doctor by Lisa Stone

43817242I added this one to my TBR just this morning after seeing a few new thrillers on my Goodreads homepage. This book is about a couple, Emily and Ben, who move in next door to Dr. Burman and his wife, Alisha. Emily is eager to make friends with Alisha, but is surprised to find the other woman is very subdued and rarely leaves the house or answers the phone. When Emily disappears a few weeks later, leaving only a note behind, Ben is left to figure out whether his wife truly left him of her own choice, or whether her curiosity about their neighbours went far enough to put her in danger. I was a bit disappointed to see that most of the reviews described the book in considerable detail. I’m not entirely sure whether anything that was revealed would be spoilers, but given how little the synopsis gave away, it seemed like some of those details weren’t meant to be known going into the book. Even knowing more about it though, I’m still interested in giving this one a chance since it definitely has a more unique angle to it than many other similar thrillers that I’ve read.

Top 5 Wednesdays: TBR Benchwarmers (#3)

Usually, when I sit down to write a post about books that have been on my TBR for way too long, I find myself just looking through all the books and picking out a few of the highlights to discuss in detail. This time, I seem to have reached a stretch of books that all seemed to be worth mentioning. These books are still from the set added to my TBR in December 2015, and compile part of the 17th page of my TBR, out of almost 150 pages total. The further I get into this series, the more it reminds me of how much I wanted to try several of these books, and how hard it is to prioritize everything. Literally yesterday I was looking at upcoming releases because of the Top 10 Tuesday theme of the week, and there were many very exciting books there too. It’s really hard to find a good balance of new books and older books when I want to read them all!

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) Close Your Eyes by Amanda Eyre Ward

9897884I know very little about this book and can’t even say for sure how I found it in the first place, but it sounds very intriguing. It is about a woman named Lauren whose mother was murdered, presumably by her father. The one constant in Lauren’s life is her older brother, Alex, but she is shocked to learn that Alex has been in contact with their father and believes that there is more to their mother’s death than they may have known. When Alex disappears, Lauren is forced to reexamine their past and find out the truth about what really happened the night her mother was killed. I had never heard of this author before seeing this book on Goodreads, nor have I since added any more of her work to my TBR. I think part of the reason I’ve been so hesitant to pick it up is because I’ve seen extremely mixed reviews, which I’ve noticed tends to be a common pattern among many of the lesser-known books I added to my TBR in the beginning. It sounds like an interesting mystery and definitely along the lines of books that I usually enjoy, so I think it will be worth a try.

2) Julia’s Daughters by Colleen Faulkner

23526240I really have no excuse for this one since I’ve owned a copy of it for several years. It was one that my mom ended up grabbing for free as a library discard when she worked there, and it seemed very interesting so I held onto it. It is about a mother named Julia whose daughter is killed in a car accident while her older sister was driving. Julia struggles with her anger toward her daughter, Haley, and ultimately decides to take her on a cross-country drive to try and mend the rift between them. I’m not such a huge fan of road trip books in general, but I do like character-driven stories that focus on family or relationship dynamics. I can’t even imagine being in a position like Julia’s, so I think it’s a very intriguing premise. I have another of Colleen Faulkner’s books on my list for later on this year, so I doubt I’ll be reading this one any time soon. Luckily, I still have my copy of it somewhere so I will definitely get to it at some point.

3) Brave Girl Eating: A Family’s Struggle with Anorexia by Harriet Brown

9268629To be honest, I’m on the fence about whether I still really want to read this one. I added it to my TBR in general because I was planning to do a reading challenge involving prompts that didn’t make the final list for the Around the Year challenge in previous years. I had this book down as an option for a memoir (or something like that) since it is a prompt that would be very difficult for me to fulfill. I find most non-fiction dry and boring, but anything related to psychology tends to interest me at least a little. This book is about the author’s sister’s struggles with anorexia. I was especially intrigued by this one because of the focus it has on the impact on the whole family. In general, I’m always glad to see books that address any kind of disability, mental health or even physical health condition from a perspective that includes the impact on the whole family. I think it is so important to give some attention to how the people around the individual might be affected by a person they care about struggling with these kinds of issues. For some reason I’m having a really hard time wording that, so hopefully that makes sense. I’m on the fence about this one because I don’t really care for non-fiction in general, but it interests me enough to keep it on my TBR as a possibility.

4) The Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey

23510106This is another book that I don’t really remember adding to my TBR, but the synopsis interests me enough to keep it there. It is a YA contemporary about a girl named Allie who is devastated when her older sister commits suicide, breaking their pact to always be together. Allie struggles to find out the truth behind her sister’s death, and to cope with continuing to live and move ahead without her. I think part of the reason that I keep putting this one off is because I kind of burnt myself out on reading books that have to do with the death of a family member, and especially of a sibling. It’s a trope that seems way too common, especially in YA books, and I have many books along these lines on my TBR already. It’s not that I’ve lost interest in this one, it is just that I’d read so many that seemed similar already that this one didn’t stand out as something I really wanted to read right away. It’s another book that does not seem particularly well-known on Goodreads, and it has also received very mixed reviews. The plot still intrigues me enough to try it eventually, but it is pretty low priority.

5) That Night by Chevy Stevens

18404248I have only read one Chevy Stevens book so far, but I’ve had all the rest on my TBR for years now. This one specifically is about a woman named Toni who is now out on parole, after being sent to prison along with her boyfriend,Ryan, for the murder of Toni’s younger sister. Now in her 30s, Toni is struggling to adapt to living a normal life again, which includes staying away from Ryan, who is determined to figure out the truth about the murder, as well as a group of women who bullied Toni in high school who seem to be hiding dark secrets. Toni soon discovers that in order for her to move on, she must find out what really happened to her sister that night. I don’t even have a solid reason for why I haven’t read any more of Chevy Stevens’ books. I liked the one that I read (Always Watching), and her books are very easily accessible from my library. I even own copies of a couple of others, yet somehow I always seem to put them off in favour of other books that I want to read more. I think it is just a matter of having a ton of thrillers on my list, so some naturally end up taking precedence over others.

 

Top 10 Tuesdays: Most Anticipated Releases in the Second Half of 2019

I’m not very good at keeping up with new releases, even though I spend quite a bit of time looking at new and upcoming releases and adding them to my TBR. One of my goals for this year was to read more recent releases, paradoxically at the same time as I am also trying to read more of the books that have been on my list for ages. I think one of the challenges I find with new releases is that so many of the books I’m reading are parts of series, and I like to wait until at least a couple of books are out before starting a new series so I don’t have to wait too long for the next one. There are a lot of new books that I’m really looking forward to reading, although I likely won’t be getting to them until next year. While looking through my Goodreads TBR, I saw so many upcoming books that I was excited to try, so it was hard to narrow it down to just ten! I was kind of surprised to realize that the majority of the books that I was most excited for were in the last quarter of the year, which means I have lots of great options for my challenges next year.

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) The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell (July 25)

43822820I’m a little confused about this one because I saw about five different release dates for it on Goodreads. I keep adding Lisa Jewell’s books to my TBR even though I haven’t read any of them yet! All of her mystery/thrillers sound so interesting to me, so I will have to make a point of reading at least one soon. This new release is about a 25-year-old woman named Libby who inherits a mansion from her birth parents, whom she knows little about, causing her to start to dig into her family’s history. Upon visiting the house, she notices that it seems like someone has been  there recently. It is also the story of Henry and Lucy Lamb, two siblings who grew up in that house and disappeared. This book sounds like it is along the same lines as The Death of Mrs. Westaway, which I really enjoyed, and although the synopsis confused me a bit at first, it also sounds very intriguing. I was also drawn to this book because of the very interesting cover art. If I have to pick a Lisa Jewell book to read first, it just might be this one.

2) Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzi Lee (September 3)

37076222Loki is one of my favourite characters in the Marvel Universe movies, so I was very excited to hear that there would be a book about him. To be honest, I’m not 100% sold on Mackenzi Lee as an author yet, but I’ve only read This Monstrous Thing. I’m intending to read A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue and it’s sequel soon, so I’m hoping to love them as much as everyone else seems to. This book follows a younger Loki who is desperate to prove himself heroic, instead of the villain that everyone seems to think he is. When he and Amora, a sorceress-in-training, destroy one of Asgard’s prized posesssions, Amora is banished to Earth where she starts to lose her powers, and Loki begins to fall further and further into his brother Thor’s shadow. When Asgardian magic is detected in a string of murders on Earth, Loki is sent to investigate, landing in 19th century London to find out what is really happening, and in the process, find the source of his own power. I’m not usually that interested in books that relate to already well-known characters from the Marvel and DC universes, but this one sounds like it has potential. Loki is generally a fascinating character, and I really hope this book does him justice.

3) Frankly In Love by David Yoon

39847584I didn’t really get all the hype around this book at first, but then I realized that David Yoon is married to Nicola Yoon, who is one of my new favourite YA authors. It is about a Korean-American high school student named Frank, who feels pressured to adhere to his parents’ expectations, especially the rule that he must date someone Korean. When he falls for a girl who is white instead, he decides to fake-date Joy Song, a Korean-American girl who is in a similar situation to his. Frank and Joy think pretending to date is the best way to get their parents off their cases, but they soon realize that the situation might be more complicated than they thought. This book sounds like a fairly predictable YA romance, but given how much I’ve enjoyed Nicola Yoon’s two books so far, I’m hoping to love this one just as much. I do find it a bit funny that so much of the hype around this book is just because of the author’s name alone. People seem to have naturally assumed that just because David Yoon is married to Nicola Yoon, his books will be just as good. There really isn’t too much basis for that, but to be fair, it was partly what drew me to the book too so I can’t really comment. I love how there are so many books coming out now about characters who are trying to find a balance between respecting their heritage and forging their own paths.

4) Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell (September 24)

44017627I read Carry On for the first time this year, and I really enjoyed it although I don’t think I loved it quite as much as everyone else seemed to. It took quite a while for me to get past the idea that the book was essentially a Harry Potter story, that wasn’t written quite as strongly as Harry Potter. As soon as I started to think of it as its own separate entity, around the time that the plot really started to take off and differentiate itself, I started to really enjoy it more. This book is about Simon, restless now that he is supposed to have reached his “happily ever after,” and his friends traveling across America to find out what happens now that he no longer needs to be the hero. The characters in Carry On really won me over by the end of the first book, and especially the dynamic between Simon and Baz. I loved their banter, and I’m excited to see more of that. I think the whole concept of finding out what happens to a Chosen One character after they’ve already finished what they’ve been chosen for is very interesting, and it sounds like this book will be a lot of fun to read.

5) Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (October 1)

43263680I feel like the running theme with a lot of the books on this list is that they are popular authors or series that I didn’t discover until recently. I first read the Grisha trilogy last year and enjoyed it, but I completely fell in love with the Six of Crows duology. That pair was really what sold me on Leigh Bardugo’s writing and especially her amazing characters. Ninth House is the start of a new fantasy series focusing on Alex Stern, sole survivor of an unsolved homicide who is offered the chance for a full ride scholarship to Yale, with the task of monitoring the activities of the university’s secret societies that seem to be involved in the occult. When I first heard about this series, I wasn’t sure if it was something that would necessarily interest me much, but the more I saw of the synopsis, the more I started to be intrigued. I am very interested to see Leigh Bardugo tackle a story outside of the Grisha-verse, and especially one that is not a YA book. It sounds like a very dark kind of story, and I tend to enjoy anything that deals with the occult, so I’d love to give this one a try.

6) Now Entering Addamsville by Francesca Zappia (October 1)

42519323Is it bad that I mostly added this book to my TBR in the first place because the title reminded me of The Addams Family? At the time, not very much was known about the plot so I kind of held out hope it would be some kind of Addams Family-related story, but unfortunately that does not seem to be the case. It has, however, been compared to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and is by an author I generally enjoy, so that definitely helps. This book is about a girl name Zora Novak who has been framed for a crime she didn’t commit, and needs to clear her name by finding the real culprit in a town obsessed with ghosts. The town of Addamsville has a history of tragic events, including a series of arsons 30 years ago that are similar to the crime that Zora is accused of. She teams up with her cousin Artemis to try and clear her name, amidst rapidly spiralling rumours against her. I’m so glad I added this book to my TBR in the first place because it sounds very interesting, and so different from Francesca Zappia’s previous two books. I don’t think I’ll be able to squeeze this one in this year, but it is very high on my list for 2020.

7) Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky (October 1)

43522576I’m not entirely sure how to feel about the fact that this book has been listed on Goodreads as having just over 700 pages, but it has been literally 20 years since The Perks of Being A Wallflower, so it is about time for a new book by this author! It’s also tagged as Horror, which is definitely outside my comfort zone, but I’m still interested in giving it a try. It is about a single mother named Kate who is on the run to try and make a better life for herself and her son, Christopher. Fleeing in the middle of the night, they find themselves in a small community called Mill Grove that seems to be the perfect place to settle down. Unfortunately, Christopher soon vanishes, only emerging from the woods nearly a week later, seemingly unharmed, but with a voice in his head that is giving him a mission to complete by Christmas. I’m hoping this book is not too heavy on the horror elements so I can actually read and enjoy it. I don’t mind books that are a bit scary, and this one seems like it would be something that I can handle, so I’m hoping that is the case. If anything I’m more put off by the overwhelming length of it, since it’s hard to keep my attention for 700 pages in general!

8) Call Down the Dreamer by Maggie Stiefvater (November 5)

31373184The Raven Cycle is probably one of the best series that I’ve read in a long time, and there is a lot about it that reminded me of Harry Potter, at least in terms of the writing style. I was very excited to see that Maggie Stiefvater was writing a new trilogy featuring Ronan, who was a very interesting character. The synopsis so far is incredibly vague, but it does mention two new characters — Jordan, a thief who becomes tied to the dream object she seeks, and Carmen, the sister of a dreamer who is well aware of the damage that dreaming can do. This book still feels like it is such a long way off, but I’m very excited to read it! I’m really hoping there will be at least some mention of the characters from the original series in this one, although I would assume Maggie Stiefvater would want to separate it out a bit and focus on the new elements instead. Ronan’s ability to create and pull things from his dreams was one of the most intriguing parts of the Raven Cycle to me, so I’m glad to be able to see more of that here.

9) The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White (November 5)

43568394This is another author that I was a bit late to the bandwagon for, but I finished The Conqueror’s Saga earlier this year and really enjoyed the entire series. I also have a few more of her books on my TBR for this year, including Slayer which I’ve just ordered from Book Outlet! This book is part of a new series focusing on Princess Guinevere, who is betrothed to Prince Arthur but hiding the fact that she is a changeling who has been sent to protect the King. I love just about any book that involves court intrigue/politics, and I also really like the King Arthur legends in general, so this book sounds very interesting. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kiersten White soon becomes one of my favourite authors, since she has so many very interesting books, at least among her newer releases. I love how this book, or I guess series, is taking on the Arthurian legends from a different perspective, and I’m very intrigued to see which direction she takes it. I’m definitely going to have to figure out a plan for all of these upcoming series in the next year or two since there are so many that I want to try! I generally don’t like having too many series on the go at once, but I don’t think I’ll be able to help it when these are the books being released.

10) The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (November 5)

43575115This is another book that is very high on my list for next year, as I’m sure it will be for many people. I absolutely loved The Night Circus, so I was excited to see a new book by the same author on its way. It is about Zachary Rawlins, a graduate student who discovers a strange book hidden at the library, in which he finds a story from his own childhood. Determined to figure out why his life was in the book, he uncovers clues that lead him to a variety of locations, including an underground library which he soon learns is a realm that people have sacrificed a lot to protect. Zachary teams up with Mirabel, a protector of the library, and Dorian, a man with questionable loyalty, to discover his purpose in this world and his own. What I loved most about The Night Circus was the atmospheric writing and the way the story really drew me in to the world it created, so I’m hoping that this one will do the same. I’ll admit that I wasn’t completely sold on the storyline at first, but the more I found out about it, the more this book started to intrigue me. I doubt I will be able to fit this one in before the end of the year, but I’ll definitely be getting to it sometime in 2020.

 

 

In Honour of Father’s Day: Books About Fathers

I was a bit surprised to realize that Top 10 Tuesday didn’t have any Father’s Day-themed topics this year, and with Top 5 Wednesdays on hiatus for the summer, it looked like no prompts would be available. In the past, Father’s Day prompts usually center on the best fictional fathers, and I’ve always struggled a bit with this topic. It’s not that there aren’t some amazing fictional fathers, because there definitely are, but I somehow find it so much easier to find books that focus on mothers instead. It might just be the kinds of books that I end up reading. I’m sure if I looked through my TBR, I would find multiple books that focus on fathers, but I just haven’t read them yet. I decided to go in a bit of a different direction with this one — instead of exclusively talking about great fathers (or terrible ones), I wanted to broaden it a bit and talk about books that focus on the father in general. These are a few of the books that I’ve read that have a focus on the father.

1) The With the Light manga series by Keiko Tobe

withthelight_1I’ve mentioned this series many times in the past, usually in relation to its autism representation, but I don’t think I’ve ever talked about the father, Masato. This series is about a Japanese family whose son, Hikaru, is diagnosed with autism. The story is mostly told from the perspective of Hikaru’s mother, Sachiko, as she attempts to navigate the system to find services and people who will support her son and help him learn, however her husband Masato is also a very interesting character. In the beginning of the series, Masato has a lot of difficulty understanding his son’s disability and is frequently frustrated by Hikaru’s misbehaviour and his wife’s inability to cope. He is embarrassed that his son isn’t “normal” and won’t accept how difficult it is for his wife to manage the day-to-day tasks involved in Hikaru’s care. He comes across as very harsh and unsympathetic at times, but over the course of the series he eventually wakes up to the reality of the family that he has, and not only becomes actively involved in Hikaru’s life and care, but also an advocate for individuals with autism in general. Masato was not a likable character at all in the beginning, but as the series goes on, you really get to understand his perspective better and see how difficult it was for him to come to terms with his son’s autism.

2) The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

23492671Like most readers, I did prefer The Rosie Project over this one, but I also enjoyed The Rosie Effect a lot. I think it’s been long enough now that a synopsis wouldn’t be considered spoilers, considering this book has been out for almost 5 years now. This book follows Don and Rosie, now married and expecting their first child. For anyone who hasn’t read the series, Don is a Sheldon Cooper-type character who is highly intelligent, but struggles significantly with social skills. He is one of my favourite characters from a book in the past few years, and I’m really looking forward to reading the third book in this series later this year. In The Rosie Effect, Don is trying to prepare himself to be a father using “The Baby Project” where he conducts research about child-rearing, pregnancy, etc. and tries to get his wife on board with his findings, much to Rosie’s frustration. A lot of reviewers have complained that Rosie seems out of character in this book, but I didn’t think so when I read it. I thought this book was a great look into the anxiety of becoming a father, especially for a character whose abilities to relate to others have always been questioned.

3) The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

6400090Despite my giving it a 4 star rating like every other Nicholas Sparks book I’ve read, this one is one of my favourites. It is about a 17-year-old girl named Ronnie who is angry with both of her parents, who got divorced three years ago. She hasn’t spoken to her father since he left, until her mother forces Ronnie and her younger brother to spend a summer with him. Ronnie’s father is a former concert pianist, and Ronnie shares his love of music. While this book does have the typical Nicholas Sparks focus on romance, at it’s heart it is also a story about Ronnie and her father. I was apprehensive going into this one because I’d heard it was written specifically with the intent of it becoming a movie for Miley Cyrus (which it did), but it was a very powerful book. I read this one at a time where I was starting to get a little tired of Nicholas Sparks’ books because they were all starting to feel similar, so this one was refreshing. It’s hard to go into any more specifics about Ronnie and her father without veering toward spoilers, but this was a great book, and one of the few that I’ve read that focused on a father.

4) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

1618There somehow seems to be a pattern here of books about fathers also involving characters who have autism. I’m actually a bit surprised I never thought of Christopher’s father when I came up with lists of interesting father figures in books. This book is about a boy named Christopher who seems to be on the autism spectrum (although it is never stated outright in the book), and lives with his father. While the majority of the book focuses on Christopher’s attempts to solve the mystery of who killed his neighbour’s dog, his relationship with his father is another very interesting part of the story. Like Masato in With the Light, I thought this book struck a great balance of showing his father’s frustration and his father’s love and care. It was clear that even when his father was annoyed by some of his behaviours, he deeply cared for Christopher and did everything he could to keep him safe and happy.  I’ve recommended it before, but it’s worth saying it again — if anyone has the opportunity to see the stage production of this show, it is definitely worth seeing!

5) The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult

10909Even among Jodi Picoult’s books, I had a much easier time finding books that focus on mothers than fathers. It’s been quite a long time since I read this one and I’m very interesting in re-reading it at some point, so I don’t necessarily remember specific details. I chose to include it here anyway because it is a book where the father-daughter relationship is central to the story. It is about a 14-year-old girl named Trixie, who has accused her boyfriend, who also happens to be the star hockey player, of rape. Her father, Daniel, is a comic book artist who is hiding his own secrets from his past, and who is naturally outraged by what happened to his daughter. While I wouldn’t necessarily say this was my favourite Jodi Picoult book, I did really enjoy it and it fit well with her usual themes of how far a parent would go to protect their child. I also considered including Lone Wolf on this list as well, since it is another of Jodi’s books that focus on a father’s relationships with his teenage/adult children, but it was also not a book that I remembered in great detail other than the fact that I enjoyed it. I think both are great stories with interesting family dynamics, and both are worth a try.

Top 5 Wednesday: TBR Benchwarmers (#2)

I don’t know why I tend to find it more fun to write about books that I haven’t read yet than the ones I have. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of how excited I was to discover that book initially, even if it has been 3 or 4 years since I first added it to my TBR. When I’m bored, I often tend to just go through my Goodreads TBR pages in general and look at all the books that are on there. It’s a bit overwhelming at times, but it also reminds me of how many interesting books there are out there. Many of the books that have been on my list the longest end up there because I have trouble getting a copy of them, so they end up in a kind of limbo where I’m still very interested in trying them, but have no way to actually do that. Like my first post in this series last week, the books here have all been on my TBR since December 2015!

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) Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

24509473I have not read anything by Colleen Hoover, although I have many of her books on my TBR, including her latest release planned for some time this year. It wasn’t until just now that I realized that this book is incredibly short, with only 150 pages, which does put me off a little. I didn’t realize this was a novella series, and it’s very rare for me to read novellas in general because I often find they don’t develop the stories/characters enough for me to really get invested. I was also put off a bit because the synopsis of this one was so short, so I really didn’t have much sense of what it was about. All the synopsis said was that the two characters were best friends since their were children, in love from the age of 14, but “complete strangers since this morning.” Both narrators have no memory of who they are and they are trying to piece together clues about their lives and relationship. I’ve never removed this one from my TBR because it does sound somewhat interesting, but I’m not really sure if I’ll like it. If anyone has read it, please let me know what you think (without spoilers)!

2) Unravel by Calia Read

16466436I added this one to my TBR originally because the premise sounds pretty interesting, but I was put off a bit when I saw that it was part of a series. Aside from fantasy books, I rarely find that books really need to become a series. Even The Rosie Project and Me Before You, both of which I absolutely loved, had great sequels but the rest of the series didn’t really need to happen. From what I can tell though, each book in this series follows a completely different character, so it might not be a series that needs to be read in order. This book is about a girl named Naomi Carradine who is admitted to a psych ward. She is in love with Max, but no one else seems to believe her and the doctors don’t seem to think that Max is even real. I love books that relate to psychology and creepy psych wards or institutions as settings in general, so this might be something that I would like. It is tagged as “new adult” though which is a genre that seems to be strangely focused on sexual content, which is fine but not always something I’m interested in reading. I’ve also heard that this book is quite dark though, which is something that often interests me.

3) The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

16151178I know very little about this book, but I feel like I probably found it around the same time as the previous two since the themes seem similar. It is about a former piano prodigy named Nastya Kashnikov who wants to get through high school without anyone discovering her past, and to get revenge on the boy who took everything from her. It is also about a boy named Josh, who has lost every person he has ever loved, and as a result, other people tend to leave him alone, except for Nastya. Despite some of the darker themes, I’ve also seen this described as a fairly typical YA contemporary romance which seems like a bit of an unusual mix. I’ve seen incredibly mixed reviews for this one despite a very high average rating on Goodreads, which definitely doesn’t help my decision of whether to read it. It is another book that has been tagged on Goodreads as “New Adult.” I suspect I must have been specifically searching for books in that genre at the time in order to find so many in a row. The more I look into this book, the more I’m on the fence about whether I want to keep it on my TBR.

4) Hidden Wives by Claire Avery

7775927I actually completely forgot that I had this book on my TBR, but it sounds like a very interesting premise. It is about two sisters, Sara and Rachel, who live in a polygamist community in Utah, where they will soon be married off to older men chosen by “the Prophet.” When Sara is chosen to be her uncle’s fifth wife, she starts to question the faith she has followed all her life. Rachel is promised to marry one of the powerful community leaders, but she has fallen in love with a new friend whom she has been forbidden to see. When her betrothal is finally announced, violence erupts and the sisters must leave the only life they have ever known. I very rarely read books that have heavy religious themes or content, but this one sounds very interesting. This is a topic that I know very little about, and although I have seen some reviews comment that the representation for polygamy is stereotypical and overly negative, I’m very intrigued by the story. I don’t know if this is a book that I’ll be reading any time soon, but it definitely sounds like an interesting one.

5) Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon

22535503Of all the books mentioned here, this is the one that I am by far most likely to read, although it may not be for a while. I even bought a cheap copy of this one from Book Outlet, so that should be a good push to eventually try it. This is a thriller along the same lines as Defending Jacob or We Need to Talk About Kevin, both of which I loved. It is about a man named Simon who is a stay-at-home dad to his two teenagers, Laney and Jake. When Simon learns that there was a shooting at their school, it seems to be his worst nightmares come true, especially when his son is the only student not to come out of the building. With Jake missing, Simon begins to obsessed about their past and searches for some hint at what might have led to this and what happened to his son. What I loved about both of the books that this one has been compared to was the very compelling parent-child dynamics and the ethical dilemmas that became such an inherent part of the story. I have not heard very much about this one over the years, even though it seems to be in the same vein. Reading through the synopsis again has reignited my interest in this book, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to fit it into this year’s reading challenges.

 

Top 10 Tuesdays: Unpopular Opinions

I love to read posts or watch videos about people’s unpopular opinions, because they are always so fun. It often seems like there is such a consensus online about certain books or series, so it’s really interesting to me to see the other side. It was surprisingly hard to come up with my own list of unpopular opinions because I found some of them very hard to put into words. For example, I had a few ideas in mind relating to diversity in books, but couldn’t figure out how to explain them clearly enough. I also don’t necessarily have strong opinions when it comes to certain common tropes, and I have generally enjoyed most of the popular books that seem to be very hyped. This is definitely a topic that I find fun to explore and I’d love to come back to it again at some point in the future.

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) I think Goblet of Fire, while great, is a bit overrated and Order of the Phoenix is very underrated – I love the Harry Potter series in general, and while Goblet of Fire is still an amazing book, I’ve always felt it was a little overrated. I think it is mostly because I read it so much when I was younger while waiting for the rest of the series that I burnt myself out on it a bit, and have never quite gotten over that feeling. On the other hand, I absolutely adored Order of the Phoenix and was surprised to find that most people didn’t love it!

2) I could never really get into The Hobbit – I’ve had to read The Hobbit twice for school, once in elementary school and again in university. Both times, I found it a little boring and slow, and could never really get into it. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings movies because I knew nothing at all about the story or world going into them and didn’t really follow what was going on very well. Plus, I thought they were way too long.

3) I didn’t really mind Simon in The Mortal Instruments series (but I’ve only read the first three books so far) – I started reading Cassandra Clare’s books for the first time this year, and I was surprised to see quite a bit of hate toward Simon online. I didn’t mind him at all as a character and actually found some of his story pretty interesting. As a side note, I also wasn’t super invested in Clary and Jace as a couple. I thought they were okay together, but definitely wasn’t as strongly interested in them as everyone else seemed to be.

4) I really enjoyed Red Queen and thought the rest of the series was pretty good  too – I saw so much negativity around this series, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the first book when I read it a couple of years ago. I definitely see how it used many of the common tropes that people were fed up with, but I thought it did them well. Although I wouldn’t say this is my favourite series overall, I really enjoyed it.

5) I generally do not enjoy non-fiction – I’m not even sure if this is an unpopular opinion, but I find it’s often met with disbelief because of how broad a genre non-fiction really is. This came up a few times in my Goodreads challenge group in discussions about non-fiction prompts, and the comments generally were along the lines of “But non-fiction includes so many subgenres, surely there is something you’d like.” I’ve tried several different kinds of non-fiction and haven’t really been into any of them. I find most non-fiction dry and boring to read, and I’m much more interested in reading fiction.

6) Rainbow shelves look really nice, but they are completely impractical – Unless you’re a vlogger or Instagrammer (if that’s a word?) whose shelves are constantly visible, I don’t see the point of arranging your books by colour. While I agree that they tend to look really nice, it would really bother me to have to memorize the spine colour of all of my books in order to find them when I actually want to read them.

7) I think the word “problematic” is becoming a bit overused when it comes to books, and often misused – I’m struggling to figure out how to explain this one clearly. While there are books that genuinely have problematic content which can and should be pointed out, I find that the word is sometimes used to label any content that the person just does not agree with or that might be controversial. I think there is a big difference between books that actually have harmful messages, and books with characters who are racist, homophobic, etc. for a specific purpose in the story.

8) I really didn’t enjoy The Underground Railroad – I only read this book in general because it was a Book of the Month pick in one of my reading challenge groups, and I just couldn’t get into it at all. I loved the concept of what it was trying to do, but I didn’t enjoy the actual process of reading because it felt so distant and emotionless. I really felt like I was missing something with this book after seeing everyone else absolutely raving about how much they loved it.

9) I don’t understand the purpose of collecting multiple editions of the same book – I’m not trying to judge anyone who does this, because people can choose to spend their money however they want. I’ve just never understood the purpose of owning multiple copies of the exact same story. As a result of this, it also bugs me when there are exclusive or special editions that come out either after I’ve already bought the book, or only in some places but not everywhere. It just seems unfair that some readers can have the content and others can’t.

10) I don’t necessarily mind if characters are unlikeable, as long as they are well-written – I’ve seen so many reviews of books that complain that they can’t get into it because none of the characters are likable people, which is always interesting to me since often those characters are not supposed to be likable. Personally, I don’t need to like a character as a person to be invested in their story. Some of the most interesting characters to me are the ones who are morally grey or even downright horrible people, and these characters are often a lot more interesting to read about.

Discussion: The Pros and Cons of Binge-Reading Series

I’m currently making my way through the Throne of Glass series for the first time, which is a very lengthy series. Not only are there many books in the series, but the books get progressively longer. I read Throne of Glass itself late last year with the intent of reading the rest of the series this year. As of now, I’ve read 4 books in a row and I’m in the middle of my fifth (Empire of Storms), and while I’m really enjoying it, I’m also starting to feel a little burnt out. This is a problem I’ve always had with longer series. Anything more than 3, maybe 4, books starts to feel a bit overwhelming to me. To be fair, I’m also not really great at binge-watching TV series. I can’t watch more than 2 hours in a row without starting to lose focus. On the other hand, I also tend to wait until series are mostly finished before I finally pick them up, so I often end up reading the books in a row. It’s made me think about some of the pros and cons of binge-reading, many of which I’ve experienced in the past few weeks alone with this series.

Pro: There’s less risk of forgetting the details

One of the biggest issues I’ve always had with longer series is that I read so many other books is that I read so many other books, that it makes it harder to remember specific details. If I wait too long to go back to a series, it’s very likely that I’ve forgotten some key plot points or who some of the side characters are. When binge-reading a series all at once, there’s really no risk of forgetting anything since you’re moving directly to the next book after finishing each one. As long as you’ve been paying attention, most things should be easy to remember.

Con: All of the books essentially blend together so it can be hard to differentiate them

I’m noticing this a lot with the Throne of Glass series, and although it’s not necessarily a bad thing, there are some circumstances where it might be irritating. It can be hard to remember specifically which book favourite or important scenes took place in. If you’re reviewing books, it’s usually helpful to be able to draw on specifics to mention. It’s also harder to try and pick a favourite in the series if all the books feel like one long book. I’m sure when I try to look back on the Throne of Glass series, I’ll have trouble keeping track of what happened in each one.

Pro: You can be fully immersed in the world and the characters

One of the great things about series is that they allow for a world and characters that are fully developed and there is lots of room for growth as the series progresses. Reading all or even many of the books in a row lets you see how things get fleshed out, and how the characters change over time. It lets you really get absorbed into the story, which is especially incredible when the author is very good at world-building. I’m generally a huge fan of character-driven books so I love when series have interesting and complex characters, and especially getting to see those characters develop over the course of several books.

Con: Feeling a little burnt-out on reading about the same characters for so long

This has always been my biggest problem when it comes to binge-reading series. When I was younger, I always tried to read the entire Series of Unfortunate Events (13 books) or the whole Pendragon series (10 books) in a row, and I always found myself getting bored of them somewhere around the middle, even when the books themselves were great. I would find myself pushing through and feeling like I was forcing myself to continue because I wanted to read them all in a row, when it probably would have been smarter to take a break. It took me several tries to make it through the whole Pendragon series because I kept restarting from the first book so I didn’t forget anything, and I’d get bored toward the middle. I’m feeling that now with Throne of Glass as well, to the point where I’m strongly considering taking a break after Empire of Storms and reading a few other things before moving on.

I don’t think it’s necessarily a flaw of any particular series either. It’s just part of the nature of reading so many books in a row with the same world and the same characters. After a while, I start to feel like I’m ready for something new, even when I’m really enjoying the series.

Pro: You don’t have to wait around for a year or more for the next book to be published

I remember reading Harry Potter for the first time as each book came out, and waiting absolutely forever for the next book to be published! In the past few years, I’ve tended to pick up series that are already completed by the time I start them. Part of that is because I actively avoided series that seemed overhyped, before eventually giving in and trying them. Binge-reading can be helpful because you get the whole story at once without having to wait for the next book to be published, which definitely ties into what I’ve already discussed above about making the story more immersive and easier to remember.

Con: You can’t participate in any of the hype surrounding it

Hype can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it builds a lot of excitement for an upcoming release and it also creates a community of other fans who are excited about the book and willing to discuss it. On the other hand, it can set people up for disappointment when the book doesn’t live up to expectations. If you’re binge-reading a series after it’s over, you’ve likely missed the majority of the hype around it at the time. If you’re the type of reader who likes to be actively involved in this stage of the process, you might feel like you’re missing out on part of the fun.

Pro: No annoying cliff-hangers!

This goes hand-in-hand with my point above about not having to wait around for the next book, but there is very little more frustrating than coming to the end of a great book and finding a cliffhanger ending! Especially when you know you have a year or more ahead of you to find out what’s going to happen next. Some authors are really good at writing endings that make you want to reach for the next book immediately, and it’s great to be able to do that and have the instant gratification of finding out what happens.

Con: It’s harder to avoid spoilers

Unless you’re willing to skip over absolutely any mention of the book or series until you’ve read it, it’s almost inevitable to see some kind of spoilers if you wait until an entire series is finished before picking it up. I think that’s especially true in longer series where there are so many books to discuss. I knew some major plot points of Throne of Glass before I started any of the books, which is fair since I only started reading them in 2018, 6 years after the first book was released. It would be unreasonable for me to expect not to see any spoilers whatsoever when I’m so late to the series, and I don’t necessarily mind knowing a few details since I still want to see how the characters get to that point. For anyone who is adamantly against spoilers of any kind, waiting several years before starting a series probably isn’t the best idea.

Pro: If you love the author, you get to spend a lot of time enjoying their writing

Longer series let you spend quite a bit of time with a favourite author’s writing. I really enjoy Sarah J. Maas’s writing style, although I have to say I prefer her ACOTAR series over Throne of Glass as a whole since the writing in that one is a bit stronger. Reading so many books in the series when you love an author’s writing style can be a lot of fun and makes the entire binge-reading process feel quicker. I can binge-read the entire Harry Potter series without much problem because I love the writing and characters so much. I honestly don’t think I’d be able to binge-read a lengthy series if I didn’t love the writing style of whoever wrote it.

Con: The books can feel a little repetitive or the story might feel dragged out

Some authors have a tendency to overuse certain phrases, which becomes very noticeable when you read many of their books in a row. Often, books in a series are also written to include a short recap of previous books in the first chapters to help remind readers of where the story stands. This is great if you’re reading them separately, but if you’ve just finished the previous book right before, it can feel repetitive or boring. With very long series, there’s also the risk of the story itself starting to feel repetitive or dragged out too long. For example, A Series of Unfortunate Events has a tendency to feel a bit repetitive toward the middle because most of the books have the same format. Most series seem to have what I like to call “transitional” books in the middle, where not much is really happening, but the characters are training or learning skills, moving on to a new place, etc. Usually these books are setting up a lot of action later on, but they can feel very slow and sometimes boring.

To binge-read or not to binge-read?

In general, I have never been able to make up my mind myself about binge-reading. In my experience over the past few years, I’ve definitely seen both sides. I had a few trilogies and series that I spread out over three years, reading just one book each year (ie. Shatter Me). I’ve come to regret that it meant I waited a long time between each one and forgot a lot of the details. It didn’t help that many of those were YA dystopians, which were all fairly similar. I think it was The Lunar Chronicles that really motivated me to try binge-reading them. I’ve learned that in general, it’s easier for me to binge-read series so I can keep track of the story better, but not necessarily when the series is more than 4 books. With very long series, I need to take a short break and read a couple of other books to refresh myself a bit, but not so long of a break that I risk forgetting where the story left off.

Discussion Time: Do you usually binge-read series or read the books one at a time? What are some pros and/or cons you’ve found for binge-reading?