Top 5 Wednesdays: Books with Autumn Vibes

I don’t know why, but I find it such a challenge to find books that really give off autumn vibes! I think a part of that is because I tend to focus on the cover art for seasonal vibes, and it’s surprisingly difficult to find covers that really scream fall to me. When I think of autumn vibes, I tend to think of falling leaves or books that give Halloween vibes, but somehow, neither of those have been very common lately. Looking back on my Autumn Vibes post from last year, I seem to have commented along the same lines about it being so difficult to find options! I don’t really know why this is the case, since autumn-themed covers tend to be some of my favourites.

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

1) The Monsters We Make by Kali White

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This is the first book I noticed on my TBR that immediately screamed fall to me, both because of the orange sky and the skeletal tree. This book is set in August 1984, and focuses on a small town where the local paperboy has gone missing. Hours later, a 12-year-old boy named Sammy who is also a paperboy hurries home with a terrible secret. His older sister is worried by the disappearance and notices that the case is similar to an earlier disappearance of another boy in another town, and thinks that the parallels could be the start of an award-winning essay that might be her chance to leave the small town. At the same time, Officer Dale Goodkind is haunted the all the cases of missing boys and is determined to find out what really happened. This book is technically set in the summer, but something about it still gives me very strong fall vibes. I tend to read a lot of thrillers around this time of year, and I think the cover art definitely helps make this book seem like an autumn book.

2) Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

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This book gives me strong autumn vibes because of the orange cover and the plants remind me of a corn maze, which is a fun autumn activity. This book is about a girl named Margot who has never had the answers to her questions about her family’s past, until she finds a photograph that points her to a town called Phalene. Margot soon learns that her mother left that town for a reason, and now that she is there, she may not be able to leave. I was initially a little on the fence about whether I even wanted to read this one, but the more that I hear about it, the more interesting it seems. I’ve heard great things about Rory Power’s debut, Wilder Girls, although I’m even more on the fence about that one, especially since I heard that it involves some body horror. This book definitely seems a lot more up my alley, and the cover definitely gives me autumn vibes.

3) His & Hers by Alice Feeney

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This book gave me autumn vibes more along the Halloween side. I have not yet read anything by Alice Feeney, but she is at the top of my list as an author to try next year. This book is her latest thriller, which focuses on a TV presenter named Anna who is asked to cover a murder in her hometown. Anna is reluctant to go back there, but when she learns that the victim is her childhood friend, she decides she can’t avoid it. DCI Jack Harper is the detective working on the case, and decides not to tell anyone that he knew the victim too, until he realizes that he has become a suspect in his own case. The book alternates between Anna and Jack’s perspectives as the case unfolds. This sounds like such an interesting thriller, and I tend to love the whole trope of a person returning to their hometown. I’m definitely intending to pick up at least one of Alice Feeney’s books next year, and I think this is the one that interests me the most right now.

4) Mayhem by Estelle Laure

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This is another book set in the 1980s, and that I chose for this list mostly because of the cover art. This book is about a girl named Mayhem Brayburn, who has always thought there was something a bit off about her mother Roxy. When her stepfather finally goes too far, Mayhem and Roxy flee to California, which seems to hold the answer to all of Mayhem’s questions about her family and herself. While there, she meets the kids who live with her aunt, which opens the door to magic that runs through the women in her family, and soon gets wrapped up in the search for a man who has been kidnapping girls from the local beach. To be honest, I didn’t know that much about this book when I first added it to my TBR, but now that I’ve read the synopsis more thoroughly, it sounds pretty interesting, and definitely gives me fall vibes. I tend to read a lot of books that involve magic toward the fall, especially toward Halloween.

5) The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie

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This is another book that I chose because the cover gave me Halloween vibes. It is a middle grade book about a girl named Tessa who is unhappy to be moving from Florida to Chicago, especially when weird things start happening in her new house. She starts to hear odd noises, sees drawings that appear out of nowhere, and her brother’s doll cries real tears. Tessa soon realizes that someone is trying to communicate with her, and sets out with some friends to figure out what the secret is behind her creepy new house. This is another book that I didn’t remember much about. It’s been on my TBR since last October, but I’d mostly forgotten about it. It is definitely one that gives me autumn vibes because I love to read creepy books or books that involve the paranormal around this time of year. I don’t know how scary this one would actually be since it’s middle grade, but it sounds very interesting anyway!

Top 10 Tuesdays: Favourite Book Quotes

I was a bit surprised to see another Favourite Quotes topic come up so soon, but then I realized that the last one that I’d made back in June was actually a freebie post where I had chosen to focus on quotes! I’m not the best at keeping track of quotes that I love. I often notice them as they come up while I’m reading, but unless I decide to stop and either write them down or like them on Goodreads, I’m very unlikely to remember them after the fact. I’ve been trying to make it more of a habit this year to keep better track of the quotes I’ve liked, but that’s definitely still a work in progress. There are also a few authors who I can generally count on to deliver some especially powerful quotes, and others who really caught me off guard with something especially memorable. These quotes are all from books I’ve read in the past few months!

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.

“Most of us can hide our greatest hurts and longings. It’s how we survive each day. We pretend the pain isn’t there, that we are made of scars instead of wounds.” — Leigh Bardugo, King of Scars

“The world is a turntable that never stops spinning; as humans we merely choose the tracks we want to sit out and the ones that inspire us to dance.” — Elizabeth Acevdeo, With the Fire On High

“When the world gives you a hard time, pick up a book and join another” — Abby Fabiaschi, I Liked My Life

“Planning can’t save you from everything. Change is inevitable and uncertainty is a given. And if you plan so much that you can’t function without one, life’sno fun. All the calendars, journals and lists in the world won’t save you when the sky falls.” — Jenn Bennett, Starry Eyes

“That’s the key to marriage. You have to keep falling in love with every new version of each other, and it’s the best feeling in the world world.” — Emily Henry, Beach Read

“In love and life, we never know when we are telling ourselves stories. We are the ultimate unreliable narrators.” — Jean Kwok, Searching for Sylvie Lee

“Books are time travel. True readers all know this. But books don’t just take you back to the time in which they were written; they can take you back to different versions of yourself.” — Peter Swanson, Eight Perfect Murders

“This was a category error that too many people made — thinking untruths that didn’t add up were better than a hard truth.” — Mhairi McFarlane, If I Never Met You

“People are blind to explanations that lie outside their perception of reality” — Stephen King, The Outsider

“To truly love someone, you must love the person you never knew, the person you know today, and the person that will someday be.” — Matthew Dicks, Twenty-one Truths About Love

Stacking the Shelves (#35)

It seems I’m adding fewer and fewer books to my TBR each month this year. Despite being home and online so much, I think I’ve spent a bit less time on Goodreads in general, which has definitely meant that I’m not finding quite so many new books to add. In the past month, my work has also started gearing up even more as we prepare to go back full-time in person, so we’ve had more meetings, more in-person shifts, and a lot of planning and preparing. I’d commented in my last Stacking the Shelves post that I wouldn’t be surprised if I had even fewer books added this month, and that definitely has come true. Last month, I’d added 44 new books to my TBR, and this month I added a tiny bit less, with 39 books! That still seems like a lot, but there have been many months in the past where I added upwards of 100 books. In fact, this may be one of my lowest overall totals so far.

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) Fangs by Sarah Andersen

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Right at the start of September, I found this new graphic novel by Sarah Andersen, whose name I recognized from the Sarah’s Scribbles series of comics. I think Fangs might be her first departure from this series. it is about a 300-year-old vampire named Elsie, who finally meets her match when she meets a werewolf named Jimmy at a bar. The two of them soon bond over scary movies, evening walks, and a genuine fondness for each other’s lifestyles. Aside from the author’s name alone, I was immediately drawn to this book because it gave me serious Addams Family vibes, and it seemed like something that would be really fun to read. I first discovered Sarah Andersen’s comics because her Sarah’s Scribbles series frequently came up in various Facebook groups that I was a part of, and I immediately related very strongly to her character. I’m very interested to see something so different from her, and I’d love to try it!

2) Foreshadow: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading and Writing YA edited by Emily X.R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma

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I have a handful of anthologies on my TBR even though they are not something that I read frequently. I found this one because I was trying to look up whether Emily X.R. Pan had a new book coming out next year. Instead, I found this book which collects thirteen short stories from a variety of YA authors, with accompanying essays. To be honest, I didn’t recognize any of the authors listed, which was a bit unusual for me with these kinds of collections. After doing a bit more research, I realized that this book collects stories from a digital anthology Foreshadow YA, which featured monthly issues throughout 2019 that included three stories from established authors as well as introduced some brand new ones. This book is the first print collection of stories by 13 new authors, each of which was selected and introduced by a well-known YA author, such as Sabaa Tahir or Laurie Halse Anderson. I think this collection is such a cool idea, and I’m looking forward to finding some great new authors through it.

3) Silent Night by Nell Pattison

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I added this book as well as the upcoming The Silent Suspect by this author upon reading her debut, The Silent House. There is no information out yet about The Silent Suspect, except that it is due out in April. These books are part of a new mystery/thriller series featuring Paige Northwood, a sign language interpreter who is brought in to help the police with crimes that involve the Deaf community. I thought The Silent House was such a unique and interesting thriller, and I’m very excited to try more books by this author. Silent Night is due out this November, and it focuses on an overnight trip for students from a school for the deaf. During the night, one of the five students goes missing and a teacher’s body is found in the forest. Paige is brought in to help with the investigations, and soon realizes that everyone at the school has a motive but they also have an alibi. Part of what drew me to The Silent House in the first place was the unique angle of a case where the potential witnesses were all deaf and may have missed the crime taking place because they would not have heard it. At first, it seems like this book has a very similar storyline, but I’m interested to see what the author does with it.

4) Hot British Boyfriend by Kristy Boyce

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I added this book on a whim because it seemed like it might be fun. It is about a girl named Ellie who decides to join her school’s study abroad trip to England to get away from a horrible public rejection. Most of her classmates are there to study and build their college applications, but Ellie is more interested in rebuilding her reputation and decides that a British boyfriend is the best way to do it. When Ellie meets Will, she is determined to avoid making the same mistakes as she did last time, and makes a bargain with a classmate, Dev. If he helps her win Will over, then she will help him win over his crush too. Ellie soon must figure out if finding a boyfriend is really the answer to her problems, and if Will is actually the perfect boy for her. I’m usually not too interested in books that focus on a character travelling, and the storyline does seem a little predictable, but something about this book keeps me thinking that it will just be so much fun to try.

5) Wife After Wife by Olivia Hayfield

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I clicked on this book originally because I assumed it was a thriller, so I was a bit surprised to find that it is actually a modernized version of Henry VIII. Lucky for me, that was still very intriguing. I’ve always been very interested in Tudor England, and especially Henry VIII’s many wives. This book brings the story into the 21st century, with Harry Rose, the head of the Rose Corporation who has recently married his sixth wife. In 2018, his perfect world is falling apart, with both his business and his love life under scrutiny. I’m very intrigued to see how the author modernizes this story, especially elements around his wife’s deaths that can’t be so easily recreated. Two of Henry VIII’s real wives were beheaded and I highly doubt the author will go that route. I’ve seen a ton of books that tell Henry VIII’s story in general, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that modernized it like this, and I’m very interested to see how that will work.

6) The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes by Elissa R. Sloan

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I saw this book mentioned very recently in a video I was watching, but I can’t remember whose video it was! It might have been Heather at Bookables. I was immediately curious about this one because it was compared to either (or possibly both) Daisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, both of which I loved! This book is about a woman named Cassidy Holmes who was the fourth member of an extremely popular girl group that suddenly imploded in 2002. Fifteen years later, Cassidy appears to have committed suicide, leaving everyone to wonder how this could have happened. The book alternates between Cassidy’s rise to fame and the perspectives of the other members of the group as they try to figure out what happened to her, with each believing that they were the one who knew Cassidy best. Usually books about fame tend to put me off, but this one sounds very interesting. It definitely helps that it has been compared to two of my favourite books from the past few years, and I’m excited to give it a try.

7) Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous by Suzanne Park

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I think of all the books I added within the past month, this is the one that I’m most on the fence about whether I’ll actually enjoy it. This book is about a teenage girl named Sunny Song who is shipped off to a digital detox camp for a whole month after accidentally filming a PG-13 cooking video that goes viral. This spoils her summer goals to hit 100,000 followers and enjoy her last summer before finishing high school, as well as her plan to make Rafael Kim her boyfriend. Now forced to be offline, Sunny is surprised to notice the connections she is forming with some of the people around her, including a cute farm boy. The main reason I’m a little hesitant about this one is because it is tagged as being great for fans of Jenny Han and Love and Gelato, both of which I found skewed a little too young for me. On the other hand, I love books that have a focus on social media, so that alone gives me reason to try this one (plus I want to find out what was so bad about the “PG-13” video, since that doesn’t seem like such a big deal to me).

8) A Thousand Questions by Sadia Faruqi

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I don’t usually add much middle grade to my TBR, but I recently watched a video on BookishRealm which included several upcoming middle grade books, and I ended up adding a few to my list. This book in particular was one that stood out, although I think I’d assumed it was a graphic novel when it actually isn’t. This book is about a girl named Mimi who is not happy to be spending her summer in Pakistan with her grandparents whom she has never met. She wishes to find her father and secretly plans to write to him. While there, she meets Sakina, the daughter of her family’s cook, who hasn’t told her parents that she will be accepted to school only if she can improve her English test scores, but also worries about how her family will survive if they lose the money she makes by working. Although the two girls seem so different when they first meet, they soon realize they have a lot more in common than they thought and decide to help each other get what they want most. I’m a bit worried that I won’t really connect with this book since it’s geared toward a younger audience, but it sounds like an interesting story and I’d love to give it a try.

9) People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

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Beach Read has been one of my favourite books of the year so far, so I was very excited to see another adult contemporary from Emily Henry coming next year! I also read The Love That Split the World earlier in the year and wasn’t completely sold on it, so I was a bit surprised by how much I loved Beach Read. This book is due out in May, and it is about best friends Poppy and Alex, who have very little in common but every summer for a decade, they took a week-long vacation together. Two years ago, everything was ruined and they have not spoken ever since. After realizing that the last time she was truly happy was their last vacation together, Poppy decides to convince Alex to take one more vacation together, giving her just one week to try and fix everything. I tend to love romances that have this kind of second chance storyline, and this seems like something I might really enjoy. I’m looking forward to giving it a try!

10) Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth

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This book was a last-minute addition to my TBR which I found just yesterday, and it sounded very unusual. It is about a girl named Aideen whose life is full of problems that she cannot fix. When she stumbles upon her nemesis Meabh (apparently that is pronounced Maeve, it’s an Irish version of the name) who is having a meltdown over having a crushing pile of extracurricular activities. Aideen volunteers to help her by pushing her down the stairs, which gives Meabh a sprained ankle and the perfect excuse to get out of some of her activities. When another student hears about the incident and brings Aideen another person who needs her “help,” it begins a semester of trading favours and she soon realizes that solving other people’s problems might give her the push she needs to start fixing some of her own. Ciara Smyth’s debut The Falling in Love Montage is already high on my list to try next year, so it was great to see another new book coming out already. This one seems like such a strange concept and definitely on the more unique side for YA, so it may end up on my list to read next year too.

Top 5 Wednesdays: Books with Bisexual+ Characters (On My TBR)

No pun intended, but I was not aware that this week is Bisexual+ Awareness Week! Again, it seems like many of these awareness weeks are much more common in the US (I live in Canada), so it’s always a bit of a surprise to me. Bisexual+ Awareness Week was co-founded by GLAAD, and seeks to increase acceptance of the bi+ community. I was pleasantly surprised to see how easy it was for me to find books that featured bisexual main characters, and it definitely seems like something that is becoming a little more common, at least in YA. I decided to go for a few of the books that are still on my TBR, which feature a bi+ main character.

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) You Don’t Live Here by Robyn Schneider

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I’ve only read one of Robyn Schneider’s books so far, but she’s someone who has been on my radar for quite a while. This book is her most recent release, which came out over the summer. It is about a girl named Sasha who moves in with her estranged grandparents after losing her mother. Her grandparents have a very set idea in mind of what kind of person Sasha should be, which includes wanting her to date Cole, a boy from a “good family.” In order to make things work with her grandparents, Sasha finds herself tamping down her grief for her mother, her love of photography, and especially her growing interest in her friend Lily. Unfortunately, the reviews for this one so far have been pretty mixed, but I’m intrigued because I’ve seen a lot of comparisons to the Gilmore Girls, and it has also been tagged as being good for fans of Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, and I’ve liked everything I’ve read so far from both of them. I’m looking forward to giving this one a try.

2) I’ll Be The One by Lyla Lee

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I’ve been hearing so much about this book lately! To be honest, I was only mildly interested in it at first because I don’t particularly care for books that deal with characters trying to get famous or about K-Pop in general. This book is about a bisexual Korean-American girl named Skye, who dreams of becoming a K-Pop star. Skye decides to join an internationally televised competition, and is quickly swept into the whirlwind of reality TV. Unfortunately, she also has to deal with the strict beauty standards of the Korean entertainment industry, which is not very welcoming to plus-sized women, her sudden fame and the scrutiny that comes along with it, and sparks flying with another competitor. I think this is one of the first books I’ve seen featuring a bisexual main character where the main love interest is a boy. According to several Goodreads reviews, her love interest is also bisexual. This book is a bit lower on my TBR list since the overall theme of seeking fame is not the most interesting for me, but I’ve heard so many great things about it that I think I’ll like it anyway.

3) Who I Was With Her by Nita Tyndall

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On the other hand, I think of all the books here, this is the one that I’m most interested in trying. It is recent debut about a girl named Corinne who is in love with Maggie, the captain of the rival high school’s cross-country team, who she’s been secretly dating for a year. Corinne is not ready to come out as bisexual, but when Maggie dies in a car accident, she soon discovers that the only thing worse than losing her is the dealing with the fact that no one even knew their relationship existed. The only person Corinne can turn to is Elissa, Maggie’s ex, who seems to be the only person who understands how she is feeling. This book gives me very strong History is All You Left me vibes, which is one of my favourite YA contemporaries that I’ve read in the past few years. This one sounds like it has the potential to be very powerful, and I’m looking forward to reading it, hopefully next year!

4) The Disasters by M.K. England

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This is the only book on this list that I actually own so far. I bought it recently, and didn’t even realize it featured a bisexual main character until very recently, when I saw it come up on a list from Epic Reads. This book is a YA sci-fi about a pilot named Nax who is kicked out of Ellis Station Academy in less than 24 hours. His trip back to Earth is cut short by a terrorist attack on the Academy, and Nax and three other misfits barely escape, but they are also the sole witnesses to the crime and the perfect scapegoats to blame it on. In order to spread the truth about what happened, the group must undertake a heist to spread the word and clear their names. I haven’t read a ton of books that are set in space, but I have so many on my TBR that I’m excited to try, and this one just sounds like so much fun. Nax is bisexual, and I believe several of the other characters are queer as well. I love books that deal with this kind of ensemble cast/band of misfits, so this seems like something I’d probably love.

5) Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan

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I read Hot Dog Girl by this author last year, and it was so cute! If I remember correctly, that book also featured a bisexual main character. I’ve been looking forward to reading more of her books. This one came out in April, and it is about Jubilee and Ridley, two teenagers who work for their parents’ rival comic book shops. They meet at a comic convention, and can’t help having feelings for each other, but if they want to be together, they will have to keep it a secret from their parents. I have heard that this book is a modernized, loose retelling of Romeo and Juliet, and it sounds so good. I have been warned that the book is not as fluffy as the synopsis makes it seem, so it’s probably best to go into this one with that idea in mind. Both main characters are bisexual, and there is other LGBT representation as well with side characters. I really enjoyed Jennifer Dugan’s writing last time, so I’m excited to try another of her books.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Books on My Fall 2020 TBR!

I think “books on my TBR” posts are some of my favourite to make! I don’t generally keep a monthly TBR list but sometimes, especially this year, I have a loose seasonal list. I think part of the reason it became such a part of my plan this year is because I had an overwhelming number of books I wanted to prioritize, and several of them fit very well into particular seasons. It seemed like an easy and convenient way to try to tackle my long list. If anything, I think that fall is the one season each year that I really try to read seasonally, with lots of creepy books and thrillers. Even looking back on my fall TBR lists from previous years, they have definitely become more specific over time. There are several books this year that I’ve been purposely holding until fall, and I can’t wait to finally get to them!

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

1) A Game for All the Family by Sophie Hannah

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I have a few Sophie Hannah books to read this fall, and she is one of my top priority authors to try this year, so I really need to get on that! I included this book specifically to give myself an extra push/accountability to read it because I’ve had it for quite a while, and it’s about time that I try it. This book is about a woman named Justine who has fled London and a career that nearly destroyed her. After they move, she starts to notice that her daughter Ellen has become withdrawn and upon checking her homework, finds a very creepy story about a series of murders that take place at the family’s new house. Ellen claims she’s made it all up, but Justine wonders how her daughter could imagine something so gross and why she named one of the characters after herself. She soon realizes that her daughter has also invented a best friend at school, whom no one else seems to know. When Justine starts to receive anonymous threatening phone calls, she begins to fear for her family and decides she will have to confront the danger herself if the police won’t help her. I’m surprised to see the book has such mixed reviews since it sounds so interesting, but hopefully I will soon see for myself.

2) A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

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This book has been on my TBR for a few years now, and it is one that I specifically earmarked for the fall. This book is about the Barrett family, whose 14-year-old daughter Marjorie starts to show signs of schizophrenia. With doctors unable to do anything to help her, the family instead turns to the local priest who suggest they try an exorcism, and they also contact a production company who want to document the family’s story. Marjorie’s father John has been out of work for over a year, and with her medical bills piling up, he agrees to the television series. 15 years later, Marjorie’s younger sister Merry is being interviewed by an author about her childhood and the secrets that were not included on the TV show. I’ve heard such great things about the book, and the more I see about it, the more interesting it seems! I’m definitely planning to read this one in October.

3) Penance by Kanae Minato

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This book has jumped to the top of my list after reading Confessions by this author late last year. This is the only other thriller that she has which has been translated into English, as far as I have seen, and I’m so excited to try it. I mentioned it a couple of months ago as a book that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find a copy of, and shortly afterwards, I managed to find it! This book is set in Japan, and it is about a group of four girls who were tricked into leaving another friend named Emily behind, who was found murdered a few hours later. None of the girls were able to accurately describe the person who convinced them to leave her behind, and Emily’s mother blames them for her death, deciding to seek revenge. I absolutely loved the writing in Confessions and devoured the story so quickly, and I’m hoping that this book will be the same experience!

4) The Other Woman by Sandie Jones

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I meant to read this book last year but somehow kept putting it off. It is about a woman named Emily who seems to have found the perfect man, Adam only to find that his mother Pammie wants her out of the way. I don’t know that much more about the plot of this one, but that’s probably not a bad thing given that it is a thriller. I’m intrigued by this one because a lot of the domestic thrillers I read tend to focus on issues between the husband and wife or between now-adult children and their parents, so it seems interesting to have one that focuses on a mother-in-law relationship. I’ve actually read one other book, The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth, earlier this that seemed to be along the same lines, and I really enjoyed it so I’m curious to see if I’ll like this one as much. Like many thrillers, this one has received very mixed reviews which is not the most encouraging, but I’d still love to give it a chance.

5) All the Bad Apples and Spellbook of the Lost & Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle

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I’m hoping to get to both of these books this fall, but I only own one of them so far! I’m hoping to get a copy of All the Bad Apples soon. Spellbook of the Lost and Found has been on my TBR for quite a while now, and it is about two girls who begin to lose things, and one of them, Olive, soon meets three mysterious strangers who are all mourning losses of their own. When they discover an ancient spellbook of handwritten charms to find lost things, they realize it may be their last chance to set things right again. All the Bad Apples is this author’s most recent release from 2019, which is about a girl named Deena whose sister Mandy has disappeared and is presumed dead. When letters from Mandy begin to arrive claiming that their family’s history of bad luck is actually the result of a curse, Deena sets out to find her so they can break the cycle. Both books sound so interesting, and definitely give me strong fall vibes!

6) A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

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I’ve only read two of Shari Lapena’s books so far, but I’ve really enjoyed them both. I think I even chose another of her books last year for the Top 10 Tuesday topic about books that give off fall vibes, so she definitely seems like a “fall” author for me. This book is her 2017 release about a man named Tom who returns home one day to find that his wife Karen has vanished, leaving everything behind but her car. The police soon arrive at his door to inform him that Karen is in the hospital with a concussion and no memory of what she was doing or where she was going when she crashed. The police are suspicious of these memory gaps, and upon returning home, Karen is also sure that something is not right and begins to suspect someone else has been in their house and has been moving things. Although I’ve enjoyed both of Shari Lapena’s books that I’ve read so far, neither of them has quite reached 5 stars (although An Unwanted Guest came pretty close), so I’m hoping to love this one just as much, if not more!

7) Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

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I have both books that are out so far in this series on my fall TBR, but this is the only one I know for sure I can get to because I already have a copy. I’m hoping to get a copy of Dead Voices too so I can read them both together. I think this book first caught my attention because the cover reminded me of a creepy episode of The Magic School Bus where the class got stranded overnight in a sound museum. This book is about an 11-year-old girl named Ollie who steals a book from a woman who had been threatening to throw it into the river. Upon reading it, Ollie finds that the book is about a young girl named Beth and a peculiar deal that was made with the sinister “smiling man” who grants you a wish but at a steep price. Ollie becomes fascinated by the story and is surprised to discover the graves of Beth and her family while on a school trip, causing her to wonder if the rest of the book might have been real too. When the school bus breaks down, the children are left with the driver, who warns them to get out before night falls and “keep to small places.” I don’t often read middle grade, but this series sounds so creepy and definitely a perfect book to read leading up to Halloween.

8) City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

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I guess it’s a bit ironic that immediately after mentioning that I rarely read middle grade, I pick another middle grade series, but this one is definitely a fall/Halloween read for me. I was intrigued by this one because it is by Victoria Schwab, and I’ve loved everything of hers that I’ve read so far. It is about a girl named Cassidy whose best friend is a ghost, and her parents are also a ghost-hunting team who are hired to a haunting in Edinburgh for their new TV show. While there, Cassidy meets another girl named Lara who can also see ghosts, and Lara tells her that their job is to help send them “beyond the Veil.” Cassidy also finds out that people with the ability to see ghosts are hunted by the sinister Raven in Red, who wants to claim them so it can live again. I don’t have copies of either of the books that are available in this series yet, but I’m strongly considering buying them so I can read them this fall. The only thing really holding me back is the fact that they are middle grade, but given the author, that’s not too much of a barrier.

9) Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

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I wasn’t even going to mention this one because I feel like I’ve brought it up so often already this year, but it is definitely a book that is at the top of my fall TBR (if I can find a copy that is less than $35!!) so it didn’t feel right to leave it out. This is another book that has to deal with ghost hunting, and one of my most anticipated books of the year, even though I have yet to read anything by Riley Sager! Final Girls is also on my list for this fall, and potentially Lock Every Door if I can snag a copy of that too. This one is his most recent release, about a woman named Maggie who lived with her parents for three weeks in a house that was rumoured to be haunted, before they all fled. Her father wrote a book based on their experience, which gained worldwide popularity, but Maggie does not remember or believe in what he described. As an adult, she inherits the house and returns to renovate it, and soon discovers that the town is unhappy about the amount of attention her father’s book brought to them, and the house itself may have a darker history than she realized. This book sounds so interesting and I can’t wait to get a copy so I can finally read it, although I definitely would have saved it for October anyway!

10) Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

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I was so excited to see the hardcover version of this book show up last week on Book Outlet, for about a quarter of the price I would have had to pay for it otherwise! I had just about written off being able to read this one this year because I didn’t want to pay close to $40 for it, and I specifically wanted the hardcover because it’s quite a long book and I find hardcovers much more durable for those. It is about a 7-year-old boy named Christopher who has a difficult life, until he starts to see an imaginary friend that leads him out into the woods near his school. This “friend” also tells him to do things, including building a treehouse before Christmas or else his mother and the town will never be the same again. Like a few of the other books mentioned here, this one has received very mixed reviews, and the biggest complaint I’ve seen so far is that the book is way too long for what it is. I’m still very curious to try it though, and I’m so glad I was able to find an affordable copy in time to read it this fall.

The New Disney Princess Book Tag

While searching for Book Tags that I hadn’t tried before, I was very excited to come across another Disney-related tag! I love Disney movies and I think it’s been very interesting to see how the idea of Disney princesses has evolved over the years too. I grew up watching Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Pocahontas, and especially Mulan. Even though I’m probably technically too old for Disney movies now, I still love to keep up with their newer releases. Onward, for example, was one of my favourite movies of the year so far (although not a princess movie)! I don’t remember ever really being all that interested in princesses unless they were like Mulan, who actually got to be in on the action. I watched all the earlier Disney princess movies, but found Snow White and Sleeping Beauty pretty boring.

I was excited to find this tag just by chance through a search. As far as I can tell, it was originated by Mandy and Zuky, and it looked like so much fun! I’m going to do my best to stick to books that I read this year, as much as possible, but we’ll see how it goes. Since I always forget to tag people by the end, and the fact that this tag is already 3 years old so I don’t know who has done it yet, if you would like to do this tag, consider yourself tagged! If you choose to do it, please mention where you found the tag, and also link back to Mandy and Zuky’s blogs.

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Snow White

This Book (like the Movie) Started It All

Favorite Debut Book From an Author 

Definitely Tweet Cute by Emma Lord! This book was so much fun to read and I’m so glad I bought into the hype and decided to pick this one up. As soon as I read it, I added her upcoming releases to my TBR, including one due out next year, and 2 more that don’t even have titles yet, due out in 2022 and 2023!

cinderella tag

A Diamond in the Rough

Just Like Cinderella, You Either Didn’t Expect Much Out of This Character in the Beginning But Turned Out to Be a Total Gem 

Erin from Middlegame. I didn’t expect her to have such an important role, and definitely did not expect the direction her story would take. By the end, she had become one of my favourite characters in what was already an incredible book.

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Sleeping Beauty

A Book That Makes You Sleepy or Just Could Not Hold Your Attention

I think of the books I read this year so far, I’d have to go with Natalie Tan’s Book of Love and Fortune. To be fair, it was a book I only had a mild interest in to begin with, and I had a lot of trouble getting into it. I listened to it as an audiobook which helped me keep going, but I just wasn’t invested in it at all.

ariel tag

Ariel

Under the Sea

A Book With a Water/Ocean Setting

Something In the Water by Catherine Steadman. The book takes place in Bora Bora, but a key event in the plot takes place while scuba diving so I think that is close enough for an ocean setting, even if the whole book is not set in the ocean.

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Belle

Beauty and the Books

Name a Book With the Best Bookworm/Book Lover

Zachary Ezra Rawlins in The Starless Sea was definitely the biggest bookworm in all of the books I’ve read this year, and I related to him so strongly because of that. I loved how much of a role books and reading played in this book.

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Jasmine

The Thief and the Princess

Name Book with an Unlikely Love Story (Either in Terms of Romance or a Book You Didn’t Expect to Love So Much)

I think Beach Read by Emily Henry kind of works for both sides of this question. To be fair, the romance was expected given this book’s genre, but I think it could still be considered unlikely because of the character’s dynamics. It’s also a book I didn’t expect to love so much because I hadn’t really cared for the first book I tried by this author earlier this year, and picked this one up mostly because of the hype. It is now one of my favourite books that I read this year!

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Pocahontas

The Real Life Princess

Name a Book that is Based on a Real Life Person You Want to Read/Have Read

I think the only book I read this year that was based on real people was The Cottingley Secret, which is based on the story of Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright, two cousins who claimed to have photographed fairies in their garden, and their photos caught the attention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

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Mulan

The Princess that Saved Her Country

Name the Fiercest Heroine You Know

It’s a toss-up for this one between Bryce Quinlan from House of Earth and Blood, and Alex Stern from Ninth House. Both were amazing and very strong female characters, and I can’t wait for the next books in both of these series.

tiana tag

Tiana

The Princess With The Coolest And Most Diverse Crew

Name a diverse book whether it is a diverse set of characters (like Tiana’s group of Naveen, Louis, Ray, and more) or just diverse in general

I’m making an exception with this one to include a book I read last year instead, but it is by far one of the most diverse casts of characters I’ve ever seen. The first book that came to mind was Anger is a Gift, which I read last fall. The main character is Black Latinx, gay and also has an anxiety disorder, and there were side characters of several different races and sexualities, as well as characters who were adopted or were immigrants.

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Rapunzel

Let Your Longggggg Hair Down

Name the Longest Book You’ve Ever Read

The longest book I read this year specifically was House of Earth and Blood (803 pages), which apparently is the third-longest book I’ve ever read after Kingdom of Ash (984 pages) and Winter (827 pages).

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Merida

I Determine My Own Fate

A Book Where There is No Love Story/Interest or Isn’t Needed

I guess technically most of the thrillers that I’ve read had no love story, but it always feels a bit weird to count those toward this kind of question for some reason. If I recall correctly, Ninth House did not have a romance at all (although I think there’s the possibility for one later in the series), and it definitely did not need one.

Frozen-mania: how Elsa, Anna and Olaf conquered the world | Film | The  Guardian

Anna/Elsa

Frozen Hearts

A Book in a Winter/Cold Setting

(Apologies to the creators, but I had to change the image for this one because I just could not get the other one to format properly!)

I definitely have to go with The Great Alone for this one, which is set in Alaska and the cold, isolated environment and the weather plays a major role in the story.

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Moana

How Far I’ll Go

A Character That Goes on a Journey

Lazlo Strange in Strange the Dreamer gets the opportunity to join a delegation of people who are traveling to a lost city known as Weep, allowing him to finally see the place that has always been a source of fascination for him.

Top 5 Wednesdays: Reader “Canon” (That I Haven’t Read Yet!)

It took me some time to really figure out what this week’s prompt was even asking for. When I think of a “canon” for readers, I tend to think more along the lines of classics, or very popular series like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. I’ve only really gotten into watching book-related videos in the past couple of years, so I also felt like I’d kind of missed out on some of the earlier books that received a lot of hype, so even when I looked up some ideas, they didn’t quite feel right because they didn’t seem like books everyone was reading now. The few most popular series that did spring to mind were: The Lunar Chronicles, ACOTAR, The Raven Cycle, and the Grisha series including Six of Crows. Those are all series that I picked up specifically because of the hype a few years ago, and have started to seem like canon, at least for YA fantasy. For this week’s prompt, I decided to focus on a few more, mostly recent, series that I haven’t read yet, but also seem like they are or will become canon too.

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

1) The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black

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It’s probably a little too early to tell if this series will be canon considering it only came out two years ago, but if the amount of hype is anything to go by, it will be. My goal is to read the entire trilogy by the end of this month, and lucky for me, these books are much shorter than most other fantasy series that I read. This series is about a girl named Jude whose parents were murdered by Faeries, and she and her sisters were stolen away to live in the High Court of Faerie. Now, a decade after she was taken, Jude wants to fit in with the Court, and must defy the cruel Prince Cardan to win herself a permanent place there. I’ve only read one other Holly Black book so far and I wasn’t such a fan, so I’ve been a little nervous to pick this series up, but this one sounds a lot more like something I would enjoy. For years, I avoided anything that had to do with Fae or Faeries, but that’s changed since I started reading Sarah J. Maas’s series. I’m looking forward to finally giving this one a try in the next couple of weeks.

2) The Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco

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To be honest, I only had a very mild interest in this series when I first heard of it, but by the time the last book came out last year, I’d bought into the hype. Lucky for me, these books have been coming up one at a time through Book Outlet so I’ve been collecting them that way. I’m just missing the first one now, so I might end up buying that one full price. This series is about a 17-year-old girl named Audrey Rose Wadsworth who secretly studies forensic medicine in her uncle’s laboratory, which leads her into the investigation of a serial killer. Each book seems to follow her as she investigates some sort of mystery involving real historical figures, including Vlad the Impaler and Houdini. The more I’ve heard about this series, the more intriguing it seems although it seems to be one of those series that people either love or hate. Either way, I think it is safe to consider it canon by now because it has been so popular.

3) The Arc of a Scythe series by Neal Shusterman

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This is another series that only mildly interested me at first before shooting straight to the top of my priority list, and it’s another series that I’ve been slowly collecting through Book Outlet. The first book came out in 2016 when I still wasn’t very invested in reading series in general, so I did not care that much about it, but I’ve heard so many amazing things about it over the years by now. It is set in a world where there is no hunger, war, disease or death. The only ones who can end someone’s life are the Scythes, who are commanded to do so for population control. The series follows Citra and Rowan, who are both chosen to be apprentices to a Scythe to learn how to take on the role themselves, which is a job that neither of them want. To be honest, even with all the hype surrounding this series in the past few years, I feel like I’ve never heard very much more about what it is about, although I suspect there may be a reason for that. I have not read anything else by Neal Shusterman, although I’ve been mildly interested in the Unwind series for quite a while too. I’ve heard so many great things about the series that I definitely would not be surprised for it to become canon.

4) The Legacy of Orisha series by Tomi Adeyemi

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This may be another case where it is a little too early to tell whether these books will become canon, especially since the third one doesn’t even have a title or a release date yet. Children of Blood and Bone was absolutely everywhere when it debuted in 2018, and I’ve been excited to try it ever since. It is an African-inspired high fantasy series about a young woman named Zelie, who is on a quest to restore magic to her people and fight back against the ruthless king who banned it and ordered the deaths of the maji, which left many children orphaned and traumatized and the remaining maji oppressed and powerless. I currently own the first two books in the series and I’ve been so nervous to pick them up because of all the hype! If nothing else, I think this book will likely become part of the canon because of it is a book featuring an all-Black cast of characters and written by a Black author, which is still somehow relatively rare in fantasy. I’ve been a little intimidated to try this one, but I’m expecting to love it when I finally do.

5) The An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir

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This is the one series on this list that I think can already be considered canon, although I missed the majority of the the initial hype surrounding it because I wasn’t involved in online book communities at the time. I’ve had this book on my TBR since November 2016, which is just a few months after it first came out, but never picked it up or kept up with finding out about the rest of the series. It’s one of those series that has always been at the back of my mind to try, but kept getting pushed aside because there were always others I wanted to read more. Now that the finale is due out this December, I’m thinking I might add this series to my priority list for next year so I can binge-read them all. This series is about a slave named Laia and a solider named Elias who meet when Laia agrees to spy for the rebels in exchange for their help rescuing her brother. Elias wants to be free of the tyrannical system he is being trained to uphold, and Laia from her family’s poverty and suffering under the Empire. To be honest, I’ve never had a strong sense of what this series was really about which is probably why I kept putting it off, but I’d like to prioritize it next year!

Top 10 Tuesday: Exciting Covers on My TBR (Cover Freebie)

I’ve been noticing a lot more cover reveals happening lately for upcoming releases, and it is so exciting! For me, the cover art is not really a factor in whether I’ll pick up a book. Unless it is extremely disgusting or scary, it won’t bother me. I never used to have very strong preferences, but I’m noticing certain kinds of covers usually appeal to me more. I tend to really like illustrated covers, for example, but otherwise don’t like people on the book covers. When I look for upcoming releases, it’s usually a combination of the cover art and an intriguing title that makes me most likely to add it to my list (after checking the synopsis to see if it’s interesting). For this week’s freebie, I decided to go easy on myself and pick some of the most exciting covers from upcoming releases on my TBR. All of these books are 2021 releases that I am very excited for!

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.

7 On Sunday: Latinx Books on my TBR

I didn’t know this, but apparently this month is Latinx Heritage Month! I was very surprised to realize how many Latinx books I had already read, since it is not something that I particularly look for. My favourites so far have definitely been all three of Elizabeth Acevedo’s books, but since I have already mentioned them all repeatedly, I decided to go in a bit of a different direction with this post, and pick books that were still on my TBR. I thought it would be tough to find enough, but was glad to see that I had about 15 or so that are already on my TBR just in the first two or three pages of a list of popular Latinx books on Goodreads. I think the main reason I don’t particularly look for Latinx books is because many of the ones I’ve found have involved magical realism, which is a genre that I often enjoy but have also sometimes had a hard time getting into. Now that I’m a little more used to it, I’ve started to pick them up a bit more often, and I’m hoping to get to at least some of these in the next year or so.

7 on Sunday is a new weekly project that was started by Grace of G-Swizzel Books, with a weekly topic for videos and/or blog posts! The official Goodreads group with topics can be found here.

1) The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

I’ve had this book in mind for challenge prompts a couple of times now, but somehow keep putting it off. It didn’t help that I kept mixing it up with I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, which had a very similar cover. This book is about the Rivera family, who move from Mexico to America after their daughter Maribel suffers from a near-fatal accident, only to realize that her recovery will not be so easy due to language and cultural barriers. In their apartment complex, there is also a high school student named Mayor Toro, whose family moved from Panama fifteen years before, and soon bonds with Maribel, although this soon becomes complicated by a violent incident that “casts a shadow over their futures in America.” I don’t even know why I keep putting this one off because it sounds very interesting, and I may need to prioritize it for next year.

2) Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

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This one has received a ton of buzz lately since it just came out at the beginning of the month, and it sounds so cool! It is about Yadriel, whose Latinx family is having trouble accepting his gender, and wants to prove himself as a brujo by setting free the ghost of his cousin, who was murdered. Instead, Yadriel accidentally summons the ghost of Julian Diaz, the school’s bad boy who has some unfinished business he wants to get rid of before he accepts his death. Yadriel is left with no choice but to help him, but the more time they spend together, the less Yadriel wants Julian to leave. This sounds like such an interesting concept for a YA book, and I’m really looking forward to giving it a try. I’ve heard so many great things about this book in the past week alone that it has jumped much higher up my list!

3) You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

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To be honest, it took me quite a while to even add this one to my TBR, but the more I heard about it, the more interesting it began to seem. It is about a soap opera star named Jasmine Lin Rodriguez who finds herself all over the tabloids after a messy breakup. When she returns to New York City to start filming a new role, she finds herself paired with telenovela star Ashton Suarez, who is worried that his career may be dying out too. Joining this movie is his last chance to prove his acting skills to an American audience but in order to make it work, he’ll need to impress them with his on-screen chemistry with Jasmine, despite their disastrous first encounter. With both their careers on the line, the two of them decided to privately rehearse together, but even as their performance improves, the media scrutiny threatens to expose and destroy them both. I think I was hesitant to add this one at first just because I knew it was about famous characters, which sometimes puts me off, but now that I’ve looked at the synopsis in more detail, it sounds like something I would love!

4) Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno

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I think of all the books here, this one is a bit lower on my TBR because I tend to gravitate away from YA that is mostly focused on romance. This one is about Rosa Santos, a Cuban-American teenager who lives in a small town with her abuela, and has been raised to believe that the women in her family are cursed by the sea, dooming the men who fall in love with them. Rose is afraid of going near the water and has also avoided relationships as a result of this curse, but also wants to go to Cuba to feel a deeper connection to her heritage and understand her roots. At the same time, she is struggling to help the town raise enough money to keep the marina from being bought out, and also finds herself drawn to Alex Aquino, a sailor that she worries might fall victim to the curse if they become too close. It does seem like there is a bit more to this one than just the romance like I initially thought, so even though it’s not particularly high on my list at the moment, I’m likely to try it at some point.

5) Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

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This book jumped out to me mostly because of the excessively long title. This one is set three years after the ICE raises, during which time Sia Martinez’s mother was deported. Sia believes her mother must have died while trying to get back to America, and every new moon, she drives out into the desert and lights candles to help guide her mother home. One night, her life changes when a spacecraft crashes in front of her car, and her mother walks out, who is alive and now on the run. I don’t think I knew very much about this book when I added it to my TBR because I definitely did not remember that there was a sci-fi element to it. It sounds like a very unusual story and I’m glad I can now go into it with a more accurate idea of what kind of story it is, so the combination of genres will be less of a shock whenever I decide to try it.

6) Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

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I didn’t even realize that this was a Latinx book when I added it to my TBR, and I also recently bought a copy of it from Book Outlet! I learned today that Lily Anderson is Afrolatina, of Puerto Rican descent. This book is about a teenage girl named Mila Flores, whose best friend Riley died under suspicious circumstances along with two of the school’s mean girls. Mila refuses to believe everyone’s assumption that their deaths were the result of a suicide pact, and decides to resurrect them to find out the truth. Unfortunately, none of the girls have any memory of their deaths, but they all have unfinished business, and only one week to complete it all before the spell wears off. I’ve heard so many great things about this one, and it sounds like such an interesting and fun concept. It reminds me quite a bit of an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where Xander has to play chauffeur to a bunch of dead students from their school. This one is high on my list for next year!

7) The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore

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Any of Anna-Marie McLemore’s books would work, but I decided to go for their upcoming 2021 release since I recently saw the cover art and synopsis for it! This book is about two teenagers, Graciela and Lock, who discover that they were both sexually assaulted at the same party, and begin to develop a friendship as they work through what happened. After the assault, Graciela loses her ability to make enchanged pan dulce, and also finds that mirrored glass has been appearing, bringing a strange magic with it. Lock has no memory of what happened that night or of the effects the glass is having on him, so Ciela decides to help him, which means hiding the truth about that night since she decides that their survival depends on it. I’ve only read one Anna-Marie McLemore book so far, but I have two more high on my list to read before the end of this year. This one sounds so interesting too, and I’m sure it will be high on my list to pick up next year.

Top 5 Wednesday: BookTube Didn’t Make Me Read It

I don’t know why, but I have an irrational hate for the word “BookTube.” There have been so many books that I’ve read in the past few years that I picked up mostly because of the hype. In fact, I used to actively avoid reading books when I thought they were overhyped, to the point where I missed out on a lot of great books at the height of their popularity. Luckily, I’ve since revisited many of them and was so glad that I decided to pick them up! I loved this week’s spin on the topic, which was books that we found from somewhere else, without all the online hype. I love to browse through Goodreads, so I’ve picked up so many books for my TBR that way. I decided to pick a few books that I’ve read fairly recently, that I found without the hype. It was surprisingly challenging, since I’ve read quite a few very hyped books this year!

Apologies in advance if the pictures are huge or weirdly formatted! WordPress recently changed a lot, and I’m basically re-learning it all fresh. I have no clue how to fix the pictures since sometimes they work perfectly, and other times, they are huge and nothing I do seems to fix it. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know!

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

1) The Silent House by Nell Pattinson

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This book is my most recent read, and one that I was so excited to find on Goodreads! This book is a British mystery-thriller, which is about a sign language interpreter named Paige who is called in to assist with a murder case of a young girl who was killed overnight, while her family were all asleep. To complicate things further, everyone in the household is deaf, so obviously none were able to hear what happened. It is such a unique premise for a thriller, and I’m surprised I haven’t seen a story along these lines before. I loved how Deaf culture and sign language interpretation were woven into the book, and I especially enjoyed the writing style. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the author has another book featuring Paige coming in November, and a third due out next Spring. This book does not seem to be very well-known, so I’m glad I found it!

2) Saving Meghan by D.J. Palmer

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I was a little surprised to realize that this book was not so well-known, since it had been one of my most anticipated books to try this year. It was released last April, and it was one of the first that I added to my challenge list this year to make sure that I got to it this time. It is about a woman named Becky, whose daughter Meghan has been in and out of hospitals with a series of strange, unexplained symptoms. The doctors suspect it may be a case of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, which is a topic that I find absolutely fascinating. I especially liked that this book was told from multiple perspectives, including both Meghan and Becky, as well as Zach, one of their doctors. I thought the story was very interesting and kept me guessing all the way through. This book was the author’s debut, with a second book out this past April, and a third on its way next year. Given how much I loved this book, I’m very excited to try the rest too!

3) He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly

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I’d originally meant to read this book last year as part of my reading challenges, but ended up running out of time before I could get to it. It’s another book that I was a bit surprised to see wasn’t more hyped. I vaguely remember hearing a lot about it around the time it first came out in 2017, but it seems to have mostly fallen off the map since then somehow. This one is about a couple, Kit and Laura, who witness an assault taking place just after a solar eclipse, and Laura steps in to help the victim. Fifteen years later, they have both gone off the grid and are living under fake names to avoid their past, which seems to be catching up with them. I was immediately drawn in by the writing style of this one, and thought both Kit and Laura were very interesting characters. I especially enjoyed how the author wove in some commentary about the risks of false accusations, the way sexual assault is handled by courts, and consent in general. I loved the way the author built everything to fit together as more information is revealed throughout, and loved the twists the story took. At the time, I rated it 4.5 stars and rounded it down to a 4, but I keep strongly considering changing it to 5 instead because the problems I had were really minor.

4) Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks

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I found this book on Goodreads not too long after I first started my account, and had been meaning to pick it up ever since. I’d added it to my TBR in the first place because it sounded like such a unique concept. This book is told from the perspective of Budo, who is an imaginary friend to Max, a young boy who is on the autism spectrum. I loved the way the author introduced the idea of imaginary friends and set up the parameters around them and their abilities. I especially loved the early part of the book which focused on the friendship between Budo and Max, and the anxiety imaginary friends have about being forgotten once they are no longer needed. I really liked the writing style and the use of “child logic” throughout, but found the book got a little repetitive toward the end and some sections really required a suspension of disbelief. Ultimately, I rated this book a solid 4 stars and I’m really glad that I stumbled across it on Goodreads.

5) Watching You by Lisa Jewell

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While I usually think of hype only in the positive sense, I wonder if it’s just as possible for a book to have negative hype? I think that was the case for this book, which is probably the most well-known of all the books here. The reason I think it still applies for this list is because if I went by what I’d heard about it, I probably would have been put off giving it a try. I’m not even sure how it happened, since looking at the Goodreads page, several of the reviewers I follow give this one a good review, but I remember the overwhelming impression I got about it was that the book was slow, confusing, and just not that good. I think it was a matter of seeing several negative reviews in a row from reviewers I trust that put me off. I decided to give this one a try anyway, and I ended up loving it. It is about a newlywed woman named Joey who moves in with her brother and his wife, and soon develops an obsession with her neighbour, Tom Fitzwilliam. The book begins with the revelation that someone had been murdered, and takes us back through the months leading up to it as we find out what happened and why. While I did find this book a little slower than The Family Upstairs, i still really enjoyed it and I’m glad I didn’t let the negative reviews put me off.