Top 10 Tuesdays: Book-Related Problems

Top 10 Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

Since Top 10 Tuesday topics are still on hiatus, I was once again on my own to choose a topic. To be honest, I had a pretty rough day today so maybe it was only nature that I would gravitate to a more negative-seeming topic. Not long after I started my blog, I posted about my Bookish Pet Peeves (here and here), and it’s actually pretty fun sometimes to complain about all the little annoyances that come along with being a reader. I did my best not to repeat what was already mentioned in the Pet Peeves posts (try saying that 5 times fast!), but here are 10 of my most recent book-related problems:

1) When the library can’t find or doesn’t have the book I want – As I’ve previously mentioned, I have a great public library system and I heavily rely on it to get books for my reading challenges. It’s annoying when the library doesn’t have the book I want at all, so I have to ask them to purchase it — it’s an easy process, but they take a really long time to get the book in, and never really update you on the progress. It also annoys me when the library claims to have the book that I want only for me to discover that the book I want has been lost or never returned. This year, I was waiting and waiting for a copy of The Lie We Tell Ourselves, which was due back in late December. After waiting two months with no change to the status, I finally decided to contact the library and ask what was going on — they ended up purchasing a new copy for me, back in February I believe, and I am still waiting to get it!

2) My ever-growing TBR list – Over the past three years, my TBR list has expanded exponentially as I started to participate in reading challenges and explore Goodreads in general. My list is now over 1500 books! This on it’s own is overwhelming, but it doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped adding to it. I recently went on a spree of looking at upcoming books for the rest of the year and even into 2018, and added any that looked interesting onto my list. I tend not to remove books from my list, and if I’m honest, I haven’t found any yet that didn’t interest me anymore. There are definitely some that are more “need to read this soon” and others that are “meh, I’ll get to it eventually” but if I don’t have them on my list, I forget about them completely.

3) I hate to lend out my books! – Call it a kind of trust issue, but I really hate lending out my books to other people because I am very picky about the condition that my books are kept in. I hate when my books get damaged, dog-eared, spilled on, etc. even when it’s my own fault, but I would be very upset if I lent them to someone who didn’t take care of them. I know not everyone is as picky about how they keep their books as I am and in general, I think people would be pretty careful but I just don’t trust that they would treat the books well enough. Plus, I’m always afraid that they will forget to return the book at all.

4) Book to movie adaptations that completely change things – I have never understood why filmmakers decide to make movie versions of books when they don’t like the way the book ends. It seems really weird to me to say “I really think this book would look great on-screen…but I can end it better than the author did!” I generally consider the author the authority on their own book, so I assume that they end the story the way they wanted it to end. For me, changing the ending of a book when it becomes a movie often changes the whole message of the story. Not only that, but I find it off-putting and end up leaving the movie more annoyed that it was changed than really processing what the new story was. I don’t mind as much when they change small details or even sometimes skip over events for the sake of time, but changing the storyline completely is just strange to me.

5) I can only read one book at a time – This seems like a bit of a strange one to mention as a problem, especially considering the sheer number of books I read in a year, but I have trouble reading more than one book at once. Usually what ends up happening is I get so invested in one book that I end up essentially abandoning the other one until the first is finished anyway, so there isn’t much point to trying to read more than one (for me, anyway). Also, since I keep track of what I read on Goodreads, it bothers me to have ridiculously long reading times on books that really didn’t need to take so long. For example, it would bother me to spend a week reading a 200 page book when it normally would only take me a day or two.

6) I always overestimate how much I will be able to read – I have a horrible tendency to misjudge how much I will be able to read in a given day, even on days where I have literally nothing else planned. When I go on trips, I always take more books than I can reasonably finish but at least that can be partially justified by the excuse that it gives me options if I want to mood read. At home, I don’t really have a schedule or anything like that for reading but I usually have an idea in mind of how much I will be able to read, and no matter how much I think I’ll be able to finish, it’s almost always a lot less than that. Sometimes it’s because the book is much more dense than I expect, sometimes I just get distracted by other things, but it’s very, very rare that I end up reading as much as I expect and even more rare for me to exceed my idea of how much.

7) When my opinion on a book is completely opposite from everyone else’s – I think it goes without saying that it is perfectly fine for everyone to have different tastes and opinions about books, and I don’t expect everyone to think the same way as I do. It’s more that sometimes I’ll read a book and love it, go online eager to jump into a discussion about it…and discover that everyone else couldn’t stand the book (Me Before You is the prime example). Or, on the other hand, I slog my way through a book only to find the Goodreads page and other blogs full of raving 5 star reviews, leaving me to wonder what I missed. Part of the fun of discussing books is hearing other people’s opinions, but when mine seems to be so radically different from everyone’s, I sometimes wonder if we even read the same book.

8) My struggle to rate books on Goodreads without the option of half stars –  Sometimes a book really is exactly between a 3-star and 4-star rating, or even more annoying, a 4-star and 5-star rating. It’s rare that I read anything that I would rate below a 3, luckily. In general, I tend to be fairly generous and round things up when my rating would be between two numbers but I base that decision mostly on my overall impression of the book. For example, a 4.5 star read that I really enjoyed and had a lot of fun with might be rounded up to a 5 even if the story wasn’t perfect. A book that’s really a 3.5 might be rated a 3 if I found it slow or boring to get through, even if I liked many other elements. It’s annoying because I don’t always feel that my Goodreads ratings are really accurate, but it’s the best I can do unless I wrote a review for each book. It would be so much easier if I could just give half stars!

9) My reluctance to write reviews on this blog  – Speaking of reviews, I’m sure those of you who have been following this blog for a while have noticed the lack of reviews compared to other book bloggers. My original intent with the blog was to review and talk about the books I read for my “rejects challenge” from the Around the Year group on Goodreads, since those are books that I would not be discussing on the group’s page. That fell apart pretty quickly since my time is devoted to books for my other reading challenges, so I haven’t read much for the “rejects challenge” nor have I reviewed the books I have already finished. I find writing reviews more difficult than other posts because I find it hard to find a balance when it comes to spoilers, and sometimes very difficult to talk about several books without being repetitive. As I said above, most of the books I read are between 3 and 5 star reviews so I worry that many of the reviews would seem pretty much the same.

10) My inability to recommend books when people ask me for a recommendation – This one may seem a bit strange because so many of the posts here are recommendations in some form. I think the difference is that Top 10 Tuesdays and other posts are pretty broad when it comes to recommending books so there is room to offer a variety of choices, and hope that people will inevitably find something that interests them. I find it much more of a struggle to recommend a specific book to a specific person, and I hate being put on the spot to think of a recommendation. When it comes down to it, I know the kind of books I enjoy and I might be able to recommend something if I know the other person has similar taste, but to be asked randomly puts a lot of pressure on me to sift through the books that I know and try to figure out what someone might like, usually without much knowledge of what they actually enjoy reading.

Top 10 Tuesdays: 10 Books That Caught My Attention at the Bookstore While on Vacation

Top 10 Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

Top 10 Tuesday topics are currently not available, as explained on The Broke and The Bookish, so I was on my own to pick a topic. One of the prompts in my reading challenges this year is “a book you bought on a trip,” which I knew would be one of the most difficult prompts for me to fulfill. I actually decided not to buy anything due to a combination of the cost, a lack of luggage space, and the knowledge that I have no more room on my shelves! I decided to alter the prompt a bit to choose a book that I discovered while on a trip.

Every July, my workplace closes down for two weeks while our participants go to summer camp and to give the staff a well-deserved break. I usually take this time to go on a trip for a few days, sometimes to a new place and sometimes to places I’ve visited many times before just to relax a bit. This year, it was the latter kind of vacation, visiting two cities that I’ve been to many times over the years to see family and friends.

One of my favourite things to do while on a trip is to check out the bookstore. I do have Indigo about half an hour by bus away from me, but sometimes I find better deals or otherwise unavailable books more easily on other cities. Since I was on my own for a Top 10 Tuesday topic, I decided to list the 10 books that caught my attention most while at the bookstore during my trip.

1 and 2) Small Great Things (Jodi Picoult) and Two by Two (Nicholas Sparks)

2858795730002998I decided to lump these two together because I decided not to buy them for the same reason. As I mentioned in my recent post about the cost of books (found here), I have been hoping to buy both of these books for quite a long time, but haven’t been able to get my copies yet because they cost a lot more than I am willing to spend right now. I went to two different bookstores during my trip hoping to find these on sale, or some kind of deal available (ie. “Buy 2, get 1 free”) but I had no luck. They were both still over $30 each! I guess I’ll have to just get them from the library for now, and wait to get my copies later.

3) Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory

1331904749It’s been a very long time since I bought any classics at all, and this was never one that I really strongly was interested in. I read The Once and Future King last year and loved it, but my understanding is that this is quite a similar book. When I was at Chapters a couple of nights ago, I saw an absolutely gorgeous version of this book and was extremely tempted to buy it. I can’t even find an image of the right version to show, but it was a leather-bound hardcover and it had gold edges on all of the pages (like the old Royal Diaries YA series, if anyone knows those books). The picture I included here is the closest I could find. I wanted to buy this book partly because I love King Arthur legends, but also because of how amazing it looked! I’m never one to go for books just because of how they look, but I almost made an exception for this one. It looked kind of old-fashioned, and it was awesome!

4) Crosstalk by Connie Willis

25430566This is another book that I’ve been meaning to read for quite a while, ever since I discovered it on Goodreads late last year. The more I hear about it, the more I want to read it! I’ve seen this book several times in bookstores over the past year or so, and each time I see it I’ve considered buying it. I’m not usually a huge sci-fi fan, but this book fits in perfectly with my recent interest in reading about anything to do with social media and how it affects our lives. This book is about a couple who undergo a procedure designed to increase empathy and communication, but sometime goes wrong and the woman is connected to someone other than her soon-to-be fiance. It seems like such a great concept, so I will have to find a place in my reading challenges for this book! I decided not to buy it because it was way too overpriced ($37 for the hardcover!).

5) Tales from Gombe by Anup Shah and Fiona Rogers

21563972I have never been a big fan of coffee table books, but my mom and I both strongly considered buying this one! We have both always been interested in the great apes, especially Jane Goodall and other researchers who lived with and studied apes. This book includes stunning pictures taken of the chimpanzees at Gombe and lots of information about their lives and even personalities. I’m always hesitant to buy this kind of book because it seems like the kind of thing I would only read once and then never touch again, but it is very hard to resist those photos! Compared to the other books above, this was also very reasonably priced, and I’m still considering getting myself a copy.

6) Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire

20708810Gregory Maguire is one of my favourite authors and one that I check to see when new books are coming, so I was shocked to notice this book on the shelves! I had no idea at all that he had released something new… and even more shocked to discover that this book has already been out for three years! I only found that out as I started putting together this post. I have no idea how I could have missed this one. Actually, I think the main reason I’d missed it in the first place is because it was in the YA section and most of his other books were with the general fiction (I feel a bit weird calling it “adult books”). I guess I’ll have to be a bit more careful checking for updates from my favourite authors!

7) The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

494610On the other hand, this was a book and an author that I had never heard of before. The cover art of this one caught my attention as I was walking past, and I thought the synopsis sounded very intriguing. This book is already 10 years old and the title sounded vaguely familiar so it is possible I came across it on Goodreads at some point. After adding it to my list, I found that several of the reviewers I follow have read and loved this book so it was even more incentive to want to pick it up at some point. I’m a bit reluctant to buy books now without trying them first because of a combo of cost and lack of space, but I would definitely be interested in reading this one.

8) The Seven Rules of Elvira Carr by Frances Maynard

32681108This book was a truly random find. I love just walking up and down the shelves and looking at all the books. This one was displayed pretty prominently on one of the shelves, which I later discovered was because it was a brand new release. The bright blue cover caught my attention as did the unusual formatting of the title. As soon as I checked the synopsis, I knew this was a book I had to add to my list. This book is about a young woman named Elvira who has been sheltered by her mother due to difficulties interacting with others. After her mother dies, Elvira is on her own to try to figure out how to live her life, and starts by creating herself a list of seven social rules to follow. It seemed to me that Elvira might be on the autism spectrum, which is something I’m very interested in reading about.

9) The Takedown by Corrie Wang

31423554This book is one of the new releases of the year that I’ve been most excited for. It is another story focusing on the dangers of social media. In it, a popular high school student named Kyla discovers that a video of someone who looks like her sleeping with a teacher has gone viral. Kyla faces the near-impossible task of trying to get the video off of the Internet. I’ve been very excited to read this because it seems like such a unique plot, even among stories that focus on the Internet and social media. I don’t think I have ever read a book about viral videos or the permanence of posts online. I was hesitant to buy it because I was worried it wouldn’t live up to the self-imposed hype, but it is one of the books that I strongly considered getting.

10) Waste of Space by Gina Damico

28473381To be fair, this was not a book that I saw at a bookstore but it was one that I discovered while on vacation through one of the blogs I follow. Unfortunately, I can’t remember where I saw it! This book is a new release about a group of teenagers who take part in a reality show where they live in a replica spaceship and believe they have been genuinely sent into space. I’m not a huge fan of reality TV, although I do enjoy Hell’s Kitchen and I used to love Survivor and American Idol. I thought this book was another unique concept for a YA story and it seemed like it could be a very interesting story that combines teen drama and the risks of reality TV.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Ten Series I Haven’t Finished Yet

Top 10 Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

Although Top 10 Tuesdays is officially on a bit of a hiatus over the summer, since I am still so new to it, I decided I would backtrack a bit and post about some of the topics I’d missed until new ones are available. Recently, Top 10 Tuesdays asked about series that we have yet to start (found here), so this one seemed like a natural follow-up. I’ll admit that I generally prefer standalones over series since I find series often drag the story out unnecessarily, leaving the dreaded “transitional book” where not much really happens, but it moves the characters from the introduction of the conflict in Book 1 toward the conclusion in Book 3. Over the past couple of years, I’ve really committed to trying several of the more popular series, which has left me in a bit of an awkward position with many series open. Because I try to fit my books into my reading challenges, and I generally try to avoid too many by the same author, I have trouble managing series. Here are some of the series that I have started, but not finished yet:

1) The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

29995315To be fair, I am almost finished this series and it is one of the few that I prioritized to finish this year. I read Cinder toward the end of 2016 and I absolutely loved it, so I made sure to fit Scarlet in this year. I actually didn’t intend to read the rest so quickly, but I wanted Winter for a particularly irritating prompt (a book over 800 pages), so I needed to find a place for Cress too. I just finished Cress last week, and I loved it. Aside from the four main books, there are also the “between the numbers” books and apparently a new, related graphic novel series focusing on Iko. I’m not generally a fan of “between the numbers” books, but I think in this case I will make an exception.

2) Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

28960212This was another series I started toward the end of last year, and I was blown away by the first book. I thought Juliette was such an interesting protagonist and I really connected with the writing style. I know a lot of people take issue with the excessive metaphors and strikethroughs, but for me they fit well with Juliette’s mental state. I read the second book not too long ago, and although I didn’t find it quite as strong, I’m still very interested in finding out what happens next. This is another series that has a few “between the numbers” books, and I’ve only recently learned that there will be a fourth book coming out sometime next year.

3) Delirium by Lauren Oliver

11614718I have a bit of a strange relationship with Lauren Oliver’s books. I generally enjoy the concept and I like reading them, but something always seems to hold them back from being 5-star reads for me. I picked up this series because I was intrigued by the concept of a world where love is viewed as a disease. I really enjoyed how the first book explored what it would mean to outlaw all kinds of love, not just romantic love. While I enjoy these books as I’m reading them, I find them a little less memorable, although I’ve just seen that the third book is told from a dual-perspective of Lena who has joined the resistance, and her friend Hana who is still at home where love is banned. It seems like it will be an interesting way to bring it all together.

4) The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

13537830I picked up Beautiful Creatures last year because I’d seen and loved the movie. It is actually not so often that I find a non-Harry Potter series that involves witches or magic. I also liked how this book was a little different since it was told from the male perspective. I’m sure it is not the only one to do that, but it was definitely one of the only ones I had read. I enjoyed the first book although I found it a little slow-paced. I don’t have any of the rest of them in mind for this year, but I would like to continue the series eventually. I’ve been a bit scared off since I saw so many negative reviews about how much the series goes downhill!

5) The Program by Suzanne Young

11366397This is another series that I started last year but didn’t manage to fit in anywhere this year, although I would like to continue it. This series is about a world in which suicide is an epidemic so people are constantly screened for signs of depression, and sent to The Program if they show any. This was another series that I heard a lot of mixed reviews about, especially because of concerns with the way mental illness is discussed. However, I thought it was a very interesting start. The only reason I didn’t fit it into this year was because there were several new series that I wanted to try more, but I will have to try to squeeze it in!

6) The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

11127I’m actually not 100% sure whether I’ve ever finished the series. I’ve definitely read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and The Magician’s Nephew more than once. I also vaguely remember reading one or two more of them when I was much younger and had the flu, but I don’t remember anything about them. I’ve also never been able to figure out what the best order is to read these books. This series is definitely one of my longer-term goals, because I would love to finally finish them all! If anyone has any recommendations for what order to read them in, please let me know!

7) The Selection by Keira Cass

10507293This one of a few series that I committed to trying this year, but I was on the fence about it because of the mixed reviews. Most reviews compared this series to The Bachelor, which I have never watched and have no interest in, so I went into it with fairly low expectations. While I think this book would have been better if it was told from multiple perspectives, I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. I’m hoping in the next few books there will be more character development of some of the other competitors. The book was fun to read, and it caught my attention enough to want to try the rest of the series.

8) Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

22328546This was another of the series I decided to try this year, and again it had me worried because of the reviews. It may have helped that I read this book before others that it has been compared to, but I also really connected with the writing style. I was surprised to find that Victoria Aveyard actually caught me off-guard with the ending. I can see where some people might complain about the heavy use of common tropes, but it was well-written enough that it didn’t bother me at all. I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the series and I hope it holds up to this one.

9) Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

714902I started this series last year for a prompt that required a series written by an author of colour, which was surprisingly difficult to find. This book is about a world where people are divided into Noughts, who are colourless members of the lower-class, and Crosses, dark-skinned members of the upper-class. I’ll admit that I found the beginning of the book a little frustrating since many of the events were ripped straight from the history textbooks of the Civil Rights movement in the USA. It made it seem a little less creative to me, but I loved the rest of the story. I am still waiting for my library to get a copy of the next book so I can read it!

10) The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

the-madmans-daughterThis was another of my favourite series that I started last year! This series consists of three books, each of which is loosely based on a classic horror story. Juliet Moreau, the protagonist was one of the most interesting main characters that I’d read all year. It was a little ironic since I kept putting off reading this until close to the end of the year and even considered switching it out for something different. It ended up being one of my favourites! I read the second book earlier this year, and immediately went and found a place to squeeze the third one in for later on.

 

Top 10 Tuesdays: Best Books You’ve Read in 2017 So Far!

Top 10 Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

Part of the fun of reaching the halfway point of the year is reflecting back on everything I’ve read so far. As a whole, this year has been a bit up and down in terms of what I’ve read so far. Many of the books that ended up being my favourite are not the kinds of books I normally would have picked. Looking back on my list of books read this year, I was surprised to find that many of my favourites were graphic novels. By the same point of the year last year, I’d already had quite a few stand-out reads. This year, there haven’t been quite so many that jumped out at me immediately, but there have also been a couple of pleasant surprises. Here are the top 10 books I have read so far:

1) Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

17571564This is one of the few books I’ve been tempted to re-read almost immediately after I finished it. I actually did go back and re-read several of the stories because they were just so funny! Allie Brosh has an amazing talent for blending humour with some more serious subjects, covering everything from the idiocy of her dogs to a goose invading her house, to depression and self-image. I was first exposed to Allie Brosh years ago with her cartoons about The Alot, and her amazing post about her dinosaur costume. The book is a great way of presenting more serious topics in a way that is still accessible and easy to understand but without undermining how difficult they can be to talk about. I can’t wait for her next book!

2) Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

18693763Celeste Ng has quickly become an author to watch based on the strength of this book alone. This book is about a Chinese American family in the 1970s whose oldest daughter Lydia has died. Celeste Ng did an amazing job of creating fully-developed characters, especially Lydia’s parents. I enjoyed the way the author incorporated the parents’ experiences with racism and sexism and the direct impact this had on their daily lives, and especially the way they treated their children. I wish a tiny bit more attention had been paid to Lydia’s younger siblings, but the book was a very compelling read and easily one of my favourites.

3) Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi 

27071490After reading and being very disappointed by The Underground Railroad, I was nervous to try this book. Somehow, the two of them became inextricably linked in my mind so I naturally assumed that I wouldn’t like this one much either. Fortunately for me, I found this book a lot easier to get into and I loved Yaa Gyasi’s writing style. This book consists of a series of stories tracing the descendants of two half sisters, one who remains in Africa and the other who moves to the United States. Each chapter told the story of a different family member and their experiences. I ended up enjoying this book a lot more than I expected to, although some of the stories were more interesting for me than others.  I thought the book was beautifully written and told a very powerful story. ‘

4) Hate List by Jennifer Brown

6316171I’d had this book on my TBR for a couple of years already, so I thought it was about time to give it a chance. This book is about a girl named Valerie whose boyfriend committed a school shooting. Because of a “hate list” the two of them wrote together, Valerie is also blamed for the incident, and since she is the one left alive, she has to cope with all of the aftermath. I thought this book was a very compelling story that was told from a unique angle. It was by far one of the strongest and most complex stories about a school shooting that I’ve read, and I liked how it handled Valerie’s confusion about her feelings for her boyfriend and how other people viewed her afterwards, including her own family. The characters were fully developed, complex individuals who gain your sympathy, even when you disagree with their actions. My one small complaint was that I really hated the character’s names (ie. the therapist was named Dr. Heiler, pronounced like “healer,” and the shooter’s last name was “Levil” which is pretty closed to “evil”).

5) Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

19351043I’ve mentioned this book a few times recently, so I won’t go into too much detail here. I am not a huge fan of graphic novels in general, but this was was amazing! I loved how the characters were quite different from your typical heroes. Nimona herself is an impulsive, often violent, shapeshifter who acts as a sidekick for Ballister Blackheart, a villain who reminds me quite a bit of Megamind. The illustrations were simplistic but well-done, and the story was hilarious! I loved the interactions between Nimona and Ballister, and I especially loved the sarcastic humour. I would love to read more about these characters if another book was ever published!

6) Strong Female Protagonist by Brennan Lee Mulligan

23131550This was another graphic novel that I was pretty confident I was going to enjoy, and it ended up being my favourite read overall of this half of the year. This book is about a girl named Allison who used to be a powerful superhero, but has given up that life to go to college instead. The story was a lot more complex than I expected it would be, and I loved how it explored so many gray areas about what it means to be a superhero. I found the beginning of the story a tiny bit confusing until I got used to the world it was set in, but Allison was such an intriguing protagonist that I was drawn in pretty quickly. I thought it was very interesting to get the perspective of a disillusioned superhero, and I loved all the exploration of the line between hero and villain and what makes a hero different from other people. I would highly recommend this book!

7) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

16068905This was another book that I’ve actually been meaning to read for a couple of years, but for some reason kept putting off. The book is about a girl named Cath who is struggling with the start of college when her twin sister Wren decides she wants some space. Cath is a huge Simon Snow (basically Harry Potter) fan and a talented fanfiction writer. I related very strongly to Cath as a character, especially her social anxiety. I really appreciated how this book included a protagonist who was introverted and socially awkward, and did not force her to change by the end of the book. I especially enjoyed the snippets of Simon Snow and Cath’s fanfiction about it that were included with the story since they helped to bring the whole fandom element to life. This is definitely my favourite Rainbow Rowell book so far.

8) Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola

24727085Surprisingly enough, yet another graphic novel made it to my top 10. This book is about a girl named Masha who applies for a job as the Baba Yaga’s assistant to try and get away from her home and her new stepmother and stepsister. In order to get the job, Masha has to pass a series of tests based on the Baba Yaga myth, a story which I actually knew very little about before reading this book. I thought the book was very well-written and beautifully illustrated. There was a lot more depth to the story than I expected, but it was still a very quick and entertaining read. I loved how it incorporated the myth, Masha’s memories of her grandmother telling her these stories, and her own experiences with the Baba Yaga. Even though it took me only about an hour to read, it was one of the most memorable stories so far.

9) Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

22328546I’m sure many people will disagree with this one, but I really enjoyed this book! I think it helped that I didn’t read it in the height of the YA dystopian trend, because it definitely includes a lot of those tropes, but I thought it used them very well. The book is about a girl named Mare who is a “Red,” part of the lower class in society, who accidentally discovers that she has special abilities that only a “Silver” should have. Since her abilities are displayed very publicly, she is passed off as a missing Silver princess and is betrothed to a Silver prince, all while working with a resistance group to try to overthrow the Silvers. I really liked Victoria Aveyard’s writing style, and because of that I thought the story was very well-done. I was surprised to find that the twist toward the ending actually caught me off-guard and left me wanting to find out what happens next!

10) Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

7604This book may seem like a bit of an odd choice, especially compared to everything else on this list. It is even more strange for me because I listened to it as an audiobook, and I rarely (if ever) listen to audiobooks. Actually, I think the fact that my version was narrated by Jeremy Irons was a huge factor in why I enjoyed it so much. This book has always been one of those classics that I felt like I “should” read but was always put off by the subject matter. I was surprised to discover how compelling of a narrator Humbert Humbert was, and I thought it was fascinating to listen to him try to justify himself and all the layers of deception that involved. I was very impressed by the writing style, although I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much if I was reading it instead of listening. I actually especially enjoyed some of the snarky commentary on a variety of day-to-day situations, such as all the noises in a supposedly quiet hotel. The book was a lot more interesting than I thought it would be, and definitely one of the most memorable so far.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Father’s Day Freebie

Top 10 Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

Father’s Day has not been a holiday I’ve put much thought into in quite a long time. My father passed away close to 10 years ago unexpectedly. When I saw this week’s topic, my first instinct was to somehow connect it to my top book-related memories of my dad, but I wasn’t sure I would be able to come up with a list of 10.

As I think I mentioned in a past post, my parents realized I had learned to read when I was 3 years old, sitting on my dad’s lap at the kitchen table. I read out the headline and asked what a word in it meant. My dad used to go on a lot of business trips, and he always brought me back books. The best were books like Little Critter or The Lion King which had buttons to press that played a noise at various places in the story. When my dad came home from work during the week and was too tired to read to me, I’d sit on his bed and read books to him instead while he rested. I read at least two of the Harry Potter series to him, and some of the Wayside School books also. One of my favourite non-book-related thing I used to do with my dad is have “daddy-daughter” days, where we would go out to see the latest Disney movie and then go to McDonalds for a treat. I was hoping I’d be able to remember a list of 10 books I could relate to my dad in some way, but unfortunately I couldn’t remember specifically which books came from him.

Instead, I decided to break down my top 10 this week into two sections. The first five are the top fictional fathers or father figures from books, and the second half are the top fictional fathers or father figures that are not from books. I guess a case could be made for those in the second half since they probably all show up in a book at some point, but they originated somewhere else. To be completely honest, I was a lot more interested by most of the characters on the second half of my list, but that may be because the movies and TV shows they come from are many of my all-time favourites. Here are my top 10 fictional fathers:

1) Arthur Weasley (Harry Potter)

For me, part of the appeal of the Weasley family is just how normal they are. Despite growing up entirely in a magical world, their family dynamics are just like any other family – and arguably more normal than the so-called “normal” Dursleys. Arthur Weasley is an excellent father for a variety of reasons. He always puts his family first. When he wins some money in the lottery, the first thing he chooses to use it for is to take the entire family to visit Bill. It may not have been the most economical use of the money, but it was probably the only way to afford bringing everyone. He is general a laid-back, kind of bumbling character, but knows how to pull it together and be serious when it is needed, especially to protect his family. He also sets a great example for his children by showing them that there is more to life than money, and to stand up for what you believe in. He sticks with a job that he has a genuine passion for, even though it means a lower paycheck, and actively refuses to discriminate against Muggles and Muggle-borns. And of course, he quickly took in Harry and treated him from the start as one of his own. In fact, he was open and accepting of everyone his children chose to associate with, even when others in the family were not so happy about it (Fleur Delacour, for example). He’s the kind of dad I think anyone would be lucky to have.

2) Mr. Bennett (Pride & Prejudice)

I wouldn’t necessarily say that Mr. Bennett is a great father to all of his children, but he is a memorable fictional father. It’s actually a little ironic because when I first read this book, I thought he was a great parent, but when you look closer, he’s in a bit more of a gray area. He is a very intelligent man who has a close relationship with Elizabeth, and he brings some great insights into his conversations with her. It is clear that he really cares for Elizabeth, viewing her as his equal, and wants to ensure that she has a good life and a partner who is a good match for her, although that seems to be because he resents his own choice of a wife. He warns Elizabeth about the importance of marrying someone that she truly cares for and respects. Some people seem to interpret his character as lazy and preferring to withdraw from his family life rather than participate with them, and he is often seen mocking his wife. When I first read the book, I saw it as friendly banter but it could also be seen as pure exasperation. Mr. Bennett probably is not a great father figure overall, but if you look specifically at him with Elizabeth, there is quite a great relationship there.

3) Vicente (The Inexplicable Logic of My Life)

If I’m honest, I’m not sure Vicente would be on this list if I hadn’t read the book quite recently. That is not to say that Vicente isn’t a great father figure, because he is, but I’m not sure how memorable of a character he would be. Vicente is a gay man who is raising his adopted son, Sal, as a single parent. He has a great relationship with his son, and is even good with his son’s best friends. He makes himself accessible to them whenever they need help without question or judgment, even taking them in when needed. Vicente also puts Sal first and prioritizes him over everything else, even his own relationships. He makes sure potential partners know that Sal is part of the deal. Another thing I found interesting is how Vicente shared his culture with Sal and raised his son to identify with Vicente’s Mexican roots, regardless of Sal’s skin colour. I also appreciated how the book occasionally mentioned the Vicente taught Sal that there was nothing wrong with showing his emotions, among other important lessons. He is open and  honest with his son, and it is clear that they respect and truly love each other.

4) Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird/Go Set a Watchman)

I’m sure this is a little more on the controversial side given Go Set a Watchman. When I first read To Kill A Mockingbird in high school, we were assigned an essay to argue whether or not Atticus was a hero. My best friend at the time got a C on her essay because our teacher disagreed with her opinion – that Atticus wasn’t really a hero, he was just a regular person who happened to be behaving better than those around him at the time. To me, Scout’s relationship with her father across both books reflects a very real process – we have to remember that in To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout was only a child who naturally idolized her father. As she grew up, she began to see him for who he really was: a real, flawed individual and a person just like everyone else. It is because of this process that I would still count Atticus as one of the most memorable fictional fathers. Atticus raised Scout to stand up for her beliefs, to think for herself, and to challenge those who she disagrees with even when those are the people closest to her. His own attitudes toward race aside, I would still see him as a good and memorable father.

5) Carlisle Cullen (Twilight)

It’s no secret by now that I am no Twilight fan. I thought the story had a lot of potential, but I didn’t like the way it was executed, especially the final showdown. For me, one of the most interesting characters has always been Carlisle Cullen, the adoptive father of Edward and other vampires who live together in a family-type home, where they survive by drinking animal blood instead of humans. Carlisle learned to resist human blood, even studying to become a doctor. Carlisle is another “gray area” kind of character, creating his family by personally turning each of them into vampires although he turned people who were already dying, although it can be debatable whether he saved them or cursed them. Carlisle is a very compassionate person who uses his abilities to help people instead of killing. He loves his “children” and is accepting of others as long as they do no harm. His family is very important to him and he goes to great lengths to protect them.

6) Rupert Giles (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

buffy_giles_1Although Giles is not Buffy’s real father, there is no denying that he is much more of a parent to her than her real father ever was. From very early on, Buffy and Giles established a clear parent-child relationship, to the point where Giles’ superiors question his ability to act as her Watcher because he is so blinded by his affection for her. He even gets along generally well with Buffy’s mother, and I’m sure many of us secretly hoped Giles and Joyce would get together at some point in the series. Giles is protective and caring, but also pushes Buffy to rely on her own strength and forces her to grow up when she needs that extra push. Giles goes out of his way to keep Buffy safe and prepare her as best as he can for whatever she might face, both supernatural and not. They wind each other up, banter and drive each other insane as only family can do.

7) Gomez Addams (The Addams Family)

john_astin_as_gomez_addamsThe Addams Family has always been one of my obsessions. I’ve always been fascinated by a family that was so bizarre and yet so normal. In fact, I would say the family dynamics go beyond normal and approach ideal. Here is a family who genuinely love to spend time together, accept each other for who they are, and always put their family first. Gomez Addams, the patriarch, is a very strong father who is passionately in love with his wife and devoted to his children. He, along with the rest of the family, are willing to take in and help any relatives who need them. He loves spending time with his wife and spends hours each day in her company. Gomez is also a great parent to Wednesday and Pugsley, showing unconditional love, teaching them lessons, and supporting them in everything they do. He also seems like he’d be quite a fun parent since he is impulsive, and in certain versions, a little on the childish side himself although he can quickly switch to being serious when needed. In all incarnations of the family, Gomez’s devotion to his family is one of the most consistent, enduring traits. Even in the Broadway musical, Gomez’s main storyline centers around his feelings about Wednesday growing up and falling in love, and he more than anyone else in the family accepts Wednesday’s “normal” fiancée almost immediately.

8) Mufasa (The Lion King)

mufasaMufasa’s death in the Lion King was by far one of the most traumatic movie scenes of my childhood, and I am not ashamed to admit it is one that still makes me cry. The main reason I chose Mufasa as one of my top fictional parents is because of his willingness to be honest with Simba and address difficult topics with him at an appropriate level. Mufasa is not afraid to tell Simba that he might not be around forever, and to teach Simba what it takes to be a good king even though Simba is not ready for those lessons at the time. He has a great relationship with Simba, but isn’t afraid to discipline him and set limits, making sure Simba not only understands the rule but also why it is so important. Mufasa protects his son and puts Simba’s safety ahead of his own, fearlessly diving into a stampeded to rescue Simba. I think it says a lot about their relationship that the idea that Mufasa is disappointed in him, even years after his death, is enough to motivate Simba to finally take action.

9) Marlin (Finding Nemo)

movies_finding_nemo_1Marlin is a character that really comes into his own as a parent throughout the movie. In the beginning, he is (justifiably) fearful after losing his wife and majority of their eggs to an attack, leaving him extremely overprotective of their remaining son, Nemo. Marlin’s constant anxiety and hovering over his son causes Nemo to push back in attempt to get a bit of freedom. I think part of the strength of this story is how relatable it can be to children who are in Nemo’s position. There are many parents out there who think it’s best to shelter their children in attempt to keep them safe. Marlin quickly has to face every fear he has to try and get Nemo back, literally crossing the ocean and using his wits and other skills to get through each challenge he faces. However, the real strength of Marlin’s story as a father is in the ultimate lesson: that sometimes you have to loosen the reigns a little to let your child grow. Marlin evolves from a nervous helicopter parent who won’t let Nemo leave his side, to a parent who gains confidence in his son’s abilities and learns to show that he has faith in Nemo to manage more on his own as he gets older.

10) Goofy (A Goofy Movie)

goofymovie-08This is an extremely underrated Disney movie, and one that needs to be watched several times at different ages. Watching it as a kid, you’ll probably just laugh at Goofy’s antics and slapstick comedy. As a teenager, you cringe along with Max as his dad butts into his life and gets in his way of hanging out with his friends and asking out his crush. As an adult, even an adult without kids, you can’t help but feel bad for Goofy as he desperately tries to reconnect with a son who seems to want nothing to do with him. Given that it’s Goofy, there is no denying that he can sometimes be an embarrassing and frustrating parent to have, but he is also a devoted single father who is doing his best to be there for his son. The strength of this movie is how it manages to simultaneously show the father-son story from both sides, reminding even the most rebellious teen to keep their parents in mind and involved in their lives, even as they grow up. This may be one of the most heartbreaking exchanges in any Disney movie:
Max: I’m not your little boy anymore, Dad. I’ve grown up! I’ve got my own life now.
   Goofy: I know that. I just wanted to be part of it.

 

Top Ten Tuesdays: Top 10 Thrillers That I’ve Recently Added to by TBR List

Top 10 Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

Although this is already my second Top 10 Tuesday post, it is my first that actually adheres to the schedule. This week’s topic was to choose the top 10 books of a genre of your choice that you recently added to your TBR. It didn’t take long for me to decide to focus on thrillers, since I’ve added so many to my list in the past couple of weeks! Due to my local library system changing their online catalogue (and the inevitable system problems that will present), I’ve been proactively trying to fill in the last remaining categories on my reading challenge and putting a hold on the books I may be interested in, just to ensure I keep my place in line. Hopefully nothing goes too wrong with the system to affect my holds!

I am a huge coward when it comes to horror books, but I have a bit more of a tolerance for thrillers. I especially love psychological thrillers, and although I haven’t read that many yet, they make up a good chunk of my TBR list. Also, the ones that I have read so far are some of the best books I’ve read in the past few years. The reason I have so many added to my list recently is because one of the remaining categories I have open from my challenges is “a thriller.” I have a hard time sometimes with prompts that are so open because it is hard for me to settle on just one book. Even though I already had plenty of options on my TBR, none of them really jumped out at me and I started scouring through Goodreads to see more options. I ended up adding many more to my TBR, which definitely didn’t help narrow things down! Here are ten of the thrillers that I added most recently:

1) Guilty by Laura Elliot

35214498I found this book while browsing some of the upcoming releases for the next few months. This book is due out toward the end of June, and it deals with a 13-year-old girl who goes missing after sneaking out of her house. A journalist covering the case is convinced that the girl’s uncle is responsible for her disappearance, and paints him as the prime suspect in the media. I thought that this book seemed like quite a unique concept for a thriller, especially given the focus on the media’s role in how crimes are viewed.

2) Lie to Me by Jess Ryder

34536232This book is a recent release that came up while I was looking at lists of debut books released this year. This book is about a woman who watches a video of herself as a child with the mother she never really knew. As she starts to question her past, she is led to the scene of a 30-year-old murder that seems to be in some way connected to her mother. This book seems to be more of a mystery than a thriller in some ways, and I tend to find these kinds of thrillers a bit more hit or miss.

3) Sister Sister by Sue Fortin

33026839This book is yet another fairly recent release that focuses on two sisters. According to the Goodreads synopsis, the story focuses on two sisters named Clare and Alice. One sister is described as a manipulative liar, and the other as paranoid and jealous. It seems as though this book will be about discovering which sister is actually telling the truth, which could be very interesting if it is done well. The reviews for it have been overwhelmingly positive so far, with an average rating just over 4 stars on Goodreads, so it seems like it could be a good one.

4) The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

35096883I’m getting a little ahead of myself by adding this one to my TBR. I recently decided to add The Woman in Cabin 10 by this author to my challenge because it was chosen as a book of the month for one of my groups. Like I often do, once I added one book, I decided to take a look at what else the author has written and add anything else that seems interesting. This book is about a young woman whose dog retrieves a human bone from the water while out for a walk. Her three best friends show up to help comfort her, and secrets from their past are uncovered. Although I haven’t read anything yet by this author, I have seen a lot of positive reviews for her books and all three of them so far seem very interesting.

5) The Child by Fiona Barton

32054078This is a similar case of getting ahead of myself. I plan on reading The Widow later on this year, and I noticed this book on a list of upcoming releases. I’m inclined to consider this a bit more of a mystery based on the synopsis, which is about a baby’s skeleton discovered in a demolished building, which is investigated by a local journalist. She quickly discovers a case of a newborn stolen from a hospital many years ago, and begins to dig into the story to uncover what really happened. The plot reminds me a bit of Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight, which I really enjoyed last year.

6) When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn

32957193This book may be a little different from the others on the list so far since it is the only YA thriller mentioned. I was on the fence about adding it to my TBR, so I thought I would add it and decide later whether to keep it. The book is about a boy named Ben who is giving his account of a school camping trip in the mountains, which he is telling from prison. The main reason I’m on the fence is because a book like this all comes down to how compelling the narrator is. I will probably end up keeping it on my list regardless, but given that it comes out in August, I’ll wait and see how the reviews look.

7) He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly

31450961It’s looking like most of the books I recently added were because of looking at upcoming releases. This one came out just today, and it focuses on a couple who witness an attack during a total eclipse and report it to the police. The Goodreads synopsis is relatively vague, and just alludes to their lives changing because of their decision to report the crime. It sounds very creepy, and it seems to have a lot of potential to be a very interesting story. Also the cover art was pretty interesting!

8) The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

33199875Again, another book by an author that I’ve been meaning to read for a long time but never actually picked up. I’ve nothing but good things about her books, but I haven’t’ had a chance to try any yet nor do I really know where to start. Her newest book, due out this August, is about two sisters whose lives were shattered after an attack on their family home. Later, as adults, their town is hit by violence again and one of the sisters was the first witness, unleashing her memories of her childhood trauma. It sounds like a very intriguing concept, and the majority of her books average over 4 stars on Goodreads.

9) The Only Child by Andrew Pyper

34527992I’d never heard of this author until this year, when I decided to use one of his books for one of my more tricky reading challenge prompts. It’s a little debatable how much of a thriller this is, since I’ve also seen it classified as horror and a mystery, but I found the synopsis so fascinating. It is about a forensic psychologist who is interviewing a client that claims to be over 200 years old, and the inspiration behind several of literature’s most notorious monsters. At the same time, he also claims to be the psychologist’s father, forcing her to try and discover the truth about him as well as her mother’s death. Unfortunately, the early reviews of it by people who have read the ARC copies are extremely mixed, and there seem to be more negative that positive. Definitely not a good sign.

10) It’s Always The Husband by Michele Campbell

31451082This is another book that I’m a little hesitant to try since adding it to my list, after one of the Goodreads reviewers that I trust most gave it a very poor review. The book is about three college roommates who become close friends, alternating perspectives between their college years and their adult lives at age 40, when one of them ends up dead. Most of the synopses I read about this book have been very vague, and focus on the “frenemies” aspect of the women’s relationship. It sounds like it could be an interesting story, but this is another case where early reviews have been very mixed so far.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Top 10 Most Anticipated Books for The Second Half of 2017

I recently discovered the Top 10 Tuesday weekly meme, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Similar to Top 5 Wednesdays, which I’ve been doing for a couple of months now, Top 10 Tuesdays are weekly topics about a variety of bookish things. I’m already failing a bit since I discovered the blog after Tuesday, but I was so interested by last week’s topic that I decided I wanted to give it a try. I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to keep up with two weekly memes every week, but I will do my best!

This week’s topic was the top 10 books that you are looking forward to in the second half of the year. I thought it was a tiny bit early for this topic, since we are still a month away from the end of the first half, but it really got me looking ahead to upcoming books this year. Technically, I probably won’t be getting to most of these books for quite a while, possibly until next year, because of the challenges I’m participating in — but if there’s something that captures my attention enough, I just might substitute it in. Here are my top 10 anticipated books:

1) Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (September 12)

34273236I’d been hearing about Celeste Ng’s first book, Everything I Never Told You, for close to a year before I finally decided to give it a chance. It ended up being one of the best books I’ve read so far this year, and I immediately went over to Goodreads to see when Celeste Ng’s next book was coming. I was glad to see she had a new one due out this year! Celeste Ng has a real talent for capturing family dynamics while blending in more complex topics, so I’m very excited to read this book! The plot is a little tough to describe without being confusing, but I would highly recommend taking a look at the Goodreads page.

2) Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley (June 6)

31952703I’ve never heard of Cath Crowley before, but this book came up while looking at many lists of most anticipated YA contemporary books for the year . I was initially drawn in by the cover art, but I was especially interested by the synopsis. The book is about a girl named Rachel who hid a love letter for her crush in a book in his family’s bookshop, but never received a response. Rachel later returns to the city and ends up working with her crush as a distraction to help her cope with her brother’s death by drowning. I’m excited for this book because it seems like it could be an adorable love story.

3) Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia (May 30)

31931941I’m cheating slightly with this one, since the book is due out on May 30 but I think that’s close enough to the second half of the year. This book is about a teenager named Eliza who is the anonymous creator of a popular webcomic, who prefers to spend time online than in the “real world.” This book has received rave reviews so far and it is one of the books I am most anticipating from everything on this list! I actually haven’t read Francesca Zappia’s first book (Made You Up) yet, but that is one of the books that I am most looking forward to for my reading challenge!

4) Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert (August 8)

25062038I actually found this book among a whole slew of titles that included two character names, but I was very intrigued by the synopsis. This book focuses on a girl named Suzette who goes home to support her brother Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I have read quite a few YA books that deal with mental health, but bipolar disorder is one that does not seem to be talked about very often. I am especially interested because this book is from the perspective of the sibling of the person who has the disorder, and not the person themselves. How disability or mental health affect other family members has always been a strong interest of mine, especially the “healthy” sibling in the household since this seems to be a perspective that is often ignored.  I hope this book does it some justice.

5) Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee (June 6)

29414576I discovered this book very recently, and I was interested by the unusual title/cover. It’s definitely not very common for a book to have a big picture of Leo Tolstoy (or other famous authors) on the front. The book is about a girl named Natasha (Tash) who runs a webseries that is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina. This book has been getting a lot of buzz for featuring a romantic asexual main character, an orientation that is very rarely (if ever) addressed in YA books. I’m really loving the trend toward more books that deal with the Internet and online relationships/friendships.

6) They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera (September 5)

33385229I’m probably getting a little ahead of myself by anticipating this one, since I haven’t read any of Adam Silvera’s other books yet, although I have one lined up for a bit later on in my challenges this year. He is an author that I’ve really been looking forward to trying after hearing such rave reviews about all of his books. This one is about two boys, strangers to each other, who meet through the Last Friend app after learning that they are both going to die today. The concept is definitely on the unique side, but it is a very interesting idea. Also, the cover art is beautiful (and I’m never one to be drawn in by covers)!

7) Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman (September 26)

29456598As much as I’ve just finished saying that I’m not drawn in by covers, this was a book that immediately attracted me by it’s cover. It wasn’t until a few days later that I noticed the irony of a book called Starfish with a big picture of a jellyfish on the cover instead. This book is about a half-Japanese girl aiming to get into her dream art school, who goes on a tour of different schools to escape a difficult home life. I’m honestly not really sure what to expect from this book, but it seems to have a lot of potential. A few reviewers who have already rated ARC copies have commented that Kiko, the main character, has social anxiety and that is something I would love to see more of in books. I’m also interested in seeing how starfish tie into the story (if at all), since they are one of my favourite animals.

8) Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton (July 4)

25695640I found this book while browsing Goodreads lists of upcoming releases, and I was intrigued by the title. It reminded me of a line from the Simon and Garfunkel song The Sound of Silence, which says “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls” — a line that’s always struck me as very powerful. This book is about a boy named Adam who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and desperately wants to keep his condition a secret from his classmates, especially the girl he is dating. The book has been compared to The Perks of Being a Wallflower, one of my favourite books, so I think it will be very interesting.

9) This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis (October 10)

30249925I very recently finished The Female of the Species by this author, and while I didn’t love it quite as much as others seemed to, I thought Mindy McGinnis was great at writing about darker themes. Her upcoming book is a psychological thriller about a girl named Sasha whose life becomes entangled with a boy named Isaac, who seems to know her a little too well. Honestly, I found the synopsis on Goodreads a bit confusing but I’m interested to see how the book plays out. Reviewers who have read the ARC have all been commenting about how dark this book is, so it seems like it could be very interesting.

10) The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily (December 26)

33413929Given how late in the year the release date is, I’m a bit skeptical that this will actually end up happening this year. This book is about a girl who has ADHD and a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who connect online over their mutual love of ancient love letters, but may have more trouble connecting in person. I absolutely love the concept of this book and I think it’s interesting to have both main characters having a different condition (for lack of a better word). This book has been described as both hilarious and heartbreaking, and I’m definitely looking forward to it!