Top 10 Tuesdays: Books with Nature on the Cover

I wasn’t so excited about this week’s prompt because it was basically the same as last week’s Top 5 Wednesday, and I thought it would be annoying to look for more options. I decided to look through my Goodreads TBR anyway, and in about 5 minutes, I’d found more than enough different books with nature of some kind on the cover! For some reason, there were a few that I picked that took me a while to process as nature. I found that was specifically the case for covers that were mostly grass — even though grass is definitely a part of nature, I guess it didn’t quite seem like enough. It was fun to look through my list and see a lot more variety of covers having to do with nature than I expected. Aside from just grass and flowers, there were also a few that involved animals or even weather conditions. Still, it tended to be the covers that had a lot of greenery on them that really stood out to me most as the best depiction of nature. I ended up picking the first 10 that I found, excluding any that I’d already used in my post last week, and I was surprised to see it was disproportionately a lot of thrillers! Once again, I have not figured out how to adjust the sizes of the images so if anyone else knows how to do it, please let me know!

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.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Book Titles That Sound Like They Could Be Good Crayola Crayon Colours

I think this week’s prompt takes the prize for weirdest topic so far! To be honest, I was dreading it a bit when I first saw it because I had no idea how to even begin to approach it. Luckily, I noticed a note beside the topic suggesting we look up some of the weird colours that Crayola has already used. Once I did that, it didn’t take long to realize how many strange ones they had already! After that, it was a simple matter of browsing through my Goodreads TBR list to see which book titles really jumped out at me as something that could be a colour. I was surprised to see that it didn’t take too long to reach a full list of ten using only books published this year and in the future! I really thought I’d have to dig quite a bit further back to find most of them. I guess it helps that there are so many books with interesting titles coming out in the next year or so! These are all books that immediately caught my attention when I noticed them on my list, with a suggestion of what kind of colour they might be.

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) Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen – I would guess some kind blue-green colour, kind of resembling algae that floats on top of the ocean anyway like a kind of “skin,” probably mostly green

2) White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson – Aside from this being one of my most anticipated books of the year, the title immediately struck me as a great crayon colour! I picture it is a kind of very pale gray, close to white but with enough of a gray tinge to be visible

3) Dark Waters by Katherine Arden – This one is probably pretty similar to Skin of the Sea, but a much darker shade to resemble a deeper part of the ocean. I’d imagine it would be a bit more of a deep blue with a little green

4) Flash Fire by T.J. Klune – I feel like this colour probably already exists, but I’m picturing a very bright reddish-orange, maybe with a little yellow or even white mixed in since that sometimes happens with a very hot flame

5) Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler – Again, I somehow get the impression this has been done before, but it jumped out at me immediately as a crayon colour. Ironically enough, I have no idea what colour I think it would be. Blue would make sense, but for some reason, I’m thinking it would be a light pink

6) Sunkissed by Kasie West – Definitely a kind of light tan/brown or even a yellow colour. When I think of something sunkissed, I tend to think of a faint suntan so I’d want a colour that kind of captures that

7) Yolk by Mary H.K. ChoiThis would obviously need to be the same kind of colour as an egg yolk, so a relatively vibrant yellow or gold

8) Black Widows by Cate QuinnI guess it would be hard to make a black crayon that has anything other than just black, but it would be cool if this one could somehow have a stripe of red in it that didn’t get interfered with by the black, since black widow spiders are known for their red markings

9) Chlorine Sky by Mahogany L. BrowneThis is another one that would probably be on that greenish-blue spectrum. I was picturing it a kind of blue like a swimming pool, but when I looked up the colour of chlorine, that seems to be more like a pale green

10) Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas – I’m not entirely sure what this colour would look like, but the name was too good to pass up! I’m picturing some kind of dusky pink kind of colour, but it’s a little hard to describe

Top 5 Wednesdays: Required Reading

I could have sworn I’d already written about the books I’d been required to read before, but it seems that there has never been a post specifically devoted to it either. I’ve always been a huge reader, and one of my favourite parts of school is when we got to read and study a book together. I was one of the geeky kids who loved when we had assignments that involved reading a chapter and answering the questions. To be fair, I didn’t always love the books that the teacher picked, and often would much rather choose a book of my own. I loved visiting the school library and finding new books to read, although I hated doing presentations about them. I think one of my most embarrassing moments in elementary school was when I did a book report on Mary Higgins Clark’s Let Me Call You Sweetheart. I was super shy and hated to present, so I must have said the title too fast and/or too quietly, and she made me repeat it a few times. It was so embarrassing, especially in seventh grade when everyone is at their most self-conscious, to keep saying “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” to my teacher! I’m sure we read a book as a group every single year, but there are only a few that I very strongly remember.

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 Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – This is the first book that I very strongly remember reading as a group in school, in second grade. I’m sure there was a class book in first grade, but I was reading well above grade level and was generally given my own separate work to do while the rest of the class was learning to read. I actually can’t remember specifically if we read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but I know for sure we watched the movie and discussed the story in detail. It quickly became one of my all-time favourite books!

2) Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White – This was the book we read as a class in Grade 3, and it is the first book that I very distinctly remember being read to us. This is another book that quickly became an all-time favourite, and another one that I’ve read many times over the years. I’ve even led a Book Study on this one for my group at work too. I’m sure this book is a very common one that is read in schools, and I’m so glad that we read it.

3) Underground to Canada by Barbara Smucker – I remember doing this book in Grade 6, but I have absolutely no memory of any of the details. Being Canadian, a huge focus of our Social Studies program was Canadian history. This book is about the Underground Railroad, which slaves in the southern US used to escape to Canada, where they could have freedom. I’d be curious to know what people think of the book now, given all the discussions about representation and potentially problematic content in a lot of older books.

4) The Giver by Lois Lowry – This was the book that we studied in seventh grade, and probably the first dystopian book I’ve ever read. It is about a 12-year-old boy named Jonas who is given the assignment of being the Receiver of Memory, which makes him aware of the darker secrets behind his seemingly perfect world, where everything is chosen for you. I’d actually like to read this one again at some point. I vaguely remember reading it a second time at some point, but I’m curious to see if it will be a different experience now that I’ve read so many other dystopians.

5) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein – In Grade 8 , our approach to class books was a little different. We were grouped into smaller groups, which was clearly by reading level even though they refused to say so, and assigned a book. My group read The Hobbit, and to be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan. I found it a bit slow and boring. I actually read it a second time in my children’s lit class in university, and didn’t really like it any better the second time, unfortunately. I actually wish I liked it more given how well-loved this book is!

Top 10 Tuesdays: New-To-Me Authors I Read in 2020

One of my goals in 2020 was to pick up some books by several new-to-me authors that I’d been meaning to try for a long time! I set myself a list of 10 YA authors and 10 non-YA authors to try, and the idea was to read at least one book by each of them before the end of the year. I was a little frustrated to realize that I only had one author remaining to read by the end of December, but ran out of time before I could get to any of her books! It’s always a bit annoying to come so close to the end of a goal and just miss out on finishing it. Luckily, the goal still accomplished it’s main purpose, which was to give me a push to finally try some of those authors who had been on my TBR absolutely forever, often with multiple books, so I can finally see whether I liked them. I definitely discovered some new favourite authors this way, and all of the books I read by these authors ended up being at least 4 stars! Since many of them are books and authors that I’ve mentioned frequently before, I won’t go into too much detail about each book, but I want to at least mention some of the authors I liked best!

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) Lisa Jewell – Lisa Jewell was the very first author from my priority list that I tried in 2020, mostly because I had received The Family Upstairs as my Secret Santa gift a few weeks before, and I’d been really looking forward to trying that one. It quickly became one of my favourites, and I also read Watching You several months later, which was another 5-star read. Since then, I bought 4 more of her books, and still have 2 unread that I already owned. I’m especially looking forward to reading Invisible Girl, probably within the next few weeks!

2) Maurene Goo – Maurene Goo was the first author I tried from my YA list, and I also read two of her books. I read I Believe in a Thing Called Love right at the end of February, and then The Way You Make Me Feel at the beginning of April. Both were a sold 4 stars for me because they were so much fun to read and they were both also very quick. I think of the two, I slightly preferred The Way You Make Me Feel because it felt a little more realistic, but in both cases, I loved the relationships the characters had with their dads. I also intended to read Somewhere Only We Know, but ran out of time for that one, but I might get to it this year instead.

3) Kasie West – I’ve always been a little on the fence about Kasie West’s books because they sound so cute, but also seem like something I’ve probably outgrown by now. By the time her first book came out, I was already in my second-last year of college and didn’t really care for this kind of story anymore. I finally decided to try at least one anyway since I kept hearing such great things about them, and I listened to the audiobook of The Fill-In Boyfriend. While I still think it skews a bit too young for me, I was surprised by how much I still ended up enjoying it, and I’m interested in trying some more of her books, especially when I want something light.

4) Karin Slaughter – Karin Slaughter is another author I’d been on the fence about, but for a very different reason. I’d heard her books could be very graphic and wasn’t sure that was something I really wanted to read, and I also had seen that many of her books were part of a series so I wasn’t really sure where to start. I finally decided to start with The Good Daughter since that was a standalone, and ended up loving it (although it was pretty graphic)! I also intended to read Pretty Girls but ran out of time before I could get to that one, so it’s high on my list for this year instead.

5) Jenn Bennett – I didn’t quite love the first Jenn Bennett book I read as much as I expected! I read Alex, Approximately since that was one that had been on my TBR longest and although I gave it 4 stars, I was a bit disappointed! I really did not like the main character at all, but there were enough elements that I did like to enjoy the book overall. Luckily, I had a much better time with Starry Eyes which came very close to 5 stars. I loved the characters in that one and the relatively unique premise of the story, and that one alone convinced me to try more of her books too.

6) Katrina Leno – I picked up two of Katrina Leno’s books mostly because I’d kept hearing her name frequently on a few of the channels I watch. I could have sworn I’d read them in the opposite order, but according to Goodreads I started with Summer of Salt, which I loved, and about a month later I also read Everything All At Once, which I liked but wasn’t completely sold on. Even though I didn’t quite love the second book as much as I’d expected, I enjoyed Katrina Leno’s writing enough to be interested in trying more.

7) Mary Kubica – I think of all the authors I had on my priority list, this was the one that I was most disappointed not to love. I read Pretty Baby and I liked it, but also found it a bit underwhelming compared to other thrillers that I’ve read. I’d really wanted to read The Other Mrs. as well but somehow kept putting it off! I’m definitely interested in trying more of Mary Kubica’s books because she’s an author I’ve had on my list for such a long time, and I’m hoping I’ll enjoy some of her more recent books even more.

8) Peter Swanson – By now, I’ve mentioned several times how much I really wanted to read The Kind Worth Killing, but didn’t get a copy until too late in the year. Instead, I read Eight Perfect Murders, which was another one that was very high on my list, and I ended up loving it! Since then, I bought all of Peter Swanson’s other books that are currently available, except for The Girl with a Clock for a Heart, and I’m planning to read at least 2 more this year.

9) Riley Sager – I think of all the authors on my list, Riley Sager was one of the ones that I wanted to try most. I became obsessed with Home Before Dark as soon as I saw the synopsis and it became a top priority for me to read. Luckily, I ended up loving it as much as I expected! A bit earlier in the year, I also read Final Girls and really enjoyed that one too. I also really wanted to read Lock Every Door but couldn’t find an affordable copy, at least not in hardcover to match my other two. I have all of the remaining Riley Sager books in my plan for this year, including his upcoming release, and I’m really looking forward to all of them.

10) Sarah Pinborough – I squeezed this book in literally right at the end of 2020, and was so glad to finally be able to say that I’d read it! I’ve been putting it in my challenge plans for years now and kept putting it off, to the point where it was getting a little ridiculous. To be fair, I didn’t quite love this one quite as much as I expected. It may have been because it was right at the end of the year and I was a little burnt out, but I found it a bit slow to get into, although I absolutely loved the ending!

My 5 Star Predictions For 2021 (Part 2)

Check out yesterday’s post here for part 1, and come back tomorrow for part 3!

ATY Top Picks Challenge (Part 2)

2) The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris

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Prompt: A book by an author with 14 or greater letters in their name

What Is It About?: A 16-year-old boy named Alex who has the ability to see the future of any object or person that he touches. He is trying his best to live a normal life as much as possible, until he touches a photo that gives him a vision of his younger brother’s imminent death, putting him into a race against time to protect his brother and spend as much time with him as possible, even though he has never been able to prevent a vision from coming true.

Why I Chose It: This is a book that I just kept coming back to while I was planning my lists for the year, even though it was only mildly on my radar. Every time I skimmed through my Goodreads shelves, I’d stop on this book and finally decided that I needed to read it. I also read Slay by this author last year and it was one of my favourites of the year, so I’m looking forward to trying more by this author.

Why 5 Stars?: I’m expecting this book to be very impactful and, like I mentioned for Early Departures yesterday, I’m intrigued because it is such a different premise than the majority of the other YA books that I read. Part of what I loved about Slay was how strong and memorable the characters were, and I’m expecting more of the same with this book too.

3) Survive the Night by Riley Sager

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Prompt: A book where characters are trapped together

What Is It About?: Set in 1991, a college student named Charlie Jordan hitches a ride from Josh Baxter, whom she meets at the campus ride board. Charlie is dealing with guilt and grief over the death of her best friend, who was murdered by the Campus Killer. She soon becomes suspicious of Josh’s claims about his reasons for going home, and worries that he might actually be the killer.

Why I Chose It: Riley Sager was one of my top priority authors to try last year, and I soon realized that I really enjoyed his writing style. I’m looking forward to trying more of his thrillers, and since I’ve been having trouble finding affordable copies of his middle two books, this one seems like a great place to start.

Why 5 Stars?: While I don’t typically love road trip books, I do enjoy the character dynamics in books where characters are stuck together. I love how Riley Sager builds such creepy atmospheres in his books, and I can only imagine how that will play out with both characters together in one car. This one seems especially creepy because it feels so realistic, and I tend to find those kinds of thrillers the most scary of all.

Leftovers Challenge

This was the hardest challenge to pick 5 star predictions for! It consists of the books and/or prompts that I wanted to read last year and didn’t get to, so I had the additional challenge of trying to pick books to mention that hadn’t been 5 star predictions before!

1) The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine

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Prompt: A book involving a betrayal

What Is It About?: A woman named Joanna is determined to find evidence to use against her husband’s new girlfriend after he leaves her for Piper, but struggles to get anyone to believe the secrets that she has uncovered.

Why I Chose It: I’ve been meaning to read more of Liv Constantine’s books for a couple of years now, but somehow kept forgetting to incorporate them into my challenges. I wanted to make a point of finding a place for both of their books that I had not yet read since I loved their writing, and chose it for this prompt because of the betrayal involved in Leo choosing to leave his wife for another woman.

Why 5 Stars?: To be honest, I’m a little on the fence with this one because the plot sounded so similar to The Last Mrs. Parrish, which I rated 4.5 stars (rounded up to 5 on Goodreads). While I like that premise, I wasn’t sure I’d want another book so similar from the same authors. I’m predicting it will be a 5-star read mostly on the grounds that I do tend to enjoy this kind of plot in thrillers generally, and I enjoyed their writing the first time around.

2) Watch Us Rise by Renee Watson

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Prompt: A book containing poetry

What Is It About?: Two high school students decide to start a Women’s Rights Club to combat the way women are treated at their high school, and post a series of online essays, poems, and videos that soon go viral. As the club gains more support, they also begin to be the target of online trolls, forcing the principal to try and shut them down.

Why I Chose It: I’m not that interested in poetry generally, so I knew that I wanted to pick either a novel told in verse or one that contained poems as only part of the story, and this one seemed to fit the bill. I chose this book because it seemed like one that would include poetry without it being the sole focus, so it seemed like a good balance.

Why 5 Stars?: Piecing Me Together, the previous book I read by Renee Watson, became a surprise favourite when I read it in 2019 after loving it a lot more than I expected. I’ve also really enjoyed other books that focus on teen activism within their schools to challenge or change things, and I’m especially interested in this one because of the addition of the viral social media element, which is a huge buzzword for me.

3) Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon

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Prompt: A book with an “-ing” word in the title

What Is It About?: A father is called to his children’s high school after receiving the news that there has been a shooting. When he realizes that his son Jake is the only child missing, he begins to obsess over his past and figure out whether he really knew his son as well as he thought.

Why I Chose It: This book has been on my TBR since 2015 and it’s one that I keep tentatively adding into my challenge plans but passing over in favour of newer releases. I picked it as a 5 star prediction specifically as an extra push to read it, but also chose this book because the premise sounds so interesting.

Why 5 Stars?: This book has been widely compared to Defending Jacob and We Need to Talk About Kevin, which were two books I found absolutely fascinating. I love the whole concept of these kinds of thrillers, which focus on how well a parent can really know their child. If it’s done well, these kinds of stories tend to be very chilling and memorable, which is exactly what I’m expecting from this one.

52 Book Club

1) Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

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Prompt: A book featuring the legal profession

What Is It About?: A struggling lawyer is assigned her first murder case to defend, and can’t help feeling that something isn’t right when her client decides to plead guilty. She sees this case as her chance to save her client as well as herself, as her own life seems to be falling apart due to her drinking and neglect of her family.

Why I Chose It: This was another book that I kept inexplicably coming back to as I was skimming through my Goodreads shelves. It was one of the few thrillers that I could find that focused specifically on the legal profession, and I tend to love a good courtroom story, although I’m not quite sure how much of a role the case will play in this one.

Why 5 Stars?: I’m not even sure I can specifically pinpoint what it was about this one that keeps drawing me back to it. It generally sounds like the kind of thriller that I tend to enjoy and I like the potential focus on the case that the main character is working on. Even if the focus is more on the lawyer herself, it’s been quite a while since I read a thriller focused on this kind of alcoholic, unreliable main character and although the trend got annoying, I do tend to like these books.

2) A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

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Prompt: A book related to the word “fire”

What Is It About?: A young woman is seen leaving the scene of a horrific murder on a London canal boat with blood on her clothes, making her seem like the most likely suspect. The book follows three women who are each connected to the victim, and all of them have secrets and hidden resentments of their own.

Why I Chose It: I added this one to my plans mostly because of author name alone, especially given how little is known about the plot so far. I’ve read and loved both of Paula Hawkins’ books so far, and had no idea that she was due to release a new one this year. As soon as I saw it announced, I knew it would be something I’d want to read as soon as possible.

Why 5 Stars?: I love Paula Hawkins’ writing style in general and I’ve rated both of her previous books 5 stars, which is usually a pretty good indicator that I’ll like the next one too. I’m a little skeptical of my own prediction in this case just because there is so little known about the book yet, since it won’t be out until the very end of August. It doesn’t give me much information to go on, but I have a good feeling about it anyway.

Top 5 Wednesdays: Dystopian Books (Still on My TBR)

What better way to sum up this disaster of a year, than with a look at some dystopians? To be honest, I’m kind of glad the dystopian trend has died down a bit in YA. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy many of the series that did come out at that time, but I was definitely starting to look for a bit more variety. I was actually a bit late to the trend overall. I read The Hunger Games shortly after the first movie came out in 2012, and read Divergent a couple of years later. At the height of the YA dystopian trend, I wasn’t reading a ton because I was still in school. Once I started doing reading challenges in 2015, I decided to read some of the well-known series over the span of a few years, including Matched, Shatter Me (the first three books), Delirium, Red Queen, and probably a few more. I still have quite a few on my TBR, although I burnt myself out a bit on the genre for a while. I actually really wanted to reread the and finish the Shatter Me series this year, but I ran out of time for that. The books listed below are all dystopians that are still on my TBR. I don’t have any active plans to pick them up right now, but I’d love to try them all eventually.

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) Unwind by Neal Shusterman

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This book has been vaguely on my radar for a few years now, but I haven’t had too much motivation to pick it up. I recently read the Scythe series by the same author and really enjoyed that, so it has kind of reignited my interest in this one. This book is set in a world where a Civil War had been fought over reproductive rights, resulting in a new policy which gives parents the right to choose for their teenagers to be “unwound,” a process by which their organs are all transplanted into different donors. The main characters are all teenagers who are all at risk of being unwound, but together they may have a chance to escape and survive. Like the Scythe series, this one has such an interesting and unusual premise, and it raises some very intriguing philosophical questions about the value of life and possibly even about the roles of parents and even of children in a society. The whole premise of this one seems so creepy! I think part of the reason I haven’t picked it up yet is because I’ve seen some very mixed reviews for it, although the Goodreads ratings seem to be quite high overall. I’ve left it on my TBR since I’d still like to give it a try at some point, but it’s not something I find myself gravitating toward very often.

2) The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

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I keep meaning to read more of Patrick Ness’s books, but somehow never end up picking them up. I even have a copy of the first book in this series and had tentatively planned to prioritize it next year, but decided against it since I had too many other series that I wanted to read more. This series is about a boy named Todd who lives in a town that has been infected by the Noise germ which killed all women and gave all living creatures the ability to hear each other’s thoughts. Todd is just a month away from being considered an adult when he discovers an area of his town that is free of the endless Noise, the name given to the constant stream of images, words and sounds that come with being able to read others’ minds. Deciding that the town must be hiding something, Todd decides to flee with just his dog, and soon discover a girl who seems to be the only female to survive the germ. I think part of the reason I haven’t read this yet, aside from the fact that the books are quite lengthy, is because I found the synopsis a little confusing, but I love Patrick Ness’s writing and I would love to give this a chance at some point.

3) Red Rising by Pierce Brown

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I’ve had this series on my TBR since 2016, but can’t remember exactly where I first heard of it. Even though I had it on my list first, it really came to my attention around the time I read Red Queen since I’d heard that the the two series were quite similar. It is about a man named Darrow who is a Red, part of the lowest caste in his society where he is forced to work to make the surface of Mars habitable, but believes his work is important for securing a good future for the next generations. However, when Darrow discovers that everything he has been told by the ruling Gold caste has been a lie, and sets out to infiltrate their ranks and overthrow them. To be fair, the only resemblance I really see to Red Queen is the colour-based system for the castes. I’m still very interested in reading this one, but at this point I think I may as well wait until the last book in the second trilogy is published, which is supposed to be due for some time in 2021. I may end up prioritizing this series for 2022, although it’s still much to early to really commit to that.

4) The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

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This is another series that has been on my TBR since 2017, and I’m pretty sure I added it at the time mostly because of the hype, considering I know so little about the plot. This series is about a girl named Ruby, whose parents sent her to a government “rehabilitation camp” called Thurmond when she was only 10, after she develops strange and uncontrollable abilities as the result of surviving a mysterious disease that killed most children. At age 16, Ruby escapes from Thurmond and finds herself on the run to find a safe heaven for people like her, joining a group of other children who escaped from another camp. Upon their arrival at the safe haven, Ruby and her new friends soon find that it may not offer the freedom they expected. I had completely forgotten what this was about, but now that I’ve seen the synopsis again, it sounds so interesting! It reminds me a bit of the X-Men, which is one of my favourite superhero movies. I feel like I haven’t heard very much about the rest of this series, but it’s another one that seems to have great ratings on Goodreads so it’s another one that I may have to prioritize eventually.

5) The Young Elites by Marie Lu

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I keep adding Marie Lu’s series to my TBR, but rarely end up picking them up. Just this week, I strongly considered adding her latest book Skyhunter to my list too. The only books of hers that I have read so far are the Warcross duology. I loved the first book, but didn’t like the second quite as much. The Young Elites series is about a girl named Adelina who is the survivor of a blood fever that killed many, and left strange markings on the children who survived. As a result, her father now considers her an abomination, but the survivors are also known as the Young Elites due to the rumours of the mysterious gifts they are thought to have developed. Adelina soon meets Teren, the Leader of the Inquisition whose goal is to destroy the Elites before they can destroy the nation, and Enzo, a member of a secret society who seems to find the Young Elites before the Inquisition can get to them. Adelina soon finds herself questioning which of them she can really trust. I feel like I haven’t heard as much about this series as I have about Warcross or Legend, but it also sounds very good. I’ve always been a bit worried that Marie Lu’s series might skew a bit too young for me by now, but the more I read about it, the more I think I’d like to try it.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Books I Want to Read Again

I love to re-read favourite books, but it’s something I’ve been doing less often as a result of doing my reading challenges. I still usually end up re-reading a few books each year, but with so many new-to-me books on my TBR, I usually tend to prioritize reading things I haven’t tried before. As a matter of fact, I’ve briefly considered including a goal for myself next year to re-read a few books that I’ve been meaning to pick up again, as an extra push to read them. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll commit to doing that. I find that books I want to read again tend to fall into three categories. There are the books I want to read again because I loved them so much the first time, and it’s been too long since I’ve read them. There are also nearly as many books that I didn’t love quite as much as I expected, and vaguely expect to love even more the next time I read them. The third, and least common, category are the books that I know that I read but have literally no memory of reading. For example, I’ve read Go Ask Alice so many times but have zero memory of it. I also know that I read Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate and must have enjoyed it because I rated it 4 stars, but I have no memory of the plot or characters at all. For this week’s topic, I focused mostly on the first two categories. Given how well-known the majority of these books are, I decided to keep it a bit short and just give my reasons for wanting to read them again, and not delve into a full synopsis.

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

1) The Help by Kathryn Stockett – I read this book around 2014 or maybe 2015, and loved it. This book has come under fire recently for its use of the white saviour trope. To be honest, I noticed that when I first read it as well, and recognized that it could be problematic, but I also really enjoyed the writing style and the way it brought the characters and the time period to life. I’ve been meaning to re-read this one for years now, and I’d love to pick it up again.

2) The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – I distinctly remember devouring this one between classes while I was in university. It’s another one that has received some criticism over the years because of the age gap between the characters, especially given that Henry occasionally meets Clare as a child, but for some reason, that never really bothered me. This one very quickly became a favourite when I read it all those years ago, and I’d love to read it again.

3) My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult – This was another book that I absolutely devoured between classes, although for some reason, I can never remember whether this or Mercy was my first Jodi Picoult book. I’m pretty sure it was this one since it was the one I heard about absolutely everywhere at the time, but I also remember reading Mercy first somehow. Jodi Picoult is my favourite author, and I’d love to re-read the majority of her books. Even though I remember the twist for this one very well, I’d still love to read it again and revisit the characters.

4) This Savage Song and Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab – These are the only books on this list that I am actively planning on re-reading next year so far. I read the first book toward the end of 2017, and the second right at the beginning of 2018. Unfortunately, I have no memory whatsoever of Our Dark Duet because I timed it stupidly, and read it very fragmented over several days, which almost always makes me enjoy a book a lot less. I absolutely loved This Savage Song and I also rated Our Dark Duet 5 stars, so I must have enjoted it anyway, but I’d love to read it again when I can actually process it properly.

5) Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson – This is another book that I feel like I didn’t fully absorb when I read it. I read it as an ARC back in 2017, but I had a very bad cold at the time and was also rushing to finish it before I went on vacation. Since then, Tiffany D. Jackson has become one of my favourite YA authors, and this is the only book of hers so far that I’ve rated only 4 stars. While that’s still a great rating, I’ve always kind of wondered if I’d love it even more if I wasn’t sick and could concentrate better while reading it, so I’d love to give it another try.

6) Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater – I’m a bit upset about this one, to be honest. It was one of the books I was very strongly looking forward to, and I ended up reading it about a month into being in lockdown. I picked it up at that specific time because I was trying to take advantage of the extra time I had to read some of my highest priority books, even though I wasn’t quite in the mood for it at the time. I ended up listening to a lot of it as an audiobook and although I loved it, I somehow feel like I didn’t read it “properly” since I tend not to absorb audiobooks as well as physical books. Even though I loved it and rated it 5 stars, I left it feeling a bit disappointed that I hadn’t read my own copy.

7) Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz – I’ve mentioned this book quite a few times before, and it’s one I’ve always vaguely meant to try again. I picked it up in the first place because there was so much hype surrounding it, and I couldn’t help feeling like I had missed something. I generally enjoyed it, but I guess part of the ending struck me the wrong way although it’s hard to comment specifically what I mean without risking any spoilers. Given how much everyone else loves this one, I really want to try it again and see if my impression will change.

8) Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik – This is another book I’d love to re-read to see if my opinion changes, although I’m a little skeptical. I picked it up because I’d loved Uprooted and was very excited for her next book. Unfortunately, I found this one much harder to get into, and it didn’t help that I was trying to read it during a work week instead of over the weekend like I’d originally planned, so I ended up reading it in a very fragmented kind of way, which made it even harder to really get invested. I vaguely have the impression that I’d like it better next time if I read it in longer stretches, but it will probably be a few years before I’m motivated strongly enough to try it.

9) Of Fire & Stars by Audrey Coulthurst – I expected this book to be an easy favourite, so I was very disappointed when it wasn’t! Like the majority of the books here, I generally enjoyed it and gave it 4 stars overall, but I was also a bit disappointed not to love it. My biggest struggle was that I found the world-building on the weaker side, and it took me much longer than I expected to get into the story. I also read it at a time where I’d read a few YA fantasy in a row, including the last three books of the Red Queen series, so I was probably a bit burnt out on the genre. I’d love to try it again when I can give it what feels like a bit more of a fair chance.

10) When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore – I picked this book up mostly because of the hype around it, and it was another one that I expected to love, and ended up giving 4 stars. I was not really used to magical realism at the time so I had some trouble really getting into the story. I remember thinking that the book was beautifully written, but I also didn’t fully understand what was happening a lot of the time. Now that I have a bit more experience reading books from this genre, and especially now that I’ve read and loved another book by this author, I’d love to give this one another try.

Top 5 Wednesdays: Non-Fiction November (Nonfiction Books on my TBR)

I’ll just throw it out there right away — I’m not really a fan of nonfiction. Despite the huge variety of subgenres available, it’s not something that interests me very much. I find the majority of nonfiction so slow and dry to read, so it really takes a lot for me to motivate myself to decide to pick one up. That’s not to say there aren’t great nonfiction books out there, because there definitely are, but given that I have a limited amount of time to read, I prefer to pick up fiction and read for entertainment. When I do read nonfiction, it is usually something to do with psychology, education or autism/developmental disabilities, or possibly a book about specific animals. Or, I like books that involve analysis of popular books, TV shows, movies, etc. such as essay collections with commentary about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Harry Potter, or The Simpsons from the perspectives of psychology, philosophy, etc. I have only a few nonfiction books on my TBR, but these are all books that I do plan to read at some point.

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) Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh

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I feel like I’m cheating a bit by including this one, but it is technically tagged as nonfiction. I was so excited to see that this book was finally coming out, and even more excited to get a copy so quickly! This book, as well as its precursor Hyperbole and a Half, immediately disprove what I said above about finding nonfiction dry. These books are a collection of autobiographical, illustrated essays about Allie Brosh’s life, and I find her writing so funny! I haven’t read this one yet, but it is very high on my list to pick up next year. Her books capture the exact kind of observational humour that I love from comedians like Ellen DeGeneres or Michael McIntyre, but also tend to touch on some very deep topics, such as depression. This is one nonfiction book that I can actively say that I’m looking forward to reading, and expect to love!

2) Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability and Making Space by Amanda Leduc

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I first heard about this book because of Kayla at BooksAndLala, who has strongly recommended it several times this year. It is a nonfiction book that is right up my alley, since it combines two of my favourite topics to read about: disability and analysis of books/movies. This book is about the ways fairy tales shape people’s views of disability and how people with disabilities are represented in these stories. I’m very curious to try this one and see the perspective it takes on representation and disability awareness. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I work for a day program for adults with autism and/or developmental disabilities, so these kinds of topics are very interesting to me. I also took a couple of courses about children’s literature and fairy tales when I was in university and college, and those were two of my favourite and most interesting classes. Adding on top of that the fact that Kayla so highly recommended it, this book was an immediate addition to my TBR, which is a rarity for nonfiction!

3) Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez

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I’m not necessarily the most interested in reading about feminism, but this one caught my attention because it had to do with statistics. As a psychology major when I was in university, I took quite a few courses that had to do with statistics, data collection, and how data is interpreted. This book is about the gender gap in a variety of fields, documenting multiple examples of the ways research tends to focus primarily on men with the idea that the world is generally structured or designed with men in mind. From what I’ve gathered, although I have not read the book itself yet, the author is putting forward the idea that treating men as the default has many day-to-day consequences for women, ranging from minor problems to more serious concerns, including differences in medical care. In theory, I’m interested in reading this one because I’m curious to see what kind of statistics the author has, but it also feels like the kind of nonfiction I’d likely find dry. I’ve heard great things about it though, so it might be worth a try anyway.

4) Bad Feminist and Not That Bad by Roxane Gay

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These are not technically on my TBR yet, but I’ve been considering adding them both. I have heard so many great things about Roxane Gay’s writing in the past couple of years that I almost feel like I need to try these at some point. To be honest, I don’t know very much about what exactly Bad Feminist is about, although I’ve noticed quite a few reviews mention that it involves a lot of commentary about pop culture. It seems that the book is about Roxane Gay’s views that feminism as a movement is flawed, and her attempts to navigate her own views about it. Not That Bad is a collection of essays from multiple contributors about rape culture and experiences of sexism and harassment. I think of the two books, Not That Bad interests me a little more, but I also think it will be very difficult to read.

5) Educated by Tara Westover

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To be honest, I added this one to my TBR mostly because of the hype, even though I’ve only ever had a mild interest in it. This book is about Tara Westover’s experience growing up with survivalist, fundamentalist parents, completely isolated from mainstream society until she was 17. Without any formal education, Tara began to educate herself and overcame her family’s restrictions to go to college and expand her horizons. I think the main reason I’d only mildly been interested at the time is because I somehow assumed that this book was some kind of story of survival in the wilderness. Although there is some element of that given that the family was so isolated, but now that I have a better idea of what it actually is, it does interest me a bit more. A coworker recently told me that if I enjoyed The Marsh King’s Daughter, I’d probably like this too, so it might be worth a try.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Book Titles that Would Make Good Song Titles

I always feel like I don’t have enough creativity for this kind of prompt! Or at least not enough music knowledge to have any sense of what would make a good band name, song title, etc. Although I’d theoretically love to be able to play an instrument, I’ve never had any kind of musical inclination or talent. I picked the flute when it was time to choose an instrument in school because I assumed it would be easy, but it really wasn’t! It always used to confuse me when nearly every show I watched involved at least one episode of the main character deciding they want to form or join a band. It just wasn’t a very common thing in my school, I guess. I think if I would have done anything musically-related, it probably would have been writing lyrics, since I used to love to write in general, but it’s not something I was ever motivated to try.

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

I had such a hard time trying to figure out which book titles might be good song titles, especially that weren’t already well-known song titles. I feel likd I’d have a much easier time if I had some sense of what these titles would sound like in a song. These are the ones I found that I thought might make interesting songs:

1) Love is a Revolution by Renee Watson

2) Yesterday is History by Kosoko Jackson

3) Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon (I could see it being a pretty funny parody/satire)

4) Under Shifting Stars by Alexandra Latos

5) Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

6) Along for the Ride by Mimi Grace

7) Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera

8) Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon

9) Wrong in All the Right Ways by Tiffany Brownlee

10) Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Top 10 Tuesdays: Non-Bookish Hobbies

To be honest, I’ve been dreading this prompt ever since I saw it on the list because I really don’t think I have that many hobbies! The majority of my hobbies involve books or reading in some way, either reading books myself, blogging or watching book-related content. I don’t play any musical instruments or sports. I’m not that into doing crafts. I don’t cook or bake very often. I haven’t actively tried to learn a new language, and I’m not very outdoorsy. I guess all this week’s prompt has really done is highlight that I need to get much more of a life (lol!). I kind of feel like I have to include things on here, even if I don’t do them very often, just to fill out the list a bit.

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) Watching TV shows (longer after the hype has died down) – I am very bad at keeping up with TV, and often have no interest at all in a show until long after it finished. During quarantine, I finally watched Glee, The Office, and Fresh Prince, none of which I’d ever seen before (aside from a couple of episodes here and there). I’m currently watching Modern Family, which I’d also never seen in order.

2) Listening to music – I used to love writing music reviews for the CDs I own on Amazon (not that I have any particular music knowledge), but it’s been years since I’ve bothered to write any. One thing I love to do now is pick an artist I like and listen to all of their albums in a row, even over a few days, to see how their music has evolved over the years.

3) Video games – I’m not very good at games, and I mostly play very simple ones like Kirby, Mario and Yoshi’s Island. I also still love to play Pokemon. These are all games that I grew up with and I still find them so fun to play. I also haven’t been very good at keeping up with current games and it’s been years since I bought any, but I really like the ones I have.

4) Computer games – Again, I’m not very skilled at playing games, but I play quite a few, especially because my ex got me into many of them. I especially like Minecraft (more for exploration, not for building), and I’m currently working my way through Hollow Knight. I also grew up playing games like Lemmings, Commander Keen, and Age of Mythology, and I still love all of those.

5) Watching movies – I especially love to rewatch Disney and Pixar movies, but I like movies in general. One of the worst parts of the pandemic for me this year is not being able to go out to see a movie in a theatre. I’m not the kind to rush out to a midnight premiere or anything, but it’s something I loved doing with friends and family, and then go out for a meal afterwards, and I miss being able to do that.

6) Seeing plays and musicals – My best friend got me into going to the theatre by taking me to see my first “real” play. I’d seen small-scale performances in school, but my best friend took me to see Wicked, and also arranged for a group of us to see Phantom of the Opera, both while I was in high school. I usually go to see at least one play a year, but that’s obviously off the table right now.

7) Word puzzles – I’ve always had a bit of a talent for words and writing, so I tend to love word puzzles like crosswords, word searches, and especially logic puzzles. I used to play a ton of word games when I was younger like Scattergories, word scrambles, etc. It’s not really something I do often anymore, but I still enjoy them

8) Board games – This is another one that I don’t do very often, but I tend to enjoy, depending on the game. It takes me a while sometimes to learn new games, but I love classics like Monopoly, Scrabble, or The Game of Life. I think a big part of this one is because it’s what I used to do with my other best friend every time I went to his house, and it was always fun!

9) Photography – I like photography, but I don’t do it very much aside from taking pictures of my reading challenge books for Instagram. I mostly just use my phone camera at this point, but I like to take pictures, especially when I’m on vacation or seeing something new. I especially love to take pictures of animals.

10) Jigsaw puzzles – I used to do jigsaw puzzles all the time, but stopped mostly because I got a full-time job and didn’t have much time for it anymore, and also because I don’t have much space to do them. I used to do huge ones and store them on a board under my bed, but I had nowhere to keep finished ones, so it was also a bit frustrating to put all that time into them and then have to take them apart.