TBR Throwback Follow-Up (#1)

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

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

From my July 2017 Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From my September 2017 post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wrap-Up

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

 

 

 

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Top 10 Tuesdays: From Page to Screen Freebie

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

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

1) A Series of Unfortunate Events (Netflix series)

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

2) You (Netflix series)

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

3) Bones (TV series)

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

4) The Devil Wears Prada (Movie)

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

5) The DUFF (Movie)

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

6) Matilda (Movie)

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

7) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Movie)

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

8) The Wizard of Oz (Movie)

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

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

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

10) Wicked (Play)

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

My 5-Star Predictions for 2019!

I have never made a 5-star prediction post before, but it is something that I’ve seen frequently on other blogs/vlogs and it seemed like a lot of fun to do. I’ve noticed recently that I seem to be getting a little more picky with my ratings in general, which probably has to do with the sheer number of books I’ve been reading every year. It frustrates me to no end sometimes that Goodreads doesn’t allow half-star ratings because I have so many books that fall directly between two star-ratings, but I’m forced to round either up or down. The most difficult gap for me is the decision between a 4-star and a 5-star read. I recently read the first three Mortal Instruments books for the first time, and I thought that two of them were a solid 4.5 stars. It took a long time for me to decide whether to round up or down to make them fit into Goodreads’ system. In general, I find that I’m getting better at predicting which books I will enjoy, so I’d love to put that to the test by trying to guess a few of the books that I will give 5 stars to. Later on in the year, I plan to revisit the post and see if I was right!

For the sake of giving a little structure to this, I’ve decided to choose 3 books from each of the 5 reading challenges that I’m doing, and I’m excluding books from longer series intentionally, since it’s hard to predict specifically which book in the series might be 5 stars.

Goodreads Around the Year Challenge

1) Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman

35716237Prompt: 4 Books Inspired by the Wedding Rhyme: Book #4  Something Blue

What Is It About?: A girl named Rumi Seto who is sent away to live in Hawaii with her aunt, after her younger sister Lea dies in a car accident. Struggling with the grief of her sister’s loss and feeling abandoned by her mother, Rumi tries to recapture her passion for music and finish the song she was working on with her sister.

Why I Chose It: I’ve found that I have a tendency to take challenge prompts quite literally, and when I choose a book, I want them to be a clear and obvious fit for the prompt. This was literally the most “blue” book I could find, fitting the prompt both in terms of the cover colour as well as the title.

Why 5 Stars?: I read Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman in 2018, and that was easily one of my favourite books of the year and an immediate 5 stars. I have since added every upcoming book by her to my TBR, even those that have very little information available. I love her writing style, and I’m hoping to love this one as much as I loved Starfish.

2) Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

26856502Prompt: A book from the 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards

What Is It About?: A long-awaited sequel to Vicious, that takes place 5 years after the events of that book. This book introduces a new character, Marcella, who is looking to use her newfound power to take over the city of Merit, doing whatever it takes including pitting Victor and Eli against each other once more.

Why I Chose It: I absolutely adore Victoria Schwab’s writing and very creative story ideas. I read Vicious very late last year with the intent of not waiting too long to try to the sequel, so this was a book I always knew I was going to read this year.

Why 5 Stars?: Vicious was one of my favourite books of last year by far, and I’m really looking forward to reading more about these amazing characters. Victoria Schwab is an incredible writer and in general, I think I’d love all of her books.

3) The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

36199084Prompt: A book related to STEM (science, technology, engineering or math)

What Is It About?: A woman named Stella who is on the autism spectrum, and wants to learn how to be better at sex and relationships. After being pressured by her mother to start a family, Stella hires a male escort named Michael to teach her.

Why I Chose It: I was a little on the fence about this one at first, but it quickly won me over after seeing so much hype around it. I am always interested in stories that have characters on the autism spectrum, and this one seems like a unique angle that I’ve never read before.

Why 5 Stars?: To be honest, I’m mostly expecting this one to be 5 stars because of all the hype. So many reviewers that I follow have given this 5 stars or chosen it as one of their top books of the year. It also reminds me a tiny bit of The Hating Game, which I loved, and seems like it will be a lot of fun to read.

PopSugar 2019 Challenge

1) A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

39072210Prompt: A book that takes place in a single day

What Is It About?: This book is set at an abortion clinic, where a gunman has taken everyone inside hostage. It focuses on the variety of characters who were at the clinic that day, including Wren, the 15-year-old daughter of Hugh McElroy, the hostage negotiator who arrives on the scene, and also includes the perspective of the shooter himself.

Why I Chose It: Jodi Picoult is my favourite author, and I always try to read her books soon after they come out. This was one released in October 2018 and I didn’t have a chance to get to it last year, but it was one of the first books that I knew I wanted to add to my lists for this year. I chose it for this prompt because the entire book it set during the hours of the hostage standoff.

Why 5 Stars?: It is quite rare that I’ve given anything by Jodi Picoult less than 5 stars. I love how she presents such complex and timely issues from a variety of perspectives, and I love her writing style in general.

2) On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

35887567Prompt: A book that’s published in 2019

What Is It About?: A teenage girl named Bri who wants to become a rapper like her father. When her mother unexpectedly loses her job and the family is struggling to afford their home, Bri decides that it is now a necessity, not a choice, to make it as a famous rapper.

Why I Chose It: Mostly because of Angie Thomas’s name alone. I thought The Hate U Give was an excellent debut, and I was looking forward to what she would come out with next. I’m not particularly interested in rap or in stories about people who are celebrities/trying to become famous, but this one just sounded so interesting that I had to include it in my plans for the year.

Why 5 Stars?: Angie Thomas is a very strong character-driven author, and I think if anyone could make me enjoy a story like this, it will be her. I think it could be tough to live up to The Hate U Give, but most of the reviews I’ve seen so far for this one say that it is just as good.

3) The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

35533431Prompt: A ghost story

What Is It About?: This book follows two timelines — one following several roommates at the Idlewild Hall, a boarding school for “troubled girls” in 1950, and the other following a journalist named Fiona who is writing about the restoration of the building for the local paper in 2014. While covering the restoration, Fiona discovers a link to the loss of her own sister and secrets that were meant to stay hidden.

Why I Chose It: I’ve had this one on my TBR for a while and it is one that I kept coming back to as something that I really wanted to read. I’m not a huge fan of ghost stories in general, but I love a good atmospheric book and I’ve heard that this book is exactly that.

Why 5 Stars?: To be honest, I’m not completely sure why I chose this one as a possible 5-star read. It was one of the books that really stuck out to me as I was looking at my list to see which books I thought I’d love, so I’m just going with the hunch.

ATY Top Picks Challenge

1) The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

34189556Prompt: A domestic thriller

What Is It About?: I don’t know much detail about this one since it is a thriller, and I think knowing too much would risk spoilers. It seems to be about a woman who becomes obsessed with the younger woman that her husband left her for.

Why I Chose It: I’ve been wanting to read more thrillers in general, and I tend to really enjoy domestic thrillers. I’ve been hearing about this one non-stop for the past several months, and thought it sounded like something I would like.

Why 5 Stars?: I’ve seen some excellent reviews for this one and a ton of hype surrounding it. I’m always a little hesitant to buy into the hype, but I’m starting to learn that sometimes it is worthwhile to pick up something with so much buzz around it.

2) The Perfect Mother by Aimee Malloy

35887193Prompt: A book about a cult or group of people (ie. a  book club, gang, or social group)

What Is It About?: A group of women who call themselves the May Mothers because they are all new moms who gave birth in May, and meet twice a week to support each other and talk about their experiences as parents. When Winnie’s son goes missing, three of the other mothers decide to help her, but as the police start to investigate, they begin to scrutinize all the mothers in the group.

Why I Chose It: I’ve been wanting to read this one ever since I first heard about it last year, but I didn’t have any room to fit it into my plans. It sounds like exactly the kind of thriller I tend to enjoy.

Why 5 Stars?: My mom has already read this one and she really enjoyed it, and we often like the same kinds of books. It is another book that I’ve already seen quite a bit of hype around, and I think the fact that I’ve been looking forward to it for a year already has convinced me that I should love it.

3) Sadie by Courtney Summers

34810320Prompt: A book with revenge or vengeance as a theme

What Is It About?: A teenage girl named Sadie whose sister Mattie is found dead, and Sadie is determined to bring the killer to justice. After setting out on her own to find him, Sadie goes missing. It also follows West McCray, a man running a podcast that follows Sadie’s story.

Why I Chose It: I’ve had several of Courtney Summers’ books on my TBR for years now, although I haven’t read any of them yet. I chose this one specifically because it has been absolutely everywhere for the past few months, and it sounds like a very interesting story.

Why 5 Stars?: I think of all the books here, this is the one that I’m most on the fence about since the last book I read involving a teenager seeking revenge for her sister (The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis) did not live up to the hype for me. From everything I’ve heard, this one sounds much better and I’m especially intrigued by the podcast angle.

Bookish 2018 Challenge

1) The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

35604686Prompt: A book with a biracial main character

What Is It About?: A girl named Leigh, who is half Asian and half White, who travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time after her mother’s suicide. Leigh is convinced that her mother turned into a bird when she died, and hopes to find her in Taiwan.

Why I Chose It: The whole bird thing kind of threw me off, but I’ve heard that this book is absolutely heartbreaking and beautifully written. It was also surprisingly tough to find a book that had a biracial character when I was specifically looking for one, although I feel like I’d seen plenty when I wasn’t consciously trying. This was a book that I’d been planning to read anyway, so it was a great fit for this prompt.

Why 5 Stars?: If I can buy into the whole magical realism angle of her mother possibly being a bird, I think this story sounds incredible. I’ve been starting to burn out a bit on YA books involving death of a family member, but this one seems especially poignant and worth trying.

2) A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

38720939Prompt: An #ownvoices book

What Is It About?: Set a year after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, this book follows a 16-year-old hijabi Muslim girl named Shirin who is faced with prejudice and even violence from others due to her religion. When she meets Ocean James, the first person who seems to really want to get to know her, she is afraid to let her guard down and not sure how to let him in.

Why I Chose It: I really enjoyed the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi and I’m very interested to see what else she can write. I especially like contemporary romances when there is something of a little more substance to them, and I think this one should easily deliver on that.

Why 5 Stars?: This book received great reviews from many of the reviewers I follow, and my ratings for many books are often similar to theirs. I also generally love Tahereh Mafi’s writing style so I’m sure I will love this book as well.

3) The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

34043643Prompt: A book recommended by a librarian

What Is It About?: A woman named Amber who becomes extremely jealous of the wealthy and beautiful Daphne Parrish. Taking advantage of Daphne’s caring nature, Amber begins to edge herself into the Parrish’s lives and take Daphne’s place with her family.

Why I Chose It: This book has been on my TBR since December 2017, so I thought it was about time that I finally pick it up! This one fits right in with my goal to read more thrillers, and it sounds like a very interesting story.

Why 5 Stars?: When I first added this book to my TBR, I commented (in a Stacking the Shelves post) that it reminded me a tiny bit of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, which is one of my all-time favourite books. I’ve actually seen quite mixed reviews for this one, mostly commenting that Amber is such an unlikable character, but I often find the unlikable characters make the most interesting protagonists.

Modified Mannegren Challenge

1) Renegades by Marissa Meyer

28421168Prompt: The first book in a trilogy

What Is It About?: A group of people called Renegades who have extraordinary abilities, who have come out of a crumbling society and helped to re-establish peace. Nova blames the Renegades for her parents’ deaths and is seeking to overthrow them, when she meets a Renegade named Adrian who may not be as bad as she expects.

Why I Chose It: I have absolutely adored everything I’ve read by Marissa Meyer, so I’m really looking forward to give her newest series a chance. I put off the Lunar Chronicles for a really long time because I thought it was overhyped, but it turned out to be worth it, so I’m hoping to avoid the same mistake here.

Why 5 Stars?: Marissa Meyer is becoming one of my new favourite authors, and I’m hoping to enjoy this one as much as I’ve loved all of her other books so far. It’s still pretty rare for me to read anything sci-fi, so this is a bit outside my comfort zone, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to love it.

2) Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

28449207Prompt: Any book from the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards

What Is It About?: An orphan and librarian named Laszlo Strange who has always been obsessed with a mythical lost city, Weep. An opportunity arises for Laszlo to achieve his dream of finding the lost city, and figure out what really happened to it.

Why I Chose It: I read Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone series and I loved her beautiful writing. I’m a little nervous about reading this one because her books tend to be very long and very dense, but they are also stunning. I’ve heard such great things about this duology that I knew I had to give it a chance.

Why 5 Stars?: If I can overcome my anxiety about starting this one, I think I’m going to love it. Last year, the last two books of Daughter of Smoke & Bone were some of my favourites of the year, but also felt like they took such a long time! I think it will be 5 stars because of Laini Taylor’s writing alone.

3) Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson

36285129Prompt: A book featuring music

What Is It About?: A pair of teenagers who come up with a plan to promote the music of their recently deceased friend, intending to make him a major rap star with the mixtapes he left behind. As his music starts to catch people’s attention, the teens are left with the pressure of trying to keep his death a secret and confront what really happened to him

Why I Chose It: I actually struggled a bit with figuring out which prompt I wanted to use this book for, since there were quite a few that it could fit across all my challenges. I was surprised to realize I had 3 books in mind for this year that featured music, but ultimately this was the one I decided to go with for this prompt.

Why 5 Stars?: Tiffany D. Jackson has become one of my favourite YA contemporary authors. I love how she takes on stories that are a little different, and writes such interesting and complex characters. Her book Monday’s Not Coming was one of my favourites last year, so I was excited to see what she came out with next. I was a little surprised to see that it was a bit similar to On the Come Up, but I’m expecting to love them both.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Books I Meant to Read in 2018 But Didn’t

Toward the end of December, my Top 5 Wednesday group also had a prompt asking for the books we meant to read in 2018 but didn’t get around to. I originally wasn’t sure I had enough books that I’d skipped to fill both posts, but the more I started to look back on the plans I had for the year, the more I realized that there were a lot of books that I’d intended to read, but didn’t. In my previous post, I focused mostly on books that I had very tentatively slotted in to different prompts, but only one of them was a book that I really felt I’d missed out on reading. As I started to look at the books I wanted to include this time around, I realized that there were quite a few books left! I had two challenges that I didn’t finish, with a total of 6 books remaining, and several others that I felt compelled to switch out in favour of something shorter/easier to read by the end of the year. At least it gives me some books to prioritize for this year instead!

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) Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

33275690I’m actually currently reading this book, and as of posting this, I’m about a third of the way through it. This was one of the books I had in mind for a prompt for my Rejects Challenge, and I just ran out of time to get to it. It was frustrating, since I bought a copy from Book Outlet and really wanted to read it, but I did such a poor job of organizing myself last year, that I just couldn’t get to it. This book is about a girl named Claudia who accidentally overhears a popular couple at school breaking up, and ends up paired with Iris, a mean girl who was one half of that couple, for an assignment that leads to them both becoming involved in the school’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This is one of two Emma Mills books that have made it to my list for this year, and I’m glad that I’m getting to read it now. It was especially frustrating to run out of time for this one last year because it’s such a quick read, at least so far. The book is just over 300 pages, but it goes pretty quickly and it’s been fun to read so far.

2) Love and Miss Communication by Elyssa Friedland

23131103This was another book that was very high on my priority list for last year, and I ended up running out of time for it as well. It was the only other book from my Rejects Challenge that I didn’t finish, so I decided to add this one and Foolish Hearts to my Rejects Challenge for this year instead. This book is about a woman named Evie who is frustrated with social media and the constant communication that it entails, and decides to take a break from her smartphone and social media accounts. I love books that focus on social media, which is why this one was so high on my list in the first place. I was so excited to find an inexpensive copy of this one on Book Outlet too, and the only reason I kept putting it off was because I was prioritizing my library books instead. I’m very disappointed that I didn’t get to this one, but I’m planning on reading it within the next week or two instead. Technically I have the whole year since I added it to a new challenge, but it only seems right to knock off some of the leftovers from last year first.

3) The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser

29102939I’ve had this one on my TBR since 2016, when I fell in love with the stunning cover art, but unfortunately I keep putting off reading it. This was the first of four books (the next 4 listed here) which I planned to read for my Book Riot challenge last year, and ended up scrapping because the books I had remaining were all for prompts that I found repetitive, or at least that was my excuse to not feel bad about running out of time. I had this book in mind for yet another “book in translation” prompt, which is a challenge category that I’m very tired of seeing. It is about a girl named Amy who moves to her mother’s childhood home, where her grandmother insists that she must read. Amy discovers that she is a “book jumper” who is able to leap into the stories she is reading, and interact with the worlds inside her books, and soon realizes that someone might be stealing from the books. I love the concept of this one, although it reminds me quite a bit of The Neverending Story and Inkheart, neither of which did I enjoy very much. I was interested in reading this one, but kept pushing it off until the end of the year, at which point I lost interest. I would love to come back to it at some point, but it’s not in my immediate plans.

4) OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu

13326677I had this book in mind for a prompt asking for a book that has an ugly cover, mostly because I found the colours of the cover pretty obnoxious. It was another one that I put off because I prioritized my library books over the books I owned, so this one fell to the bottom of my list, despite my interest in trying it. It is about a girl named Bea who is interested in a guy named Beck, but also can’t stop thinking about someone else, a guy that she watches and even takes notes about in her journal. While Bea insists that she has it under control, it seems to be more of a compulsion that is related to her OCD. I have seen extremely mixed reviews for this one, especially around the OCD representation. It’s interesting because I’ve seen several reviews that say the representation is terrible and even harmful, and about an equal number of reviews that are impressed with how accurate it seems. I do not have OCD myself so I’m definitely interested in seeing what reviewers who do think about the representation, but either way I still have some interest in giving this book a try.

5) The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

18465852I’ve been hearing great things about this book for quite a while, and although I’m interested in trying it, it always seems to slip to the bottom of my list. I had this book in mind for a prompt requiring a book that was about an immigrant, and ultimately switched it out for an amazing graphic novel instead. This book is about a Mexican girl named Maribel whose parents move to America after she suffers a near-fatal accident, and the family soon realizes that her recovery may be more difficult than they expected due to language and cultural barriers. Maribel also meets Mayor Toro, a boy her age whose family moved from Panama 15 years ago, and the two of them form a close bond that is soon overshadowed by violence. If I’m honest, I rarely seem to find books about South or Central American characters that interest me very much, but this one sounds very intriguing. It reminds me a bit of Jean Kwok’s Girl in Translation, which I absolutely loved, and which may have something to do with the very similar cover art. Every time I look at the synopsis for this one, it reminds me that I’m interested in reading it, but it never seems to make it to the top of my list.

6) Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Flowers for AlgernonThis is the one and only re-read on this list, which I chose for a prompt requiring a book that was assigned in school that I’d hated or never finished. I had to stretch the prompt since I always did my assigned reading, and the only book that I outright hated was a book that I had no interest in trying again. I chose this one because it is commonly read in schools, and I read it while I was at university, although it was never assigned to me. When I last read this book, I didn’t like it very much. It is about a young man named Charlie who has a cognitive disability, and who participates in a lab experiment in which an operation increases his IQ to genius levels. When scientists notice some serious side effects in Algernon, the lab rat who has undergone the same treatment, it seems likely that the same will happen to Charlie, forcing him to lose his new life. In theory, I love the concept of this book and I was really hoping to enjoy it more than I did. Unfortunately, I didn’t like it very must because I found Charlie’s arrogance as his intelligence so off-putting. I’d love to try it again now that I know a bit more about what to expect from the character, but I wouldn’t say it is very high on my list.

7) City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

256683I’ve been debating reading this series for such a long time already, and even debated whether to include it in my plans last year at all. I initially decided against it, but eventually changed my mind and had it in mind for a prompt requiring a book that had been turned into a movie that I had seen. I saw the 2013 movie version, and I enjoyed it but wasn’t too interested in reading the books at the time. The longer I put it off, the more I felt overwhelmed by the series. It just started to feel like there were a million books to catch up on, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to it. I finally decided to give it a chance after seeing that so many other of the very hyped series that I’d been avoiding ended up becoming favourites. I intended to read this one closer to the end of 2018 so I could move on to the rest of the series this year without forgetting too much detail, but I pushed it off so long that I just ran out of time. I ended up making the 6 books of this series plus the 3 Infernal Devices books a goal for this year (assuming I enjoy the first one enough to continue), so I’m hoping to get to it soon.

8) Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

28374007I’ve just realized that this was actually the last book I intended for last year’s Book Riot challenge, so one of the books above must have been for another one, not that it really matters much. This was another series that I wanted to try because I’d seen so much hype around it, and I also left it until close to the end of the year with the intent of reading the rest of the series early in 2019. It is about a set of triplet queens who are all heirs to the throne, competing in a game of life or death to see who will ultimately win the title of ruler. Each of the sisters has a different kind of magic that they use to try and overthrow the other two and take their place as queen. I kept mentioning this one late last year as a book I meant to finish before the start of 2019, and I just couldn’t get to it in time. I didn’t want to rush through it right at the end of the year since it seemed like a book that I would really enjoy, so I decided to push it off and read the trilogy together in 2019 instead. I’m probably not going to be reading the Queens of Fennbirn novellas this year, unless someone tells me that they are essential to the rest of the series (but no spoilers, please!) just because I don’t think I have any room to fit it in.

9) Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

23308087I think this is the book that I’m most embarrassed about not reading. I asked for it for my birthday in 2017, with the intent of reading it for my 2018 reading challenges, and I just never managed to pick it up. I was first interested in this one because I saw it described as a Mulan retelling, and that has always been one of my favourite movies. The more I read about it though, the more I saw people commenting that it really has very little to do with Mulan, and I think that put a lot of people off. THis book is about a 17-year-old girl named Mariko who has been raised to be married off. On her way to meet the man she is supposed to marry for the first time, her convoy is attacked by a group called the Black Clan who aim to kill her, and as the lone survivor, Mariko decides to disguise herself as a boy and seek revenge on the Clan. I have been meaning to read Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn duology for a while as well, but haven’t read those either. Actually, the one biggest complaint I’ve seen about this one is that it is very slow-paced, which is something that tends to put me off, but the story still sounds interesting enough to appeal to me.

10) Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

32333055This was another book that I was really annoyed about not getting to in time, especially because I really wanted to read it. It was another one that I managed to get from Book Outlet, which meant it got pushed back to the end of the year so I could finish my library holds first. Unfortunately, that also meant I left it too late. This book is about a hijabi Muslim teenager named Janna who is struggling to find her place in her family and friends. When Janna learns that a highly respected member of her mosque is responsible for a horrible act, she also has to decide whether she will be the one to call him on it, and risk causing an uproar in the community. I have heard a lot of great things about this book, and it was one that I was really looking forward to reading. I actually wasn’t completely sold on it at the beginning of the year, but the more I looked through my Goodreads TBR, the more this one kept coming back to me and I knew it was something I’d have to give a try soon. It’s frustrating that I didn’t get to it last year, so I’m hoping to get to it within the next couple of weeks.

Bonus #11) You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon

30339479I usually don’t list more than 10 books for a Top 10 Tuesday, but this list just didn’t feel complete without this one, even though I nearly forgot it. This was a book that caught my interest very early on in the year, but I ultimately switched it out for a different option when I had trouble getting a copy of it. For most of last year, my library did not have a copy available and I ended up buying one from Book Outlet instead. By the time I got a copy, I’d already read another book to fulfill the prompt that I wanted it for and I didn’t have anywhere else to put this one, so I decided to leave it for 2019 instead. This book is about 18-year-old twins, Adina and Tovah, who are Jewish and whose mother suffers from Huntington’s disease. The girls have their futures all lined up, until a genetic test reveals that one of them tests positive for Huntington’s, while the other tests negative. With little in common already, these opposite results push the twins even further apart as they try to come to terms with the results and the impact it will have on their futures. I’ve seen such amazing reviews for this one, and it reminds me a bit of a YA version of Lisa Genova’s books, which I love. I wish I would have found a copy sooner last year!

 

 

 

 

2018 End of Year Book Survey

This year kind of fell apart for me in terms of getting my reading challenges done. It is the first year where I really feel like I have to scramble to get things done on time! I first came across this post last year on PerpetualPageTurner and thought it was the perfect way to summarize an entire year’s worth of reading. All credit goes to her for the questions and any of the graphics. I haven’t yet been able to find a version that has a title graphic updated for 2018 yet, but I will edit to add that in if possible. Overall, despite the scramble to finish everything on time, I’ve had a great reading year and I’ve read many amazing new books! I’m really looking forward to getting started on next year’s challenges!

Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read:  176
Number of Re-Reads: 4
Genre You Read The Most From: Probably YA Fantasy since I had several series to finish off, but also quite a few YA Contemporary

best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2017?

Like last year, it’s really hard to pick just one so I’ll have to settle for one per genre, excluding re-reads:

Best YA Contemporary – Tie between Starfish and Autoboyography
Best YA Fantasy – Very difficult choice! I’ll have to go with A Court of Mist and Fury
Best Graphic Novel – Wires and Nerve (both volumes)
Best Fiction – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Best Horror or Thriller – I Let You Go
Best Adult Contemporary – Still Me

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

There were quite a few books that I expected to be easy 5-star reads, but many of them ended up being a bit underwhelming. I think the most disappointing overall was Immaculate, which had such a cool concept but I really didn’t like the way it was executed. It ended up being a 3-star read.

In terms of my 4-star reads, I think the one I was most disappointed by was The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty. Big Little Lies is one of my favourite books and I’ve enjoyed all the books that I’ve read by this author, but I found The Last Anniversary slow, a bit confusing, and hard to get through.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo! I only read this one at all because of the hype surrounding it, so I was surprised when it became an instant favourite.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

I haven’t really pushed anyone to read anything, but I’ve been highly recommending Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson and Bang by Barry Lyga.

 5. Best series you started in 2018? Best Sequel of 2018? Best Series Ender of 2018?

Best series started – Vicious (with Six of Crows in a close second)
Best sequel – A Court of Mist and Fury
Best series ender – A Court of Wings and Ruin

 5. Favourite new author you discovered in 2018

I was surprised to realize that many of the books I read this year were by authors that I’d already read. Some of my new favourites would have to be: Taylor Jenkins Reid, Leigh Bardugo, Christina Lauren, Clare Mackintosh, and Akemi Dawn Bowman.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Beartown. I never read books that have a heavy focus on sports, but this one was definitely worth all the hype.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Both Monday’s Not Coming and The Takedown were very hard for me to put down!

 9. Book You Read In 2018 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

I’m not planning on re-reading any of this year’s books next year, but if I had to pick one, it would probably be Vicious.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?

New to me character: Victor Vale from Vicious and Evelyn Hugo from The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Character from a series I continued: Rhysand from the ACOTAR series, and Gansey from The Raven Cycle

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2018?

I have to stick with the same series that I chose last year, and go for Laini Taylor’s Days of Blood and Starlight and Dreams of Gods and Monsters.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2018?

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. It was very different from what I expected, but it was definitely thought-provoking.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read? 

Crosstalk! I really wanted to read this one last year also but had a hard time getting a copy of it, so I was glad to find an inexpensive copy online this year!

Also, this year I finally finished the Chronicles of Narnia series, and the With the Light manga series, both of which I’d been meaning to read for years.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?

Like last year, this is a hard question because I don’t really keep track of quotes very well. I looked back at some of the quotes that I had saved on Goodreads, but I don’t save quotes from every book.

“It wasn’t that Henry was less of himself in English. He was less of himself out loud. His native language was thought.” — Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven King

“Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human” — Victoria Schwab, Vicious

“What we think to be our greatest weakness can sometimes be our biggest strength”  — Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Wings and Ruin

“People are messy, and love can be ugly. I’m inclined to always err on the side of compassion” — Taylor Jenkins Reid, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

“And when enough people are quiet for long enough, a handful of voices can give the impression that everyone is screaming” — Fredrik Backman, Beartown

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?

Shortest – Pygmalion (82 pages)
Longest – A Court of Wings and Ruin (699 pages)

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Beside Myself by Ann Morgan. I expected a straightforward thriller, and it ended up being a lot more literary and had a lot more depth than I expected.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Both main relationships from The Raven Cycle.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Blue’s relationships with the other Raven Boys, and the 4 boys dynamics with each other.

Also, I have to give special mention to Isaac Grant from The Illuminae Files series, for becoming essentially the father figure to the entire group, and especially his bond with Ella.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2018 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Excluding books from series, since it would be hard to limit myself to just one, I’d have to go with Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. I liked Made You Up last year, but I loved this one a lot more.

21. Best Book You Read In 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?

I don’t know if I’d call him a fictional crush, and I’ve only read the first book in the series so far, so I don’t know if I’ll still like him by the end, but I really liked Chaol from Throne of Glass.

23. Best 2018 debut you read?

Well, I was going to pick either Starfish or The Takedown, but apparently both of those debuted in 2017.

Turns out that while I read several books that were published in 2018, very few of them were debuts. The four 2018 debuts I read were 4-star reads, whereas the two listed above were immediate 5-stars. If I had to pick one favourite of the 4 I read, it would probably be Let’s Talk About Love, although I’d much rather pick the two books I listed above.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

The courts of the ACOTAR series stand out, as does the world Laini Taylor developed through both Days of Blood and Starlight and Dreams of Gods and Monsters.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Fowl Language: Welcome to Parenting was a lot of fun!

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2018?

Bang by Barry Lyga, especially one chapter toward the end.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Heartless by Marissa Meyer. I’d heard very mixed reviews for this one so I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy it, but I ended up loving it! I also have to mention Monday’s Not Coming, Meddling Kids, and I Was Anastasia.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

I’m still not entirely sure what this means, but I assume it has to do with a book that had a strong impact or that was most upsetting. I think I’d have to go with Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2018?

I think I have to give this one to Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too, which was quite weird but very interesting.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline made me mad because it had a very unsatisfying and disappointing ending!

book-blogging

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2018?

I haven’t been very good at keeping up with the blogs I already follow, many of which have now gone on hiatus for a bit anyway. I can’t think of any new blogs that I discovered this year.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2018?

I only wrote two reviews this year, for Season 2 of A Series of Unfortunate Events, and for Season 2 of Thirteen Reasons Why.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

I really liked the post I made about “The Challenge Police” or people who put way too much time and effort trying to control how other people manage their own reading challenges.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

None. I don’t go to these kinds of events.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2018?

Accomplishing my goal of finishing off all 12 of the series I had identified as high priority for this year, which included some huge books! I read close to 20 books this year that were 500 pages or more, including 6 that were 600 pages or more.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

I completely failed to properly prioritize my reading challenges this year! I ended up with 11(!!!) books remaining in my highest priority challenge by the start of December, which was literally 1/5 of the total number of books needed for that challenge. In general, I did a very poor job of balancing out my reading this year since I often ended up with too many long books in a row, or too many similar books in a row. Trying to balance things out better has become a top goal for 2019.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

As far as I can tell, the post that got the most views was my Top 10 Tuesday post: Books that Awaken the Travel Bug in me. I’m having a lot of trouble figuring out how to find my stats. If this really is the post that got the most views, it’s ironic since I didn’t really like it. It was a difficult topic for me to find books that fit, and my choices felt kind of random to me.

The Best Books I’ve Read this Year So Far from Early July was in a very close second, which was a post I was much happier with.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Many of them, honestly. Last year I had a post that somehow reached over 100 views, and this year I was nowhere near that total on any of my posts. I know that I tend to write much longer posts that most bloggers and I’m sure that puts people off, but I’d love to get a bit more views for the amount of time I put in!

If I had to pick just one post that I wish would get a bit more attention, it was my discussion post “Sequels, Prequels and Everything In Between” which is about the trend to add more books to a series, even when it’s not always necessary.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

I want to say BookOutlet, but I technically discovered that late last year and it was my choice for 2017’s best discovery. Instead, I think I’ll go for BookBub, which I discovered just last week. More specifically, I discovered their blog which has so many posts with recommendations for a huge variety of themes!

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I actually accomplished many more of my goals than I originally expected, and even managed to complete my two highest priority challenges in time. I did not finish all of the challenges that I picked, but to be fair, I set the deadline for some of those as March 31, 2019 so I’m still technically on track if I choose to continue them.

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2018 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2019?

City of Bones. I was on the fence about whether I wanted to read this one at all because the entire series seems a bit overwhelming, but I’ve really enjoyed all the other fantasy series that I tried based on the hype, so I’m hoping this one will be just as good.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2019 (non-debut)?

Technically, I want to say The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern but I highly doubt I will end up reading it within the year, since it won’t be out until November.

If I had to pick a book I knew for sure I was going to read, it would be Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson. I’ve really enjoyed both other books I’ve read by this author, so I’m looking forward to trying the next one.

3. 2019 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Quarantine: A Love Story. That title caught my attention immediately, and just seemed so different.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2019?

I’m not 100% sure if I will be able to fit this one in next year, but I’m looking forward to King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018?

To read as much as I can, and do a much better job of balancing out my reading this year so I don’t run into the same problems this year with having too many similar books too close together.

6. A 2018 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):

I haven’t read any yet!

Top 5 Wednesdays: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019

There are so many new books coming out next year that I’m really looking forward to reading, and it’s hard to narrow it down to just 5! I spent way too long this year browsing through lists of upcoming releases for 2019 (and even 2020!) and adding new books to my TBR list. The one downside of doing that is it makes it hard sometimes to remember when books are actually coming out, so I end up thinking that a book has already been released when it hasn’t. It doesn’t help that so many of the channels I watch and reviewers I follow talk a lot about ARCs, so they are reading books long before I even think about picking them up. It’s been a while since I’ve really wanted to include a lot more than 5 books on a Top 5 Wednesday, but it was really hard to limit myself this time! In a way, there are so many books that I would like to read that I’m not sure how many of them I am especially excited about more than others, if that makes sense.

As a side note, I would also like to mention that I will not be doing my usual Monthly Recommendations post this month. This month’s topic is a mash-up of the previous months’ prompts for the year, and since I’ve kept up-to-date with them, it seems a bit redundant to do them again, especially when there will likely be plenty of recommendations/best books of the year posts coming up.

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) Slayer by Kiersten White

34723130I just finished my first ever Kiersten White book (And I Darken) just last night, and I really enjoyed it. I don’t think I was quite as into her writing style as I expected, but the story was very good and the characters were fascinating. I’m especially excited to try Slayer because it is based on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one of my all-time favourite TV series. This book is set in the same world as Buffy, focusing on a brand-new character named Nina who has grown up at the Watcher’s Academy despite having little interest in being a Watcher due to the violent lifestyle it entails. When Nina becomes the new Chosen One, she is thrown into a life that she never expected and has to deal with the difficult choices that come with being the Slayer. My one small worry about this book is that I am not up-to-date on the graphic novel series that came after the end of the TV series, and I’ve heard that there are a few references into it. I’m hoping that it doesn’t make anything here too hard to follow. I read the Season 8 graphic novels but don’t remember them well, and never continued the series because I just didn’t have the time. I’m really looking forward to reading this one!

2) King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

36307634I’d heard about this book long before I ever read anything by Leigh Bardugo, so it initially wasn’t something that I was too excited about. I ended up squeezing in the entire Grisha trilogy this year because I decided I wanted to read it before Six of Crows, and I was intrigued by all the online buzz I’d seen about Nikolai specifically. It was definitely justified because he quickly became one of my favourite characters in the entire series, so I’m very interested in seeing a book that follows his story a little more closely. This book is due out in late January, and it is about Nikolai’s struggles as the new king of Ravka, including a fight to overcome the “terrible legacy inside him” (according to the Goodreads synopsis). If I’m being honest, I don’t remember the Grisha trilogy in too much detail at this point. I read all three in a row in July and although I loved them all, it’s a bit hard for me to remember what happened. I’ll definitely need to refresh myself on them before going into this book, but I’m very excited to read more about Nikolai.

3) On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

35068618I’m sure this book will be on many people’s lists today, but I’m very excited to try Angie Thomas’s new book. I avoided The Hate U Give for a while because it seemed way too overhyped, but when I finally decided to give it a chance, I loved it! This book is not something that would usually catch my attention, but I’m interested in it because of how much I loved Angie Thomas’s writing style. This book is about a 16-year-old girl named Bri who wants to become a rapper, especially when her family hits some financial difficulties, making it that much more important for Bri to get her big break. I’m not really a fan of rap in general, nor do I often read books that focus on music because I find it hard to translate music well onto the page where it can’t actually be heard. I think this book has a very interesting angle on the story and I’m definitely interested in it because of the author alone.

4) Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

40554142I mentioned this book very recently in my Stacking the Shelves post at the beginning of December, where I commented that I initially wasn’t sure about it because it seemed like essentially the same story as The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. In the end, this book has moved pretty high up on my priority list simply because of how much I loved Evelyn Hugo. That was also a book that I was very apprehensive about because it was not the kind of thing I’d often read, but it ended up being a favourite of the year. I’m hoping that this one will be along the same lines. I also think this one is interesting because it is told in the format of interviews with the band members. Looking at the early reviews, there is quite the mix of rave 5-star reviews, and people who DNF’d it very early on. I’m hoping that my experience with it is closer to that of the people who really enjoyed it, but I’m a little worried that it can’t possibly live up to Evelyn Hugo.

5) Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson

36285129This book is not due out until the end of May, but it is one of the books that I’m most looking forward to. I read both of Tiffany D. Jackson’s previous books, Allegedly and Monday’s Not Coming, and I really enjoyed them both. I especially liked how she chooses topics and storylines that are a little more unique than the average YA story. This book is about two friends, Quadir and Jarrell, whose best friend Steph has been killed, leaving behind the rap songs that he was working on. With the help of Steph’s younger sister, the boys decide to promote Steph’s music under the name The Architect, and put together mixtapes that soon catch the attention of music producers, forcing the three teens to keep the secret of who is behind the songs and confront the truth about what happened to Steph. Tiffany D. Jackson is quickly becoming one of my favourite YA authors, and this book sounds very interesting. I love how she ties in some kind of mystery/suspense to all of her books so far, and although (as mentioned above) rap is not usually something that interests me, this one sounds so intriguing that I have to give it a try!

 

 

 

Top 10 Tuesdays: Books on my Winter 2018/2019

I’m feeling surprisingly unprepared for this week’s topic! Normally by this time of year, I have a pretty set idea in mind of what books I’m planning on reading for next year’s challenges, and I usually would have ordered many of them from the library. I’m incredibly behind on the process this year though! I was waiting around for a few reading challenge lists to be released before fully committing to which challenges I wanted to do, and it’s left me with way too many books that I want to read! The problem with me “tentatively” filling in lists of prompts is I end up getting so excited about them that I want to do the challenge, whether it’s realistically possible or not. With a few exceptions, I also don’t have a very strong idea of the order in which I’m going to read books next year, so I’m not sure which ones I will read in winter! I usually try to use a few of the Book of the Month picks for my Goodreads groups, but unfortunately, I’ve already read most of those. I decided to focus mostly on the books I have left for the rest of the month, and a few that I’m fairly certain I will get to early next year.

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

1) Friend Request by Laura Marshall

33785151I’m actually really annoyed with myself for putting this book off for so long! I got an ARC copy for free a long time ago and put it aside without giving it much thought, but as soon as I realized what it was about, it moved right up to the top of my list. I kept putting it off this year because I was prioritizing books from the library instead of the books I owned, and now that it’s getting close to the end of the year, I’m regretting not picking it up sooner! Embarrassingly enough, I had this one on my Fall TBR for this year as well, expecting to read it in October along with several other thrillers and Halloween-themed books. It is about a woman named Louise who receives a friend request from someone she used to know in high school — but Louise thought that person had died. The friend request forces her to dig into her past and try to uncover what really happened. I love thrillers and I love books involving social media, so I’m definitely planning on getting to this one in the next week!

2) Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

14866This is another book that was on my Fall TBR, but I don’t feel quite as bad about not getting to this one yet because I have read it once before. I decided to pick this one up again this year because it is one of the few Jodi Picoult books that I’ve read that I have literally no memory of at all. I know for a fact that I’ve read it, but can’t remember a single detail about the characters or the story, aside from the basic premise that it revolves around a school shooting. I chose this book for a challenge prompt this year involving a bestseller from the year that I graduated, and I’ve been really looking forward to trying it again. I also put this one off because I own it and partly because I’ve read it before, but I really want to get to it before the end of the year. I know that I really enjoyed it last time, and Jodi Picoult is my favourite author for good reason, so I’m hoping to like it just as much again.

3) Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline

25773504I chose this book for a prompt requiring a medical or legal thriller, although I’m starting to think it may be a bit of a stretch to consider it a thriller. I’ve decided to stick with it anyway since it is a book I’ve been looking forward to reading. This book is about a couple, Christine and Marcus, who are desperate to have a baby and ultimately decide to use a donor to conceive. After Christine gets pregnant, the couple is shocked to see a man on the evening news who is under arrest for several brutal murders — and who looks a lot like their donor! Looking at it again, I think this one could have some medical/legal thriller elements, and I’m very interested in seeing how the author tackles the topic. I have not read very many books that have to do with babies conceived with the help of a donor, and definitely none that have dealt with a complex issue like this one. I have enjoyed several other Lisa Scottoline books, so I’m hoping to get to this one too before the end of the year.

4) The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert

I chose this book because I thought the title was a lot of fun to say! It is set for a prompt requiring a book with alliteration in the title, and I don’t think you can get much more alliterative than this. It is about a woman named Lou who meets and connects with a food critic named Al, not knowing that this was the man whose review nearly got her restaurant shut down. It sounds like such a fun book to read, especially after I saw it compared to You’ve Got Mail. I wouldn’t say that movie is one of my favourites, but it is fun to watch and an adorable rom-com. I’m hoping for the same kind of feeling from this book, although I’m expecting that it will be pretty predictable. I ended up buying an inexpensive copy of this one from Book Outlet because I was so excited to read it, and kept putting it off ever since. I’m looking forward to finally getting to read it, and hopefully will be able to finish it before the end of this year.

5) Love and Miss Communication by Elyssa Friedland

23131103If it’s embarrassing that I haven’t read two of the books from my Fall TBR, it’s that much worse to realize that I’d put this book on my Summer TBR and then ignored it for almost 6 months! The main reason I put this one off is because it was for one of my lower-priority challenges, so as we get closer to the end of the year, I keep putting this one off in favour of books that count toward my ATY or PopSugar challenges. This book is about a woman named Evie who, after a series of unfortunate events, decides to take a break from social media and soon discovers that she likes being “unplugged.” I think this book is such an interesting idea because of how much we all tend to rely on the Internet and social media. It’s become such an integral part of most of our lives that it is hard to now imagine choosing not to use it. I’m very interested to see how the author handles Evie’s choice and the reactions of the others around her. I’ve seen quite mixed reviews for this one, so I’m a little hesitant to try it, but I’ve been meaning to read it for so long that I’ll have to get to it soon.

6) City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

256683The plan is to read this one before the end of December, but there is a chance it will get pushed back into early next year instead. This is one of those books that I actively avoided for a long time because it seemed to overhyped, and later because the length of the series seemed very overwhelming. I’ve owned a copy of City of Bones and City of Ashes for years without ever picking them up, although I have seen the movie version of City of Bones and I liked it. The longer I put this series off, the less likely I thought I was to try it because there seemed to be so many books to catch up on, but I keep hearing about how good it is. I’ve finally bought into the hype with several other big YA fantasy series and ended up loving those books, so I’m hoping this one will be the same. I think the key deciding factor about whether I’ll read it this year or next year is just how much time I have to read over the next couple of weeks. I want to give this one my full attention so I can judge it fairly, especially after waiting so long.

7) Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

28374007This is another one that is most likely going to be read by the end of this year, but might get pushed into early 2019 instead. It is another series that I’ve heard a lot of hype around in the past couple of years, and I’d love to give it a try. I especially liked that the plot seemed a bit different from the usual YA fantasy story. In this book, there are three sisters who are all equal heirs to the throne of Fennbirn, and who must compete in a game of life or death to find out who will ultimately rule. Each of the sisters has a special ability or talent, including elemental powers, poisons, and the ability to control nature. It sounds like such a great concept, and I like that it does not seem to be heading toward the usual YA romance/love triangle. Although I’ve always been a fan of fantasy as a genre, I feel like it’s something I’ve strayed away from a bit over the years because so many fantasy books were part of longer series, and I didn’t feel like I had the time to devote to series. I’m now trying to catch up on some of the series that I feel like I’ve missed out on, and I’ve heard some really great things about this one.

8) The entire Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

8I think it’s just impossible to go a single week without mentioning Harry Potter in at least one of my posts, but this time it is because I want to re-read the whole series for the first time in about 4 or 5 years. The only Harry Potter book I’ve read recently is Cursed Child, mainly because I was hesitant to include the rest in my reading challenges since I’d read them all repeatedly. I was focused more on using my challenges to read books that I hadn’t read it. As soon as I realized it had been such a long time since my last read-through of the series, I decided that it was about time to pick them all up again! I’m planning on making this series my first reads of the new year as a fun way to “reset” between reading challenges. All of the 8 books in the series fit nicely into my challenge prompts for next year, and to be honest it helped quite a bit to knock out a few prompts that otherwise would not have been so exciting for me. I’m really looking forward to revisiting this since it is my all-time favourite series!

9) Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo and Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

2229976326856502I devoured four of Leigh Bardugo’s books this year, after deciding that I needed to read the Grisha trilogy before Six of Crows, which was the only Leigh Bardugo book I’d originally planned to try. I really liked the Grisha trilogy, but I absolutely adored Six of Crows. It’s not absolutely essential to read the Grisha books first, but I definitely found it helpful. Vicious was one of my most anticipated books for the year and I knew upfront that I would read it and get to the sequel as soon as possible afterwards. I purposely put off both Six of Crows and Vicious until closer to the end of the year with the intent of reading their sequels very early on next year. I don’t want to leave it too long to get to either of these because I enjoyed the first book in the pair so much, and I want to read the next one before I forget too much about the story or the characters. I’m probably not going to read them immediately after Harry Potter so I don’t overwhelm myself with too much fantasy in a row, but I definitely want to get to them in the first couple of months.

10) Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

23308087I’m not 100% sure if I will read this one in the winter, but it is definitely a high priority for next year because I intended to read it in 2018 and ended up putting it off because I just ran out of time. I was first interested in reading this one because I’d heard it compared to Mulan, one of my favourite Disney movies, but I was put off a bit after seeing so many mixed reviews for it. It is about a teenage girl named Mariko who has always been raised to be a wife. While en route to meet the man she will be betrothed to, her convoy is attacked and Mariko is the only survivor, dressing as a peasant boy to infiltrate the attackers and take revenge on them. I have never read anything by Renee Ahdieh although I have so many of her books on my TBR and keep meaning to try them. This book was actually one of my birthday presents in 2017, so it’s also a little embarrassing that I didn’t read it within the year like I planned. It seems like a lot of negative reviews were disappointment over the book not being the Mulan retelling that it was advertised to be, but I’m interested in seeing what it actually is.