Top Ten Tuesday | Bookish Discoveries I Made in 2019

Oh hey, how’s it going? I haven’t done a TTT in a long while, but I thought, hey, I want to pick up blogging again, so why not do a TTT post once in a while?

If you don’t know what Top Ten Tuesday is, it’s a weekly event across book blogs, vlogs, etc., where we discuss our top ten of the topic picked for that week. It was originally started on The Broke and the Bookish, but has since moved to That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week’s topic is all about bookish discoveries that I made in 2019, from authors to blogs, books to bookish merch. Here’s my top ten from last year.

10. Reading Planner

I had set up a reading planner for a few months and found it to be really fun, but hard to keep up with (I love the idea of planners, but using them? That’s a whole other story lol). So actually, for this year, I ordered the reading planner from Owlcrate and I can’t wait to use it! (Not sponsored!)

9. Leigh Bardugo’s King of Scars Book Signing

I did a whole post on this book signing event, but it was so much fun! I always love going into Boston and exploring, especially when I go to my favorite independent bookstore, Brookline Booksmith. There’s such a calming yet fun atmosphere there. For the event there were several activities to do while waiting for Leigh to talk, and when she did she was so super funny! It was a great time despite the weather.

8. The Way of Kings by Brandson Sanderson audiobook is amazing

2019 was the year I finally finished listening to this audiobook. I had started it YEARS ago, but never got very far in it until I was driving a half hour to and from work every day and realized that sometimes I just didn’t want to listen to music for my commute. Solution? A 45 hour long audiobook filled with amazing characters, great narrators, fantastic and vivid world building, and, of course, a unique magic system that Sanderson is so good at exploring. I can’t wait to continue on to Words of Radiance in audiobook!

7. Libby and My Local Library

Okay, so my local library is really dinky and doesn’t have a huge selection of books that I would personally check out, BUT what’s cool is that I can go to any library in the county and check out books from any of those locations with my card! So cool!

Oh, and as for Libby, which is an app where you enter your location information, as well as your library card information, and you’re able to rent out e-books and audiobooks from your library, I found it to be super useful! I’m going to definitely be using it for my reading challenge this year in case I read some books not already on my shelf that I might not want to purchase just yet.

6. Not Being on Twitter

Okay, this might be a controversial one, but oh well because over the last six months I’ve deactivated Facebook as well as just stopped going onto Twitter, and let me tell you, it’s been doing wonders for my mental health. Twitter (not just book twitter, but the website as a whole) is just full of way too much negativity and I ain’t got time for that when I’m trying to heal from years of numbness and pain, you know? So as much as I miss the connectivity between people sometimes, I also don’t miss the drama and all of the other crap that came along with it.

If you’re finding that there’s too much negativity on any social media space, including around books, I hope you take the time to rest and step back from it for your own mental health.

5. I was featured on Novels & Waffles Bibliosmile Project

Image by Kat @ Novels and Waffles

Kat at Novels and Waffles asked on Twitter (before I left lol) if anyone would be interested in joining in this project, and I talked of my interest and so I was a guest on her blog! In this blog post I talked about five books that have impacted me over the years for one reason or another, so it’s a very sentimental post I wrote.

4. There’s Both Power and Longing in NOT Buying Books

So my husband and I moved from Massachusetts to North Carolina over the summer for a new job for him (which he likes!), and I didn’t have a job lined up. In fact, I only had a seasonal job recently and I still don’t have anything lined up. We’re doing okay, kind of – taking care of the important stuff, of course – and as a result we had to cut out a lot of stuff from our lives. One of them, for me, was book buying. Now, I didn’t stop completely, but I did slow down A LOT. It’s actually been nice to know that my TBR pile didn’t grow for a long time (until I worked this past season at a book store, haha…ha…).

Part of me misses buying books because I’m excited in that moment, but the other part is like, “Girl, you want to unhaul a lot already on your shelves, so how about you focus on that first, yeah?”

3. Donating Books Feels Good

Seriously. There’s something freeing about freeing up space on your shelves. Now, this isn’t a new concept for me that I discovered in 2019 (I think I’ve been doing it since 2017/18), but I wanted to mention it because before we moved I donated another fifty books to my local library – including signed copies that I had gotten from book boxes. I just wasn’t interested in them, and frankly, I’d rather a library have it so others can read them if they want to.

I plan on continuing to donate this year as the need arises, which it probably will. I have some books on my shelves that have been there for years and I know that at this point in time in my life I’m either a) never going to read them, or b) read them and don’t want them on my shelf anymore.

2. My Reading Tastes Are Changing

That’s right! I’m both surprised and not surprised at all, honestly. As I’ve been getting older I’ve been noticing that my reading tastes are starting to gravitate towards older content – aka, not YA or middle grade. Actually, strike the middle grade one because, well, spoilers, I love it so far (thank you Rick Riordan), but as I’m now 28 I want to read more content about characters in my age group (which, for me, is college age to about 35).

This is in no way me dissing YA, by the way. I will absolutely still be reading YA because I still enjoy the genre, but I also find myself wanting to consume more adult and new adult books. This discovery, in particular, felt right to me, and even though I was a little nervous to talk about it, I’m not so much anymore. Anyone else feel this way?

1 . Middle Grade Books are SO FUN

Okay, so I’ve really only read the Percy Jackson series in 2019 (for the first time and I LOVE IT!), but as a way to dip my toes into middle grade? FANTASTIC! I want to spread myself as much as possible in my reading life, and so reading books for younger kids is a great way to do so.

Of all of the bookish discoveries I made in 2019, I think this one is my favorite just because there’s so much to discover in middle grade and to see these books through the eyes of the younger generation. That’s how I see it, at least.

Let’s chat!

What bookish discoveries did you make in 2019? What is your most memorable one? Let me know!

2019 End of Year Survey

Every year I do this survey created by Jamie of The Perpetual Page Turner, and so, to continue tradition, here we are again!

**2019 READING STATS**

Number Of Books You Read: 17
Number of Re-Reads: 6?
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy

best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2019?

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – This book touched and reached the darkest parts of my heart and mind as I could relate so much to the grief this boy had for his mother. It was hands down my favorite book of the year and I’m so incredibly glad to have given it the chance it deserved. You can check out my full review here.

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

The Chase by Elle Kennedy – As far as guilty pleasures go, the romance series that Elle Kennedy has written were some of my favorites that I’ve read in a long time, so naturally I was excited to read about one of the main character’s sister from the previous series in this novel, but alas, I found her quite aggravating. I mean, there’s a lot of sex in these books, which I’m fine with, but man, sometimes there was just a bit too much sex drive even for me. You can check out my full review here.

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

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – I didn’t except to enjoy this as much as I did, but I did enjoy it! Although some of it was kind of boring and dragged on, the romance was adorable and the finding out about ones was great. You can check out my full review here.

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

Since having a seasonal bookstore job, I’ve recommended a few books, including things like the Grisha trilogy, The Starless Sea, the Mortal Instruments series, etc. And they’ve gotten them, so yeah!

 5. Best series you started in 2019? Best Sequel of 2019? Best Series Ender of 2019?

Best series started: Fushigi Yuugi by Yuu Watase – this is a reread for me as I’ve read this entire series multiple times when I was a teen, and it’s just been super nostalgic for me.

Best sequel: The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan – as this is my first time reading the Percy Jackson series, I’ve been highly enjoying the story and books, and this sequel was super fun and exciting with the stakes being higher. You can check out my full review here.

Best series ender: I haven’t read one yet this year, so… lol

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2019?

Probably Patrick Ness. I loved A Monster Calls so much, so I’d love to give his other books a try, too!

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

Embrace Your Weird by Felicia Day – I read her first book earlier this year, and I’m still reading this one because it’s an activity book, but it’s so fun to just write and create with abandon. It’s something I need because I’m too focused on making things perfect that I need to be able to let go and be more loose with creativity.

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

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson was definitely unputdownable, epic, action-packed, and thrilling. As an epic high fantasy there was just so much put into the world and the characters that I wanted to know what was going to happen next. It was a really great book, for sure. If you want to check out my full review, click here!

 9. Book You Read In 2019 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

The Risk by Elle Kennedy – This next installment in the Briar U arc was so much more enjoyable for me, and it had a lot more in depth real moments that I was much more drawn to than The Chase. If anything, I’d reread this one for the angst, steamy bits, and that great hate-to-love dynamic I love haha! You can check out my full review here.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2019?

I have three favorites, don’t judge me lol

11. Most memorable character of 2019?

The cast of characters from Fushigi Yuugi just because I know them so well and love them so much lol

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2019?

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – I love Laini Taylor’s writing so much, and this book is so lyrical and magical in its execution. I seriously love how beautifully it’s written.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2019?

Forever and always talking about A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness because this book means so much to me. A book about grief and how it can manifest into the world – not just internally, but externally, too.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2019 to finally read? 

The Percy Jackson series… Just like the Harry Potter series, I seriously missed out on some awesome books during my childhood lol I’m trying to make up for it in my adult years.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2019?

And that’s how you go on. You lay laughter over the dark parts. The more dark parts, the more you have to laugh. With defiance, with abandon, with hysteria, any way you can.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2019?

Shortest book: Fushigi Yuugi volume 4: Bandit – 189 pages

Longest book: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson – 45 hours 37 minutes of audiobook (physical book is actually 1007 pages long, including appendix stuff)

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Have I mentioned The Way of Kings, because my mouth dropped open so many times throughout listening to the audiobook that it was crazy. I also laughed out loud, cheered, grew angry, etc, with the audiobook. It was a really great experience.

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

Hades and Persephone foreverrrrrrrrrrr~ Lore Olympus is an amazing webcomic series and I want everyone to go read it. Go. Now. Do it.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

I loved the dynamic between the characters in The Way of Kings. Everyone was connected in some way through different people, so even if they didn’t meet in this volume, there was still a larger overarching connectedness between everyone that I loved seeing. The web grows bigger, my friends.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2019 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

As I’ve stated before, I loved her first series of the students at Briar University, and this book in the Briar U arc was super good.

21. Best Book You Read In 2019 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:

This was the literal most hyped book I read this year, and it was really good, so thank you everyone across all social media platforms lol

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2019?

I quite liked Rook from An Enchantment of Ravens, not gonna lie. An immortal faerie lord who wants to learn more about humans and not just look at them like they’re objects for his own gain? Yes, please.

23. Best 2019 debut you read?

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

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

My dudes, The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson was so immersive in its design from top to bottom. The way Sanderson writes his settings and worlds is second to none, I swear. From towering spires to rocky cliffs to war camps, small townships, and high storms. Oh man, it’s such an amazingly vivid world.

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

Lore Olympus, Castle Swimmer, The Four of Them, Plain Boy and Prince, to name a few, are all webcomics and all freaking good and adorable.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2019?

A Monster Calls actually made me cry at the end, so, yeah.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness is one I haven’t finished yet, but it’s one that sucked me in pretty quickly and held onto me until I hit a reading slump earlier this year. It’s a book set in England with an American witch, a British vampire, forbidden romance, dark secrets, and mystery. It’s really good! I’d seen it pop up a lot whenever I was browsing books on Amazon, so I decided to give it a go and am glad I did.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

I mean, none of the books or comics I’ve read have crushed my soul, so… I don’t really have an answer.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2019?

I read this autobiography by Felicia Day, and since I generally don’t read biographies of any kind, this was definitely the most unique in that aspect. But also, her book Embrace Your Weird is unique because it’s a book that makes you draw in it, create around it, rip out pages, cut things out, etc. I really like her as a writer!

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

*insert the bad shit that happened in Lore Olympus that has the entire fandom pissed off with good reason* 😀

book-blogging

1. New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2019?

I’ve actually really pulled away from the book world in the last year, but I do have a couple of new favorite booktubers that I enjoy watching:

Rachael Marie’s Book Journey

PeaceLoveBooksxo

Codie’s Book Corner

2. Favorite post you wrote in 2019?

Do I Have That Book? | Challenge

This was a really fun post to make because I got my husband involved to help me find all of these books, and luckily we found one for each question (even if it did take a while lol).

3. Favorite bookish related photo(s) you took in 2019?

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

The Leigh Bardugo signing at Brookline Booksmith in Boston was so fun and Leigh herself was such a delight! You can read about my whole experience here!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2019?

Participating in challenges and tags again was really fun. I know I haven’t blogged much the last few years, but I still try to post when I can and when I have enough energy to do so. So I really enjoyed the Do I Have This Book? challenge and also attempting (and failing) to participate in readathons like the Medievalathon and the Book Junkie Trials.

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

I’ve been emotionally and mentally drained for years now due to my mom’s dementia diagnosis a few years back, plus work stress, moving states, etc. So reading and blogging have been put so far back on the back burner that I oftentimes don’t think about it anymore. I still keep up with comics, though, because I’ve learned to rely upon visual stimulation to bring about happiness into my life. It’s been a rough time, friends, but I’m slowly starting to piece myself back together and get back into the hobby of reading for fun again.

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

Camp NaNoWriMo 2019 had the most views, as far as I could tell by my stats. I might also be looking at the wrong figure lol

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

2020 Reading Goals & Challenges – this is my way of dedicating myself to reading, albeit a slow one, plus I just like hearing about and seeing other peoples’ goals (even if they don’t stick to them lol).

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

The bookstore I work at currently is an independent book store, which is cool, and the staff is very friendly and stuff. I don’t plan on staying there past the season, but the store itself is also cute. Plus, you know, supporting a small business is awesome.

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

I’ve completed one goal from last year, which was to have half or more of the books I read already exist on my shelf, which, thanks to my manga, I completed that goal! …that’s it. Didn’t reach any other reading or personal goals this year. Oh well.

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2019 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2020?

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I will finish it, goddamn it.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2020 (non-debut)?

Even though I’ll only be on the second book in this massive series, I’m excited for the fourth volume of the Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson! One day I’ll get to read it. One day…

3. 2020 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I haven’t been keeping up to date with releases and stuff, so if anyone has any recommendations, please let me know!

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2020?

Other than the one I mentioned above, again, I haven’t been keeping super up to date with things, so… I don’t really have one.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2020?

Actually post more consistently again than once every few months would be cool.

6. A 2020 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):

Haven’t read any yet, but I have a few arcs from work of books coming out in December and January.

Quarterly Reading Wrap Up | Spring 2019

Hey guys! How’s it going? So I’ve been thinking about how I can be more active in the bookish community, and one way I thought about it a quarterly reading wrap up! I read a lot of webtoons and comics, and I’m slowly picking up the novel reading habit again, but instead of doing monthly wrap ups, I’d do quarterly and talk about the titles I’ve been actively reading or given a chance.

So quarter one was filled with a bunch of webtoons and some bookish goodness, and I’ve liked the majority of what I’ve read. So let’s jump into the webtoons first, shall we? I’ll show my ratings as I go, even though most of these series aren’t done yet for the webtoons.

Webtoons

All of these webtoons can be found on LINE Webtoons.

Dogged by pain and misfortune from the very beginning, Shin-Ae decides she wants nothing to do with people nor anything to do with romance. Although content with her unsocial, boring, loveless existence, her lifestyle is challenged after she ruins an unsuspecting strangers’ clothes.

I Love Yoo by Quimchee is one of my favorite webtoons to date. It’s one I’ve kept up with for a long time and I can’t wait until it picks back up again! (Quimchee is taking a well-deserved break right now.) But there’s been ALL KINDS of drama and one big reveal that will be coming up but was sort of introduced and OOF I NEED TO KNOW WHO SHE IS. And also: new best boy??? I’m 10000% here for it.

★★★★★

Witness what the gods do…after dark. The friendships and the lies, the gossip and the wild parties, and of course, forbidden love. Because it turns out, the gods aren’t so different from us after all, especially when it comes to their problems. Stylish and immersive, this is one of mythology’s greatest stories — The Taking of Persephone — as it’s never been told before.

Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe is my new favorite obsession. Not only is the artwork super different and beautiful (like each character is represented by a different color and it’s lovely), but the story itself is amazing. I love, love, love myths and so the retelling of one of my favorites is just pure perfection. There’s cute moments, frustrating moments, sad moments. It’s a great story and I highly recommend it.

★★★★★

Seven boys. Best friends. Their fates intertwined through the good times together, but also the tough times, as they have gone their separate ways and suffered greatly as a result. When all is almost lost for these boys, one is given a special chance to go back in time and help his friends fix the mistakes that led them down this path. He’ll do anything to save them, but can he? Or is he too late?

Save Me by Big Hit Ent. & LICO is about BTS and, being a BTS fan, how could I say no? I mean, I was saying no at the beginning, but then I couldn’t stop my curiosity and now I’m hooked because it tells the story between their music videos and why certain things happened. It’s super good so far. If you’re a BTS fan and you’re trying to piece together the mystery of their music videos, then this comic might be a good read for you.

★★★★☆

Sori is a special young girl – kind, caring and principled well beyond her years. Unfortunately, these are NOT the personality traits generally celebrated in middle school – especially Sori’s, where she’s bullied mercilessly for defending the defenseless until she herself becomes a target. To escape, she transfers to a new school where the same old problems begin to play out all over again – that is until a mysterious trail of letters leads Sori on a magical scavenger hunt through the hidden world that exists right below the surface of her new middle school. The mail trail is the work an anonymous guardian angel, whose mission seems to be to provide a soft landing for Sori at her new school. But who is this person? And why did he choose her? With each letter, secrets are revealed and bonds are formed – as Sori learns about friendship, flora, fauna and finding the good in people in this strange new environment.

Your Letter by Hyeon A Cho is SUCH a great story so far. Seriously, not only is the artwork lovely af, but the story itself is just so pure and something that I didn’t realize I’d been wanting until I read it. Of course I’m hoping for a romance to blossom between the two main characters, but also I love how their friendship started over this one boy. It’s sweet and sentimental, but also has consequences of actions and it’s just… Just read it.

★★★★☆

Getting crushed by your crush. Coming out to your parents. Learning that your sister is your biggest dating rival. High school sure does have its share of twists, turns and moments of high drama. To get through it all with your smile and sanity intact, you’re going to need some friends. Really good friends. Friends like Johnny, Mariel, Gaby and Martina who, one way or another, will find a way to get through their teenage years together.

The Four of Them by Mai Hirschfeld_ is a coming of age story about four teens just being teens and dealing with relationships, whether they be romantic, familial, or platonic, school life, emotions, and more. It’s another sweet series that I’m really loving and the artwork is so lovely! And, as the description says, there is drama and I’m really interested to see how the different threads of drama unfold as time goes and how far into their teenaged lives we get to see.

★★★★☆

Edith is not your typical heroine. She struggles with her confidence, her morals, and life in general by not only holding herself to high standards, but her men as well. Enter two less-than-perfect men: one who may be the Prince Charming she’s been waiting for to deliver a fairy tale ending, the other a brash reality check who does NOT believe in happily-ever-after. What will Edith do? Will she sacrifice her standards? Or keep searching for that mythical white knight who may or may not exist in the first place? Funny, messy and sexy, Edith’s journey is relatable to anyone who’s ever left their heart on the battlefield of the dating world.

Edith by Swansgarden really surprised me. One day I was just browsing around the site and saw this unique art style and decided to take a peek. Well, not only do I love the art style, but this story is so different from what I’ve been reading because it deals with an older protagonist (like in her 20s or something), and there’s a lot of mental illness, tough decisions, forgiveness – or lack thereof, and more. The story is a little bit mature in theme, but it’s definitely something to check out if you’re interested.

★★★★☆

An ancient warrior created a pact to keep the world at peace. After ages, this pact still stands because of the spirit warriors who guard it. Aigon’s dream is to join these warriors, but unknown to everyone, the pact is about to get broken by a group of rebels hiding in plain sight

Spirit Warriors by Yaruno ad L.Bobler follows a group of kids who are looking to become spirit warriors (shocking, I know), and how they each go about finding their spirit and how they train and learn to master the power associated with it. Of course, it doesn’t seem to work out with every student, but it’s very early on in the series and I’m really interested to see what happens. It’s kind of cliche and predictable, but also just really good. If you like fantasy, check this one out!

★★★★☆

In school, Tooru is known as “The Prince”. He’s smart, popular, and can have anyone he wants. So why is it that he can’t think of anyone but Yamamoto, the plainest, dullest guy in the entire school?

Plain Boy & Prince by amanduur is the cutest and cheesiest and most glorious thing I’ve read. Seriously, I’ve been giggling and laughing so much and it’s just the cutest thing. It’s a boys’ love story following the Prince of the school who instantly falls for the most dull looking boy, and how the dull looking boy starts to also feel the feels, and just… go read it before I fangirl like crazy, thanks.

★★★★★

“Monsters can’t feel love” they say. Well, I think otherwise. “There’s a person I like… but other than the problem that she’s a girl… I find out she’s a monster!”

Monsters Don’t Blush! by Flowerfully is another super cute story that is a girls’ love story that follows a girl wanting to tell her crush how much she likes her, but she’s often blocked from getting near the girl to let her know how she feels. It’s very early on in this series, but I can’t wait for the next update because, just like the Plain Boy & Prince story, there’s much giggling and cuteness to be had.

★★★☆☆

Books

This is going to be separated into two parts: Book I’ve read and books I’m currently reading.

Books I’ve Read

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

You can check out my full review here!

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black was a book that hadn’t been on my radar until I saw literally everyone reading it. When I started to read it, I wasn’t all that into it. I felt the writing was super choppy and didn’t really encapsulate everything that was going on in every scene. I didn’t really feel for the characters until the last third of the book. Honestly, the end of the book is what saved this from a two star rating because THAT ENDING THO. Overall it was a good read for the latter part of the book and it definitely made me excited to read the next book.

★★★★☆

Everyone says opposites attract. And they must be right, because there’s no logical reason why I’m so drawn to Colin Fitzgerald. I don’t usually go for tattoo-covered, video-gaming, hockey-playing nerd-jocks who think I’m flighty and superficial. His narrow view of me is the first strike against him. It doesn’t help that he’s buddy-buddy with my brother. 

And that his best friend has a crush on me. 

And that I just moved in with them. 

Oh, did I not mention we’re roommates? 

I suppose it doesn’t matter. Fitzy has made it clear he’s not interested in me, even though the sparks between us are liable to burn our house down. I’m not the kind of girl who chases after a man, though, and I’m not about to start. I’ve got my hands full dealing with a new school, a sleazy professor, and an uncertain future. So if my sexy brooding roomie wises up and realizes what he’s missing? 

He knows where to find me.

You can read my full review here!

The Chase by Elle Kennedy was kind of a let down for me because I really loved her Off-Campus series that I read a few years ago. I saw the main protagonist, Summer, was a pretty whiny individual. Yes, she had some mental health issues and dyslexia, which was nice to see in a novel, but her overall character was just… too… whiny. That’s the best way I can put it. And I felt like Fitz was super two dimensional. I wanted to know and see more of his computer/video game side, but alas, we only got brief glimpses of it. I’m more interested in reading the second book in this Briar U duology, but we’ll see how it goes.

★★★☆☆

The Art of War meets “The Artist’s Way” in this no-nonsense, profoundly inspiring guide to overcoming creative blocks of every kind.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is a self-help kind of book that talks about ways to break through to your inner creative and really make the best use of your time with it, but, uh, I didn’t like this book. At all, or much at all.

It boasts a lot about showing you how to break past those blocks and be creative, but the most I got out of it was, “stop procrastinating and just do it.” I actually DNFed it because it was just not for me. This doesn’t mean you might not find value in it – you might! My husband liked it much more than me and said I’d like it, but alas.

★★☆☆☆

Books I’m Currently Reading

A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together. 

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell. 

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness is one of my current reads and I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I have been. Not only did it hook me from the first chapter, but it’s feeding my inner vampire heart because, yes, there are vampires and they’re different from other kinds of vampires I’ve read about, and just yes, please. I’m about 35%-ish through the book right now and am definitely enjoying it, but there are some things that I’ve been questioning as it goes that I’ll talk about in my review when it comes.

I recommend it if you’re looking for an urban fantasy adult read with witches, vampires, mystery, and magic.

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the 10 consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Wars were fought for them, and won by them. One such war rages on the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where 10 armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson is the first book in the Stormlight Archive and OOH BOY, is it a long book. I’ve been listening to the audiobook for months now (it’s over 45 hours long), but it is SO good. The world building is phenomenal, the characters are awesome, the plot is intricate and complex, and it’s quickly (or not so quickly, given its size lol) become one of my favorite books – and I’m only 71% of the way through it! I am, however, in part four, which is the last part, so the end is coming for this first book and I am not ready for it.

If you’re looking for a high fantasy novel that you can really dive deep into and be stuck in for a while, then I definitely recommend this book. And I especially recommend the audiobook because the voice actors do a very great job with their roles.

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is a fan favorite, as I’ve noticed, and I got 40% of the way through before I stopped. Not because I wasn’t enjoying it – I was, for sure! – but I just wasn’t in the mood to read it at the time. I do plan on picking it back up soon, though, so look forward to that review when it comes! What I have read so far, though, is action packed and very dark and it speaks to that darker part of my soul, so it’s very much appreciated.

If you’re looking for a heist book with a lot of unlikely people coming together, definitely pick this up.

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft.

When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, wrathful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe’s place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home.

There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe’s independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

Circe by Madeline Miller is a story that takes place in the world of the gods, and though I’m still fairly early on (only 5% of the way through) it’s really good so far. I was bored at work one day and decided to look this title up and read a sample because I’d been hearing good things about it, and boy, am I hooked. The writing style is different, but full of a life of its own. It’s got cruelty (as the gods are very cruel), loss, humanity, and that’s just within the first early section of the book.

If you’re looking for a myth retelling – or a unique myth story – check this one out!

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug. 

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po. 

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone. 

Graceling by Kristin Cashore is a fantasy story that I’ve been interested in reading for a long time, but had never picked it up until I watched Hannah from A Clockwork Reader on YouTube recommend the book to someone who might be looking for a romance in fantasy. And, well, if you know me, you know I love both of those things, so of course I picked this up (luckily my husband owns the books so it was easy enough to get).

I’ve only read the first chapter, but I already have SO many questions! It’s already off to a fast start with many characters and abilities that I can’t wait to learn more about.

If you’re looking for a YA fantasy with romance, check out this companion series! I hear not every book focuses on the romance, so you might find a book that fits your tastes more.


AND THAT’S IT! Wow, I’ve actually been reading a lot more than I thought I was lol I’m also glad that I’ve enjoyed most of the books I’ve read so far this year. I actually find it interesting that when I’m reading lately I’ve got a more critical eye and I’m finding more faults in things than I was when I first started blogging. It’s crazy, but I’m liking that I’m being more honest with myself about my thoughts on books.

Let’s Chat!

What have you been reading lately? What was your favorite and least favorite book from the first quarter of the year? What would you recommend to me? Let me know!

The Picky Pledge Challenge

the picky pledge 2019
Photo by Alexa of Alexa Loves Books and Hannah of So Obsessed With.

Hello lovely people~ I hope you’re doing well. SO, today I have an interesting post to talk about and that is The Picky Pledge Challenge. I was perusing Alexa’s blog over at Alexa Loves Books and stumbled upon her post for this year’s challenge about book buying habits.

First off, what is The Picky Pledge? It’s a challenge that was created by Alexa and Hannah of So Obsessed With to reflect on your book buying habits and to become more intentional with the books that are read, to read more backlist books, to read books already on your shelves, and reduce the amount of review books received.

Honestly? I think it’s a great idea! This past year I didn’t buy too many books, I don’t think, but I can still change my habits and really focus on the books I already own and give them some love, you know? So, I decided I’m going to join in this challenge along with them!

I don’t really have statistics of what I read and bought and such, so I won’t be going over them in this post, but I hope to next year when I do a recap of this challenge.

Speaking of, here are the categories that they set to focus on for this year!

2019 reading challenge
Photo by Alexa of Alexa Loves Books and Hannah of So Obsessed With.

I find these to be very reasonable and fun to do! I also find them to be in line with the Beat the Backlist Challenge that I also am taking part in this year. I’ll keep track of the goals for this specific challenge here on this post (as well as in a separate document on my computer lol), in case you want to see how I’m doing with it!

COVER:
RECOMMENDATION:
HOOK:
ON SALE:
SEQUEAL:
UNIQUE FORMAT:
AUTHOR:
GIFT:
PRE-ORDERED: We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizel
3+ YEARS AGO: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
HYPED: The Wicked King by Holly Black & Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare | Both bought January 2019
TOPIC:

Let’s Chat!

So what about you? Are you up for the challenge? Be sure to check out Alexa’s and Hannah’s posts and their own goals for the year! Let me know in the comments below what your reading goals are and what some of your buying habits for the new year are.

Happy New Year! | Goals & Stuff

Happy New Year, peeps!

I can’t believe it’s already the new year. 2018 FLEW by, and I bet 2019 is going to go even faster. Oh joy.

But with a new year comes new year’s resolutions and promises that you won’t keep (maybe lol), so here’s my list of goals that I hope to achieve this upcoming year:

Reading & Blog Goals

  • Read one book per week. That’s 52 books for the year, which is entirely doable for me considering I’ve read 50 books in the past. This includes manga and comics, just so we’re clear.
  • Have half of those books be ones that are already on my shelves. Look, I recently did a large unhaul of unread books that had been sitting on my shelf gathering dust because I knew I wasn’t going to read them and I’d rather them go somewhere I know they’ll be well loved, so this year I want to focus on reading at least 25 books that are already currently on my shelves. Doable. Achievable. Awesome.
  • Post twice a week on my blog. I’ve already been doing this as I wanted to start the habit before the new year, but I’m going to try to post on Mondays (reviews) and Thursdays (chats/discussions/fun things). So far it’s been working, so that’s good. So that’ll be 104 posts for the year. Again: doable.

Personal Goals

  • Reach level two Japanese by the end of June. So I’ve been trying to learn Japanese for a while but I really suck at studying, so I’m going to try to make it my mission to study daily and reach level two on the app I use by the end of June. Again: doable. This also includes reviewing and practicing and all that jazz.
  • Lose at least ten pounds by the end of June. I’m not going to set the bar too high for weight loss goals. This one is entirely doable, and I’ve been working on it more this past month that I have in the past. Let’s hope for some good results!
  • Find work that’s more suited to me. This one is one I’ve been working towards, but I don’t know how it’ll go yet, so I’m going to keep this one kind of vague lol, but I do hope to find a job either in my field, teaching abroad, or something entirely different.
  • Finish the first draft of my book by the end of June. I have a lot I want to get done by midyear lol, but I really want to finish just the very rough first draft of the novel I’ve been trying to work on.
  • Work toward a better well-being and state of mind. It’s been a rough couple of years, friends, and I just want to get to a place of joy. This one is ongoing, though, so it’ll be for a lifetime.

I think that’s it for my goals. They’re all attainable, all doable, and I think that’s the best part of this whole thing.

Let’s chat!

What are some of your goals for this year? What are some of the things you achieved last year, but still want to continue into this year? Let me know in the comments!