October 2021 TBR

October has always been a comforting month for me. I’ve always been happiest in Autumn, although it’s also the month when I feel the most homesick for the North Carolina mountains.

This month, I wanted to choose books for my TBR that have a cozy autumnal theme to them or that remind me of home. Most people likely think of October TBRs as the perfect place for horror books because of Halloween, but I actually prefer to read the spookier stuff come winter.

Let me know if you’ve read any of these books, and also what books you’re planning on reading this month!

Let’s start with the three books that take place in and around Asheville, NC.

First up, we have Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel. I’ve been to his grave a few times and I’ve drank sake on the porch of his house (which is now a museum) at 3 am on an autumn night, so it seems obvious that I should read one of his books. Look Homeward, Angel is considered to be semi-autobiographical and follows the life of the main character, Eugene Gant, from birth to the age of nineteen.

I took an English class in college where we read Ron Rash’s The World Made Straight and I adored it. Rash is actually a professor at the university where I went, although I never had the pleasure of meeting him. The Cove is one of his more well-known novels. Laurel Shelton is believed to be a witch by the townspeople and lives tucked away in the mountains. One day a mute stranger stumbles into the woods and she nurses him back to health.

Denise Kiernan’s The Last Castle is a non-fiction book about the Biltmore Estate, the lavish mansion built by George Vanderbilt in the mid-1890s. The Biltmore Estate is a lot of fun to visit, and this book has been on my TBR for awhile.


I just finished reading Frank Herbert’s Dune and have become completely obsessed with it, so I want to read its sequel, Dune Messiah, this month.

When I was at Barnes and Noble to pick up Dune Messiah, I also grabbed the Barnes and Noble edition of Isaac Asimov’s The Foundation Trilogy. I’ve always wanted to read one of his novels, and since the Apple TV adaptation of the series is currently being released, it seemed like the right time.

Leigh Bardugo’s King of Scars has been on my TBR for the past two months and I’ve just failed to get to it. Following King Nikolai, King of Scars and it’s sequel Rule of Wolves picks up where the Shadow and Bone trilogy leaves off.


Kurt Vonnegut is one of my favorite writers, but I’ve never read any of his non-fiction. Armageddon in Retrospect is a collection of essays on war and peace. It was published posthumously.

I haven’t heard many people mention Paula Brackston’s The Witch’s Daughter, but I came across it at a thrift store and it sounded pretty interesting. The tagline was enough to hook me: “My name is Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, and my age is three hundred and eighty-four years. Each new settlement asks for a new journal, and so this Book of Shadows begins.

Like Vonnegut, Salman Rushdie is one of my favorite authors. Every one of his books that I’ve read thus far have become favorites. I’ll admit that Midnight’s Children, one of his better-known novels, intimidates me, although I can’t quite put my finger on why that is. 1,001 children were all born at midnight and each of them has an extraordinary gift. The novel takes place in 20th century India.


Rosamunde Pilcher’s A Place Like Home is a collection of fifteen romantic short stories. I don’t know too much about any of the individual pieces, but I’ve heard good things about this collection. Plus, the cover is gorgeous.

Finally, we have All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy, the first book in The Border Trilogy. Up to know, the only McCarthy book I’ve read has been The Road, which I consider one of my favorite books of all time. This novel is much different from The Road, however, as it follows the story of the last in a long line of Texas ranchers.


As always, I’ve chosen an ambitious TBR, but I’m really excited about reading all of these books. Let me know if you’ve read any of these and what you’re planning on reading in October!

WWW Wednesday – July 14, 2021

Books I’m currently reading, just finished, and am about to start.

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


What are you currently reading?

Perchance to Dream by Howard Weinstein takes place on a mysterious world thought to be devoid of intelligent life. This is called into question, however, when Data, Deanna Troi, Wesley, and two Starfleet hopefuls disappear in a burst of sparkling lights. While the crew of the Enterprise tries to figure out where their crewmates disappeared to, Captain Picard also disappears.

This is definitely not turning out to be a favorite Star Trek novel for me. It’s just alright. Wesley is one of my two least favorite Star Trek: The Next Generation characters, and he’s one of the main characters in this story… and just as cringey as always. One of the other students with him on this away mission is your typical “nice guy,” complaining about how women don’t like him even though he’s such a great guy. My eyes get tired from rolling any time their storyline gets picked up again.

The book is a slog to get through, but I’m pushing through because I don’t want to DNF a Star Trek book, and because I’m slightly intrigued by the planet they’re investigating.


James A. Michener’s Chesapeake is a massive tome that takes place over several generations in one spot along Virginia and Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. I’m reading it on Kindle and am currently about 100 pages in (with 900 left!). At this point, I’m unsure of how I feel about it. The fact that it takes place so close to where I currently live is fascinating, and you learn a lot about the history of the region. At the same time, however, the characters feel weak and there are parts of the novel that are very dry. I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not I actually want to finish the book, but I’m going to try to keep going at least a little bit farther.


What did you recently finish reading?

Peter S. Wells’ The Battle That Stopped Rome is a really fascinating look at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in what is now Germany. A group of German clans banded together to take on three massive legions of the Roman army and won, stopping the Roman advance into German lands east of the Rhine. While the book felt repetitive due to the author going over the same facts and stories over and over again, the book was overall a great read.


What do you think you’ll read next?

These two books are both the beginning of projects that I want to take on in the latter half of 2021. First, I want to read through the entirety of Penguin’s English Monarch series, starting with this biography of Athelstan. There’s a book for each English monarch up to the present day, and each biography is short and concise.

I’m also going to be reading a biography of each U.S. President, a project that will take considerably longer. I’m starting with the obvious choice of George Washington, and I’ve heard that Ron Chernow’s Washington: A Life is one of the best biographies of our first president.


What are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments!

My May 2020 TBR

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Since it’s been a long time since I’ve actually stuck to a TBR, I’m just going to share the books that I know I’ll be getting to.

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I’m currently re-reading Cora Carmack’s Roar so that I can read the sequel, Rage.While there are a lot of common YA tropes in Roar, I still really enjoy the storm magic element. I’m looking forward to getting more of that in Rage, and the third book, Reign, is supposed to come out sometime this year.

I’ve owned a copy of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies for years and have never gotten around to actually reading it. I’m going for it in May. It’s a pretty short book as well so it shouldn’t take me too long.

Speaking of classics that I haven’t gotten around to reading, I’ll also be picking up Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. I know a lot about both novels but now I want to actually sit down and read them.

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My second favorite novel (because nothing will ever be better than The Hobbit) is Cormac McCarthy‘s The Road, and I own almost all of his other books. I want to read everything he’s ever written, so this month I’ll be reading his very first published novel, The Orchard Keeper.

I decided to throw in a romance novel and a couple of young adult novels, so I’ll also be reading Jojo Moyes’ Me Before YouMarkus Zusak’s The Book Thiefand Leigh Bardugo’s Language of ThornsLanguage of Thorns is such a beautifully produced book, with illustrations on every page, nice thick pages, and a pretty dust jacket. I’m a sucker for beautiful books!

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It’s been a while since I’ve read a Star Trek book, so this month I’ll be reading a book based around my favorite character, Lwaxana Troi. Peter David’s Q-in-Law should be a lot of fun to read.

My tenth grade English teacher had us read William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, and to this day it’s one of my most hated books from high school. I’ve grown a lot since then, however, and I want to give this classic another chance.

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Finally, because I’m homesick for the Appalachian Mountains, I’ll be reading The Cove by Ron Rash. Ron Rash taught at the college I went to, which is where I first read his book The World Made Straight and fell in love with it. The Cove is one of his better-known novels, and I’m looking forward to getting lost in the setting.

So, there are the books that I’ll be prioritizing this month. None of them are long, so I’m fairly confident that I’ll be able to read all of them. As I was writing this post, I did realize that I didn’t include any non-fiction, so I’ll be adding one to my list at some point. If you’ve read any of these novels, let me know what you thought of them down in the comments!


What books are you looking forward to reading in May? Let me know in the comments!




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My March 2020 TBR

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It’s finally March (my birthday month!!), and to celebrate I’ve put together an extra-long TBR! I tend to set very, very unrealistic goals for myself, as you can see with this TBR. Will I be able to finish 31 books in 31 days? Probably not, but it’s a goal for me to strive towards!

One of the reasons I like to have huge TBRs is that I’m a mood reader. I like having a pile of books to choose from depending on what type of book I’m in the mood for.

I think I have a decent shot at finishing a lot of these since there are a lot of poetry collections and graphic novels, which tend to take me just an hour or two to finish.

If you’d prefer to watch this TBR, the video is linked below. Scroll down for the written TBR otherwise!


Poetry

Let’s start off with the poetry collections I want to read this month. Reading and enjoying poetry is something very new to me. I hated poetry in school, probably because we always read classic poetry, and I couldn’t stand the flowery metaphors and pages upon pages of repetitiveness.

Fortunately, I recently discovered that I do like poetry. Mostly modern poetry, but I want to experiment a bit more with classic as well. If you have any recommendations, let me know!

  • Live Oak, With Moss by Walt Whitman – I haven’t read this poem before, but the main reason I picked it up at my local library is that this edition is actually the poem told through illustrations! It’s a really unique format and I love the idea of it. The actual poem is included as well, of course!
  • The Truro Bear and Other Adventures by Mary Oliver – Mary Oliver is a name that I’ve continuously heard since her death last year. I wanted to give one of her collections a try, and out of the selection at my library, this one sounded the most promising since it’s about animals and nature.
  • The Tradition by Jericho Brown – I discovered Jericho Brown through this article at Garden & Gun. I was so impressed by the interview that I watched several of his readings on YouTube, and loved all of the poems that I heard. I’m really excited to read this full collection!

  • So Far So Good by Ursula K. Le Guin – This is Le Guin’s final poetry collection before her death in 2018, so I have a feeling it’s going to be a bit melancholy. I don’t know too much about it aside from it being about her life, the people she’s known along the way, and her experiences. I really enjoyed The Left Hand of Darkness, especially her writing style, so I’m hoping I’ll enjoy this too.
  • Dear Darkness by Kevin Young – The only thing I know about this collection is that it was inspired by the sudden death of Kevin Young’s father. Another melancholy collection, but one that I think I might be able to relate to, having lost my mother.
  • The Flame by Leonard Cohen – Did you know that musician Leonard Cohen wrote poetry? Because I didn’t! I have no idea what to expect from this, but I picked it up because I absolutely love his music.

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  • Heating and Cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly – I found this tiny book tucked into the poetry section at my library, but it isn’t poetry. It’s fifty-two micro-memoirs about her life. The length of these micro-memoirs range from a few sentences to a few pages. I’m really intrigued by the format of this memoir.

Graphic Novels

I only picked up three graphic novels, but I’m really excited about all three of these!


Fiction

  • Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski – This is the second book (chronologically) in The Witcher series, but the most recent to be published. The Last Wish was the very last book I read in 2019, and one of my favorites. Just like The Last Wish, Sword of Destiny is a collection of short stories.
  • The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams – You’ve probably seen this romance novel everywhere in the book community. I love the idea of a group of guys reading smutty romance novels to learn to be better spouses. I’m expecting plenty of humor.
  • The Bear by Andrew Krivak – This short novel was released earlier this year, but I just didn’t find time to get it prior to publication. I’m still really excited, however, as it’s a post-apocalyptic tale about the last two humans left alive and a girl’s journey home with a bear.

  • The Illness Lesson by Clare Beams – First of all, I want to mention how much I love the faux-embroidery of this cover. It’s so beautiful. This historical fiction novel takes place after a mysterious flock of red birds descends over a girls’ school. It follows a number of symptoms the girls all experience afterward.
  • No Bad Deed by Heather Chavez – In this thriller/mystery novel, a woman has to deal with a stalker that knows too much about her family’s history. I’m still trying to get into thrillers, and this sounds like a great next step.
  • 142 Ostriches by April Davila – I’m so thankful for the publisher for sending me a copy of this novel! It’s set on an ostrich farm in California, and honestly, that’s all I needed to intrigue me.

  • A Bond Undone (Legends of the Condor Heroes #2) by Jin Yong – Last year I read the first novel in this Kung Fu fantasy series, and it ended up being one of my favorite books of the year. I’m really, really excited to find out what happens next!
  • Providence by Max Barry – I really like the cover of this science fiction novel. I’m purposefully keeping myself ignorant of the plot because I want to go into it a little bit blind. However, I do know that it has to do with a war against an alien race.
  • The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James – This gothic novel is told in dual timelines. First, we have a governess at an English estate; then, we meet the heir to that estate – a woman living in modern-day New York City.

  • The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida by Clarissa Goenawan – Dealing with the heavy topic of suicide, this definitely isn’t going to be a light, fun read. In it, we meet people trying to figure out why Miwako killed herself. It reminds me a little of a grown-up version of 13 Reasons Why.
  • The Last Human by Zack Jordan – Here are the reasons I requested this book from the publisher and did a little happy dance when I received it earlier this week: Space opera, a ball of fluff with an IQ in the thousands, and “an android death enthusiast.” I’m ready.
  • Thunderhead and The Toll by Neal Shusterman – I’m buddy-reading this series with my friend Tawni, and it’s so freaking good! This might be one of the best young adult series I’ve read in ages. I’m constantly finding myself shocked by what happens, and I’m intrigued by all of the characters.
  • 88 Names by Matt Ruff – Matt Ruff is the author of Lovecraft Country, which is how I know of him. This novel is “part cyberthriller, part twisted romantic comedy.” It sounds wonderful.

Non-Fiction

  • Pisgah National Forest: A History by Marci Spencer – If you’ve been subscribed to this blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard me mention that I lived in Asheville, NC for all of my twenties and that I’m constantly homesick for the mountains of Western North Carolina. This book is a history of Pisgah National Forest, an area that I am very familiar with.
  • Midnight in Siberia by David Greene – This book drew me in for two reasons – the remoteness of Siberia, and a long train ride. I’ve always wanted to take a long, scenic train ride, plus I love remote areas, so I’m really excited to be able to live vicariously through NPR’s David Greene.
  • Stateway’s Garden by Jasmon Drain – I received a finished copy of this book from the publisher, and I’m looking forward to reading it. It’s a collection of real-life stories from people living on the Southside of Chicago.

  • Death is But a Dream by Christopher Kerr – I’m starting to notice that I chose some really dark topics for March’s TBR. This is a book written by a doctor about his experience working in hospice with dying patients.
  • Lost Feast by Lenore Newman – Many of the foods we love are threatened by climate change, pollution, and overpopulation. Lost Feast is about these foods and the extinction of culinary treats that we’ve come to take for granted.

  • Footprints by David Farrier – This book reminds me a little of The World Without Us, which is one of my favorite non-fiction books. Farrier examines what traces of humanity are going to be left long after we’re gone.
  • Grain Brain by David Perlmutter – I’m guessing you’re probably somewhat familiar with this non-fiction book about the effect that gluten has on our brains. It’s been a best-seller for many years. I was recommended this book twice in one week, for both my polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and bipolar disorder. I had no idea that diet could possibly influence bipolar disorder, so, at my doctor’s recommendation, I’m currently doing 45 days of a gluten-free diet to see if it helps.

Whew! I know that was a long list! Have you read any of these books? If you have, let me know what you thought down in the comments!

What are you planning on reading in March?




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December 2019 TBR

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I recently accepted that there’s no way in hell that I’m getting to my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal this year (I’m at 149 of 225 currently), and as a result, I’m feeling a little more relaxed about my reading goals this last month of the year.

There are three books that I’m currently in the process of finishing:

I’m also participating in FantasyAThon Round 2, from December 13th-22. These are the books that I know for sure that I’ll be reading for it:

There are also some December releases that I need to get to:

Finally, the rest are a mix of wintery books, books sent by publishers that I haven’t gotten to yet, and a couple books that I really want to get to this month:


What books are on your December TBR? Let me know in the comments!




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Contemporary-a-thon TBR, Round 5

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Contemporary fiction is a genre that I don’t pick up often because I tend to choose a lot of science fiction, fantasy, or historical fiction when I’m looking for my next read.

I found out this morning that today is the start of Round 5 of the Contemporary-a-Thon, so I figured it would be a great opportunity for me to read some great new books!

If you haven’t heard of the Contemporary-a-Thon, it’s being hosted by Melanie at Meltotheany, Chelsea at Chelsea Dolling Reads, Julie at Pages and Pens, and Natasha from My Reading is Odd.

For the time being, I’m planning on doubling up on several of the prompts, but if I have time to, I’m going to try to read a different book for all seven challenges.

Let’s get right into my TBR! Synopses are courtesy of the publishers and Goodreads.



Read a 2019 Release

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Again, but Better by Christine Riccio

Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal—but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that?

Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time’s a ticking, and she needs a change—there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure!

Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart.

Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic—the possibilities are endless.


Read a book with yellow on the cover
&
Read a diverse contemporary

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The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

Rhiannon Hunter may have revolutionized romance in the digital world, but in real life she only swipes right on her career—and the occasional hookup. The cynical dating app creator controls her love life with a few key rules:

– Nude pics are by invitation only

– If someone stands you up, block them with extreme prejudice

– Protect your heart

Only there aren’t any rules to govern her attraction to her newest match, former pro-football player Samson Lima. The sexy and seemingly sweet hunk woos her one magical night… and disappears.

Rhi thought she’d buried her hurt over Samson ghosting her, until he suddenly surfaces months later, still big, still beautiful—and in league with a business rival. He says he won’t fumble their second chance, but she’s wary. A temporary physical partnership is one thing, but a merger of hearts? Surely that’s too high a risk…


Read a dark/hard-hitting contemporary
&
Read a book with plants on the cover

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A Dark Lure by Loreth Anne White

Twelve years ago, Sarah Baker was abducted by the Watt Lake Killer and sexually assaulted for months before managing to escape. The killer was caught, but Sarah lost everything: her marriage, her child, and the life she loved.

Struggling with PTSD, Sarah changes her name to Olivia West and finds sanctuary working on Broken Bar Ranch. But as her scars finally begin to heal, a cop involved with her horrific case remains convinced the Watt Lake Killer is still out there. He sets a lure for the murderer, and a fresh body is discovered. Now Olivia must face the impossible—could the butcher be back, this time to finish the job?

As a frigid winter isolates the ranch, only one person can help Olivia: Cole McDonough, a writer, adventurer, and ranch heir who stirs long-dormant feelings in her. But this time, Olivia’s determination to shut out her past may destroy more than her chance at love. It could cost her her life.


Read a book with an illustrated cover
&
Read a book beloved by the book community

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Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through?

Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.



So, what you see above is my official TBR. If I have time to read seven books, I’ll definitely try to read more.

Are you participating in the Contemporary-a-thon? If so, what are you reading?




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Down the TBR Hole – #2

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When I did the first iteration of this challenge I got rid of 2 out of ten books on my TBR.

Currently, my TBR on Goodreads has 3,851 books on it. Which, distressingly, is even more than I had on my TBR at the end of part one of this challenge.

In case you didn’t see the last post, the idea behind it is to reduce the number of books on your TBR list.

As far as I can tell, this challenge was created by the writer at the literary blog, Lost in a Story, but it appears that the domain is no longer valid.

Here are the rules:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Let’s get right to it.



Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

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Verdict: Keep

Jane Eyre is a classic that I’ve always wanted to read. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it, so it’s definitely staying on my TBR.


The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

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Verdict: Keep

The Alchemist is a much-loved novel in the book community, and I’ve heard from more than one person that this book changed their life.


Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

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Verdict: Keep

This list clearly contains a lot of classics. Wuthering Heights is another keep.


The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

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Verdict: Keep

I remember attempting to read The Catcher in the Rye in high school and not loving it, but my tastes have changed in the last decade, and I want to give it another shot. I’ve heard very mixed reviews of this book.


The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Verdict: Keep

I promise that these Down the TBR posts will eventually get more interesting once we get out of the classics. My mother loved this book, so obviously, this is a hard keep.


Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Verdict: Keep

Technically, I read both of these books before, in my tenth grade English class, and I loved them. However, tenth grade was sixteen years ago, so I’ve forgotten so much about them.


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

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Verdict: Keep

Once again, another classic. Keep, keep, keep.


Emma and Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Verdict: Keep

I swear, eventually I’m going to get to books that I don’t want to keep on my TBR. I’m going to bypass the ten I would normally go through and just keep going until I remove something from my TBR.

I just finished Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (review coming soon) and thought it was brilliant. I can’t wait to read some of her other novels.


The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

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Verdict: Keep

The Metamorphosis sounds truly bizarre, as it’s about a man who wakes up transformed into a giant insect.


Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

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Verdict: Keep

Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions is one of my favorite books, and I can’t wait to read Vonnegut’s classic novel, Slaughter-House Five.


Marvel 1602 #1 by Neil Gaiman

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Verdict: Toss it

This technically doesn’t even count as removing a book from my TBR as it’s a duplicate. This entry is only the first issue of the series, and I have the complete graphic novel as another book on my TBR.


Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

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Verdict: Keep

I bought a hardcover edition of this book from my local thrift store, and I’ve been wanting to read more contemporaries, so this one stays.


An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

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Verdict: Keep

I’ll admit that when I purchased a copy of this book that it was a cover buy. It’s hard to tell in the photo above, but the gold and blue of the cover are incredibly vibrant. After reading the synopsis, however, I’m excited to read it.


The Curious of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

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Verdict: Keep

I have had a copy of this book on my bookshelf for years. I no longer even remember where I got it. This is a YA mystery novel that was originally published in 2003, and I’ve heard great things about it.


A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) by George R.R. Martin

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Verdict: Keep

While I would love to wait and read the Game of Thrones series after George R. R. Martin has finished writing the series, I imagine that’s many, many years in the future. I love high, complicated fantasy novels, so I need to stop putting this off and eventually read it.


Red Queen (Red Queen, #1) by Victoria Aveyard

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Verdict: Keep

I’m intrigued by this YA fantasy novel, particularly because people are separated by their red or silver blood. It’s also a book that is rated very well, so I can’t wait to read it. I’ll probably read this book before most of the others on this list.


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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Verdict: Toss it

I know this is a much-beloved book, but I have zero interest in ever actually reading this series.


Kraken by China Miéville

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Verdict: Keep

I’d forgotten why I had this book on my TBR until I read the first paragraph of the synopsis:

With this outrageous new novel, China Miéville has written one of the strangest, funniest, and flat-out scariest books you will read this—or any other—year. The London that comes to life in Kraken is a weird metropolis awash in secret currents of myth and magic, where criminals, police, cultists, and wizards are locked in a war to bring about—or prevent—the End of All Things.

I’m so excited about this synopsis that I went ahead and requested it from my library.


Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

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Verdict: Keep

I’ve had a copy of Water for Elephants on my Kindle for years. I love stories with a circus setting, so it’s a keeper.


Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

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Verdict: Keep

I’m shocked that I never read this book in high school or college (where I was majoring in political science with a minor in history). It’s been on my shelf for years, so I need to finally suck it up and just read it.


So, overall, I got rid of two out of 23 books, so not great, but it’s a start.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?




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June Plans & TBR

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More than likely, June is going to be a very busy month for me. There’s a chance I’m moving at the end of the month (we are possibly extending our lease, but we haven’t decided yet). If we do end up moving, I’m fairly certain that I won’t be getting much reading done. However, if we do end up renewing our lease and sticking with where we are, I have an overly ambitious reading goal.

Aside from the two Book of the Month books that I already ordered because the subscription renewed at the end of May, I’m on an official book-buying ban this month. For financial reasons, I canceled my OwlCrate, Book of the Month, and Scribd subscriptions (canceling my OwlCrate literally broke my heart, but it was necessary). As such, I’m going to be relying heavily on my local library.

My goal is to read 30 books in 30 days. This figure does include both books and graphic novels however, so it’s not as crazy as it sounds. And, of course, this will only be possible if we don’t move at the end of the month.

Here are the books I know for sure I want to get to this month, and the other ten will be based purely on mood.



  1. Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
  2. $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Shaefer
  3. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
  4. Old Man Hawkeye Vol. 1 & Vol 2 by Ethan Sacks
  5. Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy
  6. City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
  7. Chasing a Croatian Girl by Cody McClain Brown
  8. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
  9. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
  10. Pride by Ibi Zoboi
  11. The Death of Daredevil by Charles Soule
  12. Firefly: Big Damn Hero by Nancy Holder
  13. Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich
  14. Watchmen by Alan Moore
  15. Death of Wolverine by Charles Soule
  16. On the Beach by Nevil Shute
  17. Q-in-Law by Peter David
  18. The Hike by Drew Magary
  19. Saga Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughn
  20. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren


What books are you planning on reading in June? Let me know in the comments!




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Down the TBR Hole (Again) – #1

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This challenge is something that I did a couple of times when I first started this blog. The idea behind it is to reduce the number of books on your TBR list.

As far as I can tell, this challenge was created by the writer at the literary blog, Lost in a Story, but it appears that the domain is no longer valid.

Here are the rules:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

I’m going to aim to do this challenge once a week because as of this writing, my TBR list has 3,768 titles on it. 

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Yes, I know that’s a ridiculous and impossible number of books that I hope to read. I have a tendency to add books to my TBR if they are even mildly interesting to me although, logically, I know I’ll never actually read most of them.

Here’s the first post in many more to come.



To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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Verdict: Keep

I still can’t believe I haven’t read this classic novel. I’m a bit ashamed of myself, so this is definitely one that will stay on this list until I actually get around to reading it.


The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

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Verdict: Keep

After reading the synopsis of this one, it’s definitely something that I’m interested in. It follows a single woman throughout her entire life and her “inability to understand her place in her own life.”


The Gate to Women’s Country by Sheri S. Tepper

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Verdict: Keep

According to the synopsis on Goodreads, this novel “is set in a post-holocaust feminist dystopia that offers only two political alternatives: a repressive polygamist sect that is slowly self-destructing through inbreeding and the matriarchal dictatorship called Women’s Country.” I’m sold.


A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

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Verdict: Keep

This is another classic that I’m eager to read, so it’s an obvious keep.


Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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Verdict: Keep

I tried to read this very short novel years ago, but I remember setting it down as it wasn’t holding my attention. I want to give it another chance, so it’s another keep.


So far, I’m not doing great on this whole “cleaning up my TBR” thing.

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Anyway…


A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

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Verdict: Toss It

I’m only mildly interested in A Spark of Light, so I’m not going to keep it on my TBR. I’ve heard very mixed things about it anyway, so I don’t feel like I’m really missing out on much.


Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

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Verdict: Keep

This magical realism novel sounds bizarre, which usually means I’ll love it.


Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

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Verdict: Toss It

Years ago, I read Barbara Kingsolver’s non-fiction book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and loved it. I’ve always been curious about a homesteading lifestyle, and that book showed me what it might be like. This fictional novel, however, doesn’t spark any interest in it. I have a feeling I added it to my TBR just because I recognized her name.


The Witch Elm by Tana French

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Verdict: Keep

The main reason I’m deciding to leave this novel on my TBR is that I keep hearing amazing things about Tana French, and out of her novels this one seems the one I’m most likely to enjoy.


The Dispossessed (Hainish Cycle #6) by Ursula K. Le Guin

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Verdict: Keep

Even though this is the sixth book in Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle series, from everything I know this series does not need to be read in order, so I’m keeping this one on my TBR. The main character, Shevek, “will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have isolated his planet of anarchists from the rest of the civilized universe.” I adored Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darknessso I’m eager to read more of her work.



Two out of ten books removed from my TBR is less than I was hoping for, but I feel like the books I’m keeping on this list are books that I’m going to love.


Have you read any of these books? If so, let me know what you thought of them in the comments below!




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May Book of the Month Selections

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Book of the Month is one of my favorite book subscription boxes. Every month, they offer five new releases that you can pick from for just $14.99. If you want to add more than one book, you can add an additional two books per month for just $9.99 each.

If you want to read budget new releases in hardcover, then this is the subscription box for you!

At the moment Book of the Month is only available in the U.S. If you sign up through my Refer-a-Friend link, you and I both get a free book!


My May Picks

This month I went with one of their current books and one of their backlisted titles.

(Synopses courtesy of Goodreads and the publishers)

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The Flight Portfolio by Julie Orringer

The long-awaited new work from the best-selling author of The Invisible Bridge takes us back to occupied Europe in this gripping historical novel based on the true story of Varian Fry’s extraordinary attempt to save the work, and the lives, of Jewish artists fleeing the Holocaust.

In 1940, Varian Fry–a Harvard educated American journalist–traveled to Marseille carrying three thousand dollars and a list of imperiled artists and writers he hoped to rescue within a few weeks. Instead, he ended up staying in France for thirteen months, working under the veil of a legitimate relief organization to procure false documents, amass emergency funds, and set up an underground railroad that led over the Pyrenees, into Spain, and finally to Lisbon, where the refugees embarked for safer ports. Among his many clients were Hannah Arendt, Franz Werfel, André Breton, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, and Marc Chagall.

The Flight Portfolio opens at the Chagalls’ ancient stone house in Gordes, France, as the novel’s hero desperately tries to persuade them of the barbarism and tragedy descending on Europe. Masterfully crafted, exquisitely written, impossible to put down, this is historical fiction of the very first order, and resounding confirmation of Orringer’s gifts as a novelist.


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Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.




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May 2019 Plans & TBR

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I can’t believe it’s May already. 2019 is moving by at an extraordinary pace.

This month, I want to focus on reading books I already own. I have a tendency to max out my library card constantly, which means I’m practically always reading a borrowed book while I have hundreds of books that sat unread on my shelves.

Here are ten books I hope to read in May. Synopses are courtesy of the publishers and Goodreads.


The Last by Hanna Jameson

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For fans of high-concept thrillers such as Annihilation and The Girl with All the Gifts, this breathtaking dystopian psychological thriller follows an American academic stranded at a Swiss hotel as the world descends into nuclear war—along with twenty other survivors—who becomes obsessed with identifying a murderer in their midst after the body of a young girl is discovered in one of the hotel’s water tanks.

Jon thought he had all the time in the world to respond to his wife’s text message: I miss you so much. I feel bad about how we left it. Love you. But as he’s waiting in the lobby of the L’Hotel Sixieme in Switzerland after an academic conference, still mulling over how to respond to his wife, he receives a string of horrifying push notifications. Washington, DC has been hit with a nuclear bomb, then New York, then London, and finally Berlin. That’s all he knows before news outlets and social media goes black—and before the clouds on the horizon turn orange.

Now, two months later, there are twenty survivors holed up at the hotel, a place already tainted by its strange history of suicides and murders. Those who can’t bear to stay commit suicide or wander off into the woods. Jon and the others try to maintain some semblance of civilization. But when the water pressure disappears, and Jon and a crew of survivors investigate the hotel’s water tanks, they are shocked to discover the body of a young girl.

As supplies dwindle and tensions rise, Jon becomes obsessed with investigating the death of the little girl as a way to cling to his own humanity. Yet the real question remains: can he afford to lose his mind in this hotel, or should he take his chances in the outside world?


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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Since its immediate success in 1813, Pride and Prejudice has remained one of the most popular novels in the English language. Jane Austen called this brilliant work “her own darling child” and its vivacious heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, “as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print.” The romantic clash between the opinionated Elizabeth and her proud beau, Mr. Darcy, is a splendid performance of civilized sparring. And Jane Austen’s radiant wit sparkles as her characters dance a delicate quadrille of flirtation and intrigue, making this book the most superb comedy of manners of Regency England.


Pride by Ibi Zoboi

35068632.jpgPride and Prejudice gets remixed in this smart, funny, gorgeous retelling of the classic, starring all characters of color, from Ibi Zoboi, National Book Award finalist and author of American Street.

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

In a timely update of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.


Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

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A literary courtroom drama about a Korean immigrant family and a young, single mother accused of murdering her eight-year-old autistic son

My husband asked me to lie. Not a big lie. He probably didn’t even consider it a lie, and neither did I, at first . . .
In the small town of Miracle Creek, Virginia, Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine—a pressurized oxygen chamber that patients enter for therapeutic “dives” with the hopes of curing issues like autism or infertility. But when the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes, killing two people, a dramatic murder trial upends the Yoos’ small community.

Who or what caused the explosion? Was it the mother of one of the patients, who claimed to be sick that day but was smoking down by the creek? Or was it Young and Pak themselves, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? The ensuing trial uncovers unimaginable secrets from that night—trysts in the woods, mysterious notes, child-abuse charges—as well as tense rivalries and alliances among a group of people driven to extraordinary degrees of desperation and sacrifice.

Angie Kim’s Miracle Creek is a thoroughly contemporary take on the courtroom drama, drawing on the author’s own life as a Korean immigrant, former trial lawyer, and mother of a real-life “submarine” patient. An addictive debut novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng, Miracle Creek is both a twisty page-turner and a deeply moving story about the way inconsequential lies and secrets can add up—with tragic consequences.


Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

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Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel.

But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.


Full Tilt by Neal Shusterman

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Sixteen-year-old Blake and his younger brother, Quinn, are exact opposites. Blake is the responsible member of the family. He constantly has to keep an eye on the fearless Quinn, whose thrill-seeking sometimes goes too far. But the stakes get higher when Blake has to chase Quinn into a bizarre phantom carnival that traps its customers forever.

In order to escape, Blake must survive seven deadly rides by dawn, each of which represents a deep, personal fear — from a carousel of stampeding animals to a hall of mirrors that changes people into their deformed reflections. Blake ultimately has to face up to a horrible secret from his own past to save himself and his brother — that is, if the carnival doesn’t claim their souls first!


Q-in-Law (Star Trek: The Next Generation #18) by Peter David

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When two powerful rival families of the spacefaring merchant race called the Tizarin are to be joined through marriage, the U.S.S. Enterprise is chosen as the site for the wedding. Though Captain Picard is pleased by the happy duty, his pleasure is cut short by the arrival of the Federation delegate from Betazed: Lwaxan Troi – the mother of ship’s counsellor, Deanna Troi.

Despite Lwaxana Troi’s romantic overtures toward the captain, the celebration seems to go smoothly until the situation is further complicated by the arrival of the notorious and all powerful being called Q – who has come to examine and challenge the human concept of love. Suddenly, the festivities are in turmoil, the powerful Tizarin families are on the verge of war, and Lwaxana Troi is determined to teach Q a lesson in love that he will never forget…


Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan

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When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

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Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.


Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive, #3) by Brandon Sanderson

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In Oathbringer, the third volume of the New York Times bestselling Stormlight Archive, humanity faces a new Desolation with the return of the Voidbringers, a foe with numbers as great as their thirst for vengeance.

Dalinar Kholin’s Alethi armies won a fleeting victory at a terrible cost: The enemy Parshendi summoned the violent Everstorm, which now sweeps the world with destruction, and in its passing awakens the once peaceful and subservient parshmen to the horror of their millennia-long enslavement by humans. While on a desperate flight to warn his family of the threat, Kaladin Stormblessed must come to grips with the fact that the newly kindled anger of the parshmen may be wholly justified.

Nestled in the mountains high above the storms, in the tower city of Urithiru, Shallan Davar investigates the wonders of the ancient stronghold of the Knights Radiant and unearths dark secrets lurking in its depths. And Dalinar realizes that his holy mission to unite his homeland of Alethkar was too narrow in scope. Unless all the nations of Roshar can put aside Dalinar’s blood-soaked past and stand together–and unless Dalinar himself can confront that past–even the restoration of the Knights Radiant will not prevent the end of civilization.



My larger focus this month is maintaining my mental health and trying to get out of the house more. It’s strawberry season here, so I’m looking forward to heading down into the countryside to pick some fresh. My boyfriend and I are also planning on doing some hiking now that the weather is nice.

On top of all that, I’ve created a content calendar for the blog and all of the features I want to write for it. I’m also in the process of setting up a freelance writing business.

It’s going to be a busy month, but I’m looking forward to it so much.


What books are you planning on reading in May? Let me know in the comments!




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April TBR & Plans

April TBR & Plans

I have big reading plans for April. I want to finish thirty books this month, several of which are graphic novels or poetry collections that I want to get to. For funsies, I set myself a ridiculously high Goodreads yearly goal of 225 books, and I fully intend to reach it. I got a bit off track in March due to getting sick for over a week, but now that I’m well again, it’s time to start reading fiendishly again!

This TBR isn’t everything I want to read in April, but these books are ones that I definitely want to get to. For the rest of what I read this month, I’m going to choose based on my mood at the time.


Currently Reading

I’m currently reading three books that I started in March and will be finishing this month:


National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, and as such, it’ll be a great opportunity to explore a genre I’m not very familiar with. Here are the poetry collections I’d like to read this month:


Comics & Graphic Novels

I also have a few graphic novels and comic book series I want to read or re-read:


Novels

Then, of course, we have the novels:



What books are you planning on reading in April?

Re-Read-A-Thon 2019

I first heard about this readathon through Elliot Brooks’ Youtube channel, and since I’ve been wanting to reread some old favorites, decided I am going to participate.

(As a side note, if you aren’t already subscribed to Elliot Brooks’ youtube channel, I recommend you check it out. She’s one of the best booktubers, in my opinion, and I’ve gotten an insane number of great recommendations from watching her videos.)

The readathon has a dedicated Twitter page, and several hosts:

Here’s my list of books I’m reading during this readathon:

  • Giving a Book a Second Chance: Retrovirus by Jimmy Palmiotti is a graphic novel and one of the first books I read when I received my Amazon Kindle as a Christmas gift. I remember not liking it, but I don’t remember much else about it, so it’s a perfect book to give a second chance.
  • A Recent Favorite: I adored Mackenzi Lee’s The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue when I read it in 2018, and I’ve been itching to re-read it.
  • An Old Favorite: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien has been one of my favorite books since I was a child. I can’t even begin to guess at how many times I’ve read and reread this novel, but I’ll still continue to reread it until I’m on my deathbed.
  • Game Changing Book: I was never a comic book fan until I met my boyfriend, who introduced me to this new, wonderful, absorbing world. One of the first series I fell in love with was the Doctor Strange and Punisher mashup, Magic Bullets by John Barber.I’ve been looking for an excuse to reread it.
  • Unpopular Book: I remember reading J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye back in high school, but I remember absolutely nothing about it. I know this is a book that many people hate for a variety of reasons, and I’m interested to see what I’ll think of it.
  • Childhood Favorite: I just purchased a full set of the Harry Potter novels, which I’d lost when my family’s house burned down when I was nineteen. It’s been years since I’ve read the series, so for this challenge, I’ll be reading the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
  • Popular Book: I’m being lazy with this challenge because this is already quite a bit of reading, so both Harry Potter and The Hobbit are doubling up for this one.

Are you participating? If so, let me know in the comments! I’d love to have some more bookish accounts to follow!

October TBR

It’s finally October! I love this month so much. Pumpkin everything, the leaves changing color, spooky stuff everywhere, cooler weather… there’s just so much to love. The fall is a time when I always feel rejuvenated and at my happiest.

Since it’s the first day of the month, that means it’s time to put together my TBR list for the month. I doubt I’m going to be able to get through everything on the list, but I am certainly going to try! I also have a habit of picking up books on a whim, so expect this list to change a little.

Currently Reading:

Want to Read:

And then also, a healthy dose of Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft.

What are you planning on reading this month?


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Header image thanks to Elke Bürgin on Unsplash