2018 Round Up

At the beginning of the year, I complied a yearly TBR (to be read) List. I broke it down into 2 categories: “Books I Will Read” and “Books I Hope to Finish.” While I did clock in at just under 60 books read this year, I definitely strayed from my TBR list. Below, I have crossed out the books I finished on each list.

I also want to take the time to list my 5 favorite and least favorite reads from this year. I tried to branch out and read new things, from romance to fantasy to biographies. But, I found that I always came back to my favorite YA material. It was good to branch out though. I discovered I LOVE listening to biographies on audiobook, especially humor based bios read by the author.

Books I Will Read

  1. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
  2. Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
  3. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
  4. The Case Against the Supreme Court by Erwin Chemerinsky
  5. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  6. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
  7. Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
  8. Let it Snow by John Green
  9. The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish
  10. Rising by Holly Kelly
  11. Starfall by Melissa Landers
  12. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
  13. The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
  14. Warcross by Marie Lu
  15. *A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas
  16. *Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J Maas
  17. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas
  18. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  19. Nyxia by Scott Reintgen
  20. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  21. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  22. Zodiac by Romina Russell
  23. Little Black Dresses, Little White Lies by Laura Stampler
  24. Lord of the Rings Series (The Fellowship, Two Towers, Return of the King, Hobbit, Silmarillion) by JRR Tolkien
  25. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Books I Hope to Finish

  1. The Wrath & the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
  2. Flawed by Cecilia Ahern
  3. With Malice by Eileen Cook
  4. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
  5. My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  6. Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison
  7. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
  8. 11/22/63 by Stephen King
  9. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin
  10. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
  11. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
  12. As I Wake by Elizabeth Scott
  13. A Love Letter to Whiskey by Kandi Steiner
  14. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
  15. Shrill by Lindy West

Books I Did Read in 2018

  1. Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas
  2. Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu
  3. The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll
  4. Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
  5. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  6. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
  7. Warcross by Marie Lu
  8. Everyday by David Levithan
  9. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
  10. The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
  11. The Book of Joe Biden by Jeff Willser
  12. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
  13. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
  14. To All The Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han
  15. Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser
  16. Fates by Lanie Bross
  17. The Lost World by Michael Crichton
  18. The Librarian by Christy Sloat
  19. #Nerd by Cambria Hebert
  20. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  21. Whiskey Prince by Toni Aleo
  22. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  23. Beauty and the Beast by K.M. Shea
  24. Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
  25. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
  26. Confessions of a Queen B* by Crista McHugh
  27. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas
  28. The Queen B* Strikes Bach by Crista McHugh
  29. The Queen B* and the Homecoming King by Crista McHugh
  30. #FashionVictim by Amina Akhtar
  31. Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
  32. Salt by Hannah Moskowitz
  33. You’re You by Mette Bach
  34. Summer Constellations by Alisha Sevigny
  35. The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson
  36. Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
  37. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  38. A Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss
  39. How to Walk Away by Kathrine Center
  40. Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch
  41. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  42. Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
  43. Royals by Rachel Hawkins
  44. The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
  45. The Darkest Star by Jenifer L. Armentrout
  46. The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
  47. Some Girls Bind by Rory James
  48. Bring Me Home by Bree Howard
  49. The Dead Queen’s Club by Hanna Capin
  50. Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis
  51. The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish
  52. Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham
  53. I’ve Got This Round: More Tales of Debauchery by Marie Hart
  54. In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham
  55. Lucky Bastard: My Life, My Dad, and the Things I’m Not Allowed to Say on TV by Joe Buck
  56. Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to Be a Grown-Up by Grace Helbig
  57. Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West
  58. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Favorite Reads of 2018

  • A Slow Regard of Silent Things
  • The Calculating Stars
  • Norse Mythology
  • Bring Me Home
  • Undead Girl Gang

These five books have little in common, but they all left the biggest impression on me this year. I connected to the main character, Auri, in a Slow Regard of Silent Things. I was blown away by the character development and writing in The Calculating Stars. I was throughly amused at Gaiman’s takes and stories in his Norse Mythology. Bring Me Home is one of the best feel-good romance novels I have ever read. Undead Girl Gang made me laugh out loud and appreciate having a best friend who would do anything for me.

Least Favorite Reads

  • Girl, Wash Your Face
  • Fates
  • You’re You
  • Not That I Could Tell
  • Dead Queen’s Club

These books all fell short of expectation. Girl, Wash Your Face sounded like a privileged girl trying to show how much her and her “#girlgang” or “tribe” has shaped her. But it is full of cliche advice. Fates was a book that I skimmed because it was predictable. You’re You and Not That I Could Tell were two books that I felt never amounted to a true climax. I was left waiting for something to happen. Finally, Dead Queen’s Club was confusing, convoluted, and suffers from trying too hard to make teenagers fit historical stereotypes.

What books have you read, loved, or hated in 2018?

Books I Wish I’ve Read

Last week, I discussed my Book Regrets. These were books that I have regretted reading. This week, I think it’s only fair that I compile a list of seven books that I wish I’ve read by now. Some of these books are classics I wish I read while in school instead of glossing over them, some are books that have been hyped up and I have been afraid of reading, and others have just been on my TBR list for a long time.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: This is an incredibly short book and I have no excuse for why I haven’t finished it yet. I have picked this book up and have read the first half of it at least six times. But I get distracted and forget about it. I like what I’ve read so far, and have no idea why I’ve never finished it.

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling: Do you know that feeling when you love an author for a specific series and you’re afraid to read anything else by them in case your illusions are shattered? That’s how I feel about this book. It has been on my shelf since I bought it in 2012. It has been through three different moves with me, but I haven’t opened the book once.

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: This is one of those books that I avoided in high school. I pretended to read it and in the end, I think it hurt me. Crime and Punishment is a classic that I wish I had read by now. I even picked up a beautiful copy to entice myself to read it (this hasn’t worked yet), but I think I’m going to force myself to read it this winter.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: At first, I was hesitant to read this book because I had not read anything by Leigh Bardugo. I didn’t know this was set in the same world as her other trilogy, but I have been assured that you don’t need to read the trilogy first before understanding this book. This book has been rated highly and I’ afraid I built up too many expectations to enjoy this book.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: I have a love/hate relationship with Jane Austen’s writing. But, I’ve been told that this is one of Austen’s best books. I have been avoiding this book because this is the last Austen book I have yet to read. Part of me doesn’t want to read this book because I don’t want to have read everything by Austen. But I know I’ll cave soon.

The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff: I own this series but it has been sitting on my shelf. Everyone has promised that this series will blow me away, but I’m hesitant. I have high expectations for this series because of its high praise. But I’m a little scared to start it and be disappointed.

My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg: I have been reading this book since it came out two years ago, in October of 2016. This has been an incredibly slow read. I love going through RBG’s speeches and decisions. But it is dense. I’ll get in the mood to sit down and read this book and other times, I would prefer something light. I wish I would have gotten through this book by now, but I’m only about 1/3 of the way through it.

Witchy Reads

When I think October and fall, I think of witches and mischief. I love reading books about all things supernatural, so books about witches are things I like reaching for. When thinking of a list to compile, I tried to pull books from different genres so that you can find a witchy book that appeals to you.

  1. The Bone Witch by Rea Chupeci: Tea accidentally resurrects her brother form the dead. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. Bone Witches generally serve to protect the kingdom from monsters that periodically rise from the dead and wreak havoc. These Witches are rare and Tea must study hard to harness a power within that she never knew she had.
  2. The Crucible by Arthur Miller: This book is about the Salem Witch Trials and Miller’s take on communist hysteria. The focus of the story is John Proctor’s struggle to redeem himself from the horrible guilt he has suffered since committing adultery with Abigail.
  3. Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison: Rachel Morgan, an officer for the supernatural organization, Inderland Security, (I.S.) and finds herself on the run after she quits her job and a hit is put out on her life.
  4. The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry: This book is broken up into 3 parts. Part one focuses on the details of the past—who are the Goddesses, who is Callie, who is Rose, what do all of these characters have in common. Part two fills in more gaps and focuses on Rose and Callie. Part three follows Callie and the town of Salem in the aftermath. here is a lot of back and forth focusing on present day, what happened in 1989, and the witch trials of 1692.
  5. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman: This book is a fantasy/comedy about the north of the son of Satan, and the coming of the end of times. Keep in mind that this is a light-hearted story about the end of the world and how human folly can ruin the plans of God and the Devil
  6. Pratical Magic and The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic Series) by Alice Hoffman: For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man. Raised by their aunts and shunned by their classmates for being witches, sisters Gillian and Sally struggled to find their own versions of happiness. Now, Sally has two daughters of her own and has succeeded in building a life for herself removed from the aunts, from magic, the stares and gossip, and the condemnation. Gillian is reckless and wild, impulsive, and unlucky in love. She decides to head home, dragging her past with her.
  7. The Secret Circle by L.J. Smith: This story follows the character of Cassie Blake as she is initiated into a “Circle” of six other teenage witches and the danger that ensues when they accidentally unleash a dark force upon their town. Matters are further complicated when Cassie finds herself in a love triangle that threatens to tear the Circle apart
  8. Stardust by Neil Gaiman: This is a magical story that follows Tristan Thorne in his quest to track down, retrieve, and bring to his love a star that has fallen into the Fearie Realm outside the town of Wall. Tristan comes face to face with trouble, including a witch who is looking for the star in an attempt to use the star in order to regain her own youth.
  9. Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft by Various Authors: This is a collection of stories featuring tales of girls embracing their power, reclaiming their destinies and using their magic to create, to curse, to cure—and to kill.
  10. Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson: Mila Flores loses her best friend and her whole world is ripped open. Everyone is saying Riley committed suicide, but Mila knows her best friend better than that. Riley would never commit suicide. It is also strange that two popular mean girls committed suicide in the same week. Mila sets out to prove that her best friend was not at fault and an investigation should be opened. Before Riley died, her and Mila dabbled in witchcraft. Shortly after Riley’s death, some mysterious book arrives with spells from the occult. It’s the kind of witchcraft the girls have never engaged in, but Mila takes it as a sign. She decides to resurrect her best friend and discover the cause of the three gruesome deaths.
  11. Uprooted by Naomi Novik: Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. er people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood. The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her. But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.
  12. Witchborn by Nicholas Bowling: Bowling laces magic and history together with an unexpected but wicked undercurrent of darkness. Witchborn is a story of powerful witches as well as deadly magic and is without a doubt a really highly entertaining fun read.
  13. Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz: he three Beauchamp women–Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid–live in North Hampton. Their beautiful, mist-shrouded town seems almost stuck in time, and all three women lead seemingly quiet, uneventful existences. But they are harboring a mighty secret–they are powerful witches banned from using their magic. For centuries, all three women have been forced to suppress their abilities. But then Freya, who is about to get married to the wealthy and mysterious Bran Gardiner, finds that her increasingly complicated romantic life makes it more difficult than ever to hide her secret.

What other books would you suggest?

Favorite Autumnal Reads

Favorite Autumnal Reads

When I think autumnal reads, I think of books I can curl up and get lost in. Maybe sit by a window with a giant cup of coffee and my coziest blankets and escape the world for a while. Sometimes I want to reread books in the fall because they are comfortable and I can reminisce about all of the warm feelings these books bring me. Other times I want something witchy or creepy. But I also enjoy long books, where I can binge read. Maybe lose a few hours (or days) entranced by a great story.

Here are 10 books/series that I think would be great for fall:

1) Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

  • Of course I have to start here, because I’m part of the Harry Potter generation. But what you don’t know is that I start every September with a reread of a book in the series. This year, I chose The Chamber of Secretsbecause this is one of my least favorites. I always want to skip over this book. I suspect it has to do with my disdain of Professor Gilderoy Lockhart. But every time I reread this one, I’m glad I have. This would be the perfect place to start if you want to rekindle your love of fall reading with an old favorite.

2) Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

  • I recently finished this book and you can find my full review here. But I adored this book. It’s a cute take on how far a person is willing to go to solve their best friend’s potential murder. If you like tales of witchy craft and creepy incidents, this is a great book to pick up this fall. Plus, you’ll walk away from this one delighted, despite the twists and turns.

3) The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

  • This is a book that I initially read in the fall. I remember this book dominating an entire weekend. I didn’t get out of bed unless I had to. But this is also a book I frequently come back to. There are so many minute details that you won’t think are important, but will come back to mean the world. Especially once you read the second book in this series. I am constantly recommending this book to people, because it is one of my all-time-favorites. The Name of the Windis a perfect book to read in the fall, because it’s a book you’ll want to binge read.

4) American Gods by Neil Gaiman

  • I am a little late to the Neil Gaiman train, but I am so glad I’m finally on board. This book is massive and a little dense at times, but well worth the read. I definitely lost almost an entire day to this book; I could not put it down. Gaiman’s take on mythology and Gods of the old world is astounding. This is a great fall read because you’ll be transported to different places with new stories of each important God. Plus, there’s a great commentary on the new world technology versus old world traditions.

5) The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson

  • I can’t make a list of books without including one book about dinosaurs! The Extinction Trialsis a wonderful fall read because you can escape our world and be thrown into a new one. This is perfect if you love the dystopian feel because Storm’s world in closing in on her as the population grows. The dinosaurs aren’t exactly cliché in this book and there are some moments of cutthroat competition. But this is a story about more than survival, you’ll be introduced to new friendships, families, trust and betrayl.

6) The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry

  • Are you obsessed with witches and the Salem witch trials? Do you love learning about history? Do you want a new take on an old favorite? If you answered yes to all of these questions, then this is the book for you!

7) Dracula by Bram Stoker

  • I figured I had to throw at least one classic into this mix. Dracula has had a profound cultural impact on the way books and movies are written and portrayed. Dracula himself is a creepy and intoxicating character and you can tell that a substantial amount of research and time went into this character. If you want to know how and why the vampire phenomenon was revived in mainstream culture, you can see it here. If you have to read this book, so why not now?

8) The Merciless by Danielle Vega

  • I honestly still don’t know what to make of this book. I’m confused about a lot of the events and the ending surprised me a little. But if you’re looking for weird yet engaging this fall, then this is the book for you! I’d classify this as a “scary” read because a group of teenage girls are attempting to perform an exorcism and things go wrong, but not in the way you’d expect. This book stands out to me because I have no read another one like it. I’m still trying to determine if that’s a good or bad thing.

9) Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls Series) by C.C. Hunter

  • When I think of fall, my mind immediately jumps to Halloween. I have a fond love of all things paranormal. When I was putting together this list, I’ll admit that I didn’t immediately think of this series until I did some digging. If you look this book up, you will find a mix of reviews. Some people hate it and other love it. But I think this is a fast-paced series. Yes, some things are predictable. But you get love, laughter, and a host of characters who will keep you amused. This is an entertaining series and will keep you engaged.

10) Final Girls by Riley Sager

  • Final Girlsis the book equivalent of a slasher film, and I LOVED that. Quincy survives a horrible event that she has slowly forgotten about over time. But when a new friend shows up, she starts reliving her personal nightmare. Maybe I enjoyed this book because I didn’t predict the killer and was surprised. But I still couldn’t put it down. You will need to know what happened to Quincy all those years ago just as much as you’ll need to know what’s going to happen next.

October TBR

This October, I want to keep my list short. It is going to be a busy month–both with Blogtober and my best friend is getting married! I’ve narrowed my list down to four books, one of which I have been anticipating all year. This month, I hope to finish The Graveyard BookA Discovery of WitchesAssassin’s Blade, and Kingdom of Ash.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

“After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own. Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family…”–Goodreads

This year, I have been loving all things Neil Gaiman. I know I’m a little late to the game, but I have enjoyed listening to his audiobooks and reading his work. Graphic novels are new to me, but I’m excited to dive into this one.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

“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”–Goodreads

This book has been on my TBR for a while but I just haven’t had the chance to read it. I figure that the series being turned into a television series is the perfect time to finally start this series.

Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas

“Celaena Sardothien is her kingdom’s most feared assassin. Though she works for the powerful and ruthless Assassin’s Guild, Celaena yields to no one and trusts only her fellow killer for hire, Sam. When Celaena’s scheming master, Arobynn Hamel, dispatches her on missions that take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, she finds herself acting independently of his wishes-and questioning her own allegiance. Along the way, she makes friends and enemies alike, and discovers that she feels far more for Sam than just friendship. But by defying Arobynn’s orders, Celaena risks unimaginable punishment, and with Sam by her side, he is in danger, too. They will have to risk it all if they hope to escape Arobynn’s clutches-and if they fail, they’ll lose not just a chance at freedom, but their lives . . . A prequel to Throne of Glass, this collection of five novellas offers readers a deeper look into the history of this cunning assassin and her enthralling-and deadly-world.”–Bloomsbury

I have put this book on my TBR multiple times but I have never seemed to pick it up and read it. Well, I have been deprived of Maas’ writing for too long and I think this will put me in the right mindset to finish the series with Kingdom of Ash.

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas

“Aelin has risked everything to save her people-but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day… With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction. Yet they soon realize that the many allies they’ve gathered to battle Erawan’s hordes might not be enough to save them. Scattered across the continent and racing against time, Chaol, Manon, and Dorian are forced to forge their own paths to meet their fates. Hanging in the balance is any hope of salvation-and a better world. And across the sea, his companions unwavering beside him, Rowan hunts to find his captured wife and queen-before she is lost to him forever. As the threads of fate weave together at last, all must fight, if they are to have a chance at a future. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever in the explosive final chapter of the Throne of Glass series.”–SarahJMaas.com

I have been not so patiently waiting for this book to be released and it’s finally release month! I have fallen in love with the Throne of Glass series and Mass’ writing. I cannot wait to see what happens to some of my favorite characters and where this story goes. I don’t know how I’m going to wait until the 23rd to get my hands on this, but I am sure I’m going to devour it.

What are you reading this month?

American Gods

**Spoiler Free Review**

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American Gods is a story that will take some time to settle into, but the story is well worth it. The story follows Shadow through America in his quest to help his employer, Wednesday. During his journey, Shadow is tested emotionally and physically. He must overcome what he thinks to be true and his assumptions on how the world works, question what he knows about love and loss, and discover who he was meant to be.

Shadow is a character we can all find something to relate to. Shadow starts out in prison and is released shortly after his wife dies. In the aftermath of his wife’s death, he meets Wednesday, who seems to know a lot about Shadow and promises him a job. Wednesday is intentionally vague about the terms of the employment, but Shadow remains loyal throughout the book to Wednesday. Wednesday continuously tests Shadow’s loyalty and ability to see through facades. Shadow sometimes follows Wednesday blindly, but he believes in his cause.

Along the way, Shadow is introduced to Gods—old and new. Some Gods were brought to America over time form different cultures and religions. Others were created by a rapidly growing world. The old and new gods are locked in a battle between the preservation of the old ways and paving a path for a new world. Shadow acts as a middleman and is constantly thrown between what he knows to be true and what he thinks he sees.

Overall, I think American Godsis a phenomenal book. Neil Gaiman delivers a remarkable story with a cast of characters that will not disappoint. While all are fictional, some bare a resemblance to the gods many of us have read about through different facets of history. Simultaneously, Gaiman makes a shocking comparison to the new gods people tend to worship in the twenty-first century, such as technology gods.

But the true champion of the story is Shadow. While he seems to be a simple man, he was put forth in a plan that unravels slowly. He is willing to sacrifice his old life and beliefs for an understanding of how the world used to work and where the world is headed. Shadow does not question often, and instead observes the way people interact. A character that seems ((( at the beginning of the novel, quickly becomes the kind of person we all aspire to be.

I cannot recommend this book enough! This is one of the best books I have read in a long time, and has a spot on my all time favorite reads shelf. While this book did take me some time to get through, it was worth it. At times, the reading was dense and there are a lot of small characters to keep straight at times. But, everything comes together in the end and Gaiman’s writing and beautifully crafted characters will blow you away.

Rating: 5/5


June TBR

This month, I am going a little ambitious again and hope to finish four books. When gathering books this month, I realized that they are all space operas. It was entirely accidental, but I am just going to roll with it. I LOVE space operas, they are probably one of my favorite things to read. Here are the four books I hope to finish this month.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Synopsis: “This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded. The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit. But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.”–Goodreads

I have had this book in my possession for quite some time. I picked it up because I thought it looked interesting, but I put it on my shelf and forgot about it. With the recent hype surrounding the release of the third book in the series, I decided that I need to read this book. Especially is the series is as wonderful and addictive as everyone claims it to be.

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

Synopsis: “Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family. Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.”–Barnes & Noble

I have no idea where I got this book from to why I picked it up. Odds are, I found it at my favorite used book store. But, I have been wanting to find a space themed book that I love because everything I have picked up lately has left me more than disappointed.

Star Wars: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

Synopsis: “This thrilling Young Adult novel gives readers a macro view of some of the most important events in the Star Wars universe, from the rise of the Rebellion to the fall of the Empire. Readers will experience these major moments through the eyes of two childhood friends–Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell–who have grown up to become an Imperial officer and a Rebel pilot. Now on opposite sides of the war, will these two star-crossed lovers reunite, or will duty tear them–and the galaxy–apart?”–Amazon

I found this book at Target and bought it on a whim earlier this year. I have read the first few chapters and then this book was left in my car. So far, I like what I have read and I am excited to continue this book.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Synopsis: “Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless Lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.”–MarissaMeyer.com

Despite this book being out for a while, I picked up this book to get it signed by Marissa Meyer in November. To this day, Renegades is the only book of her that I have finished and I was left disappointed. I have read maybe a third of Cinder and put it down because I was bored with it. I have heard great things about this series, so I hope it picks up and that I have the motivation to continue with the series.

What are you reading this month?


This month, I am setting our to read new books I hope to become some of my favorites, a book that seems like everyone’s favorite, and a classic I cannot believe I have not picked up yet. This May, I hope to finish Leah on the OffbeatA Court of Frost & StarlightSix of Crows, and Stardust.

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli 

Synopsis: “When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. She’s an anomaly in her friend group: the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon. So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.”–Amazon

I want to start out by saying that I LOVED Simon vs. the Homo-Sapien Agenda. I laughed, cried, had my heart crushed, and felt for each of the characters in that book. Alberalli’s writing style blew me away and I have been excited for this sequel ever since. I preordered this book a a while ago and I cannot wait to devour this. I have been a little upset that I haven’t found the time to sit down and read this book, so I am proclaiming this the first book that I must read this month.

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas

Synopsis: “Narrated by Feyre and Rhysand, this story bridges the events in A Court of Wings and Ruin and the upcoming novels in the series. Feyre, Rhys and their companions are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated – scars that will have a far-reaching impact on the future of their court.”–SarahJMaas.com

Sarah J Maas is a quintessential young adult author While her other series, Throne of Glass is my favorite of the two, I am still excited to read this book. But I am also hesitant. I usually hate spinoff books, but I miss the characters from the ACOTAR series so much that my curiosity outweighs my hesitations right now. And I’m sure that once I dive into another SJM book that I will lose track of time and my heart.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Synopsis: “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. Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.”–LeighBardugo.com

I have heard nothing but positive things about this book. I can’t tell you why I never decided to pick up this book until now, but I am glad to finally have it in my possession. I’m a little iffy about Bardugo’s writing style, but I won’t be quick to judge because I’ve only read one book by her and my expectations were so high that disappointment was inevitable. Hopefully, this one lives up to the hype.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Synopsis: “In the sleepy English countryside at the dawn of the Victorian Era, life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall — a secluded hamlet so named for an imposing stone barrier that surrounds a fertile grassland. Armed sentries guard the sole gap in the bulwark to keep the inquisitive from wandering through, relaxing their vigil only once every nine years, when a market fair unlike any other in the world of men comes to the meadow. Here in Wall, young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to beautiful Victoria Forester. But Victoria is cold and distant — as distant, in fact, as the star she and Tristran see fall from the sky on a crisp October evening. For the coveted prize of Victoria’s hand, Tristran vows to retrieve the fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that sends the lovelorn swain over the ancient wall, and propels him into a world that is strange beyond imagining. But Tristran is not the only one seeking the heavenly jewel. There are those for whom it promises youth and beauty, the key to a kingdom, and the rejuvenation of dark, dormant magics. And a lad compelled by love will have to keep his wits about him to succeed and survive in this secret place where fallen stars come in many guises — and where quests have a way of branching off in unexpected directions, even turning back upon themselves in space and in time.”–Barnes & Noble

I want to start of by saying that Stardust is one of my all-time favorite feel good movies. It is visually stunning and the story warms my heart. I knew it was based off of a novel, but I did not know that Neil Gaiman wrote the book. After reading American Gods and Norse Mythology, I can confidently say that I enjoy Gaiman’s books and I am excited to read this one. I have heard conflicting reviews and comparisons between the book and the movie. So I decided to approach this book as its own entity, and entirely different from the movie.

What are you reading this month?

The Book of Joe-Joe Biden

The Book of Joe: The Life, Wit, and (Sometimes Accidental) Wisdom of Joe Biden by Jeff Wilser

The Book of Joe is a book full of anecdotes, short stories, and how Joe Biden became the man people know and love today. Through a series of quotes, advice, and a summary of the major points of his life, this book shines the light on how Joe Biden became Vice President and everything he has achieved until now.

I will admit that I did not know much about Biden; outside of being the most meme-worthy VP we have ever seen. There are things that genuinely shocked me about this look into Biden’s life. For instance, Biden has a stutter as a kid. People called him dash because he could barely finish a sentence. But, he never gave up. He would spend countless hours memorizing speeches and passages just to practice having a strong and concise voice.

We learn that Biden always put family first. When he was first elected to Congress, he had a lof of family issues. His two sons were recovering in the hospital. Every day, he would commute to and from Capitol Hill and make sure that he was always there for his sons. He vowed to always take a call from his boys, no matter how important of a meeting he was in. Putting his family first made sure that Biden was grounded in what he believed in most. Regardless of what side of the political spectrum you fall on, this is an admirable trait to have.

Speaking of politics, we learn Biden’s role in the history of politics and just how crucial he was. Biden is a generally liable guy. Because of this, he made friends on both sides of the isle. He would appeal to people at a basic level because some issues may seem like “hot button political issues,” but they are actually human issues. Biden also indirectly had a hand in getting Justice Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Many decisions over the past couple of decades have fallen on Kennedy’s swing vote.

What I enjoyed most about this book is the look behind the guy we always saw smiling or maing jokes. Sure, Biden is known for his love of ice cream and the bromance he had with President Barak Obama, but there is a story of loss and tragedy that many don’t know about. Biden lost his first wife, first daughter, and his oldest son. He sympathized with people who have lost love ones. Instead of being angry and quitting, he wanted to make his wife and son proud. Biden uses compassion to connect with others, not hatred.

VP Joe Biden will live on in history. He still has not given up the fight and works to this day to change America. This book highlights only a fragment of the work Biden has done and continues to do.

I highly recommend picking up this book. It is a quick, short read that will make you smile. And the Biden-isms are great tidbits of advice to follow.


Rating 4/5


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