An Absolutely Remarkable Thing | Weekend Reads

Happy Friday! Every Friday on Weekend Reads I try to kick off the weekend off talking about what I read the week previous and what I hope to read over the weekend. I’ve not been doing much reading lately, but I do hope to turn that around this month.

I’ve been watching a lot of television once I get home from work in the evening and by that time I’m usually already very tired. I wake up early so I can be productive in the morning, but I’ve also had a lot of errands to run related to my job, my mom’s post-op appointments, and my upcoming nasal surgery (10/17). But I’ve also been hard at work on my novel!

Nevertheless, I really want to read some more. As I’m writing, I keep thinking about my writing style and which authors I would like to emulate. Reading similar works while writing my novel helps a lot, so I want to try to finish up my current read so I can pick up some fantasy again!

anabsolutelyI started An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green after I finished Howl’s Moving Castle the weekend after its debut. It took me a little while to get accustomed to the narrator’s voice, but I’m very much invested now in the mystery of the story. The only thing I’m struggling with is that the protagonist is clearly making dumb decisions but unwilling to stop it. It’s one of my pet peeves in books. I often just can’t relate.

But I do think there’s a lot of fascinating details about the nature and navigation of internet fame. The book goes into detail about how agents and other behind-the-scenes managers help entertainers cash in on their notoriety. It’s super icky but also understandable why people want to take advantage of opportunities that they may never see again.

 ☙ ❧ END NOTE ❧ ☙

This weekend I hope to post my next installment of NaNoWriMo Prep, the first of which went up this past Wednesday (OctoWriMo | NaNoWriMo Prep). I’m sorry I’ve not been too active in the blogosphere, but I hope to make up for it now that I have a better handle on all the stuff I’m up to.

I’ll have about a week off after my surgery next Wednesday, and it sounds like I won’t be able to do much else but read, write, and blog. So that should be fun!

What are you reading this weekend?

Thank you for reading!
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The Liebster Award | Blog Tag

Last week I was tagged by Gerry @ The Book Nook UK for The Liebster Award. This award makes me feel really nostalgic, because it was one of the first I ever got nominated for back on my first blog in 2015. I’m amazed that it continues to circulate online and I’m thrilled to be considered for it again after so many years.

These were some pretty interesting questions to think about! I hope my answers were satisfactory, Gerry!


If you opened up a bookshop – what would it be called?

Interlude in Feathers

You’re writing a novel – what are your two main characters names and what kind of novel is it?

I’m not going to share actual names I’ve been using my novels! But here’s two I really love and just thought of, Amelia and Bo. It would be a family drama.

You wake up from a night of heavy drinking to find that you have a tattoo of a fictional character’s name tattooed on your bum. Whose name is it?

I do not drink heavily, but one answer that comes to mind is Woodstock. ^_^

You’re a wizard Harry book blogger. What familiar do you choose?

One of those bear-sized raccoons that wanders around in packs at night

You’re hosting dinner, which four guests (friends, family, famous or fictional) do you invite?

Howell Jenkins, Ginny Weasley, Nikolai Lantsov, and Kaz Brekker

What are you cooking them? Is this your signature dish?

I would cook them beef stir fry with mixed veggies and pineapple served over white rice. It is not a signature dish of mine, but it is something I used to order at a restaurant that discontinued it as a menu item years ago. Not sure why it came to mind just now…

There’s an orchard at the end of the road, one night you hear sobbing from it. Do you go and investigate? If you investigate, who’s there?

I go investigate if it’s not night-time yet and I have my phone handy and someone on call. I assume it’s a woman. Maybe someone who just escaped a potential kidnapping. I call 911 and stay nearby in case anyone else shows up.

Magic has happened and now you’re in the last movie that you watched. What movie is it and how do you fare in this new universe?

I just watched The Shape of Water (2017)! It’s a beautiful movie and world. I think I’d be fine. I could start a new life fairly easily in Baltimore of the 1950s. I feel it was a lot easier back then to make up new identities. I also think American industry was stronger back then, so it’d be easy to find work.

Alien abduction, werewolf bite, vampire attack. One is going to happen to you but lucky for you, you get to pick which one! Go for it and tell me which.

Vampire attack. I think it would hurt the least and be the least lonely. I also think it would be a lot easier to control vampiric urges than those of a werewolf. Alien abduction would be the worst for me. Mars Attacks! (1996) is hands down one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen. I don’t want to be an alien’s science experiment!

Tell me what your perfect Sunday looks like.

Waking up by natural light before anyone else. Having my favorite breakfast tacos from a Mexican restaurant called Jalisco. It’s raining but bright outside. I’d participate in #WritersPatch at 10 a.m. CST and then work on my novel for a few hours, taking breaks for snacks, but otherwise doing exactly as I please ^_^

What plot of a book resembles your life or is most closest to your life?

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

End Note

Thanks for the tag, Gerry! As my mind has been so preoccupied lately, I didn’t feel that I could adequately come up with a list of questions to rival Gerry’s, so I’ve also opted not to tag anyone this weekend. If you would like to answer these fun questions yourself, feel free to do so and link back to Gerry and me so we can see your answers! ^_^

Let me know what you think in the comment section!

Thank you for reading!
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TBR Book Tag | Blog Tag

Last week I was tagged by Gerry @ The Book Nook UK to do the TBR Book Tag! Since I never really keep track of my TBR as listed on Goodreads, I thought this would be a really fun experience to share as I look through the books I’ve added to my “Want to Read” shelf.

Before I get started, I will say that I jump back and forth in between mentioning my physical TBR (books I already own and have access to) and my Goodreads TBR (which doesn’t exclusively list books I am passionate about reading), which are two very different things.

Keep reading to learn about the differences! ^_^

 TBR Book Tag 

How do you keep track of your TBR list?

I don’t keep track of my Goodreads TBR list very well. I don’t really consider my “Want to Read” shelf on Goodreads as an accurate representation of a my TBR. I consider my true TBR the list of books that I actually own, namely the books I’ve spent my money on.

So on my main bookcase, I have one shelf at eye level were I most of my physical TBR is located. If I have any of my unread books on another shelf (for organizational purposes), I actually put a pink page marker on them so I can see at a glance what books I’ve not yet read.

Is your TBR mostly print or e-book?

Print! I don’t love reading eBooks, but I do buy them on occasion if I don’t like the book cover of a specific book or want to take advantage of a good Amazon deal. If it’s a book I think I will love, I have to have it in print form. I have the entire Throne of Glass series in eBook form because the when I first started the series, the prices of first two books were marked down.

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

I’m a mood reader. I don’t request or get sent any ARCs so my reading choices at any given time are completely up to me and how I feel. I aim to read the books I’ve owned for the longest time but for whatever reason haven’t yet gotten around to. I also try to read books these days as soon as I purchase them.

A book that has been on your TBR the longest

Omitting books I that I’ve bought for past classes and still would like to read, it would have to be The Way of the Pilgrim by Helen Bacovcin. I bought it second-hand in high school after reading Franny & Zooey by J.D. Salinger. It’s a book that affects Franny in a major way in the novella, so I was really interested in reading it for myself.

It’s just never been a top priority for me ever. I don’t consider myself a very spiritual person, so I don’t know what to expect. Now that I’m thinking about it, however, I feel like giving it a try!

A book that you recently added to your TBR

I’m going to look to my Goodreads TBR list for this one and pick the one that most catches my eye right now. Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee is one that stands out! I love contemporaries that are based on really unique premises. I also love when books are heavily influenced by or retellings of classics. I think it’s great when we can see how classics continue to be relevant today.

A book on your TBR list strictly because of its beautiful cover

This is hard! I don’t really add books to my TBR because I’m drawn to the cover. It’s usually the reverse; I’ll like the summary of a book but the book cover will put me off of purchasing it.

But if I must answer, I think The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill might be a more appealing cover to me than the actually story summary is. So it may be doomed to my Goodreads TBR! I don’t know yet!

the-surface-breaks

A book on your TBR that you never plan on actually reading

I try to keep my physical TBR devoid of books I don’t actually want to read. I have no problem unhauling a book if I can see no use to keeping it. If we’re talking specifically about my Goodreads TBR, though . . . maybe Art Matters by Neil Gaiman.

I’m not sure how much I would get from it personally, as I think I already value art pretty highly. It would most likely be one I need to find at a library or heavily discounted if I am to one day read it.

An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for

I’m probably most excited for two books that come out next January! First, The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson (January 22, 2019). The first book Truly, Devious ended on a major cliffhanger so I’ve been pining for this sequel practically all year. Second, King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo (January 29, 2019). It will follow my favorite character from the Grisha trilogy, Nikolai after his trauma.

unpublishedTBR.png

A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read but you

Oh, this one’s easy. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor! I’ve been meaning to read it, I swear! I’ve just been sooo . . . scared I won’t like it! It’s been hyped so much. You might say I bought it as a paperback because I love the cover design far more than the American hardcover. I’m also worried I’ll love it and be forced to wait super long until Muse of Nightmares is out in paperback too!

A book on your TBR everyone recommends you

I don’t get a lot of recommendations out of the blue, but every time I mention Strange the Dreamer people tell me I need to read it!

A book on your TBR you’re very excited to read

So many . . . Because I haven’t mentioned it yet, Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas. The series finale has been a long time coming. Even if I don’t end up being blown away by the ending, it will feel so satisfying to know how Aelin’s story ends.

The number of books on your Goodreads TBR shelf

As of yesterday (9/21), there are 283 books on my “Want to Read” bookshelf.

tbr283

I tag:

tag, you're it!

 ☙ ❧ END NOTE ❧ ☙

I hope you liked getting a closer look at my TBR! Even though I’m not doing them on a monthly basis anymore, I still really love reading them and think they are a great thing to set. I think they can give you structure when you might need it, and they’re so much fun to think about.

Thank you for reading!
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A Quick Blog Update | Weekend Reads

Happy Friday! Every Friday on Weekend Reads I like to kick off the weekend off talking about what I read the week previous and what I hope to read over the weekend. My reading has not been going swimmingly, however, so I just wanted to put up this post and be honest about what’s been going on this week.

I loved being so active in the blogosphere last week, and while I wouldn’t say that I got burnt out, I did feel like taking some time for myself this week to breathe. I’ve been getting settled in a new routine where writing, working out, and the job search are at the forefront.

On the reading front, I’ve yet to finish Howl’s Moving Castle. But I like to think it’s because I’ve been writing more than reading this week, which, honestly, is not a bad trade-off! But after I finish Howl’s, I intend to get on with the books I talked about last Friday (see: Heist Society Read-A-Thon).

 ☙ ❧ END NOTE ❧ ☙

This weekend I will be back to posting as normal! Saturday I will be sharing my TBR Book Tag and Sunday I will be sharing what I’ve been up to this week beyond the blog in my Week in Review. Other than that, I just want to prepare for next week so there’s more up on the blog. September has been a fantastic month and I want to end it on a high note. ^_^

What are you reading this weekend?

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.

Books on My Fall TBR | Top Ten Tuesday

Books on My Fall TBR

Welcome back to Betwined Reads! In an effort to become a little active in the bookish community, I decided to participate in the occasional Top Ten Tuesday. It’s a weekly meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish but now is run by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week book bloggers share their top ten picks that relate to the theme for the week.

This week’s theme is Books on My Fall TBR. I was initially on the fence about participating this week, just because I’ve stopped making my monthly TBRs. I stopped not because I don’t like TBRs but because I just realized I wasn’t really following through with them anymore. Also, I’ve not been super goal-oriented when it comes to reading lately.

However, I realized there are a lot of books I am actually pretty sure I’ll be reading this fall, some of them upcoming releases! So here is my last big TBR for a while (probably until winter). I feel like it’s a safe list, as it also includes some rereads. ^_^

As usual book covers are linked to the corresponding Goodreads page for each book.

 An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

 An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
 New Adult / Contemporary/ Mystery

The Carls just appeared. Coming home from work at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship–like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor–April and her friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world–everywhere from Beijing to Buenos Aires–and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.

Now April has to deal with the pressure on her relationships, her identity, and her safety that this new position brings, all while being on the front lines of the quest to find out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.

I’ve been watching the vlogbrothers since 2012 (oh my gosh, it’s hard to believe that’s 6 years ago now!). Their channel is actually how I became aware of John Green, the YA author now so well known. While I don’t really love John’s books (although, Turtles All the Way Down sounds much more up my alley), I was really intrigued by the premise of Hank’s debut novel.

I’ve been following his process of writing and journey to publication on his channel, so I’m just so excited to show him support and get my hands on what sounds like a really great book!

⟡ Kingdom of Ash

⟡ Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
 New Adult / Fantasy 

Years in the making, Sarah J. Maas’s #1 New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series draws to an epic, unforgettable conclusion. Aelin Galathynius’s journey from slave to king’s assassin to the queen of a once-great kingdom reaches its heart-rending finale as war erupts across her world. . .

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.

I first read Throne of Glass in 2015 and I’m so ready to see how Sarah J. Maas wraps up this series this October! The series has gone through so many ups and downs. I feel like the first book, while comical in its attempt at brevity, ended on a really strong note and each subsequent book (excluding Tower of Dawn) has been better than the last. So I’m optimistic for this book!

 It 

⟡ It by Stephen King
⟡ Classic / Horror

Welcome to Derry, Maine. It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real.

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But the promise they made twenty-eight years ago calls them reunite in the same place where, as teenagers, they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that terrifying summer return as they prepare to once again battle the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers.

I bought this book last year after seeing the movie. I was intrigued to find the 2017 movie was just the first part of a planned series. I’m in awe of the cast they’ve assembled to play the kids’ grown up counterparts, so I really would like to go into the next movie knowing what to expect!

I tried starting this book last year, but I found it really slow. Sometimes I’m in the mood for slow, but I wasn’t then. I want to keep this book at easy access this fall, but I think there’s no better time to read some horror than leading up to Halloween!

⟡ The Young Unicorns – Reread!

⟡ The Young Unicorns by Madeleine L’Engle
YA / Contemporary (70/80s)

The Austins are trying to settle into their new life in New York City, but their once close-knit family is pulling away from each other. Their father spends long hours alone in his study working on the research project that brought the family to the city. John is away at college. Rob is making friends with people in the neighborhood: newspaper vendors, dog walkers, even the local rabbi. Suzy is blossoming into a vivacious young woman. And Vicky has become closer to Emily Gregory, a blind and brilliant young musician, than to her sister Suzy.
With the Austins going in different directions, they don’t notice that something sinister is going on in their neighborhood—and it’s centered around them. A mysterious genie appears before Rob and Emily. A stranger approaches Vicky in the park and calls her by name. Members of a local gang are following their father. The entire Austin family is in danger. If they don’t start telling each other what’s going on, someone just might get killed.

I tried reading this book earlier this year, but from the first page knew I’d rather save it for fall. So I’m excited to reread it finally and see how it holds up. I’ve only read it as an adult, so I don’t see my thoughts changing very much. But I feel like I may be able to glean something new from this book from a writer’s perspective.

 Breakfast at Tiffany’s

⟡ Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
 Literary Fiction / Classic

It’s New York in the 1940s, where the martinis flow from cocktail hour till breakfast at Tiffany’s. And nice girls don’t, except, of course, Holly Golightly. Pursued by Mafia gangsters and playboy millionaires, Holly is a fragile eyeful of tawny hair and turned-up nose, a heart-breaker, a perplexer, a traveller, a tease. She is irrepressibly ‘top banana in the shock department’, and one of the shining flowers of American fiction.

This edition also contains three stories: ‘House of Flowers’, ‘A Diamond Guitar’ and ‘A Christmas Memory’.

I forget which month I initially share this book on my TBR, but I know I’d like to read it by the end of the this year! I’ve owned it for a few years now and it’s just one I feel I’m so ready for. I’m a proper adult, I’d like to see how the story compares to the movie I watched in high school. I’m also interested in the short story structure.

6  The Democratic Surround

 The Democratic Surround by Fred Turner
 Non-fiction / Academic

We commonly think of the psychedelic sixties as an explosion of creative energy and freedom that arose in direct revolt against the social restraint and authoritarian hierarchy of the early Cold War years. Yet, as Fred Turner reveals in The Democratic Surround, the decades that brought us the Korean War and communist witch hunts also witnessed an extraordinary turn toward explicitly democratic, open, and inclusive ideas of communication and with them new, flexible models of social order. Surprisingly, he shows that it was this turn that brought us the revolutionary multimedia and wild-eyed individualism of the 1960s counterculture.

In this prequel to his celebrated book From Counterculture to Cyberculture, Turner rewrites the history of postwar America, showing how in the 1940s and ’50s American liberalism offered a far more radical social vision than we now remember. Turner tracks the influential mid-century entwining of Bauhaus aesthetics with American social science and psychology. From the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the New Bauhaus in Chicago and Black Mountain College in North Carolina, Turner shows how some of the most well-known artists and intellectuals of the forties developed new models of media, new theories of interpersonal and international collaboration, and new visions of an open, tolerant, and democratic self in direct contrast to the repression and conformity associated with the fascist and communist movements. He then shows how their work shaped some of the most significant media events of the Cold War, including Edward Steichen’s Family of Man exhibition, the multimedia performances of John Cage, and, ultimately, the psychedelic Be-Ins of the sixties. Turner demonstrates that by the end of the 1950s this vision of the democratic self and the media built to promote it would actually become part of the mainstream, even shaping American propaganda efforts in Europe.

Overturning common misconceptions of these transformational years, The Democratic Surround shows just how much the artistic and social radicalism of the sixties owed to the liberal ideals of Cold War America, a democratic vision that still underlies our hopes for digital media today.

This one is a bit ambitious! I have a lot of books I bought for grad school that I still think would be terrific reads. I’m interested in this one right now because I’m really interested in art’s role in culture. Art is becoming a theme in my WIP and I want to see if this book informs anything in the story or maybe even in my own life as a creator.

 Akata Warrior

 Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor
YA / Fantasy / Contemporary / Nigerian

A year ago, Sunny Nwazue, an American-born girl Nigerian girl, was inducted into the secret Leopard Society. As she began to develop her magical powers, Sunny learned that she had been chosen to lead a dangerous mission to avert an apocalypse, brought about by the terrifying masquerade, Ekwensu. Now, stronger, feistier, and a bit older, Sunny is studying with her mentor Sugar Cream and struggling to unlock the secrets in her strange Nsibidi book.

Eventually, Sunny knows she must confront her destiny. With the support of her Leopard Society friends, Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha, and of her spirit face, Anyanwu, she will travel through worlds both visible and invisible to the mysteries town of Osisi, where she will fight a climactic battle to save humanity.

Much-honored Nnedi Okorafor, winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards, merges today’s Nigeria with a unique world she creates. Akata Warrior blends mythology, fantasy, history and magic into a compelling tale that will keep readers spellbound.

This one has also been on one of my most recent TBRs! I read the first book earlier this year and adored it. I bought the sequel one day on a whim, even knowing the book covers would not match. I’m very eager to continue this story. It’s very much going be a pleasure to read once I finally decide to prioritize it!

 The Promise

 The Promise by Chaim Potok
 Literary Fiction

Young Reuven Malter is unsure of himself and his place in life. An unconventional scholar, he struggles for recognition from his teachers. With his old friend Danny Saunders—who himself had abandoned the legacy as the chosen heir to his father’s rabbinical dynasty for the uncertain life of a healer—Reuvan battles to save a sensitive boy imprisoned by his genius and rage. Painfully, triumphantly, Reuven’s understanding of himself, though the boy change, as he starts to approach the peace he has long sought…

The Promise might have been on my last TBR…Don’t check me on that! It’s the follow up to The Chosen, a book I love so very much. I’m not sure what to expect from a grown up Danny and Rueven, but I feel like it will be a worth-while read. Maybe something that gives me a different perspective on life. Honestly, I feel like I’ve been saving this one for a special occasion, maybe a time of despair. I feel like I’m due a depressive streak, so I may ending up picking this one up pretty soon ^_^

 Six of Crows (Duology) – Rereads!

 Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
 YA / Fantasy

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.

So I know Six of Crows in infinitely rereadable. But the thing is, I’ve only read the second book in the duology, Crooked Kingdom, once, and that was when it first came out. So I’m ready to revisit this world and series to tide myself over until the release of King of Scars next year! I may also need to pick up the Grisha trilogy by the end of the year . . .

10  The Curse Workers (Trilogy) – Rereads!

 White Cat, Red Glove, & Black Heart by Holly Black
⟡ YA / Contemporary / Urban Fantasy

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers: people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they’re all criminals. Many become mobsters and con artists. But not Cassel. He hasn’t got magic, so he’s an outsider; the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail – he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Cassel has carefully built up a facade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his facade starts to crumble when he finds himself sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He’s noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s part of a huge con game, he must unravel his past and his memories. To find out the truth, Cassel will have to outcon the conmen.

I marathoned this series last October or November; I forget. But I never talked about them much on the blog, so they’ve been on my mind all year as books I’d like to reread and talk about now that my blog has been revitalized. I think these books are under-rated and I’d love to have fun following Cassel navigate his life and love in a criminal family.

☙ ❧ END NOTE ❧ ☙

So this is the list of books I plan to read this fall! I’m really excited in particular about An Absolutely Remarkable Thing and Kingdom of Ash, as I’ve been waiting for them to come out for what feels like a very long time. I’m also really excited to get to a few of my other picks that you might’ve seen on some of my past TBRs this year.

When I don’t complete a TBR, it’s not usually because I’ve lost interest in those books. It’s just that other books become more urgent reads in the moment, ya know?

What are some of your most anticipated fall reads?

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.

Blogoween (Level 1) Announcement!

A week ago while blog hopping, I came across an announcement for  Blogoween , a fun new month-long book blogger event that will take place over the month of October co-hosted by Clo Book Dragons and Sam @ Fictionally Sam along with some of their friends. There will be multiple hosts and prompts for each day of October that will guide you on your creation of Halloween– and autumnthemed blog content for your blog!

SEE: Blogoween: Content, Hosts & Prompts & BLOGOWEEN 2018 [Announcement, Hosts + Prompts]

There are three levels of participation. You just need to pick one:

⟡ Level 1: Post any 13 days during October

⟡ Level 2: Post consecutively from October 24–31st

 Level 3: Post every single day in October (!)

I personally decided to pick Level 1, just so that I had more freedom with what prompts I’d like to do and also so that I would have time to write and produce anything else to supplement my posts (e.g. graphics). Also, from a cursory look at the prompts, I wasn’t sure I would be able to come up with something good for each day.

If you are uncertain which level would be best for you, I suggest brushing up on the rules and prompts. Once you’ve decided the level at which you would like to participate, you just need to do two things before October.

  1. Publish your blog post announcement of your plans, &
  2. Sign up on the hosts’ >Google sign up form< (which will ask for your level selection and the URL link of your announcement post)

My Prompt Selection + Schedule

I decided to list the  Blogoween  prompts I intend to use this month for my own records and also so you all will know you can expect in October! For the full list of prompts, see Clo’s post (linked above) and visit the blogs of each day’s specific host if you have any questions about the prompts.

I personally may interpret these prompts liberally where necessary suit the kind of posts I feel like writing! ^_^

Monday 1st  ← My own idea!
Prompt Title: My October Routine
Explanation: Things I like to do in October + plans for enjoying the season

Thursday 4th
Prompt Title: Top 5 Books about Witches
Explanation: List your Top 5 favorite books about witches

Saturday 6th
Prompt Title: An Evening of Mystery & Murder
Explanation: You are hosting a Halloween-themed dinner party and seven of your favourite morally gray fictional characters and/or villains have accepted your invitation. Sometime during the party there is a murder, and there are only seven suspects – you and your guests. Who did you invite, who was murdered, what was the murder weapon, and where in the house did it occur?

Monday 8th
Prompt Title: Gory Magical Sweet
Explanation: Create one or more snacks (sweet or savory) and a drink (if you want), all must be Halloween-themed. Should be created with a mix of common food elements and parts of our beloved mythical and magical creatures. Just to be clear: things like rainbow unicorn sparkles aren’t gory. Get morbid.

Tuesday 9th
Prompt Title: Bookish Monster Bender
Explanation: You’re transported in various book but a bad surprise awaits you. Everything is horror and death, because a monster version has taken over the story.

Wednesday 10th
Prompt Title: Local Supernaturals Who Demand A Book
Explanation: Share your local stories of ghosts, supernaturals and what happens round your area. Either where you live, or nearby; can also share your own personal scary experience. These are the stories which you think, deserve their own novel – could add a blurb to the story. Can share as many stories as you wish as long they’re: horror/supernatural/scary/ghostly/etc.

Friday 12th
Prompt Title: Loving the Monsters Always Ends Badly for the Human
Explanation: Exploring and recommending my favorite creatures – vampires!

Tuesday 16th (TTT Replacement)
Prompt Title: Love Spells
Explanation: Favorite ships at least one must be a supernatural creature

Tuesday 23rd ➝ Thursday 25th, so I can do regularly scheduled TTT
Prompt Title: Bonded, Bewitched, Drowned
Explanation: Halloween version of Kiss Marry Kill with your favorite characters

Saturday 27th
Prompt Title: Toil and Trouble
Explanation: Villain Halloween Theme – would you want a villain as a roommate, a villain as a companion in a haunted house, etc.

Monday 29th
Prompt Title: Halloween In A Fictional World
Explanation: Pick any fictional world that you’d love to experience Halloween in

Tuesday 30th
Prompt Title: Trapped With You
Explanation: Characters I’d want with me if I were trapped in a haunted house

Wednesday 31st
Prompt Title: The Veil Is Thin
Explanation: The 31st Oct is supposed to be a day when the veil between our world and the otherworld, is at its thinnest. As such, it was originally a day to ward of evil spirits; what spirits are you hoping to ward off? (e.g. paranormal characters, evil characters, writer’s block, procrastination, etc.)

☙ ❧ END NOTE ❧ ☙

I’m really excited about this event and hope you are too! Just in case anyone is wondering, I will be keeping up with my own personal blog schedule. There’s just an additional 13 posts related to  Blogoween  that you can now also expect. ^_^

Be sure to check out Clo’s blog posts (linked at the beginning of the post) for more information, as I only attempted to condense what I thought was the most important information in this post. Let me know in the comments below if you plan on participating or if there are any other October blogging festivities I should know about!

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.

The Sunshine Blogger Award (Take 2 & 3) | Blog Tag

Last Sunday I was tagged for The Sunshine Blogger Award by the lovely LaRonda @ Flying Paperbacks. It’s been a while since I was tagged for anything, so I decided to give it a go. I also remembered I was tagged by Lori @ Lori’s bookshelf reads a couple of months ago and meant to save her tag for a rainy day. That day has come!

I like doing these every now and then since these are a great way to share stuff that may not come up organically in any other way on a book blog. ^_^

Fun fact: I’ve was actually first tagged for this specific award earlier this year. If you would like, you can check it out my answers to an additional set of questions here:

The Sunshine Blogger Award (Take 1)

The Rules

  1. Thank the person/persons that nominated you and link back to their blog
  2. Answer the questions your nominator has provided
  3. Nominate 11 other people and give them 11 new questions to answer
  4. List the rules and display the award

LaRonda’s Questions

1) What’s the last book you gave 5-stars?

My last 5-star read was a reread, so I don’t know if it counts. It’s Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter, which I reviewed on the blog this summer (and have mentioned a bunch of times since…). The last 5-star read that was a first-time read was Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder. I also reviewed that one in April.

2) What’s your current favorite TV show?

You know what? I’m glad you asked! Atypical is my favorite T.V. show at the moment. The second season just premiered last Friday. It’s a fantastic Netflix original that features stellar cast. The main character is played by Kier Gilchrist who I recognized from the teen drama movie It’s Kind of a Funny Story (2010), which I saw when I was in high school.

I love this show’s representation teens with autism and the struggles families with children on the spectrum can face. It’s a family comedy with a lot of heart and is surprisingly well written. The storylines and characters feel so much more real that any others you generally see on television about teenagers. It’s also just so great to see healthy relationships represented in a T.V. show. This show is seriously under-rated and I highly recommend.

Also, I need a third season so consider it a personal favor to me if you give it a chance!

3) How long have you been blogging?

I started blogging in January of 2015, but had to stop when my first MacBook Pro died on me that summer. Between about . . . November 2015 and January 2018, I’d say my blog was not a big priority. I was very on-and-off about it. I also jumped between a lot of different blogs, even trying self-hosting for more control over my blog design and layout. It ended up being kind of a waste.

It wasn’t until January 2018 that I really got back into blogging and have been doing it steadily, although I do waver in motivation and direction occasionally. I do think I’m here for the long haul now, though. ^_^

4) What’s the color of your room?

White. I’ve never been allowed to paint my walls or even put many holes into it. A lot of my wall space is now covered by shelves, mirrors, and wall art help up by thumb tacks and Command strips.

5) Do you have a best friend at work/school?

I’ve never really had any one person I would consider a “best friend.” I’ve always had friends I could rely on from different social circles. Right now, I’d say my best friend is the only friend I have managed to stay in contact with from my undergraduate college who is also my writing buddy!

She’s the only close friend I’ve ever had that was serious about writing, so I think that’s why we’ve managed to keep our friendship alive. Most of friends throughout my life have been so different in personalities and interests, which is a good thing. But you should also try to find more friends with common goals and interests, even if it’s harder!

6) What’s a song people would be surprised you know all the words to?

None come to mind. If I know any by heart, they’re probably not all that surprising . . . like Disney songs.

7) Do you like romantic comedies?

Not as a rule, but I appreciate them when they’re amazing. Some of my all-time favorites include: Clueless (1995), 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), Miss Congeniality (2000), Legally Blonde (2001), My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002), She’s the Man (2006), Knocked Up (2007), 27 Dresses (2008), He’s Just Not That Into You (2009), Easy A (2010), Bridesmaids (2011).

Well, now I feel like a marathon is in order!

8) Do you journal?

I love the idea of it, but I’m just not that consistent. I have been playing around with a new notebook this week in fact. The thing is I LOVE buying new notebooks . . . Dragons hoard gold and treasure. I hoard notebooks and stationary.

9) Who is your favorite celebrity or fictional couple?

Umm . . . Cory and Topanga . . .

10) If you had an endless budget for a vacation, what would you do?

I would travel by train throughout Europe eating at the best restaurants irregardless of price and buying all the souvenirs I want without worrying about needing to carry them with me. I wouldn’t carry anything with me. I’d buy all my essentials wherever I go, clothes included.

11) N/A

(I think LaRonda forgot to add an 11th question!)

Lori’s Questions

1) What’s Your Favorite go-to show?

I was going to say The Office, but to be honest, I haven’t felt compelled to binge-watch it in a few months. I might actually say Ouran High School Host Club! I first discovered it my last month of grad school when the stress levels were high, so it’ll probably always be a show I can watch whenever I need something silly and fun to watch.

2) What’s Your least favorite book that you sadly own?

There’s a few, but the most expensive ones are my old textbooks I never read and that have depreciated in value since I bought them. Plus, I can’t find a good place to get rid of them and re-pocket most of the money lost on them despite their excellent condition.

3) How many people in your everyday life do you talk to about books?

Exactly one. I have a writing buddy who doesn’t really read as much as I do, but welcomes my glowing recommendations whenever I have them. I’m the reason Leigh Bardugo is one of her favorite authors. And I’m only a little sore that she’s been able to meet her while I still haven’t >.>

4) What’s a Hyped book you’re not interested in reading?

I haven’t see it around much lately, and I’ll probably get heat for it, but When Dimple Met Rishi. And I say that completely based on the fact that I’m adverse to mention of dimples (I have them and hate how old people like to point them out) and I hate the book cover.

It’s completely a pet peeve of mine, but I hated whenever I went to class and had to sit next to girls who brought a sweaty drink in plastic cup to class. I hate the slurping sound when they are trying to get the last sips. I hate how disgusting the cup looks empty. I hate it when people talk with straws partially in their mouths. Not cute . . . not cute at all.

And yes, I realize I have a problem.

5) What’s Your biggest disappointment book- or movie-wise?

One of my biggest disappointments this year was A Court of Frost and Starlight. It was a beautiful cover and a novella from one of my all-time favorite New Adult fantasies, but it should never have been published as a book. It’s really hurt my opinion of SJM and is the reason I most likely will not be picking up her first foray in adult fantasy. I may be done with her books after Kingdom of Ash.

6) What Book that you’re excited to see turned into a movie?

I’m excited for The Hate U Give. I haven’t read the book yet, but I feel like it’s a good time for a movie that relates to young activists and the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

7) What’s your Favorite genre of music?

I just listen to whatever is on the radio. I’ve really enjoyed hip-hop and rap for the past year. Don’t ask me about favorite artists or songs! I mostly like the beats and how the music makes me I feel like a badass cruising through the streets.

8) Do you usually have a sweet tooth?

Not really. I crave sour and savory snacks more often. I do love the occasional pecan pie and cake (any kind) but only if it’s with a glass of milk. I rarely had cake at kid parties growing up because the parents didn’t offer milk . . .

9) What’s the Most popular book you haven’t read yet?

I haven’t read anything by Cassandra Clare . . . I feel like the hype for those books are insane, but I’ve not heard good things from my brother, who isn’t a big reader but whose opinion I value. Also, from skimming the wikis on the book, the stories don’t sound the least bit interesting to me.

The most recent books sound good, but I don’t feel comfortable jumping into that world at this point. I’ve not been given a good reason to try, anyway.

10) Where do you blog?

I blog primarily from my bedroom. When I was in college, I’d blog around campus and in-between classes. If I had a more active life, I’d probably blog more outside of my house. As it is, I don’t really like to take my MacBook Pro out in the wild.

11) Do you like exercising?

I hate to be that annoying person, but yes, I do like to exercise. Once you get over your body’s initial shock to the exercise, it can be quite relaxing and satisfying to do. I like to do the elliptical at home with my iPad and earphones. I can watch Netflix and YouTube, so the time goes faster. It’s something I look forward to if I have a long queue of videos that I can’t justify watching in the middle of the day. I also like walking my dog when the weather’s nice.

My Questions

I recycled some juicy questions from past tags and added some that may inspire lots of discussion! (I understand if answering these questions seem like big commitment!)

  1. Which fictional character do you think best represents you?
  2. What book do you most regret ever having bought?
  3. If you watch BookTube, who are some of your favorite creators?
  4. Who gave you your love of reading?
  5. Do you prefer in-person or online book clubs?
  6. How do you organize your upcoming blog posts?
  7. What do you think of fans who write angry letters/direct messages to an author?
  8. How would you try to convert an non-reader into a reader?
  9. If you could frame one book cover and hang it up in your house, which cover would it be?
  10. Which fictional character do you love that you think would be horrible in real life?
  11. What’s one of your favorite blog posts that you would like to receive a little more love?

I tag:

Sara| Elle | Dani| Eline | Larissa | CzaiCharleigh | Daniel | Samantha | Caidyn/Chantel | Marie

☙ ❧ END NOTE ❧ ☙

So today was Learn-Weird-Things-About-Lori Day. Thanks again to LaRonda and (my name-twin) Lori for tagging me. It was a lot of fun to answer these questions as completely and honestly as possible. And hopefully any of my blog’s latest followers got to know me a little bit better, since it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these!

I did get tagged again this week, so there will be another fun one next Saturday! In case you missed it, yesterday I posted my Weekend Reads. This Sunday I have two posts to share with you about exciting things!

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.

Heist Society Read-A-Thon | Weekend Reads

Happy Friday! Every Friday on Weekend Reads I like to kick off the weekend off talking about what I read the week previous and what I hope to read over the weekend. Last week I mentioned I would be observing my reading habits closely over the weekend. I ended up carrying my “experiment” over the week.

As ambitious my reading plans, I’ve realized a few things about myself as a reader. First, I’d say I treat each book I’m reading like a little project. I find I focus a lot of my mental energy on it, so much so that I don’t really find it that easy to tear my attention away and direct it towards other things. So even if the two books are completely different, I prefer not to read them at the same time.

Also, reading is not always the most attractive option to me when I have only a couple of hours to spare. I find reading works best for me when I have a longer stretch of time. So first thing in the morning if I woke up early and night-time after I’ve gotten ready for bed seemed to work best during the week. But I don’t like to read lying down much anymore, so I do find myself trying to sit up against my wall or in my comfy chair.

So I’m not most voracious reader anymore, but I don’t mind. I still love buying new books on special occasions and spending time regularly each month on a new read, but I’m not numbers motivated anymore. I’m not even really motivated to write reviews anymore, except when I’m sharing a book I think is really special.

I will continue to consider myself first and foremost a book blogger, but I’ll take pleasure in representing the more chill side of the bookish community. ^_^

 ●  ● Books Read ●  ●  

Last weekend I only started one book, Howl’s Moving Castle, and I’ve been reading it slowly all week. This book is a reread, so there’s no inherent urgency to devour the story. I’m just reading it for pure pleasure, as it’s been a few years since I last picked it up. I am really enjoying it and think I will finish it today (Friday) after work.

 ●  ● Books To Read ●  ●  

Finally! The title gets explained! Yes, I’m planning on having myself a little Heist Society read-a-thon this weekend. It’s not a part of a specific event. It’s just something I thought might be fun to do. I’ve been wanting to read these books since I bought them earlier this year and it finally feels like a great time to pick them up.

I’m hoping it will be a similar experience to last year when I read The Curse Workers trilogy. I don’t think I ever ended up talking much about those books, but I adored them. I was able to breeze through that series and really enjoy the ride.

Right now, I really just want to read fun books. I’ve completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge and there’s nothing stopping me!

 ☙ ❧ END NOTE ❧ ☙

Next week I will participating in Top Ten Tuesday again! The theme is your fall TBR, and since I’m not really doing TBRs at the start of each month anymore, I figured it’s a great opportunity to share some books I could see myself reading this season. But before that I have three blog posts planned for this weekend, so you’ll be hearing a lot more from me very soon! ^_^

What are you reading this weekend?

Have you read the Heist Society books? If so, what did you think?!

Thank you for reading!
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How I Resist: Activism and Hope for a New Generation | Anthology Review

A few years ago, one of the first major YouTube scandals occurred that affected me as a regular watcher of YouTubers from many different circles. A precursor to the #MeToo movement, several young fans came forward online with their stories of abuse and manipulation at the hands of many OG YouTube creators of 2014.

It turns out that many of these big name YouTubers, including one of my favorites at the time Alex Day, were exposed for using their power as influencers and fame to manipulate and coerce their young fans and female friends into things they were uncomfortable doing. Around this time, I remembered coming across this beautiful Tumblr post written by Maureen Johnson reflecting “ABOUT THE RECENT EVENTS CONCERNING YOUTUBE.”

While I had been casually aware of her from her appearances in vlogbrothers videos and even remembered her name from years ago when I read 13 Little Blue Envelopes, this post gave me an entirely new impression of and respect for this author. She completely opened by eyes to the broader issue of harassment women have been forced to tolerate for simply going out and trying to live their lives.

This past all came back to my mind when I discovered this book and saw Johnson’s name attached to this anthology. It is the reason I decided to purchase this book even though I recognized so few of the contributors. I figured it would be a valuable, eye-opening read. And that it was.

I definitely feel like it provides a great array of views and perspectives on a variety of issues that are related to resistance. The very word resistance is redefined throughout the book as we learn about how such a diverse collection of people individually view their work, art, and mere lives as acts of resistance.

• • • How I Resist • • •

Released: March 1, 2018
Pages: 224 pages (paperback)
Theme(s): Activism, forms of resistance, fighting oppression, raising awareness, making art
Genre(s): Young Adult / Activist Essays
Age Group: 10+

★★★★½

An all-star collection of essays about activism and hope, edited by bestselling YA author Maureen Johnson.

Now, more than ever, young people are motivated to make a difference in a world they’re bound to inherit. They’re ready to stand up and be heard – but with much to shout about, where they do they begin? What can I do? How can I help?

How I Resist is the response and a way to start the conversation. To show readers that they are not helpless, and that anyone can be the change they wish to see in the world, in their news, and for their future.

*  ⁎   My Thoughts   ⁎ * 

This anthology includes 29 pieces written by a range of people from celebrities to authors to people lauded for their activism. I was originally trying to review each piece, but I quickly realized how long this review would turn and I didn’t think anyone would actually go through my thoughts on each piece.

I also found it was hard to objectively review each piece. I found some pieces really aggravating and narrow-minded in their quest to awaken new activists. I found some pieces really brilliant in exemplifying how diverse this country really is, illustrating the struggles of people who don’t fit traditional gender roles and the variety of ways in which people can be oppressed.

I found this anthology truly fascinating given its target audience of young adults and how odd it was that it had taken this long to write a book that I assumed would speak so well to today’s youth of passion and activism. When I was in high school, Tumblr was still relatively a new thing. It’s a platform I’ve long credited with my generation’s interest in social justice.

I’ve been surprised over the years to see slacktivism turn into true activism, especially after Stoneman Douglas High School shooting earlier this year. It’s been truly inspiring to see how many of the victims have decided to prioritize their activism just as they are entering adulthood.

I would say this book is a great entry-level text into activism for young people today. There are some pieces I hated and think unfair, but I think that their presence in the book is justified if only for inspiring healthy debate. However, Johnson doesn’t provide any commentary of her own on individual pieces. So I think if this book was to be taught in school, the teacher would need do their own homework and provide context that will help frame how the students read each piece.

 ❧ ☙ END NOTE ☙ ❧

I’m sorry this review has taken me over a month to share! It was hard figuring out exactly how I wanted to format this review and what I felt I most wanted to say. This is a really important book, and I just wanted to do it justice. I haven’t seen it talked about by any of the people I follow on BookTube or in the book blogging community. So if I was going to be the first to introduce this book to people, I wanted to get it right. Basically, I psyched myself out!

Have you read How I Resist? If so, what’d you think?!

Do you consider yourself an activist?

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.

Hidden Gems | Top Ten Tuesday

Books on My Fall TBR

Welcome back to Betwined Reads! In an effort to become a little active in the community, I decided to participate in the occasional Top Ten Tuesday. It’s a weekly meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish but now is run by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week participants share their top ten picks that relate to the set theme.

This week’s theme is Hidden Gems. In other words, books that you think deserve more recognition. One of my favorite things to do on this blog is share books I think deserve more recognition, so some of you may recognize some of the books I share today. But I’ve also tried to select range of books I think are slightly underrated!

Book covers are linked to the corresponding Goodreads page for each book.

 Vassa in the Night

 Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter 
YA / Horror / Fairytale Retelling 
 If you are in the mood to read a book that is odd and at times seemingly absurd
 If you like fantasy stories in urban settings

In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling away again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair…

⟡ The Westing Game

⟡ The Westing Game by Ellen Ruskin
Middle Grade / Mystery / Classic
 If you want a quick read
⟡ If you like Agatha Christie-style murder mysteries

A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger – and a possible murderer – to inherit his vast fortune, one thing’s for sure: Sam Westing may be dead… but that won’t stop him from playing one last game!

 The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

⟡ The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
⟡ YA / Magical Realism / Contemporary
⟡ 
If you like family dramas that span generations
⟡ If you want to laugh and cry

Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.

Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird.

In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.

That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.

First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.

⟡ Howl’s Moving Castle 

⟡ Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Middle Grade / Fantasy / Classic
⟡ 
If you like to escape to vivid magical worlds
⟡ 
If you like mistaken identities and romance

Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.

 The Winner’s Curse

⟡ The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
 YA / Romance / AU
 If you like enemies-lovers romance tropes
⟡ 
If you want a well-crafted romance without magic

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love…

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

6  Speak

 Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
 YA / Contemporary
 If you liked 13 Reasons Why
⟡ 
If you want to read from the POV protagonist who is struggling to express herself

“Speak up for yourself–we want to know what you have to say.” From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication.

In Laurie Halse Anderson’s powerful novel, an utterly believable heroine with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself.

 Truly, Devious

 Truly Devious by Morgan Rhodes
YA / Contemporary / Mystery
⟡ 
If you like strong female protagonists
⟡ 
If you like slowly unraveling mysteries

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym, Truly Devious. It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

⟡ The LAnguage of Thorns

 The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
 YA / Fantasy / Anthology
⟡ 
If you a fan of the Grishaverse and dark fairytales
⟡ 
If you want a anthology of short stories gloriously illustrated

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

 Go Set a Watchman

 Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
 Literary / Historical Fiction
⟡ 
If you loved To Kill a Mockingbird and want to see Scout all grown up
⟡ 
If you are willing to see beloved classic characters become exposed as flawed human beings
⟡ 
If you don’t mind typos

Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch–“Scout”–returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise’s homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a MockingbirdGo Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in a painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past–a journey that can be guided only by one’s conscience. Written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman imparts a fuller, richer understanding and appreciation of Harper Lee. Here is an unforgettable novel of wisdom, humanity, passion, humor and effortless precision–a profoundly affecting work of art that is both wonderfully evocative of another era and relevant to our own times. It not only confirms the enduring brilliance of To Kill a Mockingbird, but also serves as its essential companion, adding depth, context and new meaning to an American classic.

10  At the Water’s Edge 

 At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen
⟡ Literary / Historical Fiction
 If you liked Water for Elephants
⟡ 
If you like female-led domestic dramas

After embarrassing themselves at the social event of the year in high society Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve of 1942, Maddie and Ellis Hyde are cut off financially by Ellis’s father, a former army Colonel who is already embarrassed by his son’s inability to serve in WWII due to his being colorblind.

To Maddie’s horror, Ellis decides that the only way to regain his father’s favor is to succeed in a venture his father attempted and very publicly failed at: he will hunt the famous Loch Ness monster and when he finds it he will restore his father’s name and return to his father’s good graces (and pocketbook). Joined by their friend Hank, a wealthy socialite, the three make their way to Scotland in the midst of war.

Each day the two men go off to hunt the monster, while another monster, Hitler, is devastating Europe. And Maddie, now alone in a foreign country, must begin to figure out who she is and what she wants.

The novel tells of Maddie’s social awakening: to the harsh realities of life, to the beauties of nature, to a connection with forces larger than herself, to female friendship, and finally, to love.

☙ ❧ END NOTE ❧ ☙

I hope you liked this post! I tried to pick a variety of different kinds of books that I’ve loved reading in the past that many people may not remember or have given a chance. I don’t think I’ll be doing TTT each week, as I don’t find many of the upcoming themes very enticing. But there will likely be at least one per month! I had a bit too much fun making holiday-themed versions of the featured image . . .

Thank you for reading!
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