Top Five Tuesday: Hogwarts House Reads!

Normally if I wanted to do a bookish meme on Tuesday, I would do Top Ten Tuesday. But I wasn’t feeling the theme for this or last week, so I did some looking and discovered a nice alternative: Top Five Tuesday. This month Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm decided February’s theme for Top Five Tuesday would be Harry Potter Houses!

This week’s specific house is Slytherin, but I missed the past weeks and wanted to combine them all into one post. The way it works is that you can pick five books a person from that house would enjoy OR books with characters that fit the traits of that house. I decided to (primarily) do the latter.

I hope you enjoy this blog post! It’s a little on the long-side but that’s hardly new, isn’t it? Chime in on your picks for each house in the comments down below. I’d love to read some contrary opinions on my selections as well ^_^

❝ They are experience-oriented, honest, practical, blunt, passionate, playful, funny, trusting, idealistic, stubborn and procrastinators. They live in the moment, don’t take themselves seriously, are wary of manipulators and liars, have a strong moral centre, and are unafraid to seize opportunities and make changes. ❞

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle | I think Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin are all little Gryffindors-in-training. While they all have their problems with themselves and their lives, they recognize trouble when they see it and work past their fear to save the world.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee | I’m not so sure about her brother or father, but I think Scout is definitely a Gryffindor. She has all the braveness and conviction of right and wrong that comes with being a child. She is not easily convinced to back-down, even if it means she will get into trouble.

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld | Deryn joins the air force in this YA fantasy series by dressing up as a boy because girls are not allowed to enlist. I think she’s also a little too young. She finds herself wrapped up in a major adventure filled with danger and international intrigue, and she does it with relish. She’s a Gryffindor if I’ve ever seen one.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline | Wade is very much a brave protagonist who is unafraid to seize opportunities and do what is right. He has plenty of opportunities to go to the dark side, but he is loyal to his cause and the ones he loves.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo |Princess Diana is such a refreshing character in that she is so unwaveringly good. Her actions are led by her strong morals, even when it means breaking the rules. She is not afraid to take action if she knows it’s right.

❝ They are analytical, intelligent, logical yet impractical, curious, inquisitive, creative, witty, wise, interested in understanding things, cynics, fond of  intellectual discussion, introspective, independent, wordy, and self-entertaining. They observe rather than participate, are fond of learning for the sake of learning, and good at school (or really anything that they have an interest in!)❞

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin | A.J. Fikry is a bookstore owner who is more content to live in his books than experience the world and all it has to offer, despite his difficulty in keeping his business afloat. Luckily in this book life brings people into his life that give him and the stories more meaning.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman | Lettie and the Hempstock women seem to know a lot about the universe and its mysteries. Through the foggy memories of a young boy, we get a glimpse of their knowledge and power.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen | I think that Elizabeth Bennet, and probably Jane Austen (based on the movie Becoming Jane (2007)), are both Ravenclaws. They are both highly analytical of their society and intelligent, well read women who are more than capable of being independent.

The Chosen by Chaim Potok | I feel like half the book is about the two young protagonists studying Jewish scripture and law. They are obviously both extremely intelligent, motivated not only by their fathers but internally on a quest for truth and meaning. Danny is so competent as his Jewish studies that he adds additional subjects to open up his understanding of the human mind.

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor | I actually don’t remember a lot about Sunny’s character, but do recall that magic-doers in this universe (leopards) value knowledge for the sake of knowledge above all else. You progress by learning new skills and by gaining wisdom. See my review of Akata Witch if you are interested in checking out this underrated YA fantasy series.

❝ They are hard-working, determined, tenacious, loyal, honest, genuine, well-rounded, fair and just, open-minded, giving, good-hearted, accepting, compassionate, practical, patient, unemotional, and dependable. Their loyalty is not given – it’s earned.❞

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones | I think Howl is for the most part surrounded by Hufflepuffs. Sophie and Markle are definitely Hufflepuffs. They are loyal to him, hard-working, patient, and practical. I could even see how Howl might be a Hufflepuff, if you can see past the whole emotionally stunted man-child thing.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson | Stevie is a Hufflepuff. She reminds me a little of Tonks, with her interest in criminal justice. She’s hard-working, tenacious, determined in what she does. She’s also a compassionate and loyal friend.

How I Resist edited by Maureen Johnson | I selected this anthology because the pieces selected by Johnson all embody Hufflepuff traits in their appeals to compassion, open-mindedness, determination, tenacity in today’s youth.

The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L’Engle | The protagonist Adam is a scientist who learns that his work does not exist in a bubble and can have real-world consequences. He has a good-heart, but he struggles with who to trust and to whom to give his loyalty in this book. By the end of the novel, I think he discovers who deserves his trust.

La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman | Malcolm is Hufflepuff through and through. He’s just such a genuinely good-natured little boy who follows his gut and is loyal to what he considers just causes. He becomes loyal to little Lyra when she is a just a baby when he learns there are people after her.

❝ They are ambitious, driven, goal-focused, determined, prepared, perfectionists, adaptable, realistic, self-reliant, charming, assertive, and ruthless. They are highly selective with their loyalty, love positive attention and thrive on praise, care about the impression they give, demand respect, and can be disloyal. ❞

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas | Celaena kind of a Mary Sue of a Slytherin if there ever was one. Charming, assertive, ruthless, check, check, check.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart | Once again, these characters are less bad and more ambiguous on the Slytherin spectrum. Without spoiling anything, I will say these childhood friends are loyal to each other and raised to be Slytherins, which is to say proud of their family, wealth, and privilege. But they are conniving and ruthless in how they decide to dole out punishment. And they suffer for it.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green | April May is a character I really didn’t know how to feel about as I read AART. I don’t think she’s evil or bad. Her heart is definitely in the right place for much of this book. But she’s definitely single-minded in accomplishing her goals, which leads to her stepping over the people who matter most as she continues to receive praise and admiration from countless strangers via the internet.

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkowski | It’s been a while since I read these books! Kestrel, in my opinion, is definitely on the more good-hearted side of the Slytherin spectrum. She’s extremely intelligent and capable of manipulating others for her own ends, but I wouldn’t say she’s ambitious or driven by ego.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo | Kaz…hell, most of the people in the gang are probably a Slytherin, but Kaz takes the Slytherin cake. Only a Slytherin could have pulled off such a dangerous, high-stakes heist.

I hope you enjoyed this post! I stumbled across these prompts last weekend when looking for something for last Tuesday and decided it would be a fun challenge to think about. I think it’s a great way to introduce people to new books, because some people might want recommendations based on how the characters are and not just want happens in the book.

It was a little harder than I thought it would be to pick books for certain houses! I learned a little about myself what kinds of books I lean towards through this little challenge, funnily enough. I’ve been sorted into Slytherin twice by the Pottermore quiz, so it shouldn’t be that surprising that I enjoy trouble-makers, but I do want to read more books helmed by Gryffindor and Hufflepuff characters in the future!

Thank you for reading!
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The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List | Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday (TTT)! It’s a weekly meme originally created by The Broke and the Bookish but now run by the terrific Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week Jana provides the bookish theme and book bloggers share their top ten picks.

This week’s theme is Favorite Couples in Books, but I’m really bummed that I never posted my entry in The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List from a couple of weeks ago! I figured there is no reason I shouldn’t share it, even if it’s on the wrong week. But first, a little context.

I’m not really keeping up to date with new releases or highly promoted books in the YA blogosphere at the moment. Neither am I using Goodreads anymore, so a really cool post to find a few weeks ago was 20(ish) Books For Readers Who are 20(ish) // A List of NA Books Written in the YA Style by Kat @ Novels and Waffles.

I’m definitely well within the New Adult genre demographic and would like to read more about protagonists closer to my age engaging in plots that closer mirror the coming-of-age issues that 20-somethings face. I recognized a good few of the books on the list and have even read a couple (An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, Fangirl)!

So from Kat’s list comes my own, a list whittled down from hers to encapsulate the latest books on my TBR. Some of them are not too new to my TBR, but considering that I don’t regularly add books to my TBR anymore, they still work!

  1. Smothered by Autumn Chiklis | Eloise “Lou” Hansen is graduating from Columbia University summa cum laude, and she’s ready to conquer the world. Just a few minor problems: she has no job, no prospects, and she’s moving back into her childhood bedroom. Lou is grimly determined to stick to a rigorous schedule to get a job and get out of her parents’ house. Shelly “Mama Shell” Hansen, on the other hand, is ecstatic, and just as determined to keep her at home. Who else will help her hide her latest binge-shopping purchases from her husband, go to SoulCycle with her, and hold her hand during Botox shots?
  2. Bucket List to Love by C.P. Santi | Aya Contreras is thrilled to be studying in the land of sakura and sushi. Tokyo is a fascinating city to live in—vending machines, cosplayers, karaoke boxes, and bright, colorful conbinis on every corner. And the architectural design program she’s in is everything she dreamed it to be. The only problem? Her tutor doesn’t seem to like her. Well, she doesn’t like him very much either. Sure, Ryohei Mori is talented, and there’s no denying he’s hot. But he’s also a surly, bossy know-it-all who eats too many cookies. Another annoying thing about him is he’s nosy. And when he stumbles upon the crazy bucket list Aya’s sisters forced on her, he teases her mercilessly about it. But when their professor pairs them up for a design competition, things get . . . interesting. Fueled by beer and a whole lot of cookies, can Aya and Ryo cross out some items on her bucket list without killing each other? Or will they realize there’s much more to each other than they’d originally thought?
  3. We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun & Susan Mullen |Growing up across the street from each other, Scott and Cath have been best friends for most of their lives. Now they’ve graduated high school, and Cath is off to college while Scott stays at home trying to get his band off the ground. Neither of them realized that their first year after high school would be so hard. Fortunately, Scott and Cath still have each other, and it’s through their letters that they survive heartache, annoying roommates, family dramas, and the pressure of figuring out what to do with the rest of their lives. And through it all, they realize that the only person they’ve ever wanted to turn to is each other. But does that mean they should think about being more than friends? One thing is clear: Change is an inescapable part of growing up, and we share unbreakable bonds with the friends who help us navigate it.
  4. Again, But Better by Christina Riccio | Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal — but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that? Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time’s a ticking, and she needs a change — there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure! Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart. Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic – the possibilities are endless.
  5. Three Mages and A Margarita by Annette Marie | Broke, almost homeless, and recently fired. Those are my official reasons for answering a wanted ad for a skeevy-looking bartender gig. It went downhill the moment they asked me to do a trial shift instead of an interview—to see if I’d mesh with their “special” clientele. I think that part went great. Their customers were complete dickheads, and I was an asshole right back. That’s the definition of fitting in, right? I expected to get thrown out on my ass. Instead, they… offered me the job? It turns out this place isn’t a bar. It’s a guild. And the three cocky guys I drenched with a margarita during my trial? Yeah, they were mages. Either I’m exactly the kind of takes-no-shit bartender this guild needs, or there’s a good reason no one else wants to work here. So what’s a broke girl to do? Take the job, of course—with a pay raise.

  1. The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton | The Blackburn women are cursed. Ever since the extraordinary witch Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island centuries ago and was shunned by the eight “original” settlers, Blackburn witches have been doomed to carry out a brief whirlwind affair with a descendant of the Original Eight. The vengeful curse, however, had unintended side effects: it diluted the Blackburns’ supernatural powers. That’s perfectly all right with seventeen-year-old Nor Blackburn. All she wants is a quiet, unremarkable life—her powers are blissfully unexceptional, her love life pretty much nonexistent. Nor hopes the curse has played itself out through enough generations that she’ll finally be spared the drama. But when a mysterious book comes out promising to cast any spell for the right price, Nor senses a dark storm headed straight for Anathema—and straight for her.
  2. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi | Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much. Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.
  3. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo | Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her? Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, ranging from Jodie Foster to George W. Bush. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more supernatural than any paranoid imagination might conceive.
  4. Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan | A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself. A prince in danger must decide who to trust. A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war. In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light.
  5. Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak | The breathtaking story of five brothers who bring each other up in a world run by their own rules. As the Dunbar boys love and fight and learn to reckon with the adult world, they discover the moving secret behind their father’s disappearance. At the center of the Dunbar family is Clay, a boy who will build a bridge—for his family, for his past, for greatness, for his sins, for a miracle. The question is, how far is Clay willing to go? And how much can he overcome?

I don’t know when I’ll next have any money for a book buying spree, but I do hope to find some of these or request them at my local library soon. I would like to make it my mission to seek out and promote more books that fall under the New Adult label. I’m a bit fatigued with the current slate of YA fantasy, so I’m much more interested in contemporaries and mysteries as a whole right now.

Are any of these books are your TBR?

Thank you for reading!
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Books I Meant to Read in 2018 but Didn’t Get To | Top Ten Tuesday

TTTpages

In case you haven’t noticed, this blog has been in a bit of a transitional phase lately. In an effort to show some more love to the books, I decided it was high time I participated in Top Ten Tuesday (TTT) again! It’s a weekly meme that was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish but now is run by the terrific Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week Jana provides the bookish theme and book bloggers share their top ten picks.

This week’s theme is Books I Meant to Read in 2018 but Didn’t Get To, which feels like a personal attack. There were a lot of books I hoped to read, last fall specifically, that I didn’t have time to get to. I have a love-hate relationship with TBRs, in that I love them but sometimes hate feeling like I need to follow them to a T. Let’s be real, life can throw curve balls at any moment.

I think this will probably be one of the weirdest collection of books you read today, if you are a frequent reader of these TTT posts!

  1. Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor | I bought the sequel to Akata Witch on impulse last year, perfectly aware that if I just waited I could have the matching paperback in a matter of months. For this fact alone, I’m annoyed I’ve still not read this book!
  2. Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas | I started this book in December and just didn’t manage to finish it before the new year. I probably should’ve abandoned this series after Tower of Dawn, but I was so close to the end and wanted to see how this series of epic proportions wrapped up. Hopefully I will finish it by March.
  3. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor | This book was the subject of some major hype last year as it’s sequel’s publication date approached. As result, I became really nervous it wouldn’t live up to expectations. Also, the book is huge, so I was intimidated. It’s still high on my TBR for 2019, so hopefully I will read it sooner rather than later.
  4. The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid | This was one of those odd ball purchases that I don’t know what to do with. I’m in the mood for science fiction every now and then, so I don’t mind saving it for one of those reading moods to come along. I hoped it would come last year, but I’m cool if it doesn’t come until next fall.
  5. It by Stephen King | I’ve wanted to read this book ever since I saw the most recent theatrical adaptation. It feels like it needs to be a book for the fall, but it’s set in the summer (I think) so maybe it’ll call to me around May. I just want to read it before the next movie comes out!
  6. Disrupt You! by Jay Samit | This is the other book I started but did not finish in December. It wasn’t turning out the way I hoped it would, but I’m still hopefully it will have something in it that makes reading it worth the time and money spent on it.
  7. The Promise by Chaim Potok | I think this book is the sequel to The Chosen, one of my favorite reads last year. I had hoped I might read it last fall, but I don’t feel much urgency to read it immediately. It’s one that I think will mean more to me if I read it at the right time, so I don’t want to rush it. To be honest, I’m also a little worried it may not live up to The Chosen… I’m trying to manage my expectations!
  8. The Young Unicorns by Madeleine L’Engle | Last summer I embarked on a quest to reread some of my favorite childhood books centered around Madeleine L’Engle’s Austin family. I decided to wait until fall to read this particular book, but it didn’t end up a priority when fall came around.
  9. Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | I can’t believe I almost forgot this one! Wow. There was a time when this was one of my most anticipated releases. I think the reason I forgot about it is because I did want to read at least Gemina before jumping into the final book in this YA sci-fi trilogy.
  10. [Textbooks] | I hoped to read a few of my old textbooks from grad school last year and never quite got around to it. I made it a goal for 2019 to read one non-fiction book each year, so hopefully I’ll at least read the ones I find most relevant to life and my future work.

I hope to get to all of these books by the end of the year, but you never know. I’m sure I’ll get to most of them. I’ve done a really good job of cutting down on the number of books I buy, so I do a better job of prioritizing books that have been on my TBR for a long time. Of course, the only two books I entered 2019 anticipating come out this month! So I’ll probably read those two (The Vanishing Stair and King of Scars) before anything else, but those won’t take me all year. I hope. *gulp*

Are any of these books are your TBR?

Thank you for reading!
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Books on My Fall TBR | Top Ten Tuesday

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!
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Hidden Gems | Top Ten Tuesday

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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