Top Ten Books I Have Owned For a While That I Haven’t Read

This week’s TTT topic is supposed to be “Ten Books That Have Been On Your Shelf (Or TBR) From Before You Started Blogging That You STILL Haven’t Read Yet,” but honestly I don’t remember what books I owned or wanted to read two and a half years ago. Instead, I’m highlighting a similar idea, which is books that I have owned for a while (at least a year for most of them) but that I haven’t read yet.

1. Bruised by Sarah Skilton

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My sister loved this book, but I have stayed away from it because I know it will be very emotional and I want to read it when I’m in the right mood. Unfortunately, that means I haven’t read it, even though my sister has been pushing it for a few years now I think.

2. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

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I have loved everything else Elizabeth Wein has written, but this promises to be the most heartbreaking one yet—and that is saying something. Again, this is the kind of book that I have avoided reading until I have time to cry…a lot.

3. His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire #1) by Naomi Novik

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Uprooted is one of my favorite books ever, so I am really excited about reading Naomi Novik’s other books. The Temeraire series is REALLY LONG though, so I have been waiting until I feel like marathon-ing it.

4. The Sweetheart by Angelina Mirabella

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Again, my sister swears by this book. I am excited to read it, but somehow, something else always ends up above it in my TBR.

5. Lair of Dreams (Diviners #2) by Libba Bray

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I LOVE Libba Bray, and I’m really ashamed to say that 100% of the reason that I haven’t read her latest book is that it (and it’s predecessor) are MASSIVE. I’ll get to it someday…

6. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

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This was a total hype buy that my sister read and thought was okay. I’m really curious about this story so I know I’ll read it someday, but knowing that my sister thought it was “meh” keeps me from diving into it right now.

7. Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper

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We’ve entered the gauntlet of books that I haven’t read because my sister didn’t love them. She didn’t hate any of them, so we haven’t gotten rid of the books, but it is really hard to pick up a book (no matter how curious you are) knowing that someone with really similar taste didn’t get excited about it.

8. An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet

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A hype buy with the same story as the last two.

9. Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

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I didn’t love Cinder, but for some reason I bought the sequel, so I know that I’ll read it eventually. 1) People have assured me that the series gets better, 2) I want to get swept up in the hype, and 3) I hate getting rid of books without reading them.

10. Shades of Earth (Across the Universe #3) by Beth Revis

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I loved Across the Universe, but A Million Suns didn’t really work for me. I think I might go back and read the entire trilogy someday, but for right now, the last book remains unread.


Have you read any of these? Are any of your favorites wasting away on the bottom of my TBR pile? Let me know!

Poetry: Page One

You stand on Page One

Broken

But fighting

Bleeding

But standing

Always

Surviving

 

You are not the Warrior

The Queen

The Wizard or the Mage

Of the last pages of my favorite novels

 

But they flicker inside of you

Embers of future flames

 

You are healing

Cracks closing

Blood clotting

Wounds scarring

Into memories

 

There is a word for taking something broken

And putting it back together with gold between the cracks

 

Don’t sell yourself short with

The dollar store super glue that

That attendant tried to sell you

Don’t buy it

 

Your story is just beginning

But I believe I know how it ends

The Olympic Book Tag

I was tagged by Kirstie @ Upside-Down Books to do the Olympic Book Tag. Thanks!

I am loving the Olympics right now! Gymnastics, diving, fencing, and beach volleyball are my favorite sports to watch, but I have been watching basically everything I can, because we got cable back for two weeks and I want to take advantage of it.

The Opening Ceremony — What book did you think had an incredible opening?

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The first lines of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern are gorgeous, and they set the tone for one of the most magical stories ever:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

The Games — What is your favourite fictional competition?

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I love the competition in Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I didn’t think that I would get sucked into a competition surrounding vintage video games and movies, but I totally did.

The Original — The modern games are based on the original Greek competition – what is your favourite book based on a classic?

series star swept peterfreund

Across a Star-Swept Sea and For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund are retellings of The Scarlet Pimpernel and Persuasion respectively. I haven’t read either original story, but I love these retellings.

The Eternal Flame  — What is one ship that you won’t let die, even after the books made it clear it was never going to happen?

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Gemma Doyle and Simon Middleton in the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray. I love the guy Gemma ended up with, and in all actuality Simon was wrong for her, but I still love the idea of them as a couple.

Gymnastics — What’s a book that had so many twists and turns it left your head spinning? (in a good way)

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If you haven’t read Uprooted by Naomi Novik yet, you should go out and do that. Part fantasy novel, part horror story, this book kept me guessing and freaking out from cover to cover.

The Controversial Judge  — What’s a book that you have a totally different opinion about than most other people?

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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon—I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. The ending frustrated me and the book left me dissatisfied.

Beach Volleyball  — What is your favorite fictional duo?

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I wanted to go to my standard answer which is Emie and Teo from Black Dove White Raven, but then I decided to go with something more creative. I love Fire and Small (her horse).

Weightlifting — What is the most massive book on your shelf?

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The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson is ridiculously huge, but I haven’t read it yet. The Sweet Far Thing, A Court of Mist and Fury, and Monsters of Men are smaller, but still massive books that I’ve actually read.

Track & Field — What is a book that you just tore through with world record speed?

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Well, honestly I read a lot of books in one sitting, especially over summer, so it’s hard for me to pick out one that I read quickly. The most recent book that I blew through, however, was Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin, which was amazing and tear-jerking and you should read it immediately.

Synchronised Swimming — What is a book series that you kept reading, even though you didn’t have any idea why?

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The Twixt series by Dawn Metcalf is interesting enough that I’ve read the first two books in the series (I’ve read the first book twice), but honestly, I am not invested in the series at all. And yet, I still want to read the next book.

The Tortured Fan — What fictional family, group, nation, or organisation do you irrationally rout for no matter how many times they break your heart?

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I root for the friendship in Code Name Verity more than anything. It is heartbreaking and wonderful and I don’t want to say more lest I spoil this incredible book.

Closing Ceremony — What book had an ending that just blew your mind?

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I am still not over the ending of A Court of Mist and Fury. If you are, please comment and share your wisdom, because thinking about it kind of destroys me.

Relay Race — Who do you tag?

And you!


Have you read any of the books I talked about? Are you watching the Olympics?

The Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag

I wasn’t tagged by anyone, but I couldn’t resist doing this tag! I know it’s a bit past the middle of the year, but better late than never.

The Best Book You’ve Read So Far In 2016

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A Court of Mist and Fury wins everything.

The Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far

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Their Fractured Light was an incredible ending to this trilogy. I was amazed by how much I fell in love with all of the characters and how invested I was in the story.

A New Release You Haven’t Read Yet (But You Want To)

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I have heard nothing but good things about The Serpent King, so I’m really excited to read it myself.

Most Anticipated Release For Second Half Of 2016

I’m sorry. I know these are basically everyone’s answers…but they’re popular for a reason. I cannot wait for either book.

Biggest Disappointment

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These Shallow Graves was really disappointing. I honestly didn’t like it, which is rare for me.

Biggest Surprise

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I did not know what to expect from Ready Player One, but it ended up being a unique story that I loved, even if I missed most of the pop culture references.

Favorite New Author

I read both of these books in 2016 and I am officially in love with Ryan Graudin‘s stories! Both of them are intense historical fiction novels with great characters and dark world-building.

Newest Fictional Crush

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Clark was ADORABLE. He wasn’t just a love interest; he got his own complex personality. And it was an amazing personality.

Newest Favorite Character

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I hated Steris in the beginning of this series, but three books in, she is one of my favorite characters ever. I love how she isn’t your typical female character and how Brandon Sanderson has brought her to life.

A Book That Made You Cry

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The Raven King made me sob. So. Hard.

A Book That Made You Happy

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The Unexpected Everything also made me cry, but for the most part, it is an incredibly sweet story. Just thinking about certain scenes makes me smile.

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought So Far This Year

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Sorry to repeat answers, but look at that cover. It is perfection.

Favorite Adaptation So Far This Year

I don’t watch adaptions, so I can’t answer this one.

What Books Do You Need To Read Before The End Of This Year?

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I got this book at the beginning of the year and have literally been meaning to read it since then. I haven’t gotten to it yet, but I plan to before the year is over!

Favorite Post You’ve Written So Far This Year

I am really happy with the post that I wrote about reading YA as a girl that cries. I was nervous about posting it, but I got a lot of positive feedback and I’m glad that I put myself out there.

Favorite Book Community Member Of The First Half Of 2016

This question makes me uncomfortable. I love all of you!

Top Ten Topics That Will Make Me Not Pick Up a Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s topic is REWIND, so I picked a topic from 2013 that I liked the sound of: Top Ten Words/Topics That Will Make You Not Pick Up a Book.

I’d like to say right now that all of these ideas have a giant PROBABLY next to them. While I don’t love these tropes/concepts/ideas, if a book sounds interesting enough (or comes highly recommended) I will get over my dislike and read it.

Also, I’m not insulting any specific book or author, and I don’t have a problem with you if you like these trends. This is my personal taste in books.

1. Time Travel — I don’t know what it is about the idea of a time travel book that turns me off so much. I love Doctor Who. But the idea of reading a book surrounding time travel just doesn’t work for me.

2. Framed for a Murder She Didn’t Commit — Nope. Nope. Nope. I hate this trope no matter the form. I have literally stopped watching TV shows when they add this as a subplot. Why? It is STRESSFUL and I can’t handle it.

3. Dystopian — I used to love dystopians, right around the time that everyone loved them. I think I’ve read too many of them now, and I just don’t feel compelled to read them. The set-up doesn’t feel original or creative anymore.

4. Twin Anything — This one is personal. I’m a twin, and it’s a really big part of my life, something I don’t really know how to put into words. I hate reading stories that involve twins, especially if they fall apart or die or anything like that. I don’t want those ideas in my mind.

5. …or did she? — Any description that ends with “or did he/she” will probably keep me from reading the book. I am not a fan of unreliable narrators or stories that intentionally try to trick me, and this phrase is usually a giveaway for a story that I won’t like.

6. Amnesia — Another form of an unreliable narrator that doesn’t appeal to me. I don’t like the constant state of uncertainty that amnesia stories have, and they usually involve other things I don’t like (see #2 and #5).

7. Guy from Dreams Shows Up In Reality — This one bugs me because it usually leads into one of my least favorite scenes ever: character sees undeniable magic, spends the next twelve chapters trying to deny it. I feel like this kind of story would rely really heavily on denial, when as a reader, I’m just like, “You’re in a fantasy novel, magic is real, get over it.”

8. Blurring the lines between reality and magic — Have you noticed that I don’t like stories where I don’t know what’s going on? Yeah…I guess I’m a control freak or something. I really hate books where you can’t tell if it’s magic or mental illness or something else going on. I like magic. I want it to be magic. Don’t give me magic and then have it not be magic. Also, I would like to be able to follow the plot, not spend all my time trying to tell what is happening and what is a hallucination.

9. Steampunk — Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE steampunk. I love the costumes and the artwork. I went to Comic Con dressed as a steampunk fairy. However, the things I love about steampunk can’t really be transformed into a story, and the few steampunk-style stories have dramatically missed the mark.

10. Anything with high school cliques — This one just feels unrealistic for me. I go to a high school that has nearly 3,000 students. There are too many people for their to be a Queen Bee or one Popular Guy, or even for their to be a ruling clique. When a major part of the story relies on mean girls or “the hottest guy in school,” I roll my eyes and move on.


What do you think? Do you love/hate any of these topics? What topics can YOU not stand?

Book Review: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

An incredible story of love and friendship that made me laugh and cry in equal measure.

5/5 stars

cover the unexpected everything

synopsis for reviews 2

Andie had it all planned out.

When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.

Important internship? Check.

Amazing friends? Check.

Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.

Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.

And where’s the fun in that?

my thoughts for reviews 1

As this was my third Morgan Matson book, I had no doubt that I would enjoy the story. I just didn’t think that I would love it as much as I did.

Andie was a great protagonist. She starts off the book your typical Type A, planning-for-college-since-freshman-year character, but when her plans go off the rails, a more complex personality starts to emergeFor a little while, it seemed like she was going to be really similar to Matson’s other protagonists, which would have been a little disappointing, but thankfully she grew into her own character.

Though her life was very different from my own, I felt instantly connected to Andie. She was incredibly relatable, and I always understood what she was feeling and why she made the choices she made. Her growth felt natural and well-paced. I couldn’t describe the exact moment she became a more down-to-earth person—that was how smooth the transition was.

Andie’s group of friends had everything that I look for from friendships in books: Positive interactions between girls in which they actually talk about emotions/insecurities/sex? Check. Male friends that have nuanced personalities and are treated as part of the group? Check. Side characters that have nuanced relationships with each other and clear personalities and their own subplots? Check, check, check. Yay!

Andie’s relationship with her dad was one of the most unexpected parts of the book. I knew that they would of course bond throughout the summer (it’s just that kind of book), but I was surprised at how natural the change in their relationship felt. The story was never preachy or cheesy, never yelled at the reader to just shut up and love their parents. Andie and her dad both consciously worked to improve their relationship.

And then there was Clark. I am 110% in love with Clark. He started the book as your average, gawky in front of a cute girl nerd (though his Doctor Who t-shirt already separated him from the pack). However, there was so much more to his character, and he ended up being one of the most unique love interests that I think I’ve ever read about.

I really don’t want to spoil anything because I loved how shocked I was as we slowly learned more about Clark. Suffice to say that I really related to him and his passions, and I wish we got to see more male characters with this kind of personality.

The romance between Clark and Andie was adorable (obviously, this is Morgan Matson we’re talking about). They have a cliche beginning—the usual “hey I met a hot person and we kept bumping into each other” thing—but from there on, their relationship became more and more unique. I liked that they didn’t immediately fall for each other and that even once they had been together for a while, they still hadn’t opened up to each other completely. I understood why they both held back, and it made what could have been a tired attempt to add drama feel new and believable.

I’m not going to lie, I spent most of the middle of TUE terrified because I could tell that their perfect relationship was bound to fall apart (they just had too many unresolved issues), and I knew it would kill me. Well, guess what? I spent the last quarter of the book crying. So at least I get credit for being right???

Even as I was crying, though, I knew that there was more to TUE than the romance. I wasn’t sobbing just because of Andie and Clark, but also because of Andie’s dad and Andie’s friends and Andie herself. Each of the subplots was written in such a way that they could all break my heart. TUE’s power comes from how freaking real it is; never once did something strike me as unbelievable or out-of-place.

TUE is really long. Like, longer than any other contemporary book I’ve read, I think. Because of how long it was, every plot line had time to shine and develop, every character got to grow, and none of their relationships felt rushed. I wish that more contemporary authors took this long to explore their stories.

Now for the little things I loved: The title, for one, is absolutely perfect. I loved the way that fantasy novels were woven into the book, combining two of my favorite genres in one. I loved that TUE and SYBG share the same setting, and I actually squealed out loud when I hit the tiny crossover scene between those two books.

Finally, I loved the ending of this book. I had finally stopped crying by the last pages, and I was able to enjoy the happiness that the ending gave me. However, the ending doesn’t fixes everything, and I appreciated that some things were left imperfect. An ending that put everything back together would have ruined the realism of the story and undermined its message.

I would recommend TUE to anyone who loves contemporary stories or who is looking for a book with a large focus on friendship and family. Though I spent an entire morning crying over it, the story is happy and uplifting more than anything else. My favorite Morgan Matson book yet.

Book Review: Ruin and Rising (Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo

A great story that finished off what has been an interesting fantasy trilogy.

4/5 stars

cover ruin and rising

This review will contain spoilers for books one (Shadow and Bone) and two (Siege and Storm), but you can read my reviews for those books by following the links in their titles.

synopsis for reviews 2

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

my thoughts for reviews 1

Since the first book, the Grisha trilogy had been heavily driven by Alina’s character development, something that I have loved in all three books. Alina continues to grow in Ruin and Rising, finally finding a version of herself that can balance her power with who she wants to be. It was a great ending to her character arc that felt believable.

I loved the new characters in this book, as well as getting to know some minor characters better. All of the characters added originality and life to the story, and while I wish that a few of them had been focused on more, I was pleased overall with the group that assembled around Alina.

I still didn’t really care about Mal and Alina as a couple, but I liked watching their relationship progress throughout the story. Their relationship progressed at a good pace, never feeling out-of-character or overly dramatic. The romance never over-powered the real plot, but it was always there, helping the story along.

The Darkling had a larger role in this story than the last one, which I was happy about (that had been one of my only complaints about book two). His character took some interesting twists and turns, solidifying his place as a fascinating villain.

The plot of Ruin and Rising follows Alina’s quest for the firebird to gain the third amplifier. The quest separated Alina and her fellow characters from the political web that had been the focus of the previous two books.

While I can’t deny the plot was paced well, I felt a little let-down with the new focus of the story. It was strange to read a final book in a trilogy that backed away from the major climatic issue of who will rule the country to focus instead on one character’s quest. I am not saying that it was bad-weird, but I am not convinced that it was good-weird.

The best part of Ruin and Rising was that the story finally talked about important issues. The previous two books had focused on plot and characters, leaving little room for discussions of societal problems or controversies. Because of this, neither of the previous books felt especially meaningful.

However, in the third book, we finally got to see some important issues discussed. Genya’s character was the focus of most of these more serious moments, which was a refreshing ending for a character that started the series as a vain gossip. I also loved the way that the complicated relationship between faith, war, and trust was explored in relation to Alina’s “sainthood.”

One part of Ruin and Rising made me uncomfortable, unfortunately. I felt like there were undercurrents of condemnation for people who didn’t react to trauma well. A few scenes made it seem like people who suffer from PTSD were “weak.” This really didn’t sit well with me, and while it wasn’t a major part of the book at all, it wasn’t something I could overlook.

The ending of this series left me conflicted. On one hand, it was a perfect ending for Alina’s story. It wrapped up everything and gave every character an ending that they deserved and that made sense. On the other hand, it was a very bittersweet ending, and I found myself wishing that Alina had gotten a different, grander one. It was an ending that dealt with a lot of loss, and even though it could be considered “happy,” I feel melancholy thinking back to it.

I would recommend the Ruin and Rising to anyone who has read the first two books in the Grisha trilogy. It does an amazing job of finishing the series, giving the readers surprises, heartbreak, and happiness. I can’t say that this trilogy is one of my all-time favorites, but I am very glad that I read it.