Most Surprising Reads of 2018

I had so many “Best of 2018!” posts planned but life got in the way and I didn’t have time to write them promptly, and when I found the time I was so burnt out from the reading the same post over and over again that I just didn’t want to add my own two-sense in the already overflowing pot.

I read a lot of really great books this year, but I also read a lot of books that completely surprised me. Some of my favorite books of the year are on this list, but some are not. These books are either 4 or 5 star reviews!

I’ve set this post up with the book, a simplified summary from Goodreads, and a short note about the book. Cover photos are linked to their Goodreads page! Ratings are either linked to reviews posted to this blog or to Goodreads.

The Diviners series by Libba Bray

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will, and Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer. As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps and, unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

I feel like might be the last person on the planet to read The Diviners and I only started reading it because I heard the audiobooks were amazing. I was pretty hesitant to read this series because it contains a bunch of elements of things I generally don’t like (paranormal, fantasy, incomplete series, etc) but it’s become one of my favorite series, especially as I continued reading them.

Ratings and reviews: The Diviners: 3 stars | Lair of Dreams: 4 stars | Before the Devil Breaks You: 5 stars Continue reading “Most Surprising Reads of 2018”

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21 Highest Rated Books On My TBR (2019 TBR)

Since I’m ~extra~ my Goodreads shelves are flush with my physical shelves because I like to have things organized. I have a shelf of all the books I already own that I haven’t read yet, so I organized that shelf by rating to draw out the highest rated books I already own! This is going to be my loose 🌟 2019 TBR 🌟 which means I roughly have to read two of these books per month.

Many of these books are books I’ve been wanting to read for a while (big surprise) so hopefully this will help me 1) actually read the books I already own and 2) read books that I’ve been meaning to read since the dawn of time.

(I chose 21 books because that’s the number of books that fit the best in the graphic I made if you just want to scroll through to the end of the post since it is pretty long!)

Becoming

Becoming by Michelle Obama
Avg. rating: 4.70

This literally just came out so most likely this high rating is due to the swarm of enthusiastic readers starting this and loving it straight from the gate, so I’m curious to see how well it holds up. Still I’m beyond excited to read this and I’m so glad to see it in the top spot!

Fullmetal Alchemist (3-in-1 Edition), Vol. 2Fullmetal Alchemist (3-in-1 edition) vol. 2 by Hiromu Arakawa
Avg. rating: 4.61

So this is kind of cheating because I’ve already read this series, but I borrowed the individual volumes from the library years ago, and I’m planning on purchasing the series and thought the 3-in-1 editions would be the best. Before reading this one, I’d obviously like to reread the first volume I own.

In This Corner of the World Vol. 1In This Corner of the World by Fumiyo Kouno
Avg. rating: 4.56

I bought this recently without knowing anything about it, so I’m very excited to see it was received so well! I’m not surprised to see manga this high up on the list because I feel like manga is such a niche category and much of the manga I read I love so I can’t wait to pick this up.

The NightingaleThe Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Avg. rating: 4.56

I read my first Kristin Hannah book this year and absolutely loved it.  While this book had been on my radar for awhile, I didn’t go out and buy it until immediately after I finished The Great Alone. I’m already planning on this in the next few months.  Continue reading “21 Highest Rated Books On My TBR (2019 TBR)”

December in Review: 15 Books

HAPPY NEW YEAR 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉 New Year’s is one of my favorite holidays, but before I get into my 2018 favorites, reviews, and wrap-ups, I can’t ignore December as a whole month!

I had some fantastic reads this month, and also a few disappointments. The large majority of my books this month were 4 and 5 star reads!

Different from my monthly wrap-ups, which focus more of patterns in my reading habits and is just me rambling on forever (because that’s my brand), monthly reviews are more like lists: easy to scroll through to get the whole picture of my reading month. Listed is the title, author, publication date, and cover along with the genre and age range (if applicable). I also have my rating and a three-word description of my reading experience! The links will either go to a longer review I wrote on this blog or a shorter review I wrote on Goodreads. All the cover photos are linked to their Goodreads page.

TOTAL BOOKS: 15

🌟: 0
🌟🌟: 2
🌟🌟🌟: 1
🌟🌟🌟🌟: 8
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟: 4

 

Fake BloodFake Blood by Whitney Gardner
Published: Sept 4, 2018
MG Paranormal
hilarious, satirical, realistic
🌟🌟🌟🌟

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha, #1)Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Published: Mar 6, 2018
YA Fantasy
bingeable, dynamic, intense
🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore
Published: May 2, 2017
History
repetitive, feminist, digestable
🌟🌟🌟

 

Into the WaterInto the Water by Paula Hawkins
Published: May 2, 2017
Mystery
confusing, underwhelming, blah
🌟🌟

 

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's AngerGood and Mad by Rebecca Traister
Published: Oct 2, 2018
Feminist Theory
powerful, fierce, phenomenal
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Love WorksLove Works by Janice Mirikitani
Published: Jan 1, 2003
Poetry
stunning, emotional, historical
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for WhitenessI’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown
Published: May 15, 2018
Memoir
transforming, digestable, personal
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Exit WestExit West by Mohsin Hamid
Published: Mar 7, 2017
Magical Realism
condense, evocative, timeless
🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

CirceCirce by Madeline Miller
Published: Apr 10, 2018
Fantasy
lyrical, complex, engaging
🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

The CorrectionsThe Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
Published: Sep 24, 2001
Contemporary
lengthy, overwhelming, extra
🌟🌟

 

Horimiya, Vol. 8Horimiya vol. 8 by Hero and Daisuke Hagiwara
Published: Jul 18, 2017
YA Romance
cute, fluffy, charming
🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

GeorgeGeorge by Alex Gino
Published: Aug 25, 2015
MG Contemporary
simple, accessible, relevant
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

A Christmas CarolA Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Published: Dec 19, 1843
Holiday Classic
uplifting, atmospheric, descriptive
🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Sister Outsider by Audre LordeSister Outsider by Audre Lorde
Published: Jun 1, 1984
Essays
academic, intersectional, critical
🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1)The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Published: Jan 2, 2018
YA Fantasy
disturbing, surprising, addictive
🌟🌟🌟🌟

I read some surprisingly great books this month and thoroughly enjoyed most of them. Let me know if you’ve read any of these because I’d love to talk about them? Which books were your favorites for December?

January TBR: 8 Books

It’s my first TBR with my new 2019 structure and I’m SO excited! I have so many great books picked out and I can’t wait to start the year off strong.

Out of the 5 books on my December TBR I have read a whopping zero of them! Not a great month for me reading wise; I read a lot of audiobooks and I was trying to wrap up all of the books I’ve been drudging through since like October 😅 (I finally finished The Corrections literally last night and I just feel so free.)

I’ve set this post up with the book, a simplified summary from Goodreads, and a short note about the book. Cover photos are linked to their Goodreads page!

TBR Jar Picks:

The Daughters by Joanna Philbin

The Daughters (The Daughters, #1)

The only daughter of supermodel Katia Summers, witty and thoughtful Lizzie Summers likes to stick to the sidelines. The sole heir to Metronome Media and the daughter of billionaire Karl Jurgensen, outspoken Carina Jurgensen would rather climb mountains than social ladders. Daughter of chart-topping pop icon Holla Jones, stylish and sensitive Hudson Jones is on the brink of her own music breakthrough. By the time freshman year begins, unconventional-looking Lizzie Summers has come to expect fawning photographers and adoring fans to surround her gorgeous supermodel mother. But when Lizzie is approached by a fashion photographer who believes she’s “the new face of beauty,” Lizzie surprises herself and her family by becoming the newest Summers woman to capture the media spotlight.

I’ve had this on my bookshelf probably since I was a freshman in high school and I’ve gone through many unhauls since then and for some reason there is just something about this book that I’ve been holding onto so while I was originally a little disappointed I picked this, ultimately I’m relieved to finally be reading it! Continue reading “January TBR: 8 Books”

January 2019 Book Birthdays: 8 Books

Welcome to a new monthly installment! This originated as an anticipated new release list for the first half of 2019 but it was way too long, so I cut it down to the first quarter of 2019, and then I ultimately decided it was just more manageable for me to do this at the beginning of each month! This way it’s fresh in my mind and all the covers will be released and it will just be overall pleasant for everyone involved!

I have six books on this list ranging from middle grade, young adult, to adult (with the majority being YA this month). I am beyond excited for all of these books!

I’ve set this post up with the book, a simplified summary from Goodreads, and a short note about the book. Cover photos are linked to their Goodreads page!

(These dates reflect US releases.)

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart (January 8)

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise Five years. That’s how long Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have lived on the road in an old school bus, criss-crossing the nation. It’s also how long ago Coyote lost her mom and two sisters in a car crash. Coyote hasn’t been home in all that time, but when she learns that the park in her old neighborhood is being demolished―the very same park where she, her mom, and her sisters buried a treasured memory box―she devises an elaborate plan to get her dad to drive 3,600 miles back to Washington state in four days…without him realizing it. 

Ok so I was completely enamored by this cover but briefly skimming the dozens of 5-star ratings has me convinced that I absolutely need this. I’m probably going to cry reading it, but what else is new!! Continue reading “January 2019 Book Birthdays: 8 Books”

5 Winter Reading Recommendations

Yeeeeeeeeeee I made some new graphics!!! I’ve been slowly clamoring my way through Tidyathon by cleaning out my Goodreads shelves and got around to overhauling all of my graphics and I am SO excited!! I also spent this weekend playing around with some different themes; I’m not sure if the one I have atm is going to stay for a while but we’ll see!

The winter solstice is upon those of us in the northern hemisphere and while I feel like December 1st is really the kick-off point for all-things wintery, I am still holding on to the fall with my cold, white-knuckled fingertips.

Winter is my least favorite season because I hate being cold and I absolutely hate the snow, but I can appreciate some winter holidays like New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day and other traditional winter staples: layers of blankets, peppermint anything, snow days, and of course large chunky books.

I tend to gravitate towards two types of books in the winter, either a really dense read or a light-hearted romance so this list will probably be an interesting mix!

I’ve set this post up with the book, a simplified summary from Goodreads, and a short note about the book. Cover photos are linked to their Goodreads page!

Beartown by Frederick Backman

Beartown (Beartown, #1)

People say Beartown is finished. But their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys. Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Starting off this list strong with one of the most wintery-aesthetic books I’ve read! I read this last winter and absolutely loved it. This is definitely heavier than a typical Backman novel, but it’s beautifully complex and unforgiving and written very well.

content warning: sexual assault Continue reading “5 Winter Reading Recommendations”

November in Review: 22 Books!

Buckle up y’all because this was an INCREDIBLE reading month and whoa it was insane.

This was a very heavy manga month for me, because I participated in Manga Madness Readathon! While I didn’t complete all the challenges I wanted to during the readathon period (who’s surprised!!!), I did continue reading (i.e.: binging) manga throughout the rest of the month. Honestly, I enjoyed it so much and I’m reading SUCH incredible series right now, and I can’t wait to talk about them during my monthly wrap-up!

Different from my monthly wrap-ups, which focus more of patterns in my reading habits and is just me rambling on forever (because that’s my brand), monthly reviews are more like lists: easy to scroll through to get the whole picture of my reading month. Listed is the title, author, publication date, and cover along with the genre and age range (if applicable). I also have my rating and a three-word description of my reading experience! The links will either go to a longer review I wrote on this blog or a shorter review I wrote on Goodreads. All the cover photos are linked to their Goodreads page.

TOTAL BOOKS: 22

🌟: 0
🌟🌟: 0
🌟🌟🌟: 3
🌟🌟🌟🌟: 11
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟: 8

Pachinko

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Published: Feb 7, 2017
Historical Fiction
quiet, complicated, gorgeous
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Sweet Blue Flowers, Vol. 1 (Sweet Blue Flowers Omnibus, #1)Sweet Blue Flowers vol. 1 by Takano Shimura
Published: Sep 19, 2017
YA Romance
sapphic, adorable, sweet
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Sweet Blue Flowers, Vol. 2 (Sweet Blue Flowers Omnibus, #2)

Sweet Blue Flowers vol. 2 by Takano Shimura
Published: Dec 19, 2017
YA Romance,
soft, friendly, beautiful
🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Continue reading “November in Review: 22 Books!”

December TBR: 5 Books

“I can’t believe it’s already the end of the year!!!!” said everybody on the Internet.

I have been counting down the days until my vacation week and practically holding onto my sanity by my fingernails. I have some BIG reading plans for my vacation but have yet to decide if I’m going to be home or visiting my boyfriend in Michigan (which I should probably figure out soon before plane tickets become they become even more expensive).

Out of the 7 books I listed in my November TBR, I finished two books BUT I’m in the middle of reading three!! I’m planning on finishing one today even, so I might be editing this post before it goes up 😐

I’ve been struggling how to structure my TBR this month. Last month I focused on books I didn’t read from previous TBRs (which worked okay) but I was having a hard time deciding whether or not I wanted to include a different set of books from previous TBRs, or structure it how I’ve been doing with book club picks and different categories.

Ultimately I decided I might have better chances of crossing books off my list if I structured it like previous TBRs. I took a lot at the books I didn’t read from previous months, and most of them are pretty long.

I’ve set this post up with the book, a simplified summary from Goodreads, and a short note about the book. Cover photos are linked to their Goodreads page!

Diversity in All Forms Goodreads bookclub

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan (library)

The Valley of Amazement

Spanning more than forty years and two continents, The Valley of Amazement resurrects pivotal episodes in history: from the collapse of China’s last imperial dynasty, to the rise of the Republic, the explosive growth of lucrative foreign trade and anti-foreign sentiment, to the inner workings of courtesan houses and the lives of the foreign “Shanghailanders” living in the International Settlement, both erased by World War II.

I have literally no idea what this book is about but I really enjoy going into a book without any knowledge or expectations so I’m excited. It’s a little chunky so I’m planning on starting it soon and taking my time reading it throughout the month. This will also be the first book I’m reading by Amy Tan! Continue reading “December TBR: 5 Books”

October 2018 in Review

Many of the books I read this month are uniquely formatted: graphic novels, audiobooks, essays, and novels in verse. While none of these are that unique to me, it did make it more of an easier reading month for me to digest, which is exactly what I needed.

I currently have 5 (FIVE!!!) books I’m reading right now. One audio, and four print (including one that’s due at the library in exactly a week). I still haven’t broken out whatever half-baked funk I’ve been in.

I read a total of 12 books this month, which is impressive for me considering my detonating mental state. I need out of my job ASAP.

Different from my monthly wrap-ups, which focus more of patterns in my reading habits and is just me rambling on forever (because that’s my brand), monthly reviews are more like lists: easy to scroll through to get the whole picture of my reading month. Listed is the title, author, publication date, and cover along with the genre and age range (if applicable). I also have my rating and a three-word description of my reading experience! The links will either go to a longer review I wrote on this blog or a shorter review I wrote on Goodreads. All the cover photos are linked to their Goodreads page.

Nimona

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Published: May 12, 2015
YA Fantasy
creative, witty, perfect
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You, Vol. 5Kimi ni Todoke vol. 5 by Karuho Shiina
Published: Aug 3, 2010
YA Romance
developed, comfortable, homey
🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Harold Fry, #1)The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Published: Jul 24, 2012
Contemporary
boring, preachy, slow
🌟🌟 1/2 Continue reading “October 2018 in Review”

November TBR: The Catch-Up Month

One of my favorite times of year is coming up: the winter holidays!! I absolutely love the atmosphere of hope and happiness practically exudes from everyone and it’s an ample opportunity to check back in with some old friends and family you haven’t heard from in a while. I absolutely love it.

It’s also a great time to reassess your yearly goals and make some adjustments.

Different from my previous TBRs where I’ve selected books by categories and book clubs or buddy reads I was involved in, November (and probably December) will be reserved for reading books I already added to my TBR earlier in the year but passed up on.

Out of the five books on my October TBR, I finished two of them and am currently in the middle of a third. I put a hold on a fourth book earlier in the month that I’m still waiting on, so while I’m going to add it to my November TBR because it’s probably going to be one of the first books I finish this month and it’ll make me feel good to cross it off 😅

I have 7 books I’d like to read in November, a notoriously busy month, especially with job hunting AND NaNoWriMo, so we’ll see how well this actually goes!

I’ve set this post up with the book, the month I planned to read it in, a simplified summary from Goodreads, and a short note about the book. Cover photos are linked to their Goodreads page!

March: Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (own)

The Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank’s extraordinary diary, written in the Amsterdam attic where she and her family hid from the Nazis for two years, has become a world classic and a timeless testament to the human spirit. Here she is first and foremost a teenage girl—stubbornly honest, touchingly vulnerable, in love with life. Facing hunger, fear of discovery and death, and the petty frustrations of such confined quarters, Anne writes with adult wisdom and views beyond her years. 

This is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while and specifically bought this year with the intention of reading it that month. Obviously I didn’t, but I think this will be a good size book to fit in my purse and chuck out whenever I have a free moment.  Continue reading “November TBR: The Catch-Up Month”