Down The The Tbr Hole #2

So I have a serious problem with adding books that I’m only mildly interested in just because I like the cover or everybody is talking about it. I really want my to be read shelf to be an accurate representation of the books I’m going to read so I want to pare down on the 3000+ titles. So I thought Down The Tbr Hole which was created by Lia over at LostinaStory, would be a perfect way to do so

The rules are simple:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

So let’s tackle my tbr!

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1. I Am J by Cris Beam

I’ve  heard really bad things about this book and like I don’t even think it’s #ownvoices so I don’t think I’m ever going to want to read it.

Verdict: Go

2. Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot

I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve read by Cabot and while I don’t know when I’ll read it since I don’t own a copy, I’m going to keep it since it sounds like a really great lighthearted book.

Verdict: Keep

3.The Princess Bride by William Golding

I know everybody loves the Princess Bride movie but I personally find it to be super overrated. Like it”s funny but it’s not the cult classic that everyone makes it out to be. So I don’t think I’d rlly enjoy the book either.

Verdict: Go

4. Blood Red Road by Moira Young

I tried to read this a couple of years ago but I couldn’t get pass the first 50 pages. It had this weirdly weird dialogue with no quotation marks and it just really bothered me. I don’t think I’m ever going to give this book a second chance.

Verdict: Go

5.Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

I’ve been dying to read this book for so long and I’ve just never gotten my hands on it. It sounds amazing like who wouldn’t want to read about a bookstore that’s open 24 hours a day? That’s the ultimate bookworm dream.

Verdict: Keep

6. Choker by Elizabeth Woods

I remember Ariel Bissett and Raeleen Lemay really loved this book ( I pretty much got all my book recs from them) but I just reread this synopsis and it really doesn’t seen like my thing. Like maybe if a book with a similiar concept came out now I would read it but it was published in 2011 so it’s probably super outdated.

Verdict: Go

7. Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony

This is a book that is told almost entirely through pictures which is just such a cool concept. I’m not sure where I’ll be able to find a copy but if I ever do I’ll be really excited to read it. It sounds like a beautiful book.

Verdict: Keep

8. Grafitti Moon by Cath Crowley

This doesn’t seem like something I’d really be into but someone whose opinion I trust a lot reviewed it on Goodreads and said she loved it so I think I’m going to keep it.

Verdict: Keep

9. A Wounded Name by Dot Huthinson.

I have absolutely no recollection of ever adding this book and I can’t imagine a time where a book like this would ever interest me. It’s a paranormal romance which is pretty much my least favorite genre. It’s a no for me.

Verdict: Go

10. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Seventh Grade Hannah may have loved this but I’m looking at the synopsis now and cringing so so much. It seems super predictable and not someting that I’d enjoy at all.

Verdict: Go

11. See You At Harry’s by Jo Knowles

This is another one where though I don’t know exactly when I read it, it’s still something I really want to read. It looks like heartfelt coming of age YA which is my favorite type of story.

Verdict: Keep

12. Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

This seems like a cliche dystopian with not much substance. Unless the concept is super unique and well executed, I’m pretty much done with dystopians.

Verdict: Go

13. Ageless by Jeanne M. Haskin.

I have actually no idea why I added it because it looks super bad and weird. Why did 2014 Hannah add so many random books?

Verdict: Go

14. Banquet of Lies by Michelle Diener

This book is set in regency London and is about spies. Umm yes please?!!!!

Verdict: Keep

15.The Iron Fey Volume 1( The Iron King+ The Iron Daughter) by Julie Kagwa.

I’ve never read a Kagwa book before and like even though she’s a prolific author and a lot of ppl seem to like her books, I’m just not a huge fantasy person. I’d love to be able to enjoy books about fae and the like but it just doesn’t click with me.

Verdict: Go

16. How To Save a Life by Sara Zarr

This seems like a really sweet and emotional contemporary and I’d definitely like to pick it up one day.

Verdict: Keep

17. In The Chat Room With God by Todd Hafer.

This is just a whole new level of weird….whyyyyyyyyy.

Verdict: Go

18. Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk

I’m not a huge fan of horror books or short story collections so I think I’m good.

Verdict: Go

19. Possession by Elana Johnson.

This sounds like yet another boring dystopian. The number of variations on the same plot that are out there is astounding.

Verdict: Go

20. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S King

I have a lot-hate relationship with her books but I think this is one that I’d really enjoy. I’ve been wanting to read for 5+ years but have just never gotten around to it. One day, one day.

Verdict: Keep

Final Results:

Keep: 8

Go:12

Did I Get Rid of Any Books That You Loved? Kept Any Books That You Hated? Let Me Know In The Comments Down Below!

 

 

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The Year That Has Passed and The Year That Is To Come: 2018 Edition

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I’m gonna be real honest for a moment and say that 2018 has arguably been the worst year of my life. Even though time is just a construct and a new year doesn’t mean my problems are going to away, I’m looking forward to say good riddance to 2018 and welcome 2019 with open arms. So today I thought I’d just talk a little about the highlights of my year and what I hope to achieve next year.

2018

  • Love, Simon: I had the pleasure of getting to see Love, Simon at an early screening thanks to HCCFrenzy and it was honestly just such a great experience. Love, Simon has quickly became my  new favorite movie and have watched it over 50 times (oops?). I’m so glad that 2018 brought us the first first Hollywood gay romcom and I really hope that there will be more movies like it in the coming years.
  • Bridge of Clay: I highkey never thought that I’d say this but 2018 brought me Markus Zusak’s new book. I’ve been waiting for this book for years and it’s so surreal to have finally been able to read it. It was everything I wanted and more, and I’m looking forward to waiting another millenia for what he comes out with next.
  • Public Speaking: I never thought that public speaking is something that I’d find joy in, but it has honestly been my most memorable experience at college so far. I took the class in Fall of 2017, and have been a teaching assistant along with other amazing people for the past semesters. Never thought that I’d willingly wake up to get to a 8:30 class, but it’s always the one thing I look forward to. I can’t wait to do it for the last time before I graduate.
  • Literary Magazine: In the winter I joined the editing team of my college team and while it’s been a little rough and not really what I expected, I still thoroughly enjoy the experience. The people are a tad bit pretentious but I mean aren’t we all?
  • Novel: I’ve been going through my novel for the last couple of times in preparation for querying. It’s weird because I usually find more and more things to hate about my work, the more I read it, but with this one the more I read it, the more I love it. I’ve been working on my baby for four years and it’s finally time to start showing it to the world.

2019

  • Graduating: After two shit years of hell, I’m finally going to be graduating from CEGEP( weird Quebec thing between High School and Uni). I’ve learnt a lot about myself in those two years, but I’m going to be so glad to say goodbye to that hellhole
  • Uni: The dream is to go to McGill to get my Bachelor of Education in Secondary English so fingers crossed! Wherever I end up,I intend to make uni the best possible four years.  I know it’s going to be hard but I’ve learnt so much about myself since starting college that I really think that these will finally be my years,
  • Querying: I never thought that my novel would be reading, but I think that 2019 is finally the  year that I send Dried Roses out to agents. I’m bracing myself  for rejections but with a lot of Kleenex and ice cream, I think I’ll be okay. All I can do is hope for the best!
  • Blogging: I feel like I say this every year but I really want to be more involved in the blogging world. I want to comment more, interract with more bloggers. I love blogging but I know there’s so much that I can do.

 

What About You? How Was Your 2018? What Are Your Hopes for 2019? Let Me Know In The Comments Down Below!

Top 18 Reads of 2018

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2018 was an amazing reading year and it was so hard to narrow down my favorites because I have read too many good books this year. I originally was going to do my top ten but then I was like eight and there was so many that I hadn’t included so I decided to do my top 18.  So without further ado let’s get into my top 18 reads of 2018.

1, Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak, My Review

I’ve been waiting for this book ever since I read The Book Thief six years ago. I was terrified that I wouldn’t like it and that it wouldn’t have been worth the wait but thankfully it was everything that I wanted and more.  I know a lot of people were disappointed and I totally get that because it’s a very different book from The Book Thief. I still loved it and fell in love with every single character. This book broke me and I can’t wait to read it again so I can suffer all over again.

2. Everything I Never Told by Celeste Ng.

I’ve been hearing praise about Ng’s book for so long, but it’s taken me years to get around to reading her and I can’t believe it took me so long to read her amazing works. This book was so intricately crafted and I absolutely adored how the character’s motivations and fears were slowly revealed. Celeste Ng is an expert storyteller and really knows how to create both intriguing storylines and fascinating characters.

3. Station Eleven by Emily St-John Mendel.  My Review

When this book first came and everyone was raving about it, I remember reading the synopsis and not really understanding what all the hype was about. I finally got around to reading it this year and now I finally get why everybody loves it so much. It’s one of those books where it’s best to go in knowing very little because whatever synopsis you’ll read will never do it justice. This is the most brilliant post-appocalyptic book I’ve ever read and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since I finished reading it.

4.  More Than This by Patrick Ness.

The Chaos Walking Trilogy is one my favorite series but even though I’ve had this book on my shelf for a good three years, I never got around to reading it until this year. This is another one of those books that you just need to go in blind. This book took a turn that I really didn’t expect at all and I’m still trying to wrap my head around what I read. Ness  knows how to craft a remarkable world and More Than This is just further proof of that.

5. A Little Life by Hanya Yangihara. My Review

THis book is pretty much the equavilant of someone punching in the gut over and over again for 800 pages. This book destroyed me: I  don’t think I’ve ever cried so much over a single book.  You really have to be in the right state of mind to read this book because it’s a really rough read. And yet despite how much it hurt me to read it, I loved it. Despite all the tragedy, it’s also an incredibly beautiful book. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to reread it because it took so much out of me but reading it was a journey that I’ll always remember.

6. They Both Die at The End by Adam Silvera. My Review

Yet another book that ruined me. Why do readers enjoy sadness so much??? Anyway I wouldn’t expect anything less from Silvera since he’s pretty much the king of  making his readers suffer. They Both Die at The End is no exception and thanks to him I cannot listen to American Pie without feeling extremely sad and thinking of the precious cinnamon rolls that are Matteo and Rufus.  You know you think I would have prepared for the ending because the title pretty much spoils it but yet I still clung on to the hope that Silvera would give us a happy ending. Foolish of me, I know.

7. Scythe Series by Neal Shusterman. My Review

I know I can always count on Shusterman for writing books that make me think and the Scythe series is no exception. I wasn’t utterly convinced by the synopsis but once I read Scythe I was completely in love. The  world building in this series is phenonemal and there are so many twists and turns. I didn’t think it was possible but Thunderhead was somehow better than Scythe and I can’t wait for the third one to come out. This better be a long series because three books is not enough to sustain me.

8 Beartown by Fredrick Backman.

I’m usually super wary of translated books but whoever translates Backman’s books is super talented because  I have absolutely loved both books that I’ve read of his. Beartown is such a beautiful book and heartbreaking book . There’s this amazing vibe to his books that is really indescribable which somehow makes them a 100x more amazing. This was such a character driven storu which are my favorite types of stories. The way he crafted all of his characters was absolutely phenonemal.

9.Leah on The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli. My Review

I am so sad that Becky is never going to explore the Simonverse again.  Nonethless, Leah on The Offbeat was the perfect way to end it. It was everything I wanted in a book like this and more. Leah was one of the most relatable characters I’ve ever encountered and I loved reading an entire book from her perspective. There were so many tiny things about the book that made it all the more perfect from scenes with Blue and Simon to incredibly on-point pop culture references. Albertalli is the queen of contemporary and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

10. What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera.

This is basically the ultimate collab in YA history and I was terrified because the queen of contemporary and the king of making his readers suffer writing a book together? This couldn’t end well. And yet it was so incredibly amazing!! Both perspectives were incredibly beautiful and the romance between Ben and Arthur was so great. I know a lot of people were mad about the ending but I loved it and thought it was perfectly bittersweet.

11. Far From The Tree by Robin Benway.

This is a beautiful story about the families we find and the ones we are born into. It’s one of those contemporaries that really makes you think about your place in the world. The way Benway crafted all the different relationships was absolutely brilliant. There was a lot of nuance to the book and it’s one of those contemporaries that you can think about at depth for many hours after reading it.

12.The Summer of Jodi Perez by Amy Spalding. My Review

This is the sapphic summer romcom of my dreams and I seriously need to this be a movie right now. This is the ultimate summer read and the romance was so swoon worthy!!! It was just such a fun fluffy read and is everything I could want in a contemporary and so much more.

13. The Spy With The Red Balloon by Katherine Locke. My Review

This book is the dream book I didn’t even know I had. You’ve got amazing queer Jewish siblings with the best relationship ever. You’ve got people punching Nazis. You’ve got the best speculative fiction concept ever. Locke has redefined historical fiction and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. I can always count on her to have amazing kickass Jewish characters.

14. Sadie by Courtney Summers.

I am so happy that Courtney Summers is finally getting the recognition she deserves. She always delivers amazingly flawed characters with incredibly honest storylines. The story was so intriguing and Sadie was such an amazing character. To add to the general amazingness, the format was incredibly unique. I didn’t read the audiobook but I heard it’s amazing so I think I might try my hand at listening to my first audiobook.

15. The Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. Book Review.

Give me a book that has time incorporated into it somehow and you’ve basically given me my new favorite book.  I love books that deal with the complexities of times and this one blew me out of the water.It was so incredibly unique and by the time I was finished, I was questioning my entire existence.  It was one of those books that was so well developed that I almost felt as though the implausible events that took place in the book could be real.

16. The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White.

This is one of the most brilliant retellings I’ve ever seen. It takes all the minor characters in Frankenstein and brings them at the forefront.I actually had never read Frankenstein but after reading this beauty, I delved into Shelley’s original work and it made reflecting on my reading experience all the more interesting. White turns an already fascinating story into the story that Shelley may have written if she hadn’t been restrained by the constraints of her time. It’s a beautiful feminist retelling that I think would do Shelley proud.

17. Our Year Of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon. My Review

While Solomon’s Freshman novel was amazing, her sophomore novel was absolutely phenomenal. She writes contemporaries like no other and I love getting aquainted with her incredibly complex characters. She writes the Jewish experience so incredibly and portrays so many different sides to the issue. Please do yourself a favor and pick up this book when it comes out in January. You won’t regret it.

18.  The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Tretton.

Tretton took the mystery genre and brought it to a whole different level and I am still astounded by all the different turns this book took. I cannot imagine all the work that must have gone into this book. I am always amazed by mystery writers but this was something else entirely. Very few mysteries are able to shock me but this book grabbed me from page one and had me enthralled until the very end. I struggle to see how he could possible top this book but I can’t wait to see what he does next.

What Were Your Favorite Books of 2018? Have You Read Any of The Ones I Mentioned? Let Me Know in The Comments Down Below!

End of Year Book Survey 2018

So the year is quickly coming to a close which means another end of year book survey!!! This tag was created by the perptualpageturner   and I’ve been doing it for the past two years and it’s filled with some really great questions. So without further ado let’s get into the amazing books I read this year.

**2018 READING STATS**

 

Number Of Books You Read: 155
Number of Re-Reads: 15 Books
Genre You Read The Most From: Probably realistic fiction but I’m not sure.

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1. Best Book You Read In 2018?

It’s really hard to chose just one book it’s the one that I just keep coming back whenever I think about the question so I think Sadie by Courtney Summers. I mean all of her books are amazing but this one just blew me out of the water.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

About A Girl by Sarah Mccarry.  The cover was of two girls kissing and I was like “awesome, this is going to be gay af and I’m going to love it” And while it was very gay, it was also weird as fuck and I had no idea what was going on 99% of the time. I was really disappointed.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

More Than This by Patrick Ness. I had no idea what to expect going into it and only had like a really vague idea of what it was about. This book blew me out the water and I was really surprised by the awesome turn it took.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

I don’t really recommend books to people I know IRL because I know they won’t read it so let’s pass this one.

 5. Best series you started in 2018? Best Sequel of 2018? Best Series Ender of 2018?

Best Series: Scythe by Neal Shusterman. That series is fucking amazing and I need the third book ASAP

Best Sequel: Leah on The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli. This book is the perfect conclusion to the simonverse and I love everything about it.

Best Series Ender: Of Monsters and Men by Patrick Ness. This series ruined me and I loved it.

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2018?

Katherine Locke. The Balloonmakers duology is the best thing ever and I can’t wait to read whatever else she comes out with.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Frankenstein was one the only classics that I read by choice this year and I loved it so much!! It was so fascinating and I could talk about it for hours.

 

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. This book was so thrilling and there were so many twists and turns that had me reeling. It’s one of the most cleverly executed thrillers I’ve ever read.

 9. Book You Read In 2018 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Probably Bridge of Clay. A year that goes by without me reading Markus Zusak isn’t really a year at all.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?

probably Far From The Tree by Robin Benway. It’s really simple but I love it.

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11. Most memorable character of 2018?

Probably Sadie From Sadie by Courntey Summers. Everything that that girl went through hurt my soul and I just want to protect her at all cost.

 

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2018?

Bridge of Clay By Markus Zusak. Hands down. His writing will never cease to amaze me.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2018?

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.  Everybody needs to read this book. It’s so important and beautifully written and just such a relevant book for our current political climate.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read? 

Station Eleven by Emily St-John Mandel. I’ve heard about this book for years now and I never really understand what the hype was about. But when I read it , I finally understood. THis book is amazing and arguably the best postapocalyptic story I’ve ever read.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2018?

” “I’m Not anything if I’m not writing, Mr Hemingway.’

‘Ernest,’ he said.

‘Ernest,’ I repeated, thinking, in the end, the writing was the only thig that saved me, that kept me from being sucked down into the sludge pit of darkness and doubt. Wondering if any small bit of Ernest Hemingway might be the same way, if a writer as succesful as he was ever questioned his words, his worth, the cost of what it took to pour al lof yourself into  a book that people might just abandon, half-read, on a chair in a bus station, even with a whole long journey to pass.”

It’s from Beautiful Exiles by Meg Waite Clayton and this quote hit me so hard.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2018?

Shortest: Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseni

Longest: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman. That ending killed me and if the third book doesn’t come out soon I may not survive

 

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Matteo and Rufus from They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera. Only Silvera could make me root for two people who just met and are going to die on the same die.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

The relationship between Grace, Maya and Joaquin. This book is chock full of beautiful relationships but the one between the three biological siblings was my absolute favorite.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2018 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Our Year Of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon. This book was amazing and somehow even better than her first one.

21. Best Book You Read In 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. This is really not something that I’d usually read but everybody on twitter was talking about it so I gave in and it was so cute!!! It had me swooning the entire time.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?

I domn’t get fictional crushes.

23. Best 2018 debut you read?

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough. This book was absolutely phenonemal.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

I feel like I’ve mentioned this book so many times but I’m obsessed. The Scythe Series by Neal Shusterman has amazing worldbuilding and I could highkey read an entire book entirely about the history of the world.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Born a Crime: Stories From A South African Childhood by Trevor Noah. This book was fucking hilarious and had me in laughter induced tears multiple times.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2018?

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. This book was beautifully crafted and so bittersweet and the way the story progressed had me in tears multple times.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Beautiful Exiles by Meg Waite Clayton. This book about Hemmingway’s third wife was absolutely phenonemal and I just love books that make me learn about hidden parts of history.

 

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara had me in tears  throughout pretty much the entire book. This book wrecked me.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2018?

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Keirsten White. It’s one of the most unique retellings I’ve read and it was so interesting to compare it with the original source material.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Brief Chronicle of Another Stupid Heartbreak by Adi Alsaid. This book pissed me off and just I felt absolutely no sympathy for the main character and reading about her stupid decisions made me want to throw something.

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1. New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2018?

I absolute love Elise’s blog.

2. Favorite post you wrote in 2018?

My discussion post on whether Holocaust Books are still important. It’s a post that was very personal and something I’ve been thinking about for quite some time.

3. Favorite bookish related photo you took in 2018:?

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Honestly I haven’t taken many bookish photos but I like this one of my ticket for when I went to see Love, Simon.

4. Best bookish event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events,  etc.)?

HCC Frenzy invited me to go see an early screening of Love, Simon and it was sooo much fun. Little did I know that this would become my favorite movie that I would watch over 50 times.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2018?

I hate to sound like a broken record but seeing Love, Simon.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Finding the motivation to blog and readwhile I had other obligations. This summer I was working at a sumemr camp with no internet access for two months so I had to backlog a lot of blog posts which worked out in the end but during that time I barely read which really sucked.   But then with school I was just so overhwhelmed this semester that the amount of posts I came out with was really disapointing

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

For some reason my review of The Cruelty  keeps getting views and I have no idea why since it’s not that great of a review and I wrote it like two years ago.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

My post on what Love, Simon means to me.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

I recently discovered that Overdrive is the best thing ever created and though I used to be not totally sold on ebooks, it’s not basically all I read. There are so many amazing books on there and I don’t have to go anywhere to get them and it’s free!!!

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I set myself a goodreads goal to read 100 books which I surpassed by reading 153 books!!

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1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2018 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2019?

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult. As soon as it becomes avaliable at my library, I’m jumping on it.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2019 (non-debut)?

You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman. I’m so excited for this book. I absolutely loved Girl Out of Water and I think that this one is going to be even better.

3. 2019 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Again But Better by Christine Riccio. I’m usually super wary of Youtubers writing books but Christine seems super dedicated to her novel and it just looks really amazing. She’s a really funny person and I think her humor and overall tone would translate really well into a book.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2019?

I hate to sound like a broken record but the third book in the scythe series is supposed to come out and I NEED IT NOW.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2019?

I just want to create as much quality content as I possibly can.

6. A 2019 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):

A Place for Wolves by Kosoko Jackson. This book is fucking amazing and y’all need to read it when it comes out.

Have You Read Any of the Books I Mentioned? How Was Your Reading Year? Did You Do The End of Year Book Survey? Let Me Know in The Comments Down Below!

Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon Book Review

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Goodreads Summary: Aspiring choreographer Sophie Orenstein would do anything for Peter Rosenthal-Porter, who’s been on the kidney transplant list as long as she’s known him. Peter, a gifted pianist, is everything to Sophie: best friend, musical collaborator, secret crush. When she learns she’s a match, donating a kidney is an easy, obvious choice. She can’t help wondering if after the transplant, he’ll love her back the way she’s always wanted.

But Peter’s life post-transplant isn’t what either of them expected. Though he once had feelings for Sophie too, he’s now drawn to Chase, the guitarist in a band that happens to be looking for a keyboardist. And while neglected parts of Sophie’s world are calling to her—dance opportunities, new friends, a sister and niece she barely knows—she longs for a now-distant Peter more than ever, growing increasingly bitter he doesn’t seem to feel the same connection.

Peter fears he’ll forever be indebted to her. Sophie isn’t sure who she is without him. Then one blurry, heartbreaking night twists their relationship into something neither of them recognizes, leading them to question their past, their future, and whether their friendship is even worth fighting for.

My Rating:5/5 Stars

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:

As with Solomon’s debut,You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone, it’s hard to pick just one standout aspect about the book because there’s  so many to chose from. You have complex friendships, even more complex romantic relationships,  fascinating family dynamics, feelings about religious identity and the list just goes on and on.  If this is what she can do with her second book, I can’t wait to see what type of wonderful things will come out of her third or fourth book.

One thing that I really appreciate about her characters is how incredibly flawed they are. The two main characters, Peter and Sophie, don’t always make the right decisions or say the right things and yet that’s what makes them so real.  They make impulsive decisions, decisions that had me screaming NOOOOO DON’T DO IT and yet it’s these imperfections that made them so relatable and authentic. Solomon is truly skilled because so often authors try to give their characters real flaws but it just results in the readers disliking the characters. With Our Year Of Maybe, despite all their mishaps and mistakes, I felt their pain as if it was my own. To be able to create characters who have clear flaws and yet still have readers rooting for them is something that requires an immense of talent, which is just one of the ways that her skill shows.

Give me a book with complex relationships and you’ve pretty much given me my new favorite book. I absolutely love books that have relationships that evolve, shift and grow throughout the story. There are so many different relationships in this book that were each amazing in their own special way that I don’t even know where to start. Of course the relationship at the forefront of the book was the one between Sophie and Peter which was so interesting. I love books about childhood friends and as much I try to deny it, I’m such a sucker for the trope of  “secret crush on said childhood friend”  The dynamic between Sophie and Peter was incredibly fascinating and I loved learning about their childhood friendship and then seeing how it developed throughout the book. I really like the turn their friendship took and felt it was very true to life.  Another relationship I really loved was the one between Sophie and her sister. It was really nice to see how their perspective of one another changed as the book progressed.  One relationship that I would’ve liked to see a little more expansion on was the one between Peter and his mom. It seemed that there could’ve been some development there but there was this tension that was introduced but never really resolved.

Another thing that I loved was how casually Peter’s bisexuality was talked about. It’s pretty rare to see bisexual male characters and I just loved seeing the relationship between Chase and Peter blossoming. It was really interesting to see how Peter’s feelings towards Chase contrasted with those he felt towards Sophie. I also really appreciate the fact that the book could’ve taken the cheating storyline route and it didn’t which was just really refreshing to see.

The final thing I want to talk about is the element of the story that made this book 100x more amazing than it already was. That element was the way that Peter’s Judaism and his feelings towards the religion was portrayed. Peter is half jewish but since his father is he jewish one, he would not be recognized as Jewish amongst traditional Jews.  This is exactly like my situation and to see Peter’s conflicted feelings about Judaism was so relatable. I swear all the thoughts about being Jewish were ones that I’ve had multiple times. I’ve never felt more seen and I just really appreciate the fact that Solomon portrayed two very different approaches to Jewish identity. I can always trust her to have some quality Jewish content and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Have You Read You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone? Are You Going To Read Our Year Of Maybe? Let Me Know In The Comments Down Below!

Reading Diverse Books in 2018

So for the past two years I’ve written posts about how diverse my reading was in the past year. As much as it’s great to say that I’m trying to consciously read more diverse books the proof is in the pudding.

So in 2016 22% of the books I read were diverse and in 2017 that number went up to 41%. I’m sad to say that it’s gone down again at 29%. I honestly don’t know what happened and I really want to try to do better in 2019. I think being conscious of the books I read is extremely important. So often when I have a lot of free time on my hand, I’ll read basically whatever I can get my hand on which usually means that I’m reading books about straight, white, neurotypical characters. That’s not to say that those books are bad because I’ve read some true jewels but I just want to be a lot more aware of my reading habits.  Books that feature people of color, LGBTQ people and neurodivergent people are so often my favorite types of books and I know that if I made just a little bit more of an effort I’d be a lot more content with the type of books I read.

So I thought I’d give you my top five favorite diverse books that I’ve read this year because I’ve read so many amazing books this year so the more I get to scream about them the better.

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  1. The Spy With The Red Balloon by Katherine Locke Review

I swear Locke writes the historical fiction of my dreams.   You got queer jewish kids punching nazis combined with this amazing speculative fiction to create this spellbounding book that you never want to put down.  I need a million more books like this because no matter how many books Locke writes I’ll never be satisfied.

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2. Far From The Tree by Robin Benway.

This summer I read both  Far From The Tree and Emmy& Oliver and fell head over heels with her writing. Far From The Tree is a a beautiful book about the family we make and the family we are bound to by blood and it’s just amazing. This book hit with me so many feelings, amazing characters and wonderful relationships and it’s just one of those books that I want to cherish forever.

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3. The Summer of Jodi Perez ( And The Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding. Review

This is the ultimate summer contemporary read but can also be read year round just so you can transport yourself to warmer days. The romance is amazing, the characters are the best. Top it off with mouthwatering descriptions of food and you got yourself a stellar read. I seriously need this to be to be a movie.Someone please make it the new summer romcom.

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4. Leah on The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli. Review

I feel like no blog post written by me is complete without mentioning my queen at least. I stan basically everything Albertalli creates and Leah on The Offbeat is no exception. The book was everything I wanted in a sequel and more. I laugh, I cried and I’m completely devastated that she’s done writing in the simonverse. It was a great way to end it though and I can’t wait to see what other amazing characters she comes up with..30340865

5.Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solommon

Solomon does it again with her beautifully flawed characters and exquisite prose. I love catching authors at their beginning of their careers because there’s so many more wonderful books in store with me. As long as she keeps writing beautiful books filled with great Jewish characters, I’m going to very very happy.

How Was Your Reading Year When It Comes To Reading Diversely? What Were Your Favorite Diverse Books? Let Me Know In The Comments Down Below!!

 

 

 

Dear Heartbreak: YA Authors and Teens on The Dark Side of Love Edited by Heather Demetrios Book Review

Goodreads Summary:

This is a book about the dark side of love: the way it kicks your ass, tears out your heart, and then forces you to eat it, bite by bloody bite. If you’ve felt this way, you’re not alone…

In this powerful collection, YA authors answer real letters from teens all over the world about the dark side of love: dating violence, break-ups, cheating, betrayals, and loneliness. This book contains a no-holds-barred, raw outpouring of the wisdom these authors have culled from mining their own hearts for the fiction they write. Their responses are autobiographical, unflinching, and filled with love and hope for the anonymous teen letter writers.

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:

Dear Heartbreak is one of those books that I would have devoured when I was 12 or 13. I remember owning this Chicken Soup For The Preteen Soul book  and being absolutely obsessed with it. I would reread over and over again and to this day some of those stories have stuck with me. To read some of my favorite authors give advice about heartbreak in a similar format to the chicken soup book was really eye-opening and made me look at some of them in a new light.

Even though I had a little trouble relating to some aspects of these letters, other aspects hit me really hard and helped me in reinforcing things that I keep on trying to tell myself.  I think this could really help some people and to hear it from their favorite authors would make it all the more powerful.

One thing that I think is really great about this book is how different and diverse the authors are. It’s not just the classic  white straight hearbreak which I think is so incredible because it’s oftentimes marginalized teens that need to be supported the most. I absolutely loved reading advice from Sandhya Menon, Nina Lacour, Becky Albertalli and so many more. My only qualms is that I wish there were more male authors involved in the project. I think it would’ve made the book a lot stronger because heartbreak in males is not looked at in the same way as heartbreak in females. Young teenage boys need to be taught that it’s okay to hurt and that that hurt doesn’t need to be channelled in a violent or angry manner.

All in all it was a quick, heartfult read that I can see being instrumental to many teen’s lives.  I think maybe it would be interesting to do a companion of sorts with inclusively marginalized voices.

If You Could Get Hearybreak Advice From Any Author Which One Would You CHose?

Down The TBR Hole: Week One

Down The TBR Hole is a weekly meme created by the lovely Lia which is done in an attempt to clean out our TBR pile. As a bookworm, that ever elusive Tbr pile haunts our nightmares and it can seem very daunting to cut down the books we want to read. I myself have close to 4000 books on my goodreads to-read list so I thought that doing this meme would be the perfect way to a least make my to be read shelf just a tiny bit slimmer.

So it works like this

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

1. Picture Perfect By Jodi Picoult

I’m pretty this is one of the last books I haven’t read read by Picoult so I definitely am going to read it soon.

Verdict: Keep

2. Between The Lines by Jodi Picoult Samantha Van Leer

The plot isn’t super appealing to me but it’s by Jodi Picoult and I’ll read anything she writes so I definitely want to get to this eventually

Verdict: Keep

3. Leaving Home by Jodi Picoult

I lowkey had no clue what this was but apparently it’s like a collection of three short pieces and let’s be honest I’m probably never going to read it.

Verdict:Go

4. Love and Ruin by Paula McLain

Goodreads is weird because I just added this one today but it’s in my oldest to-read books?? Anyway I’m so excited to read this. It’s about Martha Gellhorn and I absolutely adored her other book about Hemmingway’s 1st wife?( or second I can’t remember. Hemingway was a hoe) so I’m going to be getting to this one soon

Verdict:Keep

5. 172 Hours On The Moon By Johan Harstad

I added this back when I had just discovered booktube. Ariel Bisett and Raeleen Lemay loved this book but I don’t think it’s something I’m ever going to seek out. Also space is terrifying so I think I’m going to pass on this one.

Verdict: Go

6.Winger By Andrew Smith

This is another book that booktube was obsessed with way back when and while it doesn’t seem like a bad book, I don’t know if it’s something that would appeal to me. I have a feeling that Andrew Smith just wouldn’t work for me.

Verdict:Go

7. The Program By Suzanne Young

This is one of those books that I know I would have loved four years ago but at this point in my life I really can’t see myself reading and enjoying it. It just seems really predictable and not that interesting.

Verdict:Go

8. Let The Sky Fall by Sharon Messenger

After reading the synopsis, I realize that I knew absolutely nothing about this book and tbh it doesn’t seem like my thing. Another one that past me would have enjoyed but not anymore.

Verdict:Go

9. The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

This is the second book in The Name of the Star series which I remember really enjoying. I don’t know exactly when I’ll get around to it since I don’t own them but it’s a series that I definitely want to continue one day.

Verdict: Keep

10. Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

I know this is only 100 pages long but I’m probably never going to read it. I mean it sounds interesting and like if I had to read it for school I would probably enjoy reading it but I’m probably never going to read it willingly

Verdict:Go

11. Tiger Lily By Jodi Meadows.

While I do enjoy retellings I’m just not a big fantasy fan and while a Tiger Lily story could be interesting I would much rather read about it from an Indigenous author.

Verdict: Go

12. Fight Club by Chuck Palahnuik

I have absolutely no interest in ever reading the book or watching the book and I can’t even really remember a time where we did so I’m not sure this is here but yeah just doesn’t seem that interesting. Also am I not breaking the first rule of Fight Club right now?

Verdict: Go

13. The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S King

A.S Kings books are either really beautiful or really weird and I think that this one might be the latter. Also plus it’s about pirates and I’m not a huge fan of pirates.

Verdict: Go

14. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy

I’ve tried to read this book but it was sooooo boring that I just gave up. Maybe I’m just not big on alien invasions but this book really didn’t do it for me

Verdict: Go

15.The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I know it’s super short and lots of people love it but it doesn’t seem that appealing to me. I’m probably have to read it eventually for school but I’d rather not read it willingly.

Verdict: Go

16. Requiem by Lauren Oliver

A straight love story about a world where love is illegal? Yeah no I think I’ll pass

Verdict:Go

17. The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonnasson

I’m tempted to keep it simply because of that gloriously long title but I think I’m going to have to pass on this one. This may sound weird but I really don’t like translated books for the most part

Verdict:Go

18. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

I still haven’t read a Melina Marchetta book and I desperately want to. I’m praying that I’ll find in a used bookstore one of these days.

Verdict:Keep

19. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizinni.

I watched the movie and I really enjoyed it and I really want to read this book one day. I think it’s a particularly interesting book about depression to read if you go into it knowing that the author killed himself.

Verdict:Keep

20.Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Another one that younger Hannah would have loved but I don’t think I’d particularly enjoy.

Verdict:Go

Stats

Keep:5

Go:15

So that was a lot easier than I thought. I guess it’s because I created my Goodreads account 5 years ago and my reading tastes have changed a lot since then. I bet it’s only going to get harder.

What Did You Think of My Decisions? Are There Anyone’s That I Discarded That You Love? Anyone Ones That I Kept That You Disliked? Let Me Know In The Comments Down Below!

Bridge Of Clay By Markus Zusak Book Review

Goodreads Summary: 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?

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Reading a new book by your favorite author is honestly one of the most nerve wracking experiences a reader can go through There’s obviously the intense excitement and anticipation that lead up to the release date but then there’s the apprehension that always manages to creep its way into your happy thoughts. What if I don’t like it? What if their other books aren’t even that good and I only thought they were good because I was young and hadn’t read many other books? All these feelings and many more accompanied me as I nervously anticipated the release of Bridge of Clay. I have a lot of favorite authors but Markus Zusak is definitely my number one. I first read The Book Thief when I was in grade seven, and that was really the book that made me realize the power that words have. Before that books were always about the story but The Book Thief made me realize how beautiful words could make even the mundane magical. I then read his other books and fell in love with every single one of them. And once I was done, I found out that he was working on a new book: Bridge of Clay. It said that the book was supposed to come out in 2011: this was in 2012 so I thought to myself ” Cool! The release date was postponed but it’s definitely going to come out soon. ” Flash forward six years, and I can finally say that I’ve read Bridge of Clay. I’ve never waited that long for a book and after thinking about it for a while, I really think that it was worth it.

The first thing that I think is important is that you can’t compare it to The Book Thief. That’s one of the things I love about Zusak: his books stand on their own and they’re all unique and different from one another. You can’t go into any of his books with preconceived notions which is a really hard thing to do as a reader. Obviously if you love an author for certain things that they do, you’re going to expect them to do those things. With Jodi Picoult I expect great multiple perspective novels that discuss complex moral issues.With Becky Albertalli I expect cute fluffy contemporaries. With Kate Morton I expect dramatic plot lines involving rich people. But with Markus Zusak, I have learnt to expect the unexpected. It definitely wasn’t as good as The Book Thief but that’s pretty hard to do so that doesn’t bother me. But nonetheless Bridge of Clay combined all the things I love about Zusak into a breathtaking 500 page novel. There were times where I asked myself: “why on earth did it take him 13 years to publish this after The Book Thief” but I guess I understand. The Book Thief was such a huge success and it’s really difficult to live up to that. I mean sure he could have profited off that success, and published a book every year knowing that people would buy or no matter how shitty it was but he didn’t. That’s one of the things I admire about him: he takes writing very seriously and I think it’s remarkable how he wanted to give his readers only the very best. He’s my role model and if I could even be a quarter of the author he is, I would be extremely happy with myself.

So getting into the actual novel. Bridge of Clay is one of those books that you read the summary and you can’t quite grasp how it’s going to play out. I love books like that. I never thought that I’d fall in love with a book about a boy building a bridge but Markus Zusak just knows how to make even the most random of plots somehow work. I absolutely adored the way it was told. The book jumps around in time in a way that could’ve been super confusing but instead kept me on the edge of my seat. Everything is slowly revealed and though that’s something that doesn’t always worked, it was done really well. None of the stories were boring and they blended together in such a beautiful way. I was constantly expecting the worst and Zusak definitely delivered on that front. He sure knows how to rip your heart apart.

My favorite thing as with all of his books were the characters. They were all so precious and beautiful and I love the way they’re portrayed. Zusak is really great at creating multi-faceted characters with complex emotions. I didn’t exactly like all of the characters, but I loved each and every one of them as though they were my own. Clay is obviously at the centre of the book and while he is absolutely precious and beautiful, I can’t pick a favourite character because each and every one of them is beautiful in their own way. I’m very mad at Markus Zusak for the things he puts his characters through. I am not someone who cries because of books but he had me in tears multiple times. A book that makes me cry is usually a fantastic book.

A good Zusak book isn’t truly complete without a gorgeous writing style. His images are so precise and odd but it somehow works? I’ll read a sentence like “the pictures just out of the toaster” and if anybody else had written that I would’ve been like what the fuck but instead I instantly know what he’s talking about. His images aren’t confusing and though they’re simple they’re absolutely beautiful. He has such a wonderful grasp on language and the way he explains really simple things is truly something else. I love reading his books because it gives me a chance to see the world through his eyes for a couple of hours and there’s really nothing else like it.

What About You? Have You Read Bridge of Clay? Are You Going To? Let Me Know in The Comments Down Below.

Are Holocaust Books Still Important?: Discussion Post

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As I finished yet another holocaust novel, I couldn’t help but wonder if we have reached a point where everything that has been written about the holocaust has already been written. Did I mention the book I had just read?  Yes: The Tatooist of Aushwitz was a touching story that had me captured until the very end but I couldn’t help but feel that everything written in this book I’ve heard before. Maybe I’ve become desensitized to the subject. After all I’ve been reading books like these since I was in the third grade. These stories are my people’s history  and it’s important not to forget the atrocities that were committed. I have read countless of books that feature Jewish people during the Holocaust but I struggle to come up with titles that feature Jewish characters that don’t live during The Holocaust.  yes we sufferred and that’s a huge part of our culture but there’s so much that so few people know about.  Jews are so much more than victims of the Holocaust. We have a rich culture filled with beautiful traditions and I just wish that literature would portray that more. I want to see the secular  Jews! And the religious ones!  And everyone in between!

So should authors stop writing Holocaust Fiction? Honestly I don’t know. I think they’re super important in reminding the Goyem about the atrocities that were inflicted on the Jews.  I personally really like them even if I do oftetimes feel like they’re formulaic and blend together. It especially rubs me the wrong way when non-jews write about it. I know that they probably don’t intend it that way but it sometimes reads to me as profitting off of the suffering of Jewish people.  I think that there’s some really interesting things that could still be done with jews during the Second World War. This is really evident with Katherine Locke’s  The Spy With The Red Balloon. This beauty of a book features two Queer Jewish siblings who kick nazi ass and are just so amazing and it’s set during  WW2 and it’s just so great. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for #ownvoices World War 2 fiction.

Another thing that angers me about Holocaust fiction and World War 2 fiction in general is the trope  of people falling in love with “good” Nazis. There’s no such as a good nazi, they’re all trash  and for anybody to make them anything less than that is disgusting.  Why do people feel the need to find the good in someone who is not good at all.

So really I think that it depends on who writes it but all in all I’m not tired of Holocaust Fiction per say but more the fact that it’s the only rep that Jews get.  Give me fantasy with jews in them. Some historical fiction that isn’t set during ww2 that finish jewish characters. Then maybe I won’t mind so much.

What Do You Think? Are You Tired of Holocaust Fiction? What’s Your Favorite Non-Holocaust Book That Features Jewish people?