Bonus Content, Book Tags

Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag: 2021 Edition

Welcome back to the blog, bookish friends! I can’t believe it is already the middle of July. It kind of feels like this year just started, but we are already over halfway to 2022. I did the Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag last year, and I had such an awesome time reflecting on my progress that I decided to do it again this year! Without further ado, let’s dive right into all this fun:

1) Best book you’ve read so far in 2021

Amazon.com: Hill Women: Finding Family and a Way Forward in the Appalachian  Mountains (9781984818935): Chambers, Cassie: Books

2) Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021

Amazon.com: Namesake: A Novel (Fable, 2) (9781250254399): Young, Adrienne:  Books

3) New release you haven’t read yet but want to

Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

4) Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

The Nobleman's Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks (Montague Siblings, #3)
Fun Fact: This was the answer to last year’s most anticipated release question, but the publication date keeps getting pushed back. 2021 is the YEAR, baby! 🙂

5) Biggest disappointment

Amazon.com: The Chaos of Standing Still (9781481499194): Brody, Jessica:  Books

6) Biggest surprise

Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton

7) Favorite new author (debut or new to you)

Amazon.com: Romanov (9780785217244): Brandes, Nadine: Books

8) Newest fictional crush

Much Ado About You - Kindle edition by Young, Samantha. Literature &  Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
We all need to find ourselves a freaking adorable farmer BF like Roane, am I right?

9) Newest favorite character

A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses, 5): Maas, Sarah J.:  9781681196282: Amazon.com: Books
Gwyn and Amelia give me LIFE so they are both my newest favorite characters!

10) A book that made you cry

Amazon.com: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (9780812984965):  Stevenson, Bryan: Books

11) A book that made you happy

Amazon.com: Get a Life, Chloe Brown: A Novel (The Brown Sisters Book 1)  eBook: Hibbert, Talia: Kindle Store

12) The most beautiful book you’ve bought or received so far this year

The Crown of Gilded Bones (Blood And Ash Series): Armentrout, Jennifer L.:  9781952457258: Amazon.com: Books

13) A book/books you need to read by the end of the year

BONUS: I am exactly halfway to my reading goal for the year – YAYY!

Thank you all so much for tuning in for this super fun book tag! As the saying goes, there are so many books and so little time, but I’m super happy with the progress I have made this year in terms of number (and quality!) of books read. If you haven’t done this tag, I am officially tagging YOU!

Until next time 🙂

Sarah

A Few Updates, Bonus Content

I Haven’t Posted Since April… Here’s What I’ve Been Doing!

Hello, bookish friends! Long time, no see! I know that I’ve dedicated this blog to all things books, but since I haven’t posted in so long, I wanted to update you all on what I’ve been getting into. I’m also writing this piece just kind of for myself as a way to reflect on all that I have managed to accomplish over the past few months. Sometimes, we all get the feeling that maybe we aren’t doing as much as we could be until we really think back on what we actually have done, so in a way, this little post is going to serve as some good ol’ fashioned therapy. Here goes nothin’!

1) Survived My Final Semester of College

I honestly thought everyone was joking about Senioritis being a thing, but let me tell you: It is the real deal, and my final semester of college, I felt it hardcore. In addition to continuing to adjust to pandemic life, I was trying to stay on top of my studies, work three jobs, and start prepping for post-graduation life. There were days during this time when I honestly couldn’t wait for college to end enough, and I took the biggest sigh of relief when final grades were entered and I was officially home free.

2) Graduated – YAYY!

It wasn’t until I finally walked across that stage on May 29th of this year that I felt this great sense of pride wash over me. Four years, three jobs, a truckload of memories, and so much more is what came out of my time at Roanoke, and to see that chapter close was both a huge relief and a little sad. I am so proud to be an alum of Roanoke College, and though it was a crazy busy four years I couldn’t be happier with the outcome of all that hard work.

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3) Participated in New York University’s Summer Publishing Institute

For the month of June, I had the opportunity to attend the Summer Publishing Institute (virutally!) through New York University. This intensive was three weeks long, and during that time, we got to hear from tons of amazing publishing professionals about a variety of topics surrounding magazine publishing, digital media, and book publishing. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget, and I learned so much about the industry. I will be posting a recap of my experience in the very near future, so please do stay tuned for that in the coming weeks!

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4) Started Reading for Fun Again

During my final year of college, I was so swamped with schoolwork that I really didn’t have much time to sit down and read books for fun, much less create content for my bookstagram and blog. But, as soon as I turned in my final projects in May, I’ve been reading as much as I can for enjoyment. I don’t think I realized that I had kind of fallen out of love with reading until I got to pick up a book from my very own bookshelves, sit back, and just soak it in without an assignment being attached to it. Needless to say that while I’ve made a small dent in my TBR, it keeps on growing as more amazing books are released this year

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5) Jumped Back Into Blog Post Writing (A Tiny Bit!)

Last but not least, my creative juices are finally flowing back again and I have begun creating new blog content – YAYY! It has been a slow process, but I hope to get back on my normal, twice a week posting schedule shortly. I have already read so many amazing books that I can’t wait to review for all of you, plus began creating some super fun bonus content posts!

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Thank you all so much for giving this post a read! I’m so excited to be getting closer to posting on a regular schedule again, and I can’t wait for you all to see what is in store.

<3,

Sarah

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Bonus Content, Favorites Lists

Most Memorable Opening Lines of All Time

Hello, bookish friends, and welcome back to the blog! Over the years, I’ve read a lot of books, but one thing that always remains memorable to me are intriguing opening lines. Sometimes they’re funny, super serious, or in one way or another end up snagging my attention. For today’s post, I thought I’d share eight of my favorite opening lines with you. It was so hard to narrow this list down because there are so many great ones, but I hope you enjoy those I’ve found pretty darn memorable. Let’s get into it then, shall we?

“Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.”

“There is blood under my fingernails.”

“I’ve been locked up for 264 days.”

“There was a demon in McDonald’s.”

“Spontaneity is overrated.”

“I’ve been looking for Sawyer for half a lifetime when I found him standing in front of the Slurpee machine at the 7-Eleven on Federal Highway, gazing through the window at the frozen, neon-bright churning like he’s expecting the mysteries of the universe to be revealed to him from inside.”

“I’ve read many more books than you.”

“I have just taken an overly large bite of iced bun when Callum slices his finger off.”

There you have it, folks – eight fabulous opening lines that, I’m just now realizing, happen to come from books I thoroughly enjoyed reading! Did one of your favorites not make the list? Drop it in the comments below! There are seriously SO MANY hooks that are sure to pull all of us avid readers in from the start.

Until next time! May the rest of your week be filled with all the books 😊

-Sarah

Bonus Content, Favorites Lists

My Favorite “In General” YA Tropes

Howdy, bookish friends, and welcome back to the blog! If you’ve been following for a while now, you know that my love for YA books knows no bounds. Part of why I love this category of literature is because there are certain trends that pop up again and again in these works – no matter how different the pieces may be – that keep me coming back for more. Today, I’m going to share some of the tropes I come across all the time that I can’t help but love!

1) Kick-Butt Female Lead

This trope comes up SO MUCH in YA that I really did think I was going to get tired of it… but I really haven’t! I always think it’s so awesome when writers make their female leads just a tough if not stronger than their male leads. I also appreciate when these strong females aren’t just physically strong, but also have some evident mental toughness to them as well, which in many novels they need just to survive the circumstances they’re put in.

2) Epic Battle Montages

Let’s face it: the vast majority of us can hardly walk on a flat surface without tripping, much less wield a sword like a complete BOSS. There’s something so exhilarating about reading novels that have characters throwing down when they need to, and watching those moments play out over the course of even just a few chapters is always such a blast for me (even when I am also equally as terrified that my fav characters are going to be killed off in said battle scenes).

3) The Dark and Mysterious Male Lead

Haters gonna hate, but this has to be one of my favorite tropes of all time. While any character with a mysterious past intrigues me, those male leads that are super quiet, dark, and maybe even a little creepy are always quick to draw me in. I love watching their stories unravel as the novel goes on, and even though I’m no detective, I always have so much fun guessing what the heck happened to these guys that made them so heartless (well, APPEAR to be so heartless, anyway!). This trope has been around for as long as I can remember, and I can’t even fathom a world in which it no longer exists!

4) Witty Characters that Keep You Laughing… Even When the Story Gets Dark

These days, I have a hard time reading books that get super dark and intense because HELLO PEOPLE, 2020 was a mess of very upsetting for so many. Something I’ve seen a lot recently in YA are characters making jokes or continuing their sarcastic conversations in the most intense of moments, and I am all here for it! This also includes dark humor that I know I shouldn’t laugh at but simply can’t refrain from (like jokes about dying on a battlefield when they’re literally about to fight in a battle… yikesss but I can’t help myself!).

5) The Revenge Seekers

I find protagonists who aren’t afraid to obtain revenge for themselves and those they love to be quite admirable. Watching this journey unfold on the page always makes me feel like Nancy Drew – I get to try and uncover clues right alongside the protagonist who is on the hunt for the person or people that did them wrong. Books with this trope are often fast-paced, and I love a plot that moves along quickly and keeps me on my toes from beginning to end!

6) Supporting Characters Equally as Likeable (Maybe Even More So!) Than the Leads

While some supporting characters are kind of just floating around, doing whatever the protagonist tells them to do, I am a HUGE fan of authors who invest time and effort into their supporting characters. Just like with the protagonist(s), I love when I feel like I am getting to know the personalities of their sidekicks. Lucky for us, many more writers are starting to do amp up their games when it comes to this trope, and I am here for it!

7) Destroying the Corrupt Hierarchy

In many dystopian and fantasy novels, there are often various power structures/groups that have preexisting tensions with one another. Through I went through a period of time when I got so sick and tired of this trope (the Divergent and Hunger Games years brought me to my wit’s end), the way this trope has been laid out in novels published within the past couple of years has made me love it again. Nobody likes to see the bad, powerful dudes and dudettes at the top of the food chain win, am I right?

8) Characters with Super Dope Powers

Fun fact about me: I literally cannot stand watching those Marvel superhero movies. I know – I probably just crushed some hearts with that little tidbit of info! However, I think part of this stems from the fact that the powers they have are never as cool as those so many literary fictional characters have. Some of my favorite novels of all time have characters that on the surface appear human, but actually have super wicked powers that I think could really come in handy. Like how cool would it be to be able to heal someone’s injury with the touch of your hand? Ughh… so jealous of my literary pals that can do just that!

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I think that’s a wrap, you guys! I hope this list of tropes brings fond memories of some of your favorite books to the forefront of your mind. Did I miss a trope you love, or maybe you dislike some I had on my list? Leave me a comment below and let’s chat!

May the rest of this week’s reading be filled with some of your favorite tropes! 🙂

Bonus Content, Book Tags

The Folklore Book Tag!

Hello, bookish friends! I hope you have all had a fabulous week thus far. I’m a tad bit late to the game on this tag, but once I saw Erin’s @ Rin’s Reads’ version, my old-school Swiftie heart couldn’t resist the temptation of doing it myself! I mean, come on. Can anyone think of a better combination than TSwift and books? Yeah… I thought not 😉 I know you all must be anxiously awaiting to check out what I have goin’ on in this tag, so without further ado, let’s get this thing rollin’!

The Rules:

  • Tag the original creator: Ilsa @ A Whisper of Ink
  • Tag at least three people: If you haven’t done this tag yet and are as obsessed with this album as I am, I am officially tagging YOU!
  • Declare the rules and list of prompts in your post
  • Thank whoever tagged you and link to their post: thanks so much for the inspiration, Erin!

This award has to go to A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire by Jennifer L. Armentrout. No spoilers here, folks, but that ending was WILDDDD. Thank goodness April is only a few months away so I can get my hands on the next book in the series!

One of my more recent reads totally fits the bill: Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton. Our protagonist, Adam, suffers from schizophrenia, and while his narration is absolutely hilarious due to his matter-of-fact attitude, the moments where his fears of remaining in control of his hallucinations shined through were really sad (but eye-opening) to witness. The rollercoaster of emotions the audience goes on as they read the novel is one of the many ways in which this tale stands out from the crowd!

I could pick any number of books for this one because there are just so many out there, but I’d have to hand this one to Romanov by Nadine Brandes. I found the mysterious history of the real Romanov family so interesting to read about along with the magical elements Brandes included to provide explanations for why Alexei and Nastya’s bodies were found in a separate location than those of the other members of the family. The story was put together in such a clever way and Brandes’ writing was so beautiful to read that I can’t help but rave about Romanov every chance I get!

Hands down The Cellar by Natasha Preston. There was nothing inherently wrong with the book, but I read it when I was around 14 or 15 years old and now, at 21, I still have flashbacks of how creepy it was every time I see the cover. Needless to say, I rehomed the copy I bought a long time ago as to avoid any further stress to my psyche!

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas totally takes the cake for this one. I don’t typically cry for very long even if something that happens is super sad, but since I’ve followed the Throne of Glass series for so long and this book was the finale, it just hit me different. There were SO MANY moments in this almost 1,000-page beauty I got misty-eyed at, and for that reason, it’s gotta be the winner.

The overall message of Jenn Bennett’s Starry Eyes was without a doubt meant for people like me, who plan their lives away and leave little to chance. I could totally understand Zorie’s struggles with this and saw a lot of myself in her — both the good and the not-so-good. While both of us are sure to still plan some things out, I think both of our adventures have taught us that going with the flow won’t kill us and sometimes, the plans we don’t make turn out way better than those we could have possibly laid out for ourselves!

I recently made a whole post just on some of my favorite childhood reads, but the one that stands out the most to me is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I just love the “give and give freely” message it sends to readers of all ages, and I think it’s a lesson that’s so important for all of us to remember as we go through life!

I am 100% addicted to summery contemporary reads, so this is a super hard one for me to answer. The first book that came to mind was The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen, so we’ll go with that one! I loved the summery lake setting and the hilariously relatable characters that, as high schoolers, just wanted to live it up (even to their own detriment sometimes!). Whenever I pick up a summery contemporary, I expect it to bring a smile to my face, and The Rest of the Story kept me smiling from ear to ear throughout the entire novel!

Watching Camryn’s journey to work through her grief and find herself again in J. A. Redmerski’s The Edge of Never was one I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget. Being in your early to mid twenties sure does make life feel like a super tricky maze, but sometimes trying to navigate through it is part of the fun, even if you find it in the unlikeliest of places. Ughh… just writing about this book makes me want to do ANOTHER re-read!

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo — ’nuff said. I honestly don’t think I’ve been able to work through this one yet, and I read this book going on three years ago now! I’ve heard that there are plans in the works to have one more in the series that takes place quite a few years down the road from the other two, and I really hope this is the case because I MUST know what the Ketterdam gang is up (and if a certain two characters did end up sparking up a little romance after all!).

As I was thinking up an answer to this question, I realized how many amazing female characters there are in YA and it made my heart so happy! One of my favorites is Katherine from Virginia Boecker’s An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason. She is just such a dynamic character — on one hand, she’s content enjoying her role in Shakespeare’s upcoming play, but on the other, she’s secretly having to come up with a plan to murder the queen. Seeing both sides to Katherine’s character and watching her true, witty and hilarious personality shine through from time to time was just a blast to watch play out. I so wish there was a sequel!

I hardly ever read books that I would consider “haunting,” but I do remember reading Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick many years ago and Britt’s story has remained ingrained in my brain ever since. Getting stuck in a snowstorm, being taken hostage, attempting to escape alive… yeah, I’d say that qualifies as haunting, just in a non-ghostly way!

Mackenzi Lee’s The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy totally fits the bill for this one! Well, the entire Montague Siblings series does, basically, but that’s because these books are so much fun to read! I absolutely adore Lee’s writing style, the quirkiness of the characters, and how any time I open one of these books, I’m completely captivated and feel an overwhelming sense of adventure. Since the release date for the final book keeps getting pushed back, I am yearning hardcore right now for more of these fantastic characters!

I’ve always said that animals are so much better than humans, and I guess this holds true for fictional animals as well because I would totally lay my life down for Bambi the snake from Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Dark Elements series. Not only is she totally dope, but it’s clear that he people love her very much and after a certain EVENT happened in one of the books, I can’t deal with Bambi not getting the chance to live a long, happy life.

I’m so sad to even be typing this, but The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert. It’s one of only a handful of books I wasn’t able to finish, and I was so upset because the synopsis was right up my alley. I may try to give it another shot in the future, but that possibility looks grim as of the moment.

That’s it for the Folklore Book Tag! I absolutely love putting together these types of tags because 1) I love music and 2) they make me think super hard about all the books I’ve read so I pick the best ones I can for each question! Agree/disagree with some of my picks, or maybe you’ve done this tag yourself? Leave me a comment below and let’s chat! Drop me links to your versions, as well – I always loving seeing your answers! Until next week, bookish buddies!

May your weekend be full of fun reading with TSwizzle providing a relaxing ambiance in the background 🙂

Bonus Content, More Bookish Fun!

#LittleFreeTips: Bookish Photography

Hello, bookish friends, and welcome back to the blog! This week’s post is actually something I’ve never done before: We’ve got a guest blogger in the house, woot woot! My very dear and wildly talented bookish friend, Nicole (aka @little_free_librarian over on Insta) is here to share some of her amazeballs bookstagram photography tips with you today! Let’s commence with passing over the honorary torch to her, shall we?

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Bookstagram…. Ya’know, Instagram but for books? Crazy right! But there’s this whole entire community out there loving, hating, reviewing, and photographing books on Instagram. 

The other day in a class, we had one of those ever lovely and oh-so-popular ice breakers that we bookish folk love so much, and that ice-breaker was to describe something that you know a lot about. People were sharing about cooking the perfect baked alaska or bungee jumping and explaining the inner mechanics of the ‘chute deploying… I’m a librarian, I read for my fun and for work. I know very little beyond books. What was I supposed to talk about? 

But then, of course, that answer is books. The answer is always books. I’m not a professional photographer by any means (though I did photograph that one wedding one time… ), and I’m only so-so popular in the booksta community, but I do love a good flat-lay. So that’s what I shared, and people were enthralled! “What’s bookstagram?” “That’s a thing!?” “Are there accounts for Manga?” and the answer is yes and yes and yes.

A flat-lay is a photographer and marketing term which means to take a photo from directly over top of an item, giving the viewer a birds-eye view. The Nikon School says that flat-lay photography has never been more popular than it is right now. And for good reason… Just look at this flat-lay magic!

My favorite props are twinkle lights, cute junk, and everyday items. I burn that candle, I use that candle, and the rest? Mostly stuff you can find at your local craft store, the dollar section at Target, or the dollar store! And my background is usually just a plain white canvas I bought at Walmart! Some people use blankets, some people use other books – a background can be anything that sparks joy for you! I’m currently just a fan of the clean lines of a canvas. 

Are you trying to get a good flat-lay shot of your e-reader? Here’s a fun tip… photoshop that cover on! It’s way easier than dealing with your reflection in the screen. Here’s a before and after of an image I superimposed the cover onto using Canva (Canva is my best friend)

Don’t be afraid of layers and textures! I use blankets and sweaters to add a good texture to my photos. I like the fuzzy, cozy feel that it adds to the photo. 

Your props, whether candles, blankets, or what have you, will help you curate your feed (if that’s something that you’re into). I try to keep at least one prop consistent in my top 9 photos – unless I veer away from my flat-lay, which even I do sometimes – to keep the feed consistent and welcoming. Your top 9 photos are your first impression for new viewers or would-be-followers, so cater to that first impression – you only get to make it once! But don’t stifle your own creativity, either. I am constantly changing my own editing and themes! This is a creative outlet. Have fun. Enjoy it. Don’t make it feel like work. 

Did you try your hand and find… “Hey. None of my pictures look anything like hers!” Well, welcome to bookstagram where we value creativity and the exchange of ideas. No two people’s flat-lays will look identical.

The photos on booksta are always stellar… Plus of course we love the book reviews. My TBR list has grown exponentially since I’ve joined this community… But that’s exactly what this is first and foremost. This is a community, and I’ve met some very good and fun people through this app. Here are two of my booksta bffs who are wildly talented beautiful people who have vastly different styles to me and to each other! 

Meet my friends @inkedhemlock (MJ) and @kaylas.pages.and.places (Kayla)

MJ is like me in the sense that she loves her props! You can see them scattered around the photo, but the difference is in her staging and editing. MJ’s photos are much moodier and more “dark-academia-vibey” than my own and check out that gorgeous depth she creates by placing her books spine-up. A flat-lay doesn’t have to appear flat. We love depth! You can create this by putting your books on a platform to make them higher than the rest of your photos or showing them spine up like MJ does. Or if you have floral, try holding it in front of the lens (hand off camera) and click to focus on the image below. It will create a nice floral blur and provide depth to your photo. 

Kayla’s own flat-lay is one of my favorite techniques. You’ll see a lot of bookstagrammers including their legs to create a special detail shot! I have not perfected this technique, but Kayla’s is so chic and crisp. I love the use of the white linen as the backdrop and the contrast with the dark coffee. Where MJ is moody and I am dreamy, Kayla is modern and utilizes vibrant colors to her advantage. You can even see the pull of oranges through the photo with her sweater and the cover of the book. 

Ultimately, the best flat-lay is the one you enjoyed making! Bookstagram is fun and flat-lays are just one of many book photography techniques. Explore, find what you like, and have fun. I hope to see you around the ‘gram soon. 

You can always reach me at @little_free_librarian. Let’s be friends!

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Thank you so much for sharing some of your super fun bookish photography tips with us today, Nicole! I for one am going to be trying some of these out myself on my own bookstragram feed, and so should all of you!

Until next week, bookish peeps! May your weekend be filled with trying out all these super fun bookstagram photography tips. I know mine will be 🙂

Bonus Content, Listologies Galore!

For Shame: Books on My Shelves I Haven’t Read Yet

Hello, bookish friends, and welcome back to the very first edition of “let’s shame the book blogger!” Ha, just kidding, but maybe not? For this week’s post, I thought I’d take a gander at all of my bookshelves and make a list of all the books I own but haven’t yet read. Then, at the end of 2021, I would see how much progress I’ve made on getting these books read. I love seeing these kinds of posts on other blogs and thought I’d jump on the bandwagon myself this year! Let’s get started, shall we?

  • The Queen’s Resistance by Rebecca Ross
  • The Heir by Kiera Cass
  • Everless by Sara Holland
  • Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian
  • Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine
  • Rook by Sharon Cameron
  • Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz
  • An Affair of Poisons by Addie Thorley
  • Lovely War by Julie Berry
  • The Queen’s Handmaid by Tracy L. Higley
  • Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
  • Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally
  • Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally
  • Meant To Be Broken by Brandy Woods Snow
  • Illuminated by Erica Orloff
  • How Many Letters Are in Goodbye by Yvonne Cassidy
  • Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti
  • The Book of Summers by Emylia Hall
  • Menagerie by Rachel Vincent
  • Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
  • The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige
  • Reflection by Elizabeth Lim
  • Red’s Untold Story by Wendy Toliver
  • 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
  • Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
  • The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai
  • Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry
  • Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
  • Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi
  • The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
  • Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
  • One Small Thing by Erin Watt
  • Courting Darkness by Robin LeFevers
  • Tempest and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce
  • Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith
  • The Memory of Light by Francisco Z. Stork
  • Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan
  • The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid
  • Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
  • Les Misérables (shortened version!) by Hugo Reimann
  • Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire
  • The Rose Society by Marie Lu
  • Proxy by Alexander London
  • The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry
  • Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett
  • 99 Days by Katie Cotugno
  • The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
  • Open Road Sumer by Emery Lord
  • When We Collided by Emery Lord
  • Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare
  • Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare et al.
  • The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare et al.
  • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
  • A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir
  • The Darkest Legacy by Alexandra Bracken
  • Once and For All by Sarah Dessen
  • The Natural History of Us by Rachel Harris
  • The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
  • Till Death by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • See Me by Nicholas Sparks
  • Promise to Return by Elizabeth Byler Younts
  • Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan
  • The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
  • The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
  • The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
  • Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Christmas at Harmony Harbor by Debbie Mason
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
  • Hold Me Closer by David Levithan
  • Replica by Lauren Oliver
  • A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer
  • Fable by Adrienne Young
  • Much Ado About You by Samantha Young
  • It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne
  • These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
  • Lore by Alexandra Bracken
  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
  • New Moon by Stephanie Meyer

Holy moly, you guys! This list was honestly way more extensive than I thought it was going to be. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, considering I had such a slow year of reading last year (and kind of a big year for purchasing new books), but DANG. How many books are on your TBR for the year?

Well, looks like I ought to sign off of here and get to reading then! Happy Weekend, and may it be filled with putting a dent in your very own TBRs! 😊  

Bonus Content, Favorites Lists

Most Memorable Opening Lines of All Time

Hello, bookish friends, and welcome back to the blog! Over the years, I’ve read a lot of books, but one thing that always remains memorable to me are intriguing opening lines. Sometimes they’re funny, super serious, or in one way or another end up snagging my attention. For today’s post, I thought I’d share eight of my favorite opening lines with you. It was so hard to narrow this list down because there are so many great ones, but I hope you enjoy those I’ve found pretty darn memorable. Let’s get into it then, shall we?

“Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.”

“There is blood under my fingernails.”

“I’ve been locked up for 264 days.”

“There was a demon in McDonald’s.”

“Spontaneity is overrated.”

“I’ve been looking for Sawyer for half a lifetime when I found him standing in front of the Slurpee machine at the 7-Eleven on Federal Highway, gazing through the window at the frozen, neon-bright churning like he’s expecting the mysteries of the universe to be revealed to him from inside.”

“I’ve read many more books than you.”

“I have just taken an overly large bite of iced bun when Callum slices his finger off.”

….

There you have it, folks – eight fabulous opening lines that, I’m just now realizing, happen to come from books I thoroughly enjoyed reading! Did one of your favorites not make the list? Drop it in the comments below! There are seriously SO MANY hooks that are sure to pull all of us avid readers in from the start.

Until next time! May the rest of your week be filled with all the books 😊

Bonus Content, Book Tags

The Valentine’s Day Book Tag

Hello, bookish loves, and welcome back to the blog! Since Valentine’s Day is just two short days away, I thought we could celebrate this holiday of love by talking about my very first love: books! This is one of those posts that requires little introduction, so let’s just jump right into this, shall we?

1) Stand alone book you love

Romanov was one of my first reads of 2021, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it/recommending it to anyone who loves strong family dynamics and tales of history blended with a little magic.

2) Dystopian book you love

I honestly can’t remember the last time I read a true dystopian novel, but Legend is one of the few that feels like I just read it yesterday. It was published in 2011, but if you haven’t given Legend a read yet and are itching for a good dystopian read, I highly recommend giving this beaut a try!

3) A book that you love but no one else talks about

It absolutely flabbergasts me that people STILL aren’t talking about this book! It literally had everything I was expecting and more. I laughed out loud on numerous occasions, fell in love with the Shakespearian tie-ins, and was wishing for more of this tale by its end. Just read it so we can chat about it together, you guys!

4) Favorite book couple

This question always gives me legit anxiety to answer because there are SO MANY amazing book couples to choose from! In honor of this being a Valentine’s Day post, I think I’m digging Lara Jean and Peter from Jenny Han’s To All the Boys series. They’re just one of the sweetest fictional couples out there, plus I’ve been dying to give this series a re-read!

5) A book that other people love but you haven’t read yet

Some of you may be having a mini heart attack reading this, but Harry Potter has just never been a good fit for what I’ve always enjoyed reading. No other comments from me on this one other than I am v sorry to disappoint all of you Potterheads. I swear I am a real booknerdigan like the rest of you, but I just don’t think this book/series will end up on my TBR anytime soon.

6) A book with red on the cover

In addition to this cover being the most beautiful shade of red, I am obsessed with this series and can’t believe this is the final book in this world!

7) A book with pink on the cover

This beautiful pink book has been on my TBR for so long, and I really hope 2021 is the year I finally dive into this read!

8) You were given a box of chocolates. What fictional boyfriend would have given them to you?

Daniel from Jenn Bennett’s Serious Moonlight would 100 percent be the guy to go the traditional route (albeit so sweet and delicious!) for a Valentine’s Day gift. And as much as he loves pie, there’s no doubt he has as much of a sweet tooth as I do!

9) You are single on Valentine’s Day. What book would you read? What TV show would you watch? What movie would you watch?

Ha, this is funny because I’ve been single most of the Valentine’s Days I’ve been alive and never thought about any of these questions until right now. I’d probably re-read one of my favorite Jennifer L. Armentrout books, watch some kind of Valentine’s Day-themed Food Network show on TV, and any Hallmark movie because those are always so adorable and romantic.

10) You are in the bookstore. All of the sudden you get shot with an arrow by Cupid. What new release will you love?

Though I haven’t read it yet (just a few days away from its release date, hallelujah!), A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas takes the cake, for sure! I’m wrapping up my re-read of the ACOTAR series as we speak and I cannot contain my excitement without the help of Cupid’s arrow. I think I would be losing my mind if I had actually been shot with one because this read is one of my most anticipated forthe year!

That’s a wrap on the Valentine’s Day Book Tag! Thank you all so much for reading, and I hope you get to spend this beautiful holiday with those you love! What are some books that put you in the Valentine’s Day spirit? Drop me your recommendations below and let’s chat about them!

Until next week, bookish friends! May your weekend be filled with sweet reads and lots of love! ❤

Bonus Content, More Bookish Fun!

Tour My Bookshelves: Part One!

Hello, bookish friends, and welcome back to the blog! I don’t know about you guys, but I can never resist those bookshelf tour videos what pop up incessantly on my YouTube suggested watch lists. If you’re like me and can’t help but admire all the beautiful bookshelves that are out in the universe, then this post is for you! Instead of a video, I’ve decided to give you a play-by-play of each of my bookshelves and tell you a little bit about my personal organization method. I’m especially excited about this post because I just finished reorganizing all of my bookshelves for the first time in YEARS. This is going to be a three part series, so stay tuned for Parts Two and Three those in the near future! Shall we get Part One of this thing rollin’ or what?

The Quirky Contemporaries

The Montague Siblings series is hiding behind Carry On!

Of all my bookshelves, this one has to be one of my favorites because it holds contemporary reads that I have deemed simply unforgettable. Whether it be the impeccable writing, out-of-the-box overall concept, or hilariously eccentric characters I couldn’t help but relate to, all of these books have managed to steal my heart!

The Cassandra Clare Shelf

The Bane Chronicles, The Red Scrolls of Magic, Chain of Gold, and an illustrative Mortal Instruments book are behind the 10th Anniversary edition of City of Bones!

Given the fact that Cassandra Clare has about a million books in her Shadowhunter Chronicles, I had no choice but to dedicate an entire shelf (and then some!) to these beauties. I read the Mortal Instruments series many years ago, and I love seeing how the OGs have changed and meeting new characters as more books are released.

The Sarah J. Maas + Honorable Mentions Shelf

All merch in this picture was purchased from the Bookish Shop in their Throne of Glass and ACOTAR limited edition boxes.

Like so many of you, I am completely obsessed with anything Sarah J. Maas writes and I don’t see that changing anytime soon! In addition to her writing, Bloomsbury has done a fantastic job of making her covers absolutely STUNNING and it just seemed completely sacrilegious to hide them behind all the Maastastic merch I’ve collected over the years. I also included a few books by Holly Black and Brigid Kemmerer on this shelf because I found myself enjoying them almost as much as I did Sarah J. Maas’ books (some elements, I may have even liked more, as crazy at it is to believe!).   

Homage to the QUEEN (aka the Jennifer L. Armentrout Shelf)

The merch pictured was either purchased from the Bookish Shop, Hello Lovely, or I picked it up at Jennifer’s yearly ApollyCon event. Lots of hidden books on this shelf: the Harbinger series, part of the Dark Elements series, the Titan series, the Wicked trilogy, and the Wicked novellas.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time laying out this shelf because the QUEEN doesn’t deserve any less than perfection! I have been a JLA fan since I was 14 years old and I don’t see myself ever NOT being one. Each book I read by Jennifer is quick to draw me in and her plot twists/cliffhangers are like none other. Though this isn’t my entire JLA collection, this shelf contains all of my favorites by her (other than the Covenant series, which is on my Nook!).

The Fantasy Faves Shelf

I am totally blanking on where I purchased the Six of Crows prints from (I’m guessing I got them in either a Fairyloot box or a Bookish Box?), but the bookmark was from Barnes and Noble! The rest of the Darkest Minds series and Prosper Redding are hidden behind The Darkest Legacy.

This shelf contains a mix of some of my favorite fantasy reads. For the most part, these are those that I could read again and again and not tire of them!

The (Mostly!) Summery Contemporaries Shelf

Lots of hidden friends on this shelf, too: The Geography of Lost Things, Stay Sweet, The Boy Most Likely To, and My Life Next Door are behind The Chaos of Standing Still. The Unexpected Everything, Second Chance Summer, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, The Promise of Amazing, and The Natural History of Us are all behind Again, but Better.

This next shelf is for my go-to summer reads (or pick-me-ups I read in the winter when the cold starts getting to me!). As you can see from how packed this shelf is, I love a good contemporary romance that has a beachy/summertime setting and am always quick to add them to my ever-growing collection!

The Unforgettable Series Shelves

The Hunger Games series and the Beautiful Creatures series are peeking out from behind my Throne of Glass coloring book!

I decided to used these little cubes at the bottom of my bookshelf to store some of the series I’ve really enjoyed over the years. The one on the left contains the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series – two series so long that it totally warranted its own cube! I didn’t have quite enough room on my SJM shelf for the Throne of Glass coloring book, so I decided to savor its beauty from here instead!

Quick and Easy Romance Reads Shelves

As the title suggests, these shelfs hold the vast majority of my adult contemporary/romances, most of which were gifted to me in some form or another. I look forward to putting more of a dent in these at some point this year!

The Fantasy/Dystopian Series Shelf

This is the first of two shelves that are actually build into the headboard of my bed (a splurge when I bought it, but totally worth it for the extra storage!). You’ll find just a few fantasy/dystopian series on this shelf. I have read all of these but the Uglies series, which I hope to dive into once my brain stops momentarily rejecting the dystopian genre (ughh… the struggle is real, you guys!).  

The Leftovers Shelf

This shelf is a bit of a mixed bag, as I honestly just ran out of room on my other shelves and these were my odd balls I couldn’t quite figure out where to put. Some of these I just wasn’t a huge fan of, while others I remember thoroughly enjoying.

The Rando Book-Related Items Shelves

I used these two shelves to store some of my bookish merch. On the left is where I store all of my Book Beaus and bookish-themed pouches I’ve gotten in boxes and at events, as well as blankets and tapestries. On the right is where I store my Nook, any books I borrow from other people, and a binder full of the bonus stories I have received from preorders/author campaigns.

That’s a wrap on Part One of the Tour My Bookshelf series! I hope you all enjoyed checking out how I’ve decided to organize these first few shelves. How do you organize your bookshelves? I’ve always wanted to try to make a rainbow design, but I’m a little two OCD about series titles being together that I haven’t been brave enough to try it!

Until next week, bookish peeps! May the rest of your week be filled with beautiful bookish fun! 🙂