Bonus Content, Listologies Galore!

My Very First Book Haul of 2021!

Hello, bookish friends, and welcome back to the blog! We’re only a few weeks into the new year, and I have already managed to make a small dent in my bank account dedicated solely to book purchasing. While I wish I was ashamed of my decision-making, I can’t even pretend that I am because come on! Books are a fantastic financial investment! They provide endless entertainment, give your brain a good ol’ fashioned workout, and could be used to keep a fire going should you ever find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere (though the thought of a torn up and burned book literally breaks my heart to even think about!). Okay… maybe this is all a tiny bit of a stretch/me just trying to justify why I spend so much money at Barnes & Noble every year, but I am still so excited to be able to share my very first haul of the year with you all today! Let’s get crackin’, shall we?

I am a complete sucker for YA novels that twist around Shakespeare plays, so These Violent Delights was totally an insta-buy for me. I’m also really looking forward to learning more about 1920s Shanghai (hopefully!) as well, as I have never been there and don’t know too much about their history!

After reading the synopsis of this beauty, there was just something about it that felt too relatable and real to not read. I always love contemporary reads that I feel like I can connect to, and It Only Happens in the Movies might shape up to be one of those books for me!

Fable has taken so many bookstagram accounts and book blogs by storm, and with a cover like that, I couldn’t resist the hype! I’ve also been super into pirate-y adventure books lately, so I am buzzing to dive into this gorgeous read!

I will read almost anything Alexandra Bracken writes, so I was thrilled to be able to purchase her latest, mythology-inspired tale, Lore! This book also deserves some major cover love – it’s even prettier in person, if that’s even possible!

Ha… You all knew this was coming! Sarah J. Maas is one of my few auto-buy authors, and I literally squealed when I found out she was continuing the ACOTAR series with Cassian and Nesta’s stories! I don’t mean to wish my life away, but can it be February 16th already, please?

Well, my very first book haul of the year has come to an end. Have you read and enjoyed any of these reads yourself yet? Let me know in the comments, and also tell me about any books you’ve already purchased this year that you’re super excited to read!

Until next week, bookish buds! May you weekend be filled with fun, socially-distanced trips to your favorite bookstores to buy more bookish goodies! 😊

A Few Updates, Bonus Content

Bookish Goals for 2021

If you’re reading this, we have officially made it through the wackiness of 2020 – woohoo! Obviously last year was one for the books (yes, pun totally intended!), and I am hopeful that 2021 will be slightly less eventful and much more fun than 2020. I couldn’t think of a better way to ring in the new year than with a post all about some of the bookish goals I have for myself this year. My track record for “new year’s resolutions” has not been great – anytime I’ve made them and called them that, I’ve epically failed at achieving them, ughh. But, I do love having a list of things to strive for in life, so I thought it would be fun to carry that over into my bookish life, too! Without further ado, here are some of my book/reading-related goals for 2021:

Reading Goals

I always assign myself a certain amount of books I’d like to read in a year’s time. In 2020, that goal was 35 books (I cut myself a break and included fun books and those I had to read for school), which actually ended up being a lot to accomplish given by work and course loads. For 2021, I have yet again decided to push myself and set my goal at 42 books for the year. I only have three classes this last semester of college, and while they won’t be cake walks, I do think that not having four to five classes this go round will give me a little extra time to do some reading!

While I enjoy reading super long series, I would love for some of my 42 books to be standalone novels. Specifically, I am talking about standalones that are not contemporaries, as I think there is a lot to be said for authors who manage to do such magnificent worldbuilding and who can create developed and dynamic characters in only one book’s time. Don’t worry, though: I can assure you that I will definitely be hittin’ the contemporary sauce this year – still one of my favorite genres ever!!!

My last reading goal is to do some re-reading so that I can finish off series I started and loved, but just haven’t completed yet. This list isn’t super extensive, but there are a couple of series that I started years ago sitting on my shelves that would have started collecting dust if I didn’t dust my bookshelves frequently. Since it typically takes around a year for the next book in a series to be published, I just haven’t made the time to give the first couple of books in some series a re-read and complete the tales. Rest assured that I will be sharing a list of these “started but not finished” series with you very soon in another post, so stay tuned for that – some of my answers may flabbergast you!

Blog Goals

Given that I am still relatively new to blogging, I have found that I do have quite a few goals I’d like to start working towards in 2021 in this department. The first is that I want to find a balance of taking the time to create quality content and setting a realistic posting schedule for said content. Overall, my plan as of now is to post twice a week. One post will be a review of either a book or a book series (Mondays), and the other will be some type of bonus content post (Fridays). As far as creating content goes, I thought it would be pretty cool if I could devote 20-30 minutes each day to doing a little blog post writing. That way, content continues to be created, slow and steady, which allows me to have a little bank of things to post for you all on designated days!

I have a lot of plans circulating right now regarding introducing some new content that I haven’t had on the blog before. Some of these include giveaways, inviting some fellow bloggers to guest blog, creating some of my own original book tags, and so much more! I think these types of things will allow me to get to know more of you in the bookish community, and I could not be more excited about sharing these with you in the near future!

The final goal I have for the blog is something I have already (mostly!) completed if you are here, reading this post today. This goal was to revamp my blog’s design, some of the set-up, and overall, just make it a little more user friendly for everyone. I hope you all have been enjoying these new changes so far, and I look forward to continuing to work on the site as time goes on to make your experience here even more pleasurable!

Bookstagram Goals

My main goal for my bookstagram is to become more consistent with posting. I have set goals in the past, but for one reason or another, they have fallen apart. This year, I am going to try to create a posting schedule that I feel is realistic for me and what I feel I can feasibly do given all the other factors I have to contend with (everything always has to come back to “adulting,” doesn’t it? Blahh). A more detailed idea of this schedule will be shared with you when I figure it out myself lol!

I really like the content I have put out in the past, so I don’t think too much will change in that regard. However, I would like to create more interactive posts so I can communicate with more of you!

………….

Dang… I think I have some lofty goals, but you know what the great thing about goals is? You just have to try to meet them and use them as motivation to help you be more productive – you don’t have to necessarily complete them all! I can’t wait to see what I manage to accomplish this year! Do you have any life/bookish goals you’d like to share? Leave me a comment below and we can totally chat about them. I love seeing what everyone else is motivated to work on in this new year!

I am so excited to see what 2021 has to offer each and every one of you. Wishing you all a year full of love, laughter, prosperity, and of course all of the fantastic reads you can get your hands on!

–Sarah

A Few Updates, Bonus Content

I’m Coming Back, I Swear: Blogging Hiatus Update

Hi bookish friends! It’s been awhile, huh? Though I wish I could say that this is my “return” to the blog, I have some more things I need/want to take care of before I make my true comeback – a few of which I am thrilled to be sharing with you today!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my update on my personal/bookish life where I shared that between my three jobs, school, and just the craziness of life these days, I just haven’t had time to create content that I’m proud of. I’m all about quality over quantity, and I want you all to be able to see that in my posts each week, which I knew would not be the case if I kept my current blogging pace in the midst of what I literally had to get done each day.

Though I am not one who often experiences reading slumps, I found myself getting so bogged down with reading and homework for school that I just haven’t wanted to pick up a single “fun read” in MONTHS. Since I haven’t been reading as much as I’d like to lately (or at all, really), I’ve lost a lot of my inspiration for my posts. As you can probably surmise, the struggle to write quality reviews is REAL when you’ve basically shunned all reading that wasn’t required for school for a solid four months.

Now that you’ve read my little soap box that I am sure so many of you can relate to, let me get to the fun stuff: what’s to come in the next few months! The biggest news I have to share is that I am currently taking this long break from college to overhaul my website (new design, creating a fabulous new logo, and much more!) to make it both more user friendly and more warm and welcoming for you guys. I have also been brainstorming and writing brand new content that I am so looking forward to sharing in the new year. Not sure if any of you are into giveaways, but if you are, keep your eyes open 🙂

Lastly, I wanted to thank those of you who have been following this blog since day one and those that have recently discovered this “passion project” of mine. I absolutely adore being a part of this wonderfully bookish community, and I hope that you all will be willing to stick around for this next adventure.

May the rest of your year be filled with some fabulous reads that make the end of such a wild year merry and bright! See you soon, friends!

–Sarah

Bonus Content, Book Tags

The Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt Tag!

Happy Friday, bookish friends! After seeing this awesome idea over on Words About Words’ blog, I decided I’d give it a go myself using the books I have on my bookshelf… err, shelves because I’m kind of a book hoarder (sorry not sorry ’bout it, y’all). Let’s dive right in, shall we?

1) Find an author name or title with a Z in it

2) Find a classic

3) Find a book with a key on it

4) Find something on your bookshelf that is not a book

5) Find the oldest book on your shelf

6) Find a book with a woman on it

7) Find a book that has an animal on it

8) Find a book with a male protagonist

9) Find a book with only words on the cover

10) Find a book with illustrations in it

11) Find a book with gold lettering

12) Find a diary, true or fictional

13) Find a book written by an author with a common surname (like Smith)

14) Find a favorite childhood book

15) Find a book on your shelf that takes place in the earliest time period

16) Find a hardback book without a jacket

17) Find a teal/turquoise-colored book

18) Find a book with stars on it

19) Find a non-YA book

20) Find a book with a beautiful cover

I was shocked at how challenging it was to find some of these on my shelf, but somehow I managed to find a book that fit each category, thank goodness! Have you guys given this tag a try? If not, I nominate YOU to give it shot — it may be harder than you think, but so much fun! 😉

Until next week, bookish buddies! I hope your weekend is full of exciting reads 🙂

Bonus Content, Book Tags

The Liebster Award

Hello, fellow readers! Welcome back to another Bonus Content Friday! I’m so excited to share that this week’s post is a book tag I was nominated to do by a fellow blogger, Riddhi Bhargava over at Whispering Stories. Thank you so much for the nomination, Riddhi! Please go give her blog some love when you get finished over here — she has some fabulous content up on her site!

The Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Answer the 11 questions given to you
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers
  • Ask your nominees 11 questions

Riddhi’s Questions for Me:

1) What is your favorite book series?

This question is such a hard one because there are so many series that are near and dear to my heart. If I had to pick just one, it would have to be the Dark Elements series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. The characters are just so lovable (and some hateable lol!), the plot is perfectly paced and action-packed, and the plot twists blow my mind every time I read it. It was also one of the first series that got me into reading!

2) What is your favorite song?

Hamilton - Broadway | Tickets | Broadway | Broadway.com

My favorite song changes almost weekly (so many good tunes out there now, y’all!), but this week’s would have to be Blow Us All Away from the musical, Hamilton. I don’t know what it is about this song that’s so addictive (the whistling because I can’t for the life of me whistle, maybe?), but I swear I could listen to it for an hour straight and not get bored of it!

3) Favorite movie?

Divergent (Includes Digital Copy) (dvd_video) : Target

I’m not a big movie-watcher, but I guess I would have to pick Divergent for this one since I always feel so kick butt after watching it (even though I sure as heck would not have been a Dauntless!). And, it just so happens to be a book-to-movie adaptation, so perfect choice to put on my book blog, I think!

4) What are your hobbies?

I made this cake for my stepsister’s wedding this past year, along with matching cupcakes! Both tiers are white, but the lighting makes the bottom tier look cream, for some reason.

When I’m not reading or blogging, I absolutely love to cook and bake! I also have the most precious two-year-old sheltie pup named Rowan (yes, named after the fictional character from Throne of Glass!) that I have so much fun hanging out with in my free time.

5) Dogs or cats?

I know I’m supposed to just pick one but I literally cannot for this one — BOTH!!! Huge animal lover here if you can’t tell!

6) Favorite genre?

My favorite genre definitely fluctuates from time to time, but I think with the current goings on of the world, I have been reading a lot more contemporary romances than I used to and LOVING them because they never fail to bring a smile to my face!

7) One genre you have never read?

Horror fiction — and I don’t plan to read it ever, if I can help it! I’m not a huge fan of doing/reading things that intentionally scare me, though I do know a lot of people who enjoy this genre of reading!

8) Favorite month of the year?

Love decorating the tree for Christmas!

You’re killing me with these tough questions, Riddhi (LOL!). Though I don’t love the cold weather, my favorite month would have to be December because I love the family time I get to soak up around the holidays. The long break from school is also a huge plus since I have so much extra time to dedicate to other, more exciting things (like blogging and reading!).

9) One thing that people love about you?

8,000+ Free Creativity & Creative Illustrations - Pixabay

Other than my endless book recommendations (HA!), I think people appreciate the fact that I’m willing to help them brainstorm and implement creative solutions to relatively common problems they are having to contend with. This especially comes in handy and has appeared to be helpful to others when we have had to work together on college group projects.

10) One character you would die for?

Oh, man. Hmmm…. This one has to be the toughest question on the list because most of the characters I would want to save are perfectly capable of saving their own lives even in the most extreme of circumstances. I guess I would have to go with Percy and Monty from A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue because they’re kind of hot messes and could use all the help they could get if put in a life or death situation!

11) Which habit of yours do you want to change?

Free Nail Biter Cliparts, Download Free Clip Art, Free Clip Art on Clipart  Library

So I actually just recently just started working on this, but I am a habitual fingernail-chewer when I get stressed out. Luckily this habit is almost broken now, but I’d totally be lying if I said I wasn’t guilty of falling back into this bad habit!

My Nominees:

  1. Em @ The Geeky Jock
  2. bookswithnatasa
  3. jeana84
  4. bookgeeking
  5. elizabethreviews
  6. Lila @ Hardcover Haven
  7. Tree and Bree
  8. Soph
  9. A Little Book Love
  10. Lily Lovebrook
  11. Jacquie (Rattle the Stars)

Questions for My Nominees:

  1. Least favorite genre you’ve read?
  2. Favorite animal?
  3. What’s something many people don’t know about you?
  4. Favorite book you’ve read this month?
  5. Who is your favorite author?
  6. How many books do you own (physical, ebooks, and audiobooks included)?
  7. Favorite midnight snack?
  8. What post on your blog are you most proud of and why?
  9. Paperbacks or hardcovers?
  10. Favorite season?
  11. Fruits or vegetables?

Even if I didn’t tag you, I still highly encourage all of you to do this tag. Not only was it a ton of fun, but it will also help your readers find some fabulous new book blogs to check out — what a great way to support others in the bookish community, right? 🙂

Until next week, bookish friends! May your weekend be filled with all the books 🙂

Bonus Content, Favorites Lists

My Top 10 Favorite Classics

Hiya, fellow book-lovers! Welcome back to another Bonus Content Friday! This week, I’ve decided to share my favorite classic novels I’ve read over the years that I really enjoyed. One of the things I love most about this list is that I’ve included some picks from all over the world and/or those that have the ability to educate the reader about other cultures and ways of life. Some may ring a bell since they’re pretty popular, but others are lesser-known picks that I hope you will consider reading because they are fabulous! I don’t want to keep you in suspense any longer, so let’s jump right into this thing, shall we?

The Arabian Nights (New Deluxe Edition): Mahdi, Muhsin, Haddawy, Husain:  9780393331660: Amazon.com: Books

This past week I actually did a re-read of the first half of The Arabian Nights and I remembered once again why I loved these stories so much! While the frame stories are capable of making the best of scholars’ heads spin, I greatly appreciate the complexity of this text’s structure, and there really is a little something for everyone in here: glimpses of Islamic religion, magic found at every turn, and some shocking happenings you aren’t expecting! In addition to these stories just being a barrel of monkeys to read, The Arabian Nights is loaded with insight about ancient Middle Eastern culture.

Amazon.com: The Importance of Being Earnest (9780486264783): Oscar Wilde:  Books

While I definitely wouldn’t call myself a mega fan of Oscar Wilde, I can’t help but smile anytime someone mentions The Importance of Being Earnest. I’ve read this play on more than one occasion and also seen the fabulous filmed version with Reese Witherspoon in it and each time, my love for this masterpiece grows stronger. If you’re looking for just a sliver of a play full of humor, witty banter, and a whole lot of English social satire, you’ll love The Importance of Being Earnest!

A Tale of Two Cities (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) by Charles Dickens |  NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble®

A Tale of Two Cities is the only work by Charles Dickens I’ve read, but I hope to read more by him at some point in the future. I read this novel in high school, and given that I’m not really one for history, I don’t think I quite realized how important of a work this really is at the time (though my English teacher did attempt to beat me over the head with how exquisite this work of literature is more times than I can count!). However, as I got older, I found myself having little flashbacks of the novel’s focus on the idea of personal and societal transformation. While the French Revolution aspect of A Tale of Two Cities is very topical, the smaller underlying themes of challenging the status quo, taking responsibility for one’s personal actions, and finding it within yourself to change who you are for the better are very much universal ideas that modern readers can still connect with today.

The Bluest Eye (Vintage International): Morrison, Toni: 9780307278449:  Amazon.com: Books

If there was ever a book out there that is so relevant to today’s social movements, it’s The Bluest Eye. The focus of this novel centers on what it means to be beautiful according to Western society’s standards and how this depiction tends to marginalize individuals who don’t conform to these requirements. In a time in America that is filled with discussions of race, diversity, and learning to accept individuals who aren’t exactly like ourselves, I couldn’t recommend reading this heartbreaking, breathtaking, and inspiring masterpiece by Toni Morrison.

Amazon.com: Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes: Revised  and Complete Edition (9781559363846): Kushner, Tony: Books

Angels in America was one of those reads that will forever stick with me because it taught me so much about topics I didn’t really understand at the time in which I read it. This relatively contemporary play was written as an education piece about the 1980s HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States. I don’t want to say too much because it truly is a reading experience you need to have yourself to grasp its message, but if you’re looking for an emotional, riveting, educational, and diversity-filled read, I highly recommend you give this play a chance — you won’t be sorry you did!

Brave New World: Aldous Huxley: 9780060850524: Amazon.com: Books

You didn’t think I was going to make it through this whole list without adding at least one dystopian pick, did you? Written in 1933, Huxley pretty much hit the nail on the head when it comes to society becoming significantly more reliant on technology as time goes on in Brave New World. I had so many emotions while reading this book, including but not limited to disgust, fascination, shock, alarm, and frustration. Many of these emotions stemmed from the fact that many of the aspects of society Huxley was satirizing in his novel are still present today, and I began to see some of the issues that are starting to come from our strong reliance on technology, particularly in the medical field. Brave New World is perfect for readers seeking an exhilarating dystopian novel that you can apply to the happenings of today.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

While this novel is really more of a contemporary classic, I have no doubt that everyday readers and scholars will continue reading this novel for years to come. I’ll be the first to admit that The Kite Runner was an extremely difficult book to read due to its very mature themes and content, but it’s a story that no doubt needs to be told and heard by those willing to listen. Taking place in Afghanistan as the monarchy crumbles, two young boys from different social classes form a very unlikely friendship. Highlighting the issues surrounding power, identity, and social construct in Afghan culture, Hosseini’s The Kite Runner is a gripping, heart-wrenching, and inspirational tale you are sure to never forget.

Orlando is one of those books that while you’re reading, you’ll find yourself deeply confused as you struggle through each page, but in the end, after some thoughtful reflection, its purpose and meaning finally click. Over the course of 300 years, the reader has the opportunity to see Orlando experience life in society from the perspective of both genders — Orlando sporadically switches biologically between the female and male sexes as time passes. Some would say that this novel is one of the first to take on the topic of “gender fluidity,” but I would argue that it serves an even larger purpose: to make the point that gender should not dictate how one should experience life in any society.

Book cover for The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

Ahhh. Let us discuss our dear ol’ Holden, shall we? Young adult novels weren’t necessarily a thing during the time in which The Catcher in the Rye was written, but I can’t think of a book that manages to capture all the angst, stumbling blocks, life lessons, and new experiences of your teen years than this one. Though the lives of teens these days don’t necessarily align perfectly with what Holden experiences, many of the overarching experiences he goes through are similar to the “growing pains” many young adult readers experience in their lives today. As if this doesn’t intrigue you enough, the ending will leave you SHOOK and there have been lots of attempts to ban this novel due to profanity and mature themes. If you’re looking for a book that’s through and through a coming-of-age story sure to make people talk, give The Catcher in the Rye a read!

Snow Falling on Cedars: Guterson, David: 8601400186572: Amazon.com: Books

I had to round out this list with one of my all time favorite novels: Snow Falling on Cedars! While the overarching plot of this book surrounds a fictional murder case being unraveled on a fictional island outside Washington, Snow Falling on Cedars leaves the reader reeling from so much more than just the murder mystery. Given that this murder trial takes place following World War II, there is a lot of prejudice against people of Japanese heritage — an element that plays a huge role in the movement of this novel’s plot. Snow Falling on Cedars is a tale of struggling to be treated fairly in a society not ready to move forward from past conflict, pushing aside stereotypes to stand up for what’s right, and fighting against the odds for those you love.

While I don’t typically pick up classics to read in my free time, I sure have read quite a few over the years that have made a lasting impact! Do you have a favorite that didn’t make my list? Let’s chat about them below!

Congrats, everyone — we have at last reached another weekend! Take care, and I’ll see you back here next week for some more bookish fun! 🙂

Bonus Content, Let's Talk Books!

Let’s Talk Books: Hardcovers vs. Paperbacks

Hello, bookish friends! Welcome back to the blog. This week, I thought I’d throw another discussion post your way. As avid readers, you’ve probably had the “hardcover vs. paperback” battle in your mind (and maybe in person!) a time or two in your life. Someone earlier this week asked me my thoughts on the topic, and since it got me pondering my own opinions, I thought “Why not share this on the blog since it is the ultimate question posed to bookish people?” So alas, here I am, bringing you this very topic in pro/con list format! Ready to dive in? Leggo:

Hardcovers

The Pros:

  • Hardcovers don’t get nearly as beat-up as paperbacks do when you put them in a bag and take them on the go. As someone who is all about having pristine copies of the books I own, this is a huge plus for me!
  • If it’s a book that has a whole lotta pages, you don’t have to worry about cracking the spine.
  • Hardcovers have a better chance at surviving if you get caught in the rain, splashed at the pool, or accidentally getting dropped in the bathtub.
  • The covers of hardback books are STUNNING and make beautiful statement pieces on your bookshelves!

The Cons:

  • Not that you need me to tell you this, fellow readers, but hardcover books are often times much more expensive than paperbacks.
  • The dust jackets on the outside of most hardcovers drive me a little crazy sometimes. For example, when I’m reading outside and the dust jacket AND pages start blowing around , I start flailing to get things back in order and it’s just a hot mess.
  • Hardcovers often take up a lot more space on my shelves than paperbacks. As someone who has a lot of books and little space to store them (because my shelves are now officially filled to the brim), this is definitely a drawback for me.
  • Most of these suckers are HEAVY.

Paperbacks

The Pros:

  • Paperback books are much more affordable. There are times in my life where I’ve been able to buy two paperbacks for the price of one hardcover!
  • There are so many different “feels” of paperbacks. There are some that are soft/smooth and others that have sort of a grainy feel, and for some strange reason, these different textures make the reading experience that much more pleasurable!
  • You can pack a crap ton more paperbacks onto your bookshelves since they are much more compact than hardcovers. I have a few paperbacks that are over 600 pages long, and they take up much less space than a hardcover with the same page count would.
  • Overall, I find that paperbacks are more comfortable to read. Paperbacks just tend to naturally fit in my hand better and don’t leave me with pesky hand cramps like hardcovers do.

The Cons:

  • It’s super easy to damage a paperback. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve thrown in my bookbag to read during class…. err… I mean, after class, and when I pulled them out, the covers were bent. Le sigh.
  • I have found it harder to keep the pages open when reading paperbacks since the spines are bound very tightly.
  • You typically have to wait longer to get a paperback copy of a book since most are released in hardcover format first.
  • The bane of my existence: Accidentally cracking the spine of a paperback. My heart breaks a little more every time I do this because then the title is left with a bunch of permanent wrinkles in it, starting back at me on my shelf for the rest of its bookish life.

My Personal Preference

Okay… the moment you have all been waiting for: my personal preference! It honestly depends on what I’m wanting to use the book for (i,e, reading, decoration, travel, etc.), but since the overall reason for having books is to read them, then I have to admit that I prefer paperbacks over hardcovers. Haters gonna hate, but I chose this format because paperbacks are just so much easier to handle and are way more comfortable for me to hold onto while reading. If we were talking decoration, though, hardcovers would 100% take the cake!

Now you all know my personal thoughts on this uber controversial bookish topic! Hopefully my paperback preference didn’t disappoint any of you too much! What are your thoughts on these two formats? Let me know below and any reasons ‘why’ that didn’t make my list!

Happy Weekend, lovelies, and I’ll see you next week for some more bookish fun! 🙂

Bonus Content, Book Tags

The Birthday Book Tag!

birthday#cake#birthdaycake#happy#happybirthday#candels#c#light ...

Hello, bookish friends! I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate my 21st birthday than with you all, talking about books, so I did some digging and found the Birthday Book Tag — YAYY! The creator of this tag is Antonia over at Always Books. Big shout out to her and her awesome creativity! Y’all ready to talk all things books and birthdays? Me too, so let’s get to it!

My Life Next Door

Girl and boy live next door to each other, are basically complete opposites, and fall in love in the summertime? Yeah, the overall concept of this book is totally cliche, but I can’t help but love it anyway! The characters are oh so lovable, the writing is absolutely beautiful, and this book perfectly describes the ups, downs, and awkwardness of first love. Every time I pick it up (even if I just pick it up to clean off my bookshelf), I can’t help but smile because My Life Next Door is just that sweet!

Amazon.com: The Nobleman's Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks ...

If you’ve been hanging around my blog for awhile, you already know that my love for the Montague Siblings series by Mackenzi Lee knows no bounds, so when I saw that there was ANOTHER book, I could hardly contain my excitement! I’ve been longing for Lee’s hilariously relatable characters and quirky writing style since I finished the last book in the series. Not to wish my life away or anything, but can it be December already so I can go buy The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks, please?

The Rest of the Story

When I picked up this book, I was a little bit unsure as to how I would feel about it, as usually Sarah Dessen books are either a hit or a miss for me. The fact that this book will go down in history as one of my favorite contemporaries I’ve read in my life shocks me to say, but it’s true, folks! I loved that even though there were some very light romantic undertones, the main focus remained on Saylor getting to know her mother’s side of the family and filling in the blanks surrounding her mother’s past, which ended up helping Saylor find a new part of herself she didn’t realize was there before. The Rest of the Story was funny, heartwarming, emotional, and just so much fun to read from beginning to end.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers, #1)

I’m totally not going to lie to you guys: Whenever I hear a whole lot about an upcoming release months before it actually hits shelves, I do sort of avoid said very hyped book for at least a few months to see what readers really think about it. With A Curse So Dark and Lonely, I waited a few months per my usual system, but when I finally finished reading it, I wanted to kick myself for waiting so long! I absolutely loved the characters, the world-building, and all the fairytale tie-ins. Don’t let the hype scare you like it did me — this book is totally deserving of all the attention it got!

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)

You guys already know that I love this book for so many reasons: it’s action-packed, the characters are total smart alecks but have so many layers, and the world-building is seriously incredible. Something you all may not know is that there were numerous points in this book that I literally got teary-eyed at because the writing was just that beautiful. There were quotes from character that made me laugh so dang hard that I cried as well, so this book definitely has a good balance of emotional and humorous elements. I don’t think I will be forgetting this read for a long time. If you haven’t read House of Earth and Blood yet, just do it! You won’t be disappointed!

The Edge of Never (The Edge of Never, #1)

Don’t get me wrong: I LOVED this book when I read it the first (and second) time! However, I think I was just enjoying the story and beautiful writing and not actually taking in the true meaning the author was trying to convey through the main characters. If I were to pick this up and read it now that I have some true life experience under my belt, I think I would be able to relate more to Camryn and her journey. Guess that means it’s time for a re-read to see if my theory holds true, huh?

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

This is kind of a crazy choice because this fantasy is about as dark as it can get, but hear me out! I read this duology a couple of months before I started my first year of college. As someone who wasn’t a huge fan of change at the time, I found the transition to this new phase of life a little overwhelming (I’m sure some of you can relate to this!). I loved this series because I was so invested in these characters and the super dope plot that it gave my brain something to do other than stress about what was coming next for me. And dang did it keep me on my toes because THOSE PLOT TWISTS, MAN!

What a perfect way to round out my birthday week — right here with you guys talking about some great reads! I encourage all of you to do this tag when it gets close to your birthdays, and if you’ve already done it, drop links below so I can check out your answers!

Have a great weekend, bookish friends. Until next week! 🙂

All the Recs, Bonus Content

If You Liked That, Try This: Fantasy Edition!

Hello, bookish friends! Welcome to another installment of “If you liked that, try this!” This segment’s topic is all about fantasy novels. Be warned: There are some blasts from the past on this list (partly because I am a little behind on my newly-released fantasy novel reading. This summer, I’ve been on a crazy contemporary kick!). Without further ado, let’s get on with this thing, shall we?

If you liked Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, try Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings!

I know what you’re all thinking: How are these two books even remotely similar? Well, let me tell ya, folks: They are more alike than you could ever imagine! One of the shared elements I loved about both of these books were the “crews” the characters were a part of and the adventures they went on together. While I’m a sucker for some good romance, I appreciated that this component took a backseat in both of these books, keeping the focus on the characters’ individual journeys. If you enjoyed all of these elements while reading Six of Crows, as well as its completely unexpected plot twists at every turn, Zenith may just be the perfect read for you!

If you liked The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, give A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer a try!

When I was trying to come up with these book pairings, I honestly could not think of a better match than these two in terms of overall concept/structure. Both The Cruel Prince and A Curse So Dark and Lonely have protagonists who are thrown into completely different worlds and fight back against those who try to force them to adapt to their new surroundings. These books also have the “tortured male lead” and “normal girl falls for the royal” tropes going on. If you enjoyed the political intrigue, strong female protagonist, and supernatural elements of The Cruel Prince, check out A Curse So Dark and Lonely!

If you liked House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas, give From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout a try!

I couldn’t help but include both of these adult fantasies on this recommendation list because they are two of my favorite reads of 2020 thus far! It also just so happens that many of the elements I enjoyed about House of Earth and Blood are also at the forefront of From Blood and Ash. Both books have super awesome, kick butt female protagonists who are taking control of their lives after coming to terms with some seriously traumatic events. As you can probably guess already since we are talking about Sarah J. Maas and Jennifer L. Armentrout, after all, you will probably want to hate but will end up loving the male leads (ughh. It happens to me every time!). If you fell in love with the witty characters, sizzling romance, and stunning world-building of House of Earth and Blood, From Blood and Ash is the perfect book for you to check out next!

If you liked Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, give Invictus by Ryan Graudin a try!

Calling all time travel fans — this recommendation is totally for you! Both Passenger and Invictus take the reader on a journey through time as their protagonists race against the clock to discover long lost truths about members of their families. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even be faced with the ultimate choice to make: Is rewriting history worth the cost? In addition to this critical similarity, Bracken and Graudin both have very distinct writing styles, making their storytelling incredibly compelling. If you’re on the hunt for a book to help fill the hole that Passenger left behind when you finished it, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Invictus!

If you liked Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout, give Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick a try!

In addition to both of these books having supernatural creatures in them (aliens and fallen angels) and the fact that they have similar “struggle between two factions to save humanity” concepts, the main similarity I couldn’t help but point out is the fact that the male leads in both books are kind of… broody, especially when the female protagonists first meet them. I would also argue that the way the romances in these books start out are very similar to one another, in that there is sort of this “instant attraction” element that while I’d love to hate it, I can’t help but love. If you enjoyed the broody, mysterious dude that is Daemon Black, the can’t-help-but-ship romance, and the battle between good and evil in Obsidian, I highly suggest giving Hush, Hush a read!

If you liked Divergent by Veronica Roth, give Matched by Ally Condie a try!

There’s been a lot of talk about both of these books, and it appears that one similarity between Divergent and Matched is the fact that readers either love or hate them. While neither of these books were necessarily make my list of favorite reads of all time, I did find myself enjoying a lot of things about them. I found the overall concepts of these dystopian novels to be really interesting, and the worlds these writers created were so neat to learn about. I found myself relating to the main characters on more than one occasion, and even though I didn’t always agree with the choices they made, I still enjoyed watching their journeys play out. If you enjoyed the plot twists, dash of romance, and watching the protagonist attempt to destroy the corrupt government systems in their world play out in Divergent, definitely give Matched a shot!

There you have it, folks — another recommendation list, as if our TBRs aren’t long enough as it is! Did a book you love that’s similar to those above not make the list? Drop your recommendations in the comments below!

Until next week, bookish peeps! 🙂

Bonus Content, More Bookish Fun!

Bookish Pet Peeves: Appearance Edition

Happy Friday, bookish friends! For this week’s bonus content post, I decided to introduce a new series entitled, “Bookish Pet Peeves,” and have opted to start by sharing things that drive me a little nuts about the physical appearance of books. Before we jump into this thing, here’s a little disclaimer: In no way does the appearance of a book dictate the quality of the words inside nor would I not read a book because I don’t like the way it looks. Now that all that business is taken care of, let’s get into it!

1) The Cover Being Just a Zoomed-In Face

As always, there are exceptions to every rule (aka The Shatter Me series covers which are so beautiful!), but for the most part, there’s just something about these kinds of covers that irk me to no end. When I see them, I just think, “okay, cool, a face. But what exactly does ONE ZOOMED-IN FACE tell me about this book???” More times than not, it has absolutely nothing to do with the words inside, so why would that cover have even been an option on the table when they were making printing decisions? This is the question that will forever haunt my dreams.

2) Price Tags/Sale Stickers

Imagine: You’re in a bookstore, browsing around for a new read. You pick up a good lookin’ book, flip it over to read the synopsis, and BOOM — there’s a sticker RIGHT IN THE DAGGUM MIDDLE of it. Or maybe you’re a bookstagrammer and you loved a book you recently read. Naturally, you want to talk about it on your page, but when you go to take a picture of the it, there’s a sticker on the front. If you’re like me, you try to rip it off, but it doesn’t come off in one piece, and now it looks worse than it did before. Ughh… tragic! While I love a good deal, it will be a good day when the sticker method of labeling sale prices on books ceases to exist!

3) Mid-Series Cover Changes

An excellent marketing ploy publishing houses use against all the readers who can’t stand to have mismatched books in the same series? Absolutely, because they know fools like me are going to put all the books in the series with the new covers in my little Amazon cart, even if I already own the books in their original covers! Is this approach annoying as HECK to the consumer? 100 PERCENT, and basically forces me to spend money that I totally don’t have (#brokecollegestudentlife) because I can’t stand mismatched covers. You’re killin’ me here, publishers!

4) Different Book Heights… In the Same Series

*Insert “change my mind” meme here* because there is literally NO REASON this needs to be a thing! Every time I look at my bookshelves, I always notice the height difference in books that are in the same series, and it drives me slightly bonkers, especially when it’s the second book in a trilogy — my OCD just can’t handle it!

5) Film-Adapted Book Covers

I know many of you feel as strongly as I do about this one. It’s not that I don’t enjoy book-to-movie adaptations (sometimes…). It’s just that some things are better left untouched, and, like other booklovers, I think that literature should be remembered for being awesome FIRST, not after a great movie adaptation of it comes out. This being said, there is a small part of me that loves these covers because they encourage non-readers to pick some really great books up, so there is a tiny plus to this pet peeve!

6) Uneven Page Edges

I’ll be the first to admit that often times, books with this feature are STUNNING! But as I’m flipping through reading, these kinds of pages end up sticking together, and occasionally I’ve been spoiled (BOO) because I skipped a page without realizing it until too late. I also don’t really like that this feature makes the books look unfinished and rather distressed. When I pay full price for a physical copy of a book, I want it to look new rather than like my cat got a hold of it (sorry, not sorry not the analogy, friends).

This is probably terrible to say, but I found writing this post super therapeutic. Did any of your bookish pet peeves make this list? Leave any additions you can think of in the comments below so we can all rant together!

Until next week, bookish buddies! May your weekend be filled with fun reading 🙂