Bonus Content

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 & Nobleยฎ

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

Bonus Content

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

Bonus Content

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Bonus Content

Bookish Workout Tips!

Hello, bookish people! Some of you may have come to check this post out just because it literally sounds so bizarre, in which case, welcome and thanks for allowing your curiosity to bring you to this wonderful (yet kind of nutty) post! Given the current pandemic, I know a lot of folks are still skeptical about hitting up their go-to gyms to get their blood pumping. As an alternative to this, I thought I would share some bookish workout tips that not only allow you to keep up a solid fitness regime, but also may let you sneak in a little extra reading while doing it. Let’s jump right into this thing, shall we?

1) No weights? Just use some big ol’ books!

I like big books and I cannot lie! Okay, totally cheesy and unoriginal, but one of the many reasons I love big books is because they have multiple uses besides just being fun to read. If you’re stuck at home and looking for a little extra weight to use during your workout, try using a few of your largest and/or most heavy books on your shelf! While this tip doesn’t necessarily let you get some extra reading in, it does still let you spend some quality time with your literary BFFs.

2) Earn your reading time!

Looking to sneak in a little extra reading during your day, but don’t want to give up your daily workout to do it? This tip is for you! However, there is a small catch: you can only read the number of pages that you can do of a particular exercise. For example, if you can do 10 push-ups in a row, then you can only read 10 pages. This may even be fun to do in a circuit — do some kind of exercise, read the number of pages you earned, do another exercise, then read those pages, and so on. Then your page count keeps growing, and those calories keep burning!

3) Listen to an audiobook while doing your cardio workout

I’ll be the first to say that cardio-related physical activities are NOT my gig (especially running, yuck). But trading in your normal music playlist for an audiobook might just be the trick to redirect your attention from the fact that your legs feel like they’re burning off and the sweat dripping off your face. I’d recommend you pick a book that’s action-packed so that it holds your attention for the entirety of your workout — a good, fast-paced fantasy is my go-to!

4) Bookish yoga!

I’ll admit that reading while doing yoga is kind of cheating because you’re supposed to be clearing your mind of everything except for the task at hand (aka holding various yoga positions and concentrating on not face planting). Nevertheless, if this is the only time you have to read in the day, it won’t kill you to sometimes cheat a little and shift a tad bit of your focus to a good book. On the bright side, if you pick a relaxing, calming book to read, you will be just about as rejuvenated after your bookish yoga workout as you would your normal practice!

5) Read during stationary exercises

There nothing stopping you from reading a page or two while doing wall sits or holding a plank! If you really want to push yourself, I’d recommend that you trying holding whatever position you’re in for the amount of time it takes you to read a whole page, read another whole page while you take a break, then repeat.

6) Don’t forget: Reading is a workout for your brain!

While reading doesn’t necessarily help you burn off last night’s pizza and ice cream feast, it does wonders for your brain! Studies show that taking the time to read on a regular basis increases your vocabulary, reduces stress, improves memory, and helps fight off depression and other mental health conditions. All this being said, don’t forget to take care of both your body and your brain — both are equally important contributors to you living a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life!

Well, there you have it, folks! I hope you find these unique workout tips helpful as we all try to navigate these challenging times. Do you have your own bookish workout routines? Tell me all about them below!

Until next week, bookish friends! I hope you all get to kick back and relax with a good book (or five!) this weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

Bonus Content

The Hamilton Book Tag!

One of the things on my bucket list is to see Hamilton live in New York City, but come this very evening, I’ll get to do the the next best thing: watch a recording of the real deal on Disney+ while overindulging in all the snacks and singing along (I’m tone-deaf and don’t even care because HAMILTON) to all my favorite songs. And yes, before you ask, I’m getting Disney+ for the sole purpose of watching this musical (judge me if you want, but I am HYPE!). While there’s nothing like seeing a play in a real theater, let’s celebrate this awesome soon-to-be alternative with a fun book tag!

*Maureen Keavy created this tag, so be sure to head over to her YouTube channel to check her version out!*

I think it would be so much fun to spend some time with Andi and her crew from Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings’ Androma Saga, traveling through the Mirabel galaxy. I already felt like I was on a whirlwind of an adventure while reading it, so actually being there experiencing what the characters were would be pretty cool (err, well, the parts where they were not in harm’s way, that it!).

I could pick so many for this one, but Brienna from Rebecca Ross’s The Queen’s Rising has got to take the cake! She’s so driven and works incredibly hard to achieve what she wants, which for the majority of the book is to study a Passion and learn it well enough to be chosen by a Patron to work alongside. I just find her so likable and relatable, and her tenacity served her well when things didn’t go as planned. I’m hoping more people will be able to see how awesome she is in Book #2, The Queen’s Resistance.

I read the Legend series by Marie Lu years ago (it was one of the first series that got me into reading, actually!), and to this day I don’t think I’ve ever seen another character who is as dedicated to their cause as June was when it came to finding her brother’s killer. At only 15 years old when this series kicks off, June has gone through some pretty tough times, and I can honestly say that she rivals, and, in a lot of ways, surpasses so many of the older protagonists in other books in terms of tenacity and motivation to achieve her goals. Pretty incredible at such a young age, if you ask me!

I guess this depends on your definition on “villain,” but Warner from the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi takes the cake on this one! He’s so snarky, witty, and charming… ughh. Even when you’re hating on him for being a complete JERK, you still can’t help put feel a twinge of love mixed in there as well! He also has some of the most legendary comebacks of all time, and while I shouldn’t have laughed when he was roasting everyone, I just couldn’t help myself!

This one was a hard one for me because I’ve marathoned a lot of great series, but I think the one that’s the most impressive is the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. Somehow I managed to read all six books in under a week. To this day, I have no idea how I managed to do it, but I guess that goes to show you how great of a series it is!

I really enjoyed Rhen and Harper’s alternating perspectives in Brigid Kemmerer’s A Curse So Dark and Lonely. It was cool to see what was going on in both of their heads considering the circumstance they met under were less than ideal, and I thought it was really fun seeing what Rhen and Harper thought of each other and how those feelings shifted from each of their perspectives (no spoilers, friends! You’ll have to read it for yourselves!).

I know there are lots of Potterheads out there that probably want to punch me for not choosing Harry Potter for this one, but I wanted to be more original than that (and, well, ya see, I haven’t read Harry Potter….), so I’m going to go with the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan! One of the things that I think makes this series stand out is that even though it’s technically classified as middle grade, readers across the age spectrum continue to have so much fun giving Percy Jackson a read. Plus, Greek mythology will never go out of style, right?

***ATTENTION! SPOILERS FOR QUEEN OF SHADOWS (THRONE OF GLASS #4 BY SARAH J. MAAS) ARE LAYING BEYOND THIS WARNING! MOVE TO NEXT SECTION OR YOU WILL BE SPOILED!***

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*I MEAN IT! PLEASE PROCEED TO NEXT SECTION TO AVOID SPOILERS! FINAL WARNING, MY FRIENDS!*

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While slightly unconventional, I have to go with Lysandra killing Arobynn Hamel in Sarah J. Maas’ Queen of Shadows. I mean sure, she killed him while he was sleeping, but that man NEEDED TO GO, and it was certainly one of the most satisfying moments of the entire Throne of Glass series for me. It was also one of the first times we really see Lysandra start to fight back against those who made her past pretty miserable, so while it may not have been a true, all-out fight on a battlefield, I think the internal wishy-washi-ness faced by the characters involved in plotting and executing Arobynn’s death still satisfies the “fight scene” aspect of this category!

Whenever I need a little pick-me-up, I always reach for any of the books in Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks series. They’re just so sweet, fluffy, and entertaining, and I don’t have to think really hard about the plot– I can just kick back and enjoy the story!

I don’t usually wish that there were more books in a series, but I do find myself wishing that some standalones had sequels (weird, right?). However, there is one series that I’d really like to see more of, and that is the Matched trilogy by Ally Condie. I still remember reading this WAY BACK in 2014, and I loved every moment of it. I would pay big money to get another book in this series because I’d really like to know what kinds of trouble Cassia, Xander, and Ky are getting up to years after their original stories came to a close!

Most BROTPs consist of just two people, but I can’t resist assigning Rhysand, Cassian, and Azriel from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas to this one. Not only do they make a dynamite team, but they’ve also been through so many dark times together, which have only managed to bring them closer together. Unlike the very serious interactions they have with almost everyone else, these guys are always goofing off and making fun of one another when they’re together (err, when they aren’t busy saving Valaris, that is!).

My answer for this one totally has to be the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. For some reason, I decided to read four or five of her other works before I finally decided to pick this series up, and boy was I kicking myself for waiting so long when I finished it YEARS after it came out because it was SO GOOD!

***SPOILERS FROM KINGDOM OF ASH BY SARAH J. MAAS FOLLOW THIS VERY VERY YELL-Y WARNING!***

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*LEAVE NOW. I MEAN IT.*

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No death hit me harder than that of The Thirteen from the Throne of Glass series. Since (I hope) you’ve read it if you’re reading this, I’m not going to elaborate on what went down and relive this terribly heartbreaking moment for myself or you all, but I really hope I’m not the only one who cried all the ugly tears when reading their death scene!

***SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE ENTIRETY OF THE DARK ELEMENTS SERIES BY JENNIFER L. ARMENTROUT! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!***

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*LEAVE NOW, PLEASE! THIS SERIES IS SO GOOD. YOU DON’T WANNA GET SPOILED. TRUST ME!*

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Without a doubt when Roth gets sent back into Hell. I mean, yeah, he comes back and he and Layla get their happily ever after, but my heart FREAKING BROKE in the interim because I was convinced he was gone for good!

One plot twist? How about like a million all thrown in at one time (not to mention all the itty bitty ones scattered throughout the book) that managed to give me miniature heart attacks? Yeah, you guessed it– I’m talking about Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, the second book in the Six of Crows duology! I swear Kaz has to be some evil mastermind with all the tricks he has up his sleeve, but I couldn’t help but love every plot twist that was thrown my way over the course of this book!

QOTD: Are you going to be watching Hamilton in the very near future, too, or maybe you’ve already had the chance to go see it live? What did you think? Did it live up to the hype?

I’m encourage anyone who wants to do this tag to go for it! Or, if you’ve already done it, drop your links below so I can check out your answers!