June TBR

Am I in a reading slump? YES

Am I still going to make a very ambitious June TBR? YUP

To be honest, I have a very big feeling that I won’t be getting to all of these in the month of June thanks to my reading slump and summer job. However, I think it’s nice to have a list of all of the possible books that I could pick up this month.

There are a lot of books I have been seeing lately that have gotten me really excited and here they are 🙂 — not in any particular order

Feel free to let me know if you have read or want to read any of these!

Six of Crows

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I am currently reading this and I really like it! I definitely see where the hype comes from with such interesting characters. Once I finish (I’m over halfway), I’ll post a review with all of my thoughts.

Description: 

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Red Clocks

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I got this in my Book of the Month awhile ago and still haven’t picked it up. It seems super interesting though and look at that cover!

Description:

In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom.

Ro, a single high-school teacher, is trying to have a baby on her own, while also writing a biography of Eivør, a little-known 19th-century female polar explorer. Susan is a frustrated mother of two, trapped in a crumbling marriage. Mattie is the adopted daughter of doting parents and one of Ro’s best students, who finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn. And Gin is the gifted, forest-dwelling homeopath, or “mender,” who brings all their fates together when she’s arrested and put on trial in a frenzied modern-day witch hunt.

The Year of Magical Thinking

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There’s a class that I’m debating on taking next semester called “Literature and Medicine” and this is one of the required readings. I’m thinking about picking it up to get a head start and to see whether or not I would feel good about taking the class. Plus I’ve never read anything by Joan Didion before. I am a little nervous that I’m not going to be in the mood for something as heavy as I’m expecting this to be, but we’ll see….

Description: 

Several days before Christmas 2003, John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion saw their only daughter, Quintana, fall ill with what seemed at first flu, then pneumonia, then complete septic shock. She was put into an induced coma and placed on life support. Days later–the night before New Year’s Eve–the Dunnes were just sitting down to dinner after visiting the hospital when John Gregory Dunne suffered a massive and fatal coronary. In a second, this close, symbiotic partnership of forty years was over. Four weeks later, their daughter pulled through. Two months after that, arriving at LAX, she collapsed and underwent six hours of brain surgery at UCLA Medical Center to relieve a massive hematoma.

This powerful book is Didion’s attempt to make sense of the “weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I ever had about death, about illness . . . about marriage and children and memory . . . about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself.”

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

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This has been on my tbr for quite some time now and the description has me really intrigued. I’ve heard good things, so hopefully, I’ll be able to give it a go this month.

Description:

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

 

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Favorite Books Of 2017

2017 was a big reading year for me. I started this blog in August of 2017 and since then, I have gotten so much out of being able to share my thoughts with other people. Who would’ve thought that this blogging thing would be so much fun!

2017 was also the year that I started my first semester of college and went through a lot of change. That means that I didn’t read as much as I wish I could have. Nonetheless, I know that life happens and it’s not a big deal because it’s important to not make reading a chore; it should be fun!

I don’t have a definitive number of books I read this year, but I’m going to be better at keeping track of my reading in 2018.

Looking back, here are some of the books that stood out to me the most this year. They aren’t in any particular order.

The Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

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This has turned into one of my all-time favorite books. It is a wonderful story about a young boy named Daniel who picks out a book called, The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax, from the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. He realizes that someone is out to destroy all of Carax’s books and is brought into an intense journey of figuring out who it is and stopping them. This is a magical, historical, thriller set in 1945 Barcelona, Spain.

Here is my full book review: The Shadow of the Wind

 

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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Read this book if you are struggling to deal with your grief over someone you lost. A Monster Calls hit me so hard in the gut and I know I will have to pick it up again. It’s not an easy read, but it’s a worthwhile one. It follows a little boy named Conor and his seriously ill mother. Conor has had a monster outside of his window ever since his mother’s treatments started and it won’t leave until it gets what it wants.

 

The Bear And The Nightingale by Katherine Arden

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This is a magical, Russian, fairytale, story about an independent girl named Vasilisa. The stories told by the fireside are real and there are spirits all around that only Vasilisa and her mean stepmother are able to see. Vasilisa must use her special gifts and courage to go against her loved ones to stop the threat that could harm them all. It’s best to go into this world a bit oblivious, but I promise you won’t come out of it without feeling mystified.

Here is my full book review: The Bear and the Nightingale

 

A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving

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This is a heartwarming tale of friendship and faith. It is about a little boy named Owen Meany who hits a foul ball that kills his best friend Johnny’s mom. However, Owen believes that he is God’s instrument and that everything happens for a reason. This story follows Owen as he becomes a heartfelt hero. The characters in this book are written so in depth that they won’t ever leave you. This book caught me by surprise, but it was truly beautiful.

 

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie

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This book follows Ifemelu and Obinze, two lovers who leave Nigeria because of a military dictatorship. Ifemeulu goes to America and Obinze goes to the UK. The story recounts their journeys as they deal with the hardships of being in a new country and being apart from each other. I loved the sections with Ifemelu because of how clever and witty she is and Chimamanda’s writing in this book is so easy and fun to read. I am without a doubt going to pick up more of her books.

Here is my full book review: Americanah

 

The Nightingale by Kirstin Hannah

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This is a historical fiction book that takes place in France during World War 2. It follows two polar opposite sisters and everything they do to fight against the Nazi’s during the war. I liked this book because most World War 2 books are about the men in battle, but not many recount the hardships that the women had to face on the homefront. The reason this book made the list was because of how blown away I was at the challenges the two women face. I couldn’t put this one down.

 

7 Gripping Historical Fiction Books

Thanksgiving Break is here and that means more free time. If you’re a book nerd like me, then that free time will probably be largely taken up by reading. One of my favorite genres of book is historical fiction, and I think it is the perfect genre to read in autumn. Here are some of my favorites. Hopefully, they will help you find a good story to settle into over break.

1. City of Thieves by David Benioff

This book is set during the siege of Leningrad in World War 2. It follows two boys, Lev and Kolya, as they journey through the lawless and dangerous Leningrad to deliver a dozen eggs to a powerful Soviet colonel in exchange for their lives.

I could not put this one down. I didn’t go into it knowing that much, except that it sounded interesting and odd at the same time (delivering eggs?). The story was intense and eye opening to just how bad the situation in Leningrad was. If you want something quick and engrossing pick this up.

2. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

This book takes place in Nazi-occupied France and follows two completely opposite sisters. They struggle to survive and resist the Germans who have taken over their homes. This book was a good representation of the hardships women during the war had to face. A lot of the time, their stories are overpowered by the stories of men in battle, so it was nice to read about their hardships and how they persevered.

If you like reading about strong and empowered women, then this is the book for you. Also, I don’t have a sister, but I feel like this book would be very relatable to someone who does. I will admit that at the beginning of the story, I was convinced that I wouldn’t like it, but as I got to the end, I changed my mind and ended up really enjoying it. It was quite inspirational in a lot of ways.

Side note: I just learned that this is being turned into a movie, so definitely read the book before watching the film!

3. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This book also takes place in France during World War II. It follows the journeys of two very different children and a couple of other interesting side characters. One of the main characters is a blind girl name Marie Laure who lives in Paris but flees to Saint Malo with her father. The other character is a boy named Werner who is a Hitler youth. Their paths end up colliding in an intricate and well-planned way.

This book is so detailed and great that I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to write. The author, Anthony Doerr, won a lot of awards for this novel. You should read it if you want something that will make you think a lot about human nature and technology.

4. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I would describe this as a historical fiction thriller. It is good to go into this not knowing too much, but I will tell you the very basic plot. It takes place in 1945 Barcelona and follows a boy named Daniel. On Daniel’s eleventh birthday, his dad takes him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and Daniel picks out a book called the Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax. Daniel is tasked with protecting this book, but there is someone trying to systematically destroy all of Carax’s work. Strange and dark things continue to happen and the mystery is drawn out in an epic tale.

This is one of my very favorite books. As I was reading this one, I knew it was going to turn into my favorite and it’s very hard to put into words how I feel about something I liked so much. I find it much easier to talk about a book I either hated or kind of liked. The writing was beautiful, the plot was unguessable, and the characters were very real. It was a very dark and epic adventure. This was originally written in Spanish, so if the book was this good translated, then it must be even better in its native language (sometimes things can get lost in translation).

5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I would be very surprised if you haven’t heard of this wonderful book yet, but if you haven’t, then here is the synopsis. This story takes place in 1939 Nazi Germany and is narrated by death (coolest concept ever). It follows a foster girl named Liesel Meminger as she steals books, learns to love reading, and takes care of a Jewish man in her basement.

This is one of those books that you will never forget. It gives you all of the feels and leaves you gutless. The Book Thief is a classic that everyone should read.

6. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

This book takes place 1941 is about a Lithuanian girl named Lina, who is forced, with her mother and brother, onto a dirty Soviet train car and shipped to the Arctic Circle to work in a labor camp. This book shows what life was like for Lithuanians who were forced by Stalin to toil in extreme cold and cruel conditions.

I cried the first time I read this and chances are, you will too. It is so heartbreaking, but it is a story that needs to be told. I had no idea about this part of history before reading this book. This is a quick read that you won’t be able to put down.

7. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Ruta Sepetys likes to write books about historical events that have been lost to history, and this is another great one of hers. I think I liked this one even better than Between Shades of Gray. It is about the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff during World War II. Most people know about the Titanic, but not so many know about the Wilhelm Gustloff. This is odd considering it was the worst maritime tragedy in history.

Ruta is so good at writing amazing characters. Their stories and personalities seem so real. In this book, we follow four main characters, but there are also great side characters as well. The layout of this book reminds me a lot of All The Light We Cannot See because of how well all of the characters’ stories intertwined. She even brings in characters from Between Shades of Gray.

When I finished this book, I could not stop thinking about what I had read for the longest time. I think that’s a sign of a good book.

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 10 Favorite Side Characters

When I saw what the topic was this week for Bionic Bookworm’s Top 5 Tuesday August Topics , I got so excited! There are so many side characters that I love and I am grateful that she decided to do 10 instead of 5 (I don’t think I could narrow it down to 5). I just know that I’m probably forgetting a lot of really good characters, but here are the ones I came up with….

Luna Lovegood–Harry Potter

I love Luna so much and she is one of my favorite characters in Harry Potter. She is so kind and thoughtful and not afraid to be herself. For someone who didn’t have a lot of friends before she met the golden trio, I think it is amazing how much she seems to understand people. She always tells Harry exactly what he needs to hear and never gets angry when people are mean to her.

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Hermione Granger–Harry Potter

I think this one is pretty self explanatory for most people. Hermione is such a great character… she is smart, determined, kind, and many more things. When I was little, Hermione made me feel like it was ok to love books as much as I did and to want to learn (I loved school and still do). She will always be one of my favorites.

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The Weasley Twins (Fred and George)– Harry Potter

I promise you that all of my characters are not going to be from Harry Potter. Harry Potter just has some of the best side characters ever and there are a lot more characters that I love from the books that I’m not even mentioning. I had to mention the Weasley twins though because they were so fun and hilarious! I love the bond they share and how they were always having fun and pulling pranks. Fred’s fate was the hardest for me to read out of all of the other people with the same fate (I’m trying not to have spoilers, but I figure most people already know this). It broke my heart that they were separated:(

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Fermin Romero de Torres–The Shadow of the Wind

There is supposed to be an accent on the “i” in his name, but I couldn’t figure out how to do that on my computer. Anyways, Fermin is from one of my favorite books of all time, The Shadow of the Wind. He has so much confidence and says the funniest things. He has no trouble saying what’s on his mind and I don’t think the book would have been quite the same without his comic relief. He is a loyal friend and would do absolutely anything to help Daniel and is one of the many reasons why you should read this book!

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Ronan Lynch–The Raven Cycle Series

I love Ronan. He is angry, tempered, and will say whatever he wants, but he would do anything to help out his friends. He is such a tortured character, especially since he has been through a lot and that is probably why I love him so much. Him and Adam together are great.

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Charlotte Branwell–The Infernal Devices Series

Charlotte runs the London Institute and deals all the time with people saying that she can’t because she is a woman. I love how much of a motherly figure she is to all of the people in the Institute. I think she is one of the most honorable characters in the series. She also does something else pretty big near the end of the books, but I won’t say because of spoilers.

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Finnick Odair–The Hunger Games

Finnick is one of those characters who you think is going to be a bad guy at first, but then realize later on in the story that he is actually one of the best. I really loved Finnick and I think he was just such a unique character. I loved his friendship with Katniss and his love for Annie.

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Dan Needham–A Prayer for Owen Meany

Dan completely breaks the stereotype of the cruel and horrible stepparent. He is always so kind to Johnny and after Johnny loses his mother, Tabitha, Dan takes the role of being Johnny’s father figure. Even though Johnny wants to find out who his biological father is, Dan will always be his real dad. Without Dan in Johnny’s life, he would only have had his grandmother as a parental figure and that could have gotten a bit crazy.

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Rudy Steiner–The Book Thief

Oh Rudy… he is so lovable. His dreams of wanting to become a sprinter like Jesse Owens in Nazi occupied Germany made me root for him so much. He was so wonderful and Liesel was lucky to have had a friend like him. It broke my heart that he would always ask Liesel for a kiss and if you have read this book, then you know what I’m talking about.

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Samwise Gamgee

This one is a special request from my mother. I have never actually seen The Lord of the Rings films or read the books. I would like to watch the films, but I’m not so sure I can get into the books. However, I read the Hobbit and loved it! Anyways, to get off of this tangent…. she says that he is a very loyal friend to Frodo and just an overall really good person. He sounds like the type of friend that anyone would be lucky to have.

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So what are your thoughts on my choices? Who would you have as your top 10 favorite side characters?

 

How I’m Bringing Books to College

As a book lover, I know that it is expected of me to be taking at the bare minimum, at least a handful of my favorite books with me as I begin college. However, due to the small cramped space that I will soon be living in (a college dorm), I have decided to take a more minimalistic approach when it comes to bringing books. Listed below is what my plans are for reading in college. Hopefully this will give you some ideas for what to bring to a small dorm if you are in the same situation as me!

My Kindle

A Kindle (or any other e-reader) is the perfect thing to use if you want to carry a lot of books with you without taking up too much space. With my Kindle, I can have tons of books with me on one small device. It is definitely coming with me and is already loaded up with some titles that I am looking forward to reading!

My Laptop

This has kind of the same reasoning as to why I’m taking the Kindle (space issues and its already coming with me anyways). However, I thought I’d mention it because a lot of people probably wouldn’t think about it. I recently finished The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by reading a lot of it on my laptop. I have never read a book on my laptop before, but I kind of enjoyed its convenience. I definitely won’t use it to read all of my books, but I can certainly use it for some!

The Library

Since I’m not bringing a ton of books with me, I will definitely be utilizing the library for a lot of my reading. I love the convenience of reading books on a device, but I also need to have physical books to read. I love both ways of reading, however, I would never be able to sacrifice holding a book and turning the actual pages!

1 or 2 TBR Books

I figure that whatever books I am currently reading at the time of my move in will be coming with me to stay. I don’t think this is going to be too much of an issue since I can always send them home if I want. I have to be honest though… I’m sure over the course of time, I will accumulate more, but this is what I’m starting out with.

I really hope this list helps give you some ideas about how you are going to take books to college. Or if you aren’t going to college, these could be good ideas for taking a more minimalistic approach to how you store books in your home. Either way, I would love to know whether or not this helped you and what you think of my plan!