Slumps, of all kinds, are the worst. It doesn’t matter if you can do your work but not read, or read but not do your work, or even not be able to do either one. It stinks. This week’s Top 10 Tuesday is all about slumps, and how we can kick them (in the face).
Image courtesy of Couleur on Pixabay.
Not a genre I normally reach for, middle-grade books have been fantastic hits for me lately. As this week’s Top Ten Tuesday is not quite something I haven’t discussed yet on the blog, I am dedicating my post to middle-grade books. In short, my discussion is of middle-grade books I want to get to this year (or early next year).
For this week’s Top 10 Tuesday, I am twisting the prompt a bit. Rather than talking about series on my TBR that I want to finish, I am going to talk about books or series I wish I’d read sooner. Most of these books, you’ll notice, are fantasy novels. I need to read more fantasy or sci-fi, but it intimidates me a lot.
Books I Don’t Think I Can Handle
**Image by Jill 111 on Pixabay
As someone who struggles with a mood disorder, I find it difficult to predict what I’ll read. Still, I like to give myself goals for each season. Inspired by this week’s Top 10 Tuesday prompt, here are some of my top summer reads for 2018.
Books that Inspire Wanderlust in General
10. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Oh, this story changed everything for me because it inspired a sense of wonder in my world. A lot of people criticized this book for being rooted in privilege. Most people can’t check out of their lives and spend a year traveling around the globe.
I understand this sentiment but do not really agree. To me, this story was about finding the magic wherever you go. It’s about enjoying your food without guilt. Moreover, to me, this book catapulted my religious and spiritual journey to reconnect with my roots.
Shows and Events In Books that Inspire Traveling To Attend Said Events
9. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore
Traveling performers are not usually the types of shows I like to attend. To be honest, there are no shows I’d like to visit. The last thing I’d ever attended in public was probably my sister’s ballet show or her choir performances.
Aside from having a personal connection to anyone performing, I don’t normally like being in public all that much. Still, though. The Weight of Feathers has fascinating performances that are rooted in rich history.
I found myself wishing I could see the shows in that book. To me, even if the performances were here in California, I would probably feel like I am traveling to see the shows. They have a surreal feel to them.
8. You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan
You probably know already (at this point) that I don’t like reading David Levithan books. Naturally, this story was not my favorite. Still, the way Pride was described in this book was lovely. I like the way the two main characters bond with this incredible event in the background.
I’d be too nervous to go to Pride because crowded places overwhelm me. But, it was beautiful to imagine such a wonderful experience.
Places Where Travel Is Part Of the Journey
7. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Yes, I know that people found this story romanticizing of illnesses. I don’t see it that way at all. This is a story of two people coming to terms with their mortality. In addition, there is a debate furling throughout the novel in regards to legacy.
I loved the way travel was presented here. It was dreamy and charming, sweet and refreshing. The teens were able to freely explore Amsterdam. They went on to see beautiful sights.
Ugh. So good.
6. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Listen. The story of this family coming to celebrate their right to be acknowledged by the law of the land…it was so beautiful to read. Granted, the traveling involved in this story is a bit smaller in terms of scale. I loved it, though. The metros and the buses, walking to people’s homes, all of it felt so real and tangible.
I basically spent most of my college years on a bus or a train. It felt whimsical, dreamlike because it allowed me some time to reflect and ponder the beauty of my surroundings.
5. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Another book I did not enjoy as a whole but the element of its setting was powerful. I have never been to New York and I am too timid to talk to most people. However, my most cherished moments were the ones where the main character develops connections with strangers. It’s travel by way of empathizing with people and getting to know them with zero inhibitions.
4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone By Laini Taylor
Okay, I know I have talked about this book way too much. Listen, it’s not just the way Prague comes to life in the story. No, it’s the way Karou and Zuzana navigate the city that makes it just a breathtaking experience.
These characters embrace their surroundings and celebrate them. Plus, I know I’m scared of heights, but I’d like to see Karou and Akiva floating in the sky.
3. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
The idea of a road trip is frightening to me. I don’t think I can handle being in a car with someone all day. Nope.
Amy and Roger were sweet, though, and they gathered all these little knick-knacks from their trip together. My journal-loving soul was pleased with the way the characters savored every moment of their journey.
2. A Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
No, I don’t want to go to Victorian London. Present-day London would suffice. I like books that throw in some landmarks throughout the story. When authors do this, the book seems to come to life even more. London in this trilogy, in particular, was vivid.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
What’s better than traveling to alternate Londons? Nothing. That’s the correct answer. Seriously though, I like the idea of different versions of the same place. It reminds me to keep an open mind. Plus, I like Kel and Lila’s approach to travel. I’d come along.
What are your favorite get-away spots for summer-time? Do you have any hidden gems in your town that you love? Share in the comments!
In a surprising turn of events, I found myself with enough time to start another post today. Hopefully, this will mean I’ll be able to post at least twice this week. Small victories (I am celebrating them). For this post, I am participating in Top 10 Tuesday’s prompt for this week, which is the top 10 best character names I have encountered so far.
10. All the Peeps in Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
I honestly find Chaol’s name to be a perfect representation of his reserved and withdrawn nature. He is straight up like kale. I like him. Celaena’s name is also rather fetching. Dorian. Manon. I just love all their names. They just suit them perfectly. And, for some reason, I never felt like they were made up names. They feel real.
9. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephenie Perkins
All I remember about this book is that: a) Lola is very quirky, b) she has gay dads, and c) her love interest is a boy named Cricket. His name, unlike Maas’ characters, did draw my attention. However, it soon acted as part of his charm. I remember him because of his strange name and because he was such a sweet character. Actually, the more I think about it, both of their names are delightful. Lola and Cricket.
8. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
I know. You probably saw this coming. Karou’s name is like candy to me. It sounds so out-of-this-world cute, unique, and almost fairy-like. I love her name.
7. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Cathrynne M. Valente
Briefly, I had glanced at the first few pages of this book. One thing became abundantly clear: the main character is a curious and sassy kind of gal. I still have to read it to learn more, but, get this, the main character’s name is SEPTEMBER! It’s such a unique yet tangible name.
6. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
You are probably expecting this book to be on the list, I know. It’s not just Blue’s name that is precious. In fact, I adore all her family’s names. Persephone. Calla, Maura, Neeve. Besides, all the nicknames the Raven Boys give her are hilarious.
5. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
I read this book once and I am in need of a reread (and to continue with the trilogy), but I remember one of the characters giving Sophie a hard time about her name?
Here’s the quote, “Let’s see . . . brown hair, freckles, whole girl-next-door vibe going on . . . Allie? Lacie? Definitely something cutesy ending in ie.”
Oh, here is a bonus. “So if you can heal with your touch, why are you working here as like, Hagrid, or whatever?”
*Wipes tears* Oh, Sophie. I don’t know if I love you more because Archer made fun of your name, or because you are hilarious.
I want to finish this book and get the rest of the series because it is so good.
4. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Baz has the most perfect name that ever existed in all of fiction. This could be a very biased statement, but let me tell you something: I read Carry On years ago and I STILL love Baz more than so many other characters. I guess Simon is cool, too. I am fond of the girls’ names as well. Agatha sounds like an old lady name, and it is just perfect for this story set in a reserved magical world. Penelope’s name is also pure love.
3. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
All I want to protect in this world is my monster, August. He is pure and his name is so ordinary but it just suits him so well. My violin-player.
For the top two spots, I have yet to find books with awesome names, so I am reserving them for now.
What are your favorite character names? How do you find a name cute? Are you into quirky names? Traditional ones? Please share in the comments!
For this week’s Top 10 Tuesday, we get a freebie. So, I am tackling a topic that I have been thinking about for ages. Basically, I want to tell you about series that I am curiously eyeing.
10. Maximum Ride by James Patterson
James Patterson has been coming up a lot in my book searches. He is introducing a lot of writers. The author of Gunslinger Girl, and the author of Stalking Jack the Ripper, too, they are both published with that kind of heading on their books. So, this peaked my interest and, lo, and behold, I have seen a bunch of books written by him on the ThriftBooks site.
I have noticed that there is a movie of the first book in that series up on Netflix. For now, I am keeping the first book on my wish list.
9. Discworld by Terry Pratchett
I have no clue what this series is about, but my friend Annemieke is a fan of it. The covers give me the impression that these books would be quick reads. It just seems like a lot of books and that scares me a bit because part of the joy of reading is when things wrap up. I like when things end. It’s comforting.
8. N.k. Jemisin’s The Inheritance trilogy
Jemisin’s work keeps popping up all over the Internet. My friend Emily has recently also told me that she’s read this author’s work too. And, if anyone reads cool books, it’d be Emily.
7. Fallen by Lauren Kate
A lot of people make fun of these books, but I am embracing my love for paranormal young adult literature. I am just here for this, okay? I am hoping to get the first book in the series at some point this year because I actually find it really compelling and interesting. Luce and Daniel are fascinating, and they have such an intense bond. Sure, they start off kind of mean to each other but it’s the best when there’s all this history between two people.
6. Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Okay. This one is complicated. Or, maybe not. Here is the deal. After finishing my first Gail Carriger novel, this one came up on Goodreads as a recommendation. I fell in love with the cover, and, besides, I found out this novel is a steampunk story, which made me even more interested. Look at that cover, though!
5. The Magician’s Guide by Trudi Canavan
My friend Jolien is fond of this series and for good reason. A woman entering into the world of magicians in an epic high fantasy series? I find this premise amazing particularly because of the long history of men dominating the high fantasy leagues. It’ll be nice to see a female writer tackle such a vast genre.
4. Robin hobb’s books
Jolien kind of loves the Fool in this series of trilogies. I am interested in reading high fantasy novels that feature complex characters. Just the idea of a Fool character is promising because the jester-type of archetype can be a nice thing to mess with.
3. Ryan Graudin
I have been eyeing Wolf by Wolf for a while now, and I just keep hesitating because I am not a history buff at all. In fact, if I am being honest with you, I am not that good at keeping timelines of events. Thus, my hesitation blooms quite a bit as I see mostly history fans talking about this author’s work.
2. Michael J. Sullivan books
I like friendships and adventures. But I have not met my match for fair portrayals of male friendships. To an extent, Locke Lamora had an interesting central friendship, however, I remain uncertain about Sullivan’s books because, for some reason, this genre can be a bit too…over the top in terms of human relationships. I want honest and real friendships that feature men. Can I just get that, please?
1. Kate Elliot’s books
Ever get an author’s work recommended in multiple spots? This is what happened with Kate Elliott. The funny thing is that I know nothing about her stuff. What does she write? And, why is it being recommended to me? No clue. But, I am curious to find out.
For this week’s Top 10 Tuesday, I am tweaking the prompt a bit to fit my own attitude toward books I loved but won’t reread. Essentially, I function under a “never say never” rule. Many of the books I want to reread are ones I thought of giving away at some point or another. So, I am going to share books I loved but won’t be rereading for a while. By the way, I’ll explain why, too.
10. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkowski
This trilogy was an agonizing experience for me. I read the books to see what will happen next, out of a sense of duty. However, I am not reading them for a long while because they drag on. I think there is way too much “oh, you misunderstood me” kind of conflict in there. While I am intrigued by the two main characters and the political tensions, I do not think there was enough to keep the story worth extending to a full-on trilogy.
9. queens of geek by Jen Wilde
Oh man. I actually struggled to finish this book because I understand the author is trying to be inclusive. But, they ended up creating a very forced plot. I like the representation in the story and the very idea of a story including such a wide spectrum of minorities and intersections. Still, the characters were like cardboard cut-outs, not people.
It took me a while to decide to keep the book, even. Needless to say, I am torn about reading it for a long, long while because I think I can read much better-written stories instead.
8. We are okay by Nina LaCour
Actually, I struggle with LaCour’s writing in general. There are pearls of beautiful wisdom in her writing but the stories tend to drag. In some ways, her writing feels like a practice in patience. I do like the topics she includes in her books, though. For a while, I was sure that I won’t be able to get any benefit from rereading her work.
I ended up changing my mind as I recalled all the things I felt while reading her work. There is this weird identification of parts of me that I experience while reading parts of LaCour’s writing. All the more for me to look forward to while I take a break from reading her work (for a bit).
7. Poison Study by Maria v. Snyder
There was just a lot of “love” from Valik in the last book of the first trilogy. I got mad, okay? Part of these characters’ charm is that they were rough around the edges. When they got domesticated by love and relationships, I kind of cringed. Yelena’s story is empowering and filled to the brim with wonderful relationships. Some of them are a little complex (read: Lief). But, I still found myself thinking of her often, wondering how her story unfolds, and as such, I chose to keep the books on my shelf to be read later.
6. The Hunger Games by Susanne Collins
Katniss Everdeen led an incredible journey throughout these books. I know her story is always going to be special to me but I do not think I can handle a reread anytime soon. Listen, this trilogy has some triggering content. The PTSD, the mental anguish that Katniss and her mom experience, Gale’s awful behavior, Peeta and the lack of consent in his and Katniss’ relationship. It all makes me uncomfortable. I recognize that the story is worthwhile. However, I do not think I can handle reading a story with so much political darkness and hopelessness.
5. The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead
I actually did not understand the point of this book. Like, to me, the story ended just fine with the book prior to this one, and I was irritated while reading this installment. Before you get upset with me, I want to say that I cherish this series and would not ever choose to give up on it. This is why I kept the whole collection of the books on my shelves for future re-reads. But, I need a break for a bit. Then, many revisits will happen because I love this series and the characters in it.
4. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
My problem with this book is that it made me feel completely unintelligent because the timeline is always mixed up. Many flashbacks happen without any signs of them happening. As a result, yours truly had no idea what was going on in this book.
There were some funny parts. Besides, I have a couple of friends who enjoyed this book. The chances of me rereading this book are actually pretty slim (okay, I admit. They’re basically nonexistent). While I enjoyed the humor of this book, I don’t want to experience the agony of trying to figure out what exactly the plot is all about.
3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
I read this one way back in high school and I hated every second of it. But, in retrospect, I hadn’t been reading any science fiction at the time. My hope is to revisit it after I familiarize myself with the genre better. Unlike the book before this one, I actually intend on rereading this book even though I disliked it initially.
2. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Sometimes, I get to read things because everyone says they’re inclusive. This book was indeed one that featured intersections of various minorities. But, there was something kind of over the top with how diversity was presented. It reminds me of Queens of Geek where the representation does not feel authentic and well developed enough to communicate about truths. I may reread it later on, maybe a few years from now. The cover is really pretty.
1. Timekeeper by Tara Sim
This book was overall a fun experience but it did lack a sense of depth when it comes to the two main characters. Still, I do think that not all work has to have this amazing development to be a fun read. It took a while for me to bring it back on my shelves. I know there’s a sequel out now, which I’ll probably get used.
Welcome to another Top 10 Tuesday. This is a meme run by The Artsy Reader Girl. Each week, there is a prompt for a top 10 list. Today, the prompt is to list our top 10 quotes. I’m focusing it on my top 10 young adult quotes of 2018 (so far).
10.Book quote on Anxiety in “The Rest of Us Just Live Here”
Patrick Ness’ The Rest of Us Just Live Here is one of my standout reads of the year thus far. My favorite representation in this book was the one on OCD and anxiety. Therefore, my number 10 top young adult quote of the year has to do with that topic. Here it is, “Feelings don’t try to kill you, even the painful ones. Anxiety is a feeling grown too large. A feeling grown aggressive and dangerous. You’re responsible for its consequences, you’re responsible for treating it”
Another one is, “A feeling may or may not be true, but you still feel it.”
9. opening up in “Always and Forever, Lara Jean”
My number nine spot of top young adult quotes is written by Jenny Han. I feel like this novel showed Lara Jean’s growth beautifully. One quote that stood out to me was this one. “Being vulnerable, letting people in, getting hurt… it’s all part of being in love.” I do not think it is just about falling in love. Instead, I apply this quote to my reflections on friendships.
Another sweet moment from the book is this one,“ Peter will love Lara Jean with all his heart, always”
8.hope in “Whichwood”
Tahereh Mafi owns my heart and I am not even mad about it. She writes such a compelling story in Whicwood. My favorite exploration of hope and collaborations is in this book. Naturally, for my number eight spot of top young adult quotes has to go to a reference of hope. Mafi writes, “But one day, she swore, she’d breathe light and color back into the dimness that had diminished her life.”
7.Queendom in “Three Dark Crowns”
Kendare Blake’s novel focuses on three princesses who have to fight to the death. So, my number seven spot of the top young adult quotes goes to this real moment, “No one really wishes to be a queen.”
6. The Chosen one theme in “Gemina”
AIDAN says the funniest things in Gemina. It wins as a favorite young adult quote for being honest, raw and real. Plus, the authenticity of AIDAN’s voice is moving.
“AIDAN: The concept of fortune is nonsensical, but Kady is insisting I wish you both good luck anyway.
AIDAN: So good luck, Hanna Donnelly.
AIDAN: The universe itself depends on you.
AIDAN: …No pressure.”
5. Hope and moving on in “We Are Okay”
Nina LaCour is not my favorite writer. She is an okay writer for me but she tends to write certain truths that rattle me a bit. One of them has to be shared on this list of favorite 2018 young adult quotes. Here it is, “I was okay just a moment ago. I will learn how to be okay again.” Sometimes, it is the simple things that resonate. Oh, and this gem too, “I wish you more happiness than can fit in a person.”
4. Ambition in “The Cruel Prince”
I have mixed feelings about Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince. Mainly, I had a difficult time enjoying it because the characters were all unlikeable. In retrospect, I celebrate this feat. I love most book characters too easily. It is really hard to have me dislike characters. Anyway, my fourth favorite young adult quote of 2018 so far has to go to this book. Here it is, in all of its glory, “If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse.”
And another breathtaking quote, “If you hurt me, I wouldn’t cry. I would hurt you back.”
3. social expectations and hunger in “Soulless”
Gail Carriger rocked my world with her Soulless novel. I intend on carrying on with her work (preferably forever). It’s serious love between us. My number three favorite (young) adult quote of the year so far goes to Alexa Tarabotti, the main character of Soulless. Check out the interaction:
“You do realise modern social mores exist for a reason?”
“I was hungry, allowances should be made.”
2. Acceptable forms of madness in “A Madness so Discreet”
This book kicked my butt emotionally and mentally. I still think about Mindy McGinnis’ plot in A Madness so Discreet as a commentary on sexual abuse, gender, privilege, and the loose (and very subjective) definitions of normalcy. As we near the absolute top quote of 2018 young adult book quotes for me, I share this one. It is near to me.
“It’s a madness so discreet that it can walk the streets and be applauded in some circles, but it is madness nonetheless.”
1. Revenge and one heck of an ending in “Three Dark Crowns”
I cannot say much about this quote, but it is my absolute favorite 2018 book quote thus far. Here it is.
“I want revenge.” She whispers, and her fingers trail bloody streaks down Natalia’s arms.
“And then I want my crown.”
I’m back with another entry for the epic Top 10 Tuesday meme, which is now run by Artsy Reader Girl. Every week, we get a topic for us to list books we find suit the prompt (on a Tuesday). Today, I am bringing it back to the feel-good books that I could reread forever.
10. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
This the only Austen I have read. I could use a reread right now, honestly, because I have read it over ten years ago. Jane and Elizabeth have such a wonderful bond. They are sisterhood and friendship goals. Having a young feminist figure like Elizabeth in this book warms my heart. She is critical of her society while maintaining a timeless charm. Her story with Mr. Darcy is forever dear to me, because it is ultimately a commentary on social interactions and the misgivings of first impressions.
9. The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald
Jolien hates this book, but, to me, it speaks to my longing for the past. It reminds me of my tendencies to romanticize people, collapsing them into stereotypes as I love the idea of them rather than their actual personalities. Gatsby, with his longing to fulfill the American Dream, offered a flaw in a system I once thought was perfect. The nouveau-riche plight for acceptance among the aristocratic class hit home for me. Plus, how can I ever not love Nick and Daisy. My beautiful Daisy, so frail and bitter. Perfection.
8. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by jenny Han
I remember feeling ashamed for liking the first two books of this series. People said Lara Jean was childish. To me, she appeared to be inexperienced with relationships. That did not make her unappealing. Instead, her journey to finding her place in the world, particularly in the final book, created a lovely narrative not entirely reliant on romance. I like the familial tones in this trilogy. Lara Jean is someone I aspire to become. The baking, the pastel colors, the crafting, all of it is endearing and heartwarming. I could never get sick of rereading her story. She is so dear to me.
7. Vampire Academy by richelle mead
You thought this post was going to be all classics and romantic books, didn’t you? I love this series by Richelle Mead because of the central friendship between Rose Hathaway and Lissa Dragomir. I love their bond’s strength despite their differences in personality, ability, and stature. There are varying kinds of greatness and success in this world. Mead is careful not to generalize features of strength. You can be sensitive and powerful. Or, you can be like Rose and kick literal butt all day.
6. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
I actually love this author’s work in general. From what I have read of Hex Hall, Hawkins seems to have always had humor incorporated into her narratives. She includes interesting characters and places them in a seemingly normal world that is punctuated with notes of the supernatural or paranormal. It’s genius, because her writing is both amusing, engaging, but not exhausting with its fantastical elements. Rebel Belle certainly manifests all these features of Hawkins’ writing.
5. gemina by amie kaufman and jay kristoff
Listen, this series is a ton of fun. The kick-butt main characters and their equally capable love interests, the rather negative artificial intelligence in the series called AIDAN, are memorable and oh so charming. It is hard not to whiz through these books. Gemina in particular was a step up from Illuminae, which was already awesome in and of itself.
4. iron king by julie kagawa
I remember nothing about this series, except that it was a fun time if I don’t think of other people’s perceptions of me. It’s a story about faeries and changelings. Definitely, it is back on my shelves in time for a reread. I was going to give it away but decided against it.
3. Beautiful creatures by kami garcia and margaret stohl
This series is dark and charming with a nice lore for witches. It has lifetimes and reincarnations, a fantastic love story, and wickedly complex characters. The authors do such a wonderful job including a male protagonist who is unlike the typical men in young adult literature, especially paranormal or urban fantasy stories.
2. Hush, Hush by Becca fitzpatrick
I already repurchased the first two books of this series, because I cannot stop thinking about Patch and Nora. They are so sweet, and they endure such miserable circumstances. Besides, the best friend in this series is awesome. What is her name? Vee or Vi? Something like that. I can’t believe I remember her. It’s been a while. I cannot express just how excited I am to reread this series.
1. Twilight by stephenie meyer
Another series I am repurchasing. The first two books are on my shelves, ready to be enjoyed. Bella and Edward’s connection coupled with all the odds against them made for one hell of a story. Alice Cullen, Rosalie, Jacob Black, all of them are characters I think of often. I cannot wait to revisit these books this year and in the years to come.
Do we share any books in common? What are your favorite books to reread? Are you rereading any of them in certain seasons or moods? Tell me all about it in the comments.
See you there.