Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Enjoyed That Are Outside of My Comfort Zone

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This week’s TTT topic is “Books I Enjoyed That Are Outside of My Comfort Zone”. So for me, this essentially just means any book that’s not YA and/or fantasy. Comfort zone might not be the right word, since I do branch into other genres somewhat frequently, so I guess this is more like “Books I Enjoyed from Genres I’m Under-read In”. Another note is that all of these books are ones that I’ve read in the last year or so.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.


Thrillers:

1. The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

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Okay yes, I’ve been screaming about this book all summer ever since I read it in the beginning of June, BUT GUYS, I NEVER EXPECTED TO GET SO INVESTED IN A THRILLER!!?!?!!
If anyone has thriller suggestions for a beginner thriller reader like me, please let me know!

Historical Fiction:

2. In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

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Ohmygodthisbook, I think a part of me is still crying. Taking place during Trujillo’s dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, this book follows the lives of the Mirabel sisters and the later-murdered rebels known as Las Mariposas. Alvarez’s writing is lyrical and haunting. If you haven’t already picked this book up yet, I 100% recommend doing so.

Middle Grade:

3. The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

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I will never tire of fairy tale inspired stories, but rarely do I look for them in MG books. I really need to integrate more MG books into my reading life.
The one thing I am disappointed with in this find is that I’ve not heard great things about the sequels, so I don’t think I’m likely to continue on with the series. Thoughts?

4. The Wonderling by Mira Bartók

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This book is so cute and whimsical! It’s a chunky monkey for a MG book, but it’s so worth it. And the drawings–so adorable! I can’t wait till the author visits my school later this fall.

5. Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

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This was a such a fun sci-fi fantasy! And set in space too, which is something I tend to be disinterested in. I loved the mythology woven into it, and I definitely need more MG books like it in my life.

Short Story Collections:

6. What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah

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This stories are like candy: so easy to consume and addicting. And yet, they’re also hard-hitting and thought-provoking. The stories are a mix of sci-fi, realistic fiction, and fantasy. Honestly, I’m already ready to go back and read them again.

7. Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich

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Erdrich’s writing is fricking brillant. I’m actually reading another book by her right now, tho this one is more MG, and I’m enjoying it so much. I definitely need to dive back into the Love Medicine series at some point.

8. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

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Both this and the collection above are books I read for my creative writing class last fall. These collections are both really cool in that they contain independent, but interconnected stories. Both of these books put me in awe.

Memoirs:

9. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby

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Bauby suffered from Locked-In Syndrome, where he was paralyzed from head to toe, so he wrote and edited this entire memoir IN HIS HEAD and communicated it by BLINKING HIS LEFT EYELID! His prose is gorgeous and I can only dream about writing this well.

10. Mothers of Sparta by Dawn Davies

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Dawn Davies’s memoir is such a gem–so witty, hilarious, and still raw. One of my favorite reads of the year so far and has definitely motivated me to seek out more memoirs!


Have you read any of these books? What genres do you rarely venture into? What genre are you hoping to read more of? Any recommendations on books to read from these genres?

If you participated in TTT this week, feel free to link up your post in the comments below–I would love to check them out!

December Wrap-Up: FINALLY Completing My Fall Semester + Finishing My Current Reads

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How are we already on December 31st? How have I already been on winter break for 2 weeks?

December was a crazy month. The first two weeks were extremely busy and stressful with all of my final project work and then the last two weeks have been…extremely lazy, whoops. Even though I enjoyed a couple of my classes, I’m really grateful that they’re over and that I survived my semester (because honestly there were a couple of points where I thought I might suffocate under all the work I had to do)! I still can’t believe that next semester I’ll be studying off-campus in New York instead of back at my small college. Hopefully I have lots of (fun) adventures ahead of me!

Tomorrow I’ll be back with a Top Ten Tuesday post of my favorite reads of 2018 and a couple days after that (so January 3rd or 4th) I’ll be posting my wrap-up of 2018 and my goals for the new year!


BOOKS I READ:

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1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 4.5 stars

I finally read Six of Crows! I adored the book and it was such a fun book to discuss with my book club (this book probably produced the best book discussions all semester). My only real complaint with the book is that the protagonists should have been in their late twenties, not 17-ish, but oh well, that’s YA for ya. 😅
I can’t wait to continue onto Crooked Kingdom!

2. Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me by Ellen Forney

Rating: 5 stars

This is a graphic memoir about about a cartoonist who finds out she has bipolar I. Her memoir follows her through manic and depressive episodes and as she struggles with how to value her creativity with her overall health. This was such an insightful book in so many ways and I would recommend this book to essentially everyone!

3. Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

Rating: 3.25 stars

A really fun read that parodied the expectations and perfections of superheroes, but I wasn’t sure what else I was suppose to get out of it besides that? And at times, it was just TOO ridiculous. I really love the cover though, so I’m tempted to go out and by the other 2 books in the series…

4. Rule by Ellen Goodlett

Rating: 2.25 stars

Essentially this was a shallow and cliché fantasy that wasn’t very remarkable. It took me months to get through my ARC of this book. You can read my full thoughts here.

5. Celtic Tales: Fairy Tales and Stories of Enchantment from Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, and Wales by Kate Forrester

Rating: 3.5 stars

This was an interesting collection of tales that I had never heard before. But maybe because I didn’t have any familiarity with them was the reason I found them a bit lackluster? The illustrations are all gorgeous tho and I loved how the collection was divided up into 4 sections: Tricksters, The Sea, Quests, and Romance. The last section was of course my fav. 😉

6. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 4.5 stars

It only took me a year, but I finally finished my reread of the Grisha trilogy! It had been ~4 years since I last read all these books and it was so much fun to dive back into this series. I love Alina’s morally grey character and I can’t wait to read more Leigh Bardugo in the future!

7. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Rating: 5 stars

I read this collection of short stories for my fiction writing class and I enjoyed it! Elizabeth Strout’s writing is so unique, amazing, and powerful. I can only dream of writing like her. I’m quite curious to see the mini-series inspired by this book now…

8. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
**hopefully**

Rating: 4 stars??

I haven’t actually finished this book yet (I’m about 2/3 of the way through) but I wanted to include it since I’m planning to finish it before 2019. I also wanted to post this wrap-up before the end of the day since I’m hoping to participate in Top Ten Tuesday tomorrow and I don’t like to post back to back.

Mandel writes in a nonlinear timeline and uses a somewhat blunt writing style which is quite captivating. I’ve been partly spoiled for the end but I’m still eager to see the book through.


January TBR:

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But then again, who knows at this point? There are so many books I want to read, but I can only take so many with me to New York. Not to mention I have so many to choose from (check out my December book haul here)! And I just realized that I haven’t read any of the books on my Winter Break TBR, yikes. 😬


Random Life Updates:

  • I FINISHED MY FALL SEMESTER OF CLASSES!! Praise the lord it’s overall– all that work was so stressful.
    • But I am really sad that I won’t be able to see my roommate for at least half a year now, given that we’re both studying off-campus next semester.
  • I got to see a bunch of relatives for Christmas!
    • My family hard core procrastinating on decorating this year. We didn’t get our tree up until the evening December 23rd. 😁
  • My sister is trying to pressure me into cleaning my room. We’ve had little success so far (my room really needs it tho; you can barely see the floor)
  • I really should be writing, but I haven’t since I submitted my final portfolio for my fiction writing class. (This was probably not the best thing to confess here since my writing buddy reads my posts, whoops)
  • There’s probably more I’m forgetting to include on this list, but I’m totally blanking. Goal for 2019: Stop making this the last section I fill out on these wrap-ups before posting. I always rush this section and thus it always ends up being half halfheartedly filled out.

Wow, this is my last post of 2018! Thank you to everyone who has read my posts this last year! ❤

How was your December? Did you do anything fun for the holidays? If you posted a December wrap-up, feel free to link it up in the comments; I would love to read it!

WWW Wednesday: December 26th, 2018

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Ahhh, the end of the year is closing in! Omg, how has the time flown by? Well, prepare for an on slaughter of wrap-up posts and New Year goals/expectations posts from me during the next couple of weeks as we transition from 2018 to 2019 (wow, that’s so weird to type…)

Also, since I didn’t post yesterday; Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays everyone! ❤

For those of you who don’t know: WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words where you answer 3 ‘what’ questions about your reading.


What are you currently reading?

  • Olive Kitteridge– My fiction writing class read the majority of this book, so I’m hoping to go back and read the ones we missed!
  • Station Eleven– Still haven’t touched this since mid-November…
  • Ruin and Rising– I’ve finally returned to my reread of this book! I’m currently a little over a third of the way through.

I finally got my number of current reads down from 5-6 books to 3 books! My goal is to finish all these books (plus another book which I’ll mention later) before the year ends. We’ll see if I can actually do it…


What have you recently finished reading?

  • Rule– I finally, FINALLY finished reading my ARC of this book (only 3 months late, shhhh). It was interesting towards the end, but overall I found the book to be pretty cliche and a shallow fantasy. You can read my full review here!
  • Celtic Tales– LOL, I started this book back in May and I finally just finished reading it! It was an interesting collection of stories that I had never heard of before, but for the most part, I found a lot of them lackluster. The physical book is really pretty itself though.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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My goal before 2019, in addition to finishing all my current reads, is to finally read The Bear and the Nightingale! I actually got this book last year as a Christmas gift and I’ve been waiting until winter break again to read it! Not to mention, I got my Goodreads group to read this book this month and I want to participate in the discussion before December ends!


What are you currently reading? What books are you hoping to read before the New Year?

If you made a WWW Wednesday post this week, feel free to link it up in the comments below, I would love to read them!

Blog & Reading Update: My Semi-Hiatus is Over!

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I’M DONE; I’M DONE WITH MY SEMESTER! Though I’m at college until I leave for home on Friday, I’ve turned in all my projects and thus finished all my classes! I still have to tie up a few loose ends and work a couple of shifts today (and force my housemates to binge watch the last season of Avatar: The Last Airbender 😀), but now I have ALL the time to read, write, and blog (oh my!).

Omg, it’s so weird to be done. I honestly don’t know what to do with myself; I’m so used to working on some sort of project but now I have none?? So bizarre, ahhhhhh.


Blogging Schedule Update:

I know back in my August Wrap-Up I announced a new blogging schedule for the semester (which I completely failed at right from the beginning), but now that my semester is over (wow, it still hasn’t fully hit me), it’s time to announce my new “schedule”!

Here is my new plan for blogging, at least for the next month, since I don’t know what my schedule will look like next semester because I’ll be studying off-campus in New York (ahh, I’m so excited and nervous, very nervous).

My New Blogging Goal: To post 2-3 times per week

This includes:

  • Regularly participating in Top Ten Tuesday and WWW Wednesday posts
  • Posting book reviews roughly once a week

Currently Reading:

For those of you who have been following my blog regularly now, you’ll notice that these are essentially the same 5 books that I’ve been “reading” all of fall. My reading plan is to first check off some of these books before I begin any new ones. I’ll be posting my official winter break TBR on December 18th for Top Ten Tuesday though, so stay tuned.

Any suggestions as to which books I should return to first?


How is everyone? I missed you guys! ❤

What books have you guys been reading? For those of you still in school, are you hanging in there? (You got this!)