Down the TBR Hole #5

downthetbrhole

Hey guys! I’m so sorry for the spotty posting and comment replying over the last week or two. I haven’t been feeling very well and that’s put me in a bit of an everything slump. But I’m pushing through it and trying to get things back to normal as soon as possible!

And I promise, I will be getting caught up on tags and replying to your comments very soon as well! You guys have been leaving the most wonderful comments that have completely warmed my heart—thank you all so much for your love and support! ❤

This was created by Lia from Lost in a Story. I’m going to attempt to do this post every week as the rules say, but since I have such a massive TBR, I’m going to be picking out 20 books instead of 10. So, let’s see how this goes!

The Rules:

Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
Order on ascending date added.
Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
Read the synopses of the books
Decide: keep it or should it go?
Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week!

Current “To Read” Shelf: 1440

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huntinglilaHunting Lila by Sarah Alderson

I’ve had this on my Kindle for a really long time. This isn’t my typical type of story because I believe it is at least part romance novel, but the mystery aspect of it still has me intrigued and seems like the primary focus. So I am totally still up for giving this one a try.

Judgment: KEEP

thenightcircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I am definitely keeping this one—in fact, it’s a priority on my reading list for the year. I started it a few times, but I was always too busy to sit down and give it the time it deserves. I’m hoping I’ll be able to do that this year, potentially this summer!

Judgment: KEEP

sliceofcherrySlice of Cherry by Dia Reeves

Okay, so this one apparently appealed to me at one point, but now it sounds incredibly weird and honestly really disgusting. I mean, I do absolutely love both reading and writing creepy, dark, twisted thriller stories, but this one seems a little much, even for me. And I am also now concerned about my younger self… 😛

Judgment: GO

happyfaceHappyface by Stephen Emond

I feel a bit bad taking this off my list because it does sound like a sweet and funny story. However, I’m trying to really be hard on myself about eliminating books I’m probably never going to get around to and, unfortunately, this is realistically one of them.

Judgment: GO

chokerChoker by Elizabeth Woods

I’m feeling a bit torn over this one. This is a book I’ve had on my Kindle for years but have never gotten around to. The mystery aspect of the plot is still really intriguing to me, but the rest of it sounds like something I would have preferred as a teenager. I’ve decided to remove it from my TBR for now since I don’t think I will be picking it up any time soon, but it is on my Kindle in case I change my mind at any point.

Judgment: GO

theknifeofneverlettinggoThe Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

I found this through Goodreads/Booktube ages ago, but I ended up picking up A Monster Calls as my first Patrick Ness book (which is now one of my all-time favorite novels!). After reading that, I proceeded to have a Patrick Ness book buying attack and bought the entire Chaos Walking trilogy. Basically yes, this is definitely staying!

Judgment: KEEP

thisgorgeousgameThis Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas

Nope, no…too creepy. I don’t actually remember putting this on my list either.

Judgment: GO

getwellsoonGet Well Soon by Julie Halpern

My initial reason for removing this was the fact that, these days, I’m often avoiding books that focus solely on mental health due to my own current situation. I’m just not in a place where I feel comfortable reading too many books on the topic. However, usually I would just put this aside until I feel better. But upon perusing the Goodreads page, I found out all about how this author has attacked reviewers who have expressed any negative opinions…so no, I’m not even going to consider this in the future.

Judgment: GO

afterAfter by Amy Efaw

Clearly, we’re still in the early stages of my TBR, so this is another old addition. I’ve heard a lot of wonderful things about this novel and I think it may have been one I discovered through my Goodreads friends. For some reason, though, I’ve lost interest in it. It definitely gives me that “I would have loved this when I was a teenager” vibe.

Judgment: GO

themockingbirdsThe Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Again, another really old addition, and again, one that I have heard many good things about. This is one that I was really eager to read at one time, but (sorry for being repetitive!) I just don’t feel motivated to pick it up anymore. I will keep it in mind though, in case my feelings change in the future.

Judgment: GO

leavingparadiseLeaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

I remember hearing so much about this book back when it came out—everyone I knew loved it. But taking a look at it now, it’s really not something that I’m particularly interested in anymore. This is one of those contemporary romance novels that seems like it would be a bit darker and thought-provoking, which is typically the only type that appeals to me. But I just think, realistically, I’m not going to be picking this up.

Judgment: GO

lessonsfromadeadgirlLessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles

I will save you from my repetitive ramblings with this one and just say: I might have read this as a teenager. Which I am not. 😛

Judgment: GO

beautifulBeautiful by Amy Reed

Okay, so this might not be a “forever removal”, but I’m taking it out for the time being. I read one novel by Amy Reed years ago and enjoyed it, so I would like to read more of her work. However, between the fact that I’m being cautious with mental health related novels at the moment and the fact that I’m not nearly as eager to read it as I used to be, I’m putting it aside.

Judgment: GO

annadressedinbloodAnna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Don’t let the position on my TBR fool you—I am insanely excited to read this book! I’ve been wanting to read this for so long and I finally bought a couple a little while ago. …Okay, maybe by “a little while ago” I mean over a year ago…but still! Definitely picking it up soon! 😀

Judgment: KEEP

theinvisiblemanThe Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

Another definite keeper! One of the top priority novels on my classics TBR. So excited to read this one!

Judgment: KEEP

augustagoneAugusta, Gone: A True Story by Martha Tod Dudman

And this is where I have to own up to my Lifetime movie addiction. The majority of the movies I like to watch are…how should I put this…unintentionally hilarious. However, many of their movies that are based off of true stories are actually not bad. One that I really enjoyed was based off of this novel, and I thought it would be interesting to read it. I’ve had it sitting on my TBR for ages, but it’s something I can still see myself picking up at some point.

Judgment: KEEP

atreegrowsinbrooklynA Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

This is another novel that’s on my classics TBR, and it’s a definite keeper. I think this may have been on reading lists at school, but I always ended up picking other books. Then a few years ago, a bunch of people started recommending it to me and a good friend of mine got me a copy. It sounds like a wonderful story, and I’m excited to check it out and see what they all love about it!

Judgment: KEEP

madamebovaryMadame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Again, yet another novel on my classics TBR—so pretty much an automatic keeper! We never did a full read of this novel in school, but we did read excerpts from it in my AP Lit & Comp class. And I really loved all the passages that we studied, so I quickly added it to my TBR. I’m trying to start reading some more classics as I’ve kind of slacked off a bit lately, so this is a priority on that list.

Judgment: KEEP

youagainstmeYou Against Me by Jenny Downham

Again, trying to be pretty strict and realistic when it comes to cutting down my TBR, and this one is unfortunately leaving. This novel has some great reviews and I was very interested in it when I first discovered it. But then it just sat there for years and, being honest with myself, I’ve lost too much of my eagerness to read it. It’s just very unlikely that I’m going to pick this up at any point.

Judgment: GO

thedisreputablehistoryoffrankielandaubanksThe Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

The first and only E. Lockhart book I’ve ever read is We Were Liars, which I read back when it first came out. I know that opinions on that novel are very polarizing, and I ended up being one of the readers that really loved it. Ever since then, I’ve been wanting to pick up another one of her novels and this is the one that has been recommended to me the most. I’m definitely going to read this at some point.

Judgment: KEEP

Getting Rid Of: 11/20

TBR Total: 1429

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Top 5 Most Anticipated Releases of Summer 2018

anticipatedreleasesofsummer2018

Hey Everyone!

Wow! I cannot believe I am already thinking about summer releases! This year has been going by insanely quickly. I am extremely excited about the next few months—there are so many amazing books consistently coming to shelves all summer long. It is extremely hard to narrow down my list of most anticipated releases, but here are the ones that I am struggling to stand the wait for! 

The Myth of Perpetual Summer by Susan Crandall (June 19th, 2018)

themythofperpetualsummer

From the national bestselling author of Whistling Past the Graveyard comes a moving coming-of-age tale set in the tumultuous sixties that harkens to both Ordinary Grace and The Secret Life of Bees. 
Tallulah James’s parents’ volatile relationship, erratic behavior, and hands-off approach to child rearing set tongues to wagging in their staid Mississippi town, complicating her already uncertain life. She takes the responsibility of shielding her family’s reputation and raising her younger twin siblings onto her youthful shoulders. 
If not for the emotional constants of her older brother, Griff, and her old guard Southern grandmother, she would be lost. When betrayal and death arrive hand in hand, she takes to the road, headed to what turns out to be the not-so-promised land of Southern California. The dysfunction of her childhood still echoes throughout her scattered family, sending her brother on a disastrous path and drawing her home again. There she uncovers the secrets and lies that set her family on the road to destruction.

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage (July 17th, 2018)

babyteeth

Sweetness can be deceptive.
Meet Hanna.
She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good. 
Meet Suzette.
She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette’s husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas (July 31st, 2018)

thecheerleaders

There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.
First there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they lost.
That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow Monica is at the center of it all.
There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab (August 28th, 2018)

cityofghosts

Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspectres, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.
When The Inspectres head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world. Cassidy’s powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.

The Second Life of Ava Rivers by Faith Gardner (August 28th, 2018)

thesecondlifeofavarivers

Vera Rivers’ plans to escape her dysfunctional family and their tragic past are abruptly put on hold when her twin sister Ava—reported missing twelve years ago—makes a startling reappearance. Strange, beautiful, enigmatic Ava makes Vera’s life magical again—but the demons of Ava’s unspeakable past lie between them. Exploring the limits of love, the effects of PTSD, and the nature of sisterhood and redemption, The Second Life of Ava Rivers is a haunting story of grief, family, and forgiveness.

What upcoming releases are you looking forward to the most this summer? I’d love to hear about your reading plans for the next few months, so make sure to let me know about them in the comments!

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Down the TBR Hole #4

downthetbrhole

This was created by Lia from Lost in a Story. I’m going to attempt to do this post every week as the rules say, but since I have such a massive TBR, I’m going to be picking out 20 books instead of 10. So, let’s see how this goes!

The Rules:

Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
Order on ascending date added.
Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
Read the synopses of the books
Decide: keep it or should it go?
Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week!

Current “To Read” Shelf: 1434

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theunbecomingofmaradyerThe Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

I remember how insanely excited I was for this novel when it was first released, and yet, somehow it’s still on my TBR. Since then, I’ve heard a ton of mixed things about this series as a whole. However, I’m still interested in at least trying it out to see what I think.

Judgment: KEEP

breathlessBreathless by Jessica Warman

I found this at the library one summer and, while I didn’t check it out at the time, I added it to my Goodreads TBR. And though there are some interesting elements to it still, I’ve lost most of my enthusiasm to read it at this point.

Judgment: GO

theredpyramidThe Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

This is a definite keeper. Any of Rick Riordan’s books that I haven’t read yet are automatic keepers!

Judgment: KEEP

stayStay by Deb Caletti

Since we are still in the early stages of my TBR, and since I’ve been on Goodreads for quite a while, we’re going to be running into a lot of books I added so long ago that I’ve just lost interest. And this is one of them! I read a number of Deb Caletti’s novels when I was in my early teens and really enjoyed them—however, they don’t appeal to me now like they use to.

Judgment: GO

amyandrogersepicdetourAmy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

This is totally not my typical type of novel, but it honestly sounds really sweet and fun. I’ve always heard nothing but fantastic things about Morgan Matson’s books—this one in particular—and I figure I should give it a try. I’ve been trying to add some more lighthearted reads into my TBR to break things up a bit lately anyway.

Judgment: KEEP

betweenshadesofgrayBetween Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Yes, yes, yes! Definitely staying on the list. I am so eager to check out Ruta Sepetys work, particularly this novel. I know it’s going to destroy my heart, but I’m totally up for it!

Judgment: KEEP

missperegrineshomeforpeculiarchildrenMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Keeping for sure! I’ve started this novel multiple times, but I always end up getting distracted by something else because adulting always seems to interfere with my reading schedule! So I am determined to get to this and the rest of the trilogy as soon as possible.

Judgment: KEEP

theclockwisemanDoctor Who: The Clockwise Man by Justin Richards

I’m definitely keeping this for now. I’ve been having the most difficult time trying to find copies of many of the early novels in this series, so I have no idea when I’ll actually be able to get around to this. But I’m hoping I can find it one day!

Judgment: KEEP

thehelpThe Help by Kathryn Stockett

Here’s another book that I can’t believe I still haven’t gotten around to reading. This was originally recommended to me by my grandma, who absolutely loved it. We watched the movie together when it came out and I loved that, so I definitely want to read this sometime soon!

Judgment: KEEP

agameofthronesillustratedA Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Another definite keeper! I need to get started on this series, so I’m hoping I can read at least this first novel this year. I’m thinking this might be fun to read at the beach this summer.

Judgment: KEEP

stolenStolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher

I got this novel so long ago, I actually thought that this would be another I had lost interest in. But honestly, I really don’t think I have. Plus, I’ve always heard nothing but good things about it. I’m pretty sure I still want to give this one a read.

Judgment: KEEP

thefaultinourstarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I think I’ve made this confession before but, I have never read a John Green novel, at least not all the way through. Years ago, I started one of his novels and just could not get into it. However, I do still want to give him a try and, in this case, I am willing to give into the hype to read this particular book. Not sure how I’ll feel about it (and I’ve already been spoiled on most of it), but we’ll see!

Judgment: KEEP

confessionsofthesullivansistersConfessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford

I have to be honest, I’m not entirely sure why I ever thought this would be my type of book…but yeah, it’s really not.

Judgment: GO

themazerunnerThe Maze Runner by James Dashner

Okay, so I’m a bit iffy on this one. I’ve wanted to read it for so long now, but I’ve recently been hesitant due to hearing a fair amount of negative feedback about the series as a whole. For now, though, I still have enough of an interest that I’m willing to give things a try and see how it goes.

Judgment: KEEP

lifeasweknewitLife As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

I think I found this novel because a bunch of my friends were talking about it back when it came out. I’ve also always been a bit of a dystopian addict. However, I’m just not feeling it anymore with this book. I’ll keep it in mind, but for now, I’m removing it.

Judgment: GO

newesfromthedeadNewes from the Dead by Mary Hooper

Yes, definitely keeping this one! It’s based off a true story, I believe, which means I am probably going to get majorly creeped out, but I’m intrigued!

Judgment: KEEP

acrosstheuniverseAcross the Universe by Beth Revis

I have become a bit less interested in this novel over the last few years, but reading some of my Goodreads friends reviews of it has actually piqued my interest again. I’m thinking I’ll probably give this one a go.

Judgment: KEEP

bruiserBruiser by Neal Shusterman

I had a really hard time making up my mind about this one. I have read a few of Neal Shusterman’s novels and I have more I want to pick up, so it seems a bit weird to take this one off. It still sounds like a good story, but I just don’t think it’s for me anymore.

Judgment: GO

numbersNumbers by Rachel Ward

This is another one I am a bit conflicted over. I remember, years ago, hearing people talking about this novel all the time, so I figured I should check it out. Some aspects of the plot still sound interesting, but I don’t feel a huge amount of enthusiasm about picking this up. I’ll keep it on for now though.

Judgment: KEEP

wanttogoprivateWant to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman

And lastly, this one is a keeper as well. It’s an old discovery, but it still sounds equally as interesting as it did when I first found it.

Judgment: KEEP

Getting Rid Of: 5/20

TBR Total: 1429

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Reviews: The Heart is Improvisational by Various and Depression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim

theheartisimprovisationalThe Heart is Improvisational by Various

My Rating: 3/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: September 1st, 2017

Publisher: Guernica Editions

Pages: 130 pages

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: Poets attribute an array of roles and capacities to the involuntary muscle. The heart becomes a repository of erotic and familial love, and a sanctuary for memory. The poets explore the flux of the heart’s responses and instigations: the heart’s tender overtures, its joyous pulse, its mating call for the other, its changeable temperament, its final tick in freeze-frame. Among the poets featured: Kenneth Sherman, Lorna Crozier, Marilyn Bowering, Roo Borson, Patrick Lane, Charles Bukowski, Eugénio de Andrade, John Barton, Robyn Sarah, and Mary di Michele.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is a poetry collection featuring works from a wide variety of authors, all giving their unique perspectives on the most important part of human life—the heart. It was an extremely hit or miss collection for me, and I found it very hard to get into. In general, I tended to prefer the poems that focused on the less tangible, more emotional views of the heart, rather than the technical and clinical depictions. To me, the poems that spoke from essentially a medical perspective felt like reading a biology textbook—albeit a lyrical one—rather than a poetry collection.

All of the writers who contributed are extremely talented; all of the writing was strong and skilled. In my opinion, however, the flow of the writing—both individually and as a whole—was definitely broken up by the ones that focused more on fact than feeling. Of course, not all poetry needs to be abstract and romantic. The freedom to be whatever the writer wants it to be is one of the reasons why this is such a wonderful vehicle for creativity and expression. But for me, I think I just prefer poems that creatively expand on the emotional rather than the physical.

3.0 TARDISes

depressionandothermagictricksDepression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim

My Rating: 3/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: August 22nd, 2017

Publisher: Button Poetry

Pages: 80 pages

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: Depression & Other Magic Tricks is the debut book by Sabrina Benaim, one of the most-viewed performance poets of all time, whose poem “Explaining My Depression to My Mother” has become a cultural phenomenon with over 5,000,000 views.

Depression & Other Magic Tricks explores themes of mental health, love, and family. It is a documentation of struggle and triumph, a celebration of daily life and of living. Benaim’s wit, empathy, and gift for language produce a work of endless wonder.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This collection was all right, but I found it to be just a bit disappointing. I had heard a little bit about Sabrina Benaim prior to picking this up, so I was quite eager to experience her work. However, though I did enjoy it to some extent, this collection wasn’t quite as good I was expecting it to be. The poems themselves were quality—Benaim has quite a talent for expressing herself in a vivid way, and speaks intelligently on many subjects that can be difficult to fully comprehend. However, while I did enjoy this collection, it did not click with me in the way I would have liked. Her writing style did not flow overly well for me so I never quite got fully into it.

I thought Benaim’s way of tapping into and clearly conveying her feelings was very good, and it was easy to connect to her and feel her emotions on a deep level. Despite my feelings on the collection overall, I could definitely see how raw and poignant her words were. These poems deal with many of Benaim’s personal experiences in her life so far, and sheds some light on her experience with depression—a great way to help open minds on the subject of mental illness. I wish I had enjoyed it a bit more, but overall, I think this is a beautiful collection that many readers will love and relate to.

3.0 TARDISes

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Down the TBR Hole #3

downthetbrhole

This was created by Lia from Lost in a Story. I’m going to attempt to do this post every week as the rules say, but since I have such a massive TBR, I’m going to be picking out 20 books instead of 10. So, let’s see how this goes!

The Rules:

Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
Order on ascending date added.
Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
Read the synopses of the books
Decide: keep it or should it go?
Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week!

Current “To Read” Shelf: 1416

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eveEve by Anna Carey

This is another book I won through a writing contest years ago, however, I do still have an interest in it. I have a thing for stories with deadly viruses…is that weird? 😛

Judgment: KEEP

roomRoom by Emma Donoghue

Oh yes, definitely keeping this on the list. I have been meaning to read this for so long now, and I really want to see the film as well. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to pick this up soon.

Judgment: KEEP

ultravioletUltraviolet by R.J. Anderson

I’ve had this sitting on my Kindle for years and I’ve never gotten around to it. It still sounds incredibly mysterious and intriguing to me though, so I definitely want to keep this on my TBR. I really want to find out what it’s about!

Judgment: KEEP

annandthefrenchkissAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I am tentatively keeping this on my TBR for now. I’ve tried to start this novel twice and haven’t been able to get into it, and it also isn’t the typical type of book I like to read. However, I’ve heard so many good things about it—plus I need some more cheerful reads on my list—so I will probably try again some day.

Judgment: KEEP

thehandmaidstaleThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Another definite keeper for the TBR. I honestly can’t believe this is still sitting in my unread book pile! It’s one that I’m going to try to read this year if possible.

Judgment: KEEP

butilovehimBut I Love Him by Amanda Grace

It’s been hard to make a decision about this one because I have heard that it is a very good book. I will admit, this is one of those novels that did just generally appeal to me much more when I was in my teens. I still have a bit of interest in it and it is on a very important topic. But I’ve also been trying to be extra cautious about reading potentially triggering novels due to my personal state of mind currently. Therefore, I’m going to put this aside for now.

Judgment: GO

aliferevealedA Life Revealed by Suzi Katz

I’m not sure why I still have this one on my TBR. I remember the synopsis sounding pretty interesting (I like witness protection program-type mystery novels), but all the reviews I’ve ever read about it make it sound sort of confusing…and bad. Basically, I think there is clearly a reason I have put this off for so many years—and at the moment, I have no problem with continuing to put it off.

Judgment: GO

twentyboysummerTwenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Nah, this one’s just never going to happen. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure this is a great novel—I’ve heard nothing but fantastic things about it. But contemporary romance is not my genre in the first place, and I wasn’t particularly certain I wanted to read it back when I added it years ago.

Judgment: GO

shrinkingvioletShrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph

Okay, so this is one I am removing from my TBR but am going to keep in consideration. This story sounds absolutely adorable and like it would be very light and fun. But I haven’t gotten around to reading it for so many years, and it is another novel that feels a bit young for me, so I’m putting it aside for now.

Judgment: GO

deadlycoolDeadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

Once again, this sounded a lot more interesting to me back when I was in my teens. There are elements that seem intriguing and unique, but I think it is mostly going to be the typical type of storyline meant for a much younger audience.

Judgment: GO

memoirsofateenageamnesiacMemoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

I’m a little bit sad about this one and the fact that it just doesn’t catch my attention anymore. I have read a number of Gabrielle Zevin’s novels and absolutely loved all of them. However, it has been so long since I found this one that it is just another story that sounds a bit too young for me and my tastes now.

Judgment: GO

thefutureofusThe Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

I was so excited about this when it was first released, and I couldn’t wait to pick it up…and then I never did. The whole idea for the plot is good, but between my lack of curiosity and the lukewarm reviews, I don’t think I’ll be reading this one.

Judgment: GO

theironkingThe Iron King by Julie Kagawa

I remember there was a ton of hype surrounding this series for a while, and a number of my friends had spoken about it. I was somewhat interested in it at the time, but it isn’t something that really appeals to me quite as much anymore. So, at least for now, I’m going to remove it.

Judgment: GO

unlovableUnlovable by Sherry Gammon

Hmm…this one. I’m not really sure what to say about this one. It’s a book that I have had on my Kindle for so long, and I remember picking it out, but I swear it sounded like a different story then than it does when I read the synopsis now. I’m not too sure about it at this point, so I’m removing it for now but keeping it in my mind given all the wonderful reviews.

Judgment: GO

thebodyfinderThe Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Picked up a copy of this one so long ago I can’t even remember when it was, but I am still just as interested in reading it as I was back then. This book—and series as a whole—sounds like a really fast-paced, fun mystery/paranormal story, and I think it will make for a nice light read. I’m actually hoping to pick this one up this year.

Judgment: KEEP

clarityClarity by Kim Harrington

I’m definitely getting a bit repetitive now, but this is another one that appealed to me more when I was younger. It actually sounds a lot like Deadly Cool, so I’m sort of disinterested in the plot for similar reasons. This is one that I will still keep in mind though.

Judgment: GO

flowersforalgernonFlowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Of course, of course, of course! …OF COURSE! …Need I say more? 😀 Priority read for the year!

Judgment: KEEP

itskindofafunnystoryIt’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

Wait! Wait! Before you freak out at me about this decision, I have reasons, I promise! I am still incredibly interested in reading this novel. But, as I mentioned a bit earlier, I am trying to be more conscious of my personal mental health lately, which has not been in the best state. It has recently been making reading certain novels harder, particularly those featuring anything that relates too closely to what I’m going through, and this is one that just seems like it would be best to put aside for a little while.

Judgment: GO

themanwhomistookhiswifeforahatThe Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks

Any Oliver Sacks book on my TBR is a definite keeper! I’ve been meaning to read his work for so long now, and I’ve final picked up copies of a few of his novels recently. I’m eager to start reading them over the next few months!

Judgment: KEEP

willgraysonwillgraysonWill Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

This may be another sort of controversial choice, but I have a reason for this one as well! I am still very interested in this story, so this is most likely not a permanent removal. However, I have not read a single John Green or David Levithan novel, and I have decided to only keep the few individual works I am most interested in by them for now, and begin there to see if I like their work in the first place. If all goes well, this will return!

Judgment: GO

Getting Rid Of: 12/20

TBR Total: 1404

Well, this ended up being MUCH more productive than last time! I’m having so much fun doing these posts—I’m so glad I started them. And I hope you all have been enjoying them so far as well. Plenty more to come!

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Review: What I Leave Behind by Alison McGhee

whatileavebehindWhat I Leave Behind by Alison McGhee

My Rating: 3/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: May 15th, 2018

Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books

Pages: 208 pages

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: After his dad commits suicide, Will tries to overcome his own misery by secretly helping the people around him in this story made up of one hundred chapters of one hundred words each.

Sixteen-year-old Will spends most of his days the same way: Working at the Dollar Only store, trying to replicate his late father’s famous cornbread recipe, and walking the streets of Los Angeles. Will started walking after his father committed suicide, and three years later he hasn’t stopped. But there are some places Will can’t walk by: The blessings store with the chest of 100 Chinese blessings in the back, the bridge on Fourth Street where his father died, and his childhood friend Playa’s house.

When Will learns Playa was raped at a party—a party he was at, where he saw Playa, and where he believes he could have stopped the worst from happening if he hadn’t left early—it spurs Will to stop being complacent in his own sadness and do some good in the world. He begins to leave small gifts for everyone in his life, from Superman the homeless guy he passes on his way to work, to the Little Butterfly Dude he walks by on the way home, to Playa herself. And it is through those acts of kindness that Will is finally able to push past his own trauma and truly begin to live his life again. Oh, and discover the truth about that cornbread.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is a spoiler-free review.

I desperately wanted to love this book, and thought that I would, but I ended up feeling pretty lukewarm about it overall. Don’t get me wrong, what is contained in these pages is absolutely beautiful—there are so many touching moments between the very endearing characters. Every page made me fall more and more in love with every single aspect of the narrative—but then it just stopped. I was simply left wanting so much more out of it, and an expansion of the captivating plot and characters.

In this novel, we follow a sixteen-year-old boy named Will, who is attempting to deal with and process his emotions that resulted from his father’s suicide. His days have become repetitive, going from working at the Dollar Only store, walking all over the streets of his neighborhood in Los Angeles, and desperately trying—to no avail—to replicate his father’s famous cornbread recipe.

However, there are certain ties to his father that he cannot seem to face, particularly the blessings store that contains the chest of one-hundred Chinese blessings, his old best friend Playa’s house, and the Fourth Street bridge. After learning the Playa was raped at a party he had attended but left early, he shakes himself out of the sadness that has been controlling his every move.

Wanting to spread some happiness and make a positive impact in the world, he starts to leave small presents for many of the important people in his life: The Little Butterfly Dude, a child he passes on his way home every day; Superman, the homeless man who lives on a street he travels on as he walks to work; and Playa. Through these anonymous acts of kindness and selflessness, he finds that he is able to cope with his own suffering, and continue on with his life in a way that would make his father incredibly proud.

The format that this story is written in is wonderfully unique and adds to the poignancy of the narrative itself. Told in small sections and few words—one-hundred pages, each containing one-hundred words—the style felt so meaningful. On top of this, the writing is lovely and flows incredibly well. McGhee shows a huge amount of talent for creating a well-written and vividly emotional narrative. It is clear that every part of it is meticulously crafted.

Honestly, my main complaint—really my only complaint—is that this story is far too short, and deserved so much more time. The length and format is inventive; however it is nowhere near enough to take this story to the levels it should have gone. Everything about this novel is deeply touching and just plain gorgeous. I adored every second I spent in this world and with these characters.

I not only craved more, I also unfortunately felt like there really should have been more. The brevity of the narrative adds to the depth, but it ended up being a bit too brief, finishing quite abruptly. Though I clearly enjoyed it, I was left feeling unsatisfied. I wanted so badly to spend more time with these characters—to get to know them better. I wish McGhee would have kept that short vignette format, but extended the length of the novel itself, and delved further into the relationships, intense emotions, and Will’s recovery process.

I cannot fully express how beautiful and optimistic this novel is—the world needs more of this positivity and urging to spread kindness. Though it needed more to it, it was such a sweet story, and I do highly recommend giving it a read.

3.0 TARDISes

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Review: I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin

ihateeveryonebutyouI Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin

My Rating: 1/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: September 5th, 2017

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Pages: 352 pages

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: Dear Best Friend,

I can already tell that I will hate everyone but you.

Sincerely,

Ava Helmer

(that brunette who won’t leave you alone)

We’re still in the same room, you weirdo.

Stop crying.

G

So begins a series of texts and emails sent between two best friends, Ava and Gen, as they head off to their first semesters of college on opposite sides of the country. From first loves to weird roommates, heartbreak, self-discovery, coming out and mental health, the two best friends will document every moment to each other. But as each changes and grows into her new life, will their friendship be able to survive the distance?

I Hate Everyone But You, the debut novel by two emerging major talents in YA, Allison Raskin and Gaby Dunn, is a story about new beginnings, love and heartbreak, and ultimately about the power of friendship.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is a spoiler-free review.

I have put off writing my review of this novel for quite a while now for a few reasons. First of all, it has been a long time since I disliked a book as much as I disliked this one, therefore, I have a lot to say. So many aspects annoyed, frustrated, and completely enraged me due to how close to home they hit. However, I absolutely despise writing rant-filled reviews—I like to be as fair as possible—and immediately after I finished reading, I didn’t think I was capable of being calm.

Another aspect that is still causing me to be hesitant is my lack of real-life, firsthand knowledge of the situation that one of the girls was experiencing. Even though I was not able to fully connect to what she was dealing with, I still found that I had a lot of opinions on the way it was handled and presented from a bit of an “outsider’s” point-of-view. It’s about time that I gave this a try though, so I will do my best to explain my feelings as well as I can. Please remember, this is all just my personal opinion and interpretation of the novel.

In this novel, we follow two best friends—Ava and Gen—as they navigate their first year of college on opposite sides of the country. This is the first time they have had to deal with a separation this huge, and understandably, the new experiences ahead feel incredibly daunting without the other by their side. In lieu of seeing each other in person, they keep up a correspondence every day, discussing all the aspects of their new lives and trying to maintain their strong friendship.

Admittedly, this is not something that I would have normally been interested in reading. However, the format that the story is told in is originally what caught my eye, and my attention. The entire novel is told through texts and emails sent between Ava and Gen as they support each other while trying to bridge the distance between them. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved stories told through messages—I’m not sure why, but they have always been so much fun for me. Unfortunately, that was not the case this time around.

Let me begin by talking about Ava, as the themes used in her storyline are ones that I have the most personal experience with. These main themes are anxiety/social anxiety and OCD, and the obstacles mental illness can throw in your way—or at least that is what it is trying to portray. Instead, it ends up coming across as a very stereotypical and downright inaccurate caricature of serious mental illnesses, used many times for comedic purposes.

So, I may be overreacting to this as I do on occasion when it comes to the depiction of mental illness. And I completely understand that all mental illnesses manifest in unique ways for every single person dealing with them. But, as someone who has dealt with severe anxiety/social anxiety and OCD all their life, I am incredibly upset by the way it is shown here. Believe me, I am someone who truly values the medicinal effects of humor, and I do enjoy poking fun at the strangeness of my anxiety plenty of the time. However, here, every aspect is treated as a complete joke.

The absolute biggest problem I have with it is that a huge part of the time, her actions show the exact opposite of the severe social anxiety she claims to have—no, joining a sorority and throwing yourself at men is not a good example. As I said before, her anxiety only pops up when it can make a situation into a joke, and it is written in that clichéd “oh, I’m so ‘hashtag relatable’” kind of way. I apologize for the way I’m coming across here. I’m just absolutely fed up with the way people belittle the incredible amount of pain that this type of mental illness inflicts on those of us who have to deal with it on a daily basis.

Then we have our other main character, Gen. The main themes in her storyline are exploring one’s sexuality, experimenting and discovering what is right for you, and how one’s sexuality does not need to conform to a strict label. However, this is not the message that I feel her actions conveyed. It comes across more like she is very sure of herself and is just using people, manipulating their emotions, and putting herself at risk.

Granted, maybe this is my interpretation because of my own personal experiences, or lack of experience. I connect with her on what it’s like to learn about one’s sexuality and that desire to break away from society’s habit of labeling it. I am unable to connect with her actions though, as my journey, purely due to my personality, has been much less active. All in all, I am fairly irritated because I do not feel like her plotline positively or realistically portrays the queer community, particularly what it is like for those of us who find that we attracted to both genders.

Now, on to Ava and Gen’s friendship in general. Things started out well at the beginning of the novel—they are shown to have a rather sweet relationship and are incredibly close to each other. It’s very easy to relate to the sadness of having to be separated from your best friend whom you’ve always had by your side to face the challenges of life—I have been going through the exact same thing in the last few years. They are faithfully there to support each other through the changes that come with college living. However, somewhat quickly, things begin to take a turn for the worse, and by the halfway point of the novel, their friendship has proven itself to be horrendously toxic.

First of all, Ava is constantly acting relatively homophobic in many of her conversations with Gen when Gen shares things about her sexuality. And again, this is used as another tactic to create humor in the plot, which I think is atrocious. But the most major issue with their friendship is how they support and strongly encourage each other to make terrible, dangerous, and damaging decisions. It is so over-the-top, it’s extremely hard to believe that either of these girls actually cares about the other. Their relationship feels manipulative and destructive more than anything.

Suffice it to say, I think we can conclude that I Hate Everyone But You was clearly not for me. I of course applaud any authors committing themselves to helping diversify literature. Diversity is something we need so much more of, and sexuality, gender labels, and mental illness are all wonderful topics to choose. And I did love the format of the book—it made for a very fast read, and was the only really enjoyable part. The overall story itself just did not come across in the right way at all. Personally, I cannot, in good conscious, recommend giving this a read.

1.0 TARDIS

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