5 Series I’ve Given Up On

I’ve come to accept that there’s a time in your reading life when you just have to say, “Enough is enough!” and give up on that series that you’ve been “meaning” to read. This has happened to me several times over the years and I wanted to share a few of those with you today.
Series I've Given Up On

I just want to clarify real quick, I’m definitely in the middle of some series that have…ahem…stalled…but that I’m still planning on getting back to (Caraval, Jackaby, or Miss Peregrine’s for example). In contrast, this is a list of series that I have legitimately no intention of going back to.

I Am Number Four series

I really liked this series and meeting the whole cast of characters, but it just has droned on and on. I think there are like…10 books at this point? I’m just done with the series and it would probably read too young for me anyway.

Cassandra Clare

I never ended up reading book 6 of The Mortal Instruments series let alone The Dark Artifices series. This is another case where I really liked the series when I was in high school, but I think that the writing probably wouldn’t live up to my current standards.

Legend trilogy by Marie Lu

I’m pretty sure I read the first two books in this series? But then by the time the third book came out, I’d lost interest. I had a copy of Champion on my shelf for a while, but I eventually unhauled it.

Firebird trilogy by Claudia Gray

Similar to Legend, I read the first two books and I actually still have the third sitting on my Kindle, but I feel no draw to get back to it.

Rick Riordan

This is another series that has kind of exploded with the number of books that are in it. There’s like three different series that are all intertwined or something? I’ve just completely lost track of which books I’ve read in which series. I’ll always love Greek and Roman mythology and they were great for the time of my life that I was in when I was reading them, but I need to move on.

What are some series that you’ve given up on? Let me know in the comments! And stay tuned for another blog post coming soon featuring series that I’ve finished and remember nothing about!
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9 Best NetGalley Reads

I’ve been blogging for a while now and have requested MANY books from NetGalley. Over that amount of time, I’ve read quite a few duds unfortunately. That being said, I’ve also read some AMAZING books and have been introduced to some great authors and series as well.

Favorite NetGalley Reads

Here are nine of my favorite reads that I got approved for on NetGalley. I’ll just include a quick TL;DR review for each title with a link for my full review (so you’ll get to see some of my OG reviews haha).

180 Seconds by Jessica Park – Subtly diverse characters created an authentic atmosphere for our main character to develop realistically with her mental health.

Full Review

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin – Action, action, action with likable characters. You’ll start reading for the motorcycle race and you’ll keep reading for Yael.

Full Review

Invictus by Ryan Graudin – The most realistic time travel I’ve ever seen with super likable characters that just make the book so much deeper and more emotional.

Full Review

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria – This book had such a great atmosphere and the two main characters are seriously #friendshipgoals.

Full Review

Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno – This book will make you wish you had an abuela. The Cuban culture is so authentic throughout that it makes my heart hurt.

Full Review

Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – The main character is tough as nails and I like how the book focused on her development as a character and her relationship with the women in her family instead of some rando boy.

Full Review

You Were Here by Cori McCarthy – The variety in the chapters was really fun despite the heavy topics explored in this book.

Full Review

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine – An amazing start to a great series with a fantastic cast of diverse characters and evil librarians. Highly recommend this whole series.

Full Review

You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn – Flawed main characters have a surprising amount of depth. The author did a great job of creating emotion when I wasn’t expecting it.

Full Review

5 Best Reality TV Shows for the Summer

This is a departure from my usual, I know, but in addition to reading books, I also love watching TV! My husband and I have a few reality TV shows that we especially love to watch over the Summer.

Best Summer Reality TV

The Amazing Race

If you love traveling but you’re also broke (it me) then this is a show for you! You get to see a ton of cool places while the contestants travel and their challenges are also fun to watch. Their current season is about to wrap up, but if you have time and want to get a CBS All Access subscription (I know, it’s annoying) then you can watch all the back seasons as well as this current one. I liked this current season especially because the contestant were past Amazing Race teams as well as teams from previous Survivor and Big Brother seasons. Which brings me to…

Big Brother

CBS just does reality TV right (we’re also HUGE Survivor fans). The new Big Brother season starts TONIGHT. Since we don’t actually have real TV, we’ll be watching it tomorrow, so no spoilers! I was actually surprised when my husband got into Big Brother too. He already liked Survivor and The Amazing Race, but I thought he’d think Big Brother was dumb since it’s so much more about the social drama. Much to my delight, he’s just as into it as I am! I LOVE the drama and the social politics and it always gives me such pleasure when people are super petty when voting for the winner at the end. Karma, baby.

America’s Got Talent

I’ve been sort of in and out with AGT the past few seasons, but this Summer, I’m solidly in. I really love Terry Crews and I’m excited for all of the fun dance/magic/comedy/variety acts that they have this year.

Songland

Who else has been watching this gem? It’s new this year and my husband and I have been LOVING IT. It’s fascinating to see the transformation that songs go through from conception to being recorded by an artist. I really hope this show comes back next summer because it’s amazing!

So You Think You Can Dance

My OG Summer obsession…seriously though, I went to the Season 4 live tour and had their poster in my room (aka I liked tWitch before he became Ellen’s DJ). I’m SO glad that they don’t have Vanessa Anne Hudgens back as a judge this year and I hope that D-Trix isn’t just a judge for the auditions. I love the new audition stage plus the 360 cameras. The live show format has changed over time, so I’ll be interested to see what they do this year. I liked last season where the contestants got paired up with each other as in the OG seasons, so I hope they do that again.

What TV shows are you watching this Summer? What are some of your favorite shows in general? Let me know in the comments! And if you want to talk about any of these shows I AM HERE FOR IT.

8 Buzz Books for Fall/Winter 2019 [Netgalley Buzz Books]

Buzz Books Fall Winter 2019

NetGalley puts out this great compilation every season of some of the hot new Young Adult books that will be coming out. Here are my thoughts on the 8 books featured.

Legacy and the QueenLegacy and the Queen by Annie Matthew, created by Kobe Bryant (9/3)

GAME. SET. MAGIC.

Game – Tennis means life and death for the residents of the magical kingdom of Nova, and for twelve-year-old Legacy, it’s the only thing getting her through the long days taking care of the other kids at the orphanage. That’s all about to change when she hears about Silla’s tournament.

Set – Silla, the ruler of Nova, hosts an annual tournament for the less fortunate of her citizens to come and prove themselves and win entrance to the Academy, where they can train to compete at nationals. The prize is Silla’s favor and enough cash to keep open the orphanage, and Legacy has her heart set on both. 

Magic – What Legacy has yet to know is that the other players have something besides better skills and more money than she does. In Nova, tennis can unlock magic. Magic that Silla used to save the kingdom long ago and magic that her competitors have been training in for months already. 

Now, with the world turned against her and the orphanage at stake, Legacy has to learn to use her passion for the game to rise above those around her and shine.

Cover: While I like the cover, it doesn’t make me want to read it.  I quite like the concept though, just not a big tennis person. 6/10

Premise:  I like magical competitions as much as the next girl, but I’m not into a magic/tennis tournament hybrid. WHO ASKED FOR THIS. And, I’m sorry, but I just have a hard time taking this seriously when Kobe Bryant isn’t even listed as an author–they’re not even pretending that he made much of a contribution here. He was probably just like, “What if we have a tennis tournament but…it’s MAGIC.” 2/10

Excerpt: Immediate info-dumping and the tennis aspect sits as weird as I’d feared. 2/10

TBR?: No

Preorder

The Last True Poets of the SeaThe Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake (10/1)

The Larkin family isn’t just lucky—they persevere. At least that’s what Violet and her younger brother, Sam, were always told. When the Lyric sank off the coast of Maine, their great-great-great-grandmother didn’t drown like the rest of the passengers. No, Fidelia swam to shore, fell in love, and founded Lyric, Maine, the town Violet and Sam returned to every summer.

But wrecks seem to run in the family: Tall, funny, musical Violet can’t stop partying with the wrong people. And, one beautiful summer day, brilliant, sensitive Sam attempts to take his own life.

Shipped back to Lyric while Sam is in treatment, Violet is haunted by her family’s missing piece-the lost shipwreck she and Sam dreamed of discovering when they were children. Desperate to make amends, Violet embarks on a wildly ambitious mission: locate the Lyric, lain hidden in a watery grave for over a century.

She finds a fellow wreck hunter in Liv Stone, an amateur local historian whose sparkling intelligence and guarded gray eyes make Violet ache in an exhilarating new way. Whether or not they find the Lyric, the journey Violet takes-and the bridges she builds along the way-may be the start of something like survival.

Cover: Like…I like it, but I’m getting serious The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe vibes. I literally thought this was a sequel until I saw that it was by a different author. 7/10

Premise: I am definitely intrigued by the premise. I like books with family legacies/curses and I also like the shipwreck hunting aspect of it. I hope that there are some flashbacks to Fidelia as well. 7/10

Excerpt: I like the quick back and forth between Violet and her uncle. It keeps the story moving, fills the reader in on some information, and doesn’t bog the writing down. I’m having a hard time deciding, though, whether Violet is going to be an enjoyable level of snarky, or if it’ll end up being too much. 7/10

TBR?: Yes.

Preorder

CoralCoral by Sara Ella (11/12)

Coral has always been different, standing out from her mermaid sisters in a society where blending in is key. Worse yet, she fears she has been afflicted with the dreaded Disease, said to be carried by humans—emotions. Can she face the darkness long enough to surface in the light?

Above the sea, Brooke has nothing left to give. Depression and anxiety have left her feeling isolated. Forgotten. The only thing she can rely on is the numbness she finds within the cool and comforting ocean waves. If only she weren’t stuck at Fathoms—a new group therapy home that promises a second chance at life. But what’s the point of living if her soul is destined to bleed?

Merrick may be San Francisco’s golden boy, but he wants nothing more than to escape his controlling father. When his younger sister’s suicide attempt sends Merrick to his breaking point, escape becomes the only option. If he can find their mom, everything will be made right again—right?

When their worlds collide, all three will do whatever it takes to survive, and Coral might even catch a prince in the process. But what—and who—must they leave behind for life to finally begin?

Cover: The cover intrigues me and I really like the color contrast between the artwork and the title. I’m always down for a good fairytale retelling but I feel like there have been some duds lately. 7/10

Premise: Meh. I read one book where emotions were considered a disease and that was enough for me. I’m not really interested in revisiting that concept. On the other hand, it sounds like there could be some good mental health rep in here, so that’s something. 3/10

Excerpt: It’s a little too lyrical…is that the right word? The writing feels like it’s trying too hard to be beautiful and the story gets lost in it. 3/10

TBR?: No.

Preorder

I'm Not Dying With You TonightI’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Kimberly Jones & Gilly Segal (10/1)

Lena and Campbell aren’t friends.

Lena has her killer style, her awesome boyfriend, and a plan. She knows she’s going to make it big. Campbell, on the other hand, is just trying to keep her head down and get through the year at her new school.

When both girls attend the Friday-night football game, what neither expects is for everything to descend into sudden mass chaos. Chaos born from violence and hate. Chaos that unexpectedly throws them together.

They aren’t friends. They hardly understand the other’s point of view. But none of that matters when the city is up in flames, and they only have each other to rely on if they’re going to survive the night.

Cover: This cover is pretty good, but doesn’t necessarily grab me. 5/10

Premise: This book sounds like it’s probably pretty intense. The summary gives some information, but I’m still not 100% what this book is going to be about. 6/10

Excerpt: I like when two authors write for different POVs. It makes the characters authentically sound like different people because it’s actually written by different people. The writing is nothing special, but it is extremely readable. I’d want to see what people say about this one. 6/10

TBR?: Maybe.

Preorder

Dear Haiti, Love AlaineDear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite & Maritza Moulite (9/3)

You might ask the obvious question: What do I, a seventeen-year-old Haitian American from Miami with way too little life experience, have to say about anything?

Actually, a lot.

Thanks to “the incident” (don’t ask), I’m spending the next two months doing what my school is calling a “spring volunteer immersion project.” It’s definitely no vacation. I’m toiling away under the ever-watchful eyes of Tati Estelle at her new nonprofit. And my lean-in queen of a mother is even here to make sure I do things right. Or she might just be lying low to dodge the media sharks after a much more public incident of her own…and to hide a rather devastating secret.

All things considered, there are some pretty nice perks…like flirting with Tati’s distractingly cute intern, getting actual face time with my mom and experiencing Haiti for the first time. I’m even exploring my family’s history—which happens to be loaded with betrayals, superstitions and possibly even a family curse.

You know, typical drama. But it’s nothing I can’t handle.

Cover: This cover is great–I really like it. The title font is awesome and I love all the red. 8/10

Premise: This sounds so fun! And Haiti isn’t a country I know a lot about. I really like the epistolary format as well and I get the sense there could be a really great mother/daughter dynamic in this one? 8/10

Excerpt: I like the writing even if it doesn’t read like I would expect an epistolary novel to. It reads more like a normal book, so I’m not sure the epistolary format is actually adding anything to it yet. 8/10

TBR?: Yes.

Preorder

Harvey Comes HomeHarvey Comes Home by Colleen Nelson (9/19)

A dog’s world is a world of scents, of adventure. When a runaway West Highland Terrier named Harvey wanders out of his old life guided only by his nose and his heart, lives begin to converge.

Austin, a young volunteer at Brayside retirement home, quickly finds that the audacious Harvey inspires Mr. Pickering, a bitter resident coping with memory loss, to tell stories of his childhood. Moved by the elderly man’s Dust Bowl recollections of grinding poverty and the perseverance of his friends and family, Austin begins to trade his preconceived notions for empathy. But is it enough to give him the resolve to track down Harvey’s original owner?

Cover: Beyond the puppy, this cover really holds zero appeal for me. 2 points for the good doge. 2/10

Premise: I don’t have anything against reading middle grade, but I personally don’t read a lot. The premise makes this sound like a pretty young book, so I probably wouldn’t pick it up. 2/10

Excerpt: I do like that part of the book is written more from the dog’s perspective (though still in 3rd person). 3/10

TBR?: No.

Preorder

Scars Like WingsScars Like Wings by Erin Stewart (10/1)

Ava Lee has lost everything there is to lose: Her parents. Her best friend. Her home. Even her face. She doesn’t need a mirror to know what she looks like–she can see her reflection in the eyes of everyone around her. 

A year after the fire that destroyed her world, her aunt and uncle have decided she should go back to high school. Be “normal” again. Whatever that is. Ava knows better. There is no normal for someone like her. And forget making friends–no one wants to be seen with the Burned Girl, now or ever. 

But when Ava meets a fellow survivor named Piper, she begins to feel like maybe she doesn’t have to face the nightmare alone. Sarcastic and blunt, Piper isn’t afraid to push Ava out of her comfort zone. Piper introduces Ava to Asad, a boy who loves theater just as much as she does, and slowly, Ava tries to create a life again. Yet Piper is fighting her own battle, and soon Ava must decide if she’s going to fade back into her scars . . . or let the people by her side help her fly.

Cover: Another cover that reminds me of another book. This time I’m getting serious Death Prefers Blondes vibes. I still like it though, the contrasting colors are fun. 7/10

Premise: It sounds interesting since I’ve never read a book featuring a burn victim before. I’m just not sure if I’ll like it if the main character is too angry. It makes me tired when characters are SUPER angry at the world. 5/10

Excerpt: I find the writing to be super compelling and I like the character’s mixture of snark with her other emotions. I also think (and hope) that her relationship with her aunt will prove to be really interesting. 8/10

TBR?: Yes.

Preorder

Home GirlHome Girl by Alex Wheatle (9/3)

New from the winner of the Guardian Children’s Book Award: Home Girl is the story of Naomi, a teenage girl growing up fast in the care system. It is a wholly modern story which sheds a much needed light on what can be an unsettling life – and the consequences that can follow when children are treated like pawns on a family chessboard.

Cover: I’m not as much a fan of photos for covers compared to illustrations. Also, something about this cover has a low-budget, self-published feel to it. 0/10

Premise: Seems like it could be a really important story, but we’re really not given much to go off of. Just from this premise, I probably wouldn’t pick it up. 3/10

Excerpt: The flow is fast-paced with a lot of British slang, some of which I didn’t really understand. I can see the appeal, but I’ll probably pass on it. 4/10

TBR?: No.

Preorder

 

Let me know in the comments what you’ve heard about these books and which ones you’ll be adding to your TBR!

Update on My 2019 Reading Goals

At the beginning of the year I had this post listing my reading/book goals for 2019. Now that we’re about halfway through the year, I thought I’d give a little update as to where I’m at! For those of you too lazy to click my link (sheepishly raises hand), here are my 2019 goals:

  • Reread the Harry Potter series
  • Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  • Neil Gaiman books in general
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Jane Eyre
  • VE Schwab books

2019 Reading Goals

Reread the Harry Potter series

Hello goal that is apparently never going to happen. I checked out the audiobook for The Sorcerer’s Stone at one point, but never got around to listening to it. I thought audio could be the way to go, but I’m so

bad at listening to audiobooks when I’m subscribed to too many podcasts. The holds lists are always so long for these books too…I honestly don’t know if this will get completed.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Yeah…haven’t even gotten close on this one.

Neil Gaiman books in general

I did purchase an eBook copy of Good Omens when it was on sale a few months ago. That combined with the TV show…I think I’ll get to it this year. Beyond Good Omens, I have a physical copy of The Anansi Boys on my shelf. I’m pretty sure I read that one way, WAY back (when I was probably too young to be reading it) but I want to read it again when I’ll actually remember stuff. I’ve also heard good things about Norse Mythology so that’s on my list. Oh! And I read Coraline.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Confession: I had a physical copy of this book, but I’d bought it secondhand from a library book sale and it wasn’t in great condition. So in this last move, I got rid of it *puts face in hands*. However, I did this fully intending to check it out from the library. It was one that I figured I would definitely be able to check out. Long story short, I’m still planning on reading this!

Jane Eyre

A couple of years ago, I posted about this wonderful app that allows you to read classic books in digestible little chunks. I stopped using it after finishing Northanger Abbey but writing this post has given me a burst of (perhaps misguided) inspiration! I’ve just redownloaded the app and added Jane Eyre to my list. So we can mark this goal as “IN PROGRESS”.

VE Schwab books

Finally, the only goal I actually feel good about. Yes, I finished the Shades of Magic trilogy and LOVED IT. I’m so glad I finally read these books! I’m currently on hold for Vicious and I intend to love it just as much as Shades of Magic.

So by my count, I’ve finished like… 1.5/6 goals. We’ll see how the rest of the year goes!

What were your 2019 reading goals and how are you doing with them?

10 books I can’t wait to share with my son

My baby turns 1 today! How is that even possible??? It seems like not that long ago that we were finally bringing him home from the NICU. But then it also feels like he’s been part of our family forever. It’s weird. In honor of D’s 1st birthday, though, I’m dedicating this post to him.

I’ve always thought about what books I would want to have in my library from my childhood for my kids to read. I love watching my son as he develops his love for reading. Here’s a picture I took just the other morning (yes the book is upside down haha).

Baby reading

I look forward to when he is able to move past the board books. Here are some of the books that I can’t wait to share with my baby!

Dr. Seuss

These books are just classic. The illustrations are fun and so is the rhyming.

Nate the Great

I loved these books when I was a kid! They always left me craving pancakes though…

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

I wasn’t always the best-behaved kid myself, but I enjoyed reading about Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s clever ways to help parents with their kids.

Magic Tree House

I was OBSESSED with these books in elementary school. I could not get enough! And I feel like there have to be at least…50 by now? Maybe more?

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

My husband and I both loved this book when we were growing up. Who wouldn’t want to spend the night in a museum?

Harriet the Spy

Harriet is so spunky and I’m pretty sure I even started my own spy notebook after reading this book (despite how it ended up for her…)

The Lightning Thief series

I have always loved Greek mythology and so I hope these books can be a good introduction for my son.

Harry Potter

DUH.

The Hunger Games

I know there’s a lot of controversy about the level of violence included in these books, but I feel like they were really influential on a lot of readers. When I read these books, I fell in love with the series, and I want that for my son as well.

Sherlock Holmes

I have also always been obsessed with Sherlock Holmes. I had an abridged version of his stories when I was growing up and I look forward to sharing the books and the shows with my baby when he gets a little older.

What books do you guys want to share with your kids one day? If you already have kids, what’s been the most fun thing to read with them?

Top 10 finished series | Binge away!

Who else loves a good series binge??? One of my favorite things to do is to jump immediately from one book to the next in a series. No waiting, no forgetting who characters are or what happened to them. Just reading. So here are some of my favorite series that you can just BINGE.

Binge-able Series

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys; The Dream Thieves; Blue Lily, Lily Blue; The Raven King

Why I loved it: Great characters, magic, treasure/scavenger hunt, deliciously evil antagonists

Wolf by Wolf duology by Ryan Graudin

Wolf by Wolf; Blood for Blood

Why I loved it: Motorcycle race!, alternate history, STRONG female lead

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Cinder; Scarlet; Cress; Winter

Why I loved it: Strong women in typically “male occupations”, swoony romances, sassy robots, fairytale retellings

Crazy Rich Asians trilogy by Kevin Kwan

Crazy Rich Asians; China Rich Girlfriend; Rich People Problems

Why I loved it: SO MUCH DRAMA, some really likable characters, the food descriptions, depictions of extremely extravagant lifestyles

Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke & Bone; Days of Blood & Starlight; Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Why I loved it: Fascinating magic concept, fantastic world building, star-crossed lovers, beautiful writing, EVIL VILLAIN

Inkworld trilogy Cornelia Funke

Inkheart; Inkspell; Inkdeath

Why I loved it: Super readable, great characters, watching Maggie grow up

Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows; Crooked Kingdom

Why I loved it: Heists!, complicated relationships, great friendships, worldbuilding

Finishing School series by Gail Carriger

Etiquette & Espionage; Curtsies & Conspiracies; Waistcoats & Weaponry; Manners & Mutiny

Why I loved it: Great group of girlfriends, secret floating spy school, Sooties and Picklemen

The Madman’s Daughter trilogy by Megan Shepherd

The Madman’s Daughter; Her Dark Curiosity; A Cold Legacy

Why I loved it: Science-minded female protag, gothic classic retellings

Monsters of Verity duology by Victoria Schwab

This Savage Song; Our Dark Duet

Why I loved it: Monsters, broody violin player, tough-as-nails female protag, not-so-happy ending

What are some of your favorite finished series? Let me know which ones I should binge in the comments!