Yearly Book Unhaul

Every year, I do a massive unhaul and reorganization of my books. I didn’t realize until this year that this is such a librarian trait! I’ve been weeding my own shelves since before I was even trained on how to weed a library. Oh how we come full circle.

I have a really cool project planned for these books: something you’ll maybe see in a future post if it gets approved.

But for now I thought we’d start with some stats-
Total Number of Books Unhauled: 36
Books I Read: 17
Books I Did Not Read: 15
Books I DNF’d: 4
Young Adult Fiction Books: 24
Adult Fiction Books: 11
Non Fiction Books: 1

Here’s my thought process when I start cleaning up my shelves:
1. How long has this been on my shelf?
2. Am I still interested in this book?
3. Do I think I’ll pick it up within the next year (or two if it’s a book I’m really interested in, but have to be in the mood for-aka contemporary fiction)
4. Could someone else use this book now while I wouldn’t mind picking it up from the library?
5. Do I see myself rereading this book?

Fallen – DNF’d this one.
Turtles All The Way Down – This was a library donation. I don’t plan on reading it in 2020 and I don’t want it taking up space on my shelves.
Since You’ve Been Gone – I’m not interested in this young adult contemporary fiction anymore.

The Golem and the Jinni – DNF’d this one. I hung on to it for so long because it’s so pretty and I really wanted to like it.
Born Wicked – Did not read. No longer interested.
Etiquette & Espionage – Did not read. No longer interested.

Defiance – Did not read. No longer interested.
The Murder Complex – I got this one to support the author. I was a huge fan of her on booktube back in the day. But I never read this one. Hopefully someone else will enjoy it.
Throne of Glass – I just bought the boxed set of this series, and won’t be needing two copies of this book.

Angel’s Blood – This one was a gift and I loved it! I don’t see myself reading it again, and if I crave this story I don’t mind going to the library for it.
A Corner of White – This I won in a giveaway with six other books. This one I definitely wasn’t super interested in, but felt guilty getting rid of it. Did not read.
The Anatomy of Dreams – This sounded so amazing, but I’ve never been in the mood to read it. She’s gotta go.

Trials of Apollo – I won this in a giveaway. Never felt like picking it up.
Ender’s Game – I really enjoyed this one. It was my first taste into more adult science fiction, even though we follow a child main character. Don’t think I’ll read it again.
Warm Bodies – I enjoyed this book, and I think I’ve read it twice, but I don’t see myself reaching for it again in the future.

The Naming & The Riddle – These were donated to the library. I don’t see myself picking them up this year.
Eon & Eona – This one has dragons! I read this duology, but don’t see myself wanting to reread it.

Seraphina – More dragons! Read this one, but once was enough.
Revolution In World Missions – This was a donation to the library, and I had intended on gifting it to a friend before her mission. Clearly I failed at that…but this book is meant for someone and I hope they find it!
The Ring & the Crown – I love this author and how BEAUTIFUL this book is, but I never picked it up.

Why We Broke Up – I’ve never been in the mood to read about a breakup. Silly me…I’m a romantic. And I wanted to love this for the award and the gorgeous paperback edition.
Every Day – Is this a movie now? I don’t know, and I didn’t read it.
The Secret Life of Bees – I DNF’d this one, but to be fair I didn’t give it too much of a chance. I just wasn’t in the mood when I picked it up.

Deadly Class – I’m pretty sure an ex boyfriend bought me this one? I’ve never felt the need to reread it.
Everything Everything – This was such a great read the first time around, but I won’t be reading it again.
Dear John – I loved this book. I can so clearly picture it, thanks to binging this and the movie in the same week, so I don’t need to hang on to it.

The Unexpected Everything – I won this in a giveaway and had to read it twice. The first time I couldn’t get into it, and the second time I found it quite enjoyable.
When in Paris – I have read this book so many times. This was my first introduction to New Adult and Romance novels. Since then my tastes have changed, so I have no problem passing this on.
The Vincent Boys – I read this but don’t remember anything about it? So, goodbye my friend.

Love and Other Perishable Items – I loved loved loved this sweet book. It’s another read that I can so vividly picture I don’t have the need or want to reread it. I hope someone else loves it the way I did.
Demigods and Monsters – I was gifted this copy from the author in exchange for promotion and review. This is book two in the series, and it was a 3 star series for me.
The Casual Vacancy – With all the drama surrounding this author I have no qualms getting rid of this book that I DNF’d at least twice. Harry Potter will always get it’s own shelf, but this can go.

Power – This book I read for a class in college. It was a cool concept but I didn’t want to keep it.
Sarah’s Key – This book still horrifies me. I want to say not in a bad way, but yes in a not good way. So I don’t want it anymore, maybe someone else can get what they need from it.

I know this seems like a lot…and it is. But a lot of these books I’ve been hanging on to for WAY TOO LONG. We are moving into a new decade, and I want to make sure I bring the best and most important books with me. So so long 2019. So long books. Thank you for standing proudly on my shelves, some of you for years at a time, some of you for only a few months. Fare travels my friends.

Anxious For Nothing: Mini Review

Anxious For Nothing by Max Lucado

This book was exactly what I needed when I needed it. I’ve had this book for at least two or three years, have picked it up a few times, but never finished it. Not until I needed to.

This book is a non fiction book that takes a deeper look into Philippians 4: 6-7. This is one of my favorite verses in the bible, and yet it is the one I struggle with the most in my day to day life.

I was nervous to pick this up because of the connotation surrounding Christians and mental health. Society seems to believe, well if you’ve been saved by Christ shouldn’t your life look perfect? You don’t need doctors or medicine, you have Him. And while, yes, I do have Him in my corner and at every turn, I really appreciated that Lucado included the fact that you may need to seek treatment to get your anxiety under control (whether that is with a therapist or through a medication). That alone made me feel more comfortable and at ease while reading the rest of the book, and more willing and open to take the author’s advice.

The book was separated into easy to follow concepts and chapters, with so many wonderful real life anecdotes and bible stories mixed in. The exploration of the verse really helped to peel back the layers, and find a deeper understanding with each chapter.

I know I’ll be reading this again in the future. There were so many lessons and take-aways, I know I didn’t get everything on this first full go around.

Checked Out: Library Haul!

Hello, friends! It would be remiss of me to not include a library haul on this blog. After all, I am a librarian, and therefore an avid advocate for all things library!

This haul is actually a tad peculiar. All of the books I checked out today are actually ARC’s that I already own on my Kindle (from Netgalley). However, I’m an old fashioned gal, and if I can get my hands on a physical copy of a book, I sure will.

These first two books I’ve actually already read! But…I forgot to write a review after I finished them. *face. palm.* So I checked them out in the hopes that I can speed read through them again and put out two reviews in January.

The Right Swipe is a novel about a dating app creature finding love. It’s a definite enemies-to-lovers troupe, with a lot of miscommunication and misunderstanding mixed in.

The Wedding Party is a one night stand turned sneaking around relationship. I don’t remember much else about this one, so I’m excited to revisit it.

Tidelands is a novel I’m almost 50% of the way through. Philippa Gregory is one of my all time favorite writers. Now that I’m thinking about it, I think I’ve only read one of her novels (The Other Boleyn Girl). This is an extremely atmospheric novel set in, as the title suggests, the Tidelands in England. We follow a woman whose husband vanished, and while she tries to keep her family alive a mysterious stranger arrives in their small water-bound village.

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky is a novel I snatched up off Netgalley as soon as I saw it. This is a spin off from Rick Riordan’s work, so if you were ever a fan of Percy Jackson, you’ll probably be a big fan of this one! Instead of Greek mythology, Tristan Strong introduces many readers to Western African gods and legends. Need I say more?

And there they are! My first library book haul on my blog! Do you use your library? What’s the last book you checked out?

Let's Talk About ARC's

Hey there, friends. I have a confession. I am an unintentional ARC hoarder.

Let’s start at the beginning. What is an ARC? An ARC is an Advanced Readers Copy of a book. Typically these copies are given out for review or PR purposes from the author/publisher. To my understanding, the intention of an ARC is to create excitement about an upcoming release, and to get some good traction with early reviews. These reviews aid the consumer, when the book is officially published, by helping them decide if they think they’d like this new book, or want to try something else.

I have reviewed books for many years, but it wasn’t until I became a librarian that I received any substantial amount of ARC’s online. The two platforms I currently use for procuring my ARC’s are Netgalley and Edelweiss.

NetGalley

Because I had used these platforms in the past, with little to no success, I didn’t believe I’d have much more of a chance this time around either. BOY WAS I WRONG. I was approved for almost every book I requested, which brings us up to speed with this post.

I am very, very, v e r y behind in my ARC reviews. It’s to the point where my ARC’s are no longer ‘advanced’ because I believe all of these books have already been released to the public. Face. Palm. Let’s get into the nitty gritty shall we?

On Netgalley I have been approved for 33 ARC’s, and I have reviewed 9. This leaves me at a 27% feedback ratio.

On Edelweiss I have been approved for 3 ARC’s, 1 that was also approved on Netgalley. I have reviewed 0 of these titles, giving me a 0% feedback ratio. I’m doing, so, so well, as you can see.

Nothing feels worse than feeling like you’ve let someone down, for me at least. And I feel like I’ve let these authors, publishers, and platforms down. I agreed to leave an honest review in exchange for a free ARC and I haven’t followed through to the best of my ability. Well, that all stops now. One book, one review at a time.

Here’s what I plan on reading next.

Do you use ARC’s? How do you keep yourself on track with your reading and reviews? I might start giving myself review deadlines per book, in the hopes that I can treat it like a homework assignment. We’ll see what works!

I was inspired to make this post after watching Books of Amber’s video: How Many ARC’s Do I Own?|| ARC Check In #1

The Gift of Reading

December. The library was decorated. The books were everywhere. But I wanted to do something special…something that had not been done before at our little school’s library.

I’ve seen libraries all over the country, in schools, and in public community spaces, participating in book wrapping events. While cleaning out the storage room, I finally decided to go through the two boxes labeled giveaway, prizes, and donations.

I spent my day online organizing the books by our school’s reading levels, using torn up pieces of sticky notes. Then I typed up a brief description of each book into a word document that we could tape to the front of each book.

Over the next week, and with the help of a few coworkers, we began to gift wrap each and every book. We had over forty books to wrap and giveaway, which meant I had just enough books for one student in every class at our school!!!

I grabbed our binder full of class lists to pick our random winners. Google has this nifty random number generator button. I took the number of students in each class, and then randomly generated a number. If the number was four, the fourth student from the top of the list became our winner!

I wrote down each winner’s name and their teacher on the back of a ticket. Then I sent out the list of winners to our entire school. Slowly but surely they began trickling, one by one, into the library.

Some students were very confused, apprehensive, and had no idea why they were sent down to the library. I assured them they weren’t in trouble, and that they were the winner for their class! They would get to pick one book to take home and keep over the holiday break.

So many kiddos were shocked, or tried to give me back the books at the end of the day. You could see it on their faces, some of these kids had never won anything in their whole lives.

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Me: You’re our book winner!
Them:

This project could not have worked without the help of my coworkers, and without the forethought of the librarians before me who had collected these books. I am so grateful that I could give back to some lucky students in this way. The look on their faces when they realized what was happening, was priceless.

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I hope this is a tradition we can keep alive for many years to come. I’m already thinking of ways to get new books for the kids for next year.

20 Books I Want to Read in 2020

With the new year quickly approaching, it’s time to make some new reading goals. I’ve had a plethora of books on my desk, shelves, and sitting in my holds list at the library, that are oh so patiently waiting to be picked up and read. Here are just 20 of those books that I’m hoping I can get to in the new year.

Fair warning: these descriptions are based on my poor, and probably inaccurate, memory of what the books may or may not be about. Unless I draw a complete blank and resort to Goodreads, as usual.

Spinning Silver
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

From what I can remember, the premise of this book was sold to me as a gender-bent, Rumpelstiltskin retelling. I’ve heard this is a must read for fantasy lovers, and I knew I’d be picking up a Naomi Novik book soon…it was just a matter of deciding which one I’d read first.

Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

I picked up this book from BookOutlet A G E S ago. I pulled it out and put in on my desk in 2019 with the hopes that seeing it every day would entice me to read it. Welp. Still haven’t, but fully plan to come 2020. This one is about kick-butt magic wielders. Fighting with swords AND magic? Hello, sign me up.

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1)
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

If you’re reading this blog do you even need a description of this one? I’m realizing, hoping, some of my coworkers or friends might have found their way here. If so…hi and welcome! Okay this one is gritty, and about faeries. Some novels easily lose the animalistic nature of a fae beings, but this one, apparently, does not. Think O.G. Cinderella, where the step sister cuts off her toes and shoves her bleeding stump of a foot into the glass slipper. Grit. Tea.

The Priory of the Orange Tree
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Uh. This one has dragons. And I’m here for it. I can’t remember if the dragons are anthropomorphic? Or if they’re against the human race, or working in tandem with them? But they’re there. And I believe they’re at war.

An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahi

A pristine, beautiful, paperback edition of this book was donated to the library I previously worked at. You best believe I snatched her right up! I’ve heard mixed reviews about this series. Clearly, as the cover depicts, we have a strong female main character, and I believe this takes place in a desert setting. I think they’re trying to covertly take over a corrupt kingdom? But I mean…aren’t they all?

The Beautiful (The Beautiful, #1)
The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

Finally! A fresh, new book on vampires. Or at least that’s what we all thought until the reviews started to come in. I’ve heard that this is less in your face vampire, and more observe their characteristics to figure it out. It’s more about a crime spree in New Orleans in like the 1800s? And our main character is sent here to try and solve it while protecting the vampires who are being framed.

The Library Book
The Library Book by Susan Orlean

I believe this one is a non fiction! Or at least a retelling of real life events. There was a fire in a library, and this book sort of deals with the events leading up to the fire, and how it effects everyone after. I think the overarching theme is that libraries are precious, and the people who work in them are precious, and I really want to read about my people.

Godblind (Godblind, #1)
Godblind by Anna Stephens

This book. I found hidden in a discount store and honestly could not look away from the cover. It wasn’t widely reviewed when I picked it up originally, so I just had to go with my gut. It sounded like a really gory, intense fantasy, about the clash between Gods and men. Perhaps that’s too literal of an interpretation, maybe it’s more of a religious war. We’ll find out!

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

Boy, oh boy. Does this list include some of the longest books ever. This author is renowned in the epic fantasy genre. I’ve started this book, and LOVED it. But I just couldn’t commit to only reading this massive, 1000+ page beast. The writing, the fight scenes, the brewing war, the political intrigue. I’m ready to tackle book one of this series in 2020.

The Portal (Tangled in Time, #1)
The Portal: Tangled in Time by Kathryn Lasky

This is a brand new middle grade series! It sounds precious and a little ominous? It begins with the death of our main characters mother, and then somehow she begins time traveling to London and enmeshes herself with the Princesses there. I’m excited to see where this falls on the scale of historical fiction or fantastical magical realism?

The Last Wish (The Witcher, #0.5)
The Last Wish: The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski

Netflix and read the book first, am I right? So this is the prequel to the now incredibly popular (soon to be released) Netflix series, The Witcher. Our main character is INCREDIBLY HOT, I’d insert an image but I don’t want you to drool on your keyboards, and a magical assassin? He’s tasked with saving the new princess/queen who he somehow knows is being targeted. This book is a mash up of short stories following different characters, but all the plot points are relevant before beginning the first official novel according to my research.

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)
Scythe by Neal Shusterman

This is a young adult novel that deals heavily with death. I’m not super sure how, but I believe the characters are tasked with somehow evading death, or maybe they are death themselves? I honestly don’t want to know too much going in.

Between Shades of Gray
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

This is a historical fiction novel that I believe is set during WWII. All I know for sure is that I will cry when I read this, and that’s why I’ve been putting it off for so long. But I read just about one WWII novel every year, and this is my pick for 2020.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1)
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

This sounds like the sweetest adventure. This is an elementary/middle grade series about a girl and her dragon who go on traveling adventures together. The art on the cover and chapter headings is gorgeous. I don’t know why I keep pushing this aside.

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)
House of Earth and Blood: Crescent City by Sarah J. Maas

Screams into the air. For those of you who don’t know me yet, SJM wrote my second favorite series of all time, A Court of Thorns and Roses (the top place will always belong to Harry Potter). This new novel is an adult fantasy version of the same world SJM has transported us to in the past, with both ACOTAR and TOG. We have fae being fae, and getting up to no magical good. I think this will focus more heavily on the fae religions and more world building. My heart is pounding just writing this and looking at the cover. Let’s. Freaking. Go.

Space Boy Volume 1 (Space Boy, #1)
Space Boy Vol. 1 by Stephen McCranie

This is a graphic novel that looks beautiful, and I love a handful of Sci-Fi novels per year. This, I believe, is a Young Adult graphic novel about a girl who gets transported to Earth and doesn’t love it. Shrugs in understanding.

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe
Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe by Max Lucado

This is a Christian Fiction novel. I don’t know if I made that genre up just now…but as the title indicates, it’s about a blessed little cafe. We learn about the lives of the patrons of the cafe, and the baristas. As with life they struggle through peaks and valleys, and it just sounds like the most lovely-uplifting read.

In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character
In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character by Jen Wilkin

This is a non fiction Christian book. This book caught my eye one day at work while I was reshelving. I loved the layout of the chapters, and how the book seems to get it’s message across. As I was flipping through many of my favorite verses were used as examples or context, which makes me excited to dive in to this devotional.

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1)
Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

I have heard that this one is d a r k. I can’t remember anything else. And I’m okay with that. Certain books, I just go in as blind as possible. This is one of them.

An Enchantment of Ravens
An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

THIS COVER ART, OKAY?! It’s so gorgeous, and then I read the description and was even more excited. This is a standalone novel about a faerie painter who falls in love with a faerie prince?! I’m sure something must go wrong at some point. Couldn’t tell you what though…

Well there you have it! Those are the 20 books I want to read in 2020. Did you guys see a pattern? Fae. Fantasy. Dragons. Magic. These are just some of my favorite things. There were so many more great books I thought of while making this list.

I’m sure my eye doctor is quaking at how many books I’m planning on devouring. You fail one part of the eye exam one time from over reading and they never let you forget it. That and the fact that my glasses now cost almost twice as much.

Anyways! What are you planning on reading in 2020? Are you going to try anything from my list?? Let me know in the comments below.

Red, White & Royal Blue: Review

As you’re about to see, I read and reviewed this book over the summer. However, I just got my first physical copy of the book from Book of the Month in my December box! Enjoy the review!

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free ARC of this novel. Regardless of the way I acquired the novel, the thoughts, opinions, and views stated in this review are completely unbiased and one hundred percent my own.

There is a good chance this review is going to be an incoherent gush because I LOVED THIS BOOK AND THESE BOYS SO MUCH.

I don’t know who in the publishing/writing world decided summer 2019 would be Young Adult/New Adult Pride Summer but I am l i v i n g for the queer representation that’s been all over the book channels this summer. Yes. Queens. Live your literary truth.

Alex and Henry are the perfect characters, for me, in this novel. They were each so unique and individual, while leading seemingly parallel lives. I loved how their stories intertwine, how they meet, how their feelings for each other grow and unfurl like a beautiful peacock tail (I’m really not sure why that’s the imagery I came up with in this moment…).

I read another review that mentioned they wished Alex and Henry had alternating POV’s throughout the novel. I think I liked having this first novel be all Alex because it was his discovery of himself, and his mom’s big election, so it made sense that everything was handled through his world view. However, I love the idea of getting inside Henry’s POV, and if/when we get a book two, having Henry take the lead would be, everything.

I really just want to gush about how sweet, and cute, and steamy these two romantic boys are, but that would give away all the best parts of the novel. I definitely got very emotional more than a few times while reading their love story.

The only negative thing I have to say about this novel is that it got a little political heavy. This was totally in character for Alex, our future leader of the free world, but it got to be too much for me, the reviewer who can’t even watch an entire news segment without cringing or turning it off. That’s really the only reason this doesn’t get the full 5 star rating, because I found myself skimming over some of the political discussion just so I could get to our next scene faster.

Other than that I adored this book. I ADORED the setting, and the fact that our characters included the First Son of a female President, and the Prince of England. And I adored how they navigated their relationships with their family, their countries, and each other. You guys, just read it, okay. It’s so. Cute. I want to hug them both. Love is love is love is love is love…

4.5/5