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Book Blogging and Social Anxiety

“There was a boy in her room.”

First line in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Hi, guys. I’ve been meaning to write a post about social anxiety for a while because it’s something that has a great impact on my life. Occasionally, I’ve mentioned that I suffer from it here on my blog, but I’ve never really gone into much detail. Not that I’m going to spill all the detail of my personal life in this post, but I want to let you know how it affects the way I do book blogging. I also really want to start a conversation about this because it’s something so many people suffer from, even if they don’t know about it. It’s going to be a long one, so settle in.

What is social anxiety?

The short definition of social anxiety (also called social phobia) is a long-term and overwhelming fear of social situations. It’s natural for people to worry about a social situation once in a while, but for people with social anxiety, it turns into an intense fear/worry both before, during, and after a social event.

Some signs that may indicate that you have social anxiety:

  • You worry about everyday activities, such as meeting strangers, starting conversations, speaking on the phone, working or shopping.
  • You avoid or worry a lot about social activities, such as group conversations, eating with company and parties.
  • You always worry about doing something you think is embarrassing, such as blushing, sweating or appearing incompetent.
  • You find it difficult to do things when others are watching. You may feel like you’re being watched and judged all the time.
  • You fear being criticized, avoid eye contact or have low self-esteem.
  • You often have symptoms like feeling sick, sweating, trembling or a pounding heartbeat.
  • You have panic attacks, where you have an overwhelming sense of fear and anxiety, usually only for a few minutes.

I’ve taken this list from the NHS, and they have a lot more information if you’re interested.

How do I combine anxiety and blogging?

After reading the symptoms above, it shouldn’t be a surprise to you that many people with social anxiety instinctively want to hide in a hole somewhere and never interact with anyone. It’s just easier sometimes. Nevertheless, we’re still human, so we still need social interaction to not go crazy or slip into depression. Too much interaction, though, and there’s also a depression waiting for you. Thanks, universe.

All of this meant that when I started my blog, I had spent a lot of time thinking about my expectations, what I wanted from it, how much I wanted to give. I had to realize how my anxiety might limit me and then accept that. Without accepting it, I couldn’t then later start working on it and push my limits. And that’s the important part! Social anxiety is something you can work on, but not all at once. It was a big step for me to even start this blog because it goes against every instinct I have to draw attention to myself. But then, when I somehow didn’t die, I got the courage to push those other limits. Here’s a list of some of the things I had to work on:

  • Answering comments on my own posts without having to worry about it for several hours.
  • Invading other people’s spaces and interacting with literal strangers. The whole point of creating a blog was to talk about books with other people.
  • Tagging authors in positive reviews on Twitter.
  • Be active on Twitter in general.
  • Entering/hosting giveaways. Winning a giveaway means interaction with the host and that’s a high risk. Hosting a giveaway means interaction is a certainty.
  • Any interaction with authors whether it be for review requests, interviews etc.
  • Participate in blog tours and review ARCs because those get a lot of attention.

With these limitations, I was very aware of the fact that I wasn’t going to be an immensely popular book blogger, but I accepted that. I’m still working on a lot of these, but there are also some I’ve scratched from the list such as blog tours and ARCs after learning I had zero interest in those. For the things I’m still working on, there are ups and downs, and I thought I would give you a few examples of what I’ve experienced.

In case you’re new to my blog, I should tell you that I love discussions, and the prospect of a good discussion is one of the things that can draw me out of my shell. So when a popular BookTuber posted a video in which she claimed (several times) that she wanted to discuss different aspects in the comment section, I couldn’t resist. You should also know that I’m one of those people who, if I don’t have a strong opinion on a topic, will naturally argue the opposite because I believe that to be beneficial for everyone. That… can be dangerous, as I learned that day of the BookTube video. You see, I decided to comment on that video with what I thought was a kind response that, however, disagreed with her. To my own big surprise, she actually answered me, and that’s when I learned that she didn’t want a discussion as she had claimed. She just wanted to be confirmed in her own opinion by her followers, and I hadn’t delivered on that. I also learned that I had stumbled upon a nest of cancel culture people, and they just seem to be allergic to respectful conversations or something. The short version is that it got pretty ugly, and I had to delete the comment to keep my sanity. But I still felt awful for weeks and didn’t sleep at all the night afterward. It was a step backward for me in terms of commenting on other blogs/videos, and even though this happened seven months ago, I’m still not back to commenting on strangers’ posts.

On a more positive note, I made progress on getting over my fear of entering giveaways last year. I saw one on Twitter for a book that I really wanted, and I knew I was going to buy it anyway, so I held my breath and entered because you never win these things anyway.
Well, I did win. And freaked out.
The giveaway was hosted by the author himself, and he said just to DM him with my details. Now, I don’t know who would just casually DM one of their favorite authors and just be cool about it, but let me tell you, you don’t want that added anxiety I experienced in that situation. However, when I finally responded, everything was fine. I didn’t die, and more importantly, I didn’t embarrass myself (yes, that is more important). I will probably still be scared if it were to happen again (unlikely), but hopefully less than this first time, and that’s one way you can work on social anxiety. Getting to know new social situations and steadily becoming more and more familiar with them, so that you can feel in control. This might lead to me one day getting the courage to host a giveaway because that’s something I really want to do.

Now, I think I’ve rambled on for long enough, but before I leave you, I thought I would give you some book recommendations, in case you’re interested in reading about anxiety in fiction. My own favorite is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, which does a really good job of describing that fear and how it all works. It definitely helped me put my feelings into words. Another book recommendation is Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. This one focuses a lot on anxiety’s consequences on one’s life but also shows how to treat the condition. Lastly, we have Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde, which portrays how constraining social anxiety can be. It’s about these limitations I was talking about and how you push them to live the life you want.
These are all Young Adult because I’ve never come across social anxiety rep in Adult fiction, but if you know of any, please leave them in the comment section below.

This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for months, and I always thought of it as that post I’m going to put up when I have nothing else. I tried to make it helpful, but it’s just as much a post I had to do to get something off my chest. So please remember that I’m no healthcare professional, and that my experiences might not be the same as everyone else’s. So stay safe and happy reading.

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2020 Reading Stats

“It was almost sweet the way they worried about me.”

First line in Galatea by Madeline Miller

We’ve made it to my final “end-of-the-year” post where I’m going to throw a lot of numbers at you. I often wonder how interesting these stats posts are to other people, but I love doing them and that’s all that matters. I’ll try to make it interesting.

In 2020, I read 28,526 pages across 64 books. Apparently, I’m a creature of habit because those numbers for 2019 were 28,756 pages across 63 books. Should I set myself the challenge of guessing the exact number of pages I read in 2021? Looks like it shouldn’t be that hard 😅.

My average rating for the year was 3.7 out of 5. That doesn’t say a whole lot as the average rating of so many books is bound to land somewhere around the middle. Here is a more detailed overview of my rating (as I have rounded up or down on Goodreads):

  • 5 ⭐: 19 books
  • 4 ⭐: 19 books
  • 3 ⭐: 11 books
  • 2 ⭐: 9 books
  • 1 ⭐: 2 books
  • No rating: 4 books

Note that six of the 5-star books were rereads, but that still leaves me with 13 new 5 star reads. I’m very satisfied with that.
As something very rare for me, I also had two DNF’s this year, but they weren’t rated and only counted towards the number of pages read. That left my average book length at 439 pages. I read a lot of big books in 2020.

I see other bloggers making fancy pie charts for the genres they’ve read in 2020. But I did the math and realized my pie chart would be very boring as I read 75% fantasy. Remember how I talked about being a creature of habit? Can you guess how much fantasy I read in 2019? Yes, that’s right, 75%. And just I case you were wondering, my second and third most popular genres in 2020 were Science Fiction and Historical Fiction. That has changed from last year when Contemporary was my second most popular. In 2020, I only read two contemporaries, and one of those was a graphic novel. It really wasn’t something I had planned, and I still consider the genre to be one I like. However, I’ve read a lot more historical fiction novels in 2020, so I think those were the ones I turned to instead whenever I needed a break from fantasy. I’m not mad about that because those books were some of my favorites of the year.

I do have a pie chart, though, that shows whether I primarily read books by female or male authors:

Please note that I read one book by a genderfluid author. But as the chart shows, I clearly have a preference, and it isn’t all that surprising to me. Since I started reading as a child, I’ve always felt that I preferred books by female authors. To check that statement, I calculated my average rating for both genders: my average rating for male authors were 3.6 and 3.8 for the female authors.
Not a huge difference, but enough to confirm that I shouldn’t actively take steps to change this ratio.

In terms of age demographic, I’m mainly interested in the ratio between YA and Adult. The chart looks like this:

That looks exactly like I want it to. A fairly even divide, but a bit more adult. In 2019, YA was in the lead with 56%, so it’ll be interesting to see if YA will continue to diminish, but I don’t think so.

Lastly, I’ll finish this off with some quick, fun stats:

📚 The highest rated book on Goodreads that I read in 2020 was Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson (4.73 stars)

📚 The most popular book on Goodreads that I read in 2020 was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling (happens when you do rereads)

📚 The least popular book on Goodreads that I read in 2020 was The Nephilim Protocol by J. D. Kloosterman

📚 According to Storygraph, I read most slow-paced books (22 books) and least fast-paced books (15)

📚 The shortest book I read was Galatea by Madeline Miller (20 pages)

📚 The longest book I read was Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson (1,220 pages)

I think that’s all the interesting things I had to say about my 2020 reading statistics. I’m quite satisfied with everything, which is a good thing because if there’s one thing we’ve learned today, it is that I’m automatically going to read the exact same way in 2021. Hope you all have a great reading year!

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Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Opening Lines in Books

“There was a boy in her room.”

First line in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Hi, guys and welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday. It’s been a few weeks since the last one for me, but since the topic is a ‘freebie’ I thought I would take to opportunity to share my favorite opening lines. I recently realized that I’d never done this before which seems like a giant mistake on my part. I share first lines at the start of everyone of my posts so it must have slipped my mind to dedicate an entire post to them. Rectifying that today!

Top Ten Tuesday is as usual hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl so head over there to check out the future topics. Let’s start!

The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin

“Hmm. No. I’m telling this wrong.”

What a way to start your sequel! It sort of negates the entire first book. The reader obviously loved it, but is now being told it was wrong. Interest is peaked for the second book.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

“The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say.”

Dog = the best kind of first line. On top of that, it’s a talking dog! You don’t care that it doesn’t have anything to say. You wanna read about the talking dog!

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

“We must, by law, keep a record of the innocents we kill.”

Wait… Innocents? Why would you kill innocent people? And that’s not even the focus of the sentence. It’s about something as dry as keeping a record of it. The juxtaposition is haunting.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

“Long before we discovered that he had fathered two children by two different women, one in Drimoleague and one in Clonakilty, Father James Monroe stood on the altar of the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, in the parish of Goleen, West Cork, and denounced my mother as a whore.”

Did you catch all of that? It’s almost an entire book in one sentence. I mean, you already have several “plot twists” before the story has even started.

The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith

“Books ran away when they grew restless, when they grew unruly, or when they grew real.”

You better keep an eye on all of those unread books on your bookshelf. They might run away.

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

“If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.”

A book that knows that it’s not for everyone and is being kind and helpful about it. Although it’s fake. It’s actually forcing you to read it because there’s no way you’re putting the book down after reading that.

We are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

“Life is bullshit.”

Simple, but effective.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

Simply iconic. The ‘almost’ promises that you will love Eustace Clarence Scrubb just a little bit during the book which makes this beginning both funny and hopeful.

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

“Sometimes, I worry that I’m not the hero everyone thinks I am.”

Chills! An epic introduction to an epic trilogy. Is he a hero or not? It’s a story you want to know.

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

“Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.”

The relatability is unparalleled. The over-analyzing mother, never leaving the house and reading the same books again and again. Same, girl.

I love first lines. But hey, these are just some of the great ones. I’ve also only used lines from books I’ve already read, so please share your favorites in the comments if they aren’t included here. Happy Top Ten Tuesday and happy reading!

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5 Star Predictions #2

“I may have found a solution to the Wife Problem.”

First line in The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Hi, guys. Last week I posted my first 5 star predictions wrap up post, and let’s just say I’d done a pretty awful job of picking 5-star reads for myself. Instead of giving up, I decided to take it as a learning experience so now I’m giving it another attempt. I’ve picked out 5 books from my TBR that I’m pretty sure is at least a 4-star worthy read and hopefully 5.

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic, created to be the wife of a man who dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.

Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free.

Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker’s debut novel The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

Drowned Country by Emily Tesh
(The Greenhollow Duology #2)

Drowned Country is the the stunning sequel to Silver in the Wood, Emily Tesh’s lush, folkloric debut. This second volume of the Greenhollow duology once again invites readers to lose themselves in the story of Henry and Tobias, and the magic of a myth they’ve always known.

Even the Wild Man of Greenhollow can’t ignore a summons from his mother, when that mother is the indomitable Adela Silver, practical folklorist. Henry Silver does not relish what he’ll find in the grimy seaside town of Rothport, where once the ancient wood extended before it was drowned beneath the sea―a missing girl, a monster on the loose, or, worst of all, Tobias Finch, who loves him.

Firestarter by Tara Sim
(Timekeeper #3)

The crew of the Prometheus is intent on taking down the world’s clock towers so that time can run freely. Now captives, Colton, Daphne, and the others have a stark choice: join the Prometheus’s cause, or fight back in any small way they can and face the consequences. But Zavier, leader of the terrorists, has a bigger plan—to bring back the lost god of time.

As new threats emerge, loyalties must shift. No matter where the Prometheus goes—Prague, Austria, India—nowhere is safe, and every second ticks closer toward the eleventh hour. Walking the line between villainy and heroism, each will have to choose what’s most important: saving those you love at the expense of the many, or making impossible sacrifices for the sake of a better world.

I am very confident that I’ve picked some great books this time, even though 3 of them are by authors I’ve never read before. The last two are from series I’ve already started and given 5 stars to previous installments. Looking forward to reading these in the next few months and hopefully come back to you with a more positive wrap up post. Happy reading!

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5-Star Predictions: Wrap Up Post

“All children, except one, grow up.”

First line in Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

Hi, guys. So several months ago I made a post about the 5-star predictions I had at the time. It took me a while, but I’ve finally read all 5 books and it’s time to see if my predictions were correct.

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

Rating: 3 stars

So this was a 5-star prediction because it’s the booktuber Merphy Napier’s favorite book. I have now realized that I don’t share Merphy’s taste in books exactly, and so Peter Pan was just an average book to me. It’s nice knowing the original story, but I would rather watch the movie or maybe read a retelling.

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

Rating: 3 stars

Even though this first book in the series was only a 3-star for me, I ended up really loving the series. I even gave the last one 5 stars so it sort of counts as a correct prediction, right? It’s a quite romance-heavy YA fantasy series, which usually shouldn’t work for me but this one did. It contains a lot of political intrigue and subtle social commentary on racism. There wasn’t much of it in the first book hence the 3-star rating.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Rating: 3 stars

An “everybody loves this”-book that I only found fine. I really liked the cultural aspects of it and how it just normalizes diversity in all regards. Unfortunately, I didn’t care very much about the story or the characters. It was all just fine and failed to make me feel anything which makes me sound really cold. It just has a little too much fluff for me.

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: 4.5 stars

Finally something good! With how bad this list is going, I’m counting 4.5 as a win. It’s been a few months since I read it, but there are two specific scenes in here that I still think about constantly. Perhaps the two best scenes I’ve ever read. So many things to love about this book. The only reason I took off half a star is the way Shallan was written. There were some aspects of her character that didn’t really click with me and I felt she was a little too good to be true. But I love Kaladin. Did I mention that I love Kaladin? Because I do. I really love Kaladin.

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Rating: 2 stars

Sooo this one won a Pulitzer but I didn’t like it *feels eternally ashamed*. The subject matter of the Civil Rights movement is of course very important and interesting… but I need something more to like a book. The writing style was very detached so it was a struggle for me to care about what happened to the characters. I’m such a character focused reader that if I don’t connect with at least some of the characters, then I don’t like the book.

So how did I do?

Books given 5 stars: 0
Books I’m counting as a win anyway: 2 (The Demon King and Words of Radiance)

…Okay that was worse than even my lowest expectations. And the thing is: I’ve read six 5-star books inbetween these ones. So I clearly just don’t know how to pick the right ones. I decided to take a closer look at these 5 books and tried to pull some lessons for myself from it. So here’s a recap of what I learned:

  • I rarely give 5 stars to the first book in a series. Due to all the set up and introductions, they’re just rarely the best books in their series.
  • Classics can’t get a 5 star from me because that old writing style is the opposite of what I like.
  • Award-winning books aren’t necessarily for me because I’m weird and care about characters more than anything.

I’m not sure whether or not to do this again because it was such a HUGE failure. It’s tempting to try again, though, and maybe learn even more about my own taste and what I require of a 5-star book. I’m curious about your experiences though if you’ve ever attempted to predict your 5-star reads or even just plan to. Is it all just for fun or do you have some use out of it? But until next time, happy reading! Hope you’re reading lots of 5 star books!

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TBR Clean Out: Books I No Longer Want to Read

“If I’m not home in two months, I’m dead.”

First line in Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

Hi, guys. Lately, I’ve been stressing myself out a lot with all the books I need to read. There are just too many, and it’s actually affected more than it should. I feel a pressure to read all the popular fantasy books to be able to be a part of online discussions. Then I also have to read all the underrated gems to support those authors. And let’s not forget that all while doing that, I also have to fill out the diversity bingo card or get “cancelled”.

To do something active about this stress feeling, I decided that I needed to remove the books from my TBR that I actually didn’t want to read anymore. Some of those I added a very long time ago and now have to realize that I’m never gonna get to. Let’s start!

  • The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo

The fact that I read about one classic a year, should have told me that I was being very optimistic by adding this chunker to my TBR. I had found out that it was different from the movie and wanted to know how. But I could also just read a summary…

  • The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

This has been on my TBR since February 2018 and was one of those books I added to my TBR when I just discovered BookTube. It was compared to The Night Circus and that was all I needed. Now I know that McLemore’s books tend to lean more towards magical realism and that just not my genre.

  • The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Added because the same author wrote Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. The synopsis itself isn’t something that really speaks to me and since it’s been on my TBR for more than 2 years, it’s going off.

  • Remaining Books by Rick Riordan

Please don’t kill me. I’ve read the Percy Jackson series and the first 3 books in the Hero of Olympus. I liked the first series well enough growing up, but reading the last three books as an adult simply hasn’t worked for me. Riordan’s formulaic writing means that it feels like I’ve read the same book 8 times. It’s incredibly boring and I’m not going to do it another 8 times. Life’s too short.

  • Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzi Lee

As much as I love Marvel, I’ve realized that I’m going to just stick to the movies. Reading about superheroes (or whatever you’d call Loki) isn’t something I’m extremely interested in.

  • King of Fools by Amanda Foody

This is the sequel to Ace of Shades which I gave 3 stars. It had potential so I added the second book to my TBR. However, my library never got it and when I have to buy a book, I get a little more picky with what I read. I’ve had to realize that I’m just not that excited about it.

In total I removed 11 books from my TBR (there were a few Rick Riordan books), so it went from 98 to 87. 87 might not sound like a lot but it’s not completely accurate either. When reading series, I only add the one book I need to read next in case it’s so bad I want to quit on the series. So in reality my TBR is a lot bigger and never grows smaller. But this clean out did help a little. Do you remove books from your TBR once in a while?

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An Update On My 2020 Reading Goals

“The end of our final winter break seems almost like the beginning of a victory lap.”

First line in Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Hi, guys. At the start of 2020, I made a post about the books I wanted to get to this year. As we are halfway through the year, it’s time to check in and see how I’m doing.

I’ll start by going through the books I’ve managed to cross off the list:

  • Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

This one featured in my 5-star predictions post, but I ended up rating it 3 stars, unfortunately.

  • The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

I didn’t just read this one but the entire series! That’s 3 more books, guys. Maybe I’ll add the companion series to my goals for next year.

  • Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

I wanted to give this author duo a shot and that turned out to be a great idea. I gave this one 4 stars, and will be looking their way again when I’m in the mood for a contemporary.

  • Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Well, at least I tried this author and now know that he’s not for me. I gave Dark Matter 2 stars.

  • Words of Radiance and Edgedancer by Brandon Sanderson

I have loved making my way through the Stormlight Archive. These two books were given 4.5 and 4 stars.

  • The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan

This third book in the Wheel of Time turned out to be quite a big miss for me which is sad because I liked the first two. I’m still going to continue with the series and hope this was a one time thing.

That was pretty good, right?. Let’s move on to the pile of books I haven’t touched yet.

  • The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

I don’t care that it’ll be a while before book 3 in this series sees the light of day. I just want to be caught up. Sadly, I don’t see many positive reviews of this second book so it’s not one I’m really excited about.

  • The Shadow Rising and The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan

Book 4 and 5 in the Wheel of Time. Considering that I need a significant break between each book, I’m a bit worried about the fifth book. I completely blame the closed-down libraries for this because I was meant to read book 3 a lot sooner than I actually did.

  • Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

I’m going to have caught up with this series when the fourth book comes out! I hate having to avoid spoilers for this series so I’m going to be reading it very soon. It will probably still take me almost a month to read so I need to just start it.

  • The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

This is the kind of book where if I don’t read it this year, it’s probably going off my TBR because then I’m clearly not motivated enough to read it. I still really want to read it because it’s one I think I’ll really love as soon as I get into it.

  • *3 Neil Gaiman books*

My goal was to read 4 books by Gaiman because I haven’t had much luck with him previously. I want to really give it a shot this year and if I still haven’t fallen in love with his work by December, I’m going to stop trying. I’ve only read one book by him so far this year which was Norse Mythology which was alright but difficult to really judge him on. The only one of his other books I’ve planned to read is Neverwhere. Not sure where to go after that. Any suggestions are welcome!

The last book on the list was The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, which I’m happy to say that I’m currently reading.

That means that I’ve read 8 and a half of the 17 books I wanted to read. Not to brag about my planning skills… but that’s perfect. Halfway through the year and half of the books read. Let’s just ignore the fact that I’ve read all the small books and left all the big ones for the last half of the year.

Do you have goals for 2020? Let me know if you’re on top of everything or now hate me for reminding you. Happy reading!

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Books I Recently Added to My TBR: Wyrd and Wonder Edition (Part 2)

“Hmm. No. I’m telling this wrong.”

First line in The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin

Hi, guys. I’m back with part 2 of telling you about all the books I added to my TBR in the month of May. It was the month of Wyrd and Wonder so all of these books are in the fantasy genre. If you missed part 1, it’s right here.

As I clearified in the first post, I haven’t necessarily discovered these books through Wyrd and Wonder related posts. This is merely a list of all the fantasy books I added to my TBR during May. Let’s start!

The Lightning-Struck Heart by T. J. Klune

Once upon a time, in an alleyway in the slums of the City of Lockes, a young and somewhat lonely boy named Sam Haversford turns a group of teenage douchebags into stone completely by accident.

Of course, this catches the attention of a higher power, and Sam’s pulled from the only world he knows to become an apprentice to the King’s Wizard, Morgan of Shadows.

When Sam is fourteen, he enters the Dark Woods and returns with Gary, the hornless gay unicorn, and a half-giant named Tiggy, earning the moniker Sam of Wilds.

At fifteen, Sam learns what love truly is when a new knight arrives at the castle. Sir Ryan Foxheart, the dreamiest dream to have ever been dreamed.

Naturally, it all goes to hell through the years when Ryan dates the reprehensible Prince Justin, Sam can’t control his magic, a sexually aggressive dragon kidnaps the prince, and the King sends them on an epic quest to save Ryan’s boyfriend, all while Sam falls more in love with someone he can never have.

Or so he thinks.

Why it sounds awesome:

  • “the hornless gay unicorn”… What? Like you need more reasons.
  • Sounds deliciously weird
  • T. J. Klune is an author I need to try. This is the third book of his I’m adding to my TBR. The first two being The House in the Cerulean Sea and Wolfsong.

The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington

It has been twenty years since the end of the war. The dictatorial Augurs—once thought of almost as gods—were overthrown and wiped out during the conflict, their much-feared powers mysteriously failing them. Those who had ruled under them, men and women with a lesser ability known as the Gift, avoided the Augurs’ fate only by submitting themselves to the rebellion’s Four Tenets. A representation of these laws is now written into the flesh of any who use the Gift, forcing those so marked into absolute obedience.

As a student of the Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war fought—and lost—before he was born. Despised by most beyond the school walls, he and those around him are all but prisoners as they attempt to learn control of the Gift. Worse, as Davian struggles with his lessons, he knows that there is further to fall if he cannot pass his final tests.

But when Davian discovers he has the ability to wield the forbidden power of the Augurs, he sets into motion a chain of events that will change everything. To the north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated begins to stir. And to the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian’s wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is…

Why it sounds awesome:

  • Epicness!
  • Forbidden power that character wields anyway. Do I spy a chosen one trope? Because then: Yes, please!

Royal Rescue by A. Alex Logan

At age eighteen, when they become marriageable, all royal children in the Thousand Kingdoms must either go questing to rescue another royal or be hidden away to await rescue themselves. Some go the traditional route of princes rescuing princesses, but not all princes want to be rescuers…and some would rather rescue other princes.

Then there’s Prince Gerald, who has no interest in getting married at all. When he refuses to choose a role as either rescuer or rescuee, his royal parents choose for him and have him magicked away to a distant tower to await a spouse.

Gerald, however, is having none of it. He recruits his guardian dragon and a would-be rescuer and soon the trio is dashing to all corners of the united kingdoms on a quest to overturn the entire system.

Why it sounds awesome:

  • It reminds me of Shrek… Sounds like it also pokes fun at the whole “rescue the princess from the tower” trope. And also gender-bending it.
  • Guardian dragon!

The Goblin Emporor by Katherine Addison

The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an “accident,” he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.
Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.
Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend . . . and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne–or his life.

Why it sounds awesome:

  • Well, most of the Wyrd and Wonder community seemed to love it during the readalong. I was unable to read it with them but I’m now sure I want to get to it in the future.
  • Court intrigue!!

The Wicker King by K. Ancrum

When August learns that his best friend, Jack, shows signs of degenerative hallucinatory disorder, he is determined to help Jack cope. Jack’s vivid and long-term visions take the form of an elaborate fantasy world layered over our own—a world ruled by the Wicker King. As Jack leads them on a quest to fulfill a dark prophecy in this alternate world, even August begins to question what is real or not.

August and Jack struggle to keep afloat as they teeter between fantasy and their own emotions. In the end, each must choose his own truth.

Why it sounds awesome:

  • Mental health!
  • Sounds like it hurts to read (which for me is a good thing)
  • Contemporary story with fantasy elements

I used to be pretty good at keeping my TBR quite small, but during Wyrd and Wonder, you guys just kept writing about amazing books I’d never heard of before. So THANK YOU! Are any of these books also on your TBR or are you lucky enough to have already read them?

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Wyrd and Wonder: May TBR

“I wake with his name in my mouth.”

First line in Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Hi, guys. Welcome to my TBR post for May where I’m participating in Wyrd and Wonder for the first time. Wyrd and Wonder is a month-long blogging event where we celebrate all things fantasy. There are a lot of ways to participate if you’re interested. You can find more information right here or follow on Twitter @wyrdandwonder. I highly recommend following the Twitter account even if you’re not participating yourself. It’s all hosted by Lisa from Dear Geek Place, Imryl from One More and Jorie from Jorie Loves A Story.

So for the month of May, I’m only going to be reading fantasy (yay!), and I’ve picked 5 books to read. That’s like my standard number for a month so I see it as very doable. Among the books, I have one of my most anticipated releases of the year, a few sequels and I’m also starting two new series. Let’s look at them!

Chosen Ones (The Chosen Ones #1) by Veronica Roth

A decade ago near Chicago, five teenagers defeated the otherworldly enemy known as the Dark One, whose reign of terror brought widespread destruction and death. The seemingly un-extraordinary teens—Sloane, Matt, Ines, Albie, and Esther—had been brought together by a clandestine government agency because one of them was fated to be the “Chosen One,” prophesized to save the world. With the goal achieved, humankind celebrated the victors and began to mourn their lost loved ones.

Ten years later, though the champions remain celebrities, the world has moved forward and a whole, younger generation doesn’t seem to recall the days of endless fear. But Sloane remembers. It’s impossible for her to forget when the paparazzi haunt her every step just as the Dark One still haunts her dreams. Unlike everyone else, she hasn’t moved on; she’s adrift—no direction, no goals, no purpose. On the eve of the Ten Year Celebration of Peace, a new trauma hits the Chosen: the death of one of their own. And when they gather for the funeral at the enshrined site of their triumph, they discover to their horror that the Dark One’s reign never really ended.

Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5) by Brandon Sanderson

Three years ago, Lift asked a goddess to stop her from growing older–a wish she believed was granted. Now, in Edgedancer, the barely teenage nascent Knight Radiant finds that time stands still for no one. Although the young Azish emperor granted her safe haven from an executioner she knows only as Darkness, court life is suffocating the free-spirited Lift, who can’t help heading to Yeddaw when she hears the relentless Darkness is there hunting people like her with budding powers. The downtrodden in Yeddaw have no champion, and Lift knows she must seize this awesome responsibility.

The Last Sun (The Tarot Sequence #1) by K. D. Edwards

Rune Saint John, last child of the fallen Sun Court, is hired to search for Lady Judgment’s missing son, Addam, on New Atlantis, the island city where the Atlanteans moved after ordinary humans destroyed their original home.

With his companion and bodyguard, Brand, he questions Addam’s relatives and business contacts through the highest ranks of the nobles of New Atlantis. But as they investigate, they uncover more than a missing man: a legendary creature connected to the secret of the massacre of Rune’s Court.

In looking for Addam, can Rune find the truth behind his family’s death and the torments of his past?

The Merciful Crow (The Merciful Crow #1) by Margaret Owen

A future chieftain.

Fie abides by one rule: look after your own. Her Crow caste of undertakers and mercy-killers takes more abuse than coin, but when they’re called to collect royal dead, she’s hoping they’ll find the payout of a lifetime.

A fugitive prince.

When Crown Prince Jasimir turns out to have faked his death, Fie’s ready to cut her losses—and perhaps his throat. But he offers a wager that she can’t refuse: protect him from a ruthless queen, and he’ll protect the Crows when he reigns.

A too-cunning bodyguard.

Hawk warrior Tavin has always put Jas’s life before his, magically assuming the prince’s appearance and shadowing his every step. But what happens when Tavin begins to want something to call his own?

Chainbreaker (Timekeeper #2) by Tara Sim

Clock mechanic Danny Hart knows he’s being watched. But by whom, or what, remains a mystery. To make matters worse, clock towers have begun falling in India, though time hasn’t Stopped yet. He’d hoped after reuniting with his father and exploring his relationship with Colton, he’d have some time to settle into his new life. Instead, he’s asked to investigate the attacks.

After inspecting some of the fallen Indian towers, he realizes the British occupation may be sparking more than just attacks. And as Danny and Colton unravel more secrets about their past, they find themselves on a dark and dangerous path–one from which they may never return.

Those are the books I plan to read in May. I’m also going to be posting a lot about fantasy. I have quite a few posts I’m very excited to share with you. Also can’t wait to see what everyone else will be doing. May is going to be great! Happy reading.

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O.W.L.s Magical Readathon 2020 – TBR

“Here is the boy, drowning.”

First line in More Than This by Patrick Ness

Hi, guys. Today I’m giving you something as rare as a monthly TBR from me. I decided that I wanted to participate in the yearly O.W.L.s Magical Readathon, which is so brilliantly hosted by G from the YouTube channel Book Roast. I’m been following her for a while and saw how much effort she put into the N.E.W.T.s Readathon last fall. I figured I had to try it out so here we are.

Her announcement video is right here:

If you want to learn more about all the details, you should check out the website. The readathon takes place between April 1st and April 30th.

The career I’ve chosen to go for is

Trader of Magical Tomes

Key traits: Eager to learn – Attentive – Calm – Thorough

It’s basically the magical equivalent of a bookshop owner. Of course, that’s what I’m going to be.

The classes (and prompts) required are:

Ancient Runes (Heart rune)A book with a heart on the cover or in the title
Charms (Lumos Maxima)A book with a white cover
Transfiguration (Animagus)A book or series that include shapeshifting
History of Magic (Witch hunts)A book featuring witches or wizards

My Picks

Read a book with a heart on the cover or in the title: The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne.


Cyril Avery is not a real Avery or at least that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he?

Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead.

At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from – and over his three score years and ten, will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country and much more.

In this, Boyne’s most transcendent work to date, we are shown the story of Ireland from the 1940s to today through the eyes of one ordinary man. The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a novel to make you laugh and cry while reminding us all of the redemptive power of the human spirit.

Read a book with a white cover: Lord of Secrets by Breanna Teintze


Outlaw wizard Corcoran Gray has enough problems. He’s friendless, penniless and on the run from the tyrannical Mages’ Guild – and with the search for his imprisoned grandfather looking hopeless, his situation can’t get much worse.

So when a fugitive drops into his lap – literally – and gets them both arrested, it’s the last straw – until Gray realises that runaway slave Brix could be the key to his grandfather’s release. All he has to do is break out of prison, break into an ancient underground temple and avoid killing himself with his own magic in the process.

In theory, it’s simple enough. But as secrets unfold and loyalties shift, Gray discovers something with the power to change the nature of life and death itself.

Now Gray must find a way to protect the people he loves, but it could cost him everything, even his soul . .

A book that includes shapeshifting: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson


All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

A book featuring witches or wizards: Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin


Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

Those are the books I plan to be the ones which will get me my necessary O.W.L.s. However, things are complicated by the fact that currently, all libraries in Denmark are closed (along with everything else). That means it’s a little difficult for me to get the books but I’m trying to work around it by using ebooks. Just letting you know that yes, this is my tbr but it is subject to change in case things don’t work out according to plan.

I’m so excited to participate in my first Magical Readathon! Please let me know if you’re participating too and what career you’ve chosen. Feel free to link you tbr in the comments if you have one. Happy reading!