Posted in book tags/memes

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Fantasy Books

This is a weekly meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Every week, there’s a theme and you choose ten books that fit it. Check out upcoming topics here.

This week, the topic is 10 books from our favorite genre, and I went with fantasy (in general, instead of choosing a sub-genre because I don’t think I have a favorite). I was 8 books into this list when I started considering splitting it and doing 10 series and 10 stand-alone books, but then I realized I’d need at least 15 for series :/ So, I just used the first 10 books that came to mind when thinking of fantasy books I loved and think of as favorites, because a comprehensive favorites list would probably be like 30+ books long :/ I’m still probably cheating a little by lumping series and such together, but I had to. Otherwise, this post never would have happened because I would still be agonizing over choices years from now 😛

In the order they popped into my head…

All the books from Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse! Yep, I’m even including King of Scars, despite my disappointment with it.

Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #1)
Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)
The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic (Grishaverse, #0.5 & 2.5 & 2.6)
King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1)

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)

Of course I also have to include V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series ❤

Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1)

And Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children novellas, even though I’ve still only read the first two.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #1)

Ransom Riggs’s Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series is a bit of a throwback for me, because I first picked up this series before I got into the online bookish community. (Is it just me, or is our fandom ridiculously small? Or are we just very quiet about our love? I need merch, damn it.)

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle #1)

Speaking of underrated/under-represented fandoms, another throwback is the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray, which I started back in high school and re-read almost as much as I re-read Harry Potter (which I left off this list because it’s just too obvious and gets enough attention).

Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1)

Shoutout to husband for finally getting me to start Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files several years ago. (I swear I’ll read the newest two books as soon as we get an official release date for Peace Talks.)

The Night Circus

I obviously can not make a favorites list (as long as it doesn’t exclude fantasy, that is) without having Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus on it ❤ This one was also from before my online bookish community days. (Ooh hey! At least for US Kindle, this is $2.99 right now!)

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1)

Skipping over into steampunk for a second to show some love for Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, which is endearing, witty, and addictive.

Can I really make a favorites of fantasy list without including Tolkien’s Middle Earth books? I’ve still only read The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, but I really want to devour everything from this universe.

The Hobbit or There and Back Again
The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)
Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1)

My final pick was super hard because my brain threw up like 5 books/series I love pretty equally. I decided to go with Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire Mysteries because… I guess it’s almost a comfort series or something. It was fun, easy to read, and I liked most of the books about the same until I think the last one? (P.S. Don’t judge the books by True Blood omg. They are so different, and the books are way better. I love True Blood, but huge changes were made, and I think the only one I enjoyed involved Lafayette.)

Posted in book tags/memes

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books of the Last Decade

This is a weekly meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Every week, there’s a theme and you choose ten books that fit it. Check out upcoming topics here.

This week’s topic is devoted to our favorite books of the last ten years–one book per year. I seriously struggled with this one because there were a couple of years I didn’t feel super strongly about anything that I’ve read that was released that year, but a few years were when some of my all-time favorite books released, and choosing between them honestly hurt a little.

I’m pretty sure I read almost all of these after the year they were released because I don’t really read too many new releases most years.

In order from newest to oldest…

Sawkill Girls

2018: Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

If We Were Villains

2017: If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1)

2016: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)

2015: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Through the Woods

2014: Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Vicious (Villains, #1)

2013: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #1)

2012: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

The Night Circus

2011: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy, #1)

2010: Feed by Mira Grant

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1)

2009: Soulless by Gail Carriger

What are some of your favorite books from the last ten years?

See any of your own favorites here?

Posted in book tags/memes

Top Ten Tuesday: Books No One Is Allowed to Touch

This is a weekly meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Every week, there’s a theme and you choose ten books that fit it. Check out upcoming topics here.

Honestly, all of my books are off-limits to pretty much everyone, except husband. I’ve lost too many books, or had them returned to me destroyed. But, there are some books I prize and protect more than others. I really wanted to have pictures of these, but I haven’t felt up to that, so I’ll try to keep things brief.

In no particular order…

My Harry Potter series had to make this list. Except one, all my editions are the ones I was given as the books were released. (I had to replace Chamber of Secrets because of water damage.) I’m planning to get a new set, eventually, because mine are almost falling apart now.

I also have to include V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series, but particularly my collector’s edition of A Darker Shade of Magic. Actually,all of my Schwab books are carefully guarded.

I have the Signature Shakespeare edition of Hamlet that I picked up as a bargain book somewhere a couple years ago, and it’s gorgeous and has delicate pages, so no one gets to touch it without my supervision.

All of my Barnes & Noble leather bound editions are also off limits, and I baby them. I think my second volume of the Oz books is actually still in plastic (it’s my newest addition to the collection).

It took me years to finally get a hardcover edition of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and even my cats seem to know better than to get too close to it.

A few years ago, I picked up this boxed set of Sherlock Holmes stories, and it doesn’t even live on my shelves. (Mostly because it takes up a lot of room, but also because I got it on sale and it would be really expensive to replace.)

Another book that doesn’t live on my shelves, to protect it, is Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne Bardot de Villenueve. I have this edition, with the illustrations and interactive elements.

My Leigh Bardugo books are touched by no one besides me, unless I hand the book to someone to look at. I still need to get physical copies of the Grisha trilogy, though.

Because they’re basically falling apart from being reread so many times, my Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray stay safely on the shelf at all times, now. I know I’ll probably eventually have to replace them, but I’m not crazy about the new covers, so I’m trying to preserve my original copies as long as possible.

Finally, because the’re some of my favorites, and because the binding isn’t that great, I don’t let other people handle my copies of the Peculiar Children books by Ransom Riggs.

Okay, sorry, but I’m cheating a bit and shouting out honorable mentions that I also guard like a cat guards her kittens: If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio, the Illuminae Files trilogy by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff, and my omnibus edition of the Scary Stories trilogy by Alvin Schwartz. (I’m still bitter that I don’t have originals of that last one, because I feel like those had more illustrations that were a bit, well, scarier. I’ve heard they changed them in newer editions, but I haven’t actually confirmed that. My 10 year old self would be outraged 😛 )

There are definitely more books I baby and/or only allow people to touch them if I hand them over myself, but these are probably the ones I protect the most, for one reason or another.

What are some books you treasure and/or protect?

Posted in book review

Sawkill Girls: Reviewed

Sawkill Girls

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

Genres/Descriptors: YA; horror; fantasy; LGBTQ+

Publication: October 2018

Pages: 450

Check it out on Goodreads

What’s it about?

I tried to write something, but honestly? The Goodreads description is perfect, and I don’t want to give away anything.

Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep.

He’ll follow you home, and he won’t let you sleep.

Who are the Sawkill Girls?

Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.

Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.

Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.

Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.

Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.


This is either going to be very short, or very long, because I have a lot of feelings about this book, but I also don’t want to give anything away that might spoil it for someone. This book is so hard to talk about without spoilers, but I really think going into it without knowing much about the story is for the best.

I started this one night, barely managed to put it down after devouring about 60% of it, then immediately started reading again while eating breakfast. After that, I only put it down for a bathroom break. (The phrase “compulsively readable” comes to mind, and that’s exactly how I would describe this, if phrases like that didn’t make me roll my eyes.)

This book was so perfect for me: creepy and atmospheric setting, queer girls (there’s an asexual character, and the word “asexual” is on the page! plus a f/f relationship), great character dynamics, and it was angry in ways that are so relatable and had me cheering on the characters.

From the first page, I was totally sucked in. Sawkill Rock, and our three protagonists, owned my heart. By the halfway point, I’m pretty sure Claire Legrand owned part of my soul.

The writing is right up my alley, at least for books like this. Some people will probably hate it because it’s the kind of poetic kind of writing you find in some magical realism books, and I know that’s hit or miss for some people. It is for me, too, but in this book? It. Works. The writing added an extra layer to the atmosphere of the story, and I drank it in like I needed it to survive.

Non-spoilery example, from the prologue:

Old money: the taste of it sits on every tongue like a film of stale sugar.

The setting itself was fantastic. I love stories set on small islands, oh my gosh. Give me more! Something about those just instantly make a story feel a bit more magical, like anything could happen, like magic could be lurking just through the trees. I love it. If you enjoyed the setting of The Wicked Deep, you’ll probably like this one. Oh, and also Cabeswater, from The Raven Cycle (not an island, but kind of similar vibe). Sawkill Rock was very much a character in this story, and that’s another thing I want to read more of. I love when the actual land a story takes place on is a character (or like a character, whatever).

The characters. Where do I start? Background characters. So, even the characters who didn’t get a ton of page time were so freaking good. They were all distinct, and I could not only imagine how they looked, but I got a good sense of what they would sound like. That almost never happens for me, except when I’ve seen an adaptation before reading the book. Special shout out specifically for Grayson because he was a precious cinnamon roll and I love him ❤ He’s my newest book child, and I would protect him (possibly) with my life.

Marion, Zoey, and Valerie were amazing. Even when I didn’t really like them, I still liked reading about them.

Marion was strong and grounded, acting as the rock for her mother and sister to lean on. I was rooting for her from the beginning, and my heart just kept hurting for her. She went through so much, took on so much responsibility (I related a lot to that), and I just kept wishing she’d find some peace and happiness.

Zoey was probably the character I related to the most, at least with her personality. I can relate a lot to hiding feelings, laughing at possibly inappropriate times, and being an outcast. There were a few times I just wanted to hug her so bad.

And then there’s Valerie. I don’t know what to say about Val, because most of my opinions are wrapped so tightly with spoilers. I really enjoyed getting to know her, and her family history, and I was definitely satisfied with how things wrapped up. (For her, and for everyone else.)

The plot is tricky to talk about, but I will say that it kept me guessing. Until revelations were being made, I had no clue where this story was going, and I loved that. I usually have at least a couple of guesses, and one is usually right. But not with this book. I didn’t have a guess that turned out to be accurate until pretty late in the story, and it didn’t even involve any of our main characters. (It was about Zoey’s dad, for those of you who’ve read it.) The direction this took, with the reason girls kept disappearing from Sawkill, didn’t really surprise me, but I also wasn’t expecting it before it took that turn. The specifics of it all were different from anything else I’ve read, though, I’m pretty sure.

**If you think trigger/content warnings are spoilers, skip to the next paragraph!** This one definitely needs warnings for: blood and gore; violence; parental abuse; suicidal thoughts; loss of loved ones; drinking/alcohol; talk about miscarriage; animal death (not tortured, more like that scene from the ferry in The Ring); a challenged and apologized for acephobic comment plus mention of other comments that were not apologized for. There’s probably more, so I would suggest looking for others, if you feel you need to.

I want to gush and scream about this book, because that’s what I’m doing on the inside, but I’m trying so hard to keep this spoiler free. I’m wrapping this up now, before I can’t stop myself and do spoil it. So, in short, I absolutely loved this book, and I’m probably going to be screaming about it for a very long time. I highly recommend it.

I gave this one all the stars, 5 out of 5, and I wish I could give more, oh my gosh. This is a new favorite, and I can not wait to read more from Claire Legrand.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Posted in book tags/memes

Top 10 Tuesday: Underrated Books I Loved

This is a weekly meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Every week, there’s a theme and you choose ten books that fit it. Check out upcoming topics here.

This week, the prompt is for books we loved with fewer than 2k ratings on Goodreads. I had to stretch the definition of “love” just a little, and instead went more with books I very much enjoyed, that I think deserve more love. (These were all 4-5 stars for me, though.)

In no particular order, as usual…

Mad Woman

Mad Woman by Kat Savage– I love Kat Savage’s poetry, so far, and I really think her work deserves more attention. Mad Woman (reviewed here) was the first of her books I read, and I’ve since then read a couple more, and I highly recommend her books.

Buzz: A Stimulating History of the Sex Toy

Buzz: A Stimulating History of the Sex Toy by Hallie Lieberman– I reviewed this one last year, and I really enjoyed it. It covers such a broad range of topics, and was a truly fascinating read if you’re looking for something feminist (I think this one is also intersectional) and/or a micro-history, that reads very easily.

Tell Me Where It Hurts

Tell Me Where it Hurts by J.R. Rogue-– Another poetry recommendation. All I remember for sure about this one is feeling like my heart had been ripped out. It was raw and painful, and probably not one I’ll revisit, but I loved it.

The Rose Master (The Rose Master, #1)

The Rose Master by Valentina Cano– This wasn’t a 5 star for me (reviewed here), but I really enjoyed it when I read it a few years ago, and I think Cano has real talent for gothic fiction. This was like a Beauty and the Beast/Jane Eyre retelling, and I can’t wait to read more of her stuff.

Everything Must Go

Everything Must Go by Jenny Fran Davis– This book is so, so underrated! I really loved this one, and I highly recommend it. (Also, for anyone doing a reading challenge that has the task to read an epistolary, this one counts for that!) I also reviewed it, if you want to see more of my thoughts.

Modern Tarot: Connecting with Your Higher Self through the Wisdom of the Cards

Modern Tarot: Connecting With Your Higher Self Through the Wisdom of the Cards by Michelle Tea– Okay, despite the kind of new-agey, hokey title, I freaking loved this book. It has been the absolute best thing I’ve ever found for helping me with reading tarot more intuitively, and I highly recommend it if you’re sick of the hetero-normative and gender binary things in most tarot sources, because that’s not really a thing in this book.

The Witching Pen (The Witching Pen series, #1)

The Witching Pen novellas by Dianna Hardy– This is very much an adult series (sexual content, and maybe violence? It’s been a while…), and maaaybe I wouldn’t love it as much now, I don’t know. But I think Dianna Hardy is a great writer, and I’ve loved everything of hers I’ve read.


DROPKICKromance by Cyrus Parker– That’s right, a third poetry book. I love poetry, and this debut was fantastic (reviewed here). If you like modern poetry like Amanda Lovelace, Michael Faudet, Lang Leav, Rupi Kaur, etc., check out Cyrus Parker.

27 Hours (The Nightside Saga, #1)

27 Hours by Tristina Wright– This series has been cancelled, and I have a lot of feelings about that, but…because I obviously can’t know the full story, I’m not getting into it. I’ll just say that I’m sad, because I was anxiously awaiting the sequel to this book, which I really enjoyed. (Reviewed here)

The Suffering (The Girl from the Well, #2)

The Suffering by Rin Chupeco– This is the sequel to The Girl From the Well, and I can’t believe it has less than 2k reviews. The first book was a 4-4.5 star read for me, but this one… ❤ It was so freaking good, and if you enjoyed the first book, but never read this one, I highly recommend it.

What are some of your favorite underrated books?