book meme

Diversity Spotlight Thursday: #15

DIVERSE SPOTLIGHT


Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by yours truly. Every week, you come up with one book in each of three different categories: a diverse book you have read and enjoyed, a diverse book on your TBR, and one that has not yet been released. You can check out the announcement post for more information.

P.S. if you decide to participate (yay!), please feel free to use the graphics in this post. No credit is required! Also, if you link back to this post or the announcement post, and I’ll add a link to your post to mine!


READ

 all the lightAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

“Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.”

I read this book last year, I believe, and I really enjoyed it – you’ve probably heard of it now, but you may not know that the protagonist of this book is blind. I’d never read a book with a blind protagonist before, and I was blown away by the beauty with which Doerr writes the world as Marie-Laure experiences it; his descriptions are almost tangible, the feelings he injects into his prose are incredible. This is a sad, devastating book and it will break your heart, but it’s such a wonderful, poignant read- you need it in your life.


Goodreads | Amazon

tbr

5997336Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie

“Beginning on August 9, 1945, in Nagasaki, and ending in a prison cell in the United States in 2002, as a man is waiting to be sent to Guantánamo Bay, Burnt Shadows is an epic narrative of love and betrayal.

Hiroko Tanaka is twenty-one and in love with the man she is to marry, Konrad Weiss. As she steps onto her veranda, wrapped in a kimono with three black cranes swooping across the back, her world is suddenly and irrevocably altered. In the numbing aftermath of the atomic bomb that obliterates everything she has known, all that remains are the bird-shaped burns on her back, an indelible reminder of the world she has lost. In search of new beginnings, two years later, Hiroko travels to Delhi. It is there that her life will become intertwined with that of Konrad’s half sister, Elizabeth, her husband, James Burton, and their employee, Sajjad Ashraf, from whom she starts to learn Urdu.

With the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan, Hiroko will find herself displaced once again, in a world where old wars are replaced by new conflicts. But the shadows of history—personal and political—are cast over the interrelated worlds of the Burtons, the Ashrafs, and the Tanakas as they are transported from Pakistan to New York and, in the novel’s astonishing climax, to Afghanistan in the immediate wake of 9/11. The ties that have bound these families together over decades and generations are tested to the extreme, with unforeseeable consequences.”

Kamila Shamsie is arguably one of Pakistan’s most well-known authors, and I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never read anything by her. When I was browsing her books online, this was the one that struck out to me the most- particularly because it’s about a Japanese woman living during and after the India-Pakistan partition. I’m interested to see how Shamsie deals with themes of war and displacement- sounds complex!


Goodreads | Amazon

coming soon

29073707It’s Not Like It’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura

“Sixteen-year-old Sana Kiyohara has too many secrets. Some are small, like how it bothers her when her friends don’t invite her to parties. Some are big, like that fact that her father may be having an affair. And then there’s the one that she can barely even admit to herself—the one about how she might have a crush on her best friend.

When Sana and her family move to California she begins to wonder if it’s finally time for some honesty, especially after she meets Jamie Ramirez. Jamie is beautiful and smart and unlike anyone Sana’s ever known. There are just a few problems: Sana’s new friends don’t trust Jamie’s crowd; Jamie’s friends clearly don’t want her around anyway; and a sweet guy named Caleb seems to have more-than-friendly feelings for her. Meanwhile, her dad’s affair is becoming too obvious to ignore anymore.

Sana always figured that the hardest thing would be to tell people that she wants to date a girl, but as she quickly learns, telling the truth is easy… what comes after it, though, is a whole lot more complicated.”

Biracial f/f contemporary? That sounds freaking awesome? This isn’t a book that’s “coming soon” per se (May’s pretty far away tbh), but it’s one that I very recently came across and wanted to tell you all about.

This book releases on May 9th, 2017


Goodreads | Amazon

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Diversity Spotlight Thursday Posts from Across the Blogosphere

Rachel @ Lone Bear Book Club | CW @ Read Think Ponder

Top Ten Tuesday | Booktube Recommendations I Wish I Hadn't Wasted My Time On

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Hello everyone! It’s that time of the week again! Top Ten Tuesday is a book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Basically, you get a different bookish topic every Tuesday, and you comprise a list of ten (or however many you’re able to list) relating to said topic.

This week’s topic is themed around recommendations- so, you can comprise a list about the top books that were recommended to you, or ten books on your TBR that are there because of someone’s recommendation. Although some of my favorite books of all-time have been recommended to me, I thought I’d take the time to do a negative topic because I haven’t done one in a pretty long time. Now, I’ve read a ton of books because of Booktube, but there are so many books that I read that I wouldn’t have done had they not been hyped. So without further ado, let’s get into it!


10. Splintered by A.G. Howard

I’ve heard a couple of my favorite Booktubers talk about this book and just rave about it constantly, so I picked it up expecting a weird, fascinating retelling of Alice. What I got was a ridiculously offensive, flat and unlikable cast of characters involved in a story that made little to no sense. Splintered is one of the only books I have ever abandoned in my life, but I’m glad that I did.


Goodreads | Amazon

9. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

This is one of those series that everybody raves about on Booktube, and for some strange reason, I thought I’d enjoy it even though the synopsis seemed mediocre. I’ll admit that the series is addictive- you start the book and you fly through it, but there’s very little of substance in the books. At the turn of the last page, I never think, “that was fun.” I think “okay, what was the big deal? Why did I read that?” Meh.


Goodreads | Amazon

8. Pivot Point by Kasie West

This book was so forgettable. I remember thinking the synopsis was really cool- parallel worlds that diverge because of different choices- that’s always such an intriguing premise, but I remember reading this in under a day and forgetting almost immediately what the characters’ names were and exactly what had happened. It’s like a black spot in my memory- not memorable at all.


Goodreads | Amazon

7. Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Honestly, this category encompasses every CoHo book I’ve read because of Booktube (not many- just two, but you get it). Colleen Hoover is the NA queen of Booktube, and I went into her books expecting tragic, moving stories that spoke to me as a new adult. What I got were highly problematic storylines with unlikable, horrible characters. Thank goodness I only read two and decided that I wouldn’t read anything else by her.


Goodreads | Amazon

6. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

This book made the Booktube world explode when it first came out. Literally everyone was talking about it, and I’d never read a B&tB retelling before (except for ACOTAR), so I thought might as well. It was so dull. The characters were completely uninspiring, and the world-building was hella info-dumpy and confusing. I did like the writing, though, so it wasn’t a complete waste.


Goodreads | Amazon

5. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

This series is so hyped on both Booktube and the book blogosphere in general, and I picked up the first book earlier this year because it’s often referred to as the “YA Game of Thrones.” Safe to say that I was disappointed. I thought a large portion of the characters were flat, and much of the plot twists were there for shock value rather than logical plot. Meh. It’s a shame because I really wanted to love these books!


Goodreads | Amazon

4. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

One of my favorite Booktubers raved about this book when it first came out, and I usually really trust her recommendations. Unfortunately, this book failed to do anything for me. It was all over the place, and even though I liked the generational aspect of it, I wish it had been executed well. The writing was lovely, however.


Goodreads | Amazon

3. A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

I bought this book because I saw the beautiful cover in many, many videos. Probably should’ve looked at the reviews first, so that’s my bad. A lot of the scientific aspects of the world in this book were glossed over or made no sense, and the characters were all rather flat. The love triangle was unnecessary. I’d just expected more.


Goodreads | Amazon

2. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Honestly, the premise of this book is fantastic. And the cover is also beautiful, but the content was so mediocre. It was so angsty, geez. It was marketed as dystopian, science fiction but it was mostly just romance. Then, when I realized there was going to be a love triangle between this lovely guy, the protagonist and this abusive asshole, I got out of there so fast.


Goodreads | Amazon

1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Tricky because my favorite male character ever is in this book. And if I hadn’t read it, I wouldn’t have been introduced to him but if I hadn’t read it, I could have avoided the heartbreak, the disappointment, the frustration and the anger. The first two books were good for me, but book three onwards just went downhill with numerous plot holes and cop-outs, ridiculous storyline decisions, and character inconsistencies.


Goodreads | Amazon

That’s it for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday! Have you read any of these books? Do you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments below; as always, thanks for stopping by and happy reading! 🙂

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Top Ten Tuesday | Top Anti-Heroes & Villains

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Hello everyone! It’s that time of the week again! Top Ten Tuesday is a book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Basically, you get a different bookish topic every Tuesday, and you comprise a list of ten (or however many you’re able to list) relating to said topic.

This week’s topic is “Top Ten Villains.” Now, if you know anything about me, you’ll know that I love me a good morally ambiguous, villainy character. I love villains with a good back-story, and I love heroes who make you question their decisions, who make you question your rooting for them. Should I root for this person? He’s hella twisted, but I also can’t help it. That’s my favorite kind of character to read, so here’s a list for all those antagonists and anti-heroes that make literature so enjoyable for me to read.


Top 5 Villains


5. Sebastian Morgenstern from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

This is contradicting what I said in the introduction of this post. I know I said I love morally ambiguous people, villains with a back-story that gives more depth to their actions but Sebastian is just a psychopath. He’s absolutely insane. There is not a single not-twisted bone in his body, and usually such a black-and-white villain would annoy the ever-living crap out of me, but the way Clare wields his character is just so compelling. I know I’ve said this before, but I imagine Sebastian is a lot like Kai from The Vampire Diaries. Just plain crazy.


Goodreads | Amazon

4. The Darkling from The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

The Darkling is one of those villains who would be the hero of their own story. He did horrible things, sure, but he did them for what he thought was the best for his people and the world. It’s a very difficult thing to do, I imagine- writing a villain who your readers can’t help but fall head over heels in love with. I did. He’s still my favorite character in that series. Probably the only character I cared about, but I still wasn’t rooting for him. I understood that he was the villain. But my love for him is what made him so compelling.


Goodreads | Amazon

3. Mayor Prentiss from The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness

This is my favorite trilogy of all-time, and I think the biggest reason that I have given it that title is because of the characters- and specifically because of the antagonists. This series had me confused. Confused because there were two antagonists who had polar opposite views, and I had no idea which one to root for. The intense psychological pressure Ness put me through just by writing his antagonists so agonizingly well is what makes this series a masterpiece.


Goodreads | Amazon

2. Lord Voldemort/Tom Riddle from The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

I imagine Voldemort is at the top of the list for many people, and rightfully so, I would say (even though he’s not the top for mine). He’s one of those villains that you despise simply because he represents so much of what is wrong with the world. Blatant racism and racial supremacy, his lethal desire to have supreme power, and his sheer ruthlessness (and creepiness, let’s face it) make for one chilling antagonist. Pair that with some history of his past, including a traumatic childhood filled with repulsive role models as well as qualities in a “traditional hero” make for one of the best written villains I’ve ever read.

Going off on a tangent here but I think what gives Voldemort/Riddle that extra umph is how easy it could have been to go somewhere else. We have two NOW polar opposite people: Tom and Harry, the latter the hero and the former his villain. Yet, both boys had extremely similar lives. Both of them had tumultuous childhoods filled with neglect. They both found home in Hogwarts. They were both brilliant, practical minds- golden boys, you could say. And both of them were sorted into Slytherin (Harry almost was too, until he asked not to be). Yet one of them became Voldemort, and the other Harry. It’s an interesting commentary on how the exact opposite could have happened. Perhaps if Tom had the friends and support Harry did, he wouldn’t have turned out like he did. And if Harry had gotten stuck in the wrong crowd at school, perhaps he would have turned out like Voldemort. It’s certainly a chilling thought- that you’re influenced by the tiniest things. But that’s what makes the series as beautiful as it is.


Goodreads | Amazon

1. Cersei Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin

Oh, this queen. I surprise myself when it comes to Cersei. I hate her so much. I hate her with all the energy I can muster, but whenever she does something bad-ass or insane and gets that smug smile on her face, that flame of vengeance inside her, I just shout, “Yas queen.” She’s just that kind of villain, and I can’t believe George pulled it off. I enjoy her willpower and how she doesn’t need to be the knight, the warrior or even the honorable one in a society that values these things above all other; nah, she just needs her brain and she will outsmart everyone. I. Love. Her.

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Goodreads | Amazon

Top 5 Anti-Heroes


5. Han Allister from The Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima

This might be a stretch because Han isn’t an anti-hero in the strictest sense of the word. He’s definitely morally ambiguous, but I feel that his heroic side is much more prominent than his darker one. Still, his past as a thief lord, a criminal, even a murderer seeps into many of the decisions he makes after. He’s definitely one of the most interesting protagonists I’ve ever read, and a large part of that is his unexpected hero status.


Goodreads | Amazon

4. Amy Dunne from Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Amy’s so bad-ass. I can never fully figure out if she’s a villain or an anti-hero- she definitely doesn’t have any sort of “greater good” thing going on, but she’s this kick-ass woman who was wronged and now hates men and is wildly intelligent and is hell-bent on destruction? But you root for her, and that’s what makes her an anti-hero in my opinion. I rooted for her. She was batshit insane, but she was such a legend.


Goodreads | Amazon

3. The Entire Gang from The Secret History by Donna Tartt

All so disgustingly unlikable, repulsive people. Richard, this spineless bastard who would do anything to fit in. Henry, this ruthless man who operates on selfishness and cruelty. Camila and Charles, these twisted individuals who thrive on admiration. Bunny- vain and spoiled and just annoying. Francis- perhaps the only character in the entire novel worth liking. And yet, you’re so invested in them. Yet, you keep reading. The beauty of this book lies mostly in this incredible feat.


Goodreads | Amazon

2. Tyrion Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin

In the show, Tyrion’s not an anti-hero. He’s this ridiculously goodlooking (damn, Peter Dinklage, that beard’s doing things for you), ridiculously smart and ridiculously gentle person who treats most everyone with respect and generosity. In the books, he’s not that straight-cut. He’s described as ugly, called a monster because he’s missing a nose and otherwise looks like an egg. He’s very shrewd and smart, but it’s not endearing- it just makes him an intelligent, lethal person. And despite having a larger heart than his siblings or indeed most other baddies in the series, he often has vile thoughts and does very, very repulsive and questionable things.

But thinking of him as a character, Tyrion is a masterpiece. He’s this guy who was born in a family where nobody wanted him. Shunned and treated like trash for his entire life. He had no friends, no support except for books, and he’s been given the brunt of everything nasty. And despite this, he’s standing strong. Despite this, he’s retained his good side, even though the darkness and cruelty lurking underneath does unleash now and then. I’m astounded by the depth of his character- I can only hope to write a character half as well as he’s written.


1. Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

All the characters in this duology are anti-heroes of sorts, but Kaz is definitely the cruelest, the most ruthless. His reactions are almost always understandable; he’s been through a lot in his short life. Lost people he loved, thrown into the streets, become a rough criminal who needs to lie, cheat and be ruthless in order to survive. Driven by a fire and a vengeance, and has built for himself a reputation that goes beyond “dangerous.” When Dirtyhands walks, people change their paths. The fact that he’s disabled and walks/fights with a cane is the coolest fucking thing too.


Goodreads | Amazon

That’s it for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday! Have you read any of these books, or plan on reading them in the fall too? Let me know in the comments below; as always, thanks for stopping by and happy reading! 🙂

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Top Ten Tuesday | Books on my Fall '16 TBR

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Hello everyone! It’s that time of the week again! Top Ten Tuesday is a book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Basically, you get a different bookish topic every Tuesday, and you comprise a list of ten (or however many you’re able to list) relating to said topic.

This week’s topic is “Ten books on your Fall TBR.” Now this time of the year is both elating and devastating- elating because so. many. good. books, devastating – well, mainly for my bank account. And because there are simply so many books I want to get to this season, here are just a few that are top-priority. Since I tend to read more fantasy and paranormal than anything else in the fall, winter months, this list will be heavy with those genres. So, let’s get into it!


Crooked Kingdom (The Dregs #2) by Leigh Bardugo

Is this a surprise? It really shouldn’t be. Crooked Kingdom is my most anticipated release of the year; Six of Crows was one of my favorite books of last year, and I’m so excited to touch base with these characters, dive back into the world. Fully prepared for it to break me, though.


Goodreads | Amazon

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

This is (most probably) the October pick for the new Keep It Diverse Book Club that a few friends and I created. I’ve heard fantastic things about this book, so I’m super excited to get into it. This is one I will definitely be getting to in October.


Goodreads | Amazon

The Devourers by Indra Das

Mostly a cover-buy, but the fact that it revolves around South Asian/Indian mythology was also a selling-point. I recently listened to a podcast with the author, and he sounded like such an intelligent, lovely guy. After listening to the podcast, I bumped it up near the top of my TBR!


Goodreads | Amazon

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

I probably (morally speaking) should read Legend before I read The Young Elites, but TYE just sounds so much more appealing? The protagonist is not a hero! Books like that are automatic loves for me. With the last book coming out very soon, this series is just pulling me in!


Goodreads | Amazon

Fire Boy by Sami Shah

I might already have finished this book by the time this post goes live (I’m scheduling ahead, wow I can’t believe I’m actually being productive), but I’m so excited to be reading this book! It’s set in the urban capital of Pakistan (Karachi) and is a genre fiction horror/fantasy/paranormal about djinn and the creepiest creatures in South Asian mythology. The author is a prominent Pakistani comedian, and I genuinely love his work. Already started reading this, and I’m terrified but loving every second of it!


Goodreads | Amazon

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

I have an e-galley of this book, and I’m super excited to get to it (I’ve been saying this about all the books in this post, haven’t I?) I’ve heard really great things about this book, and I know that it’s a diverse read- bonus points!


Goodreads | Amazon

This Is Our Story by Ashley Elston

Again, not gonna lie- this was a cover-discovery. I came across the cover on Netgalley and I knew I had to request it. So glad my request was granted; I love thrillers, and this book has great ratings on Goodreads so far! Will be reading it around Halloween, hopefully.


Goodreads | Amazon

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

I was a little late to the Lunar Chronicles party- I started reading after Cress had been released, but I grew to really enjoy that series. I’ve only ever read one Alice in Wonderland retelling (Splintered), and I despised it- hopefully, this one is better. I trust Marissa Meyer to give me a cohesive, entertaining story!


Goodreads | Amazon

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman

This is another one I’ve heard really great things about. It also fulfills one of the categories in the Fall Book Bingo challenge, so that’s a plus. I also know that the author is a historian, and she mixes a ton of fantasy and history together to make for a compelling read. Hopefully I’ll be able to read the first two books in the series before the third comes out next year.


Goodreads | Amazon

Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta

I’ve only read Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, but I remember loving it. It was profound- beautifully written and so, so heartbreaking. I plan on reading Finnikin of the Rock soon too, but I’ve got my eyes set firmly on this one. I’ve heard it has a ton of representation too!


Goodreads | Amazon

That’s it for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday! Have you read any of these books, or plan on reading them in the fall too? Let me know in the comments below; as always, thanks for stopping by and happy reading! 🙂

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Diversity Spotlight Thursday | #6

DIVERSE SPOTLIGHT


Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by yours truly. Every week, you come up with one book in each of three different categories: a diverse book you have read and enjoyed, a diverse book on your TBR, and one that has not yet been released. You can check out the announcement post for more information.

P.S. if you decide to participate (yay!), please feel free to use the graphics in this post. No credit is required! Also, if you link back to this post or the announcement post, and I’ll add a link to your post to mine!


Hi, everyone! So I know I’ve been super inactive recently- that’s because school has come at me with guns blazing, and I’m trying to be good at my internship too, ha. I haven’t been reading much because of this, and that’s why I missed last week’s DST post too. 🙁 Sorry about that! I’ll try to catch up this weekend, because I don’t have much homework to do.

A few friends and I have also started a monthly bookclub that strives to read at least one diverse book every single month. If you’d like to check it out, here’s the Goodreads group, the Twitter and the Instagram. 🙂


READ

we awaken coverWe Awaken by Calista Lynne

Victoria Dinham doesn’t have much left to look forward to. Since her father died in a car accident, she lives only to fulfill her dream of being accepted into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. But soon she finds another reason to look forward to dreams when she encounters an otherworldly girl named Ashlinn, who bears a message from Victoria’s comatose brother. Ashlinn is tasked with conjuring pleasant dreams for humans, and through the course of their nightly meetings in Victoria’s mind, the two become close. Ashlinn also helps Victoria understand asexuality and realize that she, too, is asexual.

But then Victoria needs Ashlinn’s aid outside the realm of dreams, and Ashlinn assumes human form to help Victoria make it to her dance audition. They take the opportunity to explore New York City, their feelings for each other, and the nature of their shared asexuality. But like any dream, it’s too good to last. Ashlinn must shrug off her human guise and resume her duties creating pleasant nighttime visions—or all of humanity will pay the price. 

This was my first book revolving around an asexual character, and it was also a lesbian romance! I learned a lot from this book, and despite not enjoying it fully, I appreciate reading it. If you want to learn more about asexuality and are also looking for more lesbian romances, I’d definitely recommend this one!


Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

tbr

Juliet Takes a BreathJuliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

“Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff. 

Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle? 

With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.”

I can’t say I’ve heard too much about this book, just that I’ve heard nothing but fantastic things. I haven’t read many books with PoC LGBTQ+ characters, so I’m very excited to get my hands on this!


Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

coming soon

when the moon was oursWhen the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

When the Moon Was Ours follows two characters through a story that has multicultural elements and magical realism, but also has central LGBT themes—a transgender boy, the best friend he’s falling in love with, and both of them deciding how they want to define themselves.

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. 

But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.”

I’m so honored to say that I have this book on my Netgalley shelf (I know, it’s not that big of a deal but I still get surprised whenever I’m approved for an ARC, tbh), and I will be reading it very, very soon. I haven’t read a book about a transgender individual before, and this sounds like a beautiful, poignant read. Look out for my review some time before this month ends (hopefully).

This book releases on October 4th.


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(P.S. This book features all purple books- this was unintentional, but a neat coincidence since it’s Bisexual Awareness Week. XD)


Diversity Spotlight Thursday Posts from Around the Blogosphere:

Monique @ That Wild Soul | Shahirah @ Bookloves_Reviews | Caitlin @ Words and Other Beasts | Alexandra @ Salsera Beauty Reads | Clemence @ Clemi’s Bookish World | Nagina @ Oh Bookish | Vivian @ A Haven for Book Lovers

Top Ten Tuesday | 8 of My Favorite Music Artists

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Hello everyone! It’s that time of the week again! Top Ten Tuesday is a book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Basically, you get a different bookish topic every Tuesday, and you comprise a list of ten (or however many you’re able to list) relating to said topic.

This week’s topic is an audio freebie, which basically means that you can do anything related to audio, such as favorite audiobooks, favorite albums, favorite songs etcetera. I decided to showcase some of my top artists because I don’t often talk about music on my blog, and it’s an integral part of my life. Many of these bands have been there for me in the darkest days of my life. You’ll definitely notice that the most prominent music I listen to is alternative rock, but you’ll see some outliers here and there. So, here we go!


Linkin Park

In all honesty, if I was being totally objective and judging solely on musical quality, Linkin Park would probably not top the list. I feel like a traitor for simply saying something like that. But despite that little preface, I can never imagine having a different answer to the question of what my favorite band is. I’ve been listening to Linkin Park since I was a chubby middle-schooler (so, 2006 if you want a date). I was extremely shy, and I had just lost a family member who I was extremely close to. It was a dark, dark period of my life where I didn’t have many friends, and I felt like I couldn’t lean on my parents because I felt they had enough to worry about. A cousin of mine introduced me to their music, and that eleven-year old girl fell in love with their songs.

Even now, after ten years, their music speaks to me like nobody else’s. Their old stuff is a little too heavy for my taste now- I used to listen to hard, heavy rock and have since started listening to softer stuff, but I still resonate with all their music. Tell me a lyric, and I can tell you the song in two seconds. I kid you not: my best friend used to throw a random LP lyric at me, and I would name it in the blink of an eye. It’s still like that, and it will probably never change. At the risk of sounding cheesy and over-the-top emotional, I probably would not be who I am if it were not for this band. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Favorite Album: Minutes to Midnight on Amazon

Kings of Leon

If I were judging solely on music quality, Kings of Leon would probably top the list. Their stuff is so unique, and it’s another band that I’ve been listening to for a pretty long time. They were also the first concert I ever attended. I love the gritty, southern quality of the lead singer’s voice. Their lyrics are a little difficult to resonate with, but I enjoy the narrative, quirky quality to them. I guess I don’t have too strong of an emotional bond, but I keep going back to their music – whether that’s their older, heavier stuff or their newer, more mellow tracks. Every couple of months, I go back and listen to all their albums. Also, they are INCREDIBLE live. I cannot stress how good they are.

Favorite Album: Only By the Night on Amazon

Hozier

Hozier came into my life two years ago, and has since completely taken over it with his debut album alone. His songs are very literally poetry. I love the quality of his voice, and his music is incredibly complex but I take such an immense amount of pleasure in analyzing, breaking apart and hanging on to his lyrics. He also touches on some very important issues in his songs that don’t necessarily relate to him, but are important to him nonetheless. “Take Me to Church” is about the relationship between church and sexuality (particularly based on Russia), and Hozier is not gay. “Cherry Wine” is about an abusive relationship where the female is the abuser (in the video, the male is the abuser), but Hozier has not gone through that. “To Be Alone” is about heroin addiction, and he’s not an addict. So his lyrics are both profound and incredibly important. He’s going to go a long, long way.

Album: Hozier on Amazon

Zayn

Ha, have you found the outlier? Don’t roll your eyes at me, you knew it was coming. Or maybe you didn’t if you don’t follow me on Twitter…

I was never a One Direction fan, honestly. I don’t love pop music- I listen to it when I’m with friends or in the mood for an uplift but it’s not something I keep in my library, it’s not something I particularly remember. I would be lying if I said I didn’t set my sights on Zayn because 1) he’s ridiculously beautiful and 2) he’s half-Pakistani. But then, he released his first record and it blew me away. It has a certain sort of maturity to it that I had never seen from him before. Is he the best RnB singer out there? No. Does he make the best music? Absolutely not. But you know what he does do? Integrate parts of my and his culture into his music, which gives me the ability to see myself represented in his crazy riffs (or raags as well call it in the Indian subcontinent), in some of his lyrics, in some of his tunes. Don’t tell me that representation is not important when I cried listening to a song sang in my mother tongue on a record-breaking album. It just meant so much to me. And more than that, his music is good. I listen to it all the time, and I’m constantly wanting more. So, yeah, he makes the list.

Album: Mind of Mine on Amazon

Coldplay

What can I say? This is another band that I’ve been listening to since I was a kid, and a band that never gets old. To be completely honest, I don’t like their new stuff. It has a completely different sound from when I started listening to their songs, but I’m not going to complain. Change is good- I just didn’t like it this time around. Chris Martin has such a beautiful voice, and they’re consistently doing something new. They were revolutionary then, they probably are even now. And I dig that.

Favorite Album: X & Y on Amazon

OneRepublic

Very similar to what I had to say about Coldplay. I loved, loved their old stuff much more than their newer sound, but I still like their new stuff. The only reason it’s ranked below Coldplay is because I just enjoyed Coldplay’s old material more than I liked OneRepublic’s. It’s stupid- I’m anal with rankings. My dad is actually in love with OneRepublic too, so he lets me play them in the car, ha.

Favorite Album: Dreaming Out Loud on Amazon

Brand New

Okay, so this is a band many, many people have never heard of. Brand New? That’s a stupid fucking name. It’s true. But I’ve been listening to Brand New since even before I started listening to Linkin Park. The first time I encountered this band was when I moved to London, and a cousin handed me their debut CD- this was 2004, maybe. And I fell in love with one song- a song I listened to on a loop for a good four months, ha. When I grew older, I decided to give their stuff another go – by that time, they had released more albums and I just… they’re so underrated. They’re so, so good. Their music’s a little bit on the heavier side, but it’s raw and emotional, and the lyrics are puzzles that I love to piece together. Check them out, please!

Favorite Album: Deja Entendu on Amazon

Imagine Dragons

This is another outlier, sort of. I know their stuff is a lot more pop-rock than alternative, but they had to be in the list because they make some catchy-ass music. I’ve seen them live too, and they know how to perform a killer gig. I quite like their latest album (Smoke + Mirrors), but I don’t think it gets the love it should so I’m including my favorite song.

Favorite Album: Night Visions on Amazon

That’s it for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday! What are some of your favorite bands? Do we share music tastes? Let me know in the comments below; as always, thanks for stopping by and happy reading! 🙂

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Diversity Spotlight Thursday | #5

DIVERSE SPOTLIGHT


Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by yours truly. Every week, you come up with one book in each of three different categories: a diverse book you have read and enjoyed, a diverse book on your TBR, and one that has not yet been released. You can check out the announcement post for more information.

P.S. if you decide to participate (yay!), please feel free to use the graphics in this post. No credit is required! Also, if you link back to this post or the announcement post, and I’ll add a link to your post to mine!


READ

A Little LifeA Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

“When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

I’ve spoken about this novel a few times recently. When I went into this massive brick, I hadn’t expected it to have such a diverse cast of characters; we have several characters of color, several LGBTQ+ characters, and the protagonist is disabled in the way that he has problems with his legs after an accident left them severely impaired, as well as suffering from mental illness. I love this book- the characters are some of the most well-developed characters I’ve ever read, and the writing is just gorgeous.


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7261699Eon by Alison Goodman

“For years, Eon’s life has been focused on magical study and sword-work, with one goal: that he be chosen as a Dragoneye, an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune.

But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a twelve-year-old boy. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; if anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured.

When Eon’s secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic… and her life.

I’ve heard really wonderful things about this series, and although I haven’t looked into it enough to fully know what it’s about, I’m still extremely excited to give it a go! Also, that cover is one of the coolest fantasy covers I’ve seen around!


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coming soon

28114515The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang

“Charles Wang is mad at America. A brash, lovable immigrant businessman who built a cosmetics empire and made a fortune, he’s just been ruined by the financial crisis. Now all Charles wants is to get his kids safely stowed away so that he can go to China and attempt to reclaim his family’s ancestral lands—and his pride.

Charles pulls Andrew, his aspiring comedian son, and Grace, his style-obsessed daughter, out of schools he can no longer afford. Together with their stepmother, Barbra, they embark on a cross-country road trip from their foreclosed Bel-Air home to the upstate New York hideout of the eldest daughter, disgraced art world it-girl Saina. But with his son waylaid by a temptress in New Orleans, his wife ready to defect for a set of 1,000-thread-count sheets, and an epic smash-up in North Carolina, Charles may have to choose between the old world and the new, between keeping his family intact and finally fulfilling his dream of starting anew in China.

I have this book on my Netgalley shelf, and the few reviews I’ve read have raved about this book. During the fall, I tend to like darker reads but look for lighter, faster reads in between, so I feel that this will be the perfect book to fulfill those cravings.

This book releases on October 4th.


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Diversity Spotlight Thursday Posts from Around the Blogosphere:

Monique @ That Wild Soul | Eliana @ The Written Opinion | M @ A Blog of One’s Own | M. L. Ventura @ Unspoken | Salsera @ Salsera Beauty Reads | Eliza @ DuskAngelReads | Nagina @ Oh Bookish | Shouni @ Through the Book Portal

Diversity Spotlight Thursday: #4

DIVERSE SPOTLIGHT


Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by yours truly. Every week, you come up with one book in each of three different categories: a diverse book you have read and enjoyed, a diverse book on your TBR, and one that has not yet been released. You can check out the announcement post for more information.

P.S. if you decide to participate (yay!), please feel free to use the graphics in this post. No credit is required! Also, if you link back to this post or the announcement post, and I’ll add a link to your post to mine!


READ

persepolisPersepolis by Marjane Satrapi

“Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. 

Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Marjane’s child’s-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family.”

I read Persepolis a couple of months ago, and it completely blew me away. As someone who wasn’t familiar with Iranian culture and history, this graphic novel was an eye-opening experience into a country whose issues have been brushed aside because they are unglamorous or uncomfortable. It’s interesting how vastly different two Islamic societies can be. I have lived most of my life in Pakistan which is basically an Islamic country, but vastly different from Iran. Persepolis is tragic and memorable, and a book that everyone needs to read because it is true.


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the immortal rulesThe Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

“Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them—the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies and becomes one of the monsters.

Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what and who is worth dying for…again.”

I’ve heard nothing but fantastic things about this series, and although I’d like to read her other series first, I have to be honest and say that this one just intrigues me more. A kick-ass Asian character who fights with a katana? That just sounds freaking awesome.


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coming soon
Tell the truth, shame the devilTell The Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta

“Chief Inspector Bish Ortley of the London Met, divorced and still grieving the death of his son, has been drowning his anger in Scotch. Something has to give, and he’s no sooner suspended from the force than a busload of British students is subject to a deadly bomb attack across the Channel. Bish’s daughter is one of those on board.

Also on the bus is Violette LeBrac. Raised in Australia, Violette has a troubled background. Thirteen years ago her grandfather bombed a London supermarket, killing dozens of people. Her mother, Noor, is serving a life sentence in connection with the incident. But before Violette’s part in the French tragedy can be established, she disappears. Bish, who was involved in Noor LeBrac’s arrest, is now compelled to question everything that happened back then. And the more he delves into the lives of the family he helped put away, the more he realises that truth wears many colours.”

I think Melina Marchetta is one of the most talented authors out there. Although I’ve only read one of her books, it’s one that has stayed with me. I believe this book has a lesbian character, and Muslim main characters who are part-Egyptian. I’m looking forward to a story where people of color aren’t treated as “other,” where their stories are integrated seamlessly into the narrative. Also, I love thrillers.

This book has been released in the UK and Australia, releases on October 11th in the US


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Diversity Spotlight Thursday Posts from Around the Blogosphere:

Monique @ That Wild Soul | Clemi @ Clemi’s Bookish World | Eliza @ DuskAngelReads | Lilly @ LairofBooksBlog | Alexandra @ Salsera Beauty Reads | Esther @ Chapter Adventures | Eliana @ The Written Opinion | Amber @ BookStacksAmber

Diversity Spotlight Thursday: #3

DIVERSE SPOTLIGHT


Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by yours truly. Every week, you come up with one book in each of three different categories: a diverse book you have read and enjoyed, a diverse book on your TBR, and one that has not yet been released. You can check out the announcement post for more information.

P.S. if you decide to participate (yay!), please feel free to use the graphics in this post. No credit is required! Also, if you link back to this post or the announcement post, and I’ll add a link to your post to mine!


READ

eltyEverything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

“Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.”

I haven’t read many LGBTQ books that don’t revolve around a character’s ‘coming out.’ This book is about one girl’s career, and her search for true love without it being about her sexuality- something that I hadn’t come across before. I really enjoyed Everything Leads to You. I’m not the biggest fan of contemporaries, but I loved how light it was without it being gimicky. It touched on important topics without seeming heavy-handed, and I really liked the backdrop of film sets and Los Angeles, in general.


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If I Was Your GirlIf I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

“Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school in Lambertville, Tennessee. Like any other girl, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret. There’s a reason why she transferred schools for her senior year, and why she’s determined not to get too close to anyone. And then she meets Grant Everett. Grant is unlike anyone she’s ever met—open, honest, kind—and Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself…including her past. But she’s terrified that once she tells Grant the truth, he won’t be able to see past it. Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It’s that she used to be Andrew.”

I own a copy of this book, and I can’t wait to get into it. I haven’t read a book revolving around a transgender character before, and because I know this is an #OwnVoices book, I’m very, very excited to read it.


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coming soon
22082082Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley

“Fifteen-year-old Aki Hunter knows she’s bisexual, but up until now she’s only dated guys—and her best friend, Lori, is the only person she’s out to. When she and Lori set off on a four-week youth-group mission trip in a small Mexican town, it never crosses Aki’s mind that there might be anyone in the group she’d be interested in dating. But that all goes out the window when Aki meets Christa.”

This week’s post seems to be all about “I’ve nevers.” I’ve never read a book centering around a bisexual protagonist, so I’m very interested in reading this. I know Robin Talley’s other book has gotten rave reviews in the past, which also involves LGBTQ elements, so I’m very excited to see what she has in store for me. I still have a long way to go before I can read this, but I have my antennas alert. Also, look how cute the cover is. >.<

This book releases on January 31st 2017.


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Diversity Spotlight Thursday Posts from Around the Blogosphere:

Monique @ That Wild Soul | Clémence @ Clemi’s Bookish World | Eliza @ DuskAngelReads | Nagina @ Oh Bookish | Courtney @ A Wonderland of Books | Eliana @ The Written Opinion | Megan @ bookslayer Reads | Estefani @ Fiction Jungle

Top Ten Tuesday | Books on my TBR since Before I Started Blogging

Top Ten Tuesday Photo Banner


Hello everyone! It’s that time of the week again! Top Ten Tuesday is a book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Basically, you get a different bookish topic every Tuesday, and you comprise a list of ten (or however many you’re able to list) relating to said topic.

This week’s topic is “Ten Books that Have Been on Your TBR Since Before You Started Blogging.” I’ve been blogging for over a year and a half now, and I’m ashamed at how many books I have on my Goodreads to-read shelf that I still haven’t read. Granted, I’ve managed to get some of them off my shelf this year, but I still have way too many.


Tess of the D’urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

I think Thomas Hardy is my favorite classics’ author, not that I have read many but still. I’ve read two books by him: Far From the Madding Crowd and The Mayor of Casterbridge. Tess is perhaps his most famous ones, and it’s been on my shelf for a good three years now. I can’t believe I still haven’t gotten to it but perhaps this year will be it.


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A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

I’ve read The Kite Runner by Hosseini, and it’s a book that has stuck with me ever since I read it many, many years ago. Hosseini has since released two other books, both of which have gotten high praise. I’ve been eyeballing them for so long!


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Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Honestly, this book ended up on my TBR when I was working at Barnes & Noble and I saw its new, bright red cover and fell in love with it. Then when I read the blurb and realized that it’s a modern classic – I knew I had to read it. And I do, but I still haven’t. >.>


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My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Another author whose work I have read and enjoyed. Nineteen Minutes is most definitely my favorite book on school shootings, and I know Picoult can handle sensitive, heart-breaking topics with poise. But I know this book is a hard one to digest, so I still haven’t gotten to it. Hopefully soon…


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The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

I bought this book the day it was released. Started reading the first chapter, was so shocked by the drastic shift in writing from the Harry Potter series that I stopped. Never picked it up again. But ever since I’ve read and LOVED The Cormoran Strike series, I think I’ll give this one a go.


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The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

I’ve tried reading this a few times, but I think I was too young to fully appreciate the vivid world-building. I love the movies – they’re some of my favorites of all-time, and I’m certain that I’ll love the books too. I just need to gather the courage and give them another chance.


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Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

Honestly, this book made it onto my TBR because it has a sick cover. Added bonus that it was all anyone was talking about in late 2013, or early 2014.


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The Child Thief by Brom

This book is about an evil Peter Pan who steals boys. It sounds freaking awesome, and it has illustrations and is a favorite among fantasy-lovers. I’ve been interested in this for a long time, but I made the mistake of reading another book by the same author- and I wasn’t crazy about it. Which is why I’ve been putting off reading this. But I do plan on picking it up!


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The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Finished series are such a commitment. Something tells me I should read Passenger by Bracken before this one, but then I think that I already own a copy of the first book, and if I dislike Passenger, I won’t want to read it. It’s all very messy. #FirstWorldProblems


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Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Palahniuk’s books have some of the most interesting covers, which I realized when I used to shelve them while working at B&N. But Fight Club is the only one that’s really pulled me in, and since everyone I trust loves either the book or the movie, I need to get to it like yesterday.


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That’s it for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday! Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments below; as always, thanks for stopping by and happy reading! 🙂

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