Awards

Sunshine Blogger Award | 6

Hello, hello! It’s time for yet another award (this seems to be a recurring Wednesday theme recently…). Thanks so much to Emma @ Emma Reads for nominating me!! Emma is one of the sweetest bookworms ever so definitely check out her blog!

1. Kiss, marry, kill: The main characters of the last three fiction books you read.

I’m writing this post well in advance of when it’s going to be posted, so at the moment my options are Klaus Baudelaire from A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, Thor from Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman, and Jean Valjean from Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. This is SO difficult, but I think I would kiss Klaus, marry Jean Valjean, and kill Thor? I don’t want anything bad to happen to any of them, though!

2. Would you rather be an elegant princess/prince type character in a fairytale, or a witchy badass villain?

I know this is stereotypical, but I would rather be an elegant princess rather than a witchy villain. The dress! The romance! The singing! (I’m thinking of Tangled here, people!)

3. You fall into a pit of acid or get bit by an exotic spider or into a verbal altercation with a wizard, and you’re given the power to pull things out of books. Which book are you reaching into first???

WHOA these questions are escalating quickly! The image of a “verbal altercation with a wizard” is hilarious, so let’s go with that scenario. I would probably try to pull out a pie and then throw it in their face because that’s funny and delicious yet simultaneously passive aggressive.

4. You’re being sent to a desert island and you can only bring one book, and it has to be one you haven’t read yet. What book are you bringing?

THIS QUESTION. It’s so difficult to choose from books you haven’t read yet because you have no idea whether or not you will actually enjoy it… but I guess I would choose A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin because then it would force me to finally read start this series.

5. Link your favorite blog post of yours!

No specific favorite post comes to mind; however, I do really enjoy writing the Classic Couple series in which I pair classic literature with contemporary counterparts. More posts in this series coming your way!

6. Which Hogwarts house would you most want to be in, and which do you want to be in least?

I would want to be in Gryffindor the most because I really admire bravery and loyalty, and I would want to be in Slytherin the least because its traits are the least important to me. (For reference, I generally consider myself a Ravenclaw/Hufflepuff).

7. Would you rather have a pet unicorn or grow a mermaid’s tail when you touch water?

MERMAID’S TAIL. FOREVER AND ALWAYS.

8. The last book you gave 5 stars and the last book you gave 1 star?

I actually stopped rating books on my blog and Goodreads a while ago. Click here to read my post explaining my reasoning. 

9. Who’s a popular author you’re just…not that into?

My go-to answer to this is usually Jenny Han. After not being very impressed with the trilogy starting with The Summer I Turned Pretty I’m just never in the mood to try any of her other books.

10. Show you’re currently watching, or last one you watched?

This past term I started watching the first few episodes of Jane the Virgin and it is WILD. I definitely want to continue watching it when I have the time!

11. Picture this: You’re at the altar, about to say “I do” to Cornelius (or Cornelia) Wainwright III, a disgraced businessperson who is only marrying you for your chocolate factory fortune. You dramatically say “I can’t do this” – which fictional character or celebrity do you confess your love to instead?

WOW, what a question! To be honest, I would probably confess my love to Aragorn from Lord of the Rings.

I’m going to pass along Emma’s questions because they were so much fun to answer.

Thanks again to Emma for nominating me and providing the most hilarious, thought-provoking, creative questions for me to answer! ❤

What are your answers to these questions? What do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,
HOLLY

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: 2018 Bookish Resolutions

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (now brought to us by That Artsy Reader Girl) asks us to share our bookish resolutions for 2018. Now that the new year is well underway and I’ve done some reflecting on 2017, I think it’s time to set some new goals. I don’t like to put an exorbitant amount of pressure on myself to meet unrealistically high expectations, so these are ten relatively simple goals that I’d like to keep in mind throughout the next year.

1. Read 24 books. I’ve made this my Reading Challenge goal on Goodreads for the past few years now and it’s worked out really well. This is a number that I can meet without any added stress, which is precisely what I need from a yearly goal.

2. Balance reading for classes, reading for fun, and blogging. I absolutely LOVE studying abroad at Oxford, but when term is in session I miss blogging and reading for fun so much! I’m hoping I can figure out a way to balance all of these things better during my last two terms there.

The main library at Mansfield College, Oxford.

3. Be more engaged with the blogging community. This goal is one that I wish I had done better at in 2017… so I’m carrying it over into 2018! As with the previous resolution, I’m hoping that I can find a way to make this work while balancing everything else I have to do.

4. Read more nonfiction. I’ve read some really great nonfiction books recently, which makes me feel motivated to read even more of them in the new year. Any recommendations would definitely be appreciated!

5. Read A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. Now, what would a Holly resolution list be without this novel inevitably included? I vow that someday I will read this book!

6. Continue writing discussion posts regularly. This is a resolution I accomplished in 2017, but I would really love to keep it up this year as well. Creating interesting, thought-provoking content that sparks engaging discussions is something that I want to always strive towards with this blog.

7.  Keep better track of the books I want to read. More often than not I forget to write a book title down when someone recommends it to me, leaving me without a list of books I want to read whenever I go into a bookstore or decide to order books online. Putting them on a list in my phone or something similar would be so helpful!

8. Be more creative with my bookstagram posts. I love taking photos and updating my bookstagram, but in the midst of writing pages and pages of essays it’s easy to revert back to posting the same kinds of photos every single time. This year I’d like to be more creative with my books, props, scenery, etc.

9. Be more open to talking about this blog IRL. I rarely ever mention my blog to people unless they bring it up first, and even when they do I’m pretty hesitant to talk about it (as I’ve discussed in this post from a while back). In 2018, I’d like to be more open about talking about my blog if people bring it up.

10. HAVE FUN!! As always– what’s reading without a little (or a lot!!) of fun?

Happy New Year, everyone!!

What are your resolutions for 2018? What do you think of mine? Any advice on how to accomplish them? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Meant to Read in 2017 (But Didn’t)

Happy Tuesday!! As you have probably noticed by now, I’m pretty awful at sticking to TBR lists. Whenever I make one for a specific month, season, or read-a-thon I inevitably end up scrapping the entire thing and just reading whatever seems appealing in that moment. As a result, there are SO MANY books that I mean to read in 2017 but didn’t find the time to do so. Fortunately, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic focuses on just that! Here are just a few of the books I meant to read in 2017 but didn’t:

 

 

What books were you hoping to read in 2017? What do you think of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Bookish

2017 Resolutions: How did I do?

Last January I made this list of my top ten bookish resolutions for 2017… and now the time has come to see how I did! I’ve completely forgotten what my resolutions were, so this should be an interesting trip down memory lane.

1. Read 24 books. Done! Somehow the stars aligned this year and I actually managed to read THIS MANY books… don’t ask me how! (Come to think of it, I know exactly how: SO MUCH required reading for college!) Although I don’t really care about the number of books I read, I can’t help but be pleased with this count!

2. Read more classics. Done! This goal can also be credited to the many books I was required to read for my courses this year, especially for my tutorials at Oxford. So much Victorian literature!

3. Read something by Zadie Smith. Done! Luckily enough, White Teeth was on the list of assigned reading for the Writing Feminisms tutorial I’m taking this upcoming term so I finally got around to reading something by Zadie Smith. (Also, it was AMAZING. Would definitely recommend!)

4. Read more by Charles Dickens. Done! I ended up reading two more novels by Dickens this year: Hard Times and Oliver Twist. I enjoyed both, though not as much as Great Expectations. (How I love that novel…)

5. Read A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. Nope! I feel as though I’m just destined to not read this book. Despite my incessant inclusion of this novel in countless TBR lists, for some reason I can’t seem to get around to reading it. Will 2018 finally be the year???

6. Continue posting to my bookstagram. Done! I’ve had such a blast updating my bookstagram, especially now that I have the privilege of being surrounded by so many beautiful buildings and scenes at Oxford.

7. Write more discussion posts. Done! I feel like I’ve definitely made an improvement by writing longer posts about my study abroad experiences and introducing weekly features like Feminist Fridays onto my blog. (Pssst! Any feedback on this point would be very appreciated!)

8. Be more engaged with the online book community. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to go with a no for this one. Although I’ve had an amazing time studying abroad, being at Oxford does mean that I have less time to blog. I’ve really missed reading and commenting on everyone’s posts!

9. Read slowly. Hmm…. probably not. Again, having so much work at Oxford means that I really can’t afford to spend my time slowly wading through novels like I’d love to do. So much to read, so little time!

10. Have fun!! DEFINITELY! One reason I love blogging is that it always reminds me to have fun with what I read. After all, what good is reading if you don’t enjoy it?

I unknowingly achieved over half of my bookish resolutions 2017– who would have thought?

What were your resolutions for 2017? Did you achieve them? Will you carry them over into 2018? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Bookish

Top Ten Tuesday: 2017 Bookish Resolutions

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Happy Tuesday!! I know that today’s official Top Ten Tuesday theme is about our most anticipated 2017 debuts, but here’s my dilemma: I really don’t know any upcoming debuts being published in 2017. Due to an incredibly busy college semester I’ve been out of the bookish loop for so long that I haven’t been able to stay up to date with new releases. Rather than ramble on about books I know nothing about, I’ve decided to share my Top Ten 2017 Resolutions instead. (Look at me, starting off the New Year as a blogging rebel!)

1.Read 24 books. Though I easily surpassed this Goodreads Challenge goal in 2016, I’m nevertheless going to set the same overall reading goal for 2017. I like to have something to work towards, but I never want to feel pressured to read an impossibly and impractically high number of books. Two books a month feels just right!

2. Read more classics. Yet another resolution that I’m borrowing from last year’s list (I assure you, there’s a purposeful trend here). Over the past few years I’ve been really enjoying reading classics and I’d love to continue expanding the network of authors and genres within classical literature that I’ve read.

42003. Read something by Zadie Smith. 

Ever since reading her interview on the New York Times’ By the Book column I’ve had the itch to read something by Zadie Smith. Her most recent novel Swing Time has received fantastic reviews, but I think I might start with her debut novel White Teeth and then work my way forward from there. As long as get around to reading one book by this fascinating, highly-praised author this year, I’ll be happy!

Charles Dickens4. Read more by Charles Dickens. If this goal looks familiar, it’s because I sadly failed to accomplish it last year. I absolutely adored Great Expectations when I read it two (three???) years ago, but since then I have read nothing else by Dickens. I desperately need to remedy this in 2017! Any suggestions on where to start would be greatly appreciated! The only other book I’ve read by Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities, so everything else is fair game for a recommendation.

a game of thrones cover5. Read A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. That’s right: another goal that I failed to accomplish in 2016. I’ve honestly been meaning to read this book for years but for some reason my inner bibliophile is really intimidated by it, both in terms of size and content. A little pep talk, anyone?

6. Continue posting to my bookstagramCreating a bookstagram was one of the best bookish decisions I made in 2016. I randomly decided to make one over the summer and I’ve had a blast doing it every since! In 2016, I want to continue posting photos and exploring different themes and angles.

7. Write more discussion posts. Lately I feel as though I’ve been getting into a blogging rut. My blog has been mostly tags and Top Ten Tuesday posts lately with the occasional review mixed in, so I want to make an effort to write more discussion posts in 2016. I was surprised and overjoyed by the positive and thoughtful comments left on my recent discussion post (Why It’s Okay to NOT Make Time for Reading). Discussions in the comments section always remind me how amazing the online book community is!

8. Be more engaged with the online book community. With my discussion post goal in mind, I would also like to be more engaged in the online book community in other ways. Recently I’ve been using Twitter (@peanutfreeisme) more, but I would also like to be more active on Goodreads and other platforms. Feel free to reach out and follow/friend me on any of these platforms!

9. Read slowly. As I recently mentioned when taking a look at my 2016 resolutions, reading slowly and taking the time to appreciate and absorb each book I read is always something that I can improve upon. It’s easy to feel as though we have to rush through books to achieve reading goals or read as much as possible, but where’s the fun in that?

10. Have fun!! As always, I include this final resolution as a reminder to myself that reading is for ENJOYMENT. I want to read to have fun, to learn, and to be inspired– not merely to check off books on a list or achieve a Goodreads challenge.

What are your 2017 resolutions, bookish or otherwise? What do you think of the goals I’ve set for myself? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Bookish

2016: How Did I Do?

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Today I’m taking a look back on the 2016 resolutions I made last January to see what progress I made on these goals. I honestly haven’t looked at these resolutions since I first made them, so this will be as much of a surprise for you as it will be for me!

untitled-design-21. Read at least 24 books. I definitely completely this one! As of right now I have read 67 books, which is a lot more than I initially expected to read. I would say that about half of these are probably books I had to read for school, but reading is reading!

untitled-design-22. Read more classics. I just did a quick count, and out of the 67 books I read this year 18 of them were what I consider to be classics. I’m really happy with that number, especially since they generally take me longer to read because I like to take my time with them.  

untitled-design-23. Read more nonfiction/memoir. According to another quick count, I read 23 nonfiction books/memoirs in 2016! I can definitely thank my coursework for that high number. I feel like I found a new appreciation of nonfiction in 2016, which to me is a success in and of itself.

Charles Dickensuntitled-design4. Read more works by Charles Dickens. SUCH A FAILURE. I have yet to read another book by Charles Dickens and it makes me so sad. (Hint: sneak peek of my 2017 resolutions!)

untitled-design-25. Read at least 3 books in Spanish. This past semester I took a Spanish literature class in which I read three novels and countless short stories in Spanish, so this goal has definitely been achieved!

untitled-design-26. Organize my bookshelves. YES. Though I still have to donate quite a tall stack of books that have been sitting on my bedroom floor for months, I recently organized all of the books that I do not. Also: I GOT A NEW BOOKCASE. It’s glorious and shaped like a staircase and I love it so much.

a game of thrones coveruntitled-design7. Finally read A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. ANOTHER FAIL. I just can’t seem to prioritize reading this book. (2017, I’m looking at you to pull through!)

untitled-design-28. Read more of the books I own. Though I have acquired quite a few books over the past year (I just can’t help but gravitate towards used book sales!), I have made a conscious effort to read the books I already own while on breaks from school. Besides the occasional used book sale, I have also tried to limit the amount of books I buy. For example, I didn’t ask for any books for Christmas (so much self-control!).

untitled-design-29. Read slowly. This goal will always be a work in progress for me, but I think it’s say that I did make some improvement in this area over the past year. For instance, I’ve consciously chosen to take my time reading longer books such as Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow and Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. It’s not perfect, but I’ll keep working on it!

untitled-design-210. Have fun! YES!! One of the ways I spruced up my bookish life in 2016 was by creating a bookstagram. I’ve had a blast taking photos and connecting with other readers on this fun platform. And, as always, blogging has made reading an amazing experience!

All in all, I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made achieving many of my 2016 resolutions. Hopefully I can be just as bookishly successful in 2017!

How did you do with your 2016 resolutions, bookish or otherwise? What were your most fun, challenging, and rewarding goals to work towards? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Tags

Cliches Book Tag

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Clichés are the best and worst things: though they can help you express your feelings quickly and easily, no one wants to hear the same old clichés over and over again. Luckily, the Clichés Book Tag puts a fresh twist on ancient sayings. Thanks so much to Ugne @ My Passion is Happiness for tagging me!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky“Actions speak loud”: A book that wasn’t or couldn’t be better than the film.

This question is really difficult for me to answer because I’m usually a big proponent of books over their movie adaptations. However, I must admit that I think the movie adaptation of The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is just as good as the book, if not better. Although I really enjoyed the book, I have such fond memories of going to see the movie in a theater with my friends in high school. I love everything about it: the cast, the soundtrack, and the climactic tunnel scene. For me, it’s the exception to the rule!

Great Expectations“The grass is always greener on the other side”: rags to riches, or a riches to rags, story.

How could I not mention my beloved Great Expectations by Charles Dickens? Not only is this a lovely bildungsroman, but it’s also the ultimate story of inadvertently climbing the socioeconomic ladder. The journey is certainly a winding, twisting road, but fortunately it all works out for poor Pip in the end.

the raven boys“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”: A parent-child relationship you loved

No parent-child relationship is perfect, even in fiction. Still, I loved the relationship between Blue and her mother Maura in The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. This series has a strong family presence not often found in the Young Adult genre. Even more rare is that the family Blue lives with is all women– talk about female representation!

city of bones cover“You can’t judge a book by its cover”: A great book that NEEDS a better cover

Though I love Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series dearly, I have to be honest: I really dislike these cover designs! Models on covers are probably my least favorite design a book could have, and I think in this case it makes the covers look overdramatic and over the top. When it comes to cover designs, I believe that simple is always better!

My Antonia“You can’t please everyone”: A book you hated/loved that everyone else loves/hates

Last semester I was assigned to read My Ántonia by Willa Cather for my literature class and I immediately fell in love with it… the rest of my class, not so much. I loved the writing style, the almost ethereal ambience, the fascinating questions about nationality and gender performance that it raises.

16145154“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”: book you are better person for having read

Reading Seth Holmes’ ethnography Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States last semester for my Introduction to Anthropology class made me realize the horrors, struggles, and hardships behind the fresh fruit on my kitchen table. This book has opened my eyes to the maltreatment of migrant farmworkers and the long road we have ahead of us towards changing this horrid, unjust system.

All the Light We Cannot See“Love is blind”: book with disabled character or actual “blind love”

Yes! Another excuse to mention my love for Anthony Doerr’s amazing historical fiction novel All the Light We Cannot See. Featuring Marie-Laure, a blind French girl living in Paris during World War II, this heart-wrenching story will captivate you from the very first page and not let you go until you’ve turned the very last one.

29069989“Ignorance is bliss”: A book you know is bad you don’t want to admit it, or a book you don’t want to read in case it’s bad

Even though I’ve already read it and I strongly dislike it, I’m still going to mention Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany. I went back and forth about reading this play for the longest time before finally giving in because I wanted to form my own educated opinion. I don’t necessarily regret my decision to read it, but I definitely could have lived my life without doing so. It’s safe to say that “disappointing” is definitely an understatement.

Jellicoe-Road-by-Melina-Marchetta_thumb“There is no time like the present”: Your favorite contemporary book

I’m going to go with my old standby favorite: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. I’ve discussed this book countless times on my blog at this point, but that hasn’t stopped me from talking about it even more. If you haven’t read this book yet, do yourself a favor and pick it up ASAP!

a game of thrones cover“Better safe than sorry”: A book you don’t want to read in case it’s bad or vice versa

I’ve been contemplating reading A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin for what seems like ages, but I’m afraid that it’s going to be too graphic or unsettling for me. I’ve heard these things about the TV show and I can’t help but fear that it all stems from the original book series. If you’ve read this series, please let me know what your thoughts on it are!

What books do these clichés remind you of? What do you think of the books that I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: 2016 Resolutions

Top Ten Tuesday_-14

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! It’s the first Tuesday of 2016– writing that feels so strange! Where does the time go??

As per usual at the start of the New Year, the Top Ten Tuesday topic is our Top Ten Resolutions for 2016. I feel like these could be considered more like goals than resolutions— or is there even a difference? (Says the English major!) Anyways, on with my bookish plans for 2016!

1. Read at least 24 books. I’ve decided to keep the same Goodreads goal as I had in 2015 even though I easily surpassed it last year. I’ll be away at college for the majority of 2016, so I won’t have as much time to read besides what I’m assigned to read for classes. Also, a lower goal allows me to take my time with the books I do read and even read some longer books without having to worry about them being too much of a time commitment.

classicsclub logo2. Read more classics. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of classic literature, both due to my college classes and because I’ve been enjoying exploring that genre. I’d love to continue to do this in the new year and hopefully be able to check off some of the books on my Classics Club reading list!

3. Read more nonfiction/memoir. Every year when I look back at the books I’ve read I always feel as though I never read enough from the nonfiction/memoir genre. There are some really great nonfiction books that I have on my TBR list for 2016 (take a peek at my recent book haul for more info) so I’m hoping they will get me off to a good start.

Charles Dickens4. Read more works by Charles Dickens. In the AP English class I took in my senior year of high school I read A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, the latter of which I absolutely loved. I’ve been meaning to read more of Dickens’ work ever since, but for some reason I just haven’t gotten around to it.

5. Read at least 3 books in Spanish. Over the past year or two I’ve been trying to read more books translated into Spanish. Since I’m now going to be a Spanish major in college, I figured that it’s about time I start doing this more often. I’ve got several Spanish books on my shelves that I’m looking forward to reading, so hopefully I can finally get around to completing this goal in 2016.

6. Organize my bookshelves. At the moment my bookshelves are kind of getting out of hand. The bookcase in my bedroom is overflowing with books, many of which I read years ago and have no intention to read again. Sometime in the near future (maybe before winter break ends?) I need to sort through all of my books and decide which ones I want to keep and which ones I want to donate. Then the reorganization process really begins!

a game of thrones cover7. Finally read A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I feel like this is a major fandom that I might enjoy, considering that many people have told me that it’s sort of similar to LOTR. I’ve never watched the TV show or read any of the books, but hopefully I can get around to reading at least the first one this year. I mean, if my brother read it (he never reads willingly) and enjoyed it, then I should be able to, right?

8. Read more of the books I own. I love books so much that I just want to own them all. The problem with this is that I have so many piled up in my room that I haven’t read yet, and they end up sitting there for AGES before I finally get around to reading them. Hopefully this year I can trim down that physical TBR (and maybe make room for some new ones?).

9. Read slowly. This is more of a mindset for me than the actual pace at which I’m reading. Sometimes I get so caught up in wanting to read all the books! that I miss out on appreciating whatever book I’m reading at that moment. In 2016 I want to stop reading hurriedly and start reading in a more relaxed way, if that makes any sense.

10. Have fun! As always, I think this is the most important resolution to make. Above everything else, reading should be fun!

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What are your resolutions or goals for 2016, bookish or otherwise? Let me know in the comments section below!

I hope your New Year has gotten off to a great start!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

top ten tuesday: most recommended books

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Hey there, everyone! Welcome to another installment of Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the lovely blog The Broke and the Bookish. This week the theme is Top Ten Most Recommended Books, as in the books that people most often recommend to you. I use many different resources to find new books to read- book blogs, Goodreads, Booktube, the library, friends and family, etc. The following books have been recommended to me from any of these resources, and most likely more than one per book. So, in no particular order:

  1. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.
  2. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. 
  3. Cinder by Marissa Meyer. 
  4. Legend by Marie Lu.
  5. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.
  6. The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. 
  7. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare. 
  8. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. 
  9. The Host by Stephanie Meyer. 
  10. Wonder by R. J. Palacio. 

I really need to get to reading these books- it seems as though everyone has read them except for me!

What books are recommended to you most often? Have you read any of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY