Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books Released in the Last 10 Years

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) asks us to share our favorite books released in the last 10 years. As someone who tends to read older books and isn’t great at staying on top of new releases, I’m pretty intrigued to see how this list will go. I decided to make this list based on which books came out in which year, not on the year that I read them.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Throwback to those first years of me being a Nerdfighter! I’ve always marveled at how these two authors were able to seamlessly write this novel of intertwining stories chapter by chapter. This book is hilarious and heart-wrenching and thought-provoking all at the same time, in Green and Levithan’s usual way. Different from many YA books that I’ve read!

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I remember reading this book around Christmastime one year and thinking: Wow, what perfect timing! This book is mysterious and magical and will leave you wanting more of the fantastical world Morgenstern has created. If you’re looking for romance, adventure, suspense, and beautiful writing, then this is definitely the book for you!

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

How could this not have been my favorite book of 2012? I was so excited for it to be released that I pre-ordered a signed first edition copy–and I rarely pre-order anything! I loved how John Green balanced tough topics with heartfelt, thought-provoking discussions of important life questions and funny, memorable scenes that I still think about from time to time.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

This little book is eerie, suspenseful, and told like a twisted fairy tale. Definitely a great read for a spooky fall day. I love Neil Gaiman’s lyrical writing in general, but this novel in particular has really stood out to me even all these years later. Whether or not you’re a Gaiman fan already, you will be after reading this!

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This beautiful, heart-wrenching, emotional historical fiction novel blew me away when I read it as a senior in high school–so much so that I went out and bought a copy just to have it on my shelf, even though I had borrowed it from the library. If that’s not a testament to how much I enjoyed this book, then I don’t know what is!

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I remember this book being everywhere in the online book community for the longest time. It took me forever to finally get around to reading it, but when I did I could totally see what all the hype was about. The idea of so many different Londons is really interesting!

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

This series is just unlike any other that I have read! I really liked how it was 4 books instead of the usual three or longer–I feel like you rarely see quartets around. The entire premise is so creative and unique, and I couldn’t get enough of the idea of magical ley lines and forests snaking their way through a rural town.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Again, I have never read a book like this one. Written entirely in quotes that blend fact and fiction, Lincoln in the Bardo is a true masterpiece. Not only did this novel win the Man Booker Prize, but it is also Saunders’ first full length novel–wild! Definitely makes me want to read some of his short stories.

When the Curtain Falls by Carrie Hope Fletcher

I’ve been a fan of Carrie for years (both her videos on Youtube and her books), and I can confidently say that this is her best novel yet. I feel like Carrie really found her groove in writing this book because the setting, characters, and story all worked together so wonderfully. As with nearly all of Carrie’s books, I read this one in one sitting!

Unfortunately I haven’t read any books released in 2019 yet. Between finishing up the semester, writing my honors thesis, graduating from college, and dealing with some personal stuff that’s been happening lately, I just haven’t had any time to delve into any new releases. I’m really looking forward to finally having time to visit the library again and check out some new books. With that being said, let me know what 2019 releases you recommend!

What are your favorite releases of the past decade? What do you think of the books I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wouldn’t Let Anyone Borrow

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is technically about books we refuse to let anyone touch; however, I’m going to twist it a bit and share some books that I wouldn’t let anyone borrow. It occurred to me when thinking about the original prompt that there aren’t any books on my shelves that I wouldn’t show to a friend, but there are some books that I wouldn’t want to lend to someone just in case something happened to it.

My signed copy of BZRK by Michael Grant

Let’s flash back to Young Teenage Holly, shall we? In seventh grade, my best friend and I (who I met in a lunch book club group) were obsessed with Michael Grant’s Gone series. When BZRK came out Grant did a bookstore tour and came to a location within driving distance of where we lived. Since neither of us could drive, we both convinced our moms to take us to the bookstore to meet Michael Grant. My mom took an awkward photo of me talking to him, me in a Keep Calm and DFTBA t-shirt and him with his hands outstretched, trying to explain how the ending of the Gone series would be different from that of the television show Lost (which at that point I hadn’t yet watched, so I had no idea what he was talking about). Ah, good times.

My signed copy of the first printing of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

One of my most prized possessions. I’ve been a loyal Nerdfighter since I was in middle school and I think it’s safe to say that I’ll always be a loyal Nerdfighter. This nerdy faithfulness helps explain why I was so eager to pre-order a copy of this novel before I could even blink. I haven’t kept the inside of this book pristine at all–I’ve highlighted and annotated it and put sticky notes all over it. But despite all that clutter, I’d rather not let someone take it far from the vicinity of my bookshelf.

My signed copy of Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

One day while browsing the shelves of my favorite local independent bookstore, I noticed a copy of Why Not Me? that said it was signed. I was flabbergasted. A copy of Mindy Kaling’s most recent book that had been touched by the hands of Mindy herself?!?! Needless to say, I was Shooketh. Also needless to say, I purchased the copy immediately. I’m never letting it go.

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

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a big, big, BIG fan of Lord of the Rings. I have several copies of most of the books–most of them are used, although I did buy a new set of nice paperback editions when I was in Oxford. Because most of them are used and tattered and stained, they’re not worth much physically; however, they mean so much to me sentimentally. I would be so, so sad if I ever parted with them.

My copies of Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

My answer for this one is similar to that of Lord of the Rings: NOSTALGIA. SENTIMENTALITY. EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT. The thought of someone else reading my Harry Potter books makes me feel all weird. Not going to happen anytime soon.

Any books that were gifted to me

I feel like this one is pretty obvious–I don’t want to give away something that was given to me, so long as it’s a book that I really enjoyed. What if something were to happen to it?! Can’t have that happen.

I know this list doesn’t contain ten books, but these are all the ones that I could think of off the top of my head. What books would you not let people borrow? What do you think of the ones I’ve listed? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: The Traveling Romantic

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Happy Valentine’s Day!! I hope you’re all having a lovely day regardless of how you feel about this rather polarizing holiday. In keeping with a romantic theme, today’s Top Ten Tuesday list revolves around beloved or dreaded romantic tropes. I’ve decided to stay in a positive direction and share ten fun, lighthearted romance novels that involve traveling. Grab your passport and let’s get started!

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What do you think of the books on my list? Any recommendations? How do you feel about Valentine’s Day in general? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set in the City

Foodie Facts About Me-6Happy Tuesday!! Once again we have some freedom with this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme, since the prompt is “Books with X Setting.” I’ve decided to go with a rather broad one: Top Ten Books Set in the City. I live in a pretty rural area and, while I enjoy visiting cities for day trips and short stays, I don’t know that I would necessarily choose to live in one. I much prefer the quiet, peaceful countryside, but that’s just me! However, cities do make fantastic settings for stories, as these books certainly show.

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What are your favorite books set in cities? What do you think of the books on my list? Do you like cities? What’s your favorite city to visit? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Pokemon Go Book Tag

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Hello, hello! Today I bring to you an exciting tag: The Pokemon Go Book Tag! This game has been all that anyone can talk about for weeks now, so it’s only fitting that it makes its way into the book blogging community as well. Thanks so much to Jess @ Princessica of Books for tagging me! This tag was created by Aentee @ Read at Midnight.

Without further ado, let’s get started!!

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675636For some reason I have a very vivid memory of the first actual “chapter” book I read on my own. It’s taken me years to finally find out what the title of the book was, because for the longest time all I could remember was the cover. It’s called Puppy in a Puddle by Ben M. Baglio. There is a whole series of these books about different animals, but this is the one I distinctly remember reading on the school bus in elementary school.

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jane eyre coverI’ve read and adored so many classics, but the one that popped into my mind first was the brilliant Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Jane Eyre is a character that I resonate with so much, which is probably why this novel has had such an impact on me. She’s independent, intelligent, and isn’t afraid to stand up for what she wants. In other words, Jane is an amazing literary role model!

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15507958Unfortunately, I think I’m going to have to go with Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. At the beginning of the summer I was very excited to read this, but then I heard so many mixed reviews about the movie and the novel itself that my interest gradually dwindled away. I might pick it up eventually, but it’s no longer on my TBR for the immediate future.

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tfiosFor this one I’m going to have to go with John Green’s books, especially regarding the buzz surrounding The Fault in Our Stars. Yes, they are often filled with predictable tropes, but I think he handles them in a unique and thought-provoking way. I will always adore John Green and his work, despite the negative things people may say about it!

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a game of thrones coverDefinitely A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I’ve had my eye on this series for the longest time, but I have to admit that I’m a bit intimidated by their size. Every book is just so enormous! They seem like such a commitment, and there are so many books that I want to get around to reading. I’ll probably pick it up someday, but I’l have to carve out a good chunk of time to commit to reading it.

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Jurassic Park by Michael CrichtonI distinctly remember reading Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton at night a few summers ago and it literally gave me chills down my spine. Dinosaurs roaming around in the dark, hungry and uncontrollable? Those little dinos that seem so cute but actually spit poison? The giant, bloodthirsty T-REX?!?! It’s a recipe for nightmares if I’ve ever seen one!

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jellicoe road coverTAYLOR AND JONAH from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. (Did you really think I could go a single tag without mentioning this fantastic book??? It just wouldn’t be right.) Unlike some fictional romances, I feel as though these two characters are genuinely a good fit for each other. It certainly isn’t a case of insta-love, which is incredibly refreshing to read.

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IlluminaeI’m going to go with the first book that popped into my mind for this one: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. The buzz surrounding this book in the bookish online community has been SKY HIGH, but it really is an incredibly fast-paced, suspenseful, thrilling read. The sequel is coming out later this year as well, so there’s plenty more where this came from!

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the outcasts of 19 schuyler place(Side note: this was always my favorite Pokemon when I was younger, and I think it still is! It’s just so ADORABLE.) This is a difficult one for me, because I usually don’t enjoy spin-off series in general. However, I do really like the many companion novels to The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E.L. Konigsburg, if that counts. They’re loosely based on the first book, but it’s still fun to see where the characters are at in different points in their lives.

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My AntoniaWhen I first read the syllabus for my Cultural Diversity in American Literature class and saw that Willa Cather’s My Ántonia was assigned reading, I didn’t really have high hopes. However, I ended up LOVING this book! It’s beautiful and captivating and absolutely fascinating to analyze. It ended up being one of my favorite books we read throughout the entire course.

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10964I’m not sure if it’s overhyped, but I’m really excited to read the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I’ve read so many glowing reviews of this book, and it seems like one of those series that people get really enthusiastic about really quickly. Time travel, historical fiction, and a gorgeous Scottish setting? Sounds like a recipe for an amazing story to me!

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9822053Hands down the Penguin Hardcover Classics Collection. They’re all so gorgeous! I don’t normally prefer to read hardcovers over paperbacks, but for these beauties I would definitely make an exception. I love how each one is unique and personal to the book, yet they somehow all look great together. Imagine an entire shelf of these lovelies– oh, how gorgeous it would be!

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27405403Even though I’m not hugely interested in science in real life, I LOVE reading science fiction. When I heard about Lily Brooks-Dalton’s debut novel Good Morning, Midnight I immediately knew I would have to add it to my TBR. Taking place in both the Arctic and a return flight from Jupiter, this story promises to be a fascinating one!

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is everyone hanging out without me coverDefinitely Mindy Kaling!! I adored her first book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and I loved her second book Why Not Me? even more. Not only is she hilarious, but she’s also honest and authentic and not afraid to say it like it is. Her personality shines through her writing in a way that makes it feel as though you’re actually speaking with her in person. I’ll read anything she writes!

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24909346-2I don’t know if this counts as forever, but I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff ever since reading Illuminae over winter break. I can’t wait to see what kind of suspenseful, gripping, shocking plot twists these two writers come up with this time. If it’s anything like the first book, then it has to be good!

I TAG:

I’m not sure who has done this tag and who hasn’t, so feel free to jump on board if you’d like!

What do you think of my answers? What are your answers to these questions? Do you play Pokemon Go? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Bookish, Tags

Soundtrack to My Life Book Tag

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I’m so excited to finally get around to doing the Soundtrack to My Life Tag! I’ve seen a bunch of people do this one before and it looks like so much fun, so I was so happy when I woke up one morning and discovered that I had been tagged. A big thanks to The Orang-utan Librarian for tagging me!

Let’s get on with the show, shall we?

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The BFG by Roald DahlWhen I was in fourth grade my teacher read us The BFG by Roald Dahl and I absolutely fell in love with the story. I wanted to meet my own Big Friendly Giant so badly! Since then it has always stuck with me and is the first book that comes to mind when thinking of myself as a young reader. It just goes to show that being read to is just as important as a child reading on their own.

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the hobbit coverThe Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is one of those books that I always enjoy, no matter when I’m reading it or how many times I’ve read it before. I love the burst of nostalgia it gives me and the way it instantly takes me back to the first time I read it in fifth grade. There’s something about the exciting and fantastical sense of adventure that keeps me coming back for more. It’s one of my go-to books for battling those dreaded reading slumps!

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Great ExpectationsI read Great Expectations by Charles Dickens for my AP English class during my senior year of high school and absolutely fell in love with it. There are endless aspects of it to adore: watching Pip grow up and change with age, the bizarre quirks of Miss Havisham, and of course the captivating mystery that ties it all together. This book converted me into a lover of Dickens’ novels, for sure!

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John Green PIZZAI’m going to have to go with John Green for this one. Not only do I adore his books, but his books and videos were an integral part of my middle and early high school experience. John Green is such an inspiration and I love the work that he does both in regard to writing and in his personal life in general. DFTBA!

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A Darker Shade final for IreneI’m not a huge fan of action sequences or fighting in books, mostly because I usually don’t find them all that interesting. However, I have to say that A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab has some awesome fight scenes. The best part about them is the magic involved– a little spark of magic always makes everything more exciting!

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dairy queen coverI tried reading Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock over a year ago and I just couldn’t get through it to the end. I read maybe 50 pages of it– no more than 100 pages at the most– and it simply wasn’t clicking with me. I didn’t think the plot was exciting at all and I didn’t really feel for any of the characters. I ended up setting it aside altogether, and I don’t regret it!

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All the Light We Cannot SeeI feel as though I’m constantly recommending All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr to people, and with good reason: IT’S BRILLIANT. I mention it all the time (both on this blog and to people I know in person), but it honestly deserves every piece of praise that it receives. I read it over a year ago now and I still can’t stop thinking about it!

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tfiosOkay, so here’s the thing: I’ve never actually cried/sobbed while reading a book. Lately it’s been happening more with movies, but for some reason I’ve just never been that emotional of a reader. I certainly feel all of the emotions, but the closest I’ve come to crying is when I teared up at the end of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. If you’ve read it or have seen the movie, you definitely know why!

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harry potter and the sorcerer's stone coverTHIS IS SUCH A DIFFICULT QUESTION. There are so many series that I’ve loved over the years, but I since I’ve already mentioned Tolkien in this tag once (I absolutely LOVE The Lord of the Rings) I’ll go with Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. It’s an obvious one, but it’s the truth! It’s been with me since I read the first book in second grade, and the magic never fades!

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looking for alaska5 years ago I was a freshman in high school (EEEK! I’m so old!!!), and my favorite book was probably something by John Green, most likely Looking for Alaska. It’s one of those books that has really stuck with me over the years, despite the controversy that sometimes surrounds it. There’s just something about it that makes me so nostalgic whenever I read it, which is usually in the summertime. Suspense-37and then there were noneI first read And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie when I was in fifth grade (was I a little too young for it? Maybe.) and I have read it countless times since there. It’s such a brilliant mystery and each time I read it I pick up on little details that I hadn’t noticed before. There’s actually a new BBC mini-series about it that I absolutely have to watch as soon as possible– I can’t wait to see how they adapt the story for to be told on-screen!

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jellicoe road coverAgain, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta is one of those books that I’ve mentioned countless times on this blog, mostly because I’ve read it countless times and I’ve enjoyed it more and more each time I do. I love the intertwining story lines, I love the characters, I love the setting– I love everything about it! I can distinctly remember checking it out of my local library years ago to read it for the first time, and I’m so glad that I randomly picked it up off the shelf that day!

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Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixAccording to Goodreads, the longest book I’ve ever read is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling, which has 870 pages. That surprised me at first, but I guess it makes sense because most of the long books I’ve read recently have been somewhere in the 600-700 page range at the most. Kudos to the Harry Potter series for being composed of numerous tomes!

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Mockingjay by Suzanne CollinsIt’s been years since I first read Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, but nevertheless I still remember distinctly hating the ending. It seemed so forced and emotionless. Perhaps that was the point of it, but either way I didn’t enjoy it in the slightest. It just had so much potential that was wasted on a rushed epilogue! I’m interested to see how it’s handled in the movie.

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the handmaid's tale coverThe first book that comes to mind when I think of epilogues is The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret AtwoodI won’t say much about it specifically because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but it puts a completely different perspective on the entire novel. It’s definitely one of the best epilogues I’ve ever read and certainly makes your head spin a bit!

And there you have it! Boy, that was a long tag! I’m not going to specifically tag anyone else because at this point I’m not sure who has already done it and who hasn’t. If you feel like doing this tag, please do!!

What books would you want on the soundtrack of your life? What do you think of the books I’ve chosen? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

 

 

 

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The Fandom Book Tag

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Hello, friends! Welcome to the Fandom Book Tag! I love fandoms, I love books, and I love tags, so this one should be marvelous! Thanks so much Cristina @ My Tiny Obsessions for nominating me- definitely go check out her blog if you haven’t already.

The premise of this tag is simple: match fandoms with books based on the requirement given. This is a pretty long tag, so let’s get started!

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BONUS QUESTION!!! (I couldn’t resist adding one):

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Fandoms I Don’t Have Books For: 

The Walking Dead: A book about zombies

Orphan Black: A book about clones/cloning

The Maze Runner: A book featuring an incurable disease

Whew!! That sure is a loooong tag! I won’t be tagging anyone specifically for this tag, but you can certainly do it if you’d like! Let me know if you do end up doing it, because I’d love to have a look!

What is your favorite fandom, and what book would you choose to go with it? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Calling All Book Nerds!

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As per usual, the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish have provided us with a fun topic for our weekly Top Ten Tuesday posts. This week, the topic is: Top Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds. Personally, I adore reading about characters who like to read (and write!) because I can connect with them immediately. Common interests are vital in any strong relationship- as strange as it may sound, this includes the relationship between readers and stories. Plus, it’s always fun to see characters enjoying books that you yourself have read!

So, in no particular order, here are my favorite bookish characters:

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I couldn’t write one TTT post without mentioning Harry Potter, now could I?

What are your favorite bookish characters? What do you think of the ones on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Bookish

It’s Prom! Who Would You Take?

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My high school senior prom is this weekend! I can’t believe it’s happening already, but it is. To get everyone into the spirit of prom season, I thought I’d share the top 5 guys from books that I’d bring to prom!

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Fred or George Weasley from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

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Kell from A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

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Levi from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

What bookish guys or girls would you bring to prom? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Things I Like/Dislike About Fictional Romances

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Hello there, everyone! Tuesday has rolled around yet again, which means it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. In honor of Valentine’s Day this upcoming weekend, the theme this week is Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike About Fictional Romances. I don’t read books solely about romance very often, but that doesn’t mean I’m not exposed to it- it feels as though every book these days has some love triangle or love interest in it. It’s amazing when it’s written well, but torture when it isn’t. So, without further ado, here’s my list!

❤ Likes ❤

1. Flaws. No one is perfect in real life, so I really appreciate fictional romances that portray it in a more realistic way. One example of this is Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Park loves Eleanor despite- or even because of- her flaws, and the feeling is certainly mutual.

2. Those fictional boyfriends. You guys know what I’m talking about- we all have those lists of fictional guys we wish were real. 🙂

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3. The suspense. Suspense? you might be asking- weren’t we talking about romance here? Yes we were! To me, there is a sort of element of suspense with some fictional romances because at times you’re not really sure whether or not they’re going to work out like you want them to. Will he finally ask her out? Will she end up realizing what an amazing guy he is? You’ll just have to wait and see!

4. Oh, the lovely monologues! Fictional romances have the cutest monologues! One of my  absolute favorites is from Augustus Waters in The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (WARNING: SPOILER AHEAD!!):

“I am,” he said. He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. “I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”

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5. THE ADORABLENESS. Let’s face it: some fictional relationships may only happen in fairy tales or stories, but they sure are SO FREAKIN CUTE. Oh, it makes me feel all the warm, fuzzy feels!!

❤ Dislikes ❤

1. LOVE TRIANGLES. I just don’t understand how these characters can be madly in love with two totally different people at the same time. Deep down they have to like one person more than the other- just make a decision!!!

Love Triangles

2. Insta-love. In a lot of romance novels- especially young adult ones- people seem to fall in love with each other in the blink of an eye. Sure, this might happen in real life to some people, but I think it’s more common that you love someone more and more as you get to know them better.

3. Lightning speed! It seems as though some fictional romances develop so quickly that the couple is completely in love in the blink of an eye. HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?

4. Really sappy/cutesy pet names. You want to talk to each other like you’re five? Fine by me, just don’t incorporate that into every line of dialogue! This drove me crazy when I read Dead End by Jason Myers (which I DO NOT recommend) because literally everything the two main characters said ended in “baby” or “babe” or “darling” or something like that. It was so annoying! Probably half the word count of that book was “baby”, I swear.

5. The fact that they’re fictional. Why can’t they be real???

And there you have it! What do you like/dislike about fictional romances? What do you think about the things on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY