It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Happy Monday, Reader Friends!

I hope you had a good weekend and managed to read a bit… or not… it’s your weekend, you do you.

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As for me- I got to do some reading at the park on Friday, the beach on Saturday, and I even got to sneak a few pages in at the baseball field on Sunday.


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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!

Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join them!

Last week I listened to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. The audiobook was very well done- there were multiple narrators for the two main characters/timelines and the tabloid articles.

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I had heard nothing but wonderful things about this book. I have to agree, it was fantastic! Evelyn is such an engaging character- you simply cannot help but fall in love with her. She’s a manipulative bitch in the best way, and she is proud of it. She built herself up from nothing, didn’t allow the men in her life to dictate her success, and even at her most selfish moments she felt the need to protect the people she loves. The racial and sexual diversity in the book was amazing. The relationships were all so real in that they were full of the good, the bad and the ugly.

One disappointment I have, and this is just me, is that I didn’t cry. Every reading vlog I watched that featured this book left the reader in tears at the ending. I thought the ending was beautiful and, while sad, didn’t wreck me the way I anticipated.

If you love books with dynamic characters…. this book is where it’s at. check it out.

Also last week: I made slow progress through The Final Empire. I am definitely enjoying it, but I am so discouraged by my own reading pace.

Which brings me into my reading plans for this week:

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FINISH THE FINAL EMPIRE!

My ebook actually contains the entire trilogy- a whopping (and intimidating) 2,045 page count. I think I’ve made it to the half way point of the first book so I am hoping to get it done by the end of the week, and with that, the end of the month.

The next question is: go right into book two, The Well of Ascension, or take a break from this world?

I am worried that if I don’t continue right away, I will take a long time to get back in and finish the trilogy. HOWEVER… as of right now, I feel like I need to move on to something different. I am very eager to start my fall/Halloween reading, and this series is not giving me those spooky vibes. I guess we will see how book one ends and if it leaves me needing more right away.


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Last week, with the kids, I read The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling. I vaguely remembered it as something I read in early elementary, and we picked up a copy from the thrift store to read together. It was a really fun read- the kids both loved it and always wanted me to “read the next chapter!”

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The kids also started listening to The Penderwicks at Last audiobook. We actually read about 90% of the book together but then never finished it (well they didn’t… I went ahead and read the last couple chapters myself).
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The kids also started reading some books on their own last week:
So the reading goals for the kids’ week will be for kid 1 to finish The Magic Tree House #10- Ghost Town at Sundown, and for the little brother to finish Frog and Toad All Year.

We also have a bag bursting of picture books and graphic novels from last week’s library trip. There is no shortage of books in our house!


What are your reading plans for the week?
Make sure you check out and link up with the host blogs!
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8.24.18 At the Moment

It is 8:15am on Friday. I slept really well, my husband made some exceptionally good coffee for me today, the kids are awake and watching some TV before we start our day.

We spent yesterday at the beach and the baseball field. Today will probably be park before baseball. I’m hoping to do some reading outside. I always bring a book, but end up watching the kids’ practice like an I’m an obsessed fan. Well, I kind of am, aren’t I?

I finished my audiobook (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo) yesterday and I’m trying to decide if I should start another or focus all my energy on The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. I’ve made it to part 2 of the book and I’m hoping I can pick up speed from here. I have the graphic audio recording to try and help move me along, but I’m not sure how I feel about it. A regular audiobook might be better. Or no audio, just read it…cant quite decide on my own mood.

This post is really just a stall tactic- I don’t know why I’m not picking up my nook to continue The Final Empire. I will regret it later if I don’t read at least some before I start my day.

My weekend plans:

  • Clean the house…yeah right
  • Map out the kids’ fall ball schedules
  • Kid 1 has an away game
  • Read Fables vol 18
  • Make progress in The Final Empire

Update 8:48am

T5W: Redemption Arcs

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes.  The topic schedule can be found in the Goodreads group.


This weeks topic is Redemption Arcs.

I feel like redemption arcs are more than just a case of learning some background that justifies a characters antagonistic actions.  I think that is a matter of insight rather than redemption.  When I consider redemption, I want it to be a character doing something big to make up for the horribleness that has defined them up to that point.  But that’s just me and what I’m thinking about this week as I make this list.  Whether or not that is the true definition of a redemption arc… I really have no idea.

#5- Holland (from: Shades of Magic trilogy)

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I’m kind of breaking my rule right off the bat.  We learn about Holland and his torture at the hands of the Dane Twins who force him to carry out their sinister wishes… but he lets himself be defeated and sent into Black London for the greater good.  Or so we think……….. I won’t spoil any further.

#4- Prince Robot IV (from: Saga)

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This dude is the worst.  Until he has something personal to fight for, and all of a sudden he is side by side with our favorite moony in the universe.  PLOT. TWIST.

#3- Prince Charming (from: Fables)

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He is introduced as a silver tongued womanizer who cares only about wealth and power- but a few volumes in you realize he is a strategical genius and the one to lead Fabletown to victory against the Adversary.  I remember the moment I paused my reading and realized: “Holy crap, I don’t hate him anymore.”

#2- Loki (from: Marvel Cinematic Universe)

We went from this slimy asshole in Avengers…

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…to this: Thor’s Brother-From-Another-Mother (and Father for that matter) fighting to save his adoptive home.Screen Shot 2018-08-22 at 7.17.39 PM.png

Loki, I think I love you. No… I KNOW I do.

#1- Darth Vader (from: A Galaxy Far Far Away)

No explanation necessary.

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Shelf Control

I found this meme and thought… “Hey! I have TBR shelves I need to control!”

So here we are.

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

I am beyond excited for fall… autumn (whatever, I’ve always called it fall).  It’s my favorite season for several reasons:

  1. Climate- I live in New England, so it’s kind of required I love fall
  2. Hot apple cider
  3. Pumpkins
  4. Spooky (NOT gory!) Halloween decorations
  5. Atmospheric reads

I have quite a few books I saved to read leading up to Halloween, and honestly they may end up taking up my entire fall season, which I am going to say is September through November.

My birthday was in June, and with the gift cards I received I ordered several 2018 releases that I anticipate will make good lead up to Halloween reads.

The first one I will talk about is:

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

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I am going to venture a guess that by now everyone has at least heard of this book, if not read it.  It was released in March, with much hype, and I made a promise to myself that I would save it for fall. I mean… it’s about witches!

An excerpt from the Goodreads description:

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

The cover is gorgeous, the plot sounds perfect for this time of year, and I’ve seen enough good reviews for it, that I am more than eager to try it out for myself.  So far, I have gotten lucky and ended up loving books that have gotten mixed reviews.   The Goodreads rating is 3.86 and my prediction is that it will be 4 if not 5 stars from me.  We’ll see if I was right (I really hope so! I could use a 5 star book to kick off the season!)


If you want to participate in this meme, check out the post at Bookshelf Fantasies and join in the comments.  Don’t forget me know if you do!

Let’s take control of our shelves, one book at a time!  What book have you bought that you need to get to?

Summer Reading Wrap Up

So I guess, summer is almost done.  Why does it go so fast? Not fair!

My life was ruled by Baseball Mom-ing until the middle of July and I think it really slowed down my reading.  Also, I think was fighting off a reading slump for most of the summer.  I had a really hard time focusing, and ended up reading a lot of 3 star books.  I rate books on enjoyment, and I feel like I’m pretty generous with 5 stars, so I expected be throwing around more of them.

I do think I want to figure out a better way to rate books.  I recently watched this Book Roast video, and I love the idea of a rating formula.  As it stands, my current rating style is more similar to what Heather, from the Bookables channel, describes.

But I digress.


Here is what my summer reading looked like

(though not quite in this order):

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  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
    • Audiobook
    • 4 stars
  • Fables vol 12: The Dark Ages by Bill Willingham
    • Paperback- Graphoc Novel
    • 4 stars
  • The Night Masquerade (Binti 3) by Nnedi Okorafor
    • Audiobook
    • 2.5/5 stars

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  • When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
    • Audiobook
    • 3/5 stars
  • Bob by Wendy Mass
    • Hardcover
    • 3/5 stars
  • The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall
    • Harcover
    • 3/5 stars
  • Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
    • Audiobook
    • 4/5 stars
  • Wires and Nerve volume 2: Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer
    • Hardcover- Graphic Novel
    • 3/5 stars
  • Fables vol 14: Witches by Bill Willingham
    • Paperback- Graphic Novel
    • 3/5 stars
  • The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
    • Audiobook
    • 3/5 stars…. I don’t know…. I’m considering upping this to 4 stars since I can’t stop thinking about or referencing it.
  • Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola
    • Hardcover- Graphic Novel
    • 3 stars
  • Women in Baseball by Gai Ingham Berlage
    • Hardcover
    • 3 stars
  • Fables vol 13: The Great Fables Crossover by Bill Willingham
    • Paperback- Graphic Novel
    • 1/5 star
  • Beartown by Fredrik Backman
    • Audiobook
    • 5/5 stars
  • The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
    • Paperback & Audiobook
    • Re-read
    • 4/5 stars

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  • This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
    • Audiobook
    • 3/5 stars
  • Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
    • Audiobook
    • 1.5/5 stars
  • Fables vol 16: Superteam by Bill Willingham
    • Paperback- Graphic Novel
    • 4/5 stars
  • To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
    • Ebook
    • 3/5 stars
  • All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover
    • Audiobook
    • 5/5 stars
  • Dream Jumpers by Greg Grunberg
    • Harcover- Graphic Novel
    • 4/5 stars
  • Snow White by Matt Phelan
    • Harcover- Graphic Novel
    • 3/5 stars
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
    • Paperback
    • Re-read
    • 4/5 stars
  • Fables vol 15: Rose Red by Bill Willingham
    • Paperback- Graphic Novel
    • 4/5 stars
  • Us Against You by Fredrik Backman
    • Hardover
    • 5/5 stars
  • The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
    • Paperback
    • 4.5/5 stars
  • Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
    • Audiobook
    • 2.5/5 stars

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  • Fables vol 17: Inherit the Wind by Bill Willingham
    • Paperback- Graphic Novel
    • 3/5 stars
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
    • Audiobook
    • 5/5 stars
  • Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
    • Audiobook
    • 4/5 stars
  • Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
    • Audiobook
    • 4.5/5 stars
  • Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
    • Hardcover
    • 3/5 stars
  • The Summer List by Amy Mason Doan
    • Paperback
    • 3/5 stars

Book I DNF’d this summer

  • No Girls in the Clubhouse by Marilyn Cohen
  • Everland by Wendy Spinale
  • The Loving Spirit by Daphne Du Maurier
  • For Today I am a Boy by Kim Fu
  • Space Opera by Catherynne M Valente
  • The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M Valente
  • The Slave Players by Megan Allen (I read this first 120 or so pages in April, but decided in August that I was not picking this back up)

Currently Reading

I may be able to finish these before August is over:

  • The Final Empire (Mistborn 1) by Brandon Sanderson
  • Fables vol 18: Cubs in Toyland by Bill Willngham
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I feel like I had an okay summer as far as quality.  And now that I list it all out, I guess I read more than I felt like I did.  I am REALLY excited for fall and some spooky, witchy, thrilling reads.

Let me know how your summer went and if there are any books you would like more of my reaction/review on.

Happy Reading!

My First Pops!

I love Funko Pops. They are so stinking cute! But I’ve never bought any because…I don’t know, I guess feel like there are more responsible ways to spend money. Booo, adulting.

But I couldn’t pass these up.

I was only going to get Marko, but Alana is his soulmate…how dare I bring home one without the other?

And then my son handed me Ahsoka and they were a part of a ‘3 For’ deal (they actually turned out not to be, but it was actually slightly cheaper without the promo) so I took her home, too.

Now…. keep them in the box, or take them out?

I’ve always thought keeping them in boxes was dumb because I, personally, don’t collect things with the idea they’ll become more valuable in the future (is that even a thing with these?) and the cuteness of the pops cant be fully appreciated if they are still boxed.

But I dont know… for now, I like how i can stack them.

I feel like now that I’ve caved and bought some, I will be going back for more. I already know want a Prince Jareth and all the Gargoyles. Uh oh!

#TBT: Caroline B. Cooney

I’m in the mood for a Throwback Thursday post. I’ve been thinking about starting a TBT series on the blog to revisit some of my favorite books from childhood.

The ones that stand out to me most are my middle school reads. I think this is when I established myself as a bookworm. I definitely read less in high school (although I do remember a reading surge around senior year) and hardly at all in college, but I always have this memory of the beginning of the school year (probably 6th grade) and the teacher asking how many books we read over the summer break. The most common answers in the class were in the 2 to 4 range, and then I remember as it got to my turn someone announced, “Alex probably read 8!”

I honestly don’t remember exactly how many books I did read that summer… but 8 sounds right. What I do remember is feeling proud that what made me ME was being a bookworm, and my peers knew it. And respected me for it. I wasn’t shamed for it, or teased about spending my summer reading… I remember my classmates being impressed. Well, that’s how I remember it anyway. 6th grade was a good year for me.

ahhh…Memories.


When I think back on what exactly I was reading back then… Caroline B Cooney books stand out. I think I read these later on, 7th or 8th grade… well, whatever year I read them they really defined middle school for me.

The Janie Johnson books:

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I don’t remember how these came into my life. I think I borrowed the first one, The Face on the Milk Carton, from a classroom library and became obsessed. It’s about a girl who one day at school looks down at the… you guessed it… milk carton and recognizes the little girl as herself. WHAT!? Are her parents really her parents? Was she… kidnapped?!

I remember my heart racing as she walks through school in a fog, feeling what she must be feeling. The doubt, the panic, the confusion. I could so easily insert her into the familiar hallways of my own school to the extent that I have vivid memories of the physical building- bathrooms, lockers, hallways and conversations- that I have to stop and go, ‘wait… that wasn’t me, that was a scene from the book’. (Does that make me crazy? Oh well.)

Her support throughout the book comes from the boy next door. That’s right, the boy next door…oh did my tweenage heart pitter patter for this slightly older boy that she had grown up with, and was now developing an all new set of feelings for. I was so disappointed that my neighbors held no romantic prospects for me. I realize now that Janie and Reeve were my first OTP.

It was around this time that a brand new, TWO STORY, Barnes and Noble had been built not far from where I lived. I had always loved trips to the bookstore but this was a WHOLE new experience. The store was simply amazing and previously, I don’t know that I had ever gone book shopping for something specific. When my dad took me to buy book two in the series, I’m pretty sure I was in a daze. Here I held, in my hands, a piece of my soul, and it was waiting there for me at this magical store… that had a shelf full of exactly what I wanted. **mind blown** I don’t know if I am articulating this well. But basically, this was the first time I knew what I wanted to read and entered the bookstore with a purpose. I didn’t just pick something up because it was there and available. I’m only now realizing I felt that strongly about it.

I’m kind of afraid to re-read these. How can they possible live up to my memory of them? But I did just discover (as I searched for images of the book covers for this post) that there are TWO MORE BOOKS! Well… I have some book shopping to do. Most likely not at Barnes and Noble… what is this the 90s? We have the internet now. (Plus I doubt they’d even be in stores anymore).

The Time Travelers

Now this series has been looming over my head as an unfinished series for… oh fuck… decades, because I’m that old that I can measure time in decades. Ugh.

I read the first two books and then I don’t remember what happened. I couldn’t find the third. Or maybe I started the third and lost my copy. I don’t know what happened, but I remember feeling an emptiness from not having them in my life anymore.

The premise so cheesy: girl goes back in time, meets boy, falls in love, returns to her own time, and has to figure out how to get back to him. This was the most intense romance I had ever experienced at, what, 12 years old. I was so obsessed!

I have a very strong memory of being at a park and coming up on the end of the book and trying to explain to my father the plot and what the next book in the series was called so he could find it for me. I don’t remember if he ever did. I also remember feeling embarrassed to be so flustered over these books that I think I tried to shrug off my enthusiasm for them and play it cool for my father, who is of the opinion that if it’s not a classic it’s not worth reading.

This series I am pretty interested in revisiting and finishing, and I have a feeling it will be laughable. Unlike the Janie Johnson books, I was not so invested in the plot as I was in the romance, so I’m sure the books were actually not as good as they seemed at the time.


Well that was a fun trip down memory lane. It’s crazy what comes rushing back to you when you sit down and start typing.

Has anyone else out there read these? What books did you read when you were younger?

Before I sign off, here are two more 90s memories for you:

POGs

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Does anyone else remember POGs and Slammers? This was before middle school for me. I remember having POG battles in the cafeteria of my grammar school. Is it sad I kind of want to hit up ebay and see what I can find on there? I don’t even remember how to play.

Warheads

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I’m pretty sure these are still a thing, but my memory is of a kid selling them to the rest of the school for a nickel each in front of the school at drop off every morning. Of course everyone wanted the black ones.


Alright Readers, that’s it for today.

xoxoxox

Top 5 Wednesday: Books I Love with Covers I HATE

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam from the YouTube channel, Thoughts on Tomes. Check out the Goodreads group for topic schedule and participants.


This week is a freebie topic week, which is perfect because I have been so bad about posting lately and this is a great way to jump back in. Again.

The topic I have decided on is Books I LOVE with Covers I HATE!

Usually it’s the opposite: you are attracted to a cover and then disappointed when the story doesn’t live up to the expectations you based solely on its beauty. Right? We’ve all been there at least once…ahem… To Kill a Kingdom (I mean, the book was okay, but that cover! am I right!?)

But every once in a while you hear good things about a book that you had passed over because the cover is atrocious, or tropy, or just generally unappealing.

Now, I realize you should never judge a book by its cover…. but c’mon we all do. If we are not looking for something specific, it’s typically the cover that draws us in.

So here they are: 5 books that I have read and loved, but never would have thought to pick up on my own because I totally judged them by their covers (plus 2 that I haven’t read yet, but have heard they’re great even though they are hideous).

In no particular order:

1-The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

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It’s just so ugly. It looks like it’s for 12 year olds, but like, bratty texty 12 year olds…. not demigod summer camp, or school of wizardry 12 year olds.

It’s actually a great book about an 18 (I think) year old with body issues, anxiety, a non-traditional family, and experiencing first love.

2- The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

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So right off the bat, I don’t love books that have people on them, because I inevitably picture the character differently, if only slightly. In this case, that didn’t turn out to be such a big problem because I listened to the audiobook (AMAZING btw) and so didn’t have to see the cover often. Plus, yeah, this is totally Monty. My main problem with this is that the lettering and doodle style graphics over the portrait make it seem like a Seventeen Magazine cover… or some other equally sugary publication.
Honestly, it’s grown on me the slightest bit since reading it, but had I not heard over and over how good the book was, I never would have picked it up on my own.

3- All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

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Books with “white people almost kissing” on the cover… yeah I don’t read those books. But my sister has followed a few of my book recommendations, so when she encouraged me to read this (actually shared her audible with me, so I had no excuses not to) I figured it was time I actually go with one of her recommendations.

I haven’t heard rave reviews about Colleen Hoover in general, so I did not anticipate loving this book. I don’t think I will go out of my way to read any more of her books, but this one REALLY got me in all the feels. I cried for the entire second half of this book.

I feel like there are so many other images they could have used for this that could tie into the plot- a beach house, a take out container, a mysterious box, a couple with distance in between them…. literally anything would be better!

4- Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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This entire trilogy is plagued by trash covers! Holy hell do I hate every single one of them! They are hideous… sorry if you actually like them… but they are so cheesy and don’t capture the story AT ALL!!!!!
Now if I can get this trilogy in the UK paperback editions I would be all set. Those are MUCH MUCH MUCH better! Until then, I will settle for the audiobooks (currently listening to #3 actually) from my library because I don’t want to look at these particular covers on my shelves.

5- Wintersong by S Jae-Jones

Wintersong (Wintersong, #1)

This is actually the least visually offensive of the bunch, but I certainly would have kept walking right past… in fact, I did, several times. Nothing about this cover says “Hey! Over here… I’m interesting!” It wasn’t until I finally heard that it was a LABYRINTH RETELLING that I had to have it in my life.


And finally- here are two books I am very excited to read, even though I HATE THEIR FACES! I really hope they live up to the good reviews.

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

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There is nothing good about this cover, except maybe that I can imagine what running my thumb over the title pin would feel like.

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton

My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies, #2)

I have the same problems with this as I have with The Gentleman’s Guide– it looks like a teen magazine cover. It’s not terrible, I don’t even know exactly what I would want to be done different…. it certainly is unique and makes the Lady Janies series cohesive and identifiable. I just don’t happen to love it.


What covers have you come across that do their stories no justice?