Twenty, Twenty, Twenty-Four Hours to Read…

It’s that time of year again, dear readers, 24in48 is just around the corner! And let me tell you, I have been waiting for this. I missed the January readathon because of work, so I made certain to request off for the July one, because it is so much fun!

I have been brainstorming and revising my TBR since mid-June when I signed up and have been stalking the hashtag on Litsy for even longer. I loved my 24in28 last year. I loved a community of readers cheering each other on, consoling each other when disaster struck (I’m contemplating a backup stopwatch this year because of last year’s hour 19 tragedy)

So how am I using this week to get ready, you ask?

  • Firstly, I’m not reading… well, not much anyway. I’m sticking to short stories and essay collections because I don’t want to get invested in something longer. Also, I don’t want to burn out before the big event UPDATE: I lied, I totally started reading The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, because I’m weak.
  • I’m watching the Harry Potter movies… because why not? I caught the tail-end of Chamber of Secrets this past weekend and decided to double back and watch a movie or two a night. Because it’s not reading but it’s totally book adjacent. I also got suckered into buying those beautiful new paperback reissues, and now I have to do a full-on reread to justify the $70.00 spent on books I already own.
  • I’m leading my library’s Forever Young Adult Book Club. We’re going to be discussing Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz, and I’m announcing that next month’s book will be The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.
  • And finally, I am laboring over my TBR… which is currently:

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Image result for speakeasy book cover, genevieve valentine Image result for undead girl gang Image result for broken things lauren oliver

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There is a 100% chance I won’t get to all of these books (I only read six books last year) and a 100% chance that this list will change (I did not stick to my list last year). But this is where I am at on the Tuesday before 24in48!

Are you doing 24in48? What are you planning on reading and where can I follow you?


Unpopular Opinion Book Tag

I’m a little blocked in the writing portion of my brain, but I want to keep putting content out there, because, well I like blogging and 24in28 is coming up and I want to have some normal stuff up before I start blowing my blog up with microposts…

I know this isn’t original content, and has made the rounds a million times by now, but somehow, I HAVE NEVER DONE THE UNPOPULAR OPINIONS TAG! Whaaaa? So here goes nothing.

A Popular book/series you didn’t like

A Court of Thorns and Roses. Y’all already know this if you read my YApril wrap-up. But I HATED this book and cannot imagine having different feelings about the rest of the series. I understand why some people might like it, so I can’t say it’s garbage… but boy howdy did I ever hate that book!

A book series everyone hates but you love

I know people don’t hate this series, but you don’t hear much about it… probably because it’s almost 20 years old… um yikes… but the original Jessica Darling series (not those nonsense middle grade, retcon, cash grab It List books) was/is my shit. I lived for those books… I was also obsessed with the Making Out series when I was younger, they tried to update and rebrand them as The Islanders series a couple years ago… but no dice, people were not buying that nonsense.

A love triangle where the main character ends up with the person you didn’t want them to end up with

I’m easy to trick into rooting for the canon couple… I just kind of go with the flow. But for real, I void love triangle stories, they are lame. I guess I think Laurie could have gotten a better wife than Amy in Little Women… but I wouldn’t want him to marry Jo… so I don’t know.

A popular book genre you rarely reach for

High Fantasy. Dragons and Fae Folk get a big nope from me. I like urban fantasy, where magic and the world we know are pressed close together, and we just haven’t taken the time or initiative to notice it until it’s important to the story. I like stories that make it seem like there is so much more to our world than meets the eyes… I don’t need other worlds and Once Upon a Times for that.

A popular beloved character you can’t seem to get into

Um… Albus Dumbledore… he sucks. I don’t buy into the redemption of Snape. Ginny Weasley can go suck eggs.

A Popular Author you can’t seem to get into

Well, obviously Sarah J Maas… I also have a hard time with Stephanie Perkins’ novels.

A Popular trope you are tired of seeing

STRONG FEMALE CHARACTERS (™) aka The Heroine Caze. I hate strong female characters… ha… that sounds weird. But I hate the trope, the surly, not good at anything suddenly good at EVERYTHING girls whom everyone adores and she doesn’t know why, ugh because she’s just so plain and bad at everything and can’t save the world because… ugh… oops she saved the world. Authors are so lazy with this trope… Katniss was refreshing, Trice with redundant, and then a score of other bland boring Strong Female Characters invaded the landscape and they were a horde of carbon copies with diminishing returns. Just because a character is a tough girl doesn’t mean that you’re a badass feminist writer doing this for the cause… it means you read The Hunger Games and ignored all the character nuance and just did the bare minimum so that she wasn’t a sad shrinking violet.

I also hate fridging

A popular series you have no interest in reading

Throne of Glass , the rest of The Lunar Chronicles, obviously ACOTAR… but I might be out of the loop on series, I prefer stand alones for the most part.


So FIY the world is terrible. Seriously, every time I log on to Facebook, tune in to a daily podcast, turn on my TV or even casually browse on over to Buzzfeed to figure out what kind of Hipster Pastry I am, I am deluged with news. Terrible news, horrifying news, the kind of news that movies about near future dystopias use in their opening credits to explain why there is no more electricity or why there ARE vampire zombies roving our most populous cities.

I mean we are living in some pre-Gilead end times here… see look at me, bringing it back to books.

So when times get tough, the Katy gets reading… basically, I do what everyone who is privileged enough to do does: I’m indulging in escapism.

I’m falling about on a long and often dormant love of the fluffiest, lightest, most low stakes YA Romance I can I find. I’m talking Morgan Matson, Becky Albertalli, Lily Anderson (just like no long-form Stephanie Perkins please… Anna can keep her girl-hate to herself thank you very much) etc. I want to be a fly on the wall of teens falling in PG-13 love with one another and having really solvable problems. It’s my therapy, my self-care… ugh that sounds douchey.

But seriously, I love a good YA rom-com. I love teens who are a little too clever to be real teens. They talk like over-educated twentysomethings, and have weird quirky interests that make them more relatable to people my age and more aspirational to teen readers. As a teen, I wanted to be as cool as the teens in YA books, and as an adult, I know that I will never pull that off.

I’m also a sucker for the standard rom-com formatting most of these books adhere to… especially when we can never guess what horrifying new bit of information will come shattering through our newsfeeds. I like that I can pinpoint a will they/won’t they (they totally will) vibe, I can spot the fly in ointment problem that will break our lovebirds apart at the climax, but still know there is a real good chance that somehow they’ll get over it in time for prom, or whatever arbitrary deadline looms large in their adolescent lives. I love that it’s just that easy in the books.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good slice of life YA, I dig a good thriller, and I will swallow ANYTHING Libba Bray puts in front of me. I love a well-crafted YA novel that could slip onto an Adult Fiction shelf undetected… I do. I get very excited for those books. But when the world turns to shit in your hands, there is nothing like escaping into a little fluff.

Here’s what’s on my fluffy TBR

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  1. The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the best burger in Los Angeles)
  2. Save the Date
  3. Fireworks
  4. The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You
  5. I Believe in a Thing Called Love

I’m sure I will burn out and reach for something dark and heavy by mid-month. But for now, I am perfectly happy to soak in the warm fuzzy goodness of my fluffiest YA dreams.


Every June this tag starts appearing on book blogs and BookTube. It’s basically a way to backdoor brag about our reading habits so far this year. So here I am, backdoor bragging, and laying it out before June ends…

Some General Reading Stats:

Total Books Read So Far: 44

Total Left to Go in GoodReads Challenge: 8

Number of 12 Books 12 Months Challenge Completed: 2

1. Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2018?

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was such a good book. It’s well crafted, engaging and has some really solid representation. But mostly I just loved reading it and wanted more of it. But… I’m not sure if it’s my favorite… because Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson was so fucking fun to read! I could not put it down, and when I got to that impossibly frustrating ending, I was screaming for the sequel. And obviously, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is amazing…

2. Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2018? 

Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire. I love the Wayward Children series! I love that the books aren’t exactly in order and that the timelines are strange… and I love that this one played with that idea more than the others. Such a great series, cannot wait for more.

3. New Release You Haven’t Read Yet, But Want To?
Neverwhere Wake, Save the Date, Fatal Throne and Price Guide to the Occult are all burning holes in my TBR, but I want to be able to really give them my time and attention.

4. Most Anticipated Release For Second Half of 2018?
Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor, My Plain Jane, Pulp by Robin Talley, Jessica Spotswood’s newest anthology Toil & Trouble, Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik and I am sure I’m missing at least three more…

5. Biggest Disappointment?
I’m really torn between three… The Hazel Wood was such a disappointment because I fell for the relentless PR campaign… and because it started off so promisingly. The Cruel Prince was not my cup of tea at all, because even though it was touted as being SO AMAZING it ultimately felt very much like a generic fae folk novel… ooo they’re pretty! Oooo they’re mean… I don’t care. And finally, When Katie Met Cassidy because I wanted it to be frothier, funnier, and sexier than it was. I now understand why people complained that it was too shallow. They were actually saying that it was too shallow even for a rom-com.

6. Biggest Surprise?

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Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson. I don’t like Maureen Johnson’s books. She has never been my cup of tea… that is until I read Truly Devious which is an awesome YA lite thriller. I effing loved it.

7. Favorite New Author?
While I have liked a fair few of the books I’ve read so far this year… I don’t have an author that has cracked the pantheon. I also haven’t read more than one book by the same author yet this year.

8. Newest Fictional Crush?

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I mean… I don’t really know, I guess I could say Evelyn Hugo because she’s sexy and confident and full of snark and honesty. But I’m not really sure I’m crushing on her. I could go with Harrison Lowery from Summer of Salt, but I really don’t feel like I got to know him well enough. He was charming and cute though. I haven’t really been falling in love with too many characters these days.

9. Newest Favourite Character?

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Um… Evelyn Hugo, Arthur Seuss from What if It’s Us, Vira from Summer of Salt

10. Book That Made You Cry?

What if It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera and Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

11. Book That Made You Happy?
Summer of Salt… or maybe The Wedding Date. Yeah, The Wedding Date gave me all the happy feels.

12. Favorite Book To Movie Adaptation You Saw This Year?
Love, Simon was excellent, I actually really enjoyed Crooked House as well. And well Kissing Booth was absolutely ridiculous and I laughed through the whole thing… OH! How could I forget Masterpiece Theatre’s Little Women adaptation! I liked it a lot… maybe didn’t love it as much as the 1994 adaptation but it was solid.

13. Favorite Review You’ve Written This Year?
I am lazy monster who has only written one review… buuuuuuuuuuut I will say that I am partial to my mini review of People Like Us because I got to use my favorite character stand-in name: Beige

14. Most Beautiful Book You Bought So Far This Year?
I don’t know how to answer this question… I have bought a few pretty looking books, but I haven’t been gaga over any particular cover… maybe Summer of Salt… maybe Fatal Throne… I really don’t know.

15. What Books Do You Need To Read By The End of The Year?

So many… I made a list of 12 books I have to read by the end of the year, and well… I think I have read 2. I might put one or two of them on my 24in48 TBR… but I’m not really sure.

A Happy Pride Month!

Happy LGBTQ+ Pride Month Everyone!

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Last year I dedicated my YApril to reading exclusively queer* books, putting a priority on Own Voices authors. It was a month of highs and lows because well, a lot of the  LGBT books I chose dealt with some of the more unpleasant realities of being queer in a world where for some reason straight is the default. I read a lot about sadness and anxiety and prejudice. The books were good (The Miseducation of Cameron Post should be required reading for everyone), but other than Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda there was a distinct lack of joy in the titles I read. Now, many of these books were older and fit certain dated narratives (fraught coming out stories, stories of being shunned, stories of unsupportive families, stories of self-hate) and the books that are coming out (pun only sort of intended) now are decidedly more diverse in their portrayal of the queer experience. And that’s why I’m trying this project again… also because I celebrate Pride the same way I celebrate everything:

By Making a Wildly Ambitious Reading List!™

This month I am going to try to exclusively read happy books about queer characters. Seriously, I just want fun, happy books that don’t punish or bury their gays because of who they are. I want to see them thriving in careers, and dealing with relationships without their queerness being the most important thing in their narrative… I want to see queer characters given the luxury of being in books that aren’t serious/important/groundbreaking… I want a fucking Hallmark Channel Style Rom-Com featuring two quirky girls falling in love in quaint small town at Christmas! I want a trans-man solving cozy mysteries. I want a bisexual character whose entire narrative isn’t bogged down by identity anxiety and can end up with a love interest of any gender without spending a minute worrying about how it affects said identity… I want stories about queer characters that aren’t necessarily centered around their queerness.

Some of these wishes are longshots–especially the Hallmark rom-com and the cozy mystery–but this is what I am seeking out this month.

All Out:  The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages

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Now, I’m not sure how happy and fluffy these stories are… but many reviewers and particularly queer reviewers have been very happy with this book overall. So I’m soooo down to read it.

When Katie Met Cassidy

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I’ve never read The Assistants or anything else by Perri… but this was an option for Book of the Month Club and I simply could not be expected to not choose the book that is being described as a “lesbian rom-com” right? I mean, read the description, I get total EARLY 2000s Kate Hudson movie vibes from this… I will be reading it as soon as it comes in the mail.

What If It’s Us

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Somehow, miraculously, I was approved for an ARC of this through Edelweiss… So, Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera co-authored a book about boys falling in love? Obviously, this had to go on my list. I mean the cover is adorable, it’s going to be hella gay, and it’s Adam and Becky! Now, there is a chance, a strong chance that this book will be emotionally devastating, it all depends on which one of them wrote the ending. Silvera could crush my heart into a hundred million pieces and I pay him to do it again.

Dear Rachel Maddow

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I know very little about this book, aside from the fact that it features a queer teen writing emails to all-star queer-o (you know, a hero but also queer? I don’t get paid for the wordplay, I do it for love.) goddess, Rachel Maddow that she never sends. I love the concept, I love kids digging politics and being engaged in their world. I’m psyched.

Tash Hearts Tolstoy

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Gettin’ a little Ace up in the reading list. I’ve had this book FOREVER, and I am finally going to carve out some time to read it. Because I really, really want to… Also, I’m obsessed with the cover for some reason.

If I Have Time Books:

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Do you have any happy, fluffy LGBT+ book recommendations for me to try out?

*I use “queer” as a bit of a catch-all, because not only is it the identifier I use for myself, but it’s the most inclusive word. It contains multitudes… also, it’s a word that has been reclaimed by the community that it was originally used to denigrate…rad.

Banned Books…

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Every summer I attempt a good strong Book Buying Ban. I restrict myself from excessive book purchasing because I have a problem. I buy too many books, as blasphemous as that sounds to you fellow book lovers. So every June 1st, I valitenly promise myself that I will not buy another book until September 11th (my birthday).

In the past it’s been easy, because I was an adjunct professor and often lost my summer courses to full-time faculty who weren’t able to fill their classes, thus I was temporarily unemployed at the last minute. Buying Books wasn’t even an option. But now I have a steady gig, that pays significantly more and the temptation to spend that money on books is really strong.

I failed last year. I violated my ban in July and never looked back.

This year, to ensure some modest success, I’ve altered the ban to be more forgiving.

The 2018 Summer Book Buying Ban


  • I can buy 1-2 books a month
  • I may not buy any books at all until June 15th.
  • If I buy 2 or more books in a month, I must donate the same number of books to charity AND put the equivalent amount spent on surplus books into a savings account.
  • Pre-Ordered Books DO NOT count towards this.
  • If a book is at the library or can be put on hold: DO NOT BUY THAT BOOK
  • If I complete 24in48 this year I grant myself an extra $50.00 in book shopping without having to adhere to “item 1 section b.”
  • Book of the Month Club and Owlcrate books are exceptions because they are part of an already paid subscription service.
  • Skipping a month DOES NOT allow me to purchase an additional book as a substitute.
  • I will buy ZERO books between August 31st and September 11th.


This is needlessly complicated. I should simply stop buying books, but I know that that is a recipe for failure. So, I’m hoping that this is just forgiving enough that I won’t feel so deprived that I end up justifying going overboard and quitting halfway through…

Do you go on Book Buying Bans? Have you ever succeeded or failed spectacularly?

Go Ask Alice… a Review of ‘The Hazel Wood’ by Melissa Albert

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So, I’m having a terrible time with my highly anticipated books of 2018. I 100% bought into the hype around this book (AND The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, but that’s a whole other story…). It seemed exactly like the kind of book I would really enjoy.

-Dark Fairy Tales? Check

-Magic Adjacent to Reality? Yup

-A Contemporary Portal Fantasy? Ooo sounds promising.

But it turns out that, well, it wasn’t so good, or maybe it’s not that it wasn’t so good as it’s that I am definitely the wrong reader for this book.

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.


Loose Thoughts and Half-Formed Opinions: See, this book seems like it would be great, but the execution wasn’t there for me. So here are just a few things worth mentioning.

Alice: She’s not nice, in fact, she’s downright unlikeable… and that’s well… that’s Image result for the hazel woodimportant. Now don’t get me wrong, I looooooooooove an unlikeable character. Characters who are crafted carefully and consciously to be unlikeable in compelling ways are kind of my jam. But Alice starts off as being mean, and just unreasonably rude FOR NO REASON. She doesn’t like a customer at the cafe she works at because… he talks to her? Like she has a serious rage moment because an awkward dude customer had the audacity to make chit-chat while he bought something from her. Okay… see he didn’t do anything weird, or gross, or ANYTHING that crossed the line, he just dared to exist in the same space as Alice for a few minutes… cool. So after such an inauspicious start to her development, I cared approximately zero for her, which is not the best way for me to start off on new series of books.

Althea: Basically, I wanted more of Alice’s kind of creepy, grandmother, I wanted her to factor more deeply into the story, or maybe I wanted more backstory… I don’t know. She seemed like a character I definitely could have gotten behind. The one scene she is in is super creepy and atmospheric. I’d be down for a prequel about her. Secondarily, Althea’s stories (or Stories) are really interesting and something that Albert is apparently fleshing out into a Tales of the Hinterland companion book… so, cool, I guess.

The Twist: Ugh… this bitch is telegraphed from pretty much the beginning of the book. If you’re a super sleuth like I am, pay attention to the way hair is described, and the answer will slap you in the face.

The Real World/Portal Split: Lovers of portal fantasies and lovers of urban fantasy will have exactly the same feelings toward this book. There’s not enough what you like. If you like wonderlands, there’s not enough and it takes too long to get there. And if you like real worlds with unsettling eruptions of magic (This is ME) then that section ends too soon. It just doesn’t spend enough time in either place to be truly satisfying for anyone on either side of the fence.


The Verdict: Despite my dislike for Alice, I actually really enjoyed the first half of this book. All of Ella and Alice’s bad luck stuff, the generally creepy atmosphere surrounding Althea’s cultish following, the stuff that took place in New York City, and Finch, were all great. But once she gets to the Hinterlands, I really stopped caring and wanted the book to be over. I know, apparently, I missed the entire point of the book. I do have a reason.

The first half of this book reminded of a much better book.

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The first half of The Hazel Wood gave me the feeling that is was going to be a YA take on my favorite mindf*ck of a book, Night Film by Marisha Pessl. It had the same creepy, cultish, menacing otherworldly vibe that practically oozes out of Night Film. I would totally believe it if someone told me that Albert had read it or was inspired by it. The problem, for me anyway, is that the “real world” was set up in such a way that was incompatible to the type of story she was ultimately telling… see I have been told this isn’t so much a her problem as it is a me problem. I wanted it to be something other than what it was, and thus it disappointed me.


An ExperiMAYnt…

I just love me that sweet, sweet wordplay, y’all…

I just wrapped up YApril, it wasn’t fun. I read some things I liked, one thing I loved, but mostly I read things that it turns out were not for me. Now, this month isn’t a fancy challenge month, but I am going to challenge myself to do something I haven’t done in a long time.

I’m not going to read reviews. I have a habit of picking up a book that looks really interesting and then looking said books up on GoodReads. See, this is hard for me, because I read reviews a lot. I read them for work, I read them to determine whether a book is a buying book or a borrowing book. I like to see what people are saying about the books I’m about to read. BUT I have noticed that since I started using GoodReads, the number of books I have truly enjoyed has noticeably declined, and I’m wondering if maybe I’m letting those reviewers into my head too much. I will read books with good reviews and ratings and find myself hating them, and I will let a bad review talk me out of reading a book I was really psyched about. So this month I’m taking something out of the equation, which I guess makes this month is less of a challenge and more of an experiment.

Will I enjoy books more if I don’t read reviews first?

Now, I don’t have a hard and fast May TBR, because TBR Lists have really been bringing me down lately. I’m going back to basics, reading what I feel like reading when I feel like reading it… and not feeling guilty about “neglecting” books on so arbitrary list I made up. So, while I don’t have a list per say, I do have a couple books that I’m a little excited about, and those are:


If You Can’t Say Anything Nice 

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Undead Girl Gang

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Meddling Kids

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All of This is True

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Now, if I don’t read all of these, that’s totally okay. If I don’t read ANY of them, that is also okay. These are just the books I’m a little bit jazzed about at the moment.