Top 5 Books I Want to Read in 2020

Like most – scratch that, I think this is one time when generalizing is allowed – like ALL readers, my TBR list will never be finished. There are always too many books and not enough time to read them all. But if I had to put a few books at the top of my list for the upcoming year, here’s my list. Now, these are not 2020 releases – just books I would like to read soon.

1. Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake

I can’t wait to find out the fates of our Fennbirn queens. This is the fourth (and final?) book in the Three Dark Crowns series. YA fantasy with a bit of a dark edge.

2. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is phenomenal – and also terrifying. I’m eager to see what direction Atwood has taken her story…but I’m also kind of nervous. What if it’s a Cursed Child or a Go Set a Watchman? You know, a late addition that many readers didn’t like?

3. Paper Girls, Vol. 6 by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang

This is one of the most original and awesome graphic novels/comic books I’ve ever read. Set on Halloween night in the late 1980s, four pre-teen newspaper delivery girls get tangled up in a war between time travelers. In each subsequent volume, the girls get flung backwards and forwards through time, piecing together a mystery as they try to get back home. There is cool technology, humongous monsters, evil cavemen, new languages, body doubles, and twists and turns galore. So clever and amazing – but for a select audience. I don’t think everyone will appreciate the weirdness! This is the final volume, so I’m anxious to see how it all ends.

4. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

Again, this is a final book in a series, so I need to know how the story ends. This book is part of the All Souls Trilogy, following A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night. This is an adult fantasy series that is kind of like a cross between Outlander and Twilight. A witch falls in love with a vampire and lots of historical fiction ensues! Fun but dense reads.

5. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

This is Bardugo’s first adult book, so I’m wondering how she will up her game. I enjoyed her previous novels set in the “Grishaverse” like the Shadow and Bone series and Six of Crows. With an adaptation of her books being created for a Netflix television series, it seems smart to jump on the Bardugo bandwagon.

This list shows me that 2020 will be all about wrapping up some beloved series. What are you looking forward to reading?

My TBR List Will Never Be Tackled

Like most book readers, I’ve got a TBR list – both formally on Goodreads and as a wishlist in the Overdrive app, and informally in my head – but, to be honest, I don’t really plan on reading all of those books. I don’t prioritize my next book choice based on my list. I just don’t see that working for me because my reading habits and styles and interests are always changing and growing. Here are a few specific examples of why I don’t plan on following through with my TBR list:

1. Sometimes I see the movie first and then I don’t care to read the book.

This might be because I didn’t think the movie was very good, so why would I invest the time into the book? Or, now the lack of suspense just makes it something I no longer care to read. I know what happens – why bother reading the same story twice?!

Three particular examples of this are:

  • The Spectacular Now, book by Tim Tharp
  • The Lightning Thief, book by Rick Riordan
  • Big Little Lies, book by Liane Moriarty

2. Sometimes I read other books by the author and realize I don’t really care for their work.

For instance, I know John Green has a big following, but I just can’t get over how pretentious and boring most of his books are. Read more about my thoughts here! Even though I added Looking For Alaska to my TBR because it is consistently on best-book lists (even making it onto the PBS The Great American Read program), I refuse to read it since I didn’t like An Abundance of Katherines or Paper Towns. The Fault in our Stars is bearable, but I can pick out a lot of other YA books that I enjoy more.

3. Sometimes I’m worried reading another book by a beloved author will ruin the series/author for me.

I’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird numerous times, and even taught it in the years I spent teaching high school English, but I’m scared to pick up Go Set a Watchman. I’ve heard that Atticus is not as virtuous as he is in TKAM. The circumstances regarding how the book became published when Harper Lee was 88 never sat well with me, either. Did she really want the book read or was she taken advantage of?

Another book like this is J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I adore the Harry Potter series and I don’t want to tarnish it. Cursed Child has had very mixed reviews, and since Potterheads worship J.K. Rowling, I know the work has to be pretty rough to not earn their praise!

4. Sometimes I read the first book in the series and wasn’t captivated enough to pursue the rest of the series…but if I come across it someday, maybe I’ll pick it up.

  • King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
  • Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman
  • Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

5. Sometimes it’s a classic or a book with a lot of hype that I feel I’m supposed to have read…but I’m not really interested. I’ll get to it later.

  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  • It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

How about you? Are you strict with your TBR list, or do you give yourself wiggle room?

Tackling My TBR List

During November’s NaBloPoMo, I shared eight books that were on my To Be Read list. Amazingly, I’ve read five of the books since then, so I wanted to do a quick update on them.

1. Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

This book was a disappointment for me. I was really looking forward to Anna’s quirky commentary and wit. What I got was a lot about her sex life and recreational drug use and not near enough humor. Parts I did like: learning how Anna started acting at a young age – and in theater, mostly. The first time I saw her act was in Twilight and then Pitch Perfect, so it was interesting to hear about her career before those films. She seemed to have a pretty level-headed upbringing despite being a child actor, and she certainly didn’t make money from acting until recently. That being said, I don’t think I would recommend this book. There just wasn’t anything captivating enough about it. If you feel the need to check this one out, I’d recommend the audio CD over reading the book, as Kendrick herself reads it, so at least it’s a bit more manageable. My Goodreads rating: 3 stars

2. We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han  

The third book in the Summer series, We’ll Always Have Summer, picks up at the end of Belly’s freshman year of college. She and Jeremiah have been dating and even attend the same school. It all seems to be going well, but when Belly hears about a mistake Jeremiah made, she’s forced to question whether he is the right guy for her. I read this book in two days because I had to know, who would it be – Jeremiah or Conrad?! Was this a fantastic book? No. Belly was just as immature and selfish as she was in the first two books and the plot was a bit ridiculous, but it didn’t matter – I was sucked in! Jenny Han should really write a television show because her teenage drama is spot on. My Goodreads rating: 4 stars

3. Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

In Westerfeld’s Afterworlds, a young writer named Darcy decides to defer her freshman year of college so that she can move to NYC and experience life as a debut YA author. Her story as a budding writer, learning the ins and outs of the publishing industry, as well as her growth as a young adult, help her shape her manuscript about a girl who survives a terrorist attack and now has the power to “cross over” into an even better story. I bought this book a few years ago in Barnes & Noble’s clearance section, thinking it was a great price for such a huge book! Sadly, the size of the book kept me from actually getting around to reading it. As an e-book however, it was much less daunting. And, boy, am I glad I finally read it. I enjoyed both stories, though they were not as interconnected as I thought they were going to be. I really liked following Darcy’s experience as a debut author. Her story about the afterworld, which is told in the alternating chapters, is just as original and entertaining as the framing story. I’d recommend this book to fans of YA literature and people who have participated in the NaNoWriMo experience. My Goodreads rating: 4 stars

4. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Huxley’s sci-fi novel envisions a world where people are genetically engineered and brainwashed so that they are good consumers. Thanks to a society where sex is recreational and not monogamous, and drugs are always available to pick you up or wipe out lonely thoughts, everyone is happy. However, a few characters in the novel start to feel different – the basis for the book’s conflict. I think the book was probably advanced for its time, but reading it today, I found the language a bit difficult to understand. The concept of creating people (and clones of the same person) and preconditioning them was incredibly interesting and thought-provoking, but the story went in strange directions and there were some odd writing techniques. For instance, I almost had to picture it like a movie in certain sections because the author would have multiple “scenes” happening all at the same time and I had to keep up with who was talking and what they were talking about. There were some very interesting ideas about sexuality and gender roles – especially for a book published in 1932. Unfortunately, the book had a terrible ending. Terrible because it just ended abruptly without filling the reader in on how all the character’s stories were resolved. There were several main characters, but none of their stories felt finished or complete to me. While an ending like this sometimes leaves room for the reader to fill in the blanks, in this case, I wanted more information. I left not really knowing what I was supposed to make of this strange new world – other than it was certainly not the utopia it claimed to be. There were a lot of messages: the fear of taking science and technology too far, the importance of reading and education, how religion can control people and form society, how free is our free will, just to name a few. I’m sure it’d be a fascinating book to use for discussion in a book club or classroom. In all, I’m glad I finally got around to reading this book, but I’m not sure I liked it all that much. My Goodreads rating: 2 stars

5. Shadow and Bone, Book 1 of The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

The first book of the Grisha Trilogy begins with a trek across a dangerously dark and monster-filled area called the Shadow Fold. The main character, Alina, finds she has incredible powers that can ward off the terror of the Shadow Fold. She is sent to the royal court to be trained as an elite fighter. But the luxurious life being a powerful member of the elite isn’t what it seems. I almost gave this book a five-star rating on Goodreads, as it was pretty close to perfect. I raced to finish this one, and then was sad when I made it to the last page. The characters and world were just plain enjoyable to read about. I was hooked from the beginning and I will definitely be continuing the rest of the series. I’ve already got the next book on hold. There are many books about people who have strange powers or abilities (Graceling, Three Dark Crowns, Shatter Me, Under the Never Sky – all books I enjoyed, by the way), but this book still held its own and brought something different and interesting. I would highly recommend this book (especially if you liked the books I listed in parentheses)! My Goodreads rating: 4 stars

What books have you recently crossed off your TBR list?

My TBR List

mytbrlistThe great thing about having reading as a hobby is that you’ll never run out of books! There are always more books to be read, authors to discover, and characters to connect with. And even as you grow and change, your hobby can grow and change with you. There are different genres to explore and challenges to take on. That means my TBR (to be read) list is always growing and changing too. I keep track of what I want to read next by adding titles to my Goodreads To-Read list, and also my wish list and holds list on OverDrive.

mytbrlonglistHere is what is currently on my TBR list (in no particular order):

  1. Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick – I love Anna Kendrick in movies, on talk shows, and the internet, so I can’t wait to see what quips she comes up with for a book!
  2. We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han – I have to see who Belly ends up with. Will it be the fun, loving, quick-to-smile Jeremiah, or his older brother, the mysterious and brooding Conrad?
  3. Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld – I bought the hardcover version of this book years ago and haven’t had time to sit down and enjoy it yet. I’m looking forward to seeing how Westerfeld weaves the story of a young writer who is just about to be published along with the actual novel that is being written.
  4. The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis – First, the cover is beautiful. Second, it sounds like there will be a really interesting setting to this story: NYC’s Barbizon Hotel for Women.
  5. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – I enjoy science fiction, and this feels like a classic that I’ve been missing out on.
  6. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – This is another classic that has somehow escaped me. As an English major, can you believe that it was never on one of my required reading lists?
  7. Shadow and Bone, Book 1 of The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo – Many book bloggers seem to love this series, so I’m interested to see if it will be one of my favorites, too.
  8. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han – I’ll have to wait until April 2017 to read this one, but I’m really looking forward to it. This is the third book in Lara Jean Song’s story, and originally Han had said that there were only going to be two books, as “It organically feels like two books to me–two halves of a heart.” But I guess she (or her readers or editors?) changed her mind about that! I felt that the second book ended things nicely…but I’m also eager to read more of the story! You can read more about my thoughts to the first book in the series, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before here.

What books are you looking forward to reading soon? How do you keep track of your TBR list?

Updating My Wish List


In the drop down menu of my website, you’ll find a page for my reading log. This is where I try to post what I’m currently reading, books I’m hoping to read in the future, and books I’ve read in the past two and a half years. I’m almost finished with the eight books on my wish list, so I think it’s time to make a new list. Here are some books I’d love to read in the coming year:

  1. Winter, Marissa Meyer
  2. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
  3. Uprooted, Naomi Novik
  4. No Such Person, Caroline B. Cooney
  5. Ready Player One, Ernest Cline
  6. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
  7. The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
  8. Afterworlds, Scott Westerfeld

As you can see, it’s an interesting mix of new and old; YA and adult; fantasy, sci-fi, and general fiction.

What books are on your wish list?

Library Book Haul


I’ve been on a reading roll lately! I’ve read seven books in just about a month (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Attachments, Bittersweet, The Impossible Knife of Memory, Under the Never Sky, Through the Ever Night, and Into the Still Blue) – so I’m hoping to get a few more books read before Baby arrives at the end of October. When I stopped at the library today to return other books, I found some really great reads. Here’s what I came home with:

1.  Catherine by April Lindner: I thoroughly enjoyed Lindner’s first novel, Jane, which was a modern-day retelling of Jane Eyre. I hadn’t even realized she had another novel out, so I’m most excited to read this book. It’s a retelling of Wuthering Heights.

2.  The Here and Now by Ann Brashares: Back in the day, I was a fan of Brashare’s Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants novels, so I’m hoping I’ll like this novel as well. Goodreads describes the novel as “An unforgettable epic romantic thriller,” so the style is going to be very different than her previous novels.

3.  Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige: I saw this novel on blogs and book lists and was curious about it. I’ve watched The Wizard of Oz, read Wicked, and saw the musical, so I’m interested to see where Paige takes the classic story.

4.  The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow: This book was recently recommended to me, and I’m anxious to read it—especially because it was in the non-fiction section of the library. I don’t venture there very often! The book is about a family owned small-town bridal shop and the women who come into the shop to purchase their wedding gowns.

What books are you excited to read next?

Entry #20 – Wish List:


Entry #20 – Wish list:  What books are on your current wish list to read next?

I’m sure you’ve all experienced this feeling too: there’s just never enough time to read everything I want to read!  While I think I read quite a bit, the list of books I want to read just keeps getting longer and longer.  Here are the eight books I’m hoping to read in the near future:

  1. Cress                                                                   wishlistbooks
  2. The Fault in Our Stars
  3. The Monuments Men
  4. Ender’s Game
  5. Delirium
  6. If I Stay
  7. The Spectacular Now
  8. Under the Never Sky

My wish list this summer was based on a post a librarian friend of mine shared on facebook: 14 Books to Read before They Become Movies.  I tried my best to tackle the BuzzFeed list.  Unfortunately, these were super popular books, so I wasn’t always able to get my hands on them at the library.  I only made my way through five of the books on the list!  I’ve been on the waiting list for The Monuments Men for several months.  The movie has already opened and I haven’t read the book.  Five of the books on the list are on my current wish list.  I picked up If I Stay at the Half Price Bookstore recently, so hopefully I’ll be able to cross that one off my list soon.  The 14 Books list has now been updated to 16 Books to Read before They Become Movies.  I’ve read six of the books on this list, but the lists overlap.   How am I supposed to read all the books I want to read when there are so many good books being published all the time?!  Maybe Joseph Joubert had it right when he said, “The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.”

What books are on your reading wish list?