I’m back with a new #QuarantineReads post! I laid off on these for a couple months, but I’ve read over 50 books this summer so I thought I’d share some new patterns.
Somehow my quarantine reading has come full circle. If you’ll recall, back in April I had sworn off ebooks, and I was reading only fantasy books. Now it’s August, I’m still locked in my house (occasional outings to the Barnes & Noble not withstanding, as my state has gotten better), and I’m reading all sorts of contemporaries and a whole bunch of eARCs.
My last favorite read was The Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow—I was so lucky to receive an ARC and I can’t wait for you all to pick up this book in October. I honestly can’t remember the last time I declared that a romance was my favorite book—usually that list is topped by fantasy books, especially this summer. I’m currently reading Not the Girls You’re Looking For, by Amina Mae Safi, and I’m not loving it so far. I think Lulu and her friends have an unrealistic group dynamic and it’s a little awkward all of the time. Whether or not I like it, though, I still am reading more contemporary novels than I was even a month ago.
Part of this is that I have a new job and I’m reintegrating into my life, so it feels a bit easier to read a contemporary book and not fall into a mess over how life could have been. I don’t need as much escapism as I did in the spring. One thing I am nervous about, though, will be books published in the future that include pandemic references. I’m not sure I’d like to keep reading books where characters have to wear masks, distance themselves, and take classes online. Part of this is that it eliminates many plot possibilities, but honestly? I just don’t want to be reminded of this when it’s over. I don’t want to think about it anymore.
Speaking of things I’d rather not confront… A massive pile of eARCs from Netgalley has also challenged my goal to remain e-reader free this summer. I’m so excited to share love for these upcoming books that I just gave in. My eyes kind of hate me right now, but I’m taking breaks to listen to podcasts and read physical books, so hopefully I won’t get too much strain. I’m currently working through Where Dreams Descend (another fantasy! Yay!).
That’s it for my #QuarantineReads post this time! Let me know in the comments what you’ve been reading!
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You know how it goes. You see a shiny new release on Bookstagram, or you’re browsing your local indie and find a book you just HAVE to have. And then you buy it. Because you wouldn’t just *leave it there,* right?? That’d be so sad! It might get lonely! Even though you already have… how many books at home?
Reader, I understand. I’ve been there. Impulse purchasing on bookshop.org/shop/bookbaroness is my new best friend. I have 140 unread books on my shelf. However, amidst all my irresponsible spending and the excitement of new books, I’m gaining a little “shelf awareness,” let's say. Pardon the pun. What I mean is that I’m starting to read the things that I already own! Wow, what a concept!
It goes like this: I use a random number generator to pick one of my six shelves, and then another to pick an unread book from that shelf. If I feel like reading it, it goes on the pile. If not, rinse and repeat. I like this method because it draws my attention to books I might otherwise overlook on my shelves, and also allows me some wiggle room to accommodate my mood-reading.
Some of my recent reads from using this method include: King of Scars, Skyward, Wicked Fox, The Rattled Bones, and Dance of Thieves. Hopefully I can get from 140 down to 0 within a year or two!
How do you choose which books you read?
Okay, okay, okay! It's the middle of the year (give or take a few weeks), so I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon and do the Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag. I haven't been tagged to do this, per se, but I figure it's all in good fun and I'd like to join. Ok, so! Onto the questions (which I've modified slightly to include some extras I thought were fun).
A thing to know: This year, I've read 83 books.
1. Best book you've read so far in 2020
This... is a loaded question. I'm just going to limit myself and pick four. Burn Our Bodies Down, Just Breathe, Serpent & Dove, and The Shadow Glass.
2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2020
I'm sorry, there's no other correct answer to this other than Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan. I was lucky enough to read an ARC, and I maintain it's one of the only second books in a trilogy that didn't make me want to completely rip the book to shreds. It was exciting and dangerous and dark and a perfect sequel!
3. New release you haven't read yet
Legitimately think it's a crime that I haven't been able to find A Song of Wraiths and Ruin in stock yet!! I want a hard copy, which is why I haven't requested it from Libby yet. It's a gorgeous fantasy, complete with an enemies to lovers romance, which I LOVE, so obviously this book will be much loved when I can finally get my hands on it.
4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
I need Star Daughter to be out. Right now. I need everyone else to read it and marvel at this beautiful story. I also can't wait to read Blood & Honey, since I loved Serpent & Dove back in March. Other excitements: The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, Horrid, and The White Coat Diaries.
5. Biggest disappointment
I finally picked up Sisters of Shadow and Light by Sara B. Larson, and I was really sad because I couldn't help but make constant comparisons to Strange the Dreamer. I wanted it to be fresh and different, but I just couldn't see it. I can't decide whether or not to pick up the sequel and see if the story gets better from here.
6. Biggest surprise
7. Favorite new author (debut or new to you)
Gabby Noone's Layoverland is like a YA form of The Good Place, and she perfectly captured the surrealism and humor of a corporate and strangely human afterlife. For this reason, I'm definitely picking up whatever she writes next. If she can write that mood, she can do anything.
8. Newest favorite character
Everyone in King of Scars! In the main trilogy I was never particularly attached to Nikolai or Zoya, but I enjoyed reading their new dynamic and I can't help but feel protective over them since they're main characters now. (I also think they should kiss. But that's separate. Leigh, if you're reading this, ð¥ºð¥ºð¥º, please can we have it??)
9. Best reread
I reread the first half of the Throne of Glass series in a group read with several friends, which brought me back to some early YA feels. I can't stand reading past Queen of Shadows, so I kind of... stopped there, but I'm glad I could chat with my friends about my endless adoration for Aelin and Rowan while it lasted. Yes, I'm a VERY hardcore Rowaelin shipper and this will stay with me forever. (Yes, I've written fanfic. No, you can't see it).
10. Book that made you cry
Surprisingly, I'm going to go with Save the Date on this one! The last chapter or so was surprisingly emotional, and I found myself crying a little. I had thought it was a rom com, but it's more family-focused contemporary and less romance. OF COURSE a Morgan Matson book would make me cry, but it's been a few years since I've read one, so I guess I forgot.
11. Book that made you happy
Let's mix it up! I really loved Toil & Trouble, an anthology on YA witches, and I was really invested in some of the stories in there--more than I thought I would be. It's lighthearted but emotional, magical but grounded, and everything I needed to be reading.
12. âMost beautiful book youâve bought so far this year (or received)
13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
My goal is to make my way through my 140 unread books that are taking up shelf space, so I don't necessarily think there are any specific books I have in mind. I'd like to finally do a shelf-clean up, so when I finish this in the next year or so, all the ones with low ratings will go. Otherwise, here's my current Netgalley situation, and I talk about the books I plan to review there.
14. Reading goals for the rest of the year
I'm not a reading-goal oriented person, as we saw during the Reading Challenge Fail of 2018, so I only have two:
1. Read alllll the fantasy books.
2. For the nostalgia, reread Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I plan to order the new Illumicrate box, because I love the series so much, so when that comes in November I'll do a reread.
I’m a YA blogger. 100% of the books I read are YA, pure and simple. Until September 29, 2019, you could count on this. That’s when I picked up and finished Red, White & Royal Blue within a single day and became an immediate fan of adult literature. Before then, I’d always dismissed the genre out of hand, thinking it couldn’t be as entertaining or topical as YA. No, all adult books were dry stories about divorce and death, and weren’t for me.
I have never been so happy to be wrong.
I’ve stepped inside a magical world, full of grit and relatable characters. I suppose this is what “growing up” is supposed to feel like. I devoured Ninth House yet—a novel full of both fantasy horror and the mundanity of real life, from one of my favorite YA authors. That book imprinted itself upon my soul, and I am so ready for more. I thought for the longest time that these were isolated incidents, and I couldn’t possibly want to read more adult lit.
This is not to say that The Baroness of Books is going to be reinvented—I still read a majority YA books, and I don’t see that changing for a long time. They brought out a magic inside of me that I didn’t realize I had, ignited my love of writing, and connected me with a fantastic bookish community. YA will still be the heart of my content, but I hope no one would oppose some crossover content!
For starters: Being new to the genre, I have no idea what I should read first, so here are some of the first books I want to read:
The more I think about it, the more I know how right this is. Growing as a reader is inevitable, especially the books we read shape us for the ones we’re about to discover. And I’m so ready to jump into a whole new set of stories.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments how your reading taste has changed over the years!
I don't know how tuned in you all are to global happenings, but I'm willing to bet you know about COVID-19. Even on this book blog, it's one of the only things I have to talk about right now. However, this is a bit different than my usual #QuarantineReads posts. This complaint and solution set is SPECIFIC and targeted at my least favorite company ever. Amazon. Now, I know Amaz*n is kind of unavoidable--they own Goodreads. They own Audible. They own Book Depository. However, in response to COVID-19, they have slowed their processing time on book orders, cut earnings rates for publishers, and all around hurt the book community.
That's why I'm so happy to say that my most recent order is coming from bookshop.org, an independent website that shares a percentage of your order with independent bookstores! I have chosen one of my local indies, and they will receive 30% of my order, but you can also shop unaffiliated and contribute to a fund that benefits all indies! Your local shop doesn't have to work on your order, which is fulfilled through Ingram's warehouses, but you're able to support them all the same.
I love independent bookstores. They are truly the heart of a community, a place to share and receive book recommendations, shop, and bond with other booklovers. I look forward to the day when I can visit my local shops again, but until then I will still be supporting them. Please join me in shopping local and helping these wonderful stores stay afloat! Many indies operate on incredibly small margins, and may be struggling to stay open during this time of low revenue.
Now for the book haul! My goal for my "to-buy" list is this: for every book I purchase that I've already read (books from the library that I loved, or eARCs I received), I will also buy a book I haven't read yet. I'm not much of a rereader, so this is to keep me involved with current books and make sure I don't stop exploring.
Today's picks are Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston and Toil & Trouble ed. by Tess Sharpe and Jessica Spotswood. RWRB is one of my favorite romance books ever--it's not YA, but I still love the story and I find so much meaning in it. Toil & Trouble is to satisfy my recent fantasy cravings, and the witchy mood I've been left in after watching the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. I've read anthologies edited by Jessica Spotswood before, so I trust that this one will also be amazing.
I'm so excited to receive these orders, and even happier that I could uplift an indie bookstore while doing so! I definitely plan to continue in the future, so send me your best book recs--what should I keep my eye on next?
I know. It’s unrealistic. In this world of e-galleys and Libby library books, quitting e-readers isn’t something to do at the drop of a hat. In the past I have vaunted the advantages of using Libby to borrow library books, which is definitely a consideration now that I can’t access the library at all. And yet I find myself wondering if I would feel better, read better, or stay healthier by putting down the Kindle and picking up hard copies.
Over the past few weeks, I noticed I developed a lack of motivation when it came to ebooks. I struggled to focus for long periods of time, and frequently switched between books. This led to me having a really long currently-reading shelf and a mountain of half-finished books. Eventually, I stopped reading at all. I think it was the light, combined with the tiny screen, that made it difficult to absorb the words and get hooked on a story.
After a week or so, I picked up Serpent and Dove—the first physical book I’d read in almost a month at that point—and couldn’t put it down. That weekend was fantastic for my reading. I finished three books and started another, which lead me to think it was the Kindle that caused my reading slump. Fantastic! I thought. I’ll finally be able to finish a book again. Except… not so fast.
I can cite studies showing e-readers cause eye-strain or lessen abilities to connect with characters until I turn blue in the face, but I’m still unsure that I can quit e-reading. Just this week, I was lucky enough to receive a Netgalley approval for The Friend Scheme, a highly anticipated Cale Dietrich novel that releases this July. To read and review… you guessed it. I’ll have to download the novel. Sighs.
Perhaps there is an alternate solution. For now, I’m going to put off my e-reading obligations. I’ll focus on my physical TBR pile, and when it comes time to shorten my currently-reading shelf, I’ll alternate between reading hard copies and e-books.
How do you feel about e-reading? Is it something you lean on to supplement a physical collection, or do you not care for it at all?
Welcome to #QuarantineReads, where I detail my reading life in our new and scary world! This isn't a regularly scheduled feature, so if you have a topic you want me to discuss, go ahead and email or comment! I'm open to anything. Really. A N Y T H I N G. I need more ideas.
I’ve been told to start a diary. Apparently I should value posterity more than my own well-being, which has never been helped by some external compulsion to record my feelings every day. I don’t think I will be journaling during my quarantine. Instead, I’ll let my reading choices speak for me. So far, I’ve read Serpent and Dove, The Devouring Gray, the Alice in Wonderland books, and made progress on Call Down the Hawk and A Wish in the Dark. Notice the similarities?
All fantasy books. Fantasy usually benefits readers by reflecting societal and personal problems in a new setting, so that readers can connect with the hero and learn how to solve their own problems in a new context. I wholeheartedly agree. I want to read characters who are placed in impossibly strange situations and work themselves out of problems in inventive ways, because I need to learn that now. I’m retraining my brain to problem-solve. to live in a different habitat, to work on new routines. Besides, a little dose of magic usually makes my day.
Tell me, readers, how are you escaping? Or are you escaping at all? Who’s the brave soul picking up a light contemporary in some comfortable beanbag chair, or window seat with a view of the trees? Let me know in the comments what you’re reading!
My perfect reading nook: blankets, fluffy pillows, a window nearby... and the scent of my favorite candle which matches my book. If you agree with me, then you need to know about these ten bookish candle companies! I've included my favorite photos from their Instagrams, so head over there to learn more about these wonderful shops--disclaimer: the specific candles pictured in my selection of photos might not still be available, but they all still have an incredible selection for you to order from!
Because I read so many books from libraries, I don’t own copies of many of my favorites. I typically buy books I haven’t read yet, or books that I’ve reviewed ARCs of and loved. This is mostly because I don’t often reread books, so I save coupons and gift cards for buying books that are new to me. I’m less likely to buy a hard copy of a book if I’ve read a library copy or if I own the ebook, which is unfortunate because it means that so many of my favorites are books I don’t own! Here are just a few of the ones that got away:
It's been quite a year for reading in 2019! I finally reached my goal of 150 books after a long slump in November-December. I almost didn't finish, but a couple unexpected library holds pushed me over, and I couldn't be happier. This is my fourth year of successfully completing my GoodReads challenge, and I look forward to the fifth.
Here's some data that GoodReads collected and showed me:
The most popular book I read was The Great Gatsby, and the least popular was Loukas and the Game of Chance (which I reviewed here).
My average rating is 4.2 (wow! I'm generous! Or maybe I just know how to pick books I'll like)
In January 2019, the first book I reviewed on GoodReads was Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen. The first book I reviewed here is History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera. My last review of the year, from last Monday, is Reverie by Ryan La Sala.
In 2019 I read 150 books, and 50 of them earned five stars. I guess I had ridiculously good luck this year, and I hope it carries through to 2020! Here's the complete list. These are just books I've read in 2019, not only ones published in the past year, and they're in reverse chronological order to match the blog feed. All my reviews will be linked, and I'll also do a short gallery of my favorite covers at the bottom! I strongly recommend all of these books, and I hope you'll choose a couple for your 2020 backlist TBR!
Hey, I'm Shreya! I love to read, write, travel, and drink coffee.
Disclosure: I am an affiliate of bookshop.org and I will earn a small commission if you click the above link and make a purchase.