Last year I shared a summary of what I read in 2019. To be honest it was one of my favorite posts I have written. I am a passionate reader but in the past I was very shy about sharing what I read with others. I was always teased growing up about what a weird taste in books I had, which has made me very self-conscious. For a long time I was ashamed of what I was reading, most people in my life read memoirs and self-improvement books, I always wish I had an interest in those topics so I could participate in their many conversations about their recent reads and the new hot book. But, my interests have always drifted towards YA sci-fi and fantasy types of books.

Last year I decided to ignore my reservations, open up, and share my reading list from the past year in case someone may share my interests and I am so glad I did. Many people in my life took that post as an opportunity to share reading suggestions , and I was delighted to have my fears contradicted.

I know it can be difficult to find time to get through a book, many of us have a stack of books growing every year with the best of intentions. My suggestion for anyone who struggles to find the time to read is to get an Audible subscription. I have been able to get back into reading and cruise through my stack of books because of my audible subscription. I still like to try and read the old fashioned way so I buy my books at Half Priced Books when I can and buy the audiobooks on Audible. This way I could listen to my books on my way to and from the cabin on the weekends, running errands or while on my elliptical, but still read the paper version on lunch breaks or at home in the evenings.

Ready Player One

By: Ernest Cline

A world at stake. A quest for the ultimate prize. Are you ready? In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the OASIS, a vast virtual world where most of humanity spends their days. When the eccentric creator of the OASIS dies, he leaves behind a series of fiendish puzzles, based on his obsession with the pop culture of decades past. Whoever is first to solve them will inherit his vast fortune—and control of the OASIS itself. Then Wade cracks the first clue. Suddenly he’s beset by rivals who’ll kill to take this prize. The race is on—and the only way to survive is to win.

When the movie came out in 2018 I loved every second. I was excited when I found out the film was based on a book, but at the same time that the book couldn’t be nearly as good. I came away from this book with a mostly neutral feeling. The challenges are extremely different, and I enjoyed some of those differences more than the ones in the movie. However I did not feel the same love and connection for Wade in the book as I did in the movie. But, I felt that there was a little more character development for some of the other supporting characters. As I was putting this post together I found there was a Ready Player Two, sequel to this book and I can’t wait to read it.

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Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch

by Serena Valentino

The tale of the sea king’s daughter Ariel is a beloved one of losing-and then finding-one’s own voice. The story has been told many times and in many ways. But always the mergirl wants more than her world can offer, and her father demands that she live within the confines of his domain. Her rebelliousness costs the little mermaid her voice and nearly her soul. But the power of good prevails, and Ariel emerges proud and unchanged. And yet this is only half the story. So what of Ariel’s nemesis, Ursula, the sea witch? What led to her becoming so twisted, scorned, and filled with hatred? Many tales have tried to explain her motives. Here is one account of what might have shaped the sea witch into a detestable and poor unfortunate soul.

I love Serena Valentino’s books. Her exploration of Disney villain’s backstories give you a whole new view of your favorite movies from your childhood. It is upsetting to still see these characters that you suddenly care for still follow their dark path towards their inevitable demise, but you walk away having a new found respect for why they turned evil. These books are quick easy reads, that I love suggesting for those looking for something fun to explore over a weekend. Writing this I think I need to re-read the entire Villain series in order.

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The Sword of Shannara: The Shannara Series, Book 1

By: Terry Brooks

Long ago, the wars of the ancient Evil ruined the world. In peaceful Shady Vale, half-elfin Shea Ohmsford knows little of such troubles. But the supposedly dead Warlock Lord is plotting to destroy everything in his wake.The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness is the Sword of Shannara, which can be used only by a true heir of Shannara. On Shea, last of the bloodline, rests the hope of all the races. Thus begins the enthralling Shannara epic, a spellbinding tale of adventure, magic, and myth . .

I hate to say it but I was really let down by this book. I had watched the MTV series by the same name and found it fun and exciting. Of course I new that MTV would have put a sexy, young sheen on things but when I read the book I found myself bored and speed reading to get through this. I can understand why this book is a fantasy classic it just wasn’t for me. This makes sense since I seem to love shorter books, I need a faster paced book than I was getting from The Sword of Shannara.

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Marked: House of Night, Book 1

By: P. C. Cast , Kristin Cast

The House of Night series by bestselling authors P.C Cast and Kristin Cast is set in a world very much like our own, except in 16-year-old Zoey Redbird’s world, vampyres have always existed. In this first book in the series, Zoey enters the House of Night, a school where, after having undergone the Change, she will train to become an adult vampire–that is, if she makes it through the Change. Not all of those who are chosen do. It’s tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends, and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx. But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers. When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school’s most elite club, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny–with a little help from her new vampyre friends.

The House of Night series were recommended to my by my friend Alicia. These books are very straight forward and simple. They stand out to me because they were convincingly written as if it were really a high school girl telling her story. The language used by Zoey and her friends is so accurate, the girls focusing and comparing their bodies to their peers, or obsessing over boys and making uninformed and emotional choices feels very realistic. But because of this I found myself getting really frustrated with the characters and the progression of the story. I was committed to finishing the series once I began, even though at times I was bored with the predictability or frustrated with the immaturity of the characters. I read all twelve books this summer, they were great to listen to while kayaking. Every time I would start a new book in the series I would focus on how much my little sister Zoë would love these books as they contained all of her favorite things. Zoë’s love of cats, vampires, magic, tatoos and anything to do with the moon made these books perfect for her, plus she and the main character have the same name.

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Mythology: Mega Collection: Classic Stories from the Greek, Celtic, Norse, Japanese, Hindu, Chinese, Mesopotamian and Egyptian Mythology

By: Scott Lewis

Do you know how many wives Zeus had? Or how the famous Trojan War was caused by one beautiful lady? Or how Thor got his hammer? Give your imagination a real treat. This Mega Mythology Collection covers a variety of topics such as:

  • Mount Olympus and the 12 Olympian gods and goddesses, and then beneath the surface to the gloomy world of Hades.
  • Classic Celtic Myths such as The Life of Cú Chulainn
  • How did Odin form the world from Ymir’s body and make men and women from wood?
  • Who are Loki’s children, and why does Odin fear them?

And more stories of Greek, Celtic, Norse, Japanese, Hindu, Chinese, Mesopotamian, and Egyptian Mythology! The eight manuscripts included in this collection are Books 1 to 8 of the Classical Mythology Series by Scott Lewis.

Like many people I’m sure I had a lot of anxiety when the world started to shut down due to COVID. I reacted to this by having a lot of trouble sleeping. When I was younger I would listen to books on tape to fall asleep, I decided to try this again instead of falling asleep to the TV. I have always loved mythology and these familiar stories were the perfect thing to help me fall asleep. I have re-listened to this audiobook over and over again and will continue to because every time I do I hear a new myth.

Buy this Mythology Mega Collection on Amazon

Betrayed: A House of Night Novel, Book 2

By: P. C. Cast , Kristin Cast

Fledgling vampyre Zoey Redbird has managed to settle in at the House of Night. She’s come to terms with the vast powers the vampyre goddess, Nyx, has given her, and is getting a handle on being the new Leader of the Dark Daughters, the school’s most elite group. Best of all, Zoey’s made some new friends and she finally feels like she belongs–like she really fits in. She actually has a boyfriend…or two. And despite the best efforts of her mother and step-loser John to humiliate her publically during parent visitation, she’s earned the respect of her professors and High Priestess, Neferet.

Then the unthinkable happens: human teenagers are being killed, and all the evidence points to the House of Night, straining human-vamp tensions in Tulsa to a breaking point. While danger stalks the humans from Zoey’s old life, she finds herself drawn into an intoxicating forbidden flirtation that threatens to distract her from the growing crisis. Then, when she needs her new friends the most, death strikes the House of Night. Too late, Zoey begins to realize that the very powers that make her so unique might also threaten those she loves, and she must find the courage to face a betrayal that could break her heart, her soul, and jeopardize the very fabric of her world.

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Chosen: A House of Night Novel, Book 3

By: P. C. Cast , Kristin Cast

Dark forces are at work at the House of Night and fledgling vampyre Zoey Redbird’s adventures at the school take a mysterious turn. Those who appear to be friends are turning out to be enemies. And oddly enough, sworn enemies are also turning into friends. So begins the gripping third installment of this “highly addictive series” (Romantic Times), in which Zoey’s mettle will be tested like never before. Her best friend, Stevie Rae, is undead and struggling to maintain a grip on her humanity. Zoey doesn’t have a clue how to help her, but she does know that anything she and Stevie Rae discover must be kept secret from everyone else at the House of Night, where trust has become a rare commodity. Speaking of rare: Zoey finds herself in the very unexpected and rare position of having three boyfriends. Mix a little bloodlust into the equation and the situation has the potential to spell social disaster. Just when it seems things couldn’t get any tougher, vampyres start turning up dead. Really dead. It looks like the People of Faith, and Zoey’s horrid step-father in particular, are tired of living side-by-side with vampyres. But, as Zoey and her friends so often find out, how things appear rarely reflects the truth…

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Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business

By: Gino Wickman

Do you have a grip on your business, or does your business have a grip on you? All entrepreneurs and business leaders face similar frustrations—personnel conflict, profit woes, and inadequate growth. Decisions never seem to get made, or, once made, fail to be properly implemented. But there is a solution. It’s not complicated or theoretical. Discovered by more than 80,000 companies, the Entrepreneurial Operating System® is a practical method for achieving the business success you have always envisioned.

In Traction, you’ll learn the secrets of strengthening the six key components of your business. You’ll discover simple yet powerful ways to run your company that will give you and your leadership team more focus, more growth, and more enjoyment. Successful companies are applying Traction every day to run profitable, frustration-free businesses—and you can too.

Traction is part of the onboarding process for new hires at the company I work for. Since starting my current job in 2017 I have really grown to appreciate the EOS methodology. I wanted to go back and review this book as I work to improve our employee training programs. To be honest I kind of rushed through this book and would like to go back and read it again because I really believe in this system and I know I still have a lot to learn.

Buy Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business on Amazon

The Talented Mr. Ripley

By: Patricia Highsmith

Since his debut in 1955, Tom Ripley has evolved into the ultimate bad boy sociopath. Here, in the first Ripley novel, we are introduced to suave Tom Ripley, a young striver, newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan. A product of a broken home, branded a “sissy” by his dismissive Aunt Dottie, Ripley meets a wealthy industrialist who hires him to bring his playboy son, Dickie Greenleaf, back from gallivanting in Italy. Soon Ripley’s fascination with Dickie’s debonair lifestyle turns obsessive as he finds himself enraged by Dickie’s ambivalent affections for Marge, a charming American dilettante. A dark reworking of Henry James’s The Ambassadors, The Talented Mr. Ripley serves as an unforgettable introduction to this smooth confidence man, whose talent for murder and self-invention is chronicled in four subsequent Ripley novels.

I haven’t seen this movie so it was fun to read this book with no idea of what to expect. I have to come right out and say it, this book stressed me out! This dark and twisted book made me feel as though I was in on every murder and stressed that I had something to confess myself. Listening to Mr. Ripley justify his actions had me screaming at my book trying to bring some sanity to the story. That being said I can see why this book was such a big deal, even if I was really disappointed by the ending.

Buy the Talented Mr. Ripley on Amazon

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Book 1

By: J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That’s because he’s being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he’s really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.

This year was all about finding comfort in my books, with all the stress in our everyday lives revisiting one of my favorite literary worlds was a welcome relief. It’s been years since I read these books even though I watch the movies over and over again I had forgotten how many of the details were left out of the movies. This past year I have found these beautiful illustrated that someday I hope to buy, but until then I will continue to cherish my tattered copies that I have had since elementary school. These books will always have a special place in my heart and it is nice to know that they will always be there to comfort me any time the world becomes too harsh.

Buy Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on Amazon

Untamed: House of Night Series, Book 4

By: Kristin Cast , P. C. Cast

Life sucks when your friends are pissed at you. Just ask Zoey Redbird – she’s become an undisputed expert on suckiness. In one week she has gone from having three boyfriends to having none, and from having a tight-knit group of friends who trusted and supported her, to being an outcast. And the worst part is, she knows it’s her own fault. Speaking of friends, the only two Zoey has left are undead, unMarked, and unable to stop bickering with each other. So who can blame her for befriending the House of Night’s newest transfer student, the majorly hot Olympic archer, James Stark?

Meanwhile, Neferet has declared a war on humans after it appears that the People of the Faith have murdered two vampyres. But Aphrodite’s latest visions show a world completely different from the High Priestess’s promises, a world full of violence, hatred, and darkness, all because of Zoey’s death―and the only way it seems she can prevent it from happening is to make things right with her friends. Zoey knows in her heart that fighting with humans is wrong. But will anyone listen to her? Zoey’s adventures at vampyre finishing school take a wild and dangerous turn as loyalties are tested, shocking true intentions come to light, and an ancient evil is awakened in PC and Kristin Cast’s spellbinding fourth House of Night novel.

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Hunted: House of Night Series, Book 5

By: P. C. Cast , Kristin Cast

What if the hottest guy in the world was hiding a nameless evil, and all he wanted was you? At the start of this heart-pounding new installment of the bestselling House of Night series, Zoey and her gang must discover a way to deal with an unexpected danger that might bring them all down. Neferet guards her powerful new consort, Kalona, who looks gorgeous and has the House of Night under his spell. A past life holds the key to breaking his rapidly spreading power, but what if it shows Zoey truths she can’t face? Meanwhile, the red fledglings have cleaned up well, but are they really as friendly as they seem? On the boyfriend front, Zoey has a chance to fix things with super-hot ex-, Erik, but she can’t stop thinking about Stark, the archer who died in her arms, and she is driven to save him from Neferet’s sinister influence. Will anyone believe the power evil has to hide among us?

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Tempted: House of Night Series, Book 6

By: P. C. Cast , Kristin Cast

Dark secrets and unspoken suspicions come between Zoey and Stevie Rae, putting their friendship – and the House of Night – at risk. After Zoey Redbird and her gang have banished Kalona and Neferet, the fallen High Priestess, from Tulsa, you’d think they’d catch a break. But with Zoey and her sexy Warrior Stark both recovering from a brush with death, and the fledglings struggling to deal with the fallout from Neferet’s reign of terror, a break is just not in the forecast. Zoey is haunted by her confusing yet elemental connection with A-ya, the ancient Cherokee maiden who was the only human able to tempt Kalona’s body and soul. How will A-ya’s pull on her affect Zoey’s ability to resist the dangerously seductive immortal?

Meanwhile, Stevie Rae, with her super red vamp powers, always thought she could handle the stuff she’s been keeping from her BFF. But the mysterious, threatening force lurking in the tunnels under the Tulsa Depot is spreading; Stevie Rae won’t confide where she’s been and what she’s doing, and Zoey is beginning to wonder just how much she can trust the person she always thought would have her back. Will their choices destroy them and will darkness consume the House of Night?

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The Vine Witch: The Vine Witch, Book 1

By: Luanne G. Smith

A young witch emerges from a curse to find her world upended in this gripping fantasy set in turn-of-the-century France. For centuries, the vineyards at Château Renard have depended on the talent of their vine witches, whose spells help create the world-renowned wine of the Chanceaux Valley. Then the skill of divining harvests fell into ruin when sorcière Elena Boureanu was blindsided by a curse. Now, after breaking the spell that confined her to the shallows of a marshland and weakened her magic, Elena is struggling to return to her former life. And the vineyard she was destined to inherit is now in the possession of a handsome stranger.

Vigneron Jean-Paul Martel naively favors science over superstition, and he certainly doesn’t endorse the locals’ belief in witches. But Elena knows a hex when she sees one, and the vineyard is covered in them. To stay on and help the vines recover, she’ll have to hide her true identity, along with her plans for revenge against whoever stole seven winters of her life. And she won’t rest until she can defy the evil powers that are still a threat to herself, Jean-Paul, and the ancient vine-witch legacy in the rolling hills of the Chanceaux Valley.

To be honest I bought this book because it was on sale, and I am so glad I did. The idea of magic being tied to wine was a fun concept that I hadn’t encountered before. I liked the strength of the characters and the aspect of mystery that kept me speculating from chapter to chapter. I can not wait to read book two this year.

Buy The Vine Witch on Amazon

Burned: House of Night Series, Book 7

By: P. C. Cast , Kristin Cast

When friends stop trusting each other, Darkness is there to fan the flames. Things have turned black at the House of Night. Zoey Redbird’s soul has shattered. With everything she’s ever stood for falling apart, and a broken heart making her want to stay in the Otherworld forever, Zoey’s fading fast. It’s seeming more and more doubtful that she will be able pull herself back together in time to rejoin her friends and set the world to rights. As the only living person who can reach her, Stark must find a way to get to her. But how? He will have to die to do so, the Vampire High Council stipulates. And then Zoey will give up for sure. There are only seven days left.

Enter BFF Stevie Rae. She wants to help Z but she has massive problems of her own. The rogue Red Fledglings are acting up, and this time not even Stevie Rae can protect them from the consequences. Her kinda boyfriend, Dallas, is sweet but too nosy for his own good. The truth is, Stevie Rae’s hiding a secret that might be the key to getting Zoey home but also threatens to explode her whole world.

In the middle of the whole mess is Aphrodite: ex-Fledgling, trust-fund baby, total hag from Hell (and proud of it). She’s always been blessed (if you could call it that) with visions that can reveal the future, but now it seems Nyx has decided to speak through her with the goddess’s own voice, whether she wants it or not. Aphrodite’s loyalty can swing a lot of different ways, but right now Zoey’s fate hangs in the balance. Three girls…playing with fire…if they don’t watch out, everyone will get Burned.

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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

By: Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson presents the suspenseful, eerie and captivating story of a ruthless scientist who sets out to liberate his inner demon from the firm clutches of his conscience. Upon bearing witness to the extent of Mr Hyde’s violent nature, Jekyll is horrified by his callous disregard for the welfare of others and greatly ashamed by the unstoppable nature of his ambition. Eager to redeem himself, Jekyll sets out to capture and stop the bloodthirsty Mr Hyde, by any means necessary. However, in keeping with true gothic tradition, Dr Jekyll must now face a race against time as damning evidence is uncovered, and the investigating detectives and interested parties are brought right to his door.

All I can really say about this book is…meh. I expected so much more. This title always conjured some sort of thrilling monster story but in truth it was much more tame than I had expected. That paired with the antiquated language of the time this book was a bit of a snoozer.

Buy The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on Amazon

Awakened: House of Night Series, Book 8

By: P. C. Cast , Kristin Cast

Exonerated by the Vampyre High Council and returned to her position of High Priestess at Tulsa’s House of Night, Neferet has sworn vengeance on Zoey.  Dominion over Kalona is only one of the weapons she plans to use against Z.  But Zoey has found sanctuary on the Isle of Skye and is being groomed by Queen Sgiach to take over for her there.  Being Queen would be cool, wouldn’t it?  Why should she return to Tulsa? After losing her human consort, Heath, she will never be the same – and her relationship with her super-hot-warrior, Stark, may never be the same either…

And what about Stevie Rae and Rephaim?  The Raven Mocker refuses to be used against Stevie Rae, but what choice does he have when no one in the entire world, including Zoey, would be okay with their relationship?  Does he betray his father or his heart? In the pulse-pounding 8th book in the bestselling House of Night series, how far will the bonds of friendship stretch and how strong are the ties that bind one girl’s heart?

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Destined: A House of Night Novel, Book 9

By: P. C. Cast , Kristin Cast

Zoey is finally home where she belongs, safe with her Guardian Warrior, Stark, by her side, and preparing to face off against Neferet – which would be a whole lot easier if the High Counsel saw the ex-High Priestess for what she really is. Kalona has released his hold on Rephaim, and, through Nyx’s gift of a human form, Rephaim and Stevie Rae are finally able to be together – as long as he can truly walk the path of the Goddess and stay free of his father’s shadow…

But there are new forces at work at the House of Night. An influx of humans, including Lenobia’s handsome horse whisperer, threatens their precarious stability. And then there’s the mysterious Aurox, a jaw-droppingly gorgeous teen boy who is actually more – or possibly less – than human. Only Neferet knows he was created to be her greatest weapon. But Zoey can sense the part of his soul that remains human, the compassion that wars with his Dark calling. And there’s something strangely familiar about him…

Will Neferet’s true nature be revealed before she succeeds in silencing them all? And will Zoey be able to touch Aurox’s humanity in time to protect him – and everyone – from his own fate? Find out what’s destined in the thrilling ninth chapter of the P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast’s House of Night series.

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By: Neal Shusterman

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

This is a great book. Creative, exciting and unique. I found myself flying through this story and hungry for more. I have read book two and will soon be diving into book three. I would recommend this series to everyone.

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Hidden: A House of Night Novel, Book 10

By: P. C. Cast , Kristin Cast

In Hidden by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, Zoey at last has what she wanted: the truth is out. Neferet’s evil has been exposed, and the High Council is no longer on her side―so why is she far from done wreaking havoc in the vampyre world? First a mysterious fire ravages the stables, then, Neferet makes a devastating move that will test them all.

With the seeds of distrust sown, everyone must band together―but that’s proving to be more difficult than ever before. The twins are barely speaking and the House of Night’s former enemy, Kalona, has now become their warrior, pushing their trust to the limit. To top it off, Zoey is pretty darn sure she might be losing her mind―she saw something when she looked at Aurox through the Seer Stone that she can hardly explain to herself, let alone her friends. Is it possible that Heath has come back in a different form? Is that why Zoey’s so intrigued by Aurox, when it’s so obvious he’s dangerous? And who would believe her if she told them? Zoey knows that following her instinct about Aurox might be just what they need to defeat evil . . . but if she’s wrong, it could cause the destruction of those closest to her. With the tension at a breaking point and friendships on the line, can the nerd herd come together to stop Neferet before it’s too late?

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Revealed: House of Night, Book 11

By: P. C. Cast , Kristin Cast

Drastically altered after her fall at the end of Hidden, Neferet is now more dangerous than ever―and her quest for vengeance will wreak havoc on humans, as well as Zoey and her friends. Chaos is loosed in Tulsa and the House of Night is blamed. Can Zoey stop Neferet in time to keep her anger from escalating to full-on war? Or will someone else have to step in to take the fall?

The House of Night series is an international phenomenon, reaching #1 on U.S., German, and UK bestseller lists, and remaining a fixture on The New York Times Children’s Series bestseller list for nearly 150 weeks and counting. With more than 12 million copies in print, rights sold in thirty–eight countries to date, and relatable, addictive characters, this series is unstoppable. Now, in the eleventh and penultimate installment of the series, the action is more intense and the stakes even higher as Zoey and her friends battle to protect their school and home from devastating evil―all while balancing romances, precarious friendships and the daily drama of the House of Night’s halls.

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Thunderhead: Arc of a Scythe

By: Neal Shusterman

The Thunderhead is the perfect ruler of a perfect world, but it has no control over the Scythedom. A year has passed since Rowan had gone off grid. Since then, he has become an urban legend, a vigilante snuffing out corrupt scythes in a trial by fire. His story is told in whispers across the continent.

As Scythe Anastasia, Citra gleans with compassion and openly challenges the ideals of the “new order.” But when her life is threatened and her methods questioned, it becomes clear that not everyone is open to the change. Old foes and new enemies converge, and as corruption within the Scythedom spreads, Rowan and Citra begin to lose hope. Will the Thunderhead intervene?

I was just as impressed with book two of the Scythe series. The twists and turns of this book kept me engaged and guessing. This story’s unpredictability and adrenaline packed scenarios made this book too short for my liking, I could have used a hundred more pages of this thriller.

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D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths

By: Ingri d’Aulaire , Edgar Parin d’Aulaire

In print for over fifty years, D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths has introduced generations to Greek mythology—and continues to enthrall young readers. Here are the greats of ancient Greece—gods and goddesses, heroes and monsters—as freshly described in words and pictures as if they were alive today.  No other volume of Greek mythology has inspired as many young readers as this timeless classic. Both adults and children alike will find this book a treasure for years to come.

This book was a gift from my godmother when I was in elementary school and I believe the stories and illustrations in this book is what sparked my love for mythology that has only grown stronger over the years. This book is so great for young readers with its simple retelling of classic myths and pages upon pages of beautiful illustrations.

Buy D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths on Amazon

Redeemed: House of Night, Book 12

By: P. C. Cast , Kristin Cast

Zoey Redbird is in trouble. Having released the Seer Stone to Aphrodite, and surrendered herself to the Tulsa Police, she has isolated herself from her friends and mentors, determined to face the punishment she deserves―even if that means her body will reject the change, and begin to die. Only the love of those closest to her can save her from the Darkness in her spirit; but a terrible evil has emerged from the shadows, more powerful than ever…

Neferet has finally made herself known to mortals. Crowning herself a Dark Goddess, she is evil unleashed and is enslaving the citizens of Tulsa. The vampyres of the House of Night have banded with the police, and are gathering every last resource they have, but they know that no single vampyre is strong enough to vanquish her―unless that vampyre has the power to summon the elements as well as the ability to wield Old Magick. Only Zoey is heir to such power…but because of the consequences of using Old Magick, she is unable to help.In the final novel in the House of Night series, an epic battle of Light versus Darkness will decide who is redeemed…and who is forever lost.

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Practical Magic

By: Alice Hoffman

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape. One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them back—almost as if by magic…

This is another book that really let me down. I fell in love with the movie last year and went into reading this expecting major differences but the magic, love and family ties that you fall in love with in the movie were all missing. The book felt as though it was lacking any real direction. The book felt pointless and filled with anger and left me feeling as if I could have found a better use for my time. However since this story is so beloved I may try reading other books by Alice Hoffman to see if I can change my opinion of her books.

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Book 2

By: J.K. Rowling

The Dursleys were so mean that hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he’s packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.And strike it does. For in Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockheart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls’ bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley’s younger sister, Ginny. But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone–or something–starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects…Harry Potter himself?

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Book 3

By: J.K. Rowling

For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort. Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter’s defeat of You-Know-Who was Black’s downfall as well. And the Azkban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, “He’s at Hogwarts…he’s at Hogwarts.” Harry Potter isn’t safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends. Because on top of it all, there may well be a traitor in their midst.

This has always been my favorite of the Harry Potter Books, as it is really the only one without Voldemort. I love the link to the past and Harry’s parents in this book. It is something that we don’t get a lot of in the other books. It is also one of the last light hearted book before characters we have been following begin to get killed off.

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Book 4

By: J.K. Rowling

It’s the pivotal fourth novel in the seven-part saga of a young wizard’s coming of age. The thickest. The juiciest yet. Harry Potter turns fourteen. But will all his friends? Rumors have persisted that one of the characters may not see the conclusion of this novel, something the author has refused either to confirm or deny. But we who love Ron, Hermione, Hagrid…even pitiful Neville Longbottom…wait anxiously to see if they will make it through safely. No one’s fate is certain when Volde — excuse me — He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is part of the picture. What is certain is that a novel of excruciating suspense awaits, leavened by J. K. Rowling’s inimitable sense of humor and the burgeoning details of her magical world. Whether it’s taking a front-row seat at the International Quidditch World Cup, or meeting the new Defense-Against-the-Dark-Arts teacher, or finding out if Harry really does start a romance with Cho Chang, fans of the history-making boy-wizard will find their thirst for Hogwarts adventure slaked deliciously…at least for a little while!

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Mr. Dickens and His Carol: A Novel

By: Samantha Silva

Laced with humor, rich historical detail from Charles Dickens’ life, and clever winks to his work, Samantha Silva’s Mr. Dickens and His Carol is an irresistible new take on a cherished classic.

Charles Dickens is not feeling the Christmas spirit. His newest book is an utter flop, the critics have turned against him, relatives near and far hound him for money. While his wife plans a lavish holiday party for their ever-expanding family and circle of friends, Dickens has visions of the poor house. But when his publishers try to blackmail him into writing a Christmas book to save them all from financial ruin, he refuses. And a serious bout of writer’s block sets in.

Frazzled and filled with self-doubt, Dickens seeks solace in his great palace of thinking, the city of London itself. On one of his long night walks, in a once-beloved square, he meets the mysterious Eleanor Lovejoy, who might be just the muse he needs. As Dickens’ deadlines close in, Eleanor propels him on a Scrooge-like journey that tests everything he believes about generosity, friendship, ambition, and love. The story he writes will change Christmas forever.

This was hands down my favorite book I read this year. Perfect for getting into the Christmas spirit, I felt everything you hope to feel during that season. Happiness, wonder and love are found on every page and I left the story ready to dive into the holiday season whole heartedly. Everyone should read this book!

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Midnight Sun

By: Stephenie Meyer

When Edward Cullen and Bella Swan met in Twilight, an iconic love story was born. But until now, fans have heard only Bella’s side of the story. At last, readers can experience Edward’s version in the long-awaited companion novel, Midnight Sun.
This unforgettable tale as told through Edward’s eyes takes on a new and decidedly dark twist. Meeting Bella is both the most unnerving and intriguing event he has experienced in all his years as a vampire. As we learn more fascinating details about Edward’s past and the complexity of his inner thoughts, we understand why this is the defining struggle of his life. How can he justify following his heart if it means leading Bella into danger? In Midnight Sun, Stephenie Meyer transports us back to a world that has captivated millions of readers and brings us an epic novel about the profound pleasures and devastating consequences of immortal love.

I will never forget reading the Twilight Saga during the hight of the craze. As a fan when there was rumors of Midnight Sun I scoured the internet and found a few leaked chapters and loved every second. Now that the fad as ended and things calmed down I was a bit surprised and nostalgic when I saw Midnight Sun in the book section of my local Target. Happy to see this story finally made it to print I added it to my reading stack. However, going back and reading this story as an adult all I can really do is role my eyes at how self centered and dramatic the characters are. Dear Edward, things aren’t so bad, suck it up and get over yourself. Still it was fun to read and revisit this world. And if Stephanie Meyer comes out with more you best believe I will be right there ready to read. But, when putting this post together I read a review that described this book as drastically over written and I would have to agree. I feel as though the book could have been cut in half and still achieved the same effect.

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This is my second year sharing my reading list and I have to say it has become the post I most look forward to sharing with you. It has been fun getting back into the reading routine and I look forward to sharing my 2021 list with you next year!

My Top 5 Reads of 2020

  1. Mr. Dickens and His Carol (Samantha Silva)
  2. Scythe (Neal Shusterman)
  3. Thunderhead (Neal Shusterman)
  4. The Vine Witch (Luanne G. Smith)
  5. Ready Player One (Ernest Cline)

My Top 5 Reads of 2019

  1. The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman)
  2. Strange Practice (Vivian Shaw)
  3. Dreadful Company (Vivian Shaw)
  4. Grave Importance (Vivian Shaw)
  5. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)