The Great TBR Purge of 2019 – Part 1

Two years ago, I took a look at my “To-be-read” (TBR) list on GoodReads and decided it needed some cleaning up. I picked out a handful of books from the list (well, a little more than that, since I split it into two posts) and decided to give them another look. Of those 14 books, only 5 survived the purge, and I ended up reading 3 of those 5 shortly after.

I looked at my TBR list again this year, and realized it might be time for another purge. There’s a lot of books still on there that I added nearly 6 (!) years ago, and I’m different person now than I was when I was 14-15.

Without further ado, The Great TBR Purge of 2019 (Part 1, because I have a lot of books to cover this time)

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Character Duel Tag

Full disclosure – I renamed this tag because apparently it was originally called the “You’re Not Good Enough Book Tag.” That title felt a little misleading, because honestly, this is all about characters fighting each other. Figuratively, at least.

This tag was originally created by Booktubers ReadLikeWildfire and Beccathebookreviewer, but the video is no longer available. I actually found it through another blogger, Dreamland Book Blog. The rules are simple: There are 15 questions (well, 14 in my version – I cut one out), you write various character names on slips of paper and draw names for each question. You have to pick between these two characters for each question and decide which one is better for the question.

To be honest, it’s kind of hard to explain, so I’m just gonna get into the questions!

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Best Books for Back to School

If you’re a student, chances are you’ve already begun your classes or if not, you will be soon. It’s that time of year again – new textbooks, new teachers and professors, and a mountain of assignments. Regardless of whether or not you like school, the first few days and weeks of classes can be overwhelming at times. For a lot of us, it’s hard to find time to breathe, let alone sit down and read a book for fun.

Personally, when I do find those moments of freedom, it’s hard to decide what to do with them. Even if I want to read, then I have to pick what book to read, and sometimes I can’t find the right book… it’s frustrating.

To save you the time and trouble of looking for the “right book” to read in your snippets of free time, I’ve compiled a short list of good “back to school” books. Now let’s be clear, there are a lot of Young Adult books that have schools in them. In these books, however, the school environment plays an important role. Whether they’re a college student or just starting fifth grade, perhaps you’ll be able to relate to these characters and their stories.

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Re-Reading Books: Why it’s Worth Your Time

Way back when I set my reading goals for 2018, not only did I set an overall goal for the number of books read, but I also gave myself other small challenges I could do along the way. One of these goals was to re-read two of my favorite book series, Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter and The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.

My motivation behind re-readings these books was mostly because it had been a while since I first read them, and I thought it would be fun to take another look at my old favorites. In other words, I wanted to be able to enjoy them again. And I certainly did! Re-reading these two series reminded me of how much I love them, and I still had fun with them the second time around.

GG TLC

As I was re-reading, however, I began to think… is there more to re-reading than just entertainment? If the twists and turns of a story are what make it so entertaining the first time around, then what’s the point of going back and reading it again? You know everything that’s coming, so why bother when there are so many brand-new stories to be read?

There are plenty of good reasons to re-read your favorite books though, and they go beyond entertainment. Of course, movies and TV shows can fall under this umbrella too, but since I re-read books most often, I’ll be using them as my examples today.

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Underrated Books (And Why You Should Read Them)

Sometimes, you finish a book and all you want to do is talk about it with someone else. In some cases, it’s pretty easy – books like The Hunger Games or The Lightning Thief are so widely read that pretty much anyone can contribute to a conversation on them. However, there are other times when it’s hard to find a fellow reader. You’ll be lucky to find someone else who’s even heard of the book, let alone read it.

I’ve encountered this problem more times than should be allowed. It can be lonely to read a book that has completely blown your mind and yet have no one to talk to about it. These underrated books deserve recognition though, and today, I’d like to share a few of my “little-known” favorites that you should definitely add to your to-be-read list.

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Fantastic Fathers in Fiction

Father’s Day is a day meant to celebrate our dads, grandfathers, and other male role models in our lives. I’ve been blessed to have a great relationship with my own dad, but unfortunately, fathers in fiction tend to get a bad rap. They’re usually portrayed in a negative way, if they’re present in the story at all.

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My dad and me (Sorry I couldn’t find a picture where I’m not being ridiculous)

Despite this, I still believe there are a lot of good fathers and father figures in stories, you just have to look closely for them. Since I did something similar for Mother’s Day, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite fathers, grandfathers, and father figures in fiction.

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YA Character Tropes: Scrap or Save? (+Quiz)

If you handed me a young adult novel and gave me thirty seconds to look at it, I could probably tell you a bit about the cast of characters. There’s a pretty good chance the cast consists of a dark and mysterious guy, an insecure girl, and a vaguely attractive childhood friend.

Not all YA books would be like that, of course, but a majority of them do contain these basic character archetypes. They’re like pages in a coloring book – an outline for the writer to fill in with whatever colors or patterns they see fit. There’s nothing wrong with that, but some of these archetypes have become tropes. In other words, all of the writers are coloring in the picture the exact same way.

These tropes make stories predictable, which gets boring for the audience. But are all tropes really that bad? Can any of them be salvaged? I’ve picked ten of the most common character tropes in YA fiction to try and answer which tropes are really worth saving (and how to save them), and which ones should be tossed aside.

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Magnificent Mothers in Fiction

In the United States, yesterday was Mother’s Day, a celebration of the women who have impacted our lives. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a number of women as my role models throughout my life, but none more so than my own mom and my grandmothers on both sides of my family. Ever since I was a kid, they’ve inspired me and taught me so much, and I look up to all of them greatly.

In light of Mother’s Day, I decided it was a good time to celebrate the awesome mothers in fiction as well. Parents in fiction get a bad rap, mostly because they tend to be absent in one way or another (oh how we love the orphan protagonist cliche). However, there are plenty of great moms, grandmas, and other maternal figures in books, TV shows, and other works of fiction, and I think they deserve to be recognized.

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Rules for Spoilers

Spoiler (n.)

  1. Information about the plot of a movie, TV show, book, video game, or any other form of media that ruins the viewer/reader/gamer’s enjoyment of the media in question.
  2. The kind of person you don’t want to be.

Chances are, we’ve all been spoiled at some point in our lives – and no, it’s not the kind of spoiled that happens when your grandparents give you all the chocolate chip cookies you want. Perhaps someone once told you about how Harry Potter ends, or you know what happens in that particular episode of Sherlock, or maybe you know Sheik’s true identity despite having never played Ocarina of Time. Sometimes, spoilers are okay – you probably don’t care about how Harry Potter ends if you don’t plan on ever reading or watching it – but other times, they ruin things we would’ve otherwise enjoyed.

But that begs the question, what makes a spoiler spoil-y? When is it okay to discuss potential spoilers in public? How do I avoid them?

There isn’t a one-size-fits all formula for every single creative media ever made, but I have put together a few of my personal guidelines to give everyone a safe and spoiler-free existence (hopefully).

Because I need examples, there will be a few common spoilers mentioned below, but I’ll be blocking them out in white text and brackets [like this], so if you want to see them, highlight it with your cursor.

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Fantastic Fictional Couples

Valentine’s day is just around the corner, and you know what that means! No, not chocolate or fancy dates or anything like that. Nope, around here, we celebrate Valentine’s day a little differently – and by that, I mean I make lists about my favorite fictional couples and try to sound like an actual adult while writing about them.

In all seriousness, I do have my fair share of favorite couples (or “ships,” as the fanpeople would say). Whether it’s books, TV shows, movies, or video games, there are some really strong, healthy relationships in fiction. Even as someone who isn’t much of a romantic, I do love seeing happy and supportive couples, and so in celebration of Valentine’s day, here are a few of my favorites and why I love them so much.

There may be a few vague spoilers ahead, so tread carefully!

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