My 2 Guilty Pleasure Reads and Why I Love Them

Alright, we all know what a guilty pleasure read is. It’s that one book – you know the one, with the characters not exactly written well, the plot full of holes, everyone hates it except, apparently, you. You don’t hate it. You love it.

The thing about guilty pleasures is that they’re just that – pleasurable. And we as a society are against things purely for pleasure, sometimes. When you read, shouldn’t it be to advance yourself in some way? I don’t believe that. I believe in reading for any reason – enjoyment and pleasure is one of them. That’s why my motto (“Live Unapologetically” – I know, I keep harping on it, but it’s so useful!) comes in handy, because I’m refusing to read things I don’t enjoy. I refuse to limit myself to only “academic” reading, or reading for some kind of gain. No, if I want to read for the sheer joy of reading, if I want to read to indulge in some impossible romantic fantasy (oh my god, do I love cheesy romance novels, though), then I’m going to do it.

Rant over. Let’s look at some of my favorite guilty pleasure reads.

Now, by calling these “guilty pleasures” I don’t mean any kind of offense towards the books themselves.I just mean that they are books that I’ve read a thousand times for the ssheer joy of being able to read them.

“And so the lion fell in love with the lamb.”

Listen, I loved Twilight, okay. I loved it. I was too cool in high school to love it when it came out, but I did read it (so I could make fun of it), and it shot to the very top of my guilty pleasure reading list. I read the whole series, I watched the movies (alone in my room, my friends were also too cool). I hadn’t yet learned that I could read a book purely for the enjoyment of the book – I didn’t have to analyze every little thing, I didn’t have to find meaning in every word. Twilight was, and still is, a favorite – right up there next to Perks of Being a Wallflower for me.

“What are you, the bounty hunter from hell?”

So, One for the Money and the Stephanie Plum series – one of the first “adult” (meaning geared for adults) books that I ever read. My mom read it first, and loved it, and now it’s a guilty pleasure because honestly, at this point, I’m over the love triangle, but I just. Keep. Reading. Ranger? Ranger is my ideal man. “Babe.” Mm. Give me more of that, please. You’d think I had enough with 25 books, but I haven’t. Even better are the holiday spin-offs with Diesel.

So what are your guilty pleasure reads? What books do you keep coming back to, over and over again?

2019 Beat the Backlist Challenge

So my TBR pile is huge. Massive. Large.

Let’s beat it!

Beat the Backlist 2019 Challenge

My To Be Read pile has been carefully cultivated over the years, and I pared it down just so it wasn’t like 500 books… just 75. I knocked off a lot of classics that I know I should read but really don’t want to, as well as some books that I just didn’t have any interest in anymore.

So here it is: my masterlist of To-Be-Read.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

Going Widdershins by Sherrye Cohn

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

Take Me With You by Andrea Gibson

Useless Magic: Lyrics and Poetry by Florence Welch

In Pieces by Sally Field

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman

Moriarty  by Anthony Horowitz

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Circe by Madeline Miller

Where the Crawdads Sing by Della Owens

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

My So-Called Bolllywood Life by Nisha Sharma

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Leviathan by Scott Westerfield

The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

The Lost Years by T.A. Barron

The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Dune by Frank Herbert

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness

A Stephen King Novel, but I’m not sure which one

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

Scourged by Kevin Hearne

Beseiged by Kevin Hearne

Ink by Amanda Sun

Rules for Virgins by Amy Tan

Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

After by Anna Todd

My goal is 25!

4 Books I Want To Read Again Now That I’m an Adult

You probably have a few, too: books that you didn’t appreciate to the fullest extent at age 13 or younger. I had a super high reading level when I was a kid, so I was stuck reading a bunch of books that were too old for me because technically, I understood the words, even if I didn’t understand the nuances. As a result, I have a slew of books that I think I need to reread now that I’m an adult, and can actually understand what’s going on.

So here they are: 4 books that I want to reread now that I’m officially a grown-up (for like seven years now).

Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

Water for Elephants came out in 2006, when I was 13. I read it for one simple reason: it was a NaNoWriMo novel, and I did National Novel Writing Month religiously starting at the age of 11. I still do it, I just fail now more often than I win. But there’s a lot of nuances I probably missed as a young 13-year-old – I liked the writing, I liked the romance, but I didn’t understand the subplot of getting older, of aging. Now, I am still only 25, but I think I could understand it better. And so, Water for Elephants is on this list.

Redwall (series) by Brian Jacques

I devoured these books starting at age 9. Apparently, I missed a lot of symbolism – especially religious symbolism. I’m almost hesitant to read them again because I’m not sure I want the memory of them to be… tarnished?… by an adult read. I mean, this is the series that I used to play-act on sunny days – I was a squirrel archer from Redwall Abbey, and I’d go running around in the grass screaming “Eulalia!” at the top of my lungs, much to the chagrin of my neighbors.

So maybe I’ll reread this. Maybe I won’t. Maybe, sometimes, it’s better to let good memories stay good.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

So I’ve actually read Fahrenheit 451 at least six times, in a row, and here’s why. Do you remember back in the day, when you’d be sitting in your English class (everyone stop and picture a 14 or 15-year-old Witch in the middle of her grunge baby phase at a desk in high school), and the teacher would have everyone take turns reading aloud?

This was torture for me.

In the time it took one person to read one section, I’d have finished a chapter. Now, I’m not knocking the practice – I don’t teach, I’m by no means an expert – but for me, it was absolutely awful having to sit there and listen to the other students read haltingly a book that they didn’t even want to read in the first place.

So I read it six times while waiting for them to read it once.

I’m thinking I should reread it and really take my time with it, read it and get to know it, return to the world that Bradbury created. I’m just afraid I’ll see our own world within it.

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein

Ah, fine, I’ll put up the actual cover too.

I read these books at 8 or 9 and I don’t remember them – instead, I remember the movies. That seems like a travesty, because I remember enjoying them, even being able to quote them, but they’re lost to me much like pre-Algebra. I hate putting books in the same category as math, because I hate math.

So it’s time to revisit, I think, Middle Earth.

Confession time: This list was going to be 5 books but honestly, I couldn’t think of a 5th one that made sense, and didn’t sound weird, so here are some runners-up.

  • So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane
  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
  • The Shannara Chronicles by Terry Brooks
  • Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

What are some books you need to reread, some worlds that may be worth revisiting for you?

Abandoning a Book: Letting Go of the Guilt

The truth is, I’m a picky reader. I want to be one of those people who can devour any and all books that come their way, and I used to be, back when I was a kid and reading was new and I didn’t write my own books. But the fact of the matter is, I know what I like, and I know what I don’t like. If reading is a hobby for me, if it’s something I enjoy, why would I turn it into something I don’t have fun doing?

The one that got away…

Now, let’s talk about The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand. For all intents and purposes, this looked to be the holiday book of my dreams: retelling of a classic Christmas story, a setting I didn’t expect, a character with a redemption arc. But when it came time to start the book, I ran into the same problem I did with movies like Groundhog Day.

I can’t read a book with a main character that’s supposed to be unlikable. I just can’t do it. It doesn’t matter that I know that she’ll turn it around in the end – Holly Chase made the book so unreadable for me (and it was well-written and intriguing, I just had so much anxiety about the character) that I wasn’t able to get past the first ten pages.

Now, that’s a personal thing that I have. Not everyone is going to pick up Holly Chase and think, “Oh, man, this book gives me anxiety because I don’t like the main character!” In fact, there are plenty of people in my book Facebook group who loved it. So I’m sure it’s a great book.

It’s just not the book for me.

The thing about being involved in the book community is that there is a certain air of “you have to see this through.” You have to finish the book to be able to review it. You have to make it to the last page, even if you’re not having fun anymore. Abandoning a book damns the book, and it damns you – why weren’t you able to finish it? What’s wrong with it? What’s wrong with you?

It’s not something overt that happens, but admit it, we all feel a bit of guilt when we put down a book we can’t finish. It’s admitting defeat! But not really.

You see, I think that guilt over abandoning a book is BS. Maybe it’s because my New Year’s Resolution is to live life with no unwarranted apologies, but I think that when it comes to a hobby, something we’re supposed to enjoy, there is no shame in saying, “This isn’t fun for me, I’m making it fun for me again.”

So here’s the end of my spiel. This year, do yourself a favor. If you don’t like a book, put it down. If you find yourself dreading a read, abandon it. If everyone else is reading something and you really don’t want to, don’t read it. Make reading fun for yourself!

Books Coming Out in 2019 That I Want Now

One of my favorite things about a new year is all the new books that will be coming out. I haven’t been excited these past couple years, because I haven’t been reading. But this year… this year, gimme those good books!

The Dreamers: A Novel by Karen Thompson Walker

This just sounds lyrical. The idea is that a plague is taking over, a plague of a sleep where people have heightened dreams and don’t wake up. Now, I love disaster novels, and I’m not sure that this counts, but something about it is singing to me. I can’t wait to read this, and I think maybe it’s the cover art? I’m not altogether sure. There’s just something about this book.

The Collected Schizophrenias by Esme Weijun Wang

As someone who also lives with mental illness, I’m excited for this book because I think it’s time we broke the stigma. Let’s talk about it more! Let’s write about it more! And not in that way that most mystery novels do, let’s actually talk about living with bipolar 1, schizoeffective, borderline, all of it. My hope for this book is that it’s a peek into a life that I both live and don’t live.

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

So for those of you who don’t know me (I’m talking to like the single person who reads this that I didn’t recruit from my Facebook friends), I’m crazy about music novels. This checks the box – this novel is based in the whirlwind world of 1970s music industry. There’s already an adaptation being ordered, starring Reese Witherspoon, and I’m hoping that that means this book is amazing. I need to hurry up and get paid so I can preorder! This may be the book I’m most excited about.

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

So here’s another fun fact about me: I love crime novels. And this book is all about a couple whose favorite pastime is getting away with murder. Oh, man, Lt. Joe Kenda would have a field day with this (“Well, my, my, my.”). Maybe that’s why I read so many mystery and crime novels – maybe it’s my obsession with Discovery ID. No, but seriously, super excited for this novel, because it seems unique.

Once More We Saw Stars by Jayson Greene

So this book is a somber addition to the list. It tackles moving on from and experiencing what I consider to be unimaginable pain – the loss of a child. I’m interested in this novel because it seems human and, in some way, inspiring because it deals with “overcoming” grief. And I say that in quotations because I don’t believe you “overcome” grief, you learn how to go through it and live with it. And I think this novel will explore that.

So, what are you looking forward to reading in 2019? Let me know in the comments!

My TBR Pile is Huge and It’s a Problem: 5 Books I Need to Read

My To-Be-Read list is growing nonstop, and I think this is a problem that a lot of bookish folks like ourselves have. So let’s take a look at what’s on my TBR, and why it’s there.

Why It’s On My List: I loved Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton, and I was thrilled the other night to discover that there was not one, but two sequels to a book that I thought was sorely underrated. I have Traitor to the Throne downloaded on my Overdrive (my library is amazing), and I’ll be reading it probably here pretty quickly.

Rebel of the Sands was a gripping YA pageturner. As I’ve recently discovered with Lethal White, this isn’t always the case for sequels, but I have a good feeling about Hamilton’s writing and storytelling ability. Seriously, I read Rebel of the Sands when reading was about all I could do a couple of years ago, and it was AMAZING. At first glance, Traitor to the Throne looks to be action-packed and full of adventure in only the way that YA novels can be – gung-ho about themselves. But we can get into the differences between YA fantasy and Fantasy fantasy another day.

Why It’s On My List: Back when I worked at the bookstore, near the tail end of when I worked, this book was all anyone could talk about. The Song of Achilles is one that I downloaded on Audible and tried super hard to get into, but the truth of the matter is that I’m just not into audiobooks. I’m sure they work great for some people, but not for me. So I’ve got this on my Kindle, and I’ll be picking it up from there. So The Song of Achilles is on this list primarily because I’ve already started it, and because I remember everyone saying it was worth it.

Why It’s On My List: So I literally just picked up The Afterlife of Holly Chase from the library because I was looking for a good holiday read and my book group on Facebook says this book will deliver. I admit, the story of Ebenezer Scrooge is not one that I seek out, and it’s not one I’d ever thought of as having good remake potential, but I’m a sucker for a good YA novel, and what the hell, I’m feeling generous, it’s Christmas.

Why It’s On My List: Listen, okay, fanfiction is a form of art. I have wept over fanfictions, some have brought me joy in times of darkness, and I even credit one fanfiction with saving my life (on more than one occasion). As such, fandoms and being a fangirl has become so ingrained in my personality that it’s a part of me now, and that will never change. And yet, for some reason, I have owned this book for years and still. Not. Read it.

That’s a travesty.

Fangirl promises to be the nerdly frolic that I want, and Rainbow Rowell has gone on to become a highly accomplished author. Honestly I’m looking forward to it. It just may take awhile.

Why It’s On My List: Go here to read all about my Longmire obsession.

Let’s Talk Longmire

I interrupt the regularly scheduled Lethal White for a quick geek out.

There’s a new Longmire book out.


As I mentioned, I have sorely neglected my reading, but one thing I did do, back in August, was preorder Craig Johnson’s Longmire #14, Depth of Winter. I remembered that I did this last night while in the ER (ovarian cysts are fun), when I re-downloaded the Kindle app onto my phone and discovered, lo and behold, there was Robert Taylor looking like the last good man of the Wild West on the cover of Depth of Winter.

Confession time: I find the character of Longmire to be an attractive one. Here’s why.

The characterization of Walt Longmire is one that I like to call “the last good man.” Everyone around him is fallible, and he is too, but he is aware of this. He knows he’s flawed, and that’s what makes him “good.” He has a strict sense of justice, one that he upholds to the highest regard, but goes outside the law when he realizes the law will not serve him – his own moral code. Other characters that fit this type typically show up in Westerns: Chisolm in The Magnificent 7, Dan Evans in 3:10 to Yuma. (If that tells you anything about the kind of Westerns I watch.) The other characters in the Longmire mystery series are nuanced as well, but none of them strike me quite like Walt Longmire does.

So let’s talk Depth of Winter. This is one of those occasions where Longmire goes outside the law – he has to, Cady’s been kidnapped by his worst enemy. And one thing that we’ve learned about Longmire is that family (including his found family) is his weakness and his strength, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I’m about 30% of the way through the book now, and I have to say, it’s not gripping me like a Craig Johnson novel usually does. I think the reason for this is that Walt is the only recognizable character – the rest are new to this book, and I’m really hoping to at least see my beloved Henry Standing Bear soon. There is plenty of action, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve grown to love and care about the other characters for fourteen books – meeting these new ones puts a strange feeling of “new read?” into the novel that I don’t feel like should be there.

I am nothing if not a devoted fan of the series, though, so you bet I’ll keep reading. And don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying it. I’m just missing Henry!


So now, I’m reading… four or five books, actually. Here’s an updated list of what I’m reading:

  • Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
  • Depth of Winter by Craig Johnson
  • The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

There are honestly a couple more I want to read (hello, Overdrive), but I’m trying to stop there. I’m planning on getting Lethal White read first, then Depth of Winter, then The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, and then The Song of Achilles if I can handle the audiobook – I’m not doing well on that front.

What do you think should be on my reading list for 2019? Let me know!