Top Eight Books I Hope Santa Brings – Top Ten Tuesday

I actually didn’t ask for any books this christmas but I did as for a gift card for the book shop, so hopefully I get that!…also there are only eight on this list but that’s okay…

1. Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper
I’m a huge linguistics nerd and have been wanting a book like this but I never knew it actually existed. Right now Word by Word is the book I want to buy most with any Christmas money I get.

2. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fischer
Like many girls I grew up admiring Princess Leia and wanting to be just like her but I didn’t know much about Carrie Fischer until her passing. What I have learned about her makes her seem like an amazing women, unique from all others. I would like to read about her life in her own words.

3. A Poem for Every Night of the Year edited by Allie Esiri
First of all, the cover is so gorgeous I would want this book even if I didn’t like poetry. Luckily, I do like poetry and I like the idea of having a poem to read every day that has some kind of tie to the day or the season.

4. The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace
I’ve always been a fan of independent princesses (like Princess Leia, for example) so the title of this poetry collection really speaks to me. I hope it lives up the hype for me.

5. Caraval by Stephanie Garber
I don’t actually know a whole lot about this book but I have heard some booktubers talk about it in their book hauls and their excitement about it was enough to make me want to read it.

6. Girl in A Band by Kim Gordon
A few months ago I found a rock n’ roll book recommendations list on pinterest (possibly the least rock n’ roll place ever) and added a few of the titles to me “want to read” list on Goodreads (because I’m a closet punk rocker).

7. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein
Same reasoning as number 6.

8. What We See in the Stars: An Illustrated Tour of the Night Sky by Kelsey Oseid
Apparently this book is “A richly illustrated guide to the myths, histories, and science of the celestial bodies of our solar system, with stories and information about constellations, planets, comets, the northern lights, and more.” (Goodreads) so if that doesn’t make you want to buy it, I don’t know what would…except for it’s insanely pretty cover.

I’d love to hear all about your Top Ten Tuesday (a bookish meme hosted every Tuesday by The Broke and The Bookish). Feel free to leave your TTT down in the comments and let me know what you thought about mine!


My Shockingly Low 2018 Reading Goal|Fiction Friday – Discussion|

Funny enough my last Discussion post was also about reading goals. I go awol for a year and a half and nothing changes. Anyway…

The year is coming to a close thus causing me to start thinking about my goals for 2018. I’m not typically one to do New Year’s resolutions because I used to feel like it was arbitrary to wait until January 1st to make a change or set a goal. However, since I’ve been in college and grown up a little bit (wow, shocker) I’ve realized it’s not really about the date, at least for me, it’s about setting goals.

As a high schooler the goals I set for myself were always intuitive – live creatively and do well in school. Humble brag, I did pretty great at this. For the most part I had A’s and B’s, did various creative extracurriculars and read all the time. It was difficult and challenging (especially when you’re also battling depression and anxiety and you don’t know how handle it because you’re a kid) but I did it and I look back at my high school career with fondness and pride.

Fast forward to now. I’m twenty (lolwhut?), attending art college, and I have no idea how past me did everything with such “ease”. (The obvious answer is that I’m remembering everything with a rosier tint but still, how did I do it???) And I’ve now found it enjoyable and rewarding to actively set goals.

The goals I have for myself this year have not been set in stone but they do mirror my high school desires: live creatively and do well in school. These days those two intertwine since my grades rely directly on my creativity and artistic skill. So I’m wondering if so much of what I want to achieve in 2018 is wrapped up in art…what room is left for my other hobbies, like reading?

Which brings me to the main point – I’m (probably) going to set my Goodreads 2018 Reading Goal to 3 books.

That’s it.


Now, before you fling yourself to your keyboard, asking if I’ve lost my will to read the answer is no, of course not. I’ve read books my whole life, I don’t want to stop now. However, I value my self esteem and my time and I’m aware that I am not going to be happy with myself if I can’t meet my goal. I set the bar high in 2014 and read 31 books out of my goal of 15, but was able to meet my goal in the following two years. This year the only reason I’ve met my goal is because I binge read three short stories from the New Yorker (I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy those three short stories, or that they shouldn’t count but I am saything that I felt compelled to read them because I knew they were quick and would count toward my goal. And something about that feels a little shallow to me.)

I want a healthy challenge to read but I don’t want another year of an incomplete goal on my goodreads page. And so, three books feels like the right amount. A healthy amount to remind me to read because I enjoy storytelling. I don’t need to read a lot just to prove that I can.

Anyway, I would love to know how you are handling your reading goals and how you feel about mine.

– Queen Celine

Top Ten Books of 2017 – Top Ten Tuesday

I’m going to cheat a little bit and do my top ten books of 2016/2017 because I’ve been gone for so long…so yeah, totally reasonable excuse….

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I read The Book Thief in 2016 and it was the best book I read all year. Perhaps even the best book I’ve ever read (I gush more about it in my review). I loved it so much that it caused me to hit a huge reading slump where I felt like no other book would be as good.

2. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
Fight Club is the book that got me out of my Book Thief induced reading slump. I read it in the summer of 2017 and I loved it so much! Definitely my best book of 2017.

3. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
I finished reading Milk and Honey by the beginning of 2017 and at the time I really enjoyed it. The end of 2016 was my first real attempt to get into poetry and it was nice to bring in the new year of reading with something different.

4. Othello by William Shakespeare
I read Othello in Winter 2016 as required reading for an English class I took at university. I think it may be in my top five favorite Shakespeare plays now.

5. Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Seconds was a required text for my Intro to Sequential Arts class at uni in 2016 and I’m so glad it was! I read the entire book in a few hours because I couldn’t put it down. Bryan Lee O’Malley’s characters always feel so real and relatable regardless of the fantastical plots.

6. The Darkest Part of The Forrest by Holly Black
Before I read The Darkest Part of The Forrest in 2016 I had little interest in Holly Black and ZERO interest in ‘Fairy Books’ (I had a bad experience with one that turned me off to the subgenre). However I really enjoyed the world that Black created and the total uniqueness of it. Her writing is now very inspiring to me.

7. A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry
I bought A Fierce and Subtle Poison in 2016 mainly because of the beautiful cover but the inside did not disappoint. I really enjoyed the use of magical realism in this book and would encourage anyone who hasn’t read it to give it a read.

8. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber
This short story was required reading for my “American Moderns” English class this past fall. I know it’s considered a classic among short stories and therefore might not interest everyone but it is a short read that is surprisingly relatable.

9. Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan
(Illustrated by Cliff Chiang and Matthew Wilson)
I read Paper Girls in winter 2016 and enjoyed 80s sci-fi elements as well as the girl group of characters. I would say the art and coloring stuck with me more than the plot but, it was a fun read regardless.

10. Wakefield by E.L. Doctorow
I happened upon “Wakefield” while on a road trip this summer. Actually, I happened upon the trailer for the movie adaptation. The trailer seemed so bizarre that I had to read the short story for myself and boy was it weird. Definitely not a story for everyone but the oddity of it really stuck with me.

I’d love to hear all about your Top Ten Tuesday (a bookish meme hosted every Tuesday by The Broke and The Bookish). Feel free to leave your TTT down in the comments and let me know what you thought about mine!

The Prodigal Girl Returns (?) – Update

It’s starting to alarm me that this is maybe my third or fourth “I’m coming back to the blog” post…especially since I’ve been absent for about a year or two now?

What can I say, college get’s in the way of hobbies sometimes. And that is what this blog is: a hobby.

I’m going to cut the crap, I have no idea if I will be able to stick to a blogging schedule this time…which I why I might not try to? I’m not sure yet. I’m not sure if I can devote time to this as if I’m a professional, or even a wannabe professional.

What I do know is that I miss writing my thoughts about the books I’m reading. I miss talking about bookish things (there’s only so much my friends can handle).

So I’m back? Who knows how often and for how long…

– Queen Celine

Review of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak |Fiction Friday|


“It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.”(From Goodreads)

Rating: 5/5 Crowns
– Superb writing
– Interesting plot
– Great characters

Comparable Book(s): Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

*In depth review contains spoilers

Read More »

Review of Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng |Fiction Friday|


This review contains spoilers.


““Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.”(From Goodreads)

Rating: 3.75/5 Crowns

Comparable Book(s): Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, and Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

The Review


Everyone has received some amount of pressure from their parents. I’m fortunate enough to have parents that allow me to choose to live my life how I see fit. They love me and want the best for me, much like how James and Marilyn loved and wanted the best for Lydia. However, the weight of their “love” drove Lydia to suicide.

Everything I Never Told You is about what pushed Lydia to kill herself and how that impacts her family. Lydia is the “favorite” child. The child that gets the goodnight kisses and the last slice of cake. The child that is mentioned first to co-workers and friend. The child who bears the crushing weight of her mother and father’s hopes and dreams. Marilyn and James were so desperate to finally get their life right the put the burden on Lydia.

History has a way of repeating itself and by avoiding our past we often run right into it. Marilyn hated the way her mother pressured her to find a husband. She had, what she considered to be, bigger and better dreams. Marilyn wanted to become a doctor. But life and love had other plans and she married James. Without understanding the full context of what she was doing, Marilyn pressures Lydia much in the same way she was pressured by her mother. Lydia is under constant stress to perform well in school so she can accomplish her mother’s dream of becoming a doctor. Marilyn is too blind to see that Lydia never wanted to be a doctor, she just wanted to make her mother happy.

James was never popular or liked when he was young, being the only Chinese American student in school. Children were cruel and racist, so he never had any friends. He never was able to “fit in”. However, when he had Lydia he was convinced that she could be popular. She could live the life he never had. He even gifts her a book on how to “make people like you”, which only causes her to feel like she’s not good enough.

Lydia’s siblings, Nath and Hannah are left to the wayside. Nath feels like he’s hated by his father and that his mother loves Lydia more than him. Hannah is quiet as a mouse and often forgotten by her family. The pressure from James and Marilyn cause tension and a divide between all three children.

Celeste Ng captures so many important real life topics so well – interracial couples, mixed race families, misguided parents and suicide. I’ve read a couple of different books about teen suicide (Thirteen Reasons Why, Love Letters To The Dead) but they never covered the entire families thoughts, stories and emotions. Everything I Never Told You is unique in it’s complete coverage.

And the title of the book is so appropriate, given how many times I wanted to strangle some of the characters. Communication is the key to any relationship but almost every character in this book just bottled what they were feeling until they snapped.

This book made me sad and frustrated, which is partially why I didn’t give it 4/5 Crowns. There were points when I thought I would never feel a catharsis. I almost gave up reading it because I was tired of the way the Lee family talked (or rather, how they didn’t – and it’s okay, everything does finally get resolved). I also had some trouble following the writing because of the way Ng shifted the point of view from one character to another, without much warning.

However, in the end I believe that this book is one that should be on everyone’s TBR. A perfect snapshot of an imperfect family.

Have you read Everything I Never Told You? If so, I’d love to know your thoughts and opinions.

– Queen Celine

Unpopular Opinions Tag |Fiction Friday|

Firstly, Merry Christmas!

Secondly, I love unpopular opinions because they start so much controversy. I just like knowing what makes people go against the “norm”.
1. A Popular Book or series that you didn’t like.

I tried reading City of Bones by Cassandra Clare and I only got 70 pages in before I suddenly stopped reading. I now realize it’s because I’m not an Urban Fantasy fan. I just prefer traditional Fantasy. 

2. A Popular Book or series that every one else seems to hate but you love.

A lot of the books I read for High School were hated by my classmates but I liked them. A Separate Peace by John Knowles and The Odyssey by Homer, are two that come to mind.

3. A Love Triangle where the main character ended up with the person you did NOT want them to end up with OR an OTP that you don’t like.

It was hard for me to pick an NOTP but  I guess I’m not huge on Wade and Art3mis from Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I just didn’t feel any chemistry.

4. A popular book Genre that you hardly reach for.

Urban Fantasy.

5. A popular or beloved character that you do not like.

Superman (comics count as books!). He’s such a boyscout.

6. A popular author that you can’t seem to get into.

Cassandra Clare. I’ve heard a lot of negative things about her and I’m not a fan of her books.

7. A popular book trope that you’re tired of seeing.

Every single YA book being compared to Twilight, Harry Potter, Divergent, The Hunger Games, etc.

Female characters being badass only by virtue of being tough and cool – we should be supporting all kinds of women.

8. A popular series that you have no interest in reading.

Anything in the Shadowhunter universe. And the Shatter Me trilogy.

9. The saying goes “The book is always better than the movie”, but what movie or T.V. show adaptation do you prefer more than the book?

If I had to pick I guess I’d say Sherlock Holmes but I haven’t even read any Sherlock Holmes so I have no idea.

Original Tag:

Please let me know about all of your unpopular opinions in the comments!

– Queen Celine

Honey, I’m Home – Life Update

Hey everyone! I’m back home from my first quarter of college and I’m happy and sad and lonely and confused and proud and exhausted.

I’ve had so much growth over the past three months and I hope that will improve my blogging skills.

I’m going to try to get back onto a somewhat consistent posting schedule soon! Even if it means that I have to cut back and post less often. My main focus is to post quality bookish things on a regular basis.

Wish me luck – I’m gonna need it.

– Queen Celine

Oops I Did It Again – Quickie Life Update

Hey, remember how I made a post a month ago saying that I was going to do my best to keep up with this blog even though I’m currently working my butt off at college?

Remember that?

This marks the second time I’ve let this blog fall behind. It sucks and I’m sorry.

I could write down a hundred reasons why i’ve been M.I.A but it’s unnecessary. I’m in college, life is challenging and I’m trying to do my best.

I appreciate everyone who has ever liked, read or commented on any of my posts. Seriously, you guys rock. I wish I could be the perfect blogger, and I wish I could talk to all of you about books all the time but, like I said, life is challenging.

I didn’t get enough sleep last night so we’re just going to pretend that this post isn’t a hot mess. Sound good? Great.

– Queen Celine