Posted in book review

Review: The Bone Witch

30095464The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Release Date: March 7, 2017 (I’m catching up on my ARCS, I swear)

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Themes: ya, fantasy, witches, magic, coming-of-age

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads Summary: Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human. Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves.

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My Review

I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I wanted to love this book. When I first read the blurb for it on Goodreads, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Then, when I did get it, I proceeded to put it off for six months, as you do. It was a combination of being put off by some negative reviews and just my general laziness. Then, this month I became absolutely determined to catch up on my ARCs. Unfortunately, I DNF’d this book at 32%. I just couldn’t do it.

From page one of this book, I got some Tiffany Aching vibes from the plot of the story (girl finds out she is a witch, enters the world of witches and learns to become one from other old and sassy witches). However, Bone Witch took everything I loved about the Tiffany Aching series, and did it very poorly.

The writing was much too flowery for my taste, and this in combination with the scattered world-building left me totally confused as to what I should be picturing as I read. At first I was getting a Mexican/Hispanic magic system vibe, but then I also got Asian magic system vibe, and I had no idea what kind of time period I was reading. I was surprised that despite so much heavily detailed description, I still had no idea what was going on.

Combine this with pretty much no plot, and there weren’t really any reasons for me to want to keep reading. The only thing left were the characters. With the Tiffany Aching series, the characters were my favorite part. In this book, there were so many characters that we didn’t really get to know anyone very well, not even our main character Tea. I think eventually there may have been more of a focus on a select few characters, but I wasn’t invested enough in the ones I had met so far to find out.

I’m really disappointed that I didn’t enjoy this book more, and I can see where some people might enjoy it, especially if they didn’t mind the flowery writing, but it just wasn’t for me. When I started it, I realized I was moving so slowly through it that I thought I was going into a reading slump, but I picked up another book and flew through it, so I knew that it wasn’t me that was slowing me down.

-Sky

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Posted in Discussion

Discussion: Books I Want to Reread

Hello!

I hardly ever reread books, mostly because I feel guilty about the books that I own that I haven’t read. There are some books, though, that I really want to reread, despite the guilt. I have a few that I have reread before (like Harry Potter), but there are a bunch that I’ve never reread, and I want to try and reread them sometime next year. Here they are!

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The Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

I read both of these books right when they came out, so there was about a year between each one. I would love to reread both of these books together, so I could go into the second book with all the details from the first fresh in my mind. Plus, I’d love to revisit all of these beautiful characters.

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Percy Jackson and they Olympians by Rick Riordan

I’ve actually reread this series once, but it was at least five years ago. I’d love to revisit this original story before I move on to some of his newer series like Magnus Chase and Trials of Apollo.

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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I’d really like to reread this book, as it’s been several years since I’ve read it, and John Green has a new book coming out this month, so I’d like to reread this one very soon. It’s been on my all-time-favorites list since the first time I’ve read it, but I think I’ve only read it twice. This is also one that I’d really like to rewatch the movie of, as the first time I missed part of it because I had to use the bathroom.

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Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

I’ve only read this book once, and I’m absolutely shocked by that fact. I love this book so much, and I really have no idea why I haven’t reread it yet. I’m going to do this very soon, and I’m absolutely going to have a pack of Oreos with me when I do it.

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The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare

I have a couple of reasons for wanting to reread this this trilogy. Firstly, it’s one of my favorite series and its been about 5 years since I last read it, so I’d love to revisit the Shadowhunter realm. Secondly, I really want to continue on with Cassandra Clare’s new series, The Dark Artifices, so rereading these would be a good refresher.

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We Were Liars by E Lockhart

I’ve wanted to reread this book since I first read it when it came out a few years ago. I never did. This is the perfect book to reread because you can go back and see all of the little hints and clues that you missed the first time around. I’m super excited to go back and see this from a the perspective of someone who knows what’s coming and what really happened.

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The Darkest Minds trilogy by Alexandra Bracken

This is another series that I fell in love with when I first read it a few years ago, and I want to go back and fall in love with it all over again. Over the past year or so, the cast of Six of Crows has been my favorite band of renegades, and recently I’ve realized that I kind of forgot how much I love the group in this series as well. Everyone takes care of each other, and they all are so supportive and I want to go back and remember all the great scenes with this rag-tag group.

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Another book that is one of my absolute favorites, and I think I’ve only read it twice? It’s been at least 3 years since I read this one, and I’m starting to forget some of the details. I also want to rewatch the movie for this one, because the soundtrack is GORGEOUS.

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The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

I’m pretty sure I’ve only read this trilogy once. I want to go back to it for a few reasons. Firstly, I want to reread them to help distinguish the events from the books from the events in the movies, because at this point its all just a blur. Secondly, I have a LOT of mixed feelings about Mockingjay, and I’d like to reread it to try and sort through those feelings a little bit more.

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The Graceling trilogy by Kristin Cashore

I’ve reread Fire two or three times, but I’ve only read Graceling and Bitterblue once, and the only time I read Graceling was…. 10 years ago? Something like that. So it’s definitely overdue for a reread.

What books do you want to reread? Have you read or reread any of the books on this list? Let me know in the comments!

-Sky

 

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Up

August Wrap-Up

Hello!

This year is flying by and it’s honestly a bit terrifying. I wasn’t sure how good of a reading month August was going to be, since I started school this week and also moved. However, I managed to read 19 books this month! I’m honestly so proud of myself. I also have to give Clara (whom I’m sure you all know at this point) most of the credit for this. We did The Great Exchange of 2017 this month, and we each swapped 15 books, so her books make up about half of my wrap-up this month! So let’s jump right in, shall we?

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Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash: ★★★★ I knew after the end of Booktube-a-thon that if I picked up something big or complicated (like ACOWAR, which was my original plan) I would fall into a reading slump. This was the perfect quick pick-me-up that I was able to read in one sitting, with a sweet and cute story. My only complaint was the art was a little simple and I couldn’t always distinguish characters.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray: ★★★ The satire and parody aspects of this book were absolutely fabulous. It just got extremely weird at points, and about halfway through the book the humor just got a little bit too repetitive for me. I really appreciate what this book was trying to do, it just wasn’t for me.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: ★★★★★ I have no idea why it took me so long to pick up this book. Literally no idea. Because I loved it so much. It was so cute, and the romance was perfect. I especially loved seeing a girl who is so close with her sisters, since I’m an only child and I’ve never really had that.

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PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han: ★★★★★ I didn’t like this one quite as much as the first, but it was still absolutely perfect. I loved the character development, as well as the development of the romance. I’m so bummed I didn’t pick these books up sooner. They’re so cute and sweet.

The Inconceivable Life of Quinn by Marianna Baer: ★ I haven’t rated a book 1 star in ages, so that’s really a testament to how much I hated it. The writing was incredibly confusing, and the last-minute addition of magical realism just felt like a cop-out, rather than tackling some of the deeper topics that could have been explored. You can read my full review here.

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson: ★★★ This book is one of the classics that I wanted to read this year, so now I can check it off the list. It surprised me – I was expecting to fall in love with the adventure in this story, but I ended up loving the characters a whole lot more. The plot sort of fell to the wayside, but the characters were interesting.

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Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín: ★★★ I actually think I liked the movie of this a little bit better than the book. The writing was a little dry and bland for me, and it made the book seem to drag on a little bit.

Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman: ★★★★ I knew I was going to enjoy this book going into it, and it did not disappoint. I also appreciated that it wasn’t just a simple romance that we usually see in contemporaries. Every character was very well developed.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire: ★★★★★ I’ve been meaning to read this book for ages. I loved it so much, not least because our main character is asexual. ON PAGE NAMED as asexual. And it made me so happy. We really need more books like this because it had such a good discussion of different sexualities and genders, and it wasn’t even a contemporary.

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Always and Forever Lara Jean by Jenny Han: ★★★★★ I don’t think this series could have ended any more perfectly. It was everything I didn’t know I wanted in a contemporary series, and more. These books are probably going end up on my all-time favorites shelf.

*from here on out are all the books that I borrowed from Clara*

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett: ★★★★ Clara’s been trying to get me to read Terry Pratchett for over a year. And I finally did it! (I hope you’re happy, Clara). This book was so good. I loved the writing, especially the little foot notes. I definitely would have loved this more if I’d read it when I was younger (I think it’s technically middle grade) but it was still a fantastic, magical read.

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West: ★★★★★ Again, another author that Clara has been pushing me to read for over a year. This one did not disappoint. Like Lara Jean, I really loved how this book blended familial relationships with romance, and I thought the discussion of class-relations was also interesting.

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A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett: ★★★★ I liked this book even better than the first. Pratchett expanded the world beautifully, and I loved all of the new characters. Plus, the Nac Mac Feels are just pure awesomeness no matter what.

Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett: ★★★★ This one is probably my least favorite of the four that I read, but I still really enjoyed it. My biggest complaint about this one is I felt like Pratchett was trying to make his transition into YA with this one, and the way he did that (through the romance) still felt a little bit juvenile.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki: ★★★★ Wow. What an emotional roller-coaster this was. I loved the writing, and reading from both Ruth’s and Nao’s perspectives was so interesting. I loved how Ozeki blended the past with the present. I have really mixed feelings about the ending, though, which is why I knocked off a star.

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I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett: ★★★★★ This one is absolutely an all-time-favorite. I can’t really even explain why I loved it so much. It was just that perfect. Tiffany has grown up so much, and I’m so proud of her. Just. Perfect.

The Chance You Won’t Return by Annie Cardi: ★★★★ This one was fascinating. I’ve never read a book quite like this, but it gave me some very strong Next to Normal vibes, since they both center around a girl whose mother suffers from mental illness. The ending felt a little bit rushed to me, but I still really enjoyed it.

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig: ★★★★ I knew I was going to enjoy this one, and I absolutely did. It lived up to my expectations completely, but I wish it had exceeded them. I also got some pretty strong Passenger vibes from this, but it was definitely still its own entity and story.

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The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord: ★★★★★ (note for Clara: I hope you’re happy, and YES I will read The Names They Gave Us when I finish your books. I promise) Another author that Clara has been trying to get me to read for wayyyy too long. I really don’t have much of an excuse, other than lack of these books in Barnes and Noble. But, I finally read it. I loved it so much. It destroyed my soul, but I loved every minute of it.

What books did you read this month? Do you swap books with friends? Tell me in the comments!

-Sky

 

Posted in Recommendations

Hogwarts House Recommendations #2: HUFFLEPUFF!

Hello!

It’s time for another Hogwarts House Recommendations! I tried to wait a respectable amount of time before doing this one, so I didn’t seem too overeager about them. I figure about one per month is a decent space between each. This month: Hufflepuff! Both of my parents are Hufflepuffs, so I am very familiar with their characteristics. According to Harry Potter Wiki, “Hufflepuff is the most inclusive among the four houses; valuing hard work, dedication, patience, loyalty, and fair play rather than a particular aptitude in its members.” So, here are five books that I think embody the spirit of the Hufflepuff; these are books that I think all Hufflepuffs alike will enjoy.

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Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

This book embodies the spirit of Hufflepuff in a slightly more stereotypical way than the others on this list. An idea that I have seen a lot on the Internet is Hufflepuffs are all cute, sweet, and kind. Simon vs is all these traits and more. It is really the perfect embodiment of the cute, light, and fluffy contemporary that we all need in our lives, and I love it so much.

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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On is loosely based on a fanfiction idea that Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy fall in love. I think this shows qualities of the Hufflepuff because it shows two very different people coming together despite their differences. This book really highlights the quality of acceptance among Hufflepuffs, and I think it’s one that Hufflepuff’s will really enjoy, especially since it has those aspects of Harry Potter within it.

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Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Like Carry On, this book reminds me of Hufflepuff because of how it brings together a group of extremely different people, and explores how they learn to live, work, and coexist together. It follows a group of travelers who are trying to cross the United States to stake their claim during the California Gold Rush. They come from different socioeconomic, religious, and ethnic backgrounds, and they must find a way to keep each other alive on the perilous journey west.

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A List of Cages by Robin Roe

I can’t go into a ton of detail on why this book reminds me of Hufflepuffs, because it has to do with some spoilery things, but basically I believe that all of the characters have some very strong Hufflepuff traits (as well as Gryffindor traits – in fact this book almost made it onto my recommendations for Gryffindors), particularly Julian, who tries so hard to love everyone and be loved by everyone.

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The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

I actually don’t have any really concrete words to describe why this book reminds me of Hufflepuff, but this was one of the first books I thought of when creating this list. I think, similar to Simon vsthis book is light and fluffy contemporary. I feel like everyone could find something they enjoy about this book, so that’s why I think it would be great for Hufflepuffs, who tend more towards a similar set of values, rather than character traits.

 

Do you agree with my choices? What books do you associate with Hufflepuff? Tell me in the comments!

-Sky

Posted in Discussion

A Slightly Rambly-Random Rant

Hello,

I was initially going to do a Hufflepuff recommendation post today, but some stuff happened today and I’m just not in the mood. Plus, I just did a TTT and I don’t really want to do two recommendation posts in a row. (I’m typing this as of Thursday, just as an fyi for some things I’m going to talk about.)

So, I’m not going to go into too much detail about any of this, since it’s more personal, but basically the fact that I’m moving in two days had led to a lot of tension and stress in my house; this eventually culminated today into probably the biggest fight/argument I’ve ever had. The past couple of months as we’ve been preparing for this move haven’t been the greatest, and it’s really highlighted some of the not-so-great aspects of my home life.

That’s why I wanted to make this post today, because I wanted to talk about one other aspect of my life that I’ve really come to appreciate over the past few months, and the events of today really showed me how powerful this part of my life can be. It may sound a little bit cheesy (but I mean this in the most sincere way possible), but the community that is a part of YA Twitter has truly become a refuge and a haven for me over the past few months. Today’s events with the NYT Best-seller list especially showed me what an amazing, powerful, and active community we can be (if you didn’t hear about this, you can read the basics here).

There are some pretty horrible things going on in the world today, but this is just one example of people coming together and taking absolutely none of the sh*t that the world throws at them. It’s the perfect example of people standing up for what’s right, rather than hiding their heads in the sand and ignoring things that are going on around them, simply because they are privileged enough to do so.

I know that I come from an extremely privileged place, and for a long time now I’ve used that privilege to avoid the news, politics, and anything going on in the world that is mildly upsetting. This online community, particularly since the 2016 Presidential Election, has taught me so much about that privilege, and how I can use it to help those who are not in such a privileged position. I have learned so much, and am still learning. I make mistakes all the time, but I am learning and growing as I see people on line point out what we can improve in the world, and they systems that are in place to deliberately debilitate and hinder those who come from a disadvantaged place.

As I am still relatively new to this online space, I haven’t yet made a lot of friends, because I’ve sort of deliberately stayed in the background to watch the interactions around me. In the short amount of time that I’ve been on Twitter, I have seen SO much support, love, happiness, and goodness come as a response to one negative thing. One negative thing can spark so much response from those who care and will defend the ones they care for, and refuse to spread anything but positivity and love.

So much of the mindset around the Internet is geared towards how terrible and ineffective/inefficient discourse is online. This is true, there is certainly much to improve upon in online discourse. Yet, when I see a community come together in this way and perform in such an efficient, almost professional way, I’m reminded that there is such a thing as good, even great discussions that are constantly occurring, and we need to focus on promoting those, too. We focus so much on denouncing the negative, which is of course helpful and necessary, but I want to promote the good, too.

YA Twitter is such a powerful community, and it’s already done so much good for authors, readers, and just people everywhere. As much as there is bad and evil in the world, today YA Twitter reminded me that there is good, too. I want to be a part of that good, and I hope someday I will be.

-Sky

Posted in Top Ten Tuesday

TTT: Short and Quick Reads for Stress-filled Days

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature at The Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s topic: Back to School Freebie!

Hello!

It is already the end of August, which means a lot of us are going back to school very soon! I’m going back next week, and I’m both excited and also terrified, especially since I start school two days after I move…. *sweats*

For this Top Ten Tuesday’s Back-to-School Freebie, I really wanted to tap into the amount of stress that I am currently enduring. Starting school can be a really busy and stressful time, so reading tends to fall by the wayside. If you’re like me, not reading makes you sad, but you also don’t really feel like you can justify sitting down to read a book that’s going to take you a week to read. So, here are ten short, quick, and fun(ish) books to read when you’re super stressed.

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Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire: For those of us who love fantasy, this book is perfect. It’s under 200 pages, but don’t let that fool you. This book packs a punch. It’s the perfect for people who love fantasy but don’t want to commit to a huge adult high-fantasy world like A Song of Ice and Fire or The Name of the Wind.

Hyperbole and a Half  by Allie Brosh: This one is a graphic novel/comic strip bind up? I was able to read this one in pretty much one sitting, and it’s both hilarious and entirely too relatable. I read it right before I went back to school earlier this year, and I honestly don’t think I would have made it on the plane without it.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris: This book is perfect for reading in short bursts, since each chapter tells a different story. It’s a collection of little vignettes from Sedaris’s life, and they’re a great mix of funny and serious. Plus, since it’s not one complete book, you can put it down without leaving off on a cliffhanger.

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Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash: This is a graphic memoir, and it’s super cute. It does occasionally tackle some more difficult topics, but mostly it’s a light and fluffy lesbian romance. I was able to read it in one sitting, and all the pictures make it easy to just fly through it.

Insomniac City by Bill Hayes: I wanted to recommend this book for a few reasons. The first is that, like most of the other books on this list, it’s pretty short. The other reason I think this would be great for back-to-school is that it’s just such a sweet, pure, innocent book. There’s a childlike quality to Bill and Oliver that just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Perfect read when you need to feel like everything is going to be ok.

The Marvels by Brian Selznick: Ok. This book is huge, I know. BUT! Over half of the book is just pictures. No words. Just pictures. I think I read the first half of this book in about 15 minutes. Seriously. You will fly through this book. Plus, it’s just an amazing book. I was not prepared for how emotionally invested I was going to be.

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Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: You’ll need to purchase a pack of Oreos for this one. Seriously, do it. It will make your reading experience so much better. Everything about this book will make you the happiest you’ve ever been, and it’s also not super long.

We Were Liars by E Lockhart: This book is nothing like its predecessor, other than the fact that they are both short. We Were Liars is for people who want an emotional rollercoaster filled with suspense, all condensed into a short compact book.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness: Like We Were Liars, this is a short book that will leave you curled up in a puddle of your own tears and sadness, but you’ll love every minute of it. Plus, there are gorgeous illustrations that make the reading process go much faster.

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We Are Okay by Nina LaCour: Finally, we have yet another short book that packs an emotional punch. I really wanted to recommend this one though, because it’s set in the middle of winter on a (basically) deserted college campus. The greatest thing about this book is the ambiance, and its filled with nostalgia and a quiet kind of solitude that will remind you of vacations from school, and make you look forward to Christmas.

 

What books do you like to read during the school year? What is your favorite short book? Tell me in the comments!

-Sky

 

 

Posted in Discussion

Discussion: Bookshelf Organization

Hello!

So, I’m moving next weekend, and I’m also starting school that following week. Busy times are ahead. I’m going to try and get some posts scheduled before I get too busy, but I’m already super busy with packing, so I’m not sure how active this blog is going to be for the next few weeks.

One great thing that’s coming from moving is the huge opportunity I’m going to have to reorganize my bookshelves. Currently, I have 2 big book cases – one has five shelves, the other has six. They don’t match, so when we move I’m hoping to buy two new shelves, and they’re going to be white to match my (new!) bedroom furniture. It’s all worked out, except for how I’m going to organize my shelves. As of now, they are roughly organized by series/standalone, and then just sort of by what I thought looked best and fit together. The shorter shelf has most of my series on it, and the other shelf has some series, and all my YA, MG, and adult standalones and non-fiction. The standalone shelf is also organized (a bit) by genre.

The question, now, is – how do I want to organize my books after I move?

BY COLOR? 

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I’ve only tried to organize my shelves by color once, and since I didn’t want to split up my series, I only organized my standalones. It was incredibly aesthetically pleasing, but it was a LOT of work. I think if I was going to do it again, I would actually try and use all of my books, so both shelves look good instead of just one. Rainbow shelves are SO pretty.

ALPHABETICAL (BY AUTHOR?)

My eight-year-old self would be so proud of me. For some reason, I was a little obsessed with alphabetizing things when I was a child. Every weekend I would sit down and organize all of my movies alphabetically, even though it usually took me like two hours. I also collect decks of cards, and I used to organize the “dog breed” or “horse breed” decks alphabetically by the breed on each card (there were 52 breeds, not 13). My only issue with this is that it would take SO long, since I have about 300 books, though having a bunch of series does make it a bit easier.

BY GENERAL AESTHETICS?

This is how I’ve organized my shelves for the past few years. I just pull all the books off my shelves, and put them back in what ever order “feels” right. While this is the easiest and fastest way to organize for me, I want to try something different and refreshing, since I’m getting such a perfect opportunity to start over and try something new.

BY READ/TBR? 

With the way my books are organized now, I keep track of my TBR with little circular stickers. I really like the idea of separating TBR and Read books. The downside to this method of organization is that you have to shift all of your books every time you finish one (at least with series). This would be easier to do with standalones, as it doesn’t really matter where those go on your shelves, but with series you would have to make sure to leave enough room for all the books you need to add to the shelf as you read them.

CONCLUSIONS?

I have no idea how I want to organize my shelves. No method is perfect. The good thing is – I don’t have to make my decision now. I still have a little over a week before I move and get my new bookshelves. Maybe some inspiration will hit me once I get the shelves set up in my new bedroom, who knows?

 

How do you organize your bookshelves? How do you think I should organize mine? Let me know in the comments!!

-Sky