2019 First Quarter Book Haul: In My Defense…

This post is a tiny bit late, but you’ll forgive me, right? Instead of trying to figure out exactly which books I bought over the last three months, I have a section of my bookshelf where I put them aside as I buy them. When it comes time to do a book haul, I take them down, snap pics, and then take on the grueling (but enjoyable) task of adding them to my bookshelf (I alphabetize by author, btw). So when it came time to do this quarter’s haul, I glanced over and was stunned that I had accumulated so many books! But as the title says, in my defense, the vast majority of these books were purchases using gift cards. I promise that next quarter will be much smaller. Much. On to the books! Titles linked to Goodreads.

Preorders and New Releases:

2019 First Quarter Book Haul

1. The Wicked King by Holly Black – How could I resist a preorder of this sequel after the way the first novel ended? I did a buddy read with this one like the day after its release, I was so eager. It was fantastic by the way and I am already planning to preorder the third novel.

2. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi – I ended up reading an ARC of this one, but had already preordered this one. It is so pretty in person. Hopefully I can squeeze in a reread of this before the sequel comes out next year.

3. The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty – I didn’t have any definitive plans to buy this one right away, but I got a really good deal on it, so I jumped at the opportunity. I still haven’t gotten to this one, but hopefully soon.

2019 First Quarter Book Haul

4. Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers –  I wanted to wait for early reviews of this one because I wasn’t sure I wanted to pick it up considering how much I loved the original series. I’m always apprehensive about spinoffs. But I also got a really good deal on this one and oh my gosh, it’s so beautiful in person. I reread the original trilogy in anticipation, but still haven’t gotten around to it. The guilt!

5. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas – Why haven’t I read this one yet? I have no excuse for not picking up Thomas’ sophomore novel. Hopefully I can have time to do so this summer.

6. Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard – Of course I preordered this third book in the series. Also plan a reread of this one before we get the fourth book.

2019 First Quarter Book Haul

7. The Moon Within by Aida Salazar – I had the pleasure of reading an ARC of this one and completely fell in love. I also think Aida Salazar is one of the sweetest authors, so I absolutely had to support her with a preorder of this one.

8. We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia – This book was wonderful and one of the few book purchases I got to almost right away. If you are hesitating to pick this one up, don’t!

9. The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton – I preordered this one and am still so much in love with Clayton’s writing. I can’t wait to see what she puts out next.

2019 First Quarter Book Haul

10. Internment by Samira Ahmed – I am so glad that this one ended up on the New York Times Bestseller’s List. I haven’t gotten to it, but I have it.

11. The True Queen by Zen Cho – I needed this hardcover edition because I have the hardcover of the first and it is one of my favorite books. It’s so pretty in person. I will read this soon!

Books I Wanted Just Because:

2019 First Quarter Book Haul

12. Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri – This was my first book purchase of the year. It was my finally read of 2018 and I absolutely loved it.

13. Mirage by Somaiya Daud – I really enjoyed this novel and as soon as I got a good deal on it, I pounced on it. I need more books in general to be purple. This one is so pretty.

14. Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda – I love this one so much and have been waiting for the paperback of it to come out. I finally have it and am excited for a reread.

15. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black – After reading The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King, I knew I wanted to read more Holly Black. I picked this one because I’ve seen lots of bloggers praise it. I’m really curious to see what I think of it.

A Giveaway and ARCs:


16. The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson – I won this one from Rich in Color. I don’t know much about it, but the cover is so lovely.

17. All of Us with Wings by Michelle Ruiz Keil – I was sent this by the publisher and I’m so excited to get to it. I literally fell off my bed when I read I had been approved for it. Literally.

18. Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno – The wonderful, the incomparable Morgan @ The Bookish Beagle made all my dreams come true when she offered to send me this ARC. I was so sad when I was rejected on NetGalley, but I am so in love. I am currently reading this and I do not want it to end.

Latinx Book Club: April’s Book Club Pick


19. The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes – I wasn’t originally planning to purchase this one, but I had a little bit left over on a gift card and since we were going to pick it up for the Latinx Book Club, I thought, why the heck not?

How do you keep track of your book purchases before doing a book haul post? What book purchase have you made in the last three months that you’re really excited about? Let’s talk in the comments!


The Friday 56: The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.


*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

      “I pushed the flashlight out of my eyes. ‘Hang on! I don’t care how powerful this soothsayer person was, she was dead wrong. I’d never be stupid enough to let some ugly, hairy, war-hungry monster free!'”

Today I’m sharing an excerpt from The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes, one of my current reads and the first book the Latinx Book Club is reading together. There is still time to join us if you’re interested! Cover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “Zane has always enjoyed exploring the dormant volcano near his home in New Mexico, even though hiking it is challenging. He’d much rather hang out there with his dog, Rosie, than go to middle school, where kids call him Sir Limps a Lot, McGimpster, or Uno — for his one good leg. What Zane doesn’t know is that the volcano is a gateway to another world and he is at the center of a powerful prophecy.
      A new girl at school, Brooks, informs him that he’s destined to release an evil god from the ancient Maya relic he is imprisoned in — unless she can find and remove it first. Together they return to the volcano, where all kinds of crazy happens. Brooks turns into a hawk, a demon attacks them in a cave, and Rosie gives her all while trying to protect Zane. When Zane decides to save his dog no matter the cost, he is thrust into an adventure full of surprising discoveries, dangerous secrets, and an all-out war between the gods, one of whom happens to be his father. To survive, Zane will have to become the Storm Runner. But how can he run when he can’t even walk well without a cane?
      Feisty heroes, tricky gods, murderous demons, and spirited giants are just some of the pleasures that await in this fresh and funny take on Maya mythology, as rich and delicious as a mug of authentic hot chocolate.”

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings where bloggers share which upcoming releases they’re most looking forward to. Join us every Wednesday and watch your TBR list multiply.

I am so looking forward to S.K. Ali’s sophomore novel Love From A to Z. It sounds absolutely heartfelt and charming. I know so little about Adam and Zayneb, but I already feel like I am going to love them and I can’t wait to meet them. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

 width=Title: Love From A to Z
Author: S.K. Ali
Series: N/A
Pages: 352
Publisher: Salaam Reads
Release Date: April 30, 2019

      “A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.
      An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how ‘bad’ Muslims are.
      But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry.
      When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.
      Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, ‘nicer’ version of herself in a place where no one knows her.
      Then her path crosses with Adam’s.
      Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister.
      Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.
      Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.
      Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…
      Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.
      Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.”

Are you participating in Can’t-Wait Wednesday or Waiting on Wednesday? Is this book on your TBR? Be sure to leave a link to your post in the comments and I’ll visit!

Top Ten Tuesday: Things Book Bloggers Love That Non-Readers Don’t Understand

Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. and is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is “Outrageous Things I’ve Done for the Love of Books.” Aside from maybe staying up a little late to read (11pm is late, right?), I don’t think I’ve done anything too extreme in the name of books. So instead I am listing things that have earned me some questioning looks from non-readers. I’m sure you can all relate.

1. ARCs – No one outside of the book community knows what an ARC is. Advanced Readers Copy means nothing to them either. I’ve tried to explain it many times to outsiders. They just don’t get what the big deal is. 

2. Having unread books on your shelf – Never reveal how many books on your shelf you haven’t read to a non-reader. You will be judged. 

3. Rereading – I love to reread and I don’t often get a chance to, but I really enjoy revisiting old favorites. But try explaining why you want to read a book again for the fourth time to someone who isn’t a huge fan of reading. Puzzled looks guaranteed to follow.

4. Owning multiple editions – I keep it on the down low how many editions of HP I own and how many I still want to buy. I also have so many editions of Jane Austen books as well, which I would only admit to you, my friends.

5. The need to buy more books – Non-readers seem to be under the impression that after reading/buying/borrowing a certain number of books, you no longer want more? 

6. Buying accessories for Instagram – I don’t even try to explain why I am buying more fake flowers when I have tons at home. Explaining book pictures is also quite a conversation. We love to read books, but also love pretty pictures of books! Also, I made an Instagram a few weeks ago if you want to follow me (@akernelofnonsense). Flowers abound.

7. How much time spent book blogging – Yes, I know I spend lots of time on my phone/computer working on my blog. It’s hard but I enjoy it. It’s like any other hobby in that it’s how I choose to spend my free time. 

8. Always carrying a book with me – Why is my handbag so heavy? Aside from the secret snacks I keep in there, I usually keep a book inside. Even when I know I probably won’t have time to read, I take one because what if I do have some time? 

9. The book blogging community – I don’t think many non-readers understand how many people love books. Like, we have a whole book community. We have websites, book twitter, bookstagram, booktube, booklr. We regularly interact with other readers, publishers, and authors. It’s small in the grand scheme of things, but there are so many people who love books out there.

10. Fawning over a book – Whether it be a cover, endpapers, spines, naked hardbacks, how do you explain the beauty that a book is to an outsider who has probably never even given a spare thought to any of these things?

What are some bookish things you love or do that puzzle non-readers in your life? Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave me a link to your own TTT post, so I can visit.

Snapshot Review: Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Title: Starfish
Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman
Series: N/A
Pages: 340
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: September 26th 2017

TW: emotional and sexual abuse, ableist language, and a suicide attempt.

      “Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.
      But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.

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“It feels like two comets have just collided headfirst into each other, and the aftershock of two hundred earthquakes rolls through my chest.”

  • Biracial IdentityStarfish focuses on Kiki, a biracial teen with a Japanese father and white mother. The novel touches on how Kiki feels caught between two worlds, but not wholly a part of either. It also addresses how different she feels and how racism has affected the way she sees herself.
  • Social anxiety rep – Kiki deals with social anxiety which includes panic attacks. This affects many of her relationships.
  • The MC saves herself – There were a few times when I thought the author was going to take the story in a certain direction, but was pleasantly surprised that Bowman emphasized how important it was for Kiki to save herself instead of letting someone else care for her.
  • Balance between romance and personal arcs – While I did enjoy the romance storyline in this one (it was very sweet seeing Kiki reconnect with her childhood crush), I loved that both characters felt like they struggled with their own things. While Kiki is dealing with trying to find a way out of her mother’s house, Jamie is dealing with the collapse of his parents’ marriage.
  • Kiki’s relationship with a mentor – Kiki has not had the best relationship with the adults in her life. Her mother is emotionally abusive and her father is absent. It was so nice to read a YA book where the most important relationship in a character’s life becomes her connection with an adult character. Kiki ends up being mentored by a local artist and I love how supportive he and his whole family becomes.

  • Equating abuse with mental illness – While I do think it’s important to show teen characters who grow up with abusive parents and showing these teens learning how to break away from that, I wish the book could have separated this from the mother’s mental health issues. Her treatment of her daughter is consistently blamed on her not seeing a therapist for mental health reasons.

  • Akemi Dawn Bowman’s Starfish is one of the most emotional books I’ve ever read and this is due to how well Kiki is written. She’s a fully fleshed-out MC that you can’t help but sympathize with. Starfish is a powerful read that will not be easily forgotten by this reader.


The Friday 56: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.


*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

      “In winter it is almost impossible to be still. Even sitting by the fire, one is watching the coals, stirring the soup, fighting—always fighting—the eager frost. But in the singing heat, the soft breath of the steam, Vasya’s breath slowed, and slowed again, until she lay quiet in the darkness and the frigid knot of grief inside her loosened. She lay on her back, open-eyed, and the tears ran down her temples, to mingle with her sweat.”

The Girl in the Tower, the second Winternight novel, once again showcases Katherine Arden’s stellar writing. If you like historical fantasy novels, this series is a must. Read my snapshot review here. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.
      Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.”