Monthly Recommendations

August Monthly Recommendations: 1-Year Anniversary!

The Goodreads group, Monthly Recommendations, was created by the lovely Trina and Kayla Rayne one year ago and to celebrate, this month’s theme is to chose one book from each of the previous 12 themes. Without further ado, here are my recommendations!

-An underrated book: Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

I’ve only just read this book in June as part of the #TomeTopple and I wish I had read it earlier because it is absolutely wonderful. It is one of the more realistic looks at mental illness in teenagers and it broke my heart into a million pieces. I haven’t heard too much about it (probably because it is almost 10 years old now), but I think that everyone should give it a try.

-A book set in school: Looking for Alaska by John Green

My all-time favorite book set in school is obviously the Harry Potter series with The Perks of Being a Wallflower in a close second, but I’m trying to recommend books that I haven’t already (even though they both just got a shout-out right here, whoops!). However, I definitely think that Looking for Alaska is also a worthy book. It’s not my favorite John Green book, but I did appreciate the format of the book and I loved the side characters. I don’t condone all of the actions of the characters (yay responsible adult!), but I do recognize that there are teenagers who participate in the activities of the characters.

Looking for Alaska
-A creepy book: The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

I actually saw the movie before I read the book because, as is the case with a lot of movies actually, I had no idea that it was based off of a book. I mainly went to go see it because Daniel Radcliffe was in it. And let me tell you, the movie is just as creepy as the book, though the stories are a little different. I made the mistake of trying to read this at night, you’d think I’d know not to since I’ve also made the mistake of watching the movie at night, and I was thoroughly spooked. This is a perfect book to read right around Halloween.

The Woman in Black
-A trilogy: The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

So confession, I haven’t actually read these books yet. But as I was looking through the books that I have read, I realized that I own a lot of trilogies that I just haven’t gotten around to, and since I already recommended The Hunger Games in a previous post, I figured I would recommend one of the trilogies that I was most highly anticipating. I know that a lot of people have already read these books, but I’m hoping that there are some who are a little behind the times like I am.

The Grisha Trilogy
-A book you think others should read ASAP/before the end of the year: All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

I just read this book in July and let me tell you – it is extremely powerful. I’ll have a full review posted soon, but I just want to put it out there right now that I think that everyone needs to read this, especially given what is going on in America. It is a difficult read, but an extremely important one. Trigger warning for police brutality.

All American Boys
-A fantasy book: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Now I know that I said that I was trying to avoid recommending books that I’ve already recommended, but since I only sort-of recommended this in my empowering females post because I hadn’t read it, I’m gonna throw it out here as an official recommendation. I read in in July and just fell in love. If you are into a lot of descriptions and the idea of Hades + Persephone in an Indian setting, then this book is definitely for you!

The Star-Touched Queen
-A book with little to no romance: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

I’m cheating a little bit here. While this book has almost no romance (I always saw potential between two of the characters), it does still have love in it. It’s just that the love is that of a found family, which I am a huge fan of. Gaiman’s writing is whimsical and the characters are just absolutely wonderful. I also suggest reading the graphic novelizations of this book because they are just as wonderful (I think I may even like them a little bit better because they helped me visualize some of the scenes better).

The Graveyard Book
-A standalone: Frakenstein by Mary Shelley

Confession time: I was a terrible student in high school when it came to reading assigned novels. However, my senior year, I distinctly remember reading exactly four of the assigned ten. One of them was Dracula, which I recommended back in March, and the other was Frankenstein. I could not put the book down – I think I finished it in a day, which was a feat for me at the time because a) I’m a super slow reader and b) I was dancing almost every day of the week on top of participating in Academic Decathalon and taking almost all AP/dual credit/honors courses. Aaaand now I sound like a pompous ass. I’m just trying to get across that I really really love this book. Bonus, it’s one of my mom’s all-time favorite novels as well.

-Your favorite survival story: Show Me All Your Scars: True Stories of Living With Mental Illness edited by Lee Gutkind

This is another book that I haven’t read yet, but is high up on my TBR. Despite the fact that I really don’t feel the pull to go into psych nursing, I am fascinated to learn about mental illnesses, and what better way than reading first hand accounts? I am looking forward to reading about these authors’ experiences and bravery.

Show Me All Your Scars
-Your favorite book friendship: Magnus Chase and the Gods of AsgardThe Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

The friendship between Magnus, Sam, Blitzen, and Hearthstone is one of my favorite aspects of the book. They are a rag-tag team that support each other, are sarcastic to each other, and just enjoy being in each others’ company (even when the others may be annoying). I also appreciated that, so far, there is no inkling of a romance between Magnus and Sam.

The Sword of Summer
-A book set outside of the US, or that features travel/vacation: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Well, I’d say space is definitely outside of the U.S.! This book ripped my heart out, had me holding my breath, and kept me on the edge of my seat. If you can, I suggest listening to the audiobook while reading along because hot dang does that just enhance the reading experience ten-fold.

-A book with your favorite empowering female character: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

I’m currently making my way through Cress right now and I just. I love these characters so much! I love that the cast is diverse. I love that the girls each have their own identity and show that there are different types of strength. Part of me wants to prolong finishing the series because I’m not ready to let my babies go, but the other part of me is screaming that I need to because I need to know that they are all alright. I just love them all.

The Lunar Chronicles

Monthly Recommendations

July Monthly Recommendations: Empowering Female Leads

This month’s theme for Monthly Recommendations is: empowering females! I’m doing this one a little bit differently because there are books that I’ve read that definitely have some strong females, but there are also books that are on my TBR that I’m looking forward to because of the fact that their main character is a female and she sounds fantastic.

Books That I’ve Read and Definitely Recommend

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Elizabeth Bennet is one of the strongest heroines I’ve read. And part of that is that you get to see her growth throughout the novel. You see her admit her faults that she was too quick to judge. You see her fiercely protect her family and those that she loves. You see that she has her own opinions and is not afraid to make them known, even though she lived in a society where women were considered to be subservient to the menfolk in their lives. She’s both strong and vulnerable and I just love her.

Pride and Prejudice

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

I’m currently re-reading this series for the first time in about 10 years as part of the #pantsalong and I am falling in love with these characters all over again. Carmen, Lena, Tibby, and Bridget all have their own strengths and their own weaknesses, but they are all positive role models. I love that I can find myself identifying with all four of them, though I tend to identify the most with Carmen. Ann Brashares does a fantastic job of portraying realistic teen characters and I absolutely adore the friendship between the four girls. It’s not always perfect all the time, which I truly appreciate reading about.

Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

Grace is a young woman who’s life starts off as being dictated by the choices made by the men in her life. However, throughout the story, you get to see her gaining her own agency and taking control of what happens to her. She is suffering from PTSD following being sexually abused, but she never lets that weaken her. In fact, she uses her PTSD to strengthen herself and to be a contributing partner to Dr. Thornhollow. It was refreshing to read about her journey as she overcomes some true trauma.

A Madness So Discreet

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Honestly, I really only recommend reading Divergent and Insurgent because I had so so many problems with Allegiant. Tris consistently fights for what she believes is right and while she definitely has her faults and can be reckless with her actions at times, she tends to at least feel some consequences from her actions. She is willing to put the good of society before her own life and feels strongly for everyone in her life (in fact, this intense love is used against her as a means of trying to destroy her).


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Katniss is one of the most obvious choices for strong, empowering leads, so I don’t really have much to say other than I think that everyone should give the Hunger Games trilogy a try. To be honest, there were times that I was annoyed by Katniss as a narrator, but I appreciate her as a character and how her actions were always with the aim of protecting someone weaker than her, whether it be Prim or Rue or even Peeta (when he was in the Capitol).

Hunger Games Trilogy

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

 Growing up, I wanted to be Violet Baudelaire. In fact, I used to carry a ribbon around with me, hoping that I would have an opportunity to try to tie my hair up. I was jealous of her mind and how she was able to come up with solutions (along with her brother and sister) to save their lives. She is fiercely protective of Klaus and Sunny and will do whatever it takes to make sure that they survive. She was one of the first role models I had.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

The Ms. Marvel series by G. Willow Wilson

Kamala Khan is everything I want in a female superhero. She embodies diversity. She’s committed to protecting her community and the ones she loves. She’s not perfect. She’s a nerd. She’s just fabulous.


The Black Widow series by Nathan Edmondson

I love Natasha Romanoff and how she lives in the world of gray rather than black and white. You see her grappling with what her life has become and trying to make up for her past. She’s a complex character and I love her in this particular run.

Black Widow

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter is another obvious choice, but I just couldn’t not mention it. While Harry is technically the lead, there are just too many wonderful female characters to not mention them. Hermione, Luna, Professor McGonagall, Molly Weasley, Narcissa Malfoy, and even Bellatrix Lestrange are just a few females that show that there are different types of strength. I mean, come on, Narcissa Malfoy literally lies to Voldemort’s face. That takes some serious courage. I could go on and on about how much I love the females in this story, but that would take way too long.

Harry Potter Series

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

In a world with so many key players, it’s fantastic that George R.R. Martin makes sure that some of said key players are females from Arya and Sansa Stark to Cersei Lannister to Daenarys Targaryen and all of the females in between. I love that Martin doesn’t kill off women just to further the man pain in his series. If a woman dies, her death has just as much meaning as if a man dies (though, to be honest, there are some times I think Martin just likes killing off his characters just because he can). They each have their own agency and they each have their own weaknesses. I’ve been particularly excited about the serious girl power that happened this past season of the HBO series and I hope that a lot of what happened translates into what is going on in the books. If only Martin would finish up Winds of Winter.

A Song of Ice and Fire

Books That Are On My TBR Because of The Female Leads

*As I have not read any of these, I’m just going to list them*

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy


The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

The Star-Touched Queen

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

I Am Malala

Wicked: The Life and Times of The Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire


My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

My Lady Jane

Monthly Recommendations

June Monthly Recommendations: Around the World

This month’s theme is ‘Around the World’ and it’s up to interpretation on how we wanted to address the theme. Did we want to focus on books set outside of the U.S.? Did we want to focus on books that were written by international authors? Or maybe we just wanted to focus on books that occurred during a road trip or vacation. I decided to go with some books that are set outside of the U.S., a book that is set outside of my culture, and a book that involves traveling.

The Harry Potter series

Because I am Harry Potter trash, the very first books I thought of when I saw what the topic was were these books. If you haven’t read these books already, I really don’t know what to say other than PICK THEM UP AND READ THEM!

Harry Potter Series

Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes

Yes, I know I recommended it during the March stand-alone recommendations, but this is the literal embodiment of ‘around the world’ as it covers myths from all different cultures. I stand by everything I mentioned in my other post. It’s hilarious and a really quick read.

Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes

Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina

This book takes place in both Sierra Leone and the East Coast of the United States, but it’s mainly the parts that occur before Michaela gets to the U.S. that I thought of when I read the topic. The parts of her recounting living in Sierra Leone can be graphic, so fair warning about that going in. However, it is such an inspiring story and you will root for Michaela the entire time.

Taking Flight

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

I read this book in 2014 because it was the Nerdfighter Book Club pick. I had never heard about this book, but if John Green was recommending it, I was willing to give it a go. And I’m so glad I did. Like with Taking Flight, there are scenes that are graphic to read, but I think it is important to read about what horrors others face and how they overcome their situations. It was clear that Katherine Boo did her research and was trying to paint a clear picture of what life is like in a Mumbai undercity.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

The Book Thief

I had always meant to read this book, but when my former boss gave it to me as part of my college graduation present, I knew I really had to read it. I’m so glad that I was listening to it on audiobook because I was bawling by the end of it and could not read the words. I love that it is narrated by Death and I fell in love with the cast of characters rather than just one or two. Along with Cezanne is Missing, it is one of the only World War II/Holocaust books that I have been able to read. However, it also made me want to try re-reading Night and The Diary of a Young Girl.

The Book Thief

Bless Me, Ultima

This book is set in the U.S., but it focuses on a culture that is different from mine, and it is one of my all-time favorites, so I figured it worked! I grew up in South Texas, so I am decently familiar with the Mexican-American culture, but there is still so much that I have to learn. This book was actually the chosen novel for the Academic Decathlon competition my sophomore year of high school and I read it at least 4 times because I loved it so much (and I owned the literature test because of it). It is a coming of age story that highlights Mexican-American culture with a hint of magical realism and I just can’t say enough good things about it.

Bless Me Ultima

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series

A story about vacations and strong female friendships? Sign me up! I remember reading the first book right before the movie came out and immediately needing to finish reading the others because I fell in love with Carmen, Lena, Tibby, and Bridget. Bonus, it takes place in Greece and Baja California, Mexico, as well as the U.S., so it takes place around the world.

Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants


Monthly Recommendations: A Goodreads group created by Trina (Between Chapters) and Kayla Rayne and found here:

Monthly Recommendations

March Monthly Recommendations: Stand Alones

The lovely Kayla Rayne ( and Trina ( started an awesome GoodReads Group (  where every month has a topic that members use to guide their recommendations to other book lovers. The topic for March is stand alone books, so here are my 7 recommendations!

Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes

Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes

I found out about this book from my sister when we were planning what to get our mutual friend for her birthday and knew that I needed it in my life right away. It’s a hilarious take on many of the myths I already knew (Greek, Egyptian, American) with the inclusion of myths from other cultures and religions that I am not familiar with at all.

Hawkeye vs. Deadpool

Hawkeye vs Deadpool

Two of my all-time favorite Marvel characters are Hawkeye and Deadpool. Put them together and you’ve got me sold. I absolutely love their partnership and the hilarious hijinks they found themselves in.



If you’ve seen the movie, you are pretty familiar with what happens in the graphic novel. However, the graphic novel goes so much more in detail with the world, including excerpts from newspapers and books from the time of the story. In a world where the tensions between the Russians and the Americans is at an all-time high due to the nuclear arms race, what happens when you throw superheroes into the mix?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Perks of Being a Wallflower

This is probably one of the more recommended books, but it got me through my hell-ish sophomore fall semester where I was questioning everything about my major and my future goals. I related to Charlie and his letters felt like he was speaking to me as a friend, which is exactly what I needed. It’s a heartbreaking story, for sure, but it’s an important one that needs to be told.

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Where the Sidewalk Ends

One of my favorites from when I was growing up. I love Shel Silverstein’s poetry and how he has such a command of words. His way of telling the concerns of growing up is so imaginative and allows for both children and adults to relate to what is happening.

Cezanne is Missing

Cezanne is Missing

I was assigned to read this book when I was in 9th grade and was, quite frankly, dreading reading it because I’m not one for Holocaust stories (I can’t stomach the horrific conditions the victims were subjected to) . However, I quickly fell in love with the characters and felt invested in the mystery surrounding ‘Cezanne’. It’s set right after 9/11, but it’s main focus is on the story of decoding what happened during World War II. I haven’t read it since 9th grade, but it has stuck with me for almost 8 years.



I couldn’t make this recommendation list without mentioning a classic. Dracula is one of my all-time favorite books and I sped through it when I was flying from Corpus Christi to El Paso and back. I think I finished it in like 10 hours (which, for me, is extremely fast, even if it’s normal speed for others) because I was gripped by the story and had to know what happened to Mina, Lucy, Jonathan, Van Helsing, and Dracula.