The Top Books That Intimidate Me

Darlene McCullough

I have so many books that are still on my TBR because I’m too scared to read them haha. Anyone else?! Like just looking at them scares the hell out of me and makes me want to hide them so they’ll stop staring at me! It will be a massive relief to finish at least 3 of these in 2019 so that way I can add more intimidating books to the never-ending pile!


ya picks

Strange the Dreamer | The City of Brass | The Knife of Never Letting Go | Carry On

No surprise that 3 out of the 4 are fantasy, eh? Fantasy absolutely terrifies me, especially high fantasy, because it takes me so long to understand the world. Whenever I read, I like to be able to escape reality and find myself in another world for a while. You would think that would be in a fantastical world, but it usually feels like so much work to read that it doesn’t make it very fun. This obviously doesn’t stop me from adding more and more fantasy books to my TBR. I really want to try to get over my “fear,” for lack of better word, and get make myself read some high fantasy. I know I will enjoy it. I just need to actually sit down and do it.


ya picks (1)

The Lies of Locke Lamora | A Discovery of Witches | The Secret History | A Darker Shade of Magic

Adult fantasy is even worse. The ones I have on my TBR are nowhere near the crazy insane high fantasy books that are out there, but still intimidating enough! The Secret History is the complete opposite of fantasy but adult literature freaks me out because I’ll feel so dumb if I don’t understand half of it haha. Basically, I need to realize I am smarter than I realize and I can read these damn books!!


Do you have any books that scare the crap out of you?? Hopefully I’ll remember this post exists at the beginning of next year so I can do a follow-up! Fingers crossed at least 1 of these books have been read by then!


Avengers Book Tag | 2019

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I saw this tag on The Orangutan Librarian and just knew I had to do it, too! I’m a massive Marvel fan and I’m equally stoked and dreading the release of Avengers: End Game. I am not ready for this chapter of the Marvel Cineverse to be over with! I’ve grown to love, adore and (sometimes) hate these characters. (I wasn’t a massive Capt fan for a while, ok??) I saw Captain Marvel last weekend and was blown away! Brie Larson has been my favorite actress for years so I was really excited whenever it was released that she would be playing Carol Danvers and she definitely didn’t disappoint! I’m happy to know that characters like Captain Marvel, Black Panther and Spider-Man will be continuing because I do love those characters, as well!

Feel free to use my completely awful banners if you like! Ha!


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rayne & delilah


A more recent read would be Rayne & Delilah’s Midnight Matinee. You can see my review for this book here. I was curious when I heard Zentner was trying to go more for humor rather than tear your heart out and crying a river. I was surprised when there were times that I was actually giggling out loud! The sarcasm in this book is real and I love it. (Of course, I also cried a little too because it IS a Jeff Zentner book, is it not?)


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I honestly didn’t think I would like this book as much as I did. Dumplin’ has such great body positivity and fat rep. Willowdean loved herself for who she was and didn’t care if no one else thought the same. Super cute, super great. Highly recommend! Also the movie adaptation on Netflix was incredible!




on the come up


I’m going to go with another recent read here (review) and say Jay, Bri’s mom, from On the Come Up. She has gone through so much negativity in her life. To see her sober and working so hard to make her both of her kids lives better, its admirable. She really, really loves her 2 kids and it shows.


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Everything about this book drives me up the freaking wall. The protagonist is annoying. Her love interests are assholes and creepy. They think the can control her and SHE LETS THEM. Alyssa is always waiting for Jeb or Morpheus (also, what kind of names are those??) to save the day instead of doing things herself. JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE A GIRL DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE NOT CAPABLE OF DOING THINGS. For fricks sake. I hate this book so much. It started off SO well, too. I really thought I was going to like this book and then around the 40% mark, things just went to shit.


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Daughter of the Pirate King


This made me realize that I don’t read very many books with kick ass female protagonists and that makes me pretty sad. Please feel free to leave recommendations for me! Anyway, I’ve mentioned this book multiple times, but it’s still one of my favorites. Bad ass female pirates? Hell yes, sign me up!




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a mad wicked folly

I’m not sure if I’ve spoken about this book on here before, but A Mad, Wicked Folly is one of my favorite historical fictions. It’s basically about women supporting women in early 1900s London around the suffrage movement. Vicky is a very independent character who just wants to be free to do as she pleases and not care about what society thinks of her. Also this book features one of my favorite book boyfriends, William Fletcher. Read it!



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the wife between us I randomly picked this book up from the library when it first came out, not knowing anything about it. I was in a huge thriller mood and the premise of this sounded interesting, so I figured I would try it out. The interesting thing about this book is you get the “twist” in the middle of the book and it’s pretty dang surprising. I really loved this book and highly recommend it!





Who is your favorite Avenger? Mine is definitely Thor! Ragnarök is my favorite Marvel movie and I honestly don’t see that changing anytime soon. I could watch it over and over!




(Avengers illustrated art for header found here.)

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas | Book Review


on the come up Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.

On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families.

I really enjoyed The Hate U Give when I listened to it on audio. It was incredibly moving and really made me think. I was excited when I heard Thomas was coming out with her sophomore book about a teenage female rapper trying to make it big! I was curious to see how it would play out and if I would enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed The Hate U Give. I’m still kind of on the fence on how I feel about it?

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  • I’m a sucker for great family dynamics in books. If the parents/siblings are actually around in the book and make a notable presence, it’s an instant like for me. This book definitely had that. It was so family driven. Bri wants to try to make it big in the rap world so she can help provide for her family that is struggling financially. It was really powerful to see a family come together like that, especially with all that has happened to them in the past that tried to tear them apart.
  •  Jay, Bri’s mom, was my favorite character. She had it rough after witnessing her husband’s murder and turned to drugs afterwards. It was hard reading about how it affected Bri and her brother, but even worse knowing how much pain Jay was going through during that time. Not only did she lose the one she loved, but she is losing her children, too, because she can’t seem to quit. She overcomes and she gets better and she is just an amazing mother. She loves her kids more than anything and she would literally do anything for them. Her love and support reminded me so much of my parents and it made me feel a real connection with her, being the only character I really had a connection with.
  • Bri’s relationship with her two best friends, Sonny and Malik, were so realistic too. They fought like brother and sister. Again..THEY FOUGHT. Friends argue!! Especially if you’re as close as they are, basically knowing each other since birth. They fight and they make up and that’s how it goes. I love that Thomas added that aspect in there.
  • I was totally here for Sonny’s secret romance AND THAT SIMON REFERENCE THO. I was squealing all over that. Angie, can we please have a companion novella about Sonny and his romance? Please? Thanks.
  • Thomas’ messages are strong and important, especially for young readers. She tells them to use their voice. Change can only come if you speak up and make it known that change needs to happen. It is a powerful message and one needed especially with how shitty the world is today. I know a lot of teenagers were able to connect with THUG. I really hope they are able to connect with this story and never stop giving up.

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  • I’m still on the fence about the writing style. I know everyone loves it, but something about it doesn’t click with me. It was very, very repetitive. I listened to The Hate U Give and I physically read On the Come Up and I think that was a massive difference. If I would have listened to this, I definitely would have been more invested and liked it a lot more.
  • On that note, while the rap was great, I didn’t know the beat that went with the song, so I read it like poetry instead of rap and it didn’t get me like a lot of people are saying in their reviews. I’ve seen some say that they’ve had Bri’s songs stuck in their head all day and the only way I can see that is because they listened to the book on audio.
  • While I enjoyed the romance, it seemed kind of out of place. It grew on me as I read more, but it was just…there?

I originally gave this book 3 stars after reading it, but as I wrote this review, I realized I enjoyed the book more than I thought so I bumped up to 4 stars. It’s still not my favorite, but it is a very important book that needs to be read by everyone. Thomas is a great motivator for the next generation and with the help of her writing, her voice, a change is gonna come.


(Black Panther art found on Google. Original artist can be found here.)

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales | Book Review



this song will save your life Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, This Song Will Save Your Life is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

I’ve had this hyped contemporary on my TBR for ages. I bought it from Book Outlet months ago but finally read it by listening to the audio book via my library. I flew through it! I really liked doing the likes/dislikes in my last review of Undead Girl Gang so I think I’m going to continue with that for my style of reviewing! Sometimes it’s too difficult for me to figure out how to describe my feelings about a book in an “professional” way so I’m going to do what works for me!

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  • The family dynamic was amazing. I really enjoyed being able to read about divorced parents and how they civilly worked together to make sure their daughter is healthy and ok. Elise’s relationship with her 2 younger siblings was great, too.
  • The music aspect was ugh, so good. I enjoy the kind of music that Sales mentioned, she even mentioned my all time favorite song, so it was like I could hear the music while I was reading along. It really added to the story. The author also has a few playlists in the back of the book with some really amazing songs on there!
  • Elise sounded and acted like a real teenager and that is refreshing to read. I sometimes don’t like it when a book reads “too young” but then again, I think it’s because the author “dumbs down.” for lack of better terms, the character and makes them act younger than they are.
  • The writing was freaking fantastic. I want to go back through and highlight all of my favorite quotes (there are a ton.) One of my favorites is the opening line of the book:

    You think it’s so easy to change yourself. You think it’s so easy, but it’s not.” 

  • Coming from someone who always thought they weren’t good enough and trying to change in order to “fit in,” I really resonated with this. Elise was so confident in knowing herself and that herself was good enough.


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  • The romance really creeped me out. Why in the world would an almost 20 year old knowingly kiss and hook up with a 16 year old? Dude. No. That’s gross.
  • I found it really hard to believe that out of EVERYONE she went to school with in her life, only 2 people befriended Elise. I understand that it could be a perspective thing, but so many people openly bullied her and no teachers, administrators, etc. picked up on it? Maybe I’m too old and can’t remember being in school anymore, but I don’t remember people acting like that to one single person and NO ONE doing anything about it.


 The more I read this book, the more I fell in love. It doesn’t matter if you’re 16 or 26, you will sometimes feel down and not okay and you know what? That’s okay. This book helped me realize that. Maybe it can help you, too.

4 stars

Throughout it all, you are still, always, you: beautiful and bruised, known and unknowable. And isn’t that – just you – enough?

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson | Book Review


undead girl gang.jpgMila Flores and her best friend Riley have always been inseparable. There’s not much excitement in their small town of Cross Creek, so Mila and Riley make their own fun, devoting most of their time to Riley’s favorite activity: amateur witchcraft.

So when Riley and two Fairmont Academy mean girls die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.

Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders, but they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again.

Unpopular opinion time: Undead Girl Gang was just alright? There is a lot of hype surrounding this feminist, wiccan book, but I don’t understand it. Nothing about the book really stood out to me.  I can’t exactly gather my thoughts completely for this so I think I’m going to use bullet points for this one!


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  •  I liked the fat girl rep. Mila gave zero fucks and liked herself for who she was. It’s really hard to read YA books with fat girls as main characters and have them in a positive way.
  • Mila and Riley’s friendship. They fought and argued which is realistic! I read them more as sisters than friends and I really enjoyed that.
  • Xander. He was a really interesting love interest. I would have liked to have seen more between Xander & Mila!

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  • It took forever for the main plot to get started.
  • I felt zero connection with the characters. I honestly didn’t care about what happened to them but then again, nothing was really going on in the book so..
  • Because it took forever for the plot to start, the last 100 pages or so of the book felt extremely rushed. I didn’t feel completely satisfied with the story when I got to the end.
  • ABSENT PARENT TROPE ALERT. The parents were barely in this one! I don’t get it! I’m starting to really, really hate this trope.
  • The ending was kind of ridiculous? It was a major plot twist and not one I really enjoyed.


All together, Undead Girl Gang was very underwhelming. It sucks that I’m on the opposite of the hype (again) but oh well. I’ve heard Anderson’s debut, The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You, is fantastic so I will be giving her another shot. There was so much potential, but ultimately, I was let down. I didn’t hate it so it gets a 3 star rating from me (…probably more 2.5 but I’m feeling generous.)

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts on it?