Friday, April 26, 2019

Weres Wanna Know: How Do You Organize and Display Your Books?

I've recently been thinking a lot about the organization of my bookshelves and the amount of unread books I have. The other day I watched a booktube video from Holly Hearts Books in which she turned around all of her unread books on her shelves in response to the trend featured in an older article about displaying your books turned around and how so many bookish people on the internet despised the trend.

Honestly, I could care less about how others organize and display their book collections. Spines out. Turned around. Rainbow. By genre. Divided between read and unread. You do what makes you happy. Personally, I love having the spines out. Rainbow shelves are pretty but I am OCD about having series and all the books by the same author together. Other than that, my shelves don't have much organization. Things go where they fit. I did at one point try to group my books by genre and you can still see that when you look at my shelves but I gave up on that a long time ago.

I know I own a lot of unread books. Some are in boxes. Some are on my shelves. And that's not even going to count the number of unread ebooks I own on my kindle. I'm always trying to wrap my head around how many unread books I have and while I have a number I can't visualize just how many books that is other than a lot. Holly's video was so visually impactful that way so I decided I wanted to see what my shelves looked like with all of my unread books turned around. I did it and it helped me actually comprehend how many unread books I have. Of course, I documented the process as I went so I could share it with you all. It was nice to see that some of my shelves weren't too overrun with unread books but others were pretty bad.

I own six bookshelves plus a small shelf that houses my favorite manga series and graphic novels. For this post, I had to divide each shelf in half for pictures. So there's going to be a lot of photos to look at. Let's see just how bad my unread books problem is, shall we?

Out of the 61 books on these three shelves I have 36 unread. That's roughly 60% unread. I don't think that's too bad considering I have a lot of YA contemporary books on these shelves and I read one every once in a blue moon. I will say that this shelf is the worst of the six for unread books though.

These shelves are a bit better. Out of the 56 books, I have 23 unread. That's roughly 41% unread.

 On these shelves I have 20 unread books out of 70. That's 28% unread.

Out of the 58 books on these three shelves, I have 17 unread. That's roughly 29% unread.

And out of the 57 books here, I have 31 unread. That's approximately 54% unread.

Out of the 59 books on these three shelves, I have 32 unread. That's around 54% unread too.

This whole shelf has the least unread books on it. Which makes sense. It houses my Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews, Kevin Hearne, and Nalini Singh collections. I'm caught up on most of their major series. Out of the 66 books on these top three shelves I have 8 unread. That's roughly 12% unread.

And out of the 58 books on these bottom three, I have 4 unread. That's about 7% unread.

I've read most of my manga volumes so this shelf has mostly read books on it too. On the top four shelves, I have 5 unread out of the 104 books. That's roughly 5% unread.

On the bottom four shelves, I have 8 unread out of the 100 books. That's 8% unread.

Last shelf since I'm not going to include my manga favorites shelf because all the books on it have been read multiple times. On the top three shelves, I have 12 unread out of the 54 books. That's about 22% unread.

The bottom half of this shelf houses my Patricia Wrede and Robin McKinley collections and a lot of my favorite books from when I was a kid so I've read a lot of these. On these bottom three shelves, I have 19 unread out of the 91 books. That's roughly 21% unread.

So on these six shelves I have, overall, 834 books and volumes of manga. Out of which 215 are unread. So my total unread percentage for the book on my shelves is 26%. I don't think that is awfully terrible for such a big collection. My inventory spreadsheet, which includes the books in boxes and not the manga, says I own 812 books out of which I have 282 unread for 35% unread. 

For as large as my personal library is, that's not too bad. I would love to get that unread percentage under 30% by the end of the year though. I don't think I'll keep my shelves like this forever and it'll probably change soon as I rearrange my shelves and organize them better. I still don't know how I'm going to reorganize them but it's been nice to visually see how many unread books I have.

How do you organize your bookshelves? Do you have a lot of unread books like I do?

We’re participating in the 2019 Discussion Challenge hosted by It Starts at Midnight and Feed Your Fiction Addiction. Check out all the April Discussions

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Early Review: The Shadow Warrior by Ann Aguirre


The Shadow Warrior 
(Ars Numina #4)
Ann Aguirre
Release: April 26, 2019
Goodreads Amazon
ARC provided by the author
Bitter. Broken. Brutal.
Molded since childhood to be the perfect weapon, Gavriel d’Alana (also known as Death’s Shadow) has devoted himself to serving Thalia Talfayen. The life of a Noxblade is lethal and lonely, and since the princess has no need of him, he secretly believes there’s no reason for him to live—and he should seek a glorious death—but that’s before he tangles with a tiger woman who unleashes his darkest desires.

Tough. Tenacious. Trustworthy.
Magda Versai has a reputation for being unattainable—no deep attachments, only discreet amusements. If she has her way, the pride will never learn of her private heartbreak, as she accepted her curse years ago. Now, she focuses on work, which is why she’s acting as Raff’s bodyguard while secretly hunting for Slay. The search leads Mags to team up with a Noxblade so belligerent that she can’t resisting baiting him.

She’s the steel, he’s the flint, and the sparks they strike together might kindle a fire that could warm them for a lifetime, if they don’t kill each other first…

In the previous Ars Numina book, The Wolf Lord, we saw Gavriel and Magda set off in search of a group of Eldritch rebels. The Shadow Warrior follows them on that journey and includes some of the same events from their perspective. It also shows us more of the Eldritch territory outside of Princess Thalia's castle. I'm just fascinated with the world and really enjoyed seeing that side of it. The rural areas are such a contrast to the high tech city that we saw previously.

Throughout the series, Aguirre has also explored different types of relationships and sexuality. Gavriel is a virgin masochist who's always felt his desires were wrong. Magda understands his needs and helps him to accept them. I enjoyed the banter and the playful tone of the relationship between these two dark and serious characters. They also addressed their prejudices about each other's groups in an interesting way that could have felt heavy-handed but didn't.

However, I wish that both characters had wrapped up their missions in a way that tied back in to the overall story. I wanted more closure in Magda's hunt for Slay in particular, even though I know we'll return to him for book six. Instead, the end of the book is pretty lovey-dovey. And that's fine, just not consistent with my impression of the rest of the series.

Unlike the previous books The Shadow Warrior doesn't do much to advance the series story line, which makes sense since it ends in about the same place on the timeline as the previous book. But as a result, I really felt like I needed to reread to find out where I was when I finished the book. (There is a series synopsis at the beginning, which is helpful but I still think a reread is in order before the next book comes out.) What this book does though, is provide a different perspective on the Eldritch's internal conflict by showing what life is like in other parts of the territory and for the refugees displaced by the fighting. I'm excited to return to the shifter world in book five and see what's next.


My reviews of other books in this series:
The Demon Prince (Ars Numina #2)
The Wolf Lord (Ars Numina #3)

Romanceopoly Readathon Day 1: Red on the Cover
Bus Challenge: Characters go on a journey

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

We Love Lists: Rose Red's Bookish Brand

There has been a meme going around recently about which five books are your bookish brand and it got me thinking about which books represent me and what I love to read about. I've been thinking about this for weeks and I think I've finally figured out a list. My list is going to have more than five books because I contain multitudes when it comes to my favorite kinds of books. And this is definitely not a definitive list. I know I'm forgetting some of my favorite things and will probably remember them soon after this posts to the blog. I will say that a lot of the thing I mentioned in the post I did about things I want to see more of in books is going to overlap a bit with this one but that's only to be expected, right?

Witchmark by C.L. Polk
One of my favorite things about the current world of publishing is that we're getting to see some of my favorite bookish tropes happen with diverse characters. Make it Queer 2019. Just give me all of the queer books/romances, please! Bonus points of it's a non-contemporary queer book. Witchmark is all of those things plus bicycle chases! I loved this book so much! You all are probably sick of hearing about it but I don't think I'll ever be done shouting about how excellent it was.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Can V.E. Schwab's whole backlist be considered a bookish brand? I love weird, twisty AF books and Victoria is one of the best at writing them. She also writes stories from the perspective of the outsider character and I appreciate that so much! And I can say with perfect confidence that she absolutely nails writing anti-heroes and non-linear timelines. I've loved all of her books but Vicious is still my absolute favorite of hers for those reasons.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
There's so much about Carry On that just ticks all the boxes for me. Magical boarding school quest book? Check. Queer enemies-to-lovers romance? Check. The book has been described as reading fanfiction? Check. Lots of snarky banter? Check. I loved everything about this book and I'm so enamored with it that I've reread it twice via audio since reading it for the first time last month.

The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells
 I always want more excellent sci-fi books in my life and The Murderbot Diaries is definitely excellent sci-fi. It has so many of my favorite things: found families, epic journeys, anti-social AI character, bonkers space battles, and discovering your place in the world/universe. I seriously adore Murderbot and relate to them so hard. And as much as I love romance in my books, it was nice to read a book with no romance in it.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
I can include another author and their books in my bookish brand, right? I adore Becky Chambers and her books! They feel like a hug in book form and constantly remind me why I love sci-fi. But Long Way is still my overall favorite.  All of her books feature the ragtag found families trope and I love it so much! Long Way also features a road trip across space and I am always always here for a road trip/journey/quest in my stories.

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
I love romance in books but I equally love seeing stories revolve around friendships and other non-platonic relationships. And The Raven Cycle is all about friendship and family with a bit of romance thrown in. I adore it so much! I need more healthy friendships in books in my life.

 The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons
In case you don't know this about me, I love me a good quest/chosen one prophecy book. Make several of the characters disaster bisexuals and subvert the chosen one's destiny combined with excellent worldbuilding and you have some of my favorite things about The Ruin of Kings. I need the next book in my hands like yesterday. 2019 is doing well at delivering books with my favorite tropes and making them queer.

 Badlands by Morgan Brice
One of the things I want more than anything is more queer paranormal romance and urban fantasy books. The Badlands series and its companion series, Witchbane, deliver on that. They also deliver on unique mythologies/folklore and different takes on supernatural creatures which are both things I absolutely love and want more of. If one book could be said to represent my overall bookish brand, Badlands and Witchmark would be dueling it out.

True of Heart by M.L. Rhodes
As I mentioned in my Things I Want to See More of in Books post, I want more soulmates/fated mates books. I adore a good fated mates book and I want to see more of the soulmates trope migrate from fanfiction into my preferred genres. True of Heart is one of those good fated mates books where it's not instalove. Instaattraction but not instalove. We get to see Kiernan and Gaige fall for each other despite being from opposite sides of the tracks so to speak. They have to work at their relationship even though they're true mates and it's one of the aspects of the series I adore. 

The Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews
For years, I devoured every urban fantasy and paranormal romance book I could get my hands on. I adore those genres so much! And one of the things besides all the different takes on the supernatural creatures was the worldbuilding that had to go into each series. The Kate Daniels series is one of my favorites for this reason. The amount of different and unique mythologies and folklore that were integrated into this series is mind-boggling. I'm also a sucker for badass mercenary main characters who are forced to open themselves up to a found family situation like Kate has to.

What books make up your bookish brand?

Friday, April 19, 2019

Review: Clash of Storms by Bec McMaster


Clash of Storms
(Legends of the Storm #3)
Bec McMaster
Release: September 11, 2018
Goodreads Amazon
The old eddas speak of dreki—fabled creatures who haunt the depths of Iceland's volcanoes and steal away fair maidens. 

Malin wants none of such myths. As a half-blood dreki, she's beneath the notice of the arrogant warriors who rule the skies—except for Sirius Blackfrost, the most ruthless dreki within the court. This dark prince watches her every move, but he's more villain than hero, and in her favourite fairy tales the servant never earns the prince's heart. But is there something more to the look in the Blackfrost's eyes?

To love her would be to curse her to a fate worse than death... 

The second he saw her, Sirius knew her for his fated mate. But Malin is a nobody in the dreki court, and her very presence is a threat to his queen's ambitions for him. Forced to hide the truth and accept the match his queen has made for him—to mate with the princess Malin serves— he dares not reveal his heart.

But when the princess flees, he must find her—and his only clue is Malin, who aims to thwart him at every step. With danger surrounding them, they must forge a truce. But can she ever give this wicked prince her heart? Because, while Sirius's kiss burns through her like lightning, to love him would be to defy the stars themselves…


If you've been following the blog, you probably know how much I love an Enemies to Lovers story. It's such an interesting twist when only one half of the couple thinks they're enemies. Sirius has been the boogeyman of the dragon court for years and Malin is hung up on his reputation and status. I enjoyed seeing another side of him and watching Malin start to see it too.

One of my other favorite tropes is the Road Trip. In the previous book, Storm of Desire, we followed Haakon and Princess Ardis on a journey. The first half of Clash of Storms follows Sirius and Malin's pursuit of the previous couple. McMaster was able to literally cover the same ground without the story getting repetitive. The second half of the story gives more details about the dragon court than we've seen in the previous books and incorporates more Norse mythology, which I enjoyed.

I thought that Clash of Storms was the last book in the series, but it turns out there's at least one more. I'm looking forward to more Sirius and Malin - I have some questions about his situation at the end of the book - as well as learning more about some of the secondary characters.


My reviews of other books in this series:
Heart of Fire and Storm of Desire

Faraway Land: Fantasy/Fantasy Romance

Library Read #15
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