Top Ten: Books That Need a Sequel

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme was standalone books that need a sequel.

I had a really hard time with this week’s topic, y’all. The books I thought of first were either already part of a series or were so terrible that, even if I didn’t like the ending, I didn’t particularly care to read more. 😂 So, do the following books need a sequel? No, not really—but I also wouldn’t complain if they got one!

I Went to Vassar for This? by Naomi Neale
If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
Miss You by Kate Eberlen
My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren
Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
The Regional Office is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine
The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

BONUS! The following books were standalone, but now they all have sequels!!

Geekerella by Ashley Poston
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

Five Favorite: Atmospheric Thrillers

It’s taken me a full month to digest the seemingly innocuous Top Ten Tuesday prompt villains. (Please don’t ask why because I just don’t know.) Very few books I read have capital-V Villains, and I became bored scrolling through Goodreads trying to think of more than a handful or any one type. Since it’s so chilly/borderline cold in New England now AND it gets pitch black by four-thirty, I thought I’d explore creepy, chills-down-your-spine atmospheric thrillers instead — because sometimes a place itself can be the scariest thing.

Do you have your own favorite atmospheric thrillers? Let me know! To see previous topics, click here.

Review: What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine

Title: What Should Be Wild
Author: Julia Fine
Rating: ★★★★
Summary: Born with the power to kill or resurrect at her slightest touch, Maisie Cothay has spent her childhood sequestered in her family’s manor at the edge of a mysterious forest. Maisie’s father has warned her not to venture into the wood lest she vanish like her female ancestors – but one day he disappears, and Maisie must venture beyond the walls of her carefully constructed life to find him. Away from her home and the wood for the very first time, she encounters a strange world filled with wonder and deception. Yet the farther she strays, the more the wood calls her home. For only there can Maisie finally reckon with her power and come to understand the wildest parts of herself.


What Should Be Wild is a dark fantasy that explores the lies we tell one another and the ones we tell ourselves, the half-truths that tug at an idea in the back of our mind we refuse to acknowledge, but that end up calling out to us in whispers anyway. The novel – centered on an only-child and her social-anthropologist father –  is told in first-person when Maisie narrates her seventeenth summer and then in third when author Julia Fine focuses on the history of the Blakely women. (Maisie, it should be known, comes from a long line of “cursed” women who inhabit her home, Urizon, and then disappear into the thicket surrounding it.) Fine’s prose is lush with detail, as thick and tangled in places as the forest that encumbers on the estate. The care with which she sets up the novel’s backstory is evident in every chapter; the history of Maisie’s small, sheltered world is permanently etched into the stone and dirt and trees that both protect Urizon and also suffocate it.

I marveled at how timeless the book felt, as if it could have existed alongside the women whose lives it brought into being… perhaps because a part of Maisie exists with all of her ancestors, and they with her. She shares a wild vein that defines all Blakely women – which feels, at times, to physically encircle her ankle and drag her back into the forest. It’s the wildness that defies the Blakely name and its expectations, that marks each one of them as different or even dangerous, that keeps home in the bottom of their gut and dares to ask what if.

Fine’s novel is both the scary story we tell children to teach them fear and also the acceptance and acknowledgment of that fear. It’s a beautiful meditation on societal expectation, familial bond, and the bone-deep, almost physical desires we all have but maybe refuse to acknowledge, intricately woven into the mystery that spurs the plot. And, in a way, the book reminded me of what Grimm’s fairy tales could have been if they’d been more than just preserved medieval folklore. What Should Be Wild succeeds at acknowledging the wildness within its characters, but also letting us decide if that wildness is better left untamed.

What Should Be Wild makes me want to read all of the books set in spooky, scary woods! Here are some I’ve added to my list: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly, The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert, and Through the Woods by Emily Carroll.

Round-Up: My Spring 2018 TBR

The Top Ten Tuesday topic for March 20th was “books on my spring TBR,” and I pledged to read the following:

So, what did I actually read?

On the list…

Not on the list…

What I missed…

All in all, I didn’t do a terrible job – I read eight books out of a planned ten, but I only read 50% of those I actually wanted to read. (Isn’t that life??) Did any of you have a spring TBR? Did you stick to it? Let me know!

Top Ten: Books on My Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme was my top ten books currently* on my spring TBR. [*I say currently ’cause you know this is bound to change.]

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi // Giant Days, Vol. 6 by John Allison // The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas // Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen // The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

Inferno by Dan Brown // Lumberjanes, Vol. 8: Stone Cold by Shannon Watters // Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture by Roxane Gay // What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine // A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Most Anticipated New Releases for the First Half of 2018

¡Hola, leer amigos! I took a very long break from blogging last year, but I am feeling really ~inspired this month. To celebrate the end of the dumpster fire that was 2017, here are my most anticipated reads for the first half of 2018:

Jan. 9: Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke
After being expelled from high school, seventeen-year-old Jane signs up for a student-run reality show while attending a local community college. As the show grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She’ll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world that she has what it takes to win.

Jan. 16 Red Clocks by Leni Zumas
Five women – including a high school teacher, a biographer, a frustrated mom, a pregnant adopted teen, and a forest-dwelling homeopath – struggle with changes in a near-future America where abortion and assisted fertility have been outlawed and the homeopath is targeted by a modern-day witch hunt.

Jan. 30 This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jenkins
An influential literary critic presents a highly anticipated collection of linked essays interweaving incisive commentaries on subjects ranging from pop culture and feminism to black history, misogyny, and racism to confront the challenges of being a black woman in today’s world.

Feb. 20: Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper
A leading young black feminist illuminates how organized anger, friendship, and faith can be powerful sources of positive feminist change, explaining how targeted rage has shaped the careers of such African-American notables as Serena Williams, Beyoncé, and Michelle Obama.

Feb. 28: Forget You, Ethan by Whitney G.
Rachel and Ethan grew up as next-door neighbors-turned-enemies but have to reexamine their animosity when Rachel needs a place to stay during their senior year of college.

May 1: Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture by Roxane Gay
Cultural critic and bestselling author Roxane Gay collects original and previously published pieces that address what it means to live in a world where women have to measure the harassment, violence, and aggression they face, and where they are punished for speaking out. Covering a wide range of topics and experiences, this collection is often deeply personal and is always unflinchingly honest.

May 8: What Should be Wild by Julia Fine
A highly unusual young woman must venture into the woods at the edge of her home to remove a curse that has plagued the women in her family for centuries.

Jun. 7: Motherhood by Sheila Heti
In her late thirties – at an age when most of her friends are asking themselves when they will become mothers – a woman considers, with the same urgency, the question of whether she will do so at all.