January TBR

Happy New Years! Here are some of the books that I am planning on reading in January of 2020! I think I have a pretty broad selection here, so my hope is that I can find some brand new loves.

Vicious- V.E. Schwab
The Magicians- Lev Grossman
Velocity Weapon- Megan E. O’Keefe
The Starless Sea- Erin Morgenstern
Starsight- Brandon Sanderson
The Way of Kings- Brandon Sanderson
Radiance- Catherynne M. Valente
The Anatomy of Story- John Truby
The Savior’s Champion- Jenna Moreci

There are a few books here that I’ve been meaning to read for a very very long time, so I know that those will be the priority, but I feel like I have a really good spread here for books I want to get through. I’m hopeful to find some new favorites this year. What are you reading first in 2020?

~Cam

October: To Be Read

It’s finally October! This is the perfect time to read some spooky books and thrillers! I had a busy month last month in September, and I don’t think that it’s going to let up any time soon, but I still have an extremely ambitious TBR. I know that school is going to keep me incredibly busy, but I am very very excited about some of the books below!

The Diviners- Libba Bray
House of Salt and Sorrows- Erin A. Craig
Into the Drowning Deep- Mira Grant
The Turn of the Key- Ruth Ware
The Well of Ascension- Brandon Sanderson
Ninth House- Leigh Bardugo
Radio Silence- Alice Oseman

The Greatest Show on Earth- Richard Dawkins
After the Flood- Kassandra Montag
An Unkindness of Magicians- Kat Howard
Marrow Charm- Kristin Jacques
Rebecca- Daphne du Maurier
The Future of Humanity- Michio Kaku

What will you be planning to read in October? Are we reading any of the same books? Have you already read any of the books I’m reading? Let’s discuss, and remember, as always, to keep reading 🙂

~Cam

September: To Be Read

September, oh September! Oh how I love September. Whilst I live in Florida, and the weather never changes, I still love September. September is peak hurricane season (Dorian is about to hit, so I’ll have plenty of candlelight reading time). Even so, I feel like the weather starts to lighten up just the slightest bit. It (usually) rains less and it starts to get the slightest bit less humid. School is back in session so I have less time to read, but I want to be a little ambitious this month. While I probably won’t have the time to get to everything, here’s a list of some of things I’m going to try to get to:

Darkdawn- Jay Kristoff
The Poppy War- R.F. Kuang
An Unkindness of Magicians- Kat Howard
The Final Empire- Brandon Sanderson
The Well of Ascension- Brandon Sanderson
The Saviors Champion- Jenna Moreci
Serpent & Dove- Shelby Mahurin
The Greatest Show on Earth- Richard Dawkins
Elantris- Brandon Sanderson

What will you be planning to read in September? Are you reading any of the books I’m reading? Have you read any of the books I’m reading? Let’s discuss, and remember, as always, to keep reading 🙂

~Cam

My Experiences with Censorship

I have always loved to read. Growing up, I would read any opportunity that I could. I would devour books and visit the library at least 2 or 3 times a month, lugging home around 10-15 books each time. Things changed after my parents joined a religious cult.

This cult, in essence banned the reading of anything that was not published by their publishing branch. While they didn’t EXPLICITLY say that you couldn’t read something, you were seen as “less dedicated” which was the worst way to be seen in an organization like this. Anything that was explicitly against them was forbidden. They allowed for no criticism and anything that disagreed with their teachings was off limits. Some examples are evolution, LGBT rights, the Big Bang, the practice of blood transfusions, associating with those outside the organization and many more. It mattered greatly what you thought on the issues. You were supposed to unquestioningly accept what you were given by “the organization.” You could not question beliefs or ask questions that made it seem like you had doubt.

Once I was out and did some research I came across a model developed by Steven Hassan, a researcher who studies the effects of coercive control, called the BITE Model. Each letter stands for a different aspect of control, B for Behavior, I for Information, T for Thought, and E for Emotional control. All of these work in tandem with one another, but I’m going to focus on the I, or information control. If you would like to read up on the other methods of control please visit Steven Hassan’s site here.

Cults don’t want their members to have access to outside sources, whether this be literature, movies, TV shows, and magazines etc because they don’t want their members to be able to find out the truth about the lies they are telling them. This unsurprising-ly works to keep members inline and unquestioning.

I was 7 or 8 years old when my parents had joined the cult, so I followed the rules. I limited reading about the things I loved: magic, fantasy, LGBTQ+ rep, and scientific topics. From then on, I lost my love of reading. I wasn’t reading as much and I was incredibly unhappy. I would feel immense guilt if I read a book that had any of these topics covered. It wasn’t until at least a decade later that I stumbled across this book:

This book was instrumental in changing my life. Carl Sagan was a scientists in the 1960s and 1970s who changed the way that the public viewed science. He was the Neil Degrasse Tyson of the 60s-90s. He had a love of science and was passionate about teaching others. This particular book, as titled, was about breaking the debunked fallacies of the past, witchcraft, UFOs, faith healing, demons, and many more. It stepped you through all of these different fallacies and critically analyzed them and why exactly they were debunked.

This made me question everything. This made me critically analyze every single thing I had been told and taught. I found many things to be lacking. After that, I found my love for reading again. I began reading voraciously again. I would question and critically analyze everything, and to this day I still do. I try to read widely… mostly science fiction and fantasy, but I also love to read books about science and the world around us. For so long I was raised to believe half-truths and outright lies. It was not all for naught because it has made me a skeptic who analyzes things in a scientific manner. I couldn’t live any other day.

Have a wonderful day and remember to keep reading!

~Cam

Future Friday: 5 Future Releases I need -now-


Darkdawn-Jay Kristoff

Release Date: September 3rd, 2019

I’ve been reading the other books in this series and am already so excited for this release. This is going to be the continuation of Mia’s story from Nevernight (read my review for Nevernight here). She’s a female assassin who gets the opportunity to study at the Red Church which is a school for assassins. Since this is the third book in the series I’m not going to go into more detail than that. This comes out on September 3rd and I am already itching to have this in my hands.

Goodreads || Amazon (US)


The Fountains of Silence- Ruta Sepetys

Release Date: October 1st, 2019

This is a historical fiction novel that takes place in Madrid in the year 1957, under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. Those who visit Spain in this time are unaware of this. Daniel Matheson, the son of a Texas oil tycoon visits to connect with the country of his mothers birth through the lens of a camera. He is introduced to Ana whose family helps reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War. His photographs leave him with questions, and they reveal a dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Goodreads || Amazon (US)


Ninth House- Leigh Bardugo

Release Date: October 8th, 2019

Leigh Bardugo has become an auto-buy author for me at this point. This is a book about a young woman named Galaxy “Alex” Stern, who was accepted into the freshman class of Yale. She led a tumultuous early life, shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs etc. By the age of 20, she was the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. When she is offered a full ride to one of the world’s most elite university, she takes it. Having doubts as to why she was given this opportunity, she arrives in New Haven with a task from her mysterious benefactors: monitor the activities of Yale’s secret societies. I’m curious to see what Leigh Bardugo can do outside of her Grishaverse universe. This comes out October 8th and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Goodreads || Amazon (US)


The Starless Sea- Erin Morgenstern

Release Date: November 5th, 2019

Zachary Ezra Rawlins discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, he is entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors and nameless acolytes when he comes across a story from his own childhood. As he attempts to make sense of this he comes across clues -a bee, a key, and a sword- that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library that is hidden far below the Earth’s surface. He finds a curious place, a buried home for books that is so much more than meets the eye. This place is a place of lost cities and seas etc. With Maribel, a protector of the place and Dorian, a man with shifting alliances, Zachary the tunnels to discover his purpose- both in the book and in his own life.

Goodreads || Amazon (US)


Crescent City- Sarah J. Maas

Release Date: March 3rd, 2020

Bryce Quinlan, a half-fae, half human loves her life in Lunathion-or Crescent City- until it comes crumbling down when a ruthless murder shakes the foundations of the city and her life. Some time passes, her job is dead end and she seeks only oblivion in notorious night clubs. Except until the murderer strikes again, and Bryce finds herself dragged into the investigation. She is paired with a Fallen angel whose past haunts him. Okay, so I know Sarah J. Maas is very controversial in the book community. You either love her or you hate her. I was a little disappointed with her last few previous works, but I’m curious about what Maas is going to do with a book labeled “Adult” I might wait a little on this one to see some reviews first.

Goodreads || Amazon (US)


What are some books that are you really excited for? I hope you have a wonderful rest of you day, and have a great weekend, and as always remember to keep reading!

~Cam

The Death of the Independent Bookstore and Print Media

The Bookstore

I live in a metropolitan area, but when I do a Google search for independent bookstores in my area, the closest one is 45 minutes away. The next closest one after that is an hour away. I wondered why that was for the longest time. I as an avid reader and someone who loves to support locally owned businesses I’m disappointed. I love to peruse bookstores. I love to walk through the shelves and get lost in a sea of pages, running my fingers down the neatly placed spines of the books, stopping every once in a while to read the synopsis on back covers. I even love the way that a bookstore SMELLS. I know that anyone who loves books can relate to that sentiment. Now, I can just go to the large Barnes and Nobles that is 5 minutes from my house or order books from Amazon. I mean, that’s more convenient and it’s cheaper, but it’s not the same. That is so formulaic and doesn’t compare to the small hole in the wall store that is crammed with books. Books crammed in the shelves and a friendly neighborhood bookseller who knows you by your name, a feeling of home. When I travel, I make it a point to visit all the bookstores in that area and purchase at least one thing. It can be something small, a trinket or a bookmark, or a paperback that will be nestled into my luggage with the utmost care and taken back home to find it’s home on my shelf. My favorite part of travel is visiting all of the independent bookstores in that city.

Inside the Last Bookstore in downtown L.A.: Joe Leavenworth

Another thing that I love about independent bookstores is the feeling of being surrounded by the power of so many words and differing opinions. Yes, you can find that same feeling when you go to a Barnes and Nobles, Books-a-Million, or Waterstones, but the feeling is so much different when it’s a locally owned place.

That’s something I love about bookstores in general. I love the power that words have. They have a power like no other and can convey so many different ideas and viewpoints. But with an indie bookstore, you can feel the difference of supporting your community. I particularly have a love of used bookstores. You can find a well-loved book there, a book that has been read and loved by others and that has a certain kind of magic. I wonder what adventures the used books I have in my collection have taken. Did they make a voyage across an ocean? Did they get read on the beach? Where did the previous owner take them and what were they going through when they read it? Did they find the solace that I find when reading? Did they find the answers that they were looking for? Did this book change their life, did it make the difference?

Print Media is NOT Dead

There is so much talk about how bookstores are failing since, in addition to online shopping making it easier than ever to get your hands on books, print media is dead. People tend to prefer the functionality and portability of e-books and audiobooks, and that’s if they even bother to read at all. Did you know that the average person reads 12 books a year? But that number is inflated by avid readers, and the number that was reported most is 4. I’m not here to judge those who don’t choose to spend their time curled up with a book, as I understand that not everyone has an interest in it, but that number was still a shock to me. Furthermore, the ease that devices like Kindle, Apple Books, and others allow readers to read makes print books less popular. It is more convenient to carry around a device the size of a small notebook that holds thousands and thousands of titles.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love e-books and audiobooks as much as the next reader, but there is quite a magic to holding a print book in your hands. I realize that this is not a reality for everyone. Reading is reading, no matter how you consume the material. Print, electronically or by listening, you are still reading and it is a valid method to consuming literature no matter what people say.

Ben McNally Bookstore in Toronto
I’ve actually visited this bookstore and it was beautiful

But to me, for me, there is something about turning the pages. Something about how it feels to hold a book in my hands and feel the weight of it. I love to sit and get lost in a whole other world, a whole other universe. I read to escape. I read to escape the struggles of daily life and immerse myself in a world of intrigue, heroism, space battles, planets that are different than our own, etc. I read to escape the worries and stresses of life and to throw myself into parallel worlds I could never dream of visiting. I don’t think print is dead, in fact, I think it’s making a resurgence. With the internet making print books easier to purchase and the ability to find new titles in the blink of an eye, people are being connected with their new favorite titles in moments. I’ll support local every opportunity I get, and so should you! Support print material when possible and don’t forget to keep reading.

~Cam