As I mentioned in my April TBR, I want to try a “mini” reading challenge. I’ve found out recently that I enjoy challenging myself when it comes to reading (it keeps things interesting). While some challenges seem more draining than others to me, I’ve always wanted to try a 30 in 30 type challenge.
In this case, that’s going to look like 30 books in 30 days. Are all of them going to be long stories? No, absolutely not. Am I going to count the stories I’ve started before this but finish during the next 30 days? Absolutely.
In order to make this challenge a little more palatable for myself, I’ve broken it down into a couple different categories. If you’re interested in seeing what I have planned for the next 30 days, please read on.
**For anyone who’s here for the first time, I’ve organized the books by Physical Books, eBooks, AudioBooks, Kindle Unlimited, and Library books.**
1. Books that I’ve already Started
The books in this category are the ones I mentioned in my April TBR. If you want to know my quick thoughts on where I currently am in these stories, please check out that post. If you just want to know the names and authors of the stories I’m in the process of reading, here they are:
Total books: 4 (ongoing)
- Daughter of Thieves by Lichelle Slater (Sands of Wonder, Book 1) 414 pages
- New Moon Rising by Brandy Nacole (The Keepers of Knowledge, Book 3) 152 Pages
- Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline (Goodreads) 300 Pages
- Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle (Goodreads) 357 Pages
2. Library Books
This group of stories are books that I’ve borrowed from the library. I haven’t started any of these books yet, and some of them have been in my possession for a couple of weeks. I picked these stories up knowing I had this challenge planned. Reading a lot of books at once is a great time to try new things, and that’s the best time to find library books to read.
Some of them I’ve heard before, others I stumbled upon by fluke. No matter the case, I’m looking forward to picking these stories up.
Total Books: 6 (bringing the total up to 10 reads)
- Shuri: A Black Panther Novel by Nic Stone (Shuri: A Black Panther Novel, Book 1) 272 Pages
- Superman: Dawnbreaker by Matt de la Pena (DC Icons, Book 4) 304 Pages
- You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation by Julissa Arce (Goodreads) 208 Pages
- The Betrayed by Kiera Cass (The Betrothed, Book 2)
- A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (Cursebreakers, Book 1) 507 Pages
- The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcelo (Goodreads) 266 Pages
For some of these reads, I only have a small window of opportunity left to finish them before they go to the next person in line. Of course I hope to finish these stories while they’re still in my possession, but if I’m unable to finish them before giving them to the next readers in line, I’ll finish them when I can get my hands back on them.
Shuri: A Black Panther Novel by Nic Stone:
An original, upper-middle-grade series starring the break-out character from the Black Panther comics and films: T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri! Crafted by New York Times bestselling author Nic Stone.
Shuri is a skilled martial artist, a genius, and a master of science and technology. But, she’s also a teenager. And a princess. This story follows Shuri as she sets out on a quest to save her homeland of Wakanda. For centuries, the Chieftain of Wakanda (the Black Panther) has gained his powers through the juices of the Heart-Shaped Herb. Much like Vibranium, the Heart-Shaped Herb is essential to the survival and prosperity of Wakanda. But something is wrong. The plants are dying. No matter what the people of Wakanda do, they can’t save them. And their supply is running short. It’s up to Shuri to travel from Wakanda in order to discover what is killing the Herb, and how she can save it, in the first volume of this all-new, original adventure.
This is one of the stories I picked up on a whim. It looks incredibly interesting. If it’s anywhere near as good as the Black Panther movie was, I’m in for a real treat.
Superman: Dawnbreaker by Matt de la Pena:
When the dawn breaks, a hero rises.
His power is beyond imagining.
Clark Kent has always been faster, stronger–better–than everyone around him. But he wasn’t raised to show off, and drawing attention to himself could be dangerous. Plus, it’s not like he’s earned his powers . . . yet.
But power comes with a price.
Lately it’s difficult to hold back and keep his heroics in the shadows. When Clark follows the sound of a girl crying, he comes across Gloria Alvarez and discovers a dark secret lurking in Smallville. Turns out, Clark’s not the only one hiding something. Teaming up with his best friend, Lana Lang, he throws himself into the pursuit of the truth. What evil lies below the surface of his small town? And what will it cost Clark to learn about his past as he steps into the light to become the future Man of Steel? Because before he can save the world, he must save Smallville.
Following up a Marvel read, I look forward to this DC read. Superman has never really been my hero of choice, but I truly am a DC girl at heart. I’ve read a couple other stories from this series, each by a different author, so I’m looking forward to reading this one.
You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation by Julissa Arce:
Arce, who came to live in Texas from Mexico at age 11, shares the story of her assimilation to America, learning English, losing her culture, making money while undocumented and working on Wall Street, and the inevitable scars that came from pursuing an ever-moving goal post. She interweaves current political events and Latinx history into personal stories, covering topics including racism, cultural identity, money, friendships, and love. Arce’s goals are two-fold: by sharing her experiences she wants to encourage other people of color to recognize who they are is more than enough to be American, and she believes more visibility and representation of the Latinx experience will force people to recognize Hispanics as the Americans they are, rather than outsiders.
Rejecting Assimilation will address the issue of trying to be American without losing culture, and explore the positive effects and importance of recognizing yourself in the culture that surrounds you.
While it’s usually the cover of a story that can make me stop and take notice, it was actually the title of this book that drew me in. With my inherent white privilege, I find stories like this eye opening and important. If I can find a story that’s going to make me feel uncomfortable and face truths that would be easier to ignore, I’d like to think I’m going to read it.
The Betrayed by Kiera Cass:
Can you follow your heart when it’s already broken?
After fleeing Coroa and leaving the memory of her beloved Silas behind, Hollis is unsteadily adjusting to life in Isolte. The Eastoffe family’s affection is a balm on her weary spirit, though Etan, a surly cousin with a deep distaste for Coroans, threatens to upset the uneasy peace she’s found.
While tensions at home ratchet up, disquiet in the kingdom of Isolte is reaching a fever pitch. The Eastoffes may have the power to unseat a tyrannical king—but only with Hollis’s help. Can a girl who’s lost it all put the fate of her adopted homeland over the secret longings of her heart?
I’ll be honest, I recently picked up The Betrothed, the first book in this duology, and was incredibly disappointed. Yet I found myself still wanting to give The Betrayed a chance. After all, I enjoyed Cass’ The Selection stories – both the original trilogy and the following duology.
Sadly, my disappointment with the first book in this duology made me hesitate to purchase my own copy of this story. Luckily my local library has a physical copy of this story that’ll be ready to pickup within the next couple of days. I’ve decided that if the conclusion of this story redeems the first half in my mind, I’ll go out and pick up my own copy of this story to complete the duology in my collection. But if I truly don’t enjoy this book either, I’ll donate my copy of The Betrothed to the library.
Even if I don’t enjoy the story myself, I know there are people out there that will.
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer:
Fall in love, break the curse.
Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.
Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.
Break the curse, save the kingdom.
Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.
This is a story that’s been on my radar for a while now. No better time than the present to finally jump into a story that’s been collecting dust on my metaphorical TBR list, right?
The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcelo:
Two rival coworkers with two very big secrets . . . What could possibly go wrong? Cozy up with this charming holiday romance by USA Today bestselling author Tif Marcelo.
Lila Santos is ready for her last winter break of high school. The snow in her small town of Holly, New York, is plentiful, the mood is as cozy as a fuzzy Christmas sweater, and she’s earning extra cash working at the local inn—AKA the setting of the greatest film of all time, Holiday by the Lake—while moonlighting as an anonymous book blogger.
But her perfect holiday plans crash to a halt when her boss’s frustratingly cute nephew, Teddy Rivera, becomes her coworker. Lila is type A; Teddy is type “Anything but Lila’s Way,” and the two of them can’t stop butting heads over tangled icicle lights and messy gift shop merch. But when they accidentally switch phones one afternoon, they realize they’ve both been hiding things from each other. Will their secrets—and an unexpected snowstorm—bring these rivals together?
Hallmark movies are my comfort food. (Okay, that sounds weird, but I’m sure you know what I mean…) If I can spend days on end sitting down and watching cheesy romance Christmas/holiday movies, you’d better believe I’m going to be excited about this story.
3. Recently Acquired
This section is pretty self explanatory – books that have come into my possession lately. Some of these stories are ones I picked up myself, while others were gifted to me. One of my goals for this year is to stop letting so many books sit on my TBR shelf for years on end. If would make sense to finish my existing TBR books before acquiring more, but we all know that’s not how this works… Instead, I hope to get to more stories before the “new” draw on them has worn off too much.
Total books: 7 (bringing the total up to 17 reads)
- Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon (Goodreads) 304 Pages
- The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima (Seven Realms, Book 1) 506 Pages
- Tales from the Hinterland by Melissa Albert (The Hazel Wood, Companion) 240 Pages
- Turning by Joy L. Smith (Goodreads) 352 Pages
- Better Together by Christine Riccio (Goodreads) 448 Pages
- White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson (Goodreads) 384 Pages
- Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson (Goodreads) 400 Pages
Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon:
Evie Thomas doesn’t believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began . . . and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually.
As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance Studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything–including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he’s only just met.
Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it’s that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk?
In this romantic page-turner from the author of Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star, Evie has the power to see other people’s romantic fates–what will happen when she finally sees her own?
I have a thing for books about dancing. Is it because I took lessons for 16 years? Competed for 10? Attending an arts high school for dance? I’m sure all of those play a part in my love of dance. But mostly, it’s just a natural adoration of the artform.
As I get older, I’m not capable of the kinds of movements that I used to be able to do. So instead I’ve learned to love watching others dance and reading about their stories – both real and fictional.
I can’t wait to read Evie’s dance story and the way it impacts her life.
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima:
One day Han Alister catches three young wizard setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet away from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to ensure the boy won’t use it against him. The amulet once belonged to the Demon King, who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece so powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.
Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna has her own battle to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of riding and hunting with her father’s family. Raia aspires to be like Hanalea, the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But it seems that her mother has other plans for her-plans that include a suitor who goes against everything the Queendom stands for.
I’ve got to be honest, I’ve read this story before. Twice, in fact. The first time I read my best friend’s copy of this series back in high school, the second time I read my own copy in university. I know I’m going to love it. I just somehow made the mistake of lending the book out to a friend who never gave it back to me.
Now that I’ve acquired a(nother) copy for myself, I can’t wait to fly through William Chima’s stories. I adore her reading and I plan on using this as a jumping off point to read her Seven Realms and The Shattered Realms series.
Tales from the Hinterland by Melissa Albert:
Journey into the Hinterland, a brutal and beautiful world where a young woman spends a night with Death, brides are wed to a mysterious house in the trees, and an enchantress is killed twice―and still lives.
I had no idea this book had come out until I stumbled upon it in Chapters. The beautiful cover caught my eye right away. Reading the title, it clicked what this story was. And I’m here for it.
I remember enjoying my time in this world. The Hazel Wood was a pretty decisive read when it first came out, if I’m remembering things correctly. There were some choices that this story made that I could have taken or done without. But overall I enjoyed the story.
It wasn’t until I saw this book that I even remembered this series existed. But how could I forget these covers!? Suffice it to say I’m looking forward to reading this novel.
Turning by Joy L. Smith:
Genie used to fouetté across the stage. Now the only thing she’s turning are the wheels to her wheelchair. Genie was the star pupil at her exclusive New York dance school, with a bright future and endless possibilities before her. Now that the future she’s spent years building toward has been snatched away, she can’t stand to be reminded of it—even if it means isolating herself from her best friends and her mother. The only wish this Genie has is to be left alone.
But then she meets Kyle, who also has a “used to be.” Kyle used to tumble and flip on a gymnastics mat, but a traumatic brain injury has sent him to the same physical therapist that Genie sees. With Kyle’s support, along with her best friend’s insistence that Genie’s time at the barre isn’t over yet, Genie starts to see a new path—one where she doesn’t have to be alone and she finally has the strength to heal from the past.
But healing also means confronting. Confronting the booze her mother, a recovering alcoholic, has been hiding under the kitchen sink; the ex-boyfriend who was there the night of the fall and won’t leave her alone; and Genie’s biggest, most terrifying secret: the fact that the accident may not have been so accidental after all.
I’ve already mentioned my love of dance stories, so I’m not going to say much here. Just that I look forward to reading this novel.
Better Together by Christine Riccio:
Jamie’s an aspiring standup comic in Los Angeles with a growing case of stage anxiety.
Siri’s a stunning ballerina from New Jersey nursing a career-changing injury.
They’ve both signed up for the same session at an off the grid Re-Discover Yourself Retreat in Colorado. When they run into each other, their worlds turn upside down.
Jamie and Siri are sisters, torn apart at a young age by their parent’s volatile divorce. They’ve grown up living completely separate lives: Jamie with their Dad and Siri with their Mom. Now, reunited after over a decade apart, they hatch a plot to switch places. It’s time they get to know and confront each of their estranged parents.
With an accidental assist from some fortuitous magic, Jamie arrives in New Jersey, looking to all the world like Siri, and Siri steps off her flight sporting a Jamie glamour.
The sisters unexpectedly find themselves stuck living in each other’s shoes. Soon Siri’s crushing on Jamie’s best friend Dawn. Jamie’s falling for the handsome New Yorker she keeps running into, Zarar. Alongside a parade of hijinks and budding romance, both girls work to navigate their broken family life and the stresses of impending adulthood.
Freaky Friday meets The Parent Trap in New York Times bestselling author Christine Riccio’s Better Together, a sparkling and heartfelt story about sisters, second chances, finding romance, and finding yourself.
Christine Riccio is either the second or third BookTuber that I started watching. Her debut novel, Again, But Better, grew on me. I wasn’t certain that I was going to enjoy it when I started it, but by the end of my readthrough I ended up rating this story a solid 4 stars. I can’t wait to see what else Christine has in store for her readers.
White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson:
Marigold is running from ghosts. The phantoms of her old life keep haunting her, but a move with her newly blended family from their small California beach town to the embattled Midwestern city of Cedarville might be the fresh start she needs. Her mom has accepted a new job with the Sterling Foundation that comes with a free house, one that Mari now has to share with her bratty ten-year-old stepsister, Piper.
The renovated picture-perfect home on Maple Street, sitting between dilapidated houses, surrounded by wary neighbors has its . . . secrets. That’s only half the problem: household items vanish, doors open on their own, lights turn off, shadows walk past rooms, voices can be heard in the walls, and there’s a foul smell seeping through the vents only Mari seems to notice. Worse: Piper keeps talking about a friend who wants Mari gone.
But “running from ghosts” is just a metaphor, right?
As the house closes in, Mari learns that the danger isn’t limited to Maple Street. Cedarville has its secrets, too. And secrets always find their way through the cracks.
How could I not pick up this gorgeous cover? I couldn’t not read the synopsis after seeing the cover of this novel. The story sounds right up my alley. Add to this the fact that one of my really good friends has this story on her TBR list, and I basically had to pick it up to read.
Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson:
The dead of Loraille do not rest.
Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass on; otherwise, they will rise as spirits with a ravenous hunger for the living. She would rather deal with the dead than the living, who trade whispers about her scarred hands and troubled past.
When her convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia defends it by awakening an ancient spirit bound to a saint’s relic. It is a revenant, a malevolent being that threatens to possess her the moment she drops her guard. Wielding its extraordinary power almost consumes her—but death has come to Loraille, and only a vespertine, a priestess trained to wield a high relic, has any chance of stopping it. With all knowledge of vespertines lost to time, Artemisia turns to the last remaining expert for help: the revenant itself.
As she unravels a sinister mystery of saints, secrets, and dark magic, her bond with the revenant grows. And when a hidden evil begins to surface, she discovers that facing this enemy might require her to betray everything she has been taught to believe—if the revenant doesn’t betray her first.
I know absolutely nothing about this story. In fact, I copy and pasted the synopsis of this story without reading it because I want to go into this as blind as possible.
I’ve read Sorcery of Thorns and An Enchantment of Ravens. I adored both of these reads. In fact, I’ve reread both of these stories semi-recently. It doesn’t matter to me what Rogerson has in store for me. I’m excited.
Come on, you didn’t expect me to read 30 books in 30 days without at least a little bit of a cop out. Right? I can’t be the only one that can fly through a reread like it’s nobody’s business. I’ve got to give myself some easy reads, some stories that I know aren’t going to take me long to get through.
Total books: 4 (bringing the total up to 21 reads)
- Hope(less) by Melissa Haag (Judgement of the Six, Book 1) 315 Pages
- Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier (Precious Stones Trilogy, Book 1) 324 Pages
- Bitten by Kelley Armstrong (Women of the Otherworld, Book 1) 436 Pages
- Siege and Storm by Leah Bardugo (The Grisha Trilogy, Book 2) 435 Pages
Hope(less) by Melissa Haag:
Freedom is so close Gabby can taste it. After years of meeting single werewolves and successfully dodging the mating bullet, she’s on her way to her last Introduction to say “No, thanks” one final time. As a human, she has no plans to attach herself to a werewolf. But, she didn’t count on meeting Clay.
With a single look, Gabby knows Clay is the one. And, unfortunately, he knows it too. The silent, ruggedly-handsome werewolf is determined to win his mate by any means necessary. Gabby does what any sane girl would do and runs. Not only does Clay follow, but something truly dangerous does as well.
Now, hunted for the secrets she’s spent her whole life protecting, Gabby must turn to the one man she didn’t want for the help she needs. Time is running out to discover who or what wants her, and Gabby’s just starting to realize there’s more at stake than the heart and freedom of one human girl.
This is a story that I reread once every year or so. The ending to this series isn’t my favourite ending of all time, but I still find myself enjoying the ride to get to that point. This coupling also happens to be my favourite in the series.
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier:
Although I had never seen him before, I recognized him immediately. I’d have known his voice anywhere. This was the guy I’d seen on my last journey back in time.
Or more precisely, the one who’d kissed my doppelganger while I was hiding behind the curtain in disbelief.
Sixteen-year-old Gwen lives with her extended – and rather eccentric – family in an exclusive London neighborhood. In spite of her ancestors’ peculiar history, she’s had a relatively normal life so far. The time-traveling gene that runs like a secret thread through the female half of the family is supposed to have skipped over Gwen, so she hasn’t been introduced to “the mysteries,” and can spend her time hanging out with her best friend, Lesley. It comes as an unwelcome surprise when she starts taking sudden, uncontrolled leaps into the past.
She’s totally unprepared for time travel, not to mention all that comes with it: fancy clothes, archaic manners, a mysterious secret society, and Gideon, her time-traveling counterpart. He’s obnoxious, a know-it-all, and possibly the best-looking guy she’s seen in any century…
It’s been years since I’ve read this story. I absolutely adored this trilogy when I borrowed my best friend’s copy back in high school. Part of me is nervous about not liking the story as much this go, but most of me is just excited to jump back into this story.
Bitten by Kelley Armstrong:
Elena Michaels is the world’s only female werewolf. And she’s tired of it. Tired of a life spent hiding and protecting, a life where her most important job is hunting down rogue werewolves. Tired of a world that not only accepts the worst in her–her temper, her violence–but requires it. Worst of all, she realizes she’s growing content with that life, with being that person.
So she left the Pack and returned to Toronto where she’s trying to live as a human. When the Pack leader calls asking for her help fighting a sudden uprising, she only agrees because she owes him. Once this is over, she’ll be squared with the Pack and free to live life as a human. Which is what she wants. Really.
What can I say about this story? It’s the book that got me into Kelley Armstrong novels in earnest. I know this is a story I can fly through, so it’s perfect for a challenge like this one.
Siege and Storm by Leah Bardugo:
Darkness never dies.
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her—or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.
It was about a year ago that I started reading this book. I’ll be honest, life happened and I got distracted. Now’s my change to actually reread this novel. I want to at least finish the original trilogy before watching the Netflix show, so it’s time to stop dragging my feet.
5. Read What Feels Right
Everyone has those reads that they pick up “in the moment”. I’m not going to be giving myself a strict list of 30 books that I must read before the month is over. So, the final category of books I plan on reading is just… whatever I feel like. If I stumble across a story that I want to pick up, I’m not going to stop myself. If I get a new rec that I get excited about, I’m going to jump into it.
My end goal is just being able to reach 30 books within 30 days. Every story in this list is just part of a guide in the right direction. I’ve learned by now that playing in absolutes when it comes to reading plans doesn’t really work for me.
Follow along with my journey if you’d like. Here’s hoping that I find at least 1 new love this month.