Top 5 Wednesday: Biggest Disappointments of 2018 (So Far)

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday is a freebie, so I decided to go with my Biggest Disappointments of 2018 (So Far).

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1. My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies #2) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. I absolutely loved My Lady Jane and I had such high expectations for My Plain Jane. However, I thought the humor was forced, I was not at all into the Jane Eyre-Ghostbusters mash-up, and didn’t really care for any of the characters.

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2. Restore Me (Shatter Me #4) by Tahereh Mafi. I had really enjoyed the original trilogy when I first read them and always felt there was potential for more story there. However, instead of moving the story forward very much, Mafi just retreads old ground and took away almost all the progress Juliette and Warner made.

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3. Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin. Black-Eyed Susans is one of my favorite books and I’ve been looking forward to more from Heaberlin ever since reading it. Unfortunately, Paper Ghosts didn’t come close to meeting my expectations. The main character was not only unlikable, but her total ineptitude after constantly talking about how well trained she was was baffling.

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4. The Isaac Project by Sarah Monzon. I hyped myself on this book years ago after one really great review. Earlier this year it finally was offered free for a limited time on Kindle and I was so excited to snatch it up. Unfortunately, lackluster writing and a really unlikable main character kept it from living up to it’s potential.

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5. The Date by Louise Jensen. I have seen nothing by wonderful things about Louise Jensen books and I was excited to finally read one. I was so sad this one didn’t live up to the hype at all for me. A pretty cliched storyline and a “twist” I saw coming a mile away is going to make me think twice before picking up another book by her.

What are some of your biggest disappointments of 2018?

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Review: Restore Me (Shatter Me #4) by Tahereh Mafi

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Juliette Ferrars thought she’d won. She took over Sector 45, was named the new Supreme Commander, and now has Warner by her side. But she’s still the girl with the ability to kill with a single touch—and now she’s got the whole world in the palm of her hand. When tragedy hits, who will she become? Will she be able to control the power she wields and use it for good?

Well. I am glad I decided to wait for a library copy of this book instead of buying it. Despite being very excited for the continuation of this series (my love for Warner knows no bounds), I was a little cautious about it. I loved this series the first (several) times I read it, but the last time I tried re-reading it I felt like I had maybe outgrown it a little bit. I realized some of the things that happened – like basically destroying Adam’s character just to make sure that everyone would pick Warner in the love triangle debate – was kind of lazy. I was still looking forward to revisiting these characters, though, hoping that Mafi would make up for some of the things I had issues with. Unfortunately, it fell short of even my lowered expectations.

Let’s start with Juliette. I kind of hated her in this book. I felt like she had grown so much throughout the series into this really strong character, but here she was back to the whiny, self-centered Juliette of book 2. She had no idea what taking over as Supreme Commander means and we do not see her do anything but complain about how much mail she has to go through, go for leisurely walks with Kenji, and hook up with Warner. She is completely overcome with doubts, but gets angry any time someone tries to help her. NOTHING she did made any sense. She was so childish I couldn’t even feel sorry for her.

Then there’s her relationship with Warner. Warner, who has never been good about talking about his past. Warner, who has repeatedly shown her his insecurity in their relationship. Warner, whose father she just killed. When he discovers important information about her past and tells her about it, she blows up about the one piece of information he did know and hadn’t told her about beforehand. I thought in Ignite Me they started a very solid partnership and I was looking forward to seeing that grow, but they took several gigantic steps backwards. It just really annoyed me that lack of communication and childish behavior were the main sources of tension Mafi used to reboot this series. Instead of giving the characters new challenges and letting them continue to grow, she reverted them back to how they used to be and are going to make them re-learn all the same lessons we’ve already seen them go through. 

And can we talk about Castle for a minute? Juliette is the supreme commander and Castle still beckons her like a student to the principal’s office and she just goes and gets all nervous about whatever he has to say. Like, girl, you are in charge now! You don’t have to do what he tells you. And you can make him tell you the things he’s being evasive about. Also, all of sudden Castle knows everything about everything? I don’t buy it. Nothing in the past books made him come across so knowledgeable or connected. It just felt way too convenient.

There were a few things I liked, though. Adam got a personality change again and went back to being a nice guy. And he reaches out to Warner and I liked their scene together. For the most part, though, I feel like he’s outlived his usefulness to the story and he only had a couple of appearances. (The same goes for most of the Omega Point characters from the previous books, except for Castle and Kenji.) I also still love Warner. Even though his nonsense with Juliette annoyed me, I did feel like he grew in some ways in this book and was the only character to do so. The story is told in alternating first person POV between him and Juliette and I found myself kind of unable to care about Juliette’s chapters because I liked Warner’s so much more.

Overall, Restore Me left me extremely underwhelmed. It basically saved all plot development that didn’t have to do with relationship drama to the last couple chapters and then it rushed through them. I thought it was pretty lazy writing to just have all the characters revert to previous versions of themselves and repeating past drama. I’m really hoping that Mafi will come up with some fresher ideas in the next books, which I will still read – because Warner.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2 Stars

End of the Year Survey: 2017

This End of the Year survey was created by The Perpetual Page-Turner.

Number Of Books You Read: 134
Number of Re-Reads: 5
Genre You Read The Most From: Mystery/Suspense

best-YA-books-20141. Best Book You Read In 2017?

(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2017 release vs. backlist)

Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton, Ragdoll by Daniel Cole, Making Faces by Amy Harmon and Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg. I gave all these books 4.5 stars and I can’t pick between them.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. I thought this looked adorable and had so much potential, but it didn’t quite live up to the hype.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. Didn’t think it would be my cup of tea, but I really enjoyed it.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

I can’t think of a book that I really pushed on people this year. I recommended Sharon Bolton to just about everyone, but I’m not sure if anyone actually read anything of hers because of me. 

 5. Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?

Started: The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

Sequel: The Secret by Katerina Diamond

Ender: The Song of David by Amy Harmon

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?

Sharon Bolton, Amy Harmon, and Elizabeth Eulberg

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I’m going to go with The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue again. I don’t read a lot of Historical Fiction these days or LGBT+ books.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

I read a lot of thrilling and unputdownable books this year, but I think the most action-packed/fast paced would be Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben.

 9. Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton bc I just got it for Christmas and am itching to read it again.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?

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Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills. She always has the best covers.

11. Most memorable character of 2017?

David Drucker from What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017?

Nothing really stands out, but probably anything by Amy Harmon.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?

Making Faces by Amy Harmon

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read? 

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Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg. My first book by Eulberg and I discovered a new favorite author.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?

From Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren:

I try to ignore the pressure to be coupled up, but it’s everywhere…There’s my own biological clock, quietly yet persistently ticking away…But of course there’s that niggling voice suggesting I not care about any of it, that maybe I should give in and buy the cats instead. The problem is that I don’t like them. I may be a terrible married person someday, but I know for sure I would be an even worse cat lady.

“Evie?”

“Sorry…I was just trying to figure out whether I could still be a crazy cat lady without the actual animals.”

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?

Shortest: Winging It by Cate Cameron

Longest: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

How I did this: Went to my read books on Goodreads and sorted by page number and just looked for what I knew I read this year that was the shortest and longest.

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Lark and Tiras from The Bird and the Sword, Evie and Carter from Dating You/Hating You, and Lacey and Josebury from the Lacey Flint series.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

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Declan and Rev from Letters to the Lost

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

21. Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Now You See Me by SJ Bolton (AKA Sharon Bolton). It wasn’t really a personal recommendation, but I saw a review on The Misstery. Many books I’ve read and loved this year came from Annie.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?

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I loved Matt from Always You by Denise Grover Swank.

23. Best 2017 debut you read?

Ragdoll from Daniel Cole

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware. Did not like the book, but she really knows how to set a scene!

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017?

Making Faces by Amy Harmon

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

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The DS Imogen Grey series by Katerina Diamond. More people need to read this!!

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Making Faces by Amy Harmon.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?

The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

The Lying Game

book-blogging1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2017?

I can never answer this question. There’s been so many.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2017?

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There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins. Sometimes the worst books make for the most fun reviews.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

Convince me to buy a Kindle (I think it’s also the only discussion post I wrote)

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I went to three author events: Linda Castillo, Karin Slaughter, and Lisa Scottoline.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2017?

Linda Castillo remembered my name at her book signing from previous book signings. Also, I’m counting this as blogging life, I finally got to meet Brandie from Running on Words and Wine!

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Going through long periods of time where I had no patience for romance or contemporary novels. Also, personal life issues put reading on hold a lot of the time.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Most viewed of the year was the review for Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo that I wrote a couple years ago, but the most viewed from 2017 content was the review for Fallen Heir by Erin Watt.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

All of them 🙂

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Not really a discovery, but I finally bit the bullet and got a Kindle Paperwhite.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I did the Good Reads Challenge and surpassed my goal of 100 books.

looking-ahead-books-20151. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018?

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Maybe not number 1 priority, but I still need to read Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)?

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

3. 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

There’s not really one on my radar right now.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?

Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi – the continuation of the Shatter Me series.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018?

Be more consistent on writing reviews for non-ARCs.

6. A 2018 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):

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The Wife Between Us

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR. I’ve been an extremely moody reader lately, so I may not stick to these, but they’re all ones I’m hoping to read.

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1. Roomies by Christina Lauren – publishing 12/5/17. I loved the last book I read by this author duo, Dating You/Hating You, and I have high hopes for this one.

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2. Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills – publishing 12/5/17. I absolutely adore her other books and I can’t wait for this one!

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3. Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West – publishing 12/26/17. I love Kasie West books.

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4. Iron Gold by Pierce Brown – publishing 1/16/18. I am so excited for this!!! I probably should add the first three books to this list because I feel like I need a re-read before going into this so I can fully appreciate it.

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5. Runaway Groom (I Do, I Don’t #2) by Lauren Layne – publishing 1/30/18. I really enjoyed the first book in this series. Lauren Layne has become one of my favorite Contemporary Romance authors.

6. The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon – publishing 2/13/18. No cover yet, but that doesn’t matter. If it’s by Amy Harmon, I want to read it!

7. The Comfort Zone by Sally Thorne – publishing 2/20/18. No cover yet for this either. I adored The Hating Game and have been eagerly anticipating Thorne’s next book ever since.

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8. Restore Me (Shatter Me #4) by Tahereh Mafi – publishing 3/6/18. Though re-reads have made me lower my original very high opinion of these books, I am still very excited for this series to continue. I will never be sad about getting more Warner!

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9. Without Merit by Colleen Hoover -published 10/3/17. Brandie from Running on Words and Wine gifted me a copy of this for my birthday! I am not a huge CoHo fan, but Brandie said this one was a little different than her normal books and thought I would like it. Thanks again Brandie!

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10. Match Made in Manhattan by Amanda Stauffer – publishing 1/23/18. I got a physical ARC of this from the author so I really want to get this read soon. I’ve been such a moody reader lately that I’ve mostly avoided all my ARCs because I’m afraid my bad mood will negatively impact any book I read and I want to be as fair as possible with ARCs.

What books are you looking forward to reading this Winter?

Top Ten Tuesday: Time Passes and so does my Love

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Welcome to my first Top Ten Tuesday of the year! This week’s topic, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is: Ten Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed (less love, more love, complicated feelings, indifference, thought it was great in a genre until you became more well read in that genre etc.).  This is a topic that I’ve actually been thinking about writing a post about on my own, so it seemed like the perfect time to jump back in to TTT.

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1. The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer

I think that a lot of people identify with this one. After hearing so much about this I decided to give it a try and I ended up reading the whole series in a week. It was also the first time in a very long time that I had read for pleasure. The series reminded me what it was like to have fun reading, to fall in love with characters, to HAVE TO KNOW what happens next. It also had a super romantic lead and cute romance. I loved it. Then…I started reading a lot more. When I went back much later to re-read Twilight, I found myself not being able to get through it. I realized that the super cute romance wasn’t exactly a healthy relationship and the plot and writing left a lot to be desired. This series will always hold a special place in my heart, but it’s one that I no longer love or highly recommend.

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2. The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater

Ok, this is probably the most controversial one on the list. I remember being a little confused by the story, but loving the characters so much that I didn’t care. I raved about this series all the time. Then I decided to re-read it before the last book came out and I was a little underwhelmed by it. While I still adore the characters, I’ve found the confusing plot makes it unbearable at times. And the further away from The Raven King I get, the more dissatisfied I am with it as a series ender.

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3. The Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi

Another series I absolutely loved the first time around and didn’t quite enjoy as much the second time around. My biggest issue is on the last book. Adam’s complete change in personality was such an easy way out of the love triangle and I think it did a great injustice to the character. It bothered me a little when I first read it, but after going back later it really bothered me a lot.

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4. The Lux series by Jennifer Armentrout

Ok, probably another unpopular opinion. I recommend this series ALL. THE TIME. I’ve said again and again it’s one of the best YA series around. But the last time I re-read it…I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much. I mean, I still like it and I’ll still recommend it, but with a little less fervor than before.

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5. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

This book really surprised me when I first read it by how much I loved it. However, when I went back to re-read it before the sequel came out, there were many parts of it that I wanted to skip through. It’s still a good book, but I think going from no expectations to really high expectations kind of ruined it for me. And I was pretty underwhelmed with The Rose and the Dagger which has soured me just a bit on the series as a whole.

Ok, so just 5 books this time. I need to work my way back into it. What books have you had a change in heart about over time? Do you agree with any of my choices?

OTP Book Tag

I saw this over on Books for Thought  (go check her out!) and thought it looked fun. OTP, for those that don’t know = One True Pair.

1. An a unpopular OTP that you ship

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Clary & Simon from The Mortal Instruments series. I felt bad for Simon that Clary led him on for so long. At the end of the day, though, I think Simon is too good for Clary, so I guess I don’t ship it all that much. But I couldn’t think of anything else.

2. An OTP that you didn’t ship but now you do

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Warner and Juliette from the Shatter Me series. The first book was obviously Adam Forever, but book two totally changed that.

3. Your most hated OTP

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Hayley and Bryce from Blackmail Boyfriend. Hayley is a complete psycho and needs therapy, not a boyfriend.

4. An OTP that took way too long to get together

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Jennifer and Anthony from The Last Letter from your Lover. It took decades.

5. Your favourite non-canon OTP

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Cricket and Anna from the Anna and the French Kiss series. Cricket is my favorite and he deserves much better than Lola. And while I do like Anna and St. Claire together (once he finally dumped his girlfriend), I always thought she and Cricket would work.

6. Your favourite BROTP

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The Raven Boys, hands down.

7. An OTP you adored in the books but not as much in the movies or tv adaptation

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Sookie and Eric from the Sookie Stackhouse Series/True Blood. They were a major thing for many of the books, but barely a thing in the show (though I never saw the last two or three seasons of the show).

8. A popular OTP that no matter how hard you tried you just can’t ship it

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Cole and Ali from The White Rabbit Chronicles. I just can’t even. I’m on the third book right now and every part I read that’s about their relationship makes me want to throw my Nook. I don’t think I’m going to be able to finish this series (so if anyone wants to give me a spoiler on how it all ends, I’m all ears!)

9. Your favourite LGBT + OTP

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Simon and Baz from Carry On.

10. Your all time favourite OTP

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Kami and Jared from The Lynbun Legacy series

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Cinder and Kai from The Lunar Chronicles

I tag anyone who would like to participate.

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Wishes I’d Ask The Book Genie To Grant Me

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: 10 Wishes I’d Ask The Book Genie To Grant Me (a new book from a certain author,  a reading superpower, a character to come to life, to meet a certain author etc. etc.).

1. That my book crush would be real, age appropriate, and amicably split from their significant other and interested in me.

I was going to have this basically be a wish for all my book crushes, but that could probably take the whole list. But think, Daemon Black from the Lux series, Levi from Fangirl, Gansey from The Raven Boys, Warner from the Shatter Me series, Cam from the Wait for You series, Ethan Mirabelli from The Next Best Thing, Seth from the Covenant/Titan series, Finn from Illusions of Fate. Any of them would do 🙂

2. *Spoiler from the Hunger Games trilogy* Suzanne Collins would re-write a few parts of Mockingjay and Finnick would never die.

3. That Rainbow Rowell would let me read all her books before she published them. And that we were best friends.

4. One more book to wrap up The Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer because Sacrifice was not a satisfactory end to that series!

5. That there would be no wait for ebooks at the library and ALL THE BOOKS EVER would be available.

6. That I would be granted every ARC I request.

7. That there were more books by Jane Austen.

8. A more explosive ending to Gone Girl.

9. That I could get all my work done and read at the same time so I could spend my 8+ hours at work every day actually doing something enjoyable.

10. A perfectly adapted movie version of The Night Circus.

What are your Book Wishes?