Reading Nourishes Writing

Books I’m Looking Forward To Devouring: My Spring TBR

Does anyone else feel like 2018 is lasting both a thousand years and yet passing by in the blink of an eye? March has been slipping through my fingers and the consistency of my blogging has been a little lax. I have been working diligently on my GoodReads goal, though! So far this month, my favorite book that I’ve read has easily been Obsidiothe final book of the Illuminae trilogy. UGH. Those books are heart-pounding, I highly recommend them, especially now that the trilogy is done and you can binge them all in one sitting!

For my Spring TBR (and for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday), I’m trying to think of some of the books I’m looking forward most to read — both those coming out in the second half of this year, and books I’ve had on my shelves for ages that I’m eager to finally crack open.

new books

Cass Morris’ From Unseen Fire, Book 1 of the Aven Cycle

The Dictator is dead; long live the Republic.

But whose Republic will it be? Senators, generals, and elemental mages vie for the power to shape the future of the city of Aven. Latona of the Vitelliae, a mage of Spirit and Fire, has suppressed her phenomenal talents for fear they would draw unwanted attention from unscrupulous men. Now that the Dictator who threatened her family is gone, she may have an opportunity to seize a greater destiny as a protector of the people — if only she can find the courage to try.

Her siblings–a widow who conceals a canny political mind in the guise of a frivolous socialite, a young prophetess learning to navigate a treacherous world, and a military tribune leading a dangerous expedition in the province of Iberia–will be her allies as she builds a place for herself in this new world, against the objections of their father, her husband, and the strictures of Aventan society.

Latona’s path intersects with that of Sempronius Tarren, an ambitious senator harboring a dangerous secret. Sacred law dictates that no mage may hold high office, but Sempronius, a Shadow mage who has kept his abilities a life-long secret, intends to do just that. As rebellion brews in the provinces, Sempronius must outwit the ruthless leader of the opposing Senate faction to claim the political and military power he needs to secure a glorious future for Aven and his own place in history.

As politics draw them together and romance blossoms between them, Latona and Sempronius will use wit, charm, and magic to shape Aven’s fate. But when their foes resort to brutal violence and foul sorcery, will their efforts be enough to save the Republic they love?

From Unseen Fire comes out April 17, 2018.


I’ve been internet friends with Cass since ye olde LiveJournal days, and have attended panels she’s spoken on at Harry Potter Conventions. I’ve watched her journey from querying to acquiring an agent to actually bringing her book out into the world, and I could not be more excited to read it!

Mark Oshiro’s Anger Is A Gift

Six years ago, Moss Jefferies’ father was murdered by an Oakland police officer. Along with losing a parent, the media’s vilification of his father and lack of accountability has left Moss with near crippling panic attacks.

Now, in his sophomore year of high school, Moss and his fellow classmates find themselves increasingly treated like criminals their own school. New rules. Random locker searches. Constant intimidation and Oakland Police Department stationed in their halls. Despite their youth, the students decide to organize and push back against the administration.

When tensions hit a fever pitch and tragedy strikes, Moss must face a difficult choice: give in to fear and hate or realize that anger can actually be a gift.

Anger Is A Gift comes out May 22, 2018.


If you haven’t read Mark Oshiro’s Mark Reads Harry Potter (or any of his read-throughs), you absolutely have to. There’s something incredibly special about following along with someone’s reading experience, and I so wish more people live-blogged their reads. I also played Cards Against Humanity once with Mark at a Harry Potter Convention, so obviously I feel a sense of obligation and have to buy his book. It also just so happens to sound incredible.

Jay Coles’ Tyler Johnson Was Here

tyler johnson was here coverWhen Marvin Johnson’s twin, Tyler, goes to a party, Marvin decides to tag along to keep an eye on his brother. But what starts as harmless fun turns into a shooting, followed by a police raid.

The next day, Tyler has gone missing, and it’s up to Marvin to find him. But when Tyler is found dead, a video leaked online tells an even more chilling story: Tyler has been shot and killed by a police officer. Terrified as his mother unravels and mourning a brother who is now a hashtag, Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean.

Tyler Johnson Was Here comes out March 20, 2018


Having read and adored THE HATE U GIVE and DEAR MARTIN, I have a feeling this book is going to be similarly incredible. (And the cover. Look at that cover!) I’m sure this book is going to break me apart, so naturally it’s at the very top of my wishlist.

Becky Albertalli’s Leah on the Offbeat

LEah on the offbeat coverLeah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

Leah on the Offbeat comes out April 24, 2018


If you haven’t read Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, you absolutely need to — and, more urgently, you need to go see it’s movie adaptation Love, Simon, because it’s in theaters now and it is WONDERFUL. Super funny and loving and heartfelt. <3 Leah on the Offbeat is the sequel to Simon Vs., focusing on Simon’s best friend Leah. I’m sure this is going to be a fun read.

backlist books

Franz Kafka’s The Trial

Written in 1914 but not published until 1925, a year after Kafka’s death, The Trial is the terrifying tale of Josef K., a respectable bank officer who is suddenly and inexplicably arrested and must defend himself against a charge about which he can get no information. Whether read as an existential tale, a parable, or a prophecy of the excesses of modern bureaucracy wedded to the madness of totalitarianism, The Trial has resonated with chilling truth for generations of readers.


I’m reading a book of Kafka’s short stories right now, and getting great pleasure in looking up analytical essays and literary papers afterwards to understand them better. So, once I’ve finished that book, I want to move onto more of his work. (I really love classics, guys, they make my brain feel nourished.)

Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.


My friend has recommended this book to me, and since she basically hates everything she reads (I say lovingly), this book has jumped significantly higher on my TBR! There’s a movie adaptation that looked really good as well.

Erica Ferencik’s The River At Night

Winifred Allen needs a vacation.

Stifled by a soul-crushing job, devastated by the death of her beloved brother, and lonely after the end of a fifteen-year marriage, Wini is feeling vulnerable. So when her three best friends insist on a high-octane getaway for their annual girls’ trip, she signs on, despite her misgivings.

What starts out as an invigorating hiking and rafting excursion in the remote Allagash Wilderness soon becomes an all-too-real nightmare; a freak accident leaves the women stranded, separating them from their raft and everything they need to survive. When night descends, a fire on the mountainside lures them to a ramshackle camp that appears to be their lifeline. But as Wini and her friends grasp the true intent of their supposed saviors, long buried secrets emerge and lifelong allegiances are put to the test. To survive, Wini must reach beyond the world she knows to harness an inner strength she never knew she possessed.


HI. If there are things I’m Super Duper Into, it is 1) suspenseful thrillers and 2) survival stories. People lost in the wilderness, forced to battle the elements and fight their way home — that is my JAM. Super excited to read this for the 24 Hour Readathon.

non fiction books

Dan Pfeiffer’s Yes We (Still) Can: Politics in the Age of Obama, Twitter, and Trump

Yes We Still Can Book Cover

From Obama’s former communications director and current co-host of Pod Save America comes a colorful account of how politics, the media, and the Internet changed during the Obama presidency and how Democrats can fight back in the Trump era.

The Decade of Obama (2007-2017) was one of massive change that rewrote the rules of politics in ways we are only now beginning to understand (which is why we all got 2016 wrong). YES WE (STILL) CAN looks at how Obama navigated the forces that allowed Trump to win the White House to become one of the most consequential presidents in American history, why Trump surprised everyone, and how Democrats can come out on top in the long run.

Part political memoir, part blueprint for progressives in the Trump era, YES WE (STILL) CAN is an insider’s take on the crazy politics of our time. Pfeiffer, one of Barack Obama’s longest serving advisors, tells never-before-told stories from Obama’s presidential campaigns to his time in the White House, providing readers with an in-depth, behind the-scenes look at life on the front lines of politics.

Ben Rhodes’ The World as It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House

the world as it is

For nearly 10 years, Ben Rhodes saw almost everything that happened at the center of the Obama Administration–first as a speechwriter, then as Deputy National Security Advisor, and finally as a multi-purpose aide and close collaborator, starting every morning with Barack Obama in the Presidential Daily Briefing. Now, he tells the full story of his partnership–and, ultimately, friendship–with a man who also happened to be an historic President of the United States.

Ben Rhodes was not your normal presidential confidante and this is not your normal White House memoir. This is a rare look inside the most consequential, tense, and poignant moments of the Obama presidency, rendered in vivid, novelistic detail from someone who was a writer before he was a staffer: waiting out the bin Laden raid in the Situation Room; starting every morning with Barack Obama in the Presidential Daily Briefing; responding to the Arab Spring; reaching a nuclear agreement with Iran; leading secret negotiations with the Cuban government to normalize relations; confronting the resurgence of nationalism and nativism that culminated in the election of Donald Trump.

Rhodes pulls the curtain back on what it was like to be there–from the early days of the Obama campaign, to the final hours of the presidency, standing next to Obama and reading a handwritten copy of the Gettysburg Address. It is a story populated by characters like Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Hillary Clinton, Bob Gates, and–above all–Barack Obama, who come to life on the page in moments of great urgency and disarming intimacy.


Muh Pod Saves America boys have written books! I’ve been trying to read more non-fiction books this year, which has basically amounted to a couple of books about writing and political current events. (I feel a little bad for people writing books about Russia interfering with the 2016 election and generally about the current presidency, because it seems like as soon as the book is published, 100 new things have happened the author didn’t get to include.) These look right up my alley.

What about you? What books are you looking forward to read this spring? Are you focusing mostly on new books coming out, or are there some books languishing on your shelves you’re hoping to check off your list? Leave a comment, let’s talk about our upcoming reads!


Top Ten Tuesday

This post is part of a link-up with Top Ten Tuesday, whose new home is now on


Want to follow me around the internet? I do most of my wordy blabbage on Twitter, @chuffwrites, and if you’re bookish-ly inclined, you should definitely friend me on GoodReads! If you would like to follow this blog and get the newest posts delivered directly to your inbox, email subscription and BlogLovin’ links are at the top of the sidebar!

Happy writing!

Christina is an aspiring novelist, who wanted to create a safe, fun place to share advice, inspiration, and motivation with other writers!


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