Focus On: Maggie Stiefvater

Ordinarily my “Focus On:” series centers around genres or key elements within books, but I’ve been loving one author so much this month that I thought she deserved a whole post.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater


Firstly, you’ve heard me talk about The Scorpio Races before. It is one of the most masterfully done YA novels that I have read in recent years. The book follows a young girl who wants to enter a dangerous water horse race traditionally reserved for boys. Wholly new and innovative, the concept grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go.

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Focus On: Psychological Novels

Though I’ve featured novels with psychiatric/mental illness themes before I have never dedicated an entire post to them. The human psyche is so interesting because of how fragile it truly is. Below are a selection of my favorite novels and memoirs about mental illness and those who treat it.

Dreaming for Freud by Sheila Kohler

Dreaming for Freud by Sheila Kohler

Dreaming for Freud: A Novel

A retelling of Freud’s famous Dora, Dreaming for Freud is riveting and disarming. Getting into the head of Freud and Dora puts the case in a whole new light. Plus, anything blurbed by Joyce Carol Oates and Amy Tan is good enough for me!


The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Virgin Suicides

Creepy, voyeuristic and impeccably written, The Virgin Suicides is an interesting representation of life after suicides. The book has all the sensuality of Sofia Coppola’s film with more story and substance.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Sharp Objects

Long before Gone Girl became a sensation, I picked up Sharp Objects and fell hard for Flynn’s writing. I even did a featuring her for my high school creative writing class! Sharp Objects is a mystery but with a twist, the detective suffers from a mental illness. As the mystery unfolds you begin to realize the book is much more an unraveling of the narrator’s mystery than it is a solving of a crime.

Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber

Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber


I’ve spoken elsewhere about this novel, but it’s hold on psychology warranted a mention. Every Psych 101 student hears about the strange Sybil case and learns to debate diagnoses by going through its rocky history.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar

Last but certainly not least is the book that is beloved by high school and college girls everywhere. Plath captures the frenzy and despair of being young and suffering in her remarkable prose. Every time I read this novel I find myself discovering new meanings and nuances — on my top ten favorite books of all time!

Focus On: Book Series


It’s been a while since I’ve focused on a type of book and I though now would be the perfect time to look at some series I recently read.

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye

  1. Gods of Gotham and Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye:  These books follow Timothy Wilde a bartender turned Star Policeman in the early days of New York City. The mysteries are so intricate and well thought out you might forget you’re reading a modern novel. (Not surprising from the author of the most amazing Sherlock Holmes recreation I have ever read)Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch
  2. Midnight Riot, Moon Over Soho, Whispers Underground and Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch: Given that I finished these four books over the course of a month, it’s fair to say that I liked them! The series follows Peter Grant, constable in the British police and new magician. It is exactly like what the J.K. Rowling mystery could’ve been if she mashed together her two worlds…only much grittier.The Testing by Joelle Charbonneu
  3. The Testing and The Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneu: Another series vaguely similar to The Hunger Games, Matched and Divergent, The Testing follows ayoung girl from the outer colonies trying to get a place at University. The tests to get in are rigorous and unlike anything you can imagine. You’ll be happy to take the nice, safeSATs after reading this one!The Magician King by Lev Grossman


  4. The Magicians  and The Magician King by Lev Grossman: Though I had mixed feelings about the first book (see my review here) I recently borrowed the audiobook of The Magician King from the public library. It’s fun to go back into the world of Fillory but this book suffers from the same arrogance that plagued The Magicians.

Focus On: Witchy Reads

I use Grammarly’s free plagiarism checker because this post was born original, why make it a copy?

With a chill in the air and Halloween fast approaching its the perfect time to pull out some spooky reads. While some might like horror to get them in the mood for October 31st, I like to take a more historical approach! I’ve always been fascinated by witches in history, whether it’s the Salem witch trials or garden witches in 17th century England. Because I find the concept so fascinating, I’ve built up quite the list of witchy reads!

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)

Harkness’s books are a no brainer for me. Diana is a researcher at the Bodlein library who has turned away from her family’s magical legacy. When a mysterious manuscript crosses her path she’s forced to confront the world she’s tried so hard to avoid. Befriending a scientific researcher from All Souls college, Diana traces the manuscripts history as well as her own. Check out my review of the sequel here.

More books after the jump!

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