Top 15 Favorite Reads of 2015

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As is traditional (last year’s is here) it’s time for a list of the best books I read in 2015! YAY! Because lists and books and favorites are all the best things ever. ❤

I read some gems this year, and though it was super painful trying to pick favorites, these (especially the ones near the top) make my heart explode in happiness just from looking at the titles, so I think they’re some good ones! My list is roughly in order of amount of loving them, and doesn’t include rereads. So here we go! (Prepare for much squealing…)

My top 15 reads of 2015

1. Broken Glass – Emma Clifton (in Five Glass Slippers)

brokenglasscoverSo… I spontaneously reviewed this awhile back. And it’s made it to the very top of my list this year. IT’S JUST SO PERFECT AND MY FIRST STEAMPUNK FANTASY AND ALL THE CHARACTERRRRRRRRRRRS!!!! Ahem. I just really really love this story! I want to read it again (and I’ve already read it twice). It’s just perfection and bursting with humor and snark and great dialog and plots and sooo many characters I love, especially Marius and Darcy and Henry, and it’s FUN but then it gets epic at the end and it’s so British AND I JUST LOVE IIIIIIIT! ❤ It makes me grin and keep grinning and unable to STOP grinning, whenever I think of it. GAAAHH! *tackle-hugs story* ALL OF THE LOVE! *gives Darcy and Marius an extra hug*

2. Archer’s Goon – Diana Wynne Jones

HOW. DO. I. DESCRIBE. THIS. BOOK. Ummm… I can’t! *flails around* It was Diana Wynne Jones which means it was pure distilled BRILLIANCE mixed up with total uniqueness, absolutely FANTASTIC humor, and just ALL OF THE PLOT TWISTS. Mind. Blown. I can’t get over it and it’s amazing and I think I need to read it again right now. I still love Howl’s Moving Castle the best of Diana Wynne Jones’ books (I mean… it’s my favorite book EVER besides The Lord of the Rings) BUT I THINK ARCHER’S GOON MIGHT BE SECOND. Maybe. Ahem. All of the characters are fantastic and the dialog and the humor and it’s timey-wimey and sci-fi and fantasy and modern and super confusing and I just love it a lot. Ack. ❤

3. The Ordinary Princess – M. M. Kaye

This was, in a word, PERFECT. ^_^ It just makes me so happy. I can’t. *beams and huggles book* It’s a sort of original fairytale type of thing, feeling like it has some hints of Sleeping Beauty and maybe a couple others, but mostly its own thing. It was just a quick read that was ADORABLE and sweet and perfect, and I loved the illustrations, and the character of the Ordinary Princess herself was awesome, and Peregrine who I loved a ton, and they were so cute together and just alskdjljlsjk it makes me happy and is a perfect little book. ^_^ ❤

4. Illusionarium – Heather Dixon

I’ve been dying to read this ever since reading Entwined. Needless to say, I pounced on it. The internet is probably still reeling with the incoherent fangirling babbles I shared on this blog about Illusionarium… Ahem. So suffice it to say, despite the creepiness, that I LOVED THIS BOOK AND THE DIALOG AND HUMOR AND EPIC STEAMPUNKNESS AND ESPECIALLY LOCKWOOD. LOCKWOOOOD!!!!! *flails around forever and a day* Basically, Lockwood. ❤ I just can’t get over that indescribable airguardsman snarky fiery epic trigger-happy roguish awesome Lieutenant Lockwood. (And he and Jonathan are a great pair. XD I love themmm.) (BUT LOCKWOOD. SO MUCH. ❤ ❤ ❤ )

5. The Pinhoe Egg – Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones books are always wonderful, but this one’s one of my top, like… four? of hers? (Howl’s Moving Castle, Archer’s Goon, The Crown of Dalemark, and this, are my favorites.) This was the conclusion to the Chrestomanci series, which I started late in 2014, and read most of this year. AAAHHH I LOVED THIS BOOK. It returned to the hero of the first book, Cat (who is great), and there were shenanigans and it had sooo much more of Chrestomanci himself than a lot of the others (which is pretty much my one complaint usually, since he usually only shows up a little in the midst of other people’s adventures). THERE WAS ALSO A GRIFFIN. AND CHRESTOMANCI AND AND AND ASLKDJFLK I just really really really love Chrestomanci and I need some fancy dressing gowns to wear around the house like he does. Except he has a castle… BASICALLY I WANT TO LIVE AT CHRESTOMANCI CASTLE AND READ ABOUT CHRESTOMANCI FOREVER. Because CHRESTOMANCI!!!!! ❤ ❤ Ahem.

6. Frederica – Georgette Heyer

After reading and loving The Grand Sophy in 2014, I wanted to try another Georgette Heyer, so this happened. I LOVED IT. The characters, just… aaagh! I loved them. LORD ALVERSTOKE. He’s one of those kind of awful fellows who’s sort of vain/spoiled, a lot like Howl actually, and yet he ends up being all noble too and just alskdjflklaskdj I love Alverstoke, he’s wonderful. And his relationship with the heroine and with her younger brothers — just YES! I don’t actually read a lot of regency historical romance sorts of things but this one was great. There’s also an airballoon and a crash and all of the DIALOG, my goodness it’s wonderful.

7. The Penderwicks in Spring – Jeanne Birdsall

AAAAHHHHH. I’ve been waiting for this ever since I read the first three Penderwick books (I even reread them this year!) and it was amazing. I was actually surprised because in a way it was so SAD but also the usual hilarious and just… I love the Penderwicks, okay. I LOVE THEMMMM. This family. Just. THEY ARE PRECIOUS. *gathers them in a hug* It was a little strange because it’s years after the previous ones and the three older girls are like TEENS and Batty’s 11 and… yes. o.o And I should have been upset, especially with all the sad, but I just LOVED. IT. SO. MUCH. Also there were like ten billion characters and the author juggled them all SO well and the writing is golden and ALL OF THE FEELS. I wish I could write like that. Basically I waited a long time for it and it did NOT disappoint. ❤

8. Conrad’s Fate – Diana Wynne Jones

This was a sort of Chrestomanci prequel because it involves him (Christopher) when he was a teen. LET ME FLAIL. Like Illusionarium, it was a great buddy-movie story (as I call them; even when they’re not movies… *cough*) and… Chrestomanci and the hero are so much fun together and I DON’T EVEN KNOW. But it was Diana Wynne Jones and I remember having so much fun and just really ENJOYING this! *flail* Chrestomanci as a youngster is just fabulous to read about, so sneaky but refined but clever and just brilliant and the dialog and I just loved it. ❤

9. Power of Three – Diana Wynne Jones

How. I. What. It. SOMETHING! *flailing* This was totally not what I was expecting and it was so DIFFERENT (something Diana Wynne Jones excels at) and PLOT TWIST! Wow. Also I loved all of the characters, especially the two who were like the hero (you’ll understand if you’ve read it), and it just had a lot of brilliance going on! It was epic. It felt rather different than her other stuff–a bit more like the Dalemark books than her “fun” ones… But I still adored it. Plus, the flashback where the fellows were drunk and met Titch was sheer gold. *dies of laughter*

10. Plenilune – Jennifer Freitag

This is here basically because DAMMERUNG!!!!! It was EXHAUSTING to read and took me from Christmas till August to read… like really heavy chocolate cake. Or the ocean. It was a little much, kind of too rich if you know what I mean, but it was totally worth it for Dammerung. He’s, like, possibly my favorite character this year. Possibly one of my top favorite characters of EVER. Like… HE’S UP THERE WITH HOWL, OKAY? Dammerung is just AMAZING and this monster of a 600+ page book of exhaustingly gorgeous poetical prose is totally worth it just for him. (And Rupert was amazing too. I have very complex feels about Rupert. Which makes me super glad that Dammerung is there to cancel those out because he just blows everything away with his amazingness). Like… he’s funny and powerful and heroic and epic and just… HE’S LIKE THE COOLEST EVER. Dammerung has a very special place in my heart. ^____^ ❤ ❤ ❤

11. The Skin Map – Stephen R. Lawhead

This was an AMAZING book. Contemporary/time-travel/fantasy/sci-fi-ish/historical… it has a little bit of everything. The writing and setting and just the entire thing is STUNNINGLY well done, not to mention the cast of characters, each of whom I love to bits! Arthur, Cosimo, Kit, Etzel, Wilhemina! (I even love the heroine!) Just. Gaaahh. It was a fantastic book, and would have been much higher up the list if it weren’t for something that happened in the last twenty pages… *cough cough* But I’ve actually gotten over that (mostly) and all I can think of is how amazing this book was and how much I want to read the sequels! *huggles all the characters* It was just a DELIGHT to read!

stonecurse12. Stone Curse – Jenelle Schmidt (in Five Enchanted Roses)

I reviewed this one on the blog and just YES. Beauty and the Beast retelling, which I ALWAYS love… And RITTER! ❤ Ritter and his heroicness and humor and just aaaahh I love him so much! And the setting and the fairytale feel and BAREND the Beast, down to loving the heroine, Karyna, a ton as well. I just… Gaaah. ^_^ *huggles all of them* The whole cast of characters and their relationships… just fantastic. SUCH A GREAT READ! ❤

13. Corroded Thorns – Emma Clifton

Aaand I also reviewed this one (more Beauty and the Beast, yay!) and it’s the sequel to my top favorite of the year, Broken Glass, and I sort of consider them one book because it’s so interconnected, sooo I couldn’t resist putting this on the list too! DARCY!!! Eeep. I just looooved this story and the characters AND THE ENDING WAS PERFECTION OH MY GOODNESS SO MUCH LOVE FOR THAT. ❤

14. Tahn – L. A. Kelly

This was the VERY first book I read in 2015, so it’s possibly a little hazy in my memory… But I know it was an exciting adventuresome read, with some good stuff, and was a little grittier than I usually like but still fabulous. And, like with Plenilune, it’s mostly here for one of my favorite characters of the year, namely the title character himself, Tahn. Tahn is the absolute epitome of my favorite archetype of characters, what I call the “dark guy”. (I’ve heard “anti-hero” used as well.) But I really really love him and his story and it was awesome.

15. The Book of Sight – Deborah Dunlevy

This book… I don’t know. It just made me happy. It was one of my first “random” ebooks I tried, since it was free on Kindle at the time and sounded interesting. I got so addicted that I’ve since bought all three of the sequels which are currently out (looking forward to reading The Poisoned Cure soon!) and already hoping the fifth/final book will come out soon! It’s a modern fantasy story, and it just… somehow kind of reminds me of the sort of stories I’m writing with my Kedran’s Wood series. I just enjoy it and it’s about these kids, a group of friends, in a little modern town, and their dealings with fantastical stuff that they start running into. Also, I really love Dominic. But it’s just a fun read, so… yes. It makes me think of sunshine. 🙂

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You mayyy notice a trend*, which is that books are much likelier to be extremely loved/high on my list when there’s a particular character I really like in the story… What can I say. I’m evidently extremely attached to fictional people. But I’d say that Dammerung, Lockwood, and Chrestomanci are my favorite characters this year. THEY’RE THE BESSST!

(*Whaaat, you thought I was going to say that the trend was Howl? HAHAHA. Fooled you. XD Ahem. Sorry. Howl does whatever he likes, and apparently that includes stealing the show in a blogpost that doesn’t even involve him… *cough*)

So there’s my list! Have you read any of these? (You totally should!) Do you have any favorite reads of 2015? TELL ALL IN THE COMMENTS! ^_^

Hopefully this next year of 2016 will hold some wonderful reads in it for all of us! ❤

Happy New Year, everyone!

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Fall 2015 Books

Today is the first day of Autumn! Yayness! Can you feel it in the air? Maybe? Almost? …Ahem. Autumn just kind of excites me because it’s not going to be as HOT and it feels adventurous and it smells nice and feels nice and of course NaNo will be soon and… you get the picture. I LIKE AUTUMN. There.

Also, yesterday (Sept. 22) was Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday. Couldn’t let that go un-noted… HAPPY BIRTHDAY GUYS. (Yes, I always celebrate the Long Expected Party, even if it’s just by thinking about it.)

I’ve heard it called Hobbit Day… and yesterday for it, Rebekah @ Wordsmithing and Worldbuilding posted possibly my favorite Middle-earth-ish post ever.

Everyone, go read it.

Fans of Tolkien and Lord of the Rings and Middle-earth: read the post because you will understand and it will ring true (no pun intended).

Non-fans: read the post because it will show you why you should become a fan and read the books.

I just love that post a lot and it reminded me again of all the reasons why The Lord of the Rings is my favorite book and Tolkien my favorite author, and… it made my soul happy. ^_^ ❤

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And now, with a new season, once again, it’s time for some book anticipation…

*drumroll*

Here is a list of books coming out this Autumn that look interesting to me!

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The Poisoned CureDeborah Dunlevy

September 8, 2015

Okay, so this one is technically already out, and before Autumn officially hits. But still! I’m so very very excited about this! I need to get my hands on it. NEED. The first book in the series, The Book of Sight, was one of those random free Kindle downloads I did a lot of when I first got my Kindle app. Except that this one I actually read it. And loved it so much that I actually bought the second and third book. (Bought. This is the person who doesn’t buy books very often, especially not e-books.) And I actually read them. And I’ve been waiting on the edge of my seat for the fourth to release — and I hear there’s going to be a fifth, which makes me all kinds of excited!

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

September 29, 2015

I know nothing about this except it’s apparently set in the same world as Shadow and Bone which I know nothing about except that it’s quite popular and several people I know seem to love it so I want to perhaps try it… But Six of Crows is on my wishlist because it sounds like an awesome fantasy heisty book. What is not to like? No idea if it’s cool or not but it certainly sounds cool…

THE SUNKEN REALM KINDLE COVER SEPT 2015

The Sunken Realm – Serena Chase

September 30, 2015

Ever since I finished reading The Seahorse Legacy, I’ve basically been dying to read the conclusion. So… yes. Though I do hear that The Seahorse Legacy was kind of redone, so I must read that again as well! Bwahaha. ALL OF THE EPIC PIRATENESS. And and aaaaand… CAZIEN. ‘Nuff said. ❤

A Thousand Nights – E. K. Johnson

October 6, 2015

In this case, I’m entirely guilty of cover-love. I totally am only interested in it because of its gorgeous cover. Well, that and I think it’s a retelling of Arabian Nights which just sounds awesome because retellings! I have no idea if it will be any good or not though.

The Golden BraidMelanie Dickerson

November 17, 2015

Another medieval fairytale retelling of Hagenheim from Melanie Dickerson! I’ve loved previous installments in the series, and I keep hearing there are secrets and surprises in store for this one… Plus, THAT COVER. ❤ Needless to say, I’m very excited! Also, Rapunzel. It will be interesting to see how it’s retold in this tale!


Defying ShadowsAshley Townsend

November 2015

This is the sequel to Chasing Shadows, which I reviewed. I’m curious what will happen next with the romance and timey-wimey stuff and Robin-Hood hints and that ending of Chasing Shadows… Yes. Very curious… (Also scared of how it will turn out. But still curious. XD)


So there you are! What I’m looking forward to. I probably won’t manage to get hold of them all, but y’know me and my lists. 😉 It’s still fun, right?

Are you excited about any of these? (Aren’t they pretty covers?? #shallowbookworm)

Any you hadn’t heard of before?

And what are you excited for coming out this Fall? 🙂

ALSO IT’S FALL, GUYS. FAAAAAAAAALL! ❤ *throws leaves spontaneously*

Coffee Book Tag!

Tag Catch-Up Post #1

Cait at Paper Fury tagged me for the Coffee Book Tag! WHICH EXCITES ME SO MUCH. For those of you who don’t know, Cait is a fabulous book blogger and also queen of the world. *nod nod* Go check out her hilarious blog, do! And become a minion/pineapple while you’re at it — you know you want to. Know why? *whispers* Cait gives out cake.

FergusBadge
So here’s the funny thing: I don’t really drink coffee. I really enjoy it when I do! But I just… don’t really drink it all that often.

BUT. I am still doing this lovely tag because of many reasons including how cool of an idea comparing books to coffee varieties is.

I am also taking a page out of Cait’s book (ha ha!) and getting a bit into book photography. Mwahaha. It’s super time consuming but sooo fun.

So let’s get to it!

The Coffee Book Tag

BLACK: NAME A SERIES THAT’S TOUGH TO GET INTO BUT HAS HARDCORE FANS.

1

The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien

I am a hardcore fan of The Lord of the Rings! …Not so much of black coffee. Ahem. But SOME people seem to think LotR is hard to get into. What even. I can’t even imagine what is wrong with them. It’s fabulous! Okay so maaaayybe it starts a little slow and is enormous. I can understand that. But it’s so so so worth it. Just look at that sweeping epic and the fantasy and the elves and the Rohirrim and the hobbits and Aragorn and Faramir and Eowyn and Eomer and Merry and Legolas and Gandalf and all of the epicness that ensues on their adventures and isn’t it just positively the best ever, preciousss? Yes, we are hardcore fans.

PEPPERMINT MOCHA: NAME A BOOK THAT GETS MORE POPULAR DURING THE WINTER OR A FESTIVE TIME OF YEAR.

2

Wintermoon Wish – Sharon Shinn

I had the hardest time with this, because all I could think of was A Christmas Carol. Which I enjoyed, but it doesn’t taste like a peppermint mocha! It’s more like… cinnamon. So instead I’m actually going with a short story (don’t shoot me) which is in the collection “Firebirds Rising” edited by Sharyn November; most of the stories in it were frankly blech. But there were a few I liked, and my favoritest of ALL was “Wintermoon Wish” by Sharon Shinn. I ADORED IT OKAY. It’s some fantasy-world-ish version of a winter holiday like Christmas, called, yes, Wintermoon. And it’s just the most perfect little short story ever. Plus it has Jake. Which is reason enough for fabulousness. So maybe I’m bending the rules a bit, since probably no one’s even HEARD of it, but it gets more popular with ME, so that’s got to count, right?

HOT CHOCOLATE: WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CHILDREN’S BOOK?

3

A Bear Called Paddington – Michael Bond

I just love Paddington. Everyone read this book. It’s perfect and hilarious and adorable and just perfect. Paddington Bear is one of my favorite characters, and he gets into such delightful scrapes and messes, but you know everything will be okay… eventually. I just love how he’s a BEAR in the midst of all the ordinary English people, and their reactions are the best. Plus, I love his hard stare, and his hat, and his love of marmalade and how he’s from Darkest Peru. Paddington’s the best, guys.

DOUBLE SHOT OF ESPRESSO: NAME A BOOK THAT KEPT YOU ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT FROM START TO FINISH.

4

Illusionarium – Heather Dixon

Ohhhhh my did it ever. I was so hooked on this thing! It was my first (and only thus far) steampunk novel to read. MAN WAS IT TENSE. I was so caught up in everything and read it in one day and I loved the characters and it was all fascinating and terrifying and Lookwood might be my favorite character so far this year, maybe, just because I’ve never met a character like him!! I have pigeon-holes for character types I like and… he didn’t fit. HE WAS NEW. I love him a lot, that teenage swaggering blond royal-airguardsman with an ego and a temper and an eyepatch and a sort of fierce British temperament like you wouldn’t believe. ❤ The book was partially too scary for me, but it certainly kept me on the edge of my seat.

STARBUCKS: NAME A BOOK YOU SEE EVERYWHERE.

5

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

Disclaimer: I haven’t read The Hunger Games yet. And this one belongs to my brother. And it’s the only one of my list today that I HAVEN’T read (though I have seen the films thus far…) But it is positively everywhere, wouldn’t you say?

THAT HIPSTER COFFEE SHOP: GIVE A BOOK BY AN INDIE AUTHOR A SHOUTOUT

6

The Book of Sight – Deborah Dunlevy

The Book of Sight was a random book I downloaded for my Kindle app for free, but actually got around to reading and kind of adored. It’s a contemporary fantasy about a few teens in a little town, who find this book and… yeah, I won’t give it away, but it’s awesome. It’s kind of whimsical and interesting… and in fact reminds me somewhat of my own contemporary fantasy I write, so it was fun and I just… really enjoyed myself reading it! So, shoutout! Go check it out, y’all.

OOPS! I ACCIDENTALLY GOT DECAF: NAME A BOOK YOU WERE EXPECTING MORE FROM.

7

The Ravenmaster’s Secret – Elivra Woodruff

So I should have loved this book! The main character’s name is Forrest, he lives at the Tower of London, it’s set in the 1700’s, has Scottish rebels, the heroine’s a Stewart, there’s schemes and escapes and basically what’s not to like?? Unfortunately, it did it all wrong and the ending was wrong wrong wrong and gaaahh I got so frustrated with this book! *flail* Rawr. It makes me upset. And such a pretty cover, too! Call me disappointed. *glowers at decaf*

THE PERFECT BLEND: NAME A BOOK OR SERIES THAT WAS BOTH BITTER AND SWEET, BUT ULTIMATELY SATISFYING.

8

The Westmark Trilogy – Lloyd Alexander

This trilogy by Lloyd Alexander, consisting of Westmark, The Kestrel, and The Beggar Queen… I LOVE THEM. They definitely have their share of bitter (*cough*characterdeaths*cough*) which normally should have made me dislike the books, but it didn’t matter because I just LOVED them so much and they left me jittery with book happiness because they were perfect and I loved them, despite the sad. So this is indeed the bitter and sweet and satisfying perfect blend. (Also, 1700’s type of tale, you know…)

GREEN TEA: NAME A BOOK OR SERIES THAT IS QUIETLY BEAUTIFUL.

9

Orphan’s Song – Gillian Bronte Adams

Orphan’s Song feels so quietly beautiful and green-tea like to me… The world and the characters and the tale and the allegory and subtle magical notes of song — it’s just gorgeous in a quiet sort of way and I adore it. Also griffin. GRIFFIN. And it feels so GREEN and fantasy ish and I love the characters so much and the writing is just lovely. (And by the way it ended bad and I’m still waiting for the sequel! I needs it, precious!!)

CHAI TEA: NAME A BOOK OR SERIES THAT MAKES YOU DREAM OF FAR OFF PLACES.

10

The Iron Ring – Lloyd Alexander

Most kinds of books I read make me dream of far off places, but most of them that I read about (fantasy worlds and the British Isles…) feel actually closer to me in a way than my own place of dwelling. So I’m going to say Lloyd Alexander’s India folklore type story, The Iron Ring, which just feels so rich and foreign and unique and culturally deep and golden but also familiar in that way a dream is, that I just want to go there and see it. Also elephants and tigers and gems and Ashwara.

EARL GREY: NAME YOUR FAVOURITE CLASSIC.

11

Kidnapped – Robert Louis Stevenson

Scotland! 1700’s! (Again…) Alan Breck Stewart! Kidnapping! The high seas! Murder! Traveling through the Highlands with redcoats on your tail! Friendship! Love! (Or… love if you tack on the sequel, David Balfour/Catriona, which I consider the second half and therefore inseparable…) What’s not to like? Plus the accents. I love the accents. And it sticks in me mind that Alan is delightfully droll and witty, ye ken? There’s nae gettin’ away frae it, e’en if ye’d want to — which, weel, why would ye, then?? And I love the relationship between Alan and Davy… And it’s just all around swashbuckling awesomeness! Best. Classic. Ever.

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So! I’m supposed to tag people… Which means I’m trying to think of people who like coffee and drawing a blank. XD I’m afraid I don’t pay good enough attention to who the coffee fans are and aren’t… my bad.

I Tag:

Kayla @ The Wordsmithy’s Shop

Elfie @ Dream Dancer

Ana @ Butterflies of the Imagination

C.B. @ The World of the Writer

Katie Grace @ A Writer’s Faith

Emma Clifton @ Peppermint and Prose

And y’all only have to do it if you want, and are not required to. 😉

And all of you reading this: If you have a blog and either think it looks fun, or like coffee and books, then you are officially TAGGED.

…And if you don’t like books . . . oh my goodness what are you doing reading my blog you must be lost you poor soul!! O_O You’d best hop on along to… wherever it is online non-bookish people frequent. I wouldn’t know.

READERS, DO YOU LIKE COFFEE? Or any of these books? Favorite flavors…? Educate me about coffee or what books you’d pick for these categories! Tell me all!