What a first-year publishing student reads

September of this year I officially started grad school while in the midst of a pandemic, with a sinus infection, and of course in the midst of moving to a new apartment. A few weeks in, I’m feeling much better and I’ve fully settled into grad school life.

Here’s a quick run down of how I ended up studying publishing. Like so many people working in publishing, I loved reading and writing as a child. I always had a book in hand and I ran my own newspaper from home which was distributed to my family weekly. It was always my dream to work in publishing, but I knew a love of reading and writing didn’t make a career, so I moved on but kept that dream in the back of my mind. Undergrad I studied Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and it was truly amazing. I interned at the Virginia Festival of the Book, wrote for an online magazine, and worked various other jobs. I graduated with absolutely no plans and no ideas for what I wanted my future to look like. After almost a year working a miserable customer service job and browsing the web for a graduate program that stuck out to me, I saw it- Masters in Publishing. For the first time I was absolutely sure about my future, and my dream job seemed like it could finally be a reality. I applied, got in, and here we are!

This post is a great resource for anyone who wants to study publishing in school, work in publishing one day, write a book, or is simply fascinated with how books are made.

The Publishing Business by Kelvin Smith & Melanie Ramdarshan Bold

A great overview of all stages of the publishing process, enhanced with interviews, case studies, images, and resources.

Behind the Book: Eleven Authors on Their Path to Publication by Chris MacKenzie Jones

Based on interviews with eleven first-time authors from various genres, this chronicles their process from beginning to end and shows that no book’s journey to publication is the same.

The Business of Being a Writer by Jane Friedman

Writers obviously need to know how to write, but they also need to understand business. With the help of Jane Friedman, new writers will be able to turn their passion into a career.

Dreyer’s English by Benjamin Dreyer

This is a funny and informative grammar guide from Dreyer, the copy chief of Random House.

The Book Business by Mike Shatzkin & Robert Paris Riger

A great overview of trade publishing with an easily digestible Q&A format and humorous writing.

Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto: A Collection of Essays from the Bleeding-Edge of Publishing edited by Hugh McGuire & Brian O’Leary

These essays examine how the publishing industry has been affected by technology, and where technology will still take it.

Publishing for Profit: Successful Bottom-Line Management for Book Publishers by Thomas Woll

A comprehensive and readable reference for anyone looking to understand the business side of publishing.

Breaking the Page: Transforming Books and the Reading Experience by Peter Meyers

An examination of how ebooks function today and their endless possibilities in the future. Should ebooks be an exact copy of print books, or are they an extension- something more?

The Scholarly Kitchen

If you’re not ready to commit to reading an entire book on publishing, or if you’re looking for short but informative articles, The Scholarly Kitchen is an excellent resource with knowledgeable and innovative writers. A great way to keep up-to-date with what’s going on in publishing. Image credit.

Looking to get into publishing- check out what a first year publishing student reads!

6 Standalone Novels Even the Series Lover Won’t Be Able to Put Down

If you’re anything like me, you love a good series. The longer the better! I love getting invested in characters, and watching their growth and development over multiple books. I like stories with cliff-hangers and plot twists. For all these reasons, it’s so much easier for me to get into series than standalone novels. I’ve had issue with pacing in many standalone novels. The plot sometimes moves too quickly, and characters develop relationships that feel totally forced and lacking real connection. This all makes it really hard for me to be invested in the story. But not all standalone novels don’t work for me. Below are six fantasy and contemporary standalone novels that totally did it for me! Comment and let me know what standalone novels you love.

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

I’m always looking for a good mermaid book, and To Kill a Kingdom does not disappoint. Technically, the mermaids are sirens, and they are lethal killers. The characters are flushed out and complex, and they manage to go on an epic adventure all in one book.

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

It’s pretty rare that I find a contemporary novel I like, and it’s even rarer I find one I love. Eliza and Wallace are such wonderfully written characters, with refreshingly honest struggles. This book is so dear to my heart, and I hope some of you will also love it. Read my full review here.

Roseblood by A.G. Howard

Roseblood is a Phantom of the Opera retelling set in modern times. The main character Rune is an opera singer at a boarding school, where she befriends Thorn, a mysterious masked violinist. The romance in this novel moved at just the right pace, and the plot kept me hooked the whole time. Read my full review here.

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

This is the first contemporary book I read that I really loved. The description really doesn’t do this book justice. In less than 400 pages Jeff Zentner totally makes me fall in love with his characters, then breaks my heart. Read my full review here.

Soundless by Richelle Mead

Soundless takes place in a village where there is no sound, and where the people must mine metals in exchange for food that is delivered to them. The main character Fei decides to save her village when her people start losing their sight and when food runs low. It’s super refreshing to read a book where people communicate with sign language, and I think this book does it really well.

Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Hunted is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Beauty and the Beast retellings are pretty overdone, but this one is refreshingly original. The main character, Yeva, doesn’t suffer from special-snowflake-syndrome, like so many MCs do. The magic system is very unique and fits naturally into the world. I highly recommend if you want a read that will leave you satisfied, but also craving more! Read my full review here.

Please note that if you purchase the books above through my links, a small percentage will go towards supporting this website!

7 Great Autobiographies by Women that Everyone Should Read

If you love autobiographies or are just looking to get into the genre, here are 7 of my favorite autobiographies.

Child of the Dark: The Diary of Carolina Maria de Jesus by Carolina Maria de Jesus

This is a first hand account of life in São Paulo, Brazil, written in the late 1950s to early 1960s. De Jesus was an incredible woman, and more people today need to know her story.

Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me by Lily Collins

Usually, I am not a huge fan of celebrity autobiographies. It can be hard to relate to someone whose life is so different from your own. That being said, I found Lily Collins autobiography to be very moving. Her writing was sophisticated and relatable.

The Right to Choose by Gisèle Halimi

If you are looking for a short but powerful read, The Right to Choose is for you. Halimi writes about her childhood, as well as her lawyer work fighting to legalize abortion and make it more accessible to women of all economic backgrounds. This book is out of print, so it’s very hard to come by, but if you happen to see it listed online somewhere, or in a used bookstore, snatch it up!

The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston

Kingston’s writing is confronting, gritty, and magical. The Woman Warrior details Kingston’s upbringing as a Chinese American in California. This is a great mixture of memoir, myth, and folklore, and Kingston does a great job of intertwining all three together to explore identity, family, and womanhood.

Dreams of Trespass by Fatema Mernissi

This is one of my personal favorite autobiographies. Mernissi’s writing is beautiful, and she weaves her own memories into the narratives of the women surrounding her. Mernissi gets readers to reimagine words and places that have long been defined by white colonizers.

Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog

This is another of my favorite autobiographies. Mary Crow Dog grew up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Lakota Woman chronicles her experiences as a Native American woman, including her childhood, strict missionary schooling, and her joining the tribal pride movement. Own-voices Native American literature is scarce, but this is a great place to start.

Anything We Love Can Be Saved by Alice Walker

This is one of those books that is great to read with a highlighter or pen in hand. I loved highlighting my favorite passages and making notes for myself to come back to later. Walker covers many topics in this work, from feminism to identity, but there is something in here for everyone.

Please note that some of the links are affiliate links, and if you purchase a book through them you are helping to support this website!

Collector’s Edition: Caraval

Welcome to my new series: Collector’s Edition! Each Collector’s Edition is going to be a blog post dedicated to one book/series. If you’re like me and you love collecting books and bookish merchandise then this is for you! I’m basically just compiling a list of items inspired by your favorite books to help you build your bookish collection!

First up is one of my favorite books of all time: Caraval! Legendary was recently released and it was so amazing. I’ve been eyeing lots of Caraval and Legendary inspired items lately and I thought I would compile a list for all you Stephanie Garber lovers out there.


I try not to keep multiple copies of books unless that book is one of my absolute favorites. If Caraval and Legendary are some of your favorite books, then here are some editions that definitely belong in your collection. Also note that if you buy a book using my book depository affiliate link I receive a small commission!

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The UK paperback edition is in the center, and the UK hardback on the right.

The UK Paperback edition of Caraval: I ordered this edition from Waterstones, but you can also buy it from Book Depository. The UK paperback edition has a beautiful striped spine and a circus tent on the cover.

The UK Hardback editions of Caraval and Legendary: The first print run of these editions had the secret covers. Unfortunately, since they were only on the first run, it is hard to find them these days. I found my secret cover edition on eBay for $11. Unfortunately, it is very hard to find these at a reasonable price on eBay as lots of people are selling them for upwards of $50. I ordered my Legendary edition from Waterstones. Even though you can no longer buy the editions with the special covers, I would definitely recommend buying the regular versions because they are just as beautiful!


There is nothing I love more than bookish art! I am currently working on buying some of my favorite Caraval inspired pieces so I can have them all framed together. Here are some of the most beautiful Caraval inspired art prints I can find!

‘Amidst the Game’ by Micheline Ryckman of Whimsical Illustration

Whimsical Illustration: Micheline is such a talented artist. Her work is stunning! Currently she has three Caraval inspired pieces in her shop. She has portraits of Scarlett and Julian, and she also has a painting called ‘The Perfect Ending‘ which gives me all the feels! Micheline’s prints are $24 CAD, which is roughly $18 US dollars.

Morgana0Anagrom: Salome is one of my favorite artists. Her work is gorgeous and she perfectly captures my favorite characters. Recently she did an illustration of Legend for Shelflove Crate. Right now you can buy the print for $8 in Shelflove Crate’s online shop. Usually when an artist does a print for a subscription box, the box owns the rights for a couple months, meaning the artist cannot sell the print until the rights revert back to them. Eventually Shelflove Crate will run out of their extra stock of the prints, so if that happens you might be able to find the print in Salome’s redbubble shop.

Dark and Beautiful Art: Gina is another one of my favorite artists. She recently completed a Tarot Card collection that includes portraits of Jacks, Legend, Dante, Tella, Scarlett, and Julian. She also has an illustration of Scarlett and Julian, which is gorgeous, and a Legend inspired piece. All these illustrations are available in Gina’s redbubble store, where you can get them on tons of different items.

Meliescribbles: Melanie is another insanely talented artist who has a gorgeous illustration of Scarlett in her beautiful enchanted gown. You can buy it in two sizes from her INPRNT store.


There are so many different Caraval inspired candles to choose from, there’s bound to be one for everyone. They all have different scents and come in different sizes. Here are some that would look gorgeous on your bookshelf. I know candles can be kind of expensive, so if you are going to buy them from any bookish candle company I recommend checking their instagram page to see who their reps are and using a rep code. Then you’ll get 10-15% off your order.

ThatBookieCandles: Legend smells like whiskey and blackberry sage, and Donatella smells like chocolate covered strawberries. They also have a Caraval candle which smells like the fireside and caramel popcorn. Yum!

UntiltheveryendCo: They have an entire collection of Caraval and Legendary inspired candles. Check out Legend, Tella, Jacks, Scarlett, Julian, Dante, and Caraval.

The904Store: They have candles inspired by Dante, Legend, Julian, Caraval, and Isla de los Suenos.

TotallyWickedCandles: They have a candle called Legend’s True Name that sounds like is smells AMAZING! It smells like caramel custard and smokey woods.

Quacker Candle probably has the candle I most want. Crimson smells like lavender, mandarin, and chamomile.


TheSimplyBookishCo: Their ‘Only a Game‘ tea contains rooibos, mallow flowers, rose petals, wild mava, calendula petals, natural and artificial tropical fruit flavors. Each tin is 8-10 servings for $8.50.

Lip Balm

Oriandle is a Netherlands based shop that sells tea, lip balm, candles, and more. Their Caraval lip balm smells like burnt sugar, caramel, and vanilla.

Custom Funko Pops

As of right now I can only find two Caraval inspired custom funko pops. Custom funkos are expensive, so definitely make sure you love the pop before buying it. Legend is $42  and Scarlett is $30.


If you’re looking for some cute but subtle jewelry then you should definitely check out ElissaJDesigns shop. Her Legendary Spade charm necklace is $16.

Books I Want to Reread in 2018: Part I

I always reread a ton of books each year. My memory isn’t very good, so I always forget things that happen in books. Even with The Mortal Instruments, one of my favorite book series of all time, I can never remember everything that happens. So each time I reread it it’s almost like reading it for the first time again. Here are some of the books that I plan on rereading this year.

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I will definitely be rereading Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows before the release of Queen of Air and Darkness. I’m not sure if I’m going to reread any other Cassandra Clare books, but usually I reread The Mortal Instruments every year.

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I would also like to reread The Captive Prince Trilogy this year. I read this almost a year ago, so of course I’ve forgotten nearly everything that happens. Plus they’re short and easy to get through.

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So I read Red Queen a while ago, and I really enjoyed it. Then I heard a bunch of people saying they didn’t really like Glass Sword, so I got scared and never read it. I would like to give the second book a chance though, so I’m going to reread Red Queen, since I can’t remember what happens (!) and then try Glass Sword. Hopefully I’ll like it and continue on with the series!

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I know that while I read The Raven Cycle, I really enjoyed it. But looking back I don’t remember what made me like it so much. I read this series as I was getting back into reading and rediscovering the online bookish community, so I’m wondering if all the hype surrounding it skewed my opinions. So hopefully I will reread this series.

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The Empress came out recently, and I’ve been waiting to read it until I could reread The Diabolic, which I really, really, enjoyed.

Most Anticipated Book Releases of 2018: Part I

Here are some of the books I’m most looking forward to reading this year! Let me know if any of these are on your tbr. I think my favorite covers from these are The Cruel Prince, ACOFAS, and QoAaD. My least favorite is Catwoman and Smoke in the Sun. I do like Smoke in the Sun, but I don’t like how it doesn’t really match Flame in the Mist.


The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black
Release date: January 2
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
Release date: January 30
(Disclaimer: If you buy the books through some of the links on this page, I get a small commission.)