Monthly Recommendations Investigation: Underrated Books

August’s Monthly Recommendations theme is a hot topic for us booknerds: underrated books. We all have our favorites that just didn’t get the hype we think they deserved.

However, instead of discussing books that I think don’t get enough hype, I’m going to be talking about truly underrated books in my book- in other words, Goodreads. I have a few favorite books that don’t have the highest of star ratings on Goodreads. And I am here to admit that about 80% of the time, if I see that a book is well-read and has less than a 3.5 star rating on Goodreads, I likely won’t pick it up. Today I’ll be talking about books that have less than a 4 star rating on Goodreads, but I gave a 4-5 Stars.

Finding Felicity by Stacey Kade

Goodreads: 3.5 Star

My Rating: 4 Stars

College YA is one of my favorite sub-genres, and I really liked Finding Felciity’s story and main MC. I loved the incorporation of the real-life TV show, Felicity. I think readers would have maybe rated the book more if it incorporated a slightly more popular TV show. I’ve only seen one episode of Felicity myself, which was right after finishing Finding Felicity.

The Last Boy & Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian

Goodreads: 3.46

My Rating: 4

My poor girl Siobhan Vivian unfortunately tends to have lower ratings on Goodreads. I’m even a little disappointed that Stay Sweet has a 3.82 right now. When I read The Last Boy & Girl in the World back in 2016, I was a bit nervous going in because of its rating, but I thought it was a really unique YA read. Tell me how many books you’ve read about a girl who decides to stay behind when her town is forced to evacuate after going under water.

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

Goodreads: 3.53

My Rating: 5

My 5 star rating of Bonfire isn’t me defending Krysten Ritter like she’s my favorite actress. Apologies to my Marvel-loving sister, but I haven’t even watched Jessica Jones. Bonfire was one of my favorite 2017 reads. It was such an addicting read for its mystery and thriller vibes.

My New Crush Gave to Me by Shani Petroff

Goodreads: 3.71

My Rating: 4.5

I’m always looking for festive-themed reads around Christmas, and My New Crush Gave to Me put me in the perfect holiday spirit. I loved it for putting me further into the holiday spirit and it has plenty of rom-com vibes.

A Taxonomy of Love by Rachael Allen

Goodreads: 3.9

My rating: 4.5

Okay, I know 3.9 is not the lowest of ratings, so A Taxonomy of Love falls more so under the underhyped category than low-rated. However, it only has 549 ratings on Goodreads, meaning more people need to read this 2018 standout! Our MC, Spencer, has Tourette’s syndrome and the book has such a great cast of characters- there may be some High School Musical jokes involved. Overall, A Taxonomy of Love is a fantastic diverse book about growing up.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Goodreads: 3.82

My Rating: 4.5

Again, not the lowest of ratings at all, but how does this book not have over a 4 stars (besides that every reader is entitled to their own opinions)? Celeste Ng is one of my favorite authors, if not my favorite adult fiction author, and Everything I Never Told is such a beautifully written and emotion-filled book.

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

Goodreads: 3.15

My Rating: 4

The lowest of Goodreads ratings here today, Emma Straub’s books tend to have low (less than 3.5) ratings on Goodreads. While The Vacationers wasn’t the most perfect of books- I had problems with some members of our big cast of characters, I wrote in my Goodreads review that I really enjoyed the storyline and other characters.

Monthly Recommendations consists of a group of BookTubers and bloggers that share monthly recommendations based on a specific theme each month. Monthly Recommendations can be found here on Goodreads.

What are some of your favorite books that are underrated? Share in the comments! 

 

 

HAPEE BELATED BIRTHDAE: Harry Potter Tag

Who says that you can’t celebrate Harry Potter’s birthdy a week later? The lovely Emily of A Literary Life nominated me to do the Harry Potter Tag, and it took a flick of my wand to write this tag immediately. And that’s a lot coming from this terrible book tag do-er (many apologies to Rebecca of Bookishly Rebecca for nominating me for all the tags and awards, but I have a surprise for her at the end of this post). Without further ado, let’s get back to Hogwarts.

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Which House are you in?

I’m a Hufflepuff! I am here to admit that it took everything in me (and 3 Pottermore retakes) a few years ago to accept that this book nerd is not a Ravenclaw.

What is your Patronus?

I still need that mug that says “My Patronus is Lesli Knope” in my life, but by Pottermore standards, it’s a Falcon.

What is your wand?

Cedar wood with a dragon heartstring core, 10 ¼ in and unbending flexibility

What would your Boggart be?

Bugs. Lots of bugs.

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What position would you play in Quidditch?

Chaser, since it’s the most similar to a forward position in field hockey.

Would you be Pure Blood, Half Blood or Muggle Born?

Maybe Half Blood because there’s got to be some other reason why my mom is so good at everything!

What job would you like to have after graduating from Hogwarts?

I think I would love to own a sweet shop, like Honeydukes. No worries, there wouldn’t be any Fred and George Weasley-concocted treats.

Which of the Deathly Hollows would you choose?

Invisibility Cloak. Hiding out in a bookstore after closing sounds pretty easy with this one.

Favorite Book?

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This definitely isn’t the happiest of the books, but I love so much about this book (expect maybe what happens in Dumbledore’s tower).

Least Favorite Book?

Harry Potter and the Chamber Secrets. I’ve actually grown to love this one more with my rereads and movie marathons, but I think I thought of this more as a “filler” book when I read it the first two times.

Favorite Film?

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I love seeing the Triwizard Tourtament come to life, and this movie is sentimental for me because it’s the only one I saw in the theater.

Least favorite film?

Harry Potter annnndddddd I really don’t know?? Maybe Deathly Hollows: Part 1 because we had to go in knowing this really wasn’t the end?

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Favorite Character?

Neville! And of course this doesn’t have anything to do with Matthew Lewis playing him on-screen… I also love Luna! I am a hardcore Neville and Luna shipper.

Least favorite character?

Lucius Malfoy

Favorite Hogwarts Professor?

McGonagall

Do you have any unpopular opinions about the series?

I don’t think I have any too pressing of unpopular opinions, but I do think Hermione and Ron were meant to be together. I think Harry and Hermione would’ve been too much of an expected set up. Additionally, as much fun as it is for J.K. Rowling to keep us in the Wizarding World on Twitter, I sort’ve dislike how she keeps bringing up ways she would’ve changed the series, like not having Ron and Hermione be end game, and even sharing that Ron should’ve died.

I tag:

What’s your favorite and least favorite HP book? Share in the comments!

STARS HOLLOW MEETS 4 SISTERS: The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls Review

Summary: One summer can everything the four Garrett sisters thought they knew about each other- and themselves. Des finds herself taking a lot of responsibility for her family and their independent bookstore, but why being the oldest have to make her the most responsible? When does she get to have time for her art and friends? As part of their shared plan, Bea and her boyfriend are headed for Georgetown together in the fall. But what if eighteen-year old Bea doesn’t want what thirteen-year old Bea wanted anymore? Kat lands the lead in the community theater’s summer play, but the drama continues offstage when her ex and his new girlfriend are also cast. Can revenge play a part in their version of Little Women? Vi has a crush on the latest Nina LaCour novel and the girl next door. But Cece has a boyfriend, so that means she could never like Vi, right?

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

Jessica Spotswood’s The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls was the summer contemporary that my book soul needed. A book about four sisters and their small town, including THEIR BOOKSTORE??

I read Jessica Spotwood’s acknowledgements at the end of the book, and I think her idea of “Little Women meets Gilmore Girls by way of Sarah Dessen” truly came to life on the page. I didn’t make the four sisters and Kat starring in the community theater’s production of Little Women connection until reading this! This book just felt very homey many thanks to its sisterhood and small town setting. There were also plenty of pop culture references, especially from Vi, who is a Nina LaCour queen. It was really fun to see her and Des talk about YA books that most YA readers would know. A few other pop culture references that come up include Riverdale, The 100, and Hamilton.

The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls alternates between the four perspectives of the four Garrett Girls; Des, Bea, Kat, and Vi. I think Jessica Spotswood did a nice job of overlaying each of the girls’ lives without being too repetitive, like when they all went to the farm part or their Fourth of July happenings. However, there were instances where dialogue was repeated and small details about side characters were mentioned a few times.

While I didn’t dislike any sisters in particular, I think Kat was my favorite. I really enjoyed her relationship with Mase, and seeing her work in the cat café was so much fun. I also enjoyed Vi’s relationship with Cece and their dog walks, and it was interesting to see Bea work out life after high school. As the oldest sister myself, I thought I would relate to Des the most, and while I do relate to some of her responsibilities (I wish being the manager of my family’s bookstore was among them), I didn’t understand some the decisions she made.

One thing that I was surprised to find in my finished book? Grammatical errors! I admit that I can be bit of a speed reader (what can I say, I need to know what happens NOW), but there were at least two instances where I read over the passage multiple times. I realized that in one instance, words were missing, and another passage needed a quotation mark.

Overall, The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls is the perfect summer contemporary if you’re looking for sisterhood and Gilmore Girls in book form. Aside from some of the repetitiveness, I think having all four perspectives worked in this book because the Garrett Girls each had their own personality and storyline, while connecting all together by the end.

Have you read The Last Summer of the Garret Girls? Share in the comments!

How to Read in the Pool

In many of my blog posts this summer, I’ve mentioned how I’ve been doing a lot of reading by the pool. Don’t worry, this beach girl has been to the shore plenty of times this season. But between my internship and work schedules, family, some really fun events, and LIFE, I’ve found wanted to relax at home near the books and pool a bit more.

And when often when I say reading by the pool, I really mean reading in the pool. I consider myself to be many things: reader, fangirl, sister, Pawnee goddess, and QUEEN OF POOL READING. One of my best bookish friends IRL thinks I’m crazy for getting my books near the water, but I do some of my best reading while floating around. I think it’s mostly comes from the fact that I’m multi-tasking (girl has to get her summer tan somehow!) and don’t have my phone or laptop within reach. Sorry, but how to blog in the pool won’t be coming from me anytime soon.

Today I’m going to be teaching you how to read in the pool without getting your book wet. Okay, maybe how to avoid minimal damage because there are plenty of moments where I have to duck under water in fear of being stung by a bee.

What You Need:

  • A Pool. I feel like reading could also work in a hot tub without all the bubbles or a river/lake? Where it won’t work: the ocean or any setting that involves waves or splashing and not being able to maintain balance
  • Swimming attire. I’ve found most of my bathing suits at Old Navy and Kohls, and a ton of my friends recommend Target
  • A raft or tube/floatie. I personally like reading on a raft so I can easily tan on my back or stomach. If it’s a strong sun day, I like to sit in a floating chair that keeps you half in the water and cool.
  • 1-2 beach towels
  • Sunglasses (optional)
  • Hat (optional)

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Reading tan lines are a thing, trust me.

Directions

Step 1. Have your raft near the entry point of your pool. For me, this is by the ladder.

Step 2. Place your book and towel(s) in a place where you can easily reach them from in the pool and on the raft. I usually keep my book wrapped in one of the towels on top of the ladder or on the ledge.

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Step 3. Get on the raft. Try not to get too much water on it, especially if you plan on reading on your stomach (further instructions for backside reading ahead). Make sure the raft stays near to where your books and towels are.

Step 4. Odds are you and the raft did get wet while getting aboard. Take one of the towels and dry off your hands. If you plan on reading on your stomach, try and wipe as much water off at the head of the raft. I recommend bringing two towels for this process because the towel is most likely going to get soaked (especially if you drop it right in the water like I often do…).

Step 5. Book time! Grab your book and get reading! If you are reading on your stomach, I recommend taking one of your towels, laying it across the head of your raft, and laying your book on the towel. The corner of the towel will likely get wet, depending on the size of your draft, but the book should stay safe! I recommend also wearing a hat and/or sunglasses. Sunlight + paper= brightness.

For flipping while reading

So your back is starting to feel a bit red? If only they made sunscreen that lasts long enough for marathon reading! Whether you’re flipping from your stomach to back or vice-versa, these steps should hopefully make for keeping your book safe as possible. Unless you have zero balance like yours truly.

Step 1. Get your book to a safe and dry place, preferably where you first had it at your entry point. If you were reading on your stomach, move your towel also.

Step 2. FLIP WITHOUT FLOPPING INTO THE WATER LIKE YOURS TRULY. If you anticipate falling into the water, make sure your book is a splash-free zone

Step 3. Repeat steps 4 & 5 from above.

Fangirl Fury is not responsible for any damage to your while reading in the water. Enter with your fictional BFFs at your own risk.

Do you read in the pool? Any tips? Share in the comments!

SO WE’RE DOING THIS: August (ARC) TBR

It’s official: slowly, but surely I am becoming a summer TBR person! After creating a July TBR and sticking with it for the most part, I decided to create an August TBR. This is a disclaimer mostly to myself that I may read all, more, or less of the books listed below. I am going on vacation for a few days this month and I’ll be heading back to school in a few weeks *le sigh that I probably won’t be reading 10+ books a month between 3 jobs, 5 classes, and all the fun college things for the rest of the year* (but I am excited for me and my roommate’s plan to catch up on Game of Thrones and The Handmaid’s Tale).

In other fun TBR news, 2018 will be my first year participating in Read.Sleep.Repeat’s ARC August Reading Challenge.  The goal of the challenge is to read as many of your advance reading copies as you can. There’s also a readathon, bookish bingo, and plenty of fun giveaways in store for participants too!I gratefully have a few fall and winter ARCs on my TBR, and I plan on at least reading 7 ARCs this month along with some backlist titles.

ARCs 

People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins (September 4)- Ellen Hopkins is a well-respected author in the book community and in my friend group, not to mention an author I haven’t read yet.

Sadie by Courtney Summer (September 4) – Everyone needs a good thriller, and I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about Sadie.

Unclaimed Baggage by Jenn Doll (September 18)- My contemporary mood is still very much alive this summer-when is it not? Unclaimed Baggage follows three teens who work in a store with the same title, and so many of the reviews I’ve seen so far discuss how cute it is! I mean how could it not be with that cover?

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Pride by Ibi Zoboi (September 18)- I am here to admit that I have never read Pride and Prejudice, but I am ready to read this Pride and Prejudice retelling.

The War Outside by Monica Hesse (September 25)- Another one of my most anticipated 2018 releases, Monica Hesse is one of my favorite historical fiction authors.

Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman (October 2)- Dry is easily one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and I’m still figuring out how I didn’t immediately read this one after Book Expo. I’m really excited to see this collab between father and son, Neal and Jarrod Shusterman.

Mammoth by Jill Baguchinsky (November 6)- Mammoth is another book I am so excited to read, and all of the amazing early reviews I’ve seen makes me want to pick it up immediately! A fashionista and paleontologist MC? I’m ready!

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The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir- This book sounds too much like a TLC show about a BIG, conservative family to pass up.

All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover – I’ve decided to give Colleen Hoover another shot with her latest release, All Your Perfects. After having mixed feelings about the relationships in It Ends With Us and November 11, I decided to give her books a break for a while. I think All Your Perfects will either encourage me to pick up more of her books or stop me from picking up anymore.

Alex Approximately by Jenn Bennett- Starry Eyes has me really excited to read Alex Approximately, especially since so many of my fellow blogger friends love it!

What books are on your August TBR? Are you participating in ARC August? Share in the comments!

 

BOOKS & TV IN THE POOL: July Wrap Up

Another month full of books, TV, and pool time, another summer month in the books *le sigh*. In July, I read 15 books, took ALL the bookstagram photos-TWO OF
WHICH WERE REPOSTED ON VICTORIA SCHWAB AND TRACY BANGHART’S INSTAGRAM- and caught up on some much-need reality TV and movies (including many Princess Diaries, Gilmore Girls, and Outdaughtered rewatches).

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A Very Large Expanse of Sea  by Tahereh Mafi (ARC) | 4/5 Stars

Burn for Burn Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian | 5/5 Stars

Fire with Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian | 5/5 Stars

Check, Please: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu (ARC) | 4.5/5 Stars

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor (ARC)| 4.5 /5 Stars

Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian | 4/5 Stars

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart (ARC) | 5/5 Stars

The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls by Jessica Spotswood | 4/5 Stars

Dear Martin by Nic Stone | 4/5 Stars

The List by Siobhan Vivian | 4/5 Stars

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (Reread) | 5/5 Stars

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera (ARC) 4.5/5 Stars

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab (ARC)| 4/5 Stars

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han (Reread) | 5/5 Stars

That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger (ARC) | 4/5 Stars

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The only book I didn’t read on my July TBR was Katherine Arden’s The Girl in the Tower, partially because I read other books on my TBR, partially because the third book got moved to 2019 instead of August 2018.

I also completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge of 70 books this month! I’m now challenging myself to get to 100 books by the end of the year.

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Incredibles II & Bao- The six year old me was more than excited to finally see Incredibles II this month. I admit that I was a bit nervous going in, but Incredibles II was just so good and funny. Jack-Jack and Edna completely stole the show for me and my sisters. And as expected, I LOVED BAO! The dumpling was just so cute, I loved its meaning, and I really didn’t think it was as weird as people on Twitter made it out to be.

Dynasty– Confession time: I will still watch Victorious on Teen Nick. That being said, I was super intrigued by the CW’s reboot of Dynasty starring Liz Gillies, which has become my latest CW obsession. Yes, it’s overdramatic, yes it’s so good, and yes I like it even better than Riverdale (I admit the second season of Riverdale was pretty lackluster for me). I flew through the first season of Dynasty on Netflix and I am more than ready for season two this fall.

Set It Up– THE ROM COM IS BACK PEOPLE! Netflix’s Set It Up was such an enjoyable movie, and I hope that they continue to make rom-coms. I haven’t watched The Kissing Booth yet (I keep hearing mixed things), but HELLO TO ALL THE BOYS I”VE LOVED BEFORE!

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel –If you’re looking for a comedy this summer with a female protagonist, look no further than The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It’s definitely different than Gilmore Girls, but any Stars Hollow resident can see creator Amy Sherman-Palladino’s influence. Another show where I am more than ready for the second season!

Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta and basically all the TLC wedding shows- Rainy summer days call for staying inside with all the books and TLC wedding shows. I’ve been really enjoying the latest season of Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta and please tell me we’re getting more new episodes of Four Weddings.

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Reviews

New Fictional BF & A Dream Library: Strange the Dreamer Review

Movies I’ve Watched Recently: Inspired by From Twinkle, With Love

Review: The Summer of Us by Cecilia Vinesse

Love & My Language Skills: Love & Gelato Review

Summer Contemporary Visits Ireland : Love & Luck Review

ELIZAAAAA: Love & War Review

Review: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

A New Favorite Fantasy: Grace and Fury Review

Monthly Mix

Black Cat Blue Sea Award

It’s A Fangirl Life: June Wrap Up

Start of Something New: July TBR

Top Five Wednesday: Future Classics

Monthly Recomendations: Books Worth a Reread

Favorites Rewind: 2018 Best Books 

SO I HAVEN’T READ ALL THE BOOKS: January-June 2018 Releases

25 Bookish Facts About Me Part 2

IT WAS EPIC: My Experience at Epic Reads Day

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Epic Reads Day- I was fortunate enough toexperience HarperCollins’ first Epic Reads Day. It was beyond amazing to get to visit their offices and hear from all-star authors and staff. I hope Epic Reads continues to host this event, and I have an experience post all about the day linked above.

Funko Pop Shopping- I added two more Funko Pops to my collection for the first time in 2018. I finally treated myself and bought Luna Lovegood with her Gryffindor hat. Barnes & Noble restocked her online, and a coupon and gift card were just calling my name. I also bought one of the San Diego Comic Con exclusives, Nearly Headless Nick. It’s so cool how he glows in the dark!

What did you read or watch in July? Share in the comments!

A New Favorite Fantasy: Grace and Fury Review

Summary: In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two extremely different circumstances: one in a palace, one in a prision.

Throughout her entire life, Serina has been groomed to be a Grace- the perfect, exemplary woman to stand by the heir to the throne. But when her rebellious and headstrong sister, Nomi, captures the Heir’s eye instead, it’s Serina who takes the fall for her sister’s secret and ends up in prison. Nomi finds herself in a position she never wanted, but only has once choice: stay entrapped as a Grace until she can save her sister. This is easier said then done when you’re living in a palace full of secrets and deception. But time is running out for Serina, imprisoned on a volcanic island where she must fight to death to survive.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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My Thoughts:

Tracy Banghart’s Grace and Fury is The Handmaid’s Tale meets YA fantasy I didn’t know I needed. I was first interested in Grace and Fury for its sisterhood premise, but I never would have guessed how much I would love this book.

Grace and Fury takes place in a world where women are extremely oppressed. Women are not allowed to read, and the Graces, what Serina is trained to be, are expected to give birth to the Heir’s next-in-line. Hence being reminded of The Handmaid’s Tale. The book is spilt between two perspectives, Nomi and Serina. I honestly can’t say that I preferred one perspective over the other because I loved them both! Nomi was such a strong, stubborn character and it was interesting to take on the role as Grace. I was also slightly reminded me of The Handmaid’s Tale due to the creepiness of some people in the palace. And for those who are wondering, there are plenty of dance lessons, political intrigue, and gorgeous dresses in store. On the other hand Serina’s life on the island was quite Hunger Games-esque. While Nomi does form a friendship or two in the palace, the island is the home of sisterhood, as the women must band together and unfortunately fight one another to survive. Anyone who is looking for an action-packed story with plenty of political intrigue and feminist ideals, this one is you, regardless if you’re reading a Nomi or Serina chapter.

While I love a heavy world-building, high fantasy, I often get caught up or confused when it comes to any new terminology or fantasy-like jargon. That wasn’t the case when it came to Grace and Fury. It was extremely easy to pick up on the world-building and details, and I absolutely flew through it without feeling like I was rushing through the story. But obviously I needed to get to the end to know what was going to happen! I admit that I initially went into Grace and Fury thinking it was a standalone (newsflash to self: it’s not), but I’m excited to have a sequel and see the expansion of this world and its characters. And figure out who we can really trust.

Overall, I loved Grace and Fury and it’s easily one of my favorite books of 2018. I am more than ready for Book 2!

Grace and Fury comes out on Tuesday, July 31st, 2018.  

This review is based on an advance reading copy. By no means did this affect my thoughts and opinions.

Is Grace and Fury on your TBR? What are some of your favorite books about sisterhood? Share in the comments!