where to get cheap books + thrift store book haul

i’ve bought sixteen books this week and i’ve spent under $20. that might sound rather impossible, because readers know that books can be ridiculously expensive. but it can be done, and i’m going to share with you where i find such cheap books. :)

amazon (used)

before you buy a book on amazon, you should check out those little used and new links below the format options. they’ll take you to a new page with more listings on it. you can get the same book for a much better price, just from a different seller. so i could buy the book in the picture for the actual price ($7.99), or i could get another new copy for $1.75.

book outlet

i found out about book outlet through mya’s unboxing post, and it’s a great site. they have tons of popular books, all priced much lower than if you bought them from a book store. plus, you can earn points (aka discounts) by purchasing books and completing little challenges.

i ordered six books from them last week. at the moment, i’m reading i am princess x, but i’m hoping to finish it today so i can start on moxie.

book fairs

i don’t know if everyone has one of these, but basically, the book fair is a warehouse that’s stuffed with inexpensive books. i think i’ve gotten more than half of my books there. they’ve got just about every book imaginable, and i always end up leaving with way more than i planned on buying.

i would suggest looking online to see if there are any book fairs near you, because it’s an amazing experience for book lovers.

thrift stores

my favorite place to buy cheap books is definitely thrift stores. i’ve gotten about thirty books from them this year, and i doubt i’ve spent more than that. most books at thrift stores are a dollar or less.

the best thing about shopping at thrift stores is that there’s always something new, and sometimes you can get really great surprises. for example, i found a signed copy of a court of thorns and roses by sarah j. maas.

now for that book haul!

i’ve been on a reading kick lately (if you follow me on goodreads, you know). unfortunately, i haven’t been able to go to the library as often as i would like, so i had to buy new reading material instead. i went to three thrift stores in two days, and this is what i found:

i’ve read a few of these before (the arctic incident, a grimm warning), but the rest are all new to me, and i have no idea what most of them are about. i don’t read book summaries anymore and i’m not sure why. at least that way every book is a surprise.

the books i’m most excited about reading are the rest of us just live here by patrick ness and peaches by jodi lynn anderson (she’s one of my favorite authors).

what are your favorite ways to buy cheap books? have you read any of the books in my haul?

xo apollo


2017 reading recap


i hope you all had a wonderful christmas. mine was fairly good. i’m currently putting together a haul, but i doubt it will be up until the new year because i have another family celebration to attend.

anyway, i saw book recaps on dragon waffles and paper fury and decided to make one myself. after all, i can only go so long without gushing/ranting about what i’ve read.

shout-out to my friend izzy for making me read paranormal/horror books.

so apparently 20% of the books i read this year were romance? that’s a bit concerning because i generally hate that genre. but it’s rare to find a contemporary that isn’t also a romance, so that probably explains it.

i had more books with lgbt+ characters on my tbr, but my mom wouldn’t let me read them. because, you know, i might become more open-minded and accepting and we can’t have that.

i’m very picky when it comes to giving five stars.

also, i don’t think i’ve ever given a book just one star in my life.

2017 favorites

(not all of these were released this year. they’re just the best ones that i read in 2017.)

how to say goodbye in robot – i started sobbing when i finished this one. (this might be because i am extremely emotional and not because the book was sad, although it was.) i really wanted everything to turn out well for ghost boy and robot girl, and it ended much differently than i expected.

tiger lily – peter pan retelling from tiger lily’s pov!! i’ve always loved peter pan and this book gave neverland new depth. it’s a romance, but not a fluffy one — it’s gritty and real and they hurt each other.

all the bright places – i know this one is controversial, but i actually loved it a lot. i read it when i was “asleep,” as finch would say, and it stuck with me because it was like i was reading about myself.

 the empty grave – thanks for ripping out my heart, stroud. i hate you for putting my sweet children through that.

lucky few – homeschoolers with death wishes!! sounds like my autobiography.

heap house – originally, i thought it was just really, really weird, but it’s been growing on me since then.

prettiest covers

(currently still reading the girl who drank the moon, but i can include it because i said so.)


i might get hate for this, but i detest most of these and have no idea why they’re so popular.

must read in 2018

 how can i call myself a bookworm if i haven’t read any of maggie stiefvater’s books??

have you read any of the books i mentioned? do you agree/disagree with me on my picks for the overhyped section? let me know in the comments.

xo apollo

october book reviews

hey. :)

i read nine books last month, i’m kind of proud of that. i’m going to try and make the reviews shorter this time because of how many there are.


this is where it ends by marieke nijkamp — 2/5 stars

i thought it was really boring. i didn’t care about any of the characters and the shooter wasn’t nearly complex enough to be a mass murderer. i finished it quickly because, although i didn’t think it was a very interesting story, i wanted to know who made it out of the school alive.

it has some really great reviews on goodreads, so maybe this is just a me thing?


tiger lily by jodi lynn anderson — 4.5/5 stars

i am in love with this book and you all need to read it right now. it’s definitely one of my favorites. the characters were fascinating, i felt all of their emotions and ended up crying at the end. there are so many incredible quotes in this book that i want to slap all over my room.

i would have given it five stars, but the very beginning was a little slow, in my opinion.

this book broke my heart. i recommend it 100%.

goodbye stranger by rebecca stead — 3/5 stars

 rebecca stead is one of my favorite authors. all of her books are phenomenal and a little weird. i fully expected to like this one, and i did. but it’s not that different from all the other middle school dramas i’ve read, except that it has a more serious theme.
  there’s a feminist character in it, which is great, right? except it wasn’t a very flattering depiction, kind of like le fou representing gay people in the live-action beauty and the beast.
 some of the chapters were told from the pov of a mystery character, in second person. i don’t really get why those chapters were in there, because they didn’t add anything to the plot. but it was a cute story about friendship and growing up and i can now say that i have read all of rebecca stead’s books.


girls like us by gail giles — 2.5/5 stars

it talked about what it’s like to be special ed and (SPOILER) a rape victim (END SPOILER). i haven’t read many books with characters like that. it was a quick read and i liked the diversity.

my issues with this book: 1) engaging plot? i don’t know her 2) quincy is awful and rude 3) i kept forgetting whose pov i was reading, because they have the exact same voice.

 Image result for wonder book

wonder by r.j. palacio — 3/5 stars

it was a wonderful (ha) book, the writing flowed easily, the characters sounded their age, etc. but it was just another middle school story with drama and an underdog mc. in my opinion, anyway. i know a lot of people love wonder, so it’s probably just me and not the book.

the overall theme of this is “be kind!!” and while that’s great, it’s sort of simple. i was expecting something more meaningful and emotional, idk. and it bothered me that even though it’s about kindness, most of the characters weren’t kind to august — they just pitied him.

fangirl by rainbow rowell — 2.5/5 stars
 i’ve heard great things about rainbow rowell, so i’m a bit sad that this book didn’t click for me. it’s about a fanfiction writer with social anxiety, and it could have been a relatable book about being in a fandom, but it was actually really boring??
it’s a character driven story, and that’s fine, but i thought they were all sort of awful people. real, but awful. (wren and laura are disgusting humans, and cath and levi are just so normal. sorry.) i like reading because i get to hear about dragons and love and wars, not so i can drag myself through 450 pages of unnecessary family drama and not wanting to do your schoolwork.
 i didn’t like most of the book, but i enjoyed reading bits of cath’s simon snow fanfics (clearly based on harry potter). rowell has a book about simon and baz (carry on), and i want to read that. maybe a fantasy story will redeem this author for me.
 the empty grave by jonathan stroud — 5/5 stars
 this is the last book in the series. i don’t really know how to feel. of course it was amazing, but i’m sad now and the ending wasn’t really satisfying. it’s the kind of ending that makes you immediately want to look up fanfiction, because how could the story end there? (and this is coming from someone who has never purposely read fanfics before.)
 i was so emotionally invested in these characters that i had to stop reading every few minutes and gasp, because what if this character dies, and did he just say what i think he said? i spent the entire time worrying about the cast, because i was pretty sure that someone wasn’t going to make it.
 the strings weren’t all tied up by the end of the book, so i’m going to spend the rest of my life wondering about the skull and what happens to my ships. which is where the fanfiction comes in.
 if you haven’t read the lockwood & co. series, you should get working on it. they’re witty and creepy and the characters work so well together. plus, it’s one of my favorite series.
coraline by neil gaiman — 3.5/5 stars
 this one is creepy and perfect for reading around halloween. it definitely would have been better if i hadn’t watched the movie first, but it was still worth reading.
 the characters are all pretty great, they’ve got a lot of quirks and unique voices. but i felt like i didn’t know anything about them. and i guess it makes sense for this book, because it’s plot driven and the characters’ personalities aren’t super important, but still.
i loved coraline and the cat because they’re both sarcastic and sassy, and their banter was pretty amusing.
 this is one of those books that i think everyone should read. even though it’s not my favorite book in the world, it’s a classic.
holding up the universe by jennifer niven – 2.5/5 stars
 jennifer niven wrote one of my favorite books (all the bright places), and she’s an incredible writer, so i picked up this one, certain that i would love it. but i sort of can’t stand it??
 there were lots of good things about this book, like its message of self-love and how libby, former “america’s fattest teen,” knows that she doesn’t have to lose weight to be accepted. i also enjoyed reading about prosopagnosia, which i had never heard of before. and i thought the anxiety and eating disorder rep was pretty good.
 but the bad things outweighed the good ones. the characters were freaking annoying. i rolled my eyes at practically everything they did, even if it was normal, just because jack and libby and everyone else bothered me so much. i found a lot of it to be insanely unrealistic, like the bikini scene and the party and the entire romance. and the title had nothing to do with the story, and that always frustrates me to no end. also, jack thinks his younger brother is gay because he carried a purse for awhile. not a stereotype at all.
  it had the potential to be a really great story, but it fell short for me.

a lot of my reviews were quite negative, idk what that’s about. sure, it’s possible that all the crappy books in the library found their way into my hands, but i think my mood might have affected some of them, too. so take them with a grain of salt, ok?
xo apollo

feuillemort: the color of a dying leaf

just some recommendations for autumn.


halloween // be more chill

it’s almost halloween // panic! at the disco

the real world // owl city

forest // twenty one pilots

overgrown // oh wonder

wolf bite // owl city

isle of flightless birds // twenty one pilots

plant life // owl city

november // sleeping with sirens

trees // twenty one pilots

the first two are the only ones that are really related to the season, the others just give me autumn vibes.


coraline // neil gaiman

always october // bruce coville

on the day i died // candace fleming

may bird trilogy // jodi lynn anderson

lockwood & co. series // jonathan stroud

the black cat // edgar allen poe

the witch of blackbird pond // elizabeth george speare

the lockwood & co. series is one of my favorites. i’m reading the last book in the series right now and my friend has given me hints about what happens. i’m a bit scared.



the nightmare before christmas

the corpse bride


over the garden wall (tv series)

lots of tim burton movies. i love them very much and they’re pretty much all i watch around halloween.

have some photography. they all have an orange-y hue.

plant’s shadows are so pretty.

i don’t know what this plant is, but i like it a lot. it looks like it has tiny pumpkins growing all over it.

protip: dried pine needles make great fire starters (they’re also one of my favorite colors).

this is the first year of my life where autumn doesn’t signal the beginning of co-op. sometimes i really hated that place, but i miss it now. i would get up early and stand in the yard to watch the sunrise, frosted grass crunching under my shoes and my breath being illuminated by the first beams of light. my mind would become calm and still to match the quiet earth. i needed those numb moments of silence to get through the day, where i would be caught in a buzz of too-loud voices and bodies moving too quickly for me to concentrate on. i have so many memories of co-op, but the ones that stand out to me the most are the yellow lights and dirty tile floors and sitting on wooden boards in the heat while i spaced out and my friends giggled about boys. i remember feeling dizzy and weightless and slow.

i think i made it sound a little awful, but i miss it. i miss my friends.

autumn is my favorite season for a lot of reasons. some simple ones are the chill in the air, apple cider, orange light, flannels and boots, halloween. but i also love autumn because it is lonely. it is beautiful, but it is dying. vibrantly colored leaves can crumble between your fingers. warm days can melt away into long, shivering nights that get into your bones.

autumn is so, so lonely. autumn is cold. i feel like autumn.

xo apollo

september book reviews

i rarely have enough to say about a book to write a full review on it. but mini reviews? i can do those. here are my thoughts on the books i’ve read this month.

« inspired by vivian »


the scar boys by len vlahos — 2/5 stars

this book is about a rejected teen, punk rock music, and forming a band with friends, so i thought i would like it. i enjoyed the first few chapters, which focused on the mc, harry jones, being caught in a horrible accident, and how it effected him emotionally and physically. but i began to lose interest once harry and his best friend put together their band, the scar boys. i just found it a little slow and predictable. however, i did love how passionate harry was about music, and how the author was able to put into words how it can make you feel: “music i discovered that night, was a sanctuary, a safe place to hide, a place where scars didn’t matter, they didn’t exist.” 


stargirl by jerry spinelli — 3/5 stars

unconventional homeschool girl shows up at high school and everyone thinks she’s a freak. now that’s relatable (public school sucks, please help me).

i loved stargirl as a character. she plays ukulele (!!), does kind things for strangers, enjoys wandering. i thought she was going to be revealed as some kind of alien princess or something. i was happy to be reading about a homeschooler, but the author made her a walking stereotype: odd clothes, socially inept, that kind of thing. she was clueless, basically. i think the author only made her a homeschooler to emphasize how weird and different she is.

a few complaints: i knew virtually nothing about the main character, leo, and the ending was unsatisfying. but i did love stargirl and the sometimes dreamy writing style.

“events become feelings, feelings become events. head and heart are contrary historians.”


simon vs the homo sapiens agenda by becky albertalli — 4/5

i finished this book in half a day. maybe it was because the internet wasn’t working and i had nothing to do with myself. maybe it was because it’s just a really freaking good book. to put the plot simply, simon has an internet friendship with someone named blue (yay, internet friends!). blue goes to simon’s school, but they write with pen names and won’t say who they really are, in case meeting in person ruins the friendship.

i loved simon. he’s funny, has an adorable personality, and is a theatre kid (!!), but he also overthinks and gets in trouble. i had a hard time liking his group of friends, though. there was too much teenage drama going on.

i had absolutely no clue who blue really was until he was revealed at the end of the story. i was afraid it was going to be a problematic character, but he ended up being the best possible person.

simon made a few really dumb choices throughout the book, which made me want to slap him, and there was one place where blue makes a comment about  “people who are straight and white never having to have identity issues,” which isn’t true and is kind of rude. but besides that, i loved it.

i try not to change, but i keep changing, in all these tiny ways . . . and every freaking time, i have to reintroduce myself to the universe all over again.”


aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe by benjamin alire sáenz — 4/5 stars

this is the kind of book that you need to sit and think about for a long time before you figure out what it means to you.

first of all, i loved the characters. aristotle and dante’s friendship seemed quite realistic to me, and i got nervous whenever anything happened between them, because i wanted them to be friends for the rest of their lives. dante is such a sweet character. his love of birds, war against shoes, and compassionate personality made him so endearing to me. i liked ari, too. he was angry and confused and started making some bad choices as the story progressed, which made me concerned for this fictional character’s wellbeing. i feel like a worried mother.

there wasn’t much of a plot. there are a few major events in the story, but it’s mostly just exploring ari’s thoughts. i adore the writing style of this book. it’s dreamy and poetic and felt like my internal monologue in many places.

“i wondered what that was like, to hold someone’s hand. i bet you could sometimes find all of the mysteries of the universe in someone’s hand.”


it’s kind of a funny story by ned vizzini — 2 ½/5 stars

i can’t believe i gave something a half star. i feel so pretentious. 

i didn’t particularly like any of the characters. most of them were rude and made horrible decisions and made a few transphobic comments. the characters craig encounters in the psych ward generally had interesting backstories, but that didn’t really make up for it. i felt like the mental illness rep was pretty good for most of them, especially craig and muqtada.

i’m still pretty ticked about the transphobia, and i can’t figure out if it’s the author’s opinion or just the characters’. but i did like how the book sort of offered a plan for how to get help if you feel like committing suicide.

“so why am i depressed? that’s the million-dollar question, baby, the tootsie roll question; not even the owl knows the answer to that one.”


playlist for the dead by michelle falkoff — 3/5 stars

i was considering giving up on this book about fifty pages in, but i had bought it, so i figured i should power through it so i wouldn’t be wasting my ten dollars. that being said, it wasn’t a horrible book, just a little slow in the beginning.

my problems with the book: there are some slightly misogynistic comments, sam thought that suicide is selfish and for attention, the playlist wasn’t as important as i thought it would be, and i pictured astrid as that one scene girl (this one, you know who i’m talking about) and it kind of ruined her character for me.

things i liked: it was from the perspective of someone who had lost their best friend to suicide, which is a pov i haven’t read much of. it talked a lot about music, and yes, that made me happy. it mentioned gerard way’s comics and adam’s song // blink-182, and i freaked out a bit, i’ll admit it.

“people are going to say a lot of things. and some of it will be helpful, and some of it will be annoying, and lots of it will get on your nerves. but they’re saying it because they found it helpful when they lost someone. they mean well.”

i know some of you read 15+ books a month, but this is all that i could manage this time. although it’s probably worth noting that i read three of them in one day.

hope you enjoyed this. i might make it a regular thing. who knows.

xo apollo

a tag in which i talk about my favorite characters

hello, my friends!

there’s a tag that’s been going around for awhile that caught my eye. i haven’t actually been tagged for this, but that was probably an accident, because who wouldn’t want to hear me rant about book characters?

for this tag, you write down the names of thirty book characters, fold them up and put them in a bowl. then you draw two names to answer each question with.

let’s go. :)

1) you have one more spot on your spelling team. who gets it?

max-ernest (the secret series // pseudonymous bosch) vs noah (i’ll give you the sun // jandy nelson)

this one isn’t hard. max-ernest is a huge nerd, and i say that in the nicest way possible. noah’s strong point, that sweet child, is definitely art, not spelling. so i’d want max-ernest to get the last spot (but good luck getting me to join a spelling team).

2) both characters want to kill you. who would you kill first to have a better chance of survival?

lucy pennant (iremonger trilogy // edward carey) vs toothless (how to train your dragon series // cressida cowell)

neither of them are really killers, are they? lucy is just a servant girl, but she does have energy and isn’t afraid to hit people with shovels. our dragon friend toothless does sound a bit scary until you remember that he is lazy as heck and absolutely tiny. i doubt that i would actually be able to kill either of them, but disposing of lucy would keep me safe.

3) you’ve been chosen for the hunger games. who is more likely to volunteer in your place?

yo-yoji (the secret series) vs magnus (magnus chase and the gods of asgard // rick riordan)

i think they’d both rather save their own skin then help me. but magnus, being a demigod, having trained for ragnarök, having special powers, etc. would probably know that he could win. let’s go with him.

4) you are the next marvel superhero. who is your sidekick?

george vs lockwood (lockwood & co. // jonathan stroud)

ah. sarcastic, a bit of a genius, has lots of snacks with him — george would have the quirky sidekick thing down. lockwood is good with a sword, has slightly insane plans, and is an excellent leader. i think that if lockwood was my partner, i would become the sidekick, but he’d still be much more helpful than george.

5) you are stranded on a deserted island and you must engage in cannibalism to survive. whom do you eat?

fishlegs (how to train your dragon series) vs jude (i’ll give you the sun)

jude. definitely jude. i’m not particularly fond of her, and i really couldn’t bear to do that to fishlegs. he’s an orphan, he has eczema and asthma and anxiety, and i would feel awful to add being eaten to that unfortunate list.

6) you’re the manager of an avocado company. who would you fire for poor communication skills?

clod (iremonger trilogy) vs lucy carlyle (lockwood & co.)

they both get fired because i don’t like avocados and i would want the company to fail.

7) you’ve just finished a book in which your favorite character dies. which character would be more likely to comfort you?

hiccup (how to train your dragon series) vs violet (all the bright places // jennifer niven)

they’re both compassionate characters who have lost people, so i think they’d both be willing to comfort me. i like hiccup a bit more than violet, though, so i’ll go with him.

8) your birthday has finally arrived. who would have the nerve to forget?

peter (the chronicles of narnia) vs finch (all the bright places)

finch. he’s probably one of my favorite characters ever, and he’s from one of my favorite books, but he has lots of flaws. he would probably be asleep or thinking too much to remember my birthday.

9) you have just found an upcoming youtube star. who is it more likely to be?

sam (lord of the rings) vs ned (castaways of the flying dutchman // brian jacques)

ned, because he is a dog, and everyone likes dog videos. :D

10) you can only invite one person to your sleepover. who would it be?

cass (the secret series) vs sophie (keeper of the lost cities series // shannon messenger)

can i just not have a sleepover? they make me tired and uncomfortable.

i guess i have to pick. although i like cass a lot, i think sophie would be a better conversationalist, which would be important, since i will not speak until spoken to. plus, sophie would know how to make mallowmelt. and i really want to try that.

11) you have just woken up and it is time for breakfast. your mom has been replaced by . . . whom?

keefe (koltc) vs edmund (the chronicles of narnia)

i’d much rather have keefe as my mother. i don’t think he’d be a very good mum, but he would be much more fun than edmund. (although if mother edmund made turkish delight for breakfast, i would pick him over keefe. [and i would betray my family for turkish delight, too. ])

12) bam, you’re pregnant. who is the mother/father?

kate (the mysterious benedict society // trenton lee stewart) vs emily (emily windsnap series // liz kessler)

neither of them are that attractive, though?? (ha, like i would know.) WHY COULDN’T IT HAVE BEEN LUCY CARLYLE. WHYYY.

emily, i guess? i like her more than kate.

13) you have just written a super important text. who would have the nerve not to reply?

susan (the chronicles of narnia) vs matilda (matilda // roald dahl)

it would be matilda, because she’s five, i think, and why would she have a phone? although i don’t know why i would send a super important text to a five-year-old.

14) you’re on the bachelor/bachelorette and down to two characters. who gets your rose?

lucy (the chronicles of narnia) vs miranda (when you reach me // rebecca stead)

this one is easy.

i’ve always thought that lucy is incredible. she’s so brave and cute and sweet!! on the other hand, we have miranda, who is horribly average (i’m sorry, i still love that book). please just let me have lucy.

15) ugh, it’s high school. who would most likely be part of the popular clique?

camicazi (how to train your dragon series) vs artemis (artemis fowl series // eoin colfer)

artemis is a genius, and apparently high schoolers don’t like those with higher iqs than themselves. (i wouldn’t actually know, i’m a homeschooler.) camicazi is a bit insane, but it would never be boring around her. she would probably be the leader of the popular clique.

hope you guys enjoyed that. if you’d like to do this on your own blog, go right ahead.

i tried to pick books that most people would have heard of already. if i mentioned any books that you haven’t read, i’d get on that, because most of the ones on here are my favorites.

also, did you see my cute succulent? i love it very much, but it doesn’t have a name yet. if you have suggestions, leave them in the comments. :)

xo apollo