Waiting On / Can’t Wait Wednesday – Spotlight on Speak Easy, Speak Love

New WoW

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which encourages fellow bloggers to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re excited about.  This week I’ll also be linking to Can’t Wait Wednesday, hosted by Tressa.

My selection for this week is Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George.  This one first caught my eye because of that stunning cover, but then when I read the synopsis, wow!  A retelling of one of my favorite Shakespearean plays Much Ado About Nothing, with a 1920’s twist? Sounds absolutely perfect to me!  Just thinking about the witty banter between Shakespeare’s Benedict and Beatrice makes me smile so I can’t wait to see what McKelle George does with this retelling.

 

SPEAK EASY, SPEAK LOVE by McKelle George

Publication Date:  September 19, 2017

 

From mckellegeorge.com:

Beatrice planned on a quiet summer, studying for her medical school entrance exams at her uncle’s home on Long Island. Little did she know her cousin Hero has been running a failing speakeasy out of the basement with the help of a handsome bartender, a talented blues singer, and a strangely enticing novelist.

Daring car chases, underhanded dealing with seedy crooks, and lavish parties are daily occurrences in the reckless underground world of 1920’s prohibition. And with a rival gang gunning for them and the cops close on their heels, it’ll be the most dangerous summer of their lives.

But there’s always time for a little romance…

This sparkling retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing is an uproarious battle of wits with a 1920’s twist.

* * * * *

I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me your link in the comments below and I’ll stop by and check out your WoW selection for this week. 🙂

Judging Books By Their Covers – My Top 10 Favorite Book Covers

 

On Tuesdays I usually participate in the popular Top Ten Tuesday meme, which is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  However, they are officially on hiatus until August, so while waiting for their return, I decided to take the opportunity to go back through their archives to see if any of the topics they had covered prior to my joining were of interest.  I had never given much thought to what my favorite book covers are so I thought that would be a fun topic to explore this week.

I don’t know that there’s any rhyme or reason to covers that I fall in love with.  I tried to determine if there was any kind of pattern and aside from seeing a lot of covers with blue and/or red in them, they all seem to be pretty different from one another.  You’ll also notice an absence of covers with faces on them.  I really don’t know why but book covers that feature close-ups of people’s faces always seem to bother me.  Silhouettes are cool, as are profiles of people, but no giant heads please.  If I ever make a list of my bookish quirks to share, this one will surely make an appearance, lol.

Anyway….on to the covers that I love!

 

Judging Books By Their Covers – My Top 10 Favorite Book Covers

 

1. THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE by Katherine Arden

 

Both versions of this book’s cover are so gorgeous that I can’t even begin to choose a favorite.  I love the atmospheric quality of the first one, which I think really complements the story itself, but I also love the whimsical quality of the second cover.

* * * * *

2. THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak

 

I much prefer this cover to the one with dominoes on it that I typically see on the bookstore shelves here.  There’s just something about seeing the figure of Death on the cover that really packs a punch for me.

* * * * *

3.  THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This is probably one of the most recognizable book covers out there and it’s pretty unforgettable as well.  All someone has to do is make even just a vague reference to Gatsby and my mind immediately conjures up this striking image.

* * * * *

4. THE SNOW CHILD by Eowyn Ivey

 

This is another book where both versions of the cover are so beautiful, I can’t choose a favorite.  Each is lovely in its simplicity and I think each conveys the subtle magic that can be found within the pages of this book.

* * * * *

5. A TALE FOR THE TIME BEING by Ruth Ozeki

I love both the vibrant colors and the unique look of this cover.  I think this is a wonderful story but will freely admit that it was this gorgeous cover that first enticed me to pick up this book at the bookstore.

* * * * *

6. LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel

Life of Pi is a fantastic book, but yet another that I was first attracted to because of its cover.  I have a thing for water-themed colors anyway, but throw in a man and a tiger in a boat together and a school of exotic looking fish, and this cover is just irresistible to me.

 

* * * * *

7. SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA by Becky Albertalli

You have to admit that a body with no head is eye-catching.  Throw in that bright red background and a thought bubble where the missing head should be and you’ve got yourself a pretty cool cover.   And that’s not even considering when you flip over to the back of the cover and find Oreos back there.  I love whimsical covers and this one is just perfect.

* * * * *

8. DOROTHY MUST DIE by Danielle Page

I haven’t even read this book yet but had to buy it as soon as I saw this cover.  It’s similar in style to the Simon cover (bold colors, missing face, etc.), so I guess you could say this is a style I find pretty appealing.  I actually tend to hate actual faces on covers anyway (no idea why so don’t even ask, lol), so it amuses me a bit to constantly find myself attracted to covers that have no face at all on them.

 

* * * * *

9. SHADES OF MAGIC series by V.E. Schwab

    
How fabulous are these covers?  The figures on each cover are just too fabulous for words and I love the use of the red and black.  Heck, I even love the font that was used.  Judge these books by their covers and you won’t be disappointed because the stories inside are just as magical as the covers.

* * * * *

10. FLAME IN THE MIST by Renee Ahdieh

Flame in the Mist is another book that I haven’t read yet but it has an absolutely stunning cover that catches my eye every time I see it.  I love the colors used and the flowers, and the flaming phoenix imagery.  It’s just such a gorgeous combination.

* * * * *

Question: What are some of your all time favorite book covers?  Do we share any favorites?

Book Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Book Review:  Strange the Dreamer by Laini TaylorStrange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Series: Strange the Dreamer, #1
on March 28th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction
Pages: 532
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

MY REVIEW:

I finished reading Strange the Dreamer last weekend and have been trying to think of some way to eloquently explain just how much I adored this book.  There’s something so special about this story that words fail me every time I try to write this review.  Everything I write sounds inadequate when it comes to conveying just how much this story completely captivated me. All I can really say, and it doesn’t feel like nearly enough, is that Strange the Dreamer is one of the most beautiful and unique stories that I’ve ever read.

It grabbed my attention from those first harrowing moments where, seemingly out of nowhere, a girl with blue-tinted skin plummets to her death. Who is this mysterious blue-skinned girl, where has she fallen from, and why did she fall?  If that’s not an immediate attention getter, I don’t know what is!  The mystery of finding out what happened to this girl immediately had me flying through the pages.

Rather than delving directly into her story though, we instead begin following the journey of another character, Lazlo Strange.  Lazlo is an orphan who was raised by monks and later becomes a junior librarian.  This is the perfect job for young Lazlo, because you see, Lazlo is a big dreamer and for a dreamer who likely cannot afford to actually go anywhere and make his dreams come true, the next best thing is to immerse himself in books and escape to his dreams that way. Lazlo’s dreams primarily center on one thing, a lost, mythical city.  Lazlo has been nearly obsessed with finding this city for most of his life.  According to legend, something happened there 200 years ago and, when Lazlo was a young boy, the name of the city was somehow stolen from the minds of everyone who had known it, Lazlo included.  He actually remembers feeling the name of the city disappear from his memory, and all that is left behind is the name Weep in its place.  Lazlo devoted himself to figuring out what happened to Weep and spends every free moment in the library researching everything he can about his now unnamed city.  His coworkers and many others in his town think he’s foolish to waste his time following what is now mostly a myth, but Lazlo can’t stop. He’s determined that one day he will set out on his own and try to find Weep.

Lazlo’s chance to find Weep comes along a lot sooner than expected when a gentleman rides into town, declaring himself from Weep and looking to recruit the services of qualified men and women to help him rebuild his city.  Even though Lazlo has no practical skills that could help rebuild a city, he manages to convey just how much a trip to the mythical Weep would mean to him and demonstrates his passion for the city so thoroughly that the gentleman agrees to let Lazlo journey with him to Weep as well.

The rest of the story richly unfolds as we learn about what really happened to Weep, who the blue-skinned girl is and how she fits into the rest of the story, and most importantly, we learn who Lazlo Strange really is because he is so much more than an orphaned junior librarian and his connection to Weep is much more than just a passionate curiosity.

That honestly just barely scratches the surface of what happens in Strange the Dreamer, but hopefully it’s enough to show how easy it is to get drawn into Lazlo Strange’s world without giving away any major spoilers.  I honestly think the less you know going in, the more magical it is as the story unfolds.  Just know that there’s a little bit of everything: action, adventure, a romance, Gods, a God slayer, ghosts, and there are even God spawn (offspring of Gods and humans).

 

LIKES

Again, I don’t want to give too much away because I think it’s better that way, but here are a few highlights of this book for me:

Lazlo Strange.  I loved everything about this character.  The fact that he comes from such humble beginnings gives him that underdog quality that I always sympathize with, and then don’t even get me started on his love for the library.  A boy after my own heart… What I liked most about Lazlo though was his kind heart and his passion.  He’s just such a precious character and, even though I’m not all that much of a romance fan, it warmed my heart when he unexpectedly found someone that he felt that ultimate connection with after having been so alone for so long.

God spawn.  I can’t say too much about these characters, but I will just say that they are fascinating and complex.  Like Lazlo, they come across as underdogs because of the situation they’re trapped in, but then at the same time, they engage in some problematic behaviors of their own.  In many ways they are victims of a past they had no control over, but they aren’t without their own flaws either.  They also each have unique magical gifts that were fascinating to see in use.

The World Building.  Just…wow.  This is one of those places where I have a hard time coming up with the words to describe my love for what Laini Taylor has created here.  The world of Weep and especially the environment the God spawn live in are so rich, lush, vivid, unique…I really need more words here!  It’s just world building at its best, in part because we’re dealing with not just the physical worlds that these characters are actually in, but also dreamscapes.  One of the God spawn possesses the ability to enter the dreams of anyone she wants to and actually alter them as it suits her.  She often uses her gift to induce fear and horror, but when she enters Lazlo the Dreamer’s dreams, she is blown away by the beauty he creates in his mind while he sleeps.  His dreams are so beautiful that she can’t bear to change them.  She wishes she could stay in them forever and it was easy to see why.  As I was reading, the magical quality of those dreams reminded me of childhood stories like Alice in Wonderland or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Taylor’s writing/storytelling.  This was my first experience reading Laini Taylor’s writing so I wasn’t sure what to expect going in.  What I loved about her writing was that it’s both lyrical and poetic, yet it still flows so smoothly and so naturally.  As rich and complex as the storyline of Strange the Dreamer is, it still reads like a simple bedtime story.  It just has that “Once upon a time in a faraway land….” quality about it that really takes Strange the Dreamer from your average fantasy story up to the next level.

Cliffhanger ending. Wow, what an ending!  Everything leading up to the ending took me by surprise and then the actual cliffhanger just left me sitting there with my mouth hanging open desperately wanting to get my hands on the next book.  I normally hate cliffhangers because I hate having to wait so long to see what happens, but just like with the rest of this story, even the cliffhanger is a unique one, like nothing I’ve ever seen before.  My reaction was pretty much “NOOOOOOO….but you know, if it had to be a cliffhanger, that was a pretty cool one.”

 

DISLIKES

There was literally nothing I disliked about this book.  I know there’s really no such thing as perfect, but this book is about as close to perfection to me as it gets.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

There is no doubt in my mind at this point that Strange the Dreamer will be one of my favorite reads of 2017.  I’ve rated it 5 stars but I feel like 5 stars just isn’t even enough because it’s so special.  It makes me want to go back and lower the ratings of some other books I’ve rated 5 stars because there’s truly no comparison in quality.  If you’re looking for a truly unique read, I highly recommend this gorgeous book.

 

RATING:  5 STARS

 

 

 

GOODREADS SYNOPSIS

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

About Laini Taylor

Laini Taylor is the author of the National Book Award Finalist Lips Touch: Three Times, as well as the novels Blackbringer and Silksinger. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, illustrator Jim Di Bartolo, and their daughter.

Weekly Recap #10: Week of 7/16 – 7/22

 

Hey everyone!  It’s time for another weekly recap post of all things happening on and off the blog. This week I’ll be linking to the Sunday Post, which is hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer and to Stacking the Shelves, which is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

This past week was our hottest week of the summer thus far, so needless to say, this bookworm stayed inside all week because I don’t do 100+ degree temperatures.  Because I was stuck inside all week, I did manage to get three books read, two of which were for my Summer TBR Wipeout challenge so now I’m making pretty good progress on that.  Where I didn’t do so well this week though was writing reviews.  I actually only posted one last week and have 5 I need to sit down and write.  I’m struggling with a couple of them because even though I loved the books, I’m having a hard time putting into words exactly what it was I loved about them.  Do you ever  experience that?  Anyway, I hope to get a few written today to get back on track.

What else happened this week?  Oh, I FINALLY got to go see Wonder Woman in the theater. OMG, such an incredibly badass movie.  I loved everything about it.  Gal Gadot was perfect for the role, and I was especially blown away by all of the Amazon warrior training scenes at the beginning of the movie.  I loved the movie so much that if I could have, I would have stayed and watched it all over again.  Can’t wait to get that one on DVD and I highly recommend it if you haven’t already seen it!

Well, that’s pretty much it for me.  Have a great week, everyone!

 

WHAT I POSTED LAST WEEK

 

 

WHAT I’M READING THIS WEEK

 

   

UPCOMING REVIEWS

 

     
 

 

STACKING THE SHELVES

 

  

TOTALLY RANDOM

Update Post # 1: Summer TBR Wipeout 2017

It’s time to post my update for the first leg of the Summer TBR Wipeout challenge.  So, how am I doing?  Not too bad actually.  Out of the twelve books I had put on my challenge list, I’ve managed to read three so far.  I started with some of the longest books on my TBR to get those out of the way first, which will hopefully make it a littler easier to make it to the finish line later in the challenge.

 

BOOKS I’VE READ SO FAR…

      

 

Out of these three, Illuminae was definitely my favorite read.  I haven’t written a proper review for it yet, but it was just such an action-packed read. I loved the unique format, the dialogue, and the ultra creepy premise about an AI that tries to take over control of a spaceship from the humans.  I had mixed feelings about about both A Court of Wings and Ruin, which I reviewed yesterday, and Scrappy Little Nobody.  ACOWAR, while a good solid read, just left me a little underwhelmed after the sheer epic nature of the second book in the series.  I rated the first two books in the series 5 stars each, but this one only got 3.5.  Scrappy Little Nobody was a fun read but one that just didn’t have as much substance or behind-the-scenes information as I had hoped it would.  I actually think I probably would have enjoyed it more if I had done the audio version instead of the print.  The writing style is very conversational and I think hearing it in Anna’s voice would have made it more entertaining than trying to read it for myself.

 

CHALLENGE BOOKS I’M PLANNING TO READ NEXT…

 

       

That might be an overly ambitious list since I do have a few ARCs I need to get read by the beginning of August, but we’ll see how it goes.  It’s so hot outside right now and there’s so little on TV that I’m spending nearly all of my free time reading anyway.  Hope everyone else is doing great with their challenge!

Book Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin

Book Review:  A Court of Wings and RuinA Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
Also by this author: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)
three-half-stars
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3
Published by Bloomsbury Childrens Books on May 2nd 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction
Pages: 699
Also in this series: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

MY REVIEW:

 

A Court of Wings and Ruin is the third book in Sarah J. Maas’ popular A Court of Thorn and Roses series.  Although several more books have been announced for the series, my understanding is that those will be more along the lines of spinoffs and that A Court of Wings and Ruin is pretty much supposed to wrap up Feyre’s storyline.  So, how did it do wrapping things up?  Well, for me there was definitely a lot to love about this book. At the same time, however, I had some issues with it.  I guess my overall feeling is that while I did enjoy it, it didn’t blow me away like I really wanted and expected it to, especially considering how truly incredible the second book in the series was.

LIKES

Feyre’s Growth.  Watching Feyre grow from a young woman who seemed to have minimal self esteem when we first met her into the powerful and confident High Lady of the Night Court has been one of my favorite parts of this series.  She is now courageous and badass and has truly become Rhysand’s equal in every way.  She’s also just as much invested in saving their people as Rhys is and I loved watching her in action and seeing the lengths she would go to in order to save them.  She has grown from what was practically a little girl in that first book into a warrior and a queen by this third book.

The “Family.”  My absolute favorite part of this series continues to be the family dynamic that we witness between Rhys, Feyre, Mor, Cassian, Azriel, and Amren.  I can’t ever seem to get enough of these guys bickering back and forth, sometimes like children, but always like family.  Their banter gives me life.  There was some awkward family drama this time around when Rhys puts Mor in an uncomfortable situation without giving her any kind of head’s up.  Because these characters are so real and so complex, there were hurt feelings and a sense of betrayal, but like a true family, they’re able to put aside their differences and come together when they need to.  This group is so fiercely devoted to each other and any one of them would lay down their life if it meant the others would be saved.

Cassian and Azriel.  I’m not sure if this was supposed to happen, but somehow Cassian and Azriel have risen from the ranks of amazing characters to become my actual favorites from the series.  I can’t even explain specifically what it is about them, but I just adore them both and want them to find love and be happy.  It gutted me every time something bad happened to either of them. I also just love watching each of them in their element.  It was especially thrilling watching Cassian command the Illyrian army.

The World Building.  You wouldn’t think this far into a series there would still be such lush world building going on, but WOW!  I was so excited to finally get to see some of the other Courts and they were just as enchanting as the Spring and Night Courts.  After seeing the polar bears and the cute little vest-wearing foxes(!), I kind of wanted to live in Winter Court, haha.

Fascinating New Characters.  I loved meeting the new characters from the other Courts and lands throughout the kingdom. There were so many interesting dynamics at play as the various High Lords came together to discuss Hybern.  I think Helion intrigued me the most, but I really liked the introduction of Miryam, Drakon, and Vassa.

Lucien.  Lucien remains one of my favorite characters so I was pleased to see that not only were he and Feyre able to re-establish their friendship, but that he also seemed to find a place for himself in the service of the Night Court.  I was a bit disappointed that he got sent off on a mission for a large chunk of ACOWAR, but I LOVED that we were given an incredible backstory for him that I hope will be further explored in future books.

The Bone Carver and the Suriel.  I didn’t really expect to see either of these characters, so I was thrilled to have them turn up again in ACOWAR and to be used in such unexpected yet epic ways.  I especially never expected to shed tears over the Suriel, so kudos to Maas because she totally got me on that one.

Redemption of Tamlin.  Tamlin remains one of the most complicated characters of the series, but if this is the last we see of him, I think overall I’m happy with his ending.  As angry and hurt and betrayed by Feyre as he felt for so much of the series, the idea that his love for her would overcome that in the end is a beautiful thing.  If we do see more of him, I hope that he’ll find his own happiness.

 

DISLIKES/ISSUES

Okay, so…as much as I enjoyed ACOWAR overall, I still had some issues with it.  I honestly thought it was too long and that there were parts that could have been edited out without taking anything away from the overall story.  One of my issues with the length was that so much time was spent talking about what was going to happen in battle.  Yes, I get that they have to plan, strategize, form alliances with the other Courts, etc. as they prepare to battle Hybern, but after so much epic action in the prior books, I felt like I spent too much time with this book sitting around waiting for the excitement.  Once the battle finally began, it was incredible beyond compare, but I just expected more of the book to be devoted to it.

I’ll probably be in the minority on this, but I also thought too much time was spent on Feyre’s sisters.  Nesta was at least interesting, especially when it came to the tensions between her and Cassian and her training under Amren, who seemed to see somewhat of a kindred spirit in her, but nearly everything about Elain unfortunately just bored me.  There were so many other more fascinating characters introduced in this book that I would have rather seen more of, especially those from the other Courts.

Even though I enjoyed the ending overall, I think it would have been more powerful and more realistic if (please don’t hurt me!) SPOILER (mouse over to reveal) – one of the major characters had died.  Not that I wanted anyone to die because I love them all, but the Battle with Hybern was supposed to be the most epic battle ever, the war to end all wars, the possible end of life as they knew it, etc. and yet all of the major players came out okay in the end.  I would have been devastated of course, but I just think it would have packed more of an emotional and realistic punch if someone had made the ultimate sacrifice to save their world

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

While I have to admit I wanted more from A Court of Wings and Ruin, I still can’t deny that it was a pretty solid and satisfying end to Feyre’s journey.  I definitely see myself continuing with the series and I look forward to seeing who the next books will focus on.  Throwing my two cents’ worth in for books that focus on Lucien, Cassian, and/or Azriel!

 

RATING:  3.5 STARS

 

 

GOODREADS SYNOPSIS

A nightmare, I’d told Tamlin. I was the nightmare.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

three-half-stars

About Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series and A Court of Thorns and Roses series, as well as a USA Today and international bestselling author. Sarah wrote the first incarnation of the Throne of Glass series when she was just sixteen, and it has now sold in thirty-five languages. A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog. Empire of Storms, the fifth Throne of Glass novel, released on September 6th, 2016.
She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hamilton College in 2008 with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Religious Studies.

Waiting On / Can’t Wait Wednesday – Spotlight on The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

New WoW

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which encourages fellow bloggers to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re excited about.  This week I’ll also be linking to Can’t Wait Wednesday, hosted by Tressa.

My selection for this week is The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden.  It’s the second book in The Bear and the Nightingale series, the first book in which is one of my favorite 2017 releases so far.  I can’t wait to further immerse myself in all of that beautiful Russian folklore all over again.

 

THE GIRL IN THE TOWER by Katherine Arden

Publication Date:  January 9, 2018

 

From Goodreads:

The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.

* * * * *

Praise for The Bear and the Nightingale (for those who haven’t yet read the first book in the series):
 

“A beautiful deep-winter story, full of magic and monsters and the sharp edges of growing up.”—Naomi Novik

“An extraordinary retelling of a very old tale . . . A Russian setting adds unfamiliar spice to the story of a young woman who does not rebel against the limits of her role in her culture so much as transcend them.”—Robin Hobb

 * * * * *

I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me your link in the comments below and I’ll stop by and check out your WoW selection for this week. 🙂

Top 10 Authors I’d Automatically Buy Anything They Wrote

 

On Tuesdays I usually participate in the popular Top Ten Tuesday meme, which is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  However, they are officially on hiatus until August, so while waiting for their return, I decided to take the opportunity to go back through their archives to see if any of the topics they had covered prior to my joining were of interest.  I saw this topic and thought it would be fun.  I’d discovered so many new authors since I started blogging that my auto-buy list has grown almost as fast as my TBR.  The list below contains a few authors from my pre-blogging days, but most are authors that I’ve fallen in love with because of you guys. 😉

 

Top 10 Authors I’d Automatically Buy Anything They Wrote

 

1. V. E. SCHWAB

I had never heard of V.E. Schwab prior to my blogging days, but the moment I opened A Darker Shade of Magic and experienced those glorious four Londons and Kell and his many-sided coat, I was hooked.  I’ve since completed the Shades of Magic series and have plans to read Monsters of Verity and to go back and pick up Vicious as well.

 

* * * * *

2. EMMA DONOGHUE

 

Emma also joined my auto-buy list after I started blogging because her book Room was one of the first books I ever reviewed.  That book mesmerized me, as did Wonder, which I read soon after that.  Emma’s writing is gorgeous and her books are those that always make me think and questions what I would do if in the same situations her characters are in.  I’ve been buying up a few of her older titles but really can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.

 

* * * * *

3.  TONI MORRISON

Toni Morrison has been on my auto-buy list for most of my adult life.  I took a graduate course where we studied all of her novels in great depth and I just couldn’t get enough of them.  Morrison is a master storyteller and creator of flawed yet sympathetic characters, and here we are 20 years after I took that course and I still eagerly await every new book that she releases.

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4. DAN BROWN

I know some think that there’s way too much hype surrounding Dan Brown’s books, but I don’t care. I love books that deal with solving puzzles, secret societies, history, and especially those which can combine all of that into an action-packed, suspenseful tale.  Over-hyped or not, Dan Brown always delivers so he has earned a spot on my auto-buy list.

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5. MARISSA MEYER

With her impressive and imaginative series, The Lunar Chronicles, Marissa Meyer quickly earned a spot on my auto-buy list. Heck, I haven’t even finished this whole series yet and I’ve already purchased Heartless and can’t wait to get my hands on her latest book Renegades as well.

 

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6. YAA GYASI

Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel was so gorgeous and so poignant that I am anxiously awaiting news of her next book and hope that I won’t have to wait too much longer.

 

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7. LEIGH BARDUGO

Leigh Bardugo is another author who I learned of and fell in love with because of my fellow bloggers.  So far I’ve only read Six of Crows, but the characters, the setting, the writing – all of it – just blew me away and now I’ve got Crooked Kingdom on deck, have purchased the first book in the Grisha series, and also cannot wait to read Wonder Woman:Warbringer.

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8. ALICE HOFFMAN

Alice Hoffman has been on my list since my pre-blogging days, but I’d definitely still buy anything she wrote today because of her lyrical prose and memorable characters.  Practical Magic and Faithful are two of my favorites, but I’m also very much looking forward to The Rules of Magic which is coming out this fall.

 

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9. BECKY ALBERTALLI

Becky Albertalli is another author that I had never heard of prior to joining the book blogging community, but I quickly fell in love with her books and especially with her diverse characters when I began reading Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda.  My love has continued with The Upside of Unrequited, so I’m eagerly awaiting Becky’s next book.

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10. JOHN GREEN

John Green has been an auto-buy for me ever since The Fault in Our Stars left me sobbing like a hungry infant.  Some of his books are much better than others, but I still can’t help myself. If a new John Green book is coming out, I’m guaranteed to buy it.  I’m anxiously awaiting Turtles All the Way Down as I type this post.

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Question: Who are some of your auto-buy authors?  Do we share any favorites?

Weekly Recap #9: Week of 7/9 – 7/15

 

Hey everyone!  It’s time for another weekly recap post of all things happening on and off the blog. This week I’ll be linking to the Sunday Post, which is hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer and to Stacking the Shelves, which is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

It has actually been a pretty quiet week for me.  The summer heat has arrived and with temperatures hovering near 100 and the humidity making it feel well above that, I’ve spent way more time inside than I would have liked.  One of these days I really want to have a swimming pool put in to make days like these more tolerable.  A girl can dream, right?

I’ve also been one of those moods lately where I want to watch movies, but not new or recent releases.  This week I watched Sister Act, The Breakfast Club, Dead Poet’s Society, The Empire Strikes Back, and the animated Beauty and the Beast.  Those just made me hungry for more older movies so I have E.T., The Goonies, and Raiders of the Lost Ark on deck for the upcoming week. Still plan to get lots of reading done though!

On the blog, I’ve had a good week as well. I posted the last of my July publication date ARC reviews so I’m keeping up with those nicely.  I also published another discussion post (finally!), so I’m excited about that since doing more discussion posts was probably my biggest blogging goal for this year. I also knocked 1,200 pages from my TBR this week (It was only 2 books, but they were huge, okay?  Haha!) I’m not doing great on my Summer TBR Challenge though – so far I’m only on my second of 12 books but hopefully I’ll turn that around soon.

On the agenda for today is lots of blog hopping and commenting since I’ve been kind of lax about that the past couple of days while trying to finish up Strange the Dreamer.  Incredible book, by the way. One of those that’s so amazing, it’s almost hard to put it into words for a review.

Well, that’s pretty much it for me.  Have a great week, everyone!

 

WHAT I POSTED LAST WEEK

 

 

WHAT I’M READING THIS WEEK

 

   

UPCOMING REVIEWS

 

     
 

 

STACKING THE SHELVES

 

   

TOTALLY RANDOM

 

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Discussion Post: My Complicated Relationship with Book Series

I’ve had book series on my mind a lot lately. I think it stems from the Top Ten Tuesday topic a few weeks ago where we had to list ten series we want to read but haven’t gotten around to yet. I did my list of 10, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I could have easily listed 2 or 3 times that many series. That of course got my wheels turning and thinking about not only the series I haven’t gotten to yet but also all of the ones I’ve but have yet to finish. Again, the list is endless. All of this really got me thinking about my overall relationship with book series. Why I put off starting series forever and why even once I start one do I take so long to actually read all of the books?

And here’s what I came up with…IT’S COMPLICATED!

 

 

I seem to have a lot of random quirks when it comes to series, so I thought I’d share and see if I have any kindred spirits out there.

 

1. Series are amazing in the sense that they give me more time to get to know my favorite characters. I especially love all of the added opportunities to get more backstory on them. Lucien from ACOTAR and Holland from the Shades of Magic series immediately come to mind with respect to the backstories.

As much as I love this though, there’s a downside as well. The more I get to know characters, the more attached I get, which means when it’s finally time to say goodbye to them, I’m left with a broken heart. The Harry Potter series is a prime example here. I cried like a baby when I finished that last book.

via GIPHY

So yeah, series can be a very emotional experience for me.

 

2. I’m not really a fan of series where the books can all work as standalones. There are a few I’ll make an exception for, like the Stephanie Plum series just because it’s so hilarious, but otherwise I tend to avoid these. What I don’t like is that each book in a series like this tends to spend a lot of time rehashing and summarizing who all of the characters are and their basic relationships to each other. I always get bored and find myself skipping a lot of pages because it’s like deja vu: “Wait, didn’t I read all of this, almost verbatim, in the last three books in this series?”

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My definite preference here is a series where you have to read all of the books in the correct order and where one book picks up right where the last book left off.

 

3. I’m quirky when it comes to series length as well. I enjoy duologies and trilogies, but once I get past the 3 book mark, I start to get a little testy and nitpicky. I find myself more critical of the books the longer a series get, almost editing them in my mind as I’m reading, questioning whether certain passages or, in some cases, whole chapters were even necessary because they felt like filler. I did this quite a bit this week actually as I was reading A Court of Wings and Ruin. I think it’s my brain’s way of trying to shorten the series for me because I’ve about reached my limit.

via memegenerator.net

Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia are probably the only exceptions to my series length preference.

 

4. I typically won’t start a series until at least two books have been published. Why?  Because if there’s a cliffhanger ending in the first book, I want to have the option to keep reading immediately rather than waiting a year to get the next book.  That’s not to say I actually will continue with the series immediately (see # 5)..  I just want to know the possibility is there.  Having that second book at the ready is like a security blanket for me, I guess, haha.

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5. I don’t usually like to binge read series. I think this goes back to the whole saying goodbye to the characters issue (see # 1).  In my mind, the faster I read a series, the sooner I have to say goodbye so binging is a big no.

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So there you have it, all of my bookish quirks when it comes to reading series.  Do we share any quirks?  Do you have quirks of your own when it comes to series?