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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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

My Top Ten Favorite Reads for the First Half of 2017

 

top ten tuesday

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Reads for the first half of 2017.  I had originally planned to do only 2017 releases but didn’t really have enough favorites to make a top ten list.  Instead, I’ve chosen to just go with my favorite reads, regardless of when they were released so there’s a mix of 2017, 2016, and even at least one 2015 book that I read and loved this year.

My Top 10 Favorite Reads for the First Half of 2017

 

1. THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas

Why I Loved It:  I tend to measure how good a book is by how many emotions it makes me feel while I’m reading and The Hate U Give is off the charts in that respect.  It made me sad and brought me to tears several times, it made me frustrated and angry, and it even managed to make me smile and laugh a few times along the way as well. I also felt the love between Starr and her family, as well as the love that held her community together.  When I say it’s a powerful read, that’s what I’m talking about.  This book is just so real and honest and raw that you feel EVERYTHING the characters are going through.  (Read My Full Review…)

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2. A CONJURING OF LIGHT by Victoria Schwab

Why I Loved It:  I just finished this book over the weekend and haven’t even begun writing my review, but the fact that I stayed up until 1:00 a.m. Sunday night, even though I had to be up by 6:00 a.m. for work should tell you just how much I adored this book.  Everything about this series is amazing — the elaborate world building, the intricate system of magic, and my favorite part  – the complex relationship between the characters and the final book gave me exactly the ending I was looking for.  Schwab really outdid herself with this finale. (Review still to be written…)

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3.  SAINTS AND MISFITS by S.K. Ali

Why I Loved It:  S.K. Ali’s debut novel Saints and Misfits is a beautifully written coming of age book about family, friendship, love, religious faith, and so much more. It’s also a book that focuses on the importance of not judging people, of not making assumptions about people you don’t even know based on how they look or how they’re dressed, or maybe even how religious or not religious they may seem.  Saints and Misfits tackles all of these important themes and allows us to explore them through the eyes of a hijabi teen, Janna Yusuf, as she navigates her way through life in her high school, at home, and in her Muslim community.  I adored so many of the characters in this book, but main character Janna was definitely my favorite.  I adored everything about her.  She’s super smart, hilarious, a little bit snarky, and just an all-around likeable character, probably one of the most likeable characters I’ve read so far this year.  As if all of that wasn’t cool enough, Janna is also a Flannery O’Connor loving book nerd! If I had gone to school with Janna, I totally would have wanted to be friends with her.  I also found her voice to be authentic and I loved seeing the events of the story unfold from her perspective.  Her journey to find herself and to ultimately decide what kind of person she wants to be is such a compelling one and it just made this book one I couldn’t put down once I started reading. (Read My Full Review…)

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4. SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo

Why I Loved It: What I loved most about Six of Crows are the characters.  Leigh Bardugo has crafted some of the most fascinating and unique characters I’ve come across in YA fantasy.  I always enjoy stories that feature an anti-hero and with Kaz and his “Crows,” we have 6 anti-heroes! I love anti-heroes because they’re always such complex characters and these characters are no different. What each of the Crows have in common is that they have no family and they’ve each had to do some pretty awful things in the name of survival, including resorting to thievery and murder.  Through flashbacks that give us backstory on each of the characters, however, Bardugo manages to make this gang of thugs so sympathetic that you can’t help but fall in love with them.. (Read My Full Review…)

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5. THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED by Becky Albertalli

Why I Loved It: Another book where the characters just captured my heart.  Becky Albertalli really has a gift for making adorable and relatable characters and Molly Peskin-Suso is no exception. I really loved Molly. In addition to being smart and funny, Molly also has anxiety issues and I found the inner monologue running through her head to be so relatable throughout the book.  I just loved the way Albertalli wrote Molly’s voice and could empathize with all of Molly’s insecurities.  If you’ve ever experienced anxiety or felt the fear of rejection, it’s easy to understand where Molly is coming from and why she’s so hesitant to put herself out there.  I also loved that even though Molly is somewhat overweight, she still has a great sense of style and a healthy self image. She isn’t trying to starve herself to make herself more appealing to anyone.  Molly is who she is and makes no apologies for it.  When a boy at a party tells her she’s “gorgeous for a big girl,” Molly’s very candid response is “F*** you.” I mean, seriously, how can you not love this girl?  (Read My Full Review…)

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6. SWIMMING LESSONS by Claire Fuller

Why I Loved It:  Swimming Lessons was a powerful and unique read for me.  There’s a huge mystery that runs through the story with respect to Ingrid: ‘Is she really dead or could she possibly be alive and off living a secret life unbeknownst to her husband and children?’ Instead of being this huge dramatic event, however, it’s written in such a subtle and elegant style that it wasn’t this huge melodramatic event, more just the quiet reveal of a troubled family.  I also liked one of the book’s central themes – that we all bring our own meaning to the books we read.  And in keeping with that theme, Swimming Lessons leaves the reader to interpret what really happened to Ingrid.  (Read My Full Review…)

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7. THE INEXPLICABLE LOGIC OF MY LIFE by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Why I Loved It: Another book that I’ve just finished and haven’t completed the review for.  I fell in love with this book because of its strong focus on family relationships and especially on the idea that being a family doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with being related by blood.   Main character Sal has been raised all his life by his incredible adoptive dad – the kind of loving and supporting dad that every kid wants, that all of Sal’s friends wish they had.  When Sal suddenly starts to have issues with anger and starts getting into fights at school, he starts to question who he is.  Where is this violence coming from?  Is he somehow more like his biological father who he has never even met than he is like the wonderful, gentle, nonviolent man who has raised him all his life?  The nature vs. nurture debate has always interested me, so I found Sal’s journey very compelling.  (Review still to be written…)

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8. THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES by Mindy McGinnis

Why I Loved It: The main reason why I loved this book is  its fascinating main character, Alex Craft.  Alex has always had a dark side. She can feel the violence bubbling beneath the surface, just waiting to be unleashed.  For most of her life, she has been able to keep this dark side under control.  However, when her older sister Anna is sexually assaulted and murdered and the murderer goes free, the beast within Alex awakens and she takes matters into her own hands to get justice for her sister.  Alex gets away with her crime but feels like she could easily do the same thing again if she encounters another predator so she doesn’t really trust herself to be around other people.  Because of this, she doesn’t really make any friends at school and is mainly known by her classmates as “the girl with the dead sister.” That is, until she unexpectedly becomes friends with Jack and Peekay, her first real friendships, and it suddenly becomes a lot harder to hide her true dark nature.  I loved the complexity of Alex’s character.  On the one hand, she’s a straight A student in line to be valedictorian of her class and she also volunteers at the local animal shelter and is super gentle with all of the animals that she cares for.  On the other hand, she’s a stone cold vigilante who will go after anyone she views as a predator.  (Read My Full Review…)

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9. UNDER ROSE-TAINTED SKIES by Louise Gornall

Why I Loved It: This is another book where a wonderfully drawn main character makes this a standout for me.  I really adored Norah.  She’s smart and funny, incredibly resourceful when it comes to coping with her illness, and she’s also much braver than she gives herself credit for being.  I found Norah so likeable that I immediately wanted to know more about her condition since agoraphobia is something that I know next to nothing about.  Being in Norah’s head as she struggles through each day made the story especially powerful and gave me a much clearer picture of the illness and how truly crippling it can be.  Norah’s frustration is palpable throughout, especially the fact that she is very much aware that most of her fears were irrational, but still can’t stop their paralyzing effects.  By allowing us access to Norah’s thoughts, Gornall paints an authentic and vivid portrait of agoraphobia and allows us to see beneath the surface of what is often considered an “invisible” illness.. (Read My Full Review…)

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10. STALKING JACK THE RIPPER by Kerri Maniscalco

Why I Loved It:  Two words…Audrey Rose.  Maniscalco does a wonderful job of fleshing out her main character, Audrey Rose Wadsworth and making her seem so realistic.  She’s fiercely independent, headstrong, and sassy as all get out, which makes her such a fun character to follow.  Even with the overriding creepy serial killer plot, Audrey Rose still managed to make me chuckle quite a few times throughout the novel.   You just never know what she is going to say at any given moment, but you can pretty much guarantee that it will be completely inappropriate based on society’s expectations.  Speaking of society’s expectations, Audrey Rose truly doesn’t give a flip about those and instead is way ahead of her time and wants to pursue a career in forensic medicine.   When the novel opens, she is, much to her father’s chagrin, working as an apprentice to her Uncle, who is an expert in the field. I kept thinking to myself “She’s like a Victorian Era Maura Isles” (from the popular series Rizzoli and Isles).  (Read My Review…)

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Question: What have been your favorite reads so far this year?

Top Ten Tuesday – Top 10 Authors Dads Will Love to Read

top ten tuesday

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Father’s Day related Freebie.  This week’s topic was surprisingly hard for me. I thought about doing Top 10 Dads in Literature then couldn’t think of more than about 2 or 3, so I scrapped that idea.  I decided to go with Top 10 Authors Dads Will Love to Read and my selections are based on me picking my husband’s brain since my own dad is not a big reader.  My husband’s tastes run along the lines of action, suspense, mystery, intrigue, and he also really loves political dramas and any stories where you’re following clues to investigate.  He was a huge Hardy Boys fan growing up so I think of most of these authors and their books as the grown up equivalent of the Hardy Boys.

 

Top 10 Authors Dads Will Love to Read

 

1. TOM CLANCY – Jack Ryan series

 

     
 

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2. LEE CHILD  – Jack Reacher series

 

     
 

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3. VINCE FLYNN – Mitch Rapp series

 

      
 

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4. DANIEL SILVA – Gabriel Allon series

 

     
 

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5. DAN BROWN – Robert Langdon series

 

      
 

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6. JOHN GRISHAM 

 

      
 

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 7. NELSON DEMILLE – John Corey series

 

     
 

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8. HARLAN COBEN 

 

     
 

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9. JOHN CONNOLLY – Charlie Parker series

 

     
 

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10. DAVID MCCULLOGH – Nonfiction/Historical

 

     
 

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Question:  What authors do you consider must-reads for dads?

Top 10 YA Contemporaries I’ve Recently Added to my TBR

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books From X Genre That I’ve Recently Added To My TBR List.  This time last year I had fully immersed myself in YA fantasy reads so this summer I’ve decided to switch gears a bit and explore more YA contemporary reads.  Here are some contemporaries that have piqued my interest recently and that I hope to read this year.

Top 10 YA Contemporaries I’ve Recently Added to my TBR

 

1. WORDS IN DEEP BLUE by Cath Crowley

Goodreads Synopsis: Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.  (Read more…)

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2. LETTERS TO THE LOST by Brigid Kemmerer

Goodreads Synopsis: Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.   (Read more…)

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3. IF BIRDS FLY BACK by Carlie Sorosiak

Goodreads Synopsis:  A sparkling debut about love, family, and the mysteries of the universe.

Linny has been fascinated by disappearances, ever since her sister Grace ran away in the middle of the night without saying goodbye.

Sebastian can tell you how many galaxies there are, and knows how much plutonium weighs. But the one thing he can’t figure out is the identity of his birth father.

They’ve never met, but Linny and Sebastian have one thing in common: an obsession with famous novelist and filmmaker Alvaro Herrera, who went missing three years ago and has just reappeared. As they learn more about the mystery of Alvaro, Linny and Sebastian uncover the answers they’ve been searching for.

With humor and heart, debut author Carlie Sorosiak weaves a story of finding people who leave and loving those who stay, perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson and Emery Lord. (Read more…)

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4. THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END by Adam Silvera

Goodreads Synopsis:  New York Times bestselling author Adam Silvera reminds us that there’s no life without death and no love without loss in this devastating yet uplifting story about two people whose lives change over the course of one unforgettable day.

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

In the tradition of Before I Fall and If I Stay, They Both Die at the End is a tour de force from acclaimed author Adam Silvera, whose debut, More Happy Than Not, the New York Times called “profound.”   (Read more…)

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5. DEAR MARTIN by Nic Stone

Goodreads Synopsis:  Justyce McAllister is top of his class, captain of the debate team, and set for the Ivy League next year—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. He is eventually released without charges (or an apology), but the incident has Justyce spooked. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood, he can’t seem to escape the scorn of his former peers or the attitude of his prep school classmates. The only exception: Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous—and white—debate partner he wishes he didn’t have a thing for.

Struggling to cope with it all, Justyce starts a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But do Dr. King’s teachings hold up in the modern world? Justyce isn’t so sure.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up. Way up. Much to the fury of the white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. And Justyce and Manny get caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack. The truth of what happened that night—some would kill to know. Justyce is dying to forget.  (Read more…)

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6. DEFINITIONS OF INDEFINABLE THINGS by Whitney Taylor

Goodsreads Synopsis:  This heartbreaking, humorous novel is about three teens whose lives intersect in ways they never expected.

Reggie Mason is all too familiar with “the Three Stages of Depression.” She believes she’s unlocked the secret to keeping herself safe: Nobody can hurt you if you never let them in.

Reggie encounters an unexpected challenge to her misanthropy: a Twizzler-chomping, indie film-making narcissist named Snake. Snake’s presence, while reassuring, is not exactly stable—especially since his ex-girlfriend is seven months pregnant. As Reggie falls for Snake, she must decide whether it’s time to rewrite the rules that have defined her.. (Read more…)

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 7. SAINTS AND MISFITS by S.K. Ali

Goodreads Synopsis:  Saints and Misfits is an unforgettable debut novel that feels like a modern day My So-Called Life…starring a Muslim teen.

How much can you tell about a person just by looking at them?

Janna Yusuf knows a lot of people can’t figure out what to make of her…an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and sometime graphic novelist is not exactly easy to put into a box.

And Janna suddenly finds herself caring what people think. Or at least what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Or they shouldn’t date. Or won’t? Janna is still working all this out.

While her heart might be leading her in one direction, her mind is spinning in others. She is trying to decide what kind of person she wants to be, and what it means to be a saint, a misfit, or a monster. Except she knows a monster…one who happens to be parading around as a saint…Will she be the one to call him out on it? What will people in her tightknit Muslim community think of her then?  (Read more…)

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8. IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE by Christina June

(Publication Date:  August 29, 2017)

Goodreads Synopsis:    Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.   (Read more…)

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9. ONE OF US IS LYING by Karen M. McManus

lying

Goodreads Synopsis:  One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them. (Read more…)

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10. CITY OF SAINTS & THIEVES by Natalie C. Anderson

Goodreads Synopsis:  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl in this enthralling YA murder mystery set in Kenya.

In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn’t exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.. (Read more…)

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Question:  What YA contemporaries have you added to your TBR recently?

My Top 10 Most Anticipated Books for the Second Half of 2017

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For The Second Half of 2017.  Okay, for the most part, this was an easy list to make because there are so many fantastic sounding books coming out during the last half of 2017.  The hardest part for me was actually narrowing down to just a top 10 list because there are literally dozens of upcoming releases that I need in my life!   As of today anyway, these are the ten I’m most looking forward to reading.

Top Ten Most Anticipated Books for the Second Half of 2017

 

1. EMMA IN THE NIGHT by Wendy Walker

(Publication Date:  August 8, 2017)

Goodreads Synopsis: From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back…

One night five years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.  (Read more…)

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2. THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE by Mackenzi Lee

(Publication Date:  June 27, 2017)

Goodreads Synopsis: An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.  But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.   (Read more…)

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3. HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA by Kerri Maniscalco 

(Publication Date:  September 19, 2017)

Goodreads Synopsis:  In this hotly anticipated sequel to the haunting #1 bestseller Stalking Jack the Ripper, bizarre murders are discovered in the castle of Prince Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula. Could it be a copycat killer…or has the depraved prince been brought back to life?

Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.  (Read more…)

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4. THE LIBRARY OF FATES by Aditi Khorana

(Publication Date:  July 18, 2017)

Goodreads Synopsis:  A romantic coming-of-age fantasy tale steeped in Indian folklore, perfect for fans of The Star-Touched Queen and The Wrath and the Dawn

No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.

The unthinkable happens, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos of a palace under siege. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.

Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await? (Read more…)

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5. DEAR MARTIN by Nic Stone

(Publication Date:  October 17, 2017)

Goodreads Synopsis:  Justyce McAllister is top of his class, captain of the debate team, and set for the Ivy League next year—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. He is eventually released without charges (or an apology), but the incident has Justyce spooked. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood, he can’t seem to escape the scorn of his former peers or the attitude of his prep school classmates. The only exception: Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous—and white—debate partner he wishes he didn’t have a thing for.

Struggling to cope with it all, Justyce starts a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But do Dr. King’s teachings hold up in the modern world? Justyce isn’t so sure.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up. Way up. Much to the fury of the white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. And Justyce and Manny get caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack. The truth of what happened that night—some would kill to know. Justyce is dying to forget.  (Read more…)

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6. EVER THE BRAVE by Erin Summerill

(Publication Date:  December 5, 2017)

Goodsreads Synopsis:   Ever the Divided. Ever the Feared. Ever the Brave.

After saving King Aodren with her newfound Channeler powers, Britta only wants to live a peaceful life in her childhood home. Unfortunately, saving the King has created a tether between them she cannot sever, no matter how much she’d like to, and now he’s insisting on making her a noble lady. And there are those who want to use Britta’s power for evil designs. If Britta cannot find a way to harness her new magical ability, her life—as well as her country—may be lost.

The stakes are higher than ever in the sequel to Ever the Hunted, as Britta struggles to protect her kingdom and her heart. (Read more…)

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 7. LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE by Celeste Ng

(Publication Date:  September 12, 2017)

Goodreads Synopsis:  In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.  (Read more…)

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8. WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER by Leigh Bardugo

(Publication Date:  August 29, 2017)

Goodreads Synopsis:    The highly anticipated coming-of-age story for the world’s greatest super hero: WONDER WOMAN by the # 1 New York Times bestselling author LEIGH BARDUGO.

She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.  (Read more…)

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9. ORIGIN by Dan Brown

(Publication Date:  October 3, 2017)

Goodreads Synopsis:  In keeping with his trademark style, Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code and Inferno, interweaves codes, science, religion, history, art, and architecture into this new novel. Origin thrusts Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon into the dangerous intersection of humankind’s two most enduring questions, and the earthshaking discovery that will answer them.  (Read more…)

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10. LITTLE & LION by Brandy Colbert

(Publication Date:  August 8, 2017)

Goodreads Synopsis:  A stunning novel on love, loss, identity, and redemption, from Publishers Weekly Flying Start author Brandy Colbert

When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (along with her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.

But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new…the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel’s disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself–or worse. (Read more…)

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Question:  What are your most anticipated reads for the second half of 2017?

Top 10 Books to Put in Your Beach Bag

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Summer Reads Freebie: “In preparation for Memorial Day (which is always the unofficial summer kickoff for me), let’s rec some summer/beach reads: books to go in your beach bag, best books set in summer, books with summer-y covers, best beach reads for people who don’t enjoy contemporary/realistic reads, best beach reads for fans of X genre, etc. etc.”

Even though I’m not generally a huge fan of romance or chick lit, I do tend to switch up my reading once it’s time to hit the beach.  Here are some wonderful books that I wouldn’t hesitate to toss in my beach bag to guarantee a great reading day out in the sand and sun.

Top Ten Books to Put in Your Beach Bag

 

1. THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS by Ann Brashares

Goodreads Synopsis: Carmen got the jeans at a thrift shop. They didn’t look all that great: they were worn, dirty, and speckled with bleach. On the night before she and her friends part for the summer, Carmen decides to toss them. But Tibby says they’re great. She’d love to have them. Lena and Bridget also think they’re fabulous. Lena decides that they should all try them on. Whoever they fit best will get them. Nobody knows why, but the pants fit everyone perfectly. Even Carmen (who never thinks she looks good in anything) thinks she looks good in the pants. Over a few bags of cheese puffs, they decide to form a sisterhood and take the vow of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants . . . the next morning, they say good-bye. And then the journey of the pants — and the most memorable summer of their lives — begins.  (Read more…)

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2. SWIMMING LESSONS by Claire Fuller

Goodreads Synopsis: Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her beautiful but dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan.

Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but he’s getting older and this unlikely sighting is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has never believed her mother drowned, returns home to care for her father and to try to finally discover what happened to Ingrid. But what Flora doesn’t realize is that the answers to her questions are hidden in the books that surround her. Scandalous and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a passionate and troubled marriage.   (Read more…)

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3. HOW TO MAKE A WISH by Ashley Herring Blake 

Goodreads Synopsis:  All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.

Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.  (Read more…)

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4. SUMMER SISTERS by Judy Blume

Goodreads Synopsis:   In the summer of 1977, Victoria Leonard’s world changed forever—-when Caitlin Somers chose her as a friend. Dazzling, reckless Caitlin welcomed Vix into the heart of her sprawling, eccentric family, opening doors to a world of unimaginable privilege, sweeping her away to vacations on Martha’s Vineyard, a magical, wind-blown island where two friends became summer sisters…

Now, years later, Vix is working in New York City. Caitlin is getting married on the Vineyard. And the early magic of their long, complicated friendship has faded. But Caitlin has begged Vix to come to her wedding, to be her maid of honor. And Vix knows that she will go—for the friend whose casual betrayals she remembers all too well. Because Vix wants to understand what happened during that last shattering summer. And, after all these years, she needs to know why her best friend—her summer sister—still has the power to break her heart… (Read more…)

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5. LOCK AND KEY by Sarah Dessen

Goodreads Synopsis:  Ruby, where is your mother? Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she’s been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return.

That’s how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn’t seen in ten years, and Cora’s husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future; it’s a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?

Best-selling author Sarah Dessen explores the heart of a gutsy, complex girl dealing with unforeseen circumstances and learning to trust again.  (Read more…)

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6. HERE’S TO US by Erin Hilderbrand

Goodsreads Synopsis:   Three romantic rivals. One crowded house. Plenty of room for jealousy.

Laurel Thorpe, Belinda Rowe, and Scarlett Oliver share only two things; a love for the man they all married, Deacon Thorpe–a celebrity chef with an insatiable appetite for life–and a passionate dislike of one another. All three are remarkable, spirited women, but they couldn’t be more different. Laurel: Deacon’s high school sweetheart and an effortlessly beautiful social worker; Belinda: a high-maintenance Hollywood diva; and Scarlett: a sexy southern belle floating by on her family money and her fabulous looks. They’ve established a delicate understanding over the years–they avoid each other at all costs.

But their fragile detente threatens to come crashing down after Deacon’s tragic death on his favorite place on earth: a ramshackle Nantucket summer cottage. Deacon’s final wish was for his makeshift family to assemble on his beloved Nantucket to say good-bye. Begrudgingly, Laurel, Belinda, and Scarlett gather on the island as once again, as in each of their marriages, they’re left to pick up Deacon’s mess. Now they’re trapped in the crowded cottage where they all made their own memories–a house that they now share in more ways than one–along with the children they raised with Deacon, and his best friend. Laurel, Belinda, and Scarlett each had an unbreakable bond with Deacon–and they all have secrets to hide.

Before the weekend is over, there are enough accusations, lies, tears, and drama to turn even the best of friends–let alone three women who married the same man–into adversaries. As his unlikely family says good-bye to the man who brought them together–for better or worse–will they be able to put aside their differences long enough to raise a glass in Deacon’s honor? (Read more…)

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 7. BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty

Goodreads Synopsis:  Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.  (Read more…)

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8. FIREFLY LANE by Kristin Hannah

Goodreads Synopsis:    From the New York Times bestselling author of On Mystic Lake comes a powerful novel of love, loss, and the magic of friendship. . . .

In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the “coolest girl in the world” moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all—beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn. Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer’s end they’ve become TullyandKate. Inseparable.

So begins Kristin Hannah’s magnificent new novel. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the ever-changing face of the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives.

From the beginning, Tully is desperate to prove her worth to the world. Abandoned by her mother at an early age, she longs to be loved unconditionally. In the glittering, big-hair era of the eighties, she looks to men to fill the void in her soul. But in the buttoned-down nineties, it is television news that captivates her. She will follow her own blind ambition to New York and around the globe, finding fame and success . . . and loneliness.

Kate knows early on that her life will be nothing special. Throughout college, she pretends to be driven by a need for success, but all she really wants is to fall in love and have children and live an ordinary life. In her own quiet way, Kate is as driven as Tully. What she doesn’t know is how being a wife and mother will change her . . . how she’ll lose sight of who she once was, and what she once wanted. And how much she’ll envy her famous best friend. . . .

For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship—jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. They think they’ve survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart . . . and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.

Firefly Lane is for anyone who ever drank Boone’s Farm apple wine while listening to Abba or Fleetwood Mac. More than a coming-of-age novel, it’s the story of a generation of women who were both blessed and cursed by choices. It’s about promises and secrets and betrayals. And ultimately, about the one person who really, truly knows you—and knows what has the power to hurt you . . . and heal you. Firefly Lane is a story you’ll never forget . . . one you’ll want to pass on to your best friend.  (Read more…)

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9. HOME FRONT by Kristin Hannah

Goodreads Synopsis:   All marriages have a breaking point. All families have wounds. All wars have a cost. . . .

Like many couples, Michael and Jolene Zarkades have to face the pressures of everyday life–children, careers, bills, chores–even as their twelve-year marriage is falling apart. Then an unexpected deployment sends Jolene deep into harm’s way and leaves defense attorney Michael at home, unaccustomed to being a single parent to their two girls. As a mother, it agonizes Jolene to leave her family, but as a soldier she has always understood the true meaning of duty. In her letters home, she paints a rose-colored version of her life on the front lines, shielding her family from the truth. But war will change Jolene in ways that none of them could have foreseen. When tragedy strikes, Michael must face his darkest fear and fight a battle of his own–for everything that matters to his family.

At once a profoundly honest look at modern marriage and a dramatic exploration of the toll war takes on an ordinary American family, Home Front is a story of love, loss, heroism, honor, and ultimately, hope.  (Read more…)

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10. SUMMERLAND by Erin Hilderbrand

Goodreads Synopsis:  It’s June 15th, the night of Nantucket High School graduation. Four juniors are driving home from a party when something goes horribly wrong and there is a crash. The driver of the car, Penny Alistair, is killed, and her twin brother, Hobby Alistair, is left in a coma. Penny’s boyfriend, Jake Randolph, and Penny’s friend Demeter Castle are unhurt–but suffer tremendous emotional damage. Jake and his family move to the other side of the globe–to the west coast of Australia–in order to escape the horrors of the accident. Demeter falls prey to alcohol abuse and other self-destructive behaviors that nearly lead to her destroying her own life.

SUMMERLAND delves into the circumstances surrounding this accident, the roots of which lie deep in the past, with the first interactions between these four friends and their parents. It’s a novel about how tragedy affects individuals, families, and the island community as a whole, and how healing can happen, in even the most devastating circumstances.  (Read more…)

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Question:  What are some of your all time favorite beach reads?

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top 10 Favorite Book Moms

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Mother’s Day related Freebie: favorite moms in literature, books about motherhood, best mother/daughter or son relationships, books to buy your mom, worst moms in literature, etc.”

My list might come across as a little weird because while yes I love badass moms who are willing to sacrifice everything to keep their children safe and happy like the ladies from Harry Potter, Marmee from Little Women, Lena Younger from A Raisin in the Sun, and Momma Carter from The Hate U Give, I’m also attracted to those problematic moms you love to hate like Mrs. Bennett from Pride and Prejudice and Cersei Lannister from A Song of Fire and Ice series.  I think Bernadette Fox from Where’d You Go, Bernadette? probably falls in the middle of the spectrum. She’s kind of a hot mess, but at the same time, she is a refreshingly honest character. Anyway, so I’d say my list of favorite moms is basically a list of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

My Top Ten Favorite Book Moms

 

1, 2, 3.  MOLLY WEASLEY, NYMPHADORA TONKS, & LILY POTTER from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

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4. MA from Room by Emma Donoghue

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5.  MARMEE MARCH from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

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6. LENA YOUNGER from A Raisin in the Sun

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7. MRS. BENNETT from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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8. MOMMA CARTER from The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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9. BERNADETTE FOX from Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

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10. CERSEI LANNISTER from the A Song of Fire and Ice series by George R. R. Martin

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Question:  Who are some of your favorite moms from books?  Do we share any favorites?

My Reading Wishlist – Ten Things I Really Want to See More of in Books

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Ten Things On Our Reading Wishlist  (things you want to see more of in books — tropes, a time period, a specific type of character, an issue tackled, a certain plot, etc. All those things that make you think I WANT MORE OF THIS IN BOOKS!). This was a tough topic for me because pretty much any book I read and enjoy, I want more just like it.  After giving it some thought though, I finally narrowed my reading wishlist down to these ten items.  

Ten Things I Really Want to see More of in Books

 

1. BOOKS THAT FOCUS ON FRIENDSHIP – I’m all about bromances and sisterhoods, so bring on the friendship novels!

2. STANDALONE BOOKS – I love a good series as much as the next person, but I have so many half-finished series sitting in my TBR right now that I’d love an influx of standalone novels so that it’s just one book and done.

3.  BOOKS THAT FOCUS ON FAMILIES AND WHAT THEY GO THROUGH – I’d love more of these stories because they’re almost always relatable and compelling.

4. BOOKS SET OUTSIDE THE U.S. – As much as I adore books set in my favorite city,  NYC, I also love books that take me to places I’ve never been to before so I’d love to see more books set outside the U.S. If I had to make a wishlist of specific countries I’d love to see more of in my books, I’d pick Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Switzerland, India, and China.

5.  BOOKS THAT FEATURE MORALLY AMBIGUOUS MAIN CHARACTERS OR ANTI-HEROES –  Aren’t these just some of the most fascinating characters to follow through a story?

 6. LESS LOVE TRIANGLES – Enough said.

7. REALISTIC ROMANCES – I’d love to see more romances that mirror relationships you see in everyday life.

8. RETELLINGS THAT ARE BASED ON LESSER KNOWN FAIRYTALES AND FOLKLORE – One of the best books I’ve read in the last few months is The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, which is based on Russian folklore. The folklore was totally new to me and it just made for such a unique and beautiful read. I’d love to read more books like this one.

9. BOOKS WITH BADASS FEMALE CHARACTERS WHO DON’T NEED TO BE SAVED OR ROMANCED – Actually how about badass female characters who save men in distress?

10.  BOOKS WHERE THE PROTAGONISTS ARE ARTISTS – I read several great books this past year where the main characters were either painters, writers, musicians, or actors and I just love that added layer of creativity that threads its way through the storyline.

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Question:  What are some of your biggest reading wishlist items? Do we have any in common?

Top Ten Tuesday – My Top 10 Biggest Book Turn Offs

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want To Read A Book.  I actually struggled with this topic because there aren’t too many things that will guarantee I won’t even attempt to read a book.  There are a few though so here’s my list.  

My Top Ten Biggest Book Turn Offs

 

1. CHILD ABUSE – I just can’t bring myself to read a book if I know in advance that a child will be abused.

2. ANIMAL CRUELTY – Same thing here. If I’ve heard there is animal cruelty, I’m going to pass.  I just finished reading The Female of the Species this past weekend and I wish I had known up front about the scene with the puppies so that I could have skipped over it.  Thankfully it was a small scene and it wasn’t graphic, but it still broke my heart.

3.  HORROR – I don’t do horror. At all.  Not movies or TV shows and especially not books. I enjoy a good mystery or psychological thriller, but no thanks to all of the super scary and gory stuff.  I read as an escape and being terrified is not an escape for me.

4. BIOGRAPHIES – Sometimes I’ll make an exception, but typically biographies not for me because I find them such a dry read.  I do enjoy autobiographies though because I do like hearing about someone’s life in their own words.

5.  WOMAN NEEDS A LOVE INTEREST TO FEEL COMPLETE –  I don’t know if this is classified as Chick Lit or  if it’s something else altogether, but the turn off for me are those books where the main character is so obsessed with either the man she is involved with or she’s focused on nothing but finding her next big romance.  Life is just horribly incomplete because she’s not involved with someone romantically.  Or maybe she even starts out as a strong, independent female character but then she suddenly turns into a puddle of goo because she thinks she has met Mr. Right.  Those kinds of stories just drive me crazy.

 6. GRATUITOUS, GRAPHIC SEX – I’m not a prude by any means and don’t mind the occasional sex scene in books that I’m reading, but I find it a turn off if every few chapters my characters are going at it like bunnies, especially if it adds nothing to the plot and is actually in the way of the plot advancing.

7. LOVE TRIANGLES – Sometimes I’ll make an exception if there’s an unusual twist when it comes to the love triangle, but for the most part, I just find these so cliche and unrealistic.

 8. TOO MUCH DESCRIPTION / TOO LITTLE ACTION – Although I do love gorgeous descriptions in novels, I know that if a novel is more description than it is action, I’m going to end up bored.  I recently experienced this with The Bone Witch, which I found to be filled with endless beautiful descriptions of the clothing the witches wore, but felt like the book was predominantly description and that not much of anything actually happened.

9. MAIN CHARACTER IS TOO PERFECT – I like characters that are messy and flawed and who make mistakes. If they’re too perfect, I just can’t relate to them and so lose interest.

10.  UGLY  COVERS – I feel horrible for even putting this one on here, but just as I have been known to want to read a book simply because it happens to have a gorgeous cover, I confess that I have also been known to shun a book altogether if it has what I consider to be hideous cover.  I know, I know! I shouldn’t be judging books by their covers.  *goes and sits in the corner*

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Question:  What are some of your biggest book turn offs? Do we have any in common?

Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want to Read a Book

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read a Book.  This was a pretty easy topic for me this week because there are some key things that if I read them in a book’s blurb, that book is totally going on my TBR no matter what.  I’m definitely a sucker for certain settings and for certain time periods, but there are also certain topics that are guaranteed to attract my interest.  And if more than one of these can be found in the same book, hold me back because that baby is going straight to the top of my TBR pile! 

Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want to Read a Book

 

BOOKS THAT ARE SET IN MY FAVORITE CITIES & COUNTRIES

My favorite places in the world are New York City, Paris, and Italy. These settings are pure magic for me, each in their own way, so I’m drawn like a moth to a flame to pretty much any books set in these locations.  Doesn’t matter if they’re contemporary stories or historical fiction, it’s all about location, location, location for me.

1. NEW YORK CITY

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2. PARIS, FRANCE

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3.  ITALY

BOOKS THAT ARE SET IN CERTAIN TIME PERIODS

Another huge draw for me are books that fall within certain time periods.  If a book is set during World War II, I’m definitely going to read it and same goes for books set during the Jazz Age and during the 1960’s.  As you can imagine, Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale became a must-read for me as soon as I heard that it was set in Paris during World War II.

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4. THE 1920’S

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5.  WORLD WAR II ERA

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6. THE 1960’S

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BOOKS THAT FOCUS ON CERTAIN TOPICS

 

7. FAIRYTALE RETELLINGS

Fairytale retellings are a fairly new interest for me, but I have to say that they have become quite an obsession because they’re always such fun and creative reads. I love the idea of putting a unique spin on a familiar tale.

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8. FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

Some of my favorite books are those that deal with families and their day-to-day lives. I love books that explore the parent-child bond, sibling rivalries – basically, you name it, I’m interested if it relates to family.

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9. MENTAL ILLNESS

When I was in college, I double major in English Lit and Psychology, so I think books that explore mental illness appeal to that part of my personality.  I like that there are more and more books that focus on mental illness, seeking to educate people on a more personal level that is so much more accessible than a dry psychology textbook could ever hope to be.

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10. INTROVERTS

As an introvert, it’s a guarantee that I will read ANY book that has a main character who is considered an introvert.  Those are the literary characters that I relate to most in the world so there’s no way I’m passing up a book where I know the character will be totally relatable.

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Question:  What are some things that will instantly make you want to read a book? Do we have any in common?