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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?

Top Ten Unique Books I’ve Read

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 Of The Most Unique Books I’ve Read (with some possible variations: top ten unique sounding books on my TBR, top ten most unique books I’ve read in X genre, etc.) I do love a unique read, one that when you try to describe it to someone you’re almost at a loss for words because it’s so unlike anything else you’ve ever read.  Unique narrators always tend to stick with me, so many of my selections this week made the list because they have unique voices telling the story.

Top Ten Unique Books I’ve Read

 

1. THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morganstern

The Night Circus makes my list because I truly can’t recall reading anything like it before.  Not to be corny or cliche, but it’s truly magical.  The whole story just envelopes you in its atmosphere of smoke and mirrors and mystery and illusion.  Just thinking about it makes me want to read it again.  (Goodreads Synopsis…) 

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2. THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale makes my list of unique reads because of its focus on Russian folklore.  Like The Night Circus, I can’t ever recall reading anything quite like this book.  So far it’s my favorite 2017 release.  (Goodreads Synopsis…)

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3.  WICKED:  THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE WICKED WITCH OF THE WEST by Gregory Macguire

I have to confess that I didn’t particularly enjoy this book.  I guess nothing can compare to the Broadway musical, but the book was just a letdown for me overall. So why am I including it on this list?  Because disappointment or not, it’s still one of the more unique books that I’ve read in that it turns the original Wizard of Oz story on its head and instead focuses on the story from the perspective of the Wicked Witch of the West.  I haven’t seen many retellings that focus on such an unexpected character and especially the villain of the original tale.  (Goodreads Synopsis…)

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4. THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief is such an incredible read, probably one of my favorites.  What gives it a slot on this list is its unique point of view. It’s not often that I read a book where Death is the narrator.  (Goodreads Synopsis…)

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5. THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME by Greg Haddon

The Curious Incdient of the Dog in the Night-Time is another beautifully written book that makes my list because of its unique narrator.  In this case, the narrator has Asperger’s Syndrome.  As the Goodreads synopsis states, however, “Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.  Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket.”  Seeing the world through Christopher’s eye and following him as he tries to solve a mystery definitely makes for a supremely unique read.  (Goodreads Synopsis…)

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6. CINDER by Marissa Meyer

(Goodreads Synopsis…)

 I gush about this book all the time because it’s just so fabulous and it makes my list this week by virtue of being the most unique fairytale retelling I’ve come across, to date.  I mean, seriously…Cinderella as a Cyborg?! Enough said!

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7. THE MAGIC STRINGS OF FRANKIE PRESTO by Mitch Albom

I had mixed feelings about this book when I first started reading it, but it makes the Top Ten list this week because it’s another story that has a unique point of view.  The story is about Frankie Presto, the greatest guitar player who ever lived, and we learn about Frankie’s life and his musical gift from the narrator, who in this case happens to be Music personified.  It took me a while to buy into that, but once I was on board with it, it was a lovely read.  (Goodreads Synopsis…)

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8. THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins

Although The Hunger Games has inspired its fair share of dystopian stories, the world building (both with the districts and with the terrain in the arena), the contests where teens fight to the death, the costumes, and so much more make The Hunger Games stand out for me as the most unique of the dystopian reads. (Goodreads Synopsis…)

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9. STALKING JACK THE RIPPER by Kerri Maniscalco

I’m actually reading this right now and am fascinated by how unique the premise of the story is, which is why it made my list this week.  The story is set in 19th Century London and the protagonist is a young woman, who is way ahead of her time. She has a keen interest in forensic science and spends much of her time sneaking off to apprentice with her uncle, where she helps perform autopsies.  When Jack the Ripper goes on his murderous rampage, she takes it upon herself to try to track him down and bring him to justice.   (Goodreads Synopsis…)

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10. READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline

(Goodreads Synopsis…)

Ready Player One makes my list because of its unique setting. It’s 2044 and basically everyone is doing most of their living inside of a video game.

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Question:  What are some of your most unique reads? Do we have any in common?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Fandoms I Belong To

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Fandom Freebie — top ten fandoms I’m in, 10 reasons X fandom is the best, must have merchandise for x fandom, etc. I’m taking Freebie literally here and am branching out from books since most of my fandoms are in TV and music.  I don’t think we used the word fandom to describe things we were passionate about when I was growing up, but whatever we called it, I’ve definitely done my fair share of fangirling over the years.  Here are some of my favorites…

Top Ten Fandoms I Belong To

1. STAR WARS

I think this was my first fandom love.  I fell in love with Star Wars back in the 1970s and early 1980s when the original trilogy films were released in theaters. I just couldn’t get enough of these characters. Chewy and Yoda were always my favorites, but I was also a diehard Han/Leia shipper and a huge Carrie Fisher fan.  I’m still devastated that we lost her last year :(.

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2. CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION

The CSI fandom is probably the one I’ve been most active in online.  I never wrote fanfiction or anything like that, but I definitely remember reading my fair share of it and shipping quite a few different pairings on the show over the years.  I didn’t particularly care for any of the spin off shows though; I was Las Vegas all the way!

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3. HARRY POTTER

Is there anyone who doesn’t love this fandom?  Doesn’t matter if it’s the books or the films, I will fangirl Harry Potter all day long.  I never get tired of talking about it!

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4. THE 100

The 100 is a relatively new fandom for me. I haven’t read the books, but last year I binge watched all of the season on Netflix and became pretty obsessed with the show.  I’m mainly obsessed with it because it’s always an adrenaline rush, but I also do have a pairing that I ship, Kane and Abby (or Kabby as the cool kids call it).

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5. ONCE UPON A TIME

I was so enamored with the show during its first few seasons. Just like I love fairy tale retellings in the book world, I loved the new twists that this show was giving to classic fairy tales. I’m a little less passionate about it these days though because they killed off one of my favorite characters, Robin Hood.

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6. GILMORE GIRLS

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this several times on my blog since Rory is such a huge bookworm, but I adore Gilmore Girls. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve binge watched the series on Netflix and I loved the revival series that came out late last year and am hoping for even more from the Gilmores in the future.

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7. ALL THINGS DISNEY

Let’s just say I’ve never met a Disney movie or a Disney character that I didn’t love and leave it at that.  This one is a lifelong fandom. I’m just as passionate about Disney now as I was when I was a small child.

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8. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN

I’ve had a mad crush on Bruce Springsteen since I was about 13 when Born in the U.S.A. came out.  He’s talented as hell, puts on an incredible show, and I also love that he’s not afraid to speak his mind on any subject that he feels passionately about.

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9. BON JOVI

I loved them when they were a big 80’s hair band and I still love them today.  Like Springsteen, they put on such an incredibly entertaining show and let’s face it, Jon Bon Jovi has always been easy on the eyes.  He’s even hotter today than he was back in the 80s too.

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10. BOOK FANDOM!

So yeah, we’re a fandom too, right?  I couldn’t narrow my love of books down to any particular fandom, so I’m just going to say I fangirl over ALL the books and love ALL of my fellow book bloggers.

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Question:  So there’s my 10.  What fandoms do you belong to? Do we have any in common?

Top Ten Books That Will Make You Read the Day Away

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Read In One Sitting Theme: ten of the shortest books I’ve read, top ten books I read in one sitting, ten books to read when you are short on time, top ten books that will make you read the whole day away, etc.  I had a total brain freeze and could only think of about 3 short books I had read, so I ended up going the ‘books that will make you read the day away’ route.  It was easy to think of books that were so good I completely lost track of time and ended up reading the entire day away.  I tend to get sucked in by World War II stories and by survival stories of any kind because I find them so riveting, and I feel the same way about suspenseful murder mysteries.  On the other hand, however, I’ve also been known to lose myself in emotionally driven stories and even in the rich language of poetry.  Here are just a few titles that once I got started on them, I got so caught up in the story that I read on and on, even beyond the point where my butt had fallen asleep from sitting for too long and my legs were so stiff that I could barely walk!

Top Ten Books That Will Make You Read The Day Away

 

1. THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah

Goodreads Synopsis: Despite their differences, sisters Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Vianne finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her.

As the war progresses, the sisters’ relationship and strength are tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Vianne and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.  (Read more…)

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2. THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER by Stephen Chbosky

Goodreads Synopsis: Read the cult-favorite coming of age story that takes a sometimes heartbreaking, often hysterical, and always honest look at high school in all its glory. Now a major motion picture starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a funny, touching, and haunting modern classic.

The critically acclaimed debut novel from Stephen Chbosky, Perks follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.  (Read more…)

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3. UNBROKEN: A WORLD WAR II STORY OF SURVIVAL, RESILIENCE, AND REDEMPTION by Laura Hillenbrand

Goodreads Synopsis:  On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit. Telling an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.   (Read more…)

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4. THE SURGEON by Tess Gerritsen

Goodreads Synopsis:  IN BOSTON, THERE’S A KILLER ON THE LOOSE…A killer who targets lone women, who breaks into their apartments and performs terrifying ritualistic acts of torture on them before finishing them off. His surgical skills lead police to suspect he is a physician – a physician who, instead of saving lives, takes them.

But as homicide detective Thomas Moore and his partner Jane Rizzoli begin their investigation, they make a startling discovery. Closely linked to these killings is Catherine Cordell, a beautiful doctor with a mysterious past. Two years ago she was subjected to a horrifying rape and shot her attacker dead.

Now the man she believes she killed seems to be stalking her once again, and this time he knows exactly where to find her…  (Read more…)

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5. THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir

Goodreads Synopsis: A mission to Mars.  A freak accident.  One man’s struggle to survive.

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.  Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars’ surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive. And even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, Mark won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark’s not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills—and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength–he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth.

As he overcomes one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next, Mark begins to let himself believe he might make it off the planet alive.  But Mars has plenty of surprises in store for him yet.   (Read more…)

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6. MAYA ANGELOU:  THE COMPLETE COLLECTED POEMS

Goodsreads Synopsis:  Maya Angelou’s poetry – lyrical and dramatic, exuberant and playful – speaks of love, longings, partings; of Saturday night partying and the smells and sounds of Southern cities; of freedom and shattered dreams. Of her poetry, Kirkus Reviews has written, ‘It is just as much a part of her autobiography as I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Gather Together in My Name, Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas, and The Heart of a Woman’. (Read more…)

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7. MY SISTER’S KEEPER by Jodi Picoult

Goodreads Synopsis:  Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate — a life and a role that she has never challenged… until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister—and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.

A provocative novel that raises some important ethical issues, My Sister’s Keeper is the story of one family’s struggle for survival at all human costs and a stunning parable for all time.  (Read more…)

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8. THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS by John Boyne

Goodreads Synopsis:  Berlin, 1942 : When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move to a new house far, far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people in the distance.

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different from his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences. (Read more…)

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9. THE COLOR PURPLE by Alice Walker

Goodreads Synopsis:  The Color Purple is a 1982 epistolary novel by American author Alice Walker which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. It was later adapted into a film and musical of the same name.

Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of women of color in the southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture. The novel has been the frequent target of censors and appears on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000-2009 at number seventeen because of the sometimes explicit content, particularly in terms of violence. (Read more…)

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10. AND THEN THERE WERE NONE by Agatha Christie

Goodreads Synopsis:  First, there were ten – a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal – and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.  (Read more…)

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Question:  What books have made you completely lose track of the time while reading?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books on my Spring 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 on my Spring TBR.  This topic came along at just the right time because I’ve just been trying to decide which books I want to prioritize for spring reading.  Here’s my tentative list, always subject to change since I’m such a mood reader.  These titles are a mix of 2017 releases that I either already have ARCs for or am just planning to read as soon as they release as well as titles that I’m hoping to knock out as part of the Beat the Backlist challenge I’m participating in this year.

Top Ten Books on My Spring TBR

1. DEFY THE STARS by Claudia Gray

Goodreads Synopsis: Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that’s now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth’s robotic “mech” armies for decades with no end in sight.

After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel’s programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis–even though her plan to win the war will kill him.

Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel’s devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.   (Read more…)

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2. THE TWELVE LIVES OF SAMUEL HAWLEY by Hannah Tinti

Goodreads Synopsis: A father protects his daughter from the legacy of his past and the truth about her mother’s death in this thrilling new novel from the prize-winning author of The Good Thief.

After years spent living on the run, Samuel Hawley moves with his teenage daughter, Loo, to Olympus, Massachusetts. There, in his late wife’s hometown, Hawley finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at school and grows curious about her mother’s mysterious death. Haunting them both are twelve scars Hawley carries on his body, from twelve bullets in his criminal past; a past that eventually spills over into his daughter’s present, until together they must face a reckoning yet to come. This father-daughter epic weaves back and forth through time and across America, from Alaska to the Adirondacks.

Both a coming-of-age novel and a literary thriller, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley explores what it means to be a hero, and the cost we pay to protect the people we love most.  (Read more…)

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3. THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED by Becky Albertalli

Goodreads Synopsis:  Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.

Right?   (Read more…)

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4. THE NAMES THEY GAVE US by Emery Lord

Goodreads Synopsis:  Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters—in faith, in love, and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp—one for troubled kids—Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?  (Read more…)

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5. WE ARE OKAY by Nina LaCour

Goodreads Synopsis: You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…

Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.  (Read more…)

* * * * *

6. UNDER ROSE-TAINTED SKIES by Louise Gornall

Goodsreads Synopsis:  At seventeen, Norah has accepted that the four walls of her house delineate her life. She knows that fearing everything from inland tsunamis to odd numbers is irrational, but her mind insists the world outside is too big, too dangerous. So she stays safe inside, watching others’ lives through her windows and social media feed.

But when Luke arrives on her doorstep, he doesn’t see a girl defined by medical terms and mental health. Instead, he sees a girl who is funny, smart, and brave. And Norah likes what he sees.

Their friendship turns deeper, but Norah knows Luke deserves a normal girl. One who can walk beneath the open sky. One who is unafraid of kissing. One who isn’t so screwed up. Can she let him go for his own good—or can Norah learn to see herself through Luke’s eyes? (Read more…)

* * * * *

7. SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo

Goodreads Synopsis:  Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.  (Read more…)

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8. A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING BY JESSICA CLUESS

Goodreads Synopsis:  I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she is brought to London to train with Her Majesty’s sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she’s the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city–and the one she loves? (Read more…)

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9. JELLICOE ROAD by Melina Marchetta

Goodreads Synopsis:  I’m dreaming of the boy in the tree. I tell him stories. About the Jellicoe School and the Townies and the Cadets from a school in Sydney. I tell him about the war between us for territory. And I tell him about Hannah, who lives in the unfinished house by the river. Hannah, who is too young to be hiding away from the world. Hannah, who found me on the Jellicoe Road six years ago.

Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs – the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.

And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor’s only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother – who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.

The moving, joyous and brilliantly compelling new novel from the best-selling, multi-award-winning author of Looking for Alibrandi and Saving Francesca. (Read more…)

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10. THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater

Goodreads Synopsis:  “There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before. (Read more…)

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Question:  What books are you planning to read this Spring?

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top 10 Favorite Quotes from Harry Potter

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Top Ten Tuesday is currently on hiatus, so I decided to make this a FREEBIE week for myself.  I’ve spent the past year or so re-reading the Harry Potter series with my 9-year old son.  It has been a lengthy endeavor because he likes me to read aloud and those last few books in the series are huge, but I have to admit it has been a labor of love. My son adores the series just as much as I do and it has really provided us with lots of quality mother-son time as we make our way through the series together.  We’re nearly finished with the final books now, so I thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite quotes from the series.  Some were quotes that made us giggle while we read, while others we found to just be incredibly moving and inspiring.  Harry Potter really is one of the best series out there for readers of all ages.

Top Ten Favorite Quotes from the Harry Potter Series

* * * * *

1. “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

(Albus Dumbledore, speaking of Neville Longbottom, Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone)

 * * * * *

2. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” 

(Albus Dumbledore,  Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone)

* * * * *

3. “Because that’s what Hermione does…When in doubt, go to the library.”

(Ron Weasley, speaking of Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)

* * * * *

4. “Oh, honestly. Don’t you two read?”

(Hermione Granger, speaking to Ron and Harry, Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone)

* * * * *

5.  “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

(Albus Dumbledore, speaking to Harry, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)

* * * * *

6. “You look in excellent health to me, Potter, so you will excuse me if I don’t let you off homework today.  I assure you that if you do die, you need not hand it in.” 

(Professor McGonagall, speaking to Harry, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)

* * * * *

7. “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”

(The key to accessing the awesome Marauder’s Map, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)

* * * * *

8. “Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and above all, those who live without love.” 

(Albus Dumbledore, speaking to Harry, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)

* * * * *

9.  “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”

(Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)

* * * * *

10.  “Are you quite sure you wouldn’t like a cough drop, Dolores?” 

(Professor McGonagall, being awesomely snarky to Delores Umbridge, who keeps interrupting her with her annoying little coughs, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)

 

* * * * *

Question:  What are your favorite quotes from the Harry Potter series? Do any of these make your list?

Top Ten Books I Just HAD to Buy…But Still Have Yet to Read

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Top Ten Tuesday is officially on hiatus until March 7th, so I decided to go back and do an older topic that I hadn’t yet completed.  The one I selected is “Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Just HAD to Buy…But Still Have Yet to Read”.  This one is perfect for me because I’m the worst impulse buyer on the planet when it comes to books.  I could have 1,000 books on my TBR, but if I see a book I want on sale, I can’t help myself.  I really blame the Kindle Daily Deals for many of these purchases because $1.99 is just irresistible to me, haha!  Anyway, here are 10 books that I couldn’t stop myself from buying but still have yet to read yet.  I swear I’m going to though!

Top Ten Books I Just HAD to Buy…But Still Have Yet to Read

* * * * *

1. AND I DARKEN 

by Kiersten White

* * * * *

2. THIS SAVAGE SONG

by Victoria Schwab

* * * * *

3. THE SUMMER THAT MELTED EVERYTHING

by Tiffany McDaniel

* * * * *

4. A LITTLE LIFE

by Hanya Yanagihara

* * * * *

5. RUINED

by Amy Tintera

* * * * *

6. THE RAVEN BOYS

by Maggie Stiefvater

* * * * *

7. MY BRILLIANT FRIEND

by Elena Ferrante

* * * * *

8. THE GRAVEYARD BOOK

by Neil Gaiman

* * * * *

9.  IN A DARK, DARK WOOD

by Ruth Ware

* * * * *

10.  WHEN WE COLLIDED

by Emery Lord

Question:  Are you an impulse buyer when it comes to books?  What books did you just HAVE to buy but somehow still haven’t gotten around to reading yet?

Top 10 Tuesday – 5 Books That Blew Me Away & 5 Books That…Not So Much

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is “Ten Books I Loved Less/More Than I Thought I Would (recently or all time) — or you could do something like books I liked more/less than everyone else.”

Okay, so I struggled with this topic a bit. I couldn’t think of 10 books I loved more or less than I thought I would, so I split it down the middle and did five of each.  What I went for here are books I read in 2016 that either far exceeded my expectation or else didn’t meet my expectations at all or live up to the hype that surrounded them.  In other words, I liked them well enough; I just didn’t love them like I was sure that I would.  Let’s start with the good…

5 BOOKS THAT BLEW ME AWAY

* * * * *

1. THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir

To this day, I still can’t get over how much I truly loved this book.  The only reason I even picked it up was because of the Matt Damon movie and my rule about always reading the book first.  I ended up devouring it in less than a day.  It fed both my inner geek and my inner smart ass and I loved every page of it.  Talk about exceeding expectations – if you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it!

* * * * *

2. A COURT OF MIST AND FURY by Sarah J. Maas

I’m actually finishing this book as we speak and cannot believe how quickly I’ve blown through 600+ pages.  This is one of the few books I’ve read in the past year or so that really lives up to all of the hype that has surrounded it and as much as I enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses, I think this book far exceeds that one.  I’ll be reviewing this book soon so don’t want to say too much, but  I’m beyond ready to get my hands on the third book!

* * * * *

3. MY LADY JANE by Cynthia Hand Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

I truly had no idea what to expect when I picked up My Lady Jane but it ended up being one of my favorite reads of 2016.  Written in the vein of The Princess Bride or perhaps Monty Python, if you love random and quirky humor, definitely put this one on your TBR. It’s truly laugh-out-loud funny!

 

* * * * *

4. THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE by Katherine Arden

I honestly chose this book because I thought the cover was so beautiful and because I was intrigued by the idea of a retelling involving Russian folklore.  I was thrilled to find that the writing inside is just as beautiful as the cover outside.  Truly exquisite. This is a title that I hope receives the acclaim I believe it deserves.  I still can’t believe it’s Arden’s debut novel.

* * * * *

5. LILAC GIRLS  by Martha Hall Kelly

I’ve always been drawn to historical fiction so I picked this book up as soon as I heard it was centered during World War II and focused on a women’s concentration camp.  Lilac Girls is a powerful exploration of how women in particular were impacted by the atrocities committed by the Nazis during WWII. The primary setting of the book is the Nazi concentration camp Ravensbruck and its primary focus, the women — primarily Polish political prisoners — who were detained there, with special attention paid to those known as the “Ravensbruck Rabbits”, a group of prisoners who were experimented on against their will by Nazi doctors.  One of the most compelling qualities of Lilac Girls, in my opinionis its moving portrayal of the strength and courage of the Ravensbruck prisoners. Up against inhumane treatment and almost certain death, they demonstrated such resilience, determination, and even at times, defiance, that it just blew me away. I found the sisterhood they created for themselves within the camp very moving as well – the way they worked so hard to keep hope alive, no matter how hard the Nazis tried to dehumanize them and strip that hope away.   I knew it would be a compelling read and an educational one, but I still wasn’t prepared for just how much it would blow me away.  Lilac Girls was a 2016 Goodreads Choice finalist and it’s my most recommended book of 2016.  It’s an important book because of the story that it tells and it’s also an incredibly well written book.

* * * * *

5 BOOKS THAT … NOT SO MUCH

* * * * *

6. THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead

underground railroad colson whitehead

I liked this book, but I hate that I didn’t completely love it, especially considering the widespread acclaim it has received. I thought Cora’s story was very compelling and that Whitehead’s writing is powerful in the way it exposes so many of the horrors of slavery. I also loved the imaginative idea of the Underground Railroad as an actual physical railroad — Cora’s journey on the various stops was probably my favorite part of the novel. That said, there was still just something about this book that made it a difficult one for me to get through. I’m thinking maybe it was something stylistic or maybe the point of view, but I just wasn’t as riveted by what was going on as I would have expected to be. It took me nearly two months to finish the book, which just isn’t like me at all.

* * * * *

7. HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD by John Tiffany, Jack Thorne, and J.K. Rowling

I don’t know if there was anyway this could possibly live up to the hype, but I found it to be a real letdown.  I’m sure it’s a phenomenal play, but that’s the thing. It’s meant to be seen rather than read.  I found the script to be just too bare bones for my liking and many of the characters that should feel familiar just didn’t.

* * * * *

8. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins

I guess maybe I was just already over the hype of “The Girl….” books with unreliable narrators and unlikable characters by the time this one came out, but The Girl on the Train just didn’t do much for me to live up to all of the hype it was generating.

* * * * *

9.  MODERN LOVERS BY EMMA STRAUB

This was another super-hyped book that just didn’t do much for me.  I literally saw it on every “Most Anticipated”, “Must Read” books list I came across last year and after I read it, I just sat there like “I don’t get it. What was all the fuss about?”

* * * * *

10.  RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard

I have a love-hate relationship with the Red Queen series. It’s one of the most fast-paced and entertaining series out there, which is why I love it, but it also has Mare and her endless distracted behavior when she’s around her crushes. And don’t even get me started on the love triangle/love square thing she has going on in the first book.  What the heck?  I soooo want this to be a 5 star read because so many parts of it are so epic, but every time the love gets in the way of the rest of the storyline, I want to scream and so I end up rating it as a 3 star read.  I’m still hoping for that 5 star amazing-ness when the next book comes out later this year though!

Question: What books have blown you away recently or have let you down?

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top Ten Favorite Realistic Couples in Literature

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is “All About Romance Tropes/Types — top ten favorite hate-to-love romances (from books or movies or tv), top ten favorite (or least favorite) instalove romances, favorite slow-burn romances, favorite starcrossed lovers, etc. etc. Can go so many ways with this one).”

Okay, so I actually groaned a little bit when I read this week’s topic since romance isn’t really my thing when it comes to reading. I don’t like love triangles, instalove, or basically any romantic situation that I see as a distraction from the main storyline of a book.

That said, what I do very much enjoy are realistic portrayals of relationships – the slow build from strangers to friends to lovers, or maybe even from hate at first sight to friendship to something more. I love witty banter, fights, going through tough times together and coming out stronger than ever, or maybe even a couple drifting apart and eventually finding their way back to each other. I even love reading just the evolution of an established relationship over time.  So yeah, realism is definitely my thing when it comes to romance.  So what I went with for this week’s special Valentine’s Day Top 10 edition are my Top Ten Favorite Realistic Couples in Literature.  I think each of my selections in some way embodies what I’ve just described in terms of a realistic relationship.  As you’ll see, Jane Austen’s novels figure prominently in my list as I consider her to be one of the masters of creating a realistic relationship.

MY TOP 10 FAVORITE REALISTIC COUPLES IN LITERATURE

* * * * *

1. BENEDICT AND BEATRICE

from Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

* * * * *

2. ELIZABETH BENNETT AND FITZWILLIAM DARCY

from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

* * * * *

3. RON WEASLEY AND HERMIONE GRANGER

from the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

* * * * *

4. AUGUSTUS AND HAZEL

from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

* * * * *

5. ELINOR DASHWOOD AND EDWARD FERRARS

from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

* * * * *

6. WILL TRAYNOR AND LOUISA CLARK

from Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

* * * * *

7. IFEMULU AND OBINZE

from Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

* * * * *

8. ANNE ELLIOTT AND FREDERICK WENTWORTH

from Persuasion by Jane Austen

* * * * *

9.  CINDER AND KAI

from Cinder by Marissa Meyer

* * * * *

10.  ELEANOR AND PARK

from Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

* * * * *

Question:  What literary couples do you find to be the most realistic?