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Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books On My Fall Reading List

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 Fall TBR List, which gives us all a chance to share what we’re planning to read for the next few months.   

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I actually shared what I thought was going to be my Fall TBR back in August, but then somehow I managed to read almost all of the books on that list before fall ever got here so today’s list is my revised fall reading list, haha!  Because I’m such a mood reader, this list is subject to change at any given moment, but as of right now, here are 10 books that I’m determined to read this fall.

 

TOP 10 BOOKS ON MY FALL READING LIST

 

1. DEAR MARTIN by Nic Stone

(Find out what it’s about…)

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2. CROOKED KINGDOM by Leigh Bardugo

(Find out what it’s about…)

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3.  WHAT HAPPENED by Hillary Rodham Clinton

(Find out what it’s about…)

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4. WONDER WOMAN:  WARBRINGER by Leigh Bardugo

(Find out what it’s about…)

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5. 27 HOURS by Tristina Wright

(Find out what it’s about…)

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6. STARFISH by Akemi Dawn Bowman

(Find out what it’s about…)

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7. THE TETHERED MAGE by Melissa Caruso

(Find out what it’s about…)

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8. ONE PERFECT LIE by Lisa Scottoline

(Find out what it’s about…)

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9. ARTEMIS by Andy Weir

(Find out what it’s about…)

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10. MURDER OVER MOCHAS by Caroline Fardig

(Find out what it’s about…)

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Question:  What books are you planning to read this fall?  Are any of my titles on your list?

Top Ten Tuesday: Throwback Freebie – My Top 10 Favorite Reads from 2007

top ten tuesday

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Throwback Freebie: Ten Books I Loved During The First Year I Started My Blog, Favorite Books Published 5 or 10 or 15 Years Ago, Ten Older Books I Forgot How Much I Loved, etc. etc. Tweak however you want!

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I decided to take a stroll down memory lane to see what my favorite reads were back in 2007.  This was an interesting journey because 2007 was the year I was pregnant with my son.  I have to confess I didn’t read much that year. I honestly think every time I sat down to read, I ended up falling asleep!  That said, I was still able to scrape together ten of my favorite reads from that year.  I liked going back and looking at my reading habits from ten years ago, mostly because it gave me an opportunity to see how much my interests have changed over the years.  There’s a lot less fantasy on this list, as well as a lot more historical fiction.  I also didn’t read much YA back then aside from Harry Potter, which or course was just a must-read.

 

MY TOP 10 FAVORITE READS FROM 2007

 

1. HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS by J.K. Rowling

(Find out what it’s about…)

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2. A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS by Khaled Hosseini

(Find out what it’s about…)

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3.  STILL ALICE by Lisa Genova

(Find out what it’s about…)

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4. THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO by Junot Diaz

(Find out what it’s about…)

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5. SARAH’S KEY by Tatiana de Rosnay

(Find out what it’s about…)

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6. THE GRAVEDIGGER’S DAUGHTER by Joyce Carol Oates

(Find out what it’s about…)

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7. WORLD WITHOUT END by Ken Follett

(Find out what it’s about…)

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8. SOMEONE KNOWS MY NAME by Lawrence Hill

(Find out what it’s about…)

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9. DOWN RIVER by John Hart

(Find out what it’s about…)

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10. LEAN MEAN THIRTEEN by Janet Evanovich

 

(Find out what it’s about…)

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Question:  What were some of your favorite reads from 10 years ago?  Would any of my favorites make your list?

Top 10 Books I Struggled With & Ultimately DNF’ed

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 Struggled to Get Into But Ended Up Loving or Ten Books That Were A Chore To Get Through or Ten Books I’ve Most Recently Put Down (the theme is…books you had a hard time with…tweak it how ever you need)

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DNFing books has always been hard for me.  Even if I’m not enjoying a book, there’s this little nagging voice in my head that says ‘Give it a chance. It has to get better or else it never would have been published.’  Thankfully that little voice has gotten much quieter since I started blogging and quite frankly don’t have the time to waste on bad books.  If I’m just not into it, I’m getting much better about just cutting my losses and moving on to the next book.  Below are some books that even when that nagging voice to keep reading was at its loudest, I still was not able to get through and ended up DNFing.

 

Top 10 Books I Struggled With & Ultimately DNF’ed

 

1. AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman

 

I’ve always been hit or miss when it comes to Neil Gaiman.  I absolutely loved The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Stardust, but American Gods, even though it seems to be one of his most popular books, just wasn’t a good fit for me. I struggled with it for weeks and finally had to DNF it.  (Find out what it’s about…)

 

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2. THE NOTEBOOK by Nicholas Sparks

 

Those who have followed my blog for a while are probably chuckling at this one and wondering why I even tried to read it, based on my aversion to most things romantic.  Honestly, I don’t know why I tried to read it either.  I guess because so many other people I know were raving about it. I thought surely it would melt my romance-averse heart.  Nope!  (Find out what it’s about…)

 

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3.  THE ONE MEMORY OF FLORA BANKS by Emily Barr

 

This is one I just recently DNF’ed and was really bummed that I didn’t enjoy it since so many of my fellow bloggers loved it so much.  The issue for me was that while I had complete sympathy for Flora and her situation, the constant repetition just got to be too much for me and I found myself skimming and skipping, looking for anything that wasn’t just a rehash of the basic memories she has of her life.  It just got to be tedious.  (Find out what it’s about…)

 

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4. GIRLS ON FIRE by Robin Wasserman

 

What I learned from trying to read this book is that I’m not a big fan of books that feature toxic friendships.  This also probably wasn’t a book I would have normally picked out but it was on so many anticipated reading lists that I got caught up in the hype.  This is also one of those books that made me start questioning who puts those buzz lists together anyway.  For the past couple of years, nearly every disappointing book I’ve read has appeared on one or more of those lists.  (Find out what it’s about…)

 

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5. RICH AND PRETTY by Rumaan Alam

 

Another hyped book that just wasn’t a good fit for me.  I picked this one up not just because of the buzz, but also because it’s a book about female friendships and because it’s set in New York City, which is one of my favorite cities and book settings.  Those two things just ended up not being enough this time.  It didn’t feel like there was much of a plot at all and I didn’t connect with the characters so I gave up on it.  (Find out what it’s about…)

 

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6. THE PARIS WIFE by Paula McLain

 

I usually love historical fiction and books that are set in Paris, but I just found this to be a very dry read.  I guess maybe I’m just not as big of a Hemingway fan as I thought I was.  (Find out what it’s about…)

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7. THE LOVELY BONES by Alice Sebold

 

This is another one of those books that pretty much everyone I know seems to love, but I found it dull and boring.  I don’t even remember how far I got into it, but I disliked it enough that I gave it 1 star and I don’t do that often.  (Find out what it’s about…)

 

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8. GIRL IN SNOW by Danya Kukafka

 

I thought the premise of this book sounded so good, but when I actually sat down and started reading, I didn’t like the writing style at all. I felt like it was just dancing all around the subject at hand without really advancing the plot so I gave up about a third of the way through.  All I can even remember about the story is that a girl was found dead and one of the main characters whose point of view we’re given is a boy who used to stare at the girl through her bedroom window.   (Find out what it’s about…)

 

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9. CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS by Sally Rooney

 

The blurb for this book had kind of a Friends vibe for me, which was why I decided to pick it up. It sounded like a fun contemporary read about a group of friends post-college.  Unfortunately I just found it dull and didn’t really connect with any of the characters.  Others have rated it highly so maybe I gave up on it too soon, but it just didn’t seem like it was going to work for me.  (Find out what it’s about…)

 

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10. ATLAS SHRUGGED by Ayn Rand

I hate DNFing classics because in my mind, there’s a reason they’re considered classics.  But at 1,168 pages filled with tiny print (at least the edition I was trying to read), it was just too much book.  This is one I could see myself trying again maybe in an e-format so that the print is larger and the book itself isn’t so cumbersome, but for now, DNF.  (Find out what it’s about…)

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Question:  What are some books you tried to struggle through but ultimately ended up DNFing?

Top Ten Tuesday – Top 10 Hidden Gems in YA Fiction

top ten tuesday

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Ten Hidden Gem Books in X Genre: Pick a genre and share with us some books that have gone under the radar in that genre!

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I chose to use a broad brush when selecting books for this topic and just went with Young Adult Hidden Gems in general.  I included several contemporary reads that I loved but it seems like not many others have read yet, as well as a couple of fantasy reads, and at least one historical fiction.  I did cheat a bit with my last three entries (sorry!) and have written little explanations for each cheat below.  Can’t wait to see what hidden gems others have come up with.  I feel like this is one of those TTT topics that is going to cause my TBR pile to grow even taller!

 

Top 10 Hidden Gems in Young Adult Fiction

 

1. WORDS IN DEEP BLUE by Cath Crowley

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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2. THE MEMORY OF THINGS by Gae Polisner

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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3.  WE ARE STILL TORNADOES by Michael Kun & Susan Mullen

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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4. ZENN DIAGRAM by Wendy Brant

(Find out what it’s about…)

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5. HOW TO MAKE A WISH by Ashley Herring Blake

(Find out what it’s about…)

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6. A TRAGIC KIND OF WONDERFUL by Eric Lindstrom

(Find out what it’s about…)

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7. AIR AWAKENS by Elise Kova

(Find out what it’s about…)

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8. AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES by John Green

Okay, I’m kind of cheating on this one.  It’s John Green so how hidden is it really?  But I chose it because out of all of his books, it seems to be the one that gets the least amount of attention even though, for me anyway, it was just as good a read as any of his other books.

(Find out what it’s about…)

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9. THE GIRL WITH THE RED BALLOON by Katherine Locke

 

I’m cheating on this one a bit as well, considering it’s just now coming out.  It’s a fabulous read (Check out my 5-star review) and yet it just doesn’t seem to be generating as much buzz as I would have expected it to.

(Find out what it’s about…)

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10. LETTERS TO THE LOST by Brigid Kemmerer

  

And here’s me cheating one last time with a book I haven’t even read yet.  This is one of my most anticipated releases for the year and I’ve read several great reviews for it, but it still doesn’t seem to be getting nearly the attention it should.

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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Question:  What are some YA fiction reads that you consider to be hidden gems?

Top 10 Books I Was Required to Read for School But Ended Up Loving

top ten tuesday

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Back To School Freebie: anything “back to school” related like 10 favorite books I read in school, books I think should be required reading, Required Reading For All Fantasy Fans, required reading for every college freshman, Books to Pair With Classics or Books To Complement A History Lesson, books that would be on my classroom shelf if I were a teacher, etc.

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When I think of back-to-school, the first thing that comes to mind are Required Reading Lists.  I don’t know about you guys, but even though I’m a lifelong bookworm, I still hate it when someone tells me what I HAVE to read.  Even if they were books I probably would have read at some point myself, making it a requirement instead of a choice just irritated me.  I was a good student though so of course I always completed my required reading assignments.  And yes, there were quite a few times where I actually ended up loving the books even though I was annoyed that I was forced to read them in the first place.  So that’s what I’m focusing on this week – Top 10 Books I Was Required to Read for School But Ended Up Loving.

In some cases like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice, I loved them for their feisty heroines.  In other cases like 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and Lord of the Flies resonated with me because they were a reminder that no matter how bad I thought my life was at any given moment, things could really be a lot worse.  Books like To Kill a Mockingbird and Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl remain some of the most powerful and eye-opening books I’ve ever read.  Shakespeare’s tragedies spoke to me in that even though they’re hundreds of years old, their themes are still just as relevant today as they were when originally penned.  And the list goes on…All of these books went from required readings to all-time favorites so I’ll send out a huge thanks to every English teacher who ever made me read a book.

 

Top 10 Books I Was Required to Read for School But Ended Up Loving

 

1. JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte

 

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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2. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee

 

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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3.  THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL by Anne Frank

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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4. PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen

 

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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5. 1984 by George Orwell

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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6. OF MICE AND MEN by John Steinbeck

 

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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7. FAHRENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury

 

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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8. THE LORDS OF DISCIPLINE by Pat Conroy

 

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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9. LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding

 

 

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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10. THE TRAGEDIES OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (Basically All of Them!)

 
 

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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Question: What are some books you were forced to read for school that you ended up loving?

Top 10 Books for People Who Don’t Normally Read YA Contemporary

top ten tuesday

 

Yay, Top Ten Tuesday is back with new topics starting this week!  For those unfamiliar with it, Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Ten book recommendations for ______________: (Skies the limit here…examples: for Hufflepuffs, for fans of Game of Thrones, for people who don’t normally read YA, for animal lovers, for video game lovers, etc.

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Since I’ve been reading and loving a lot of YA contemporary books lately, I decided to come up with a list of some amazing books that I think people who don’t usually read YA contemporary would love.  All of these are favorites of mine.  Some are light and fun, while others are more serious and shine a much-needed spotlight on important social issues and, in some cases, mental health issues.  All of these books are so good that I think they could turn any reader into a fan of YA contemporary even if it’s not usually your thing.

 

Top 10 Book Recs for People Who Don’t Normally Read YA Contemporary

 

1. THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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

 

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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3.  SAINTS AND MISFITS by S.K. Ali

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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4. ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES by Jennifer Niven

 

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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5. THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED by Becky Albertalli

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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6. WORDS IN DEEP BLUE by Cath Crowley

 

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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7. EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING by Nicola Yoon

 

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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8. THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES by Mindy McGinnis

 

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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9. UNDER ROSE-TAINTED SKIES by Louise Gornall

 

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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10. FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell

 

(Find out what it’s about…)

 

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Question: What books would you recommend to someone who doesn’t normally read YA contemporary fiction?

Top Ten Books I Hope to Read This Fall

 

Top Ten Tuesday, a fun meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish , returns from their hiatus next with a host of fun new “Top Ten” topics.  While waiting for their return, I’ve continued looking through their archives to see if any of the topics they had covered prior to my joining were of interest.  This week the topic that caught my eye was kind of a seasonal one and even though we still have a while to go before it’s officially fall, some unseasonably cool weather here has me looking ahead to when the leaves start changing colors and more specifically, to what books I plan to tackle next off my TBR once I have completed my Summer TBR Wipeout challenge.  Below are the books I’m hoping to get to this fall.  This list is of course subject to change, mainly just because I’m such a mood reader.  Who knows what I’ll be in the mood to read when the time comes?

 

Top Ten Books I Hope to Read This Fall

 

1. FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS by Julie C. Dao

Goodreads Synopsis:    An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl’s quest to become Empress–and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

 

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2. 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.

 

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3.  WARCROSS by Marie Lu

Goodreads Synopsis  From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

 

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4. CROOKED KINGDOM by Leigh Bardugo

 

Goodreads Synopsis:  Welcome to the world of the Grisha.  After pulling off a seemingly impossible heist in the notorious Ice Court, criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker feels unstoppable. But life is about to take a dangerous turn—and with friends who are among the deadliest outcasts in Ketterdam city, Kaz is going to need more than luck to survive in this unforgiving underworld.

 

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5. GIRL WITH THE RED BALLOON by Katherine Locke

Goodreads Synopsis: When sixteen-year-old Ellie Baum accidentally time-travels via red balloon to 1988 East Berlin, she’s caught up in a conspiracy of history and magic. She meets members of an underground guild in East Berlin who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the Wall—but even to the balloon makers, Ellie’s time travel is a mystery. When it becomes clear that someone is using dark magic to change history, Ellie must risk everything—including her only way home—to stop the process.

 

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6. THE ALICE NETWORK by Kate Quinn

Goodreads Synopsis:  In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the “Queen of Spies”, who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth …no matter where it leads.

 

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7. THE HUNDREDTH QUEEN by Emily R. King

Goodreads Synopsis:  As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.

But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.

Faced with the danger of a tournament to the death—and her growing affection for Deven—Kalinda has only one hope for escape, and it lies in an arcane, forbidden power buried within her.

In Emily R. King’s thrilling fantasy debut, an orphan girl blossoms into a warrior, summoning courage and confidence in her fearless quest to upend tradition, overthrow an empire, and reclaim her life as her own.

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8. GIRLS MADE OF SNOW AND GLASS by Melissa Bashardoust

Goodreads Synopsis: Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale…

At sixteen, Mina’s mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.

 

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9. ALL THE CROOKED SAINTS by Maggie Stiefvater

Goodreads Synopsis:   Here is a thing everyone wants:   A miracle.  Here is a thing everyone fears:  What it takes to get one.

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.

Maggie Stiefvater has been called “a master storyteller” by USA Today and “wildly imaginative” by Entertainment Weekly. Now, with All the Crooked Saints, she gives us the extraordinary story of an extraordinary family, a masterful tale of love, fear, darkness, and redemption.

 

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10. MASK OF SHADOWS by Linsey Miller

Goodreads Synopsis:  I Needed to Win.  They Needed to Die.

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class—and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand—the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears—Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.

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Question:  What books are you hoping to get to this fall?

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?