Top 10 Books I’m Thankful to Have Finally Read This Year

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Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s topic is Top Ten Books I’m Thankful For (Happy Thanksgiving week in the USA!).  I tweaked this topic a bit since I couldn’t begin to name just ten books that I’m most thankful for.  Instead, I decided to go with the top ten books I’m thankful to have finally gotten off of my TBR.  I’ve always accumulated books faster than I can read them, but this seems to have gotten out of control since I started blogging.  Older books have been pushed aside in favor of newer releases, and I’ve also gotten so caught up in immediately buying books that were super-hyped but then setting them aside for months (*cough* more like years) in favor of other new releases.  This year I decided to actively start getting my backlist under control by participating in several challenges designed to do just that.  It’s nowhere near under control yet, but I am happy that I was able to knock off this list of books, each of which had been on my TBR for at least a year, and quite often, several years.

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating this week!

 

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Top 10 Books I’m Thankful to Have Finally Read This Year

 

CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber

HEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer

A COURT OF MIST AND FURY  by Sarah J. Maas

A STORM OF SWORDS  by George R. R. Martin

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING  by Nicola Yoon

A MONSTER CALLS  by Patrick Ness

SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo

ILLUMINAE by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

WHEN WE COLLIDED by Emery Lord

PRACTICAL MAGIC  by Alice Hoffman

 

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Question:  What are some books that you are thankful to have finally gotten off of your TBR this year?

Top Ten Tuesday – My Top 10 Favorite Book Boyfriends

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 Book Boyfriends/Girlfriends (Which characters do you have crushes on?)

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Going in, I thought this was going to be a tough topic to come up with a full set of 10 for.  With the exception of my longtime book boyfriend, Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, I just drew a blank when I started thinking about characters I had crushes on.  Once I got going though, I actually ended up with 11 names and so had to make a cut (Sorry, Rhysand!).  Apparently I crush more easily than I thought I did 😉

 

TOP 10 BOOK BOYFRIENDS

 

1 and 2.  KAZ  and MATTHIAS from the SIX OF CROWS series

 

Apparently I have a thing for bad boys because Kaz Brekker scored the number 1 spot on my list, with his fellow teammate, Matthias, coming in a close second.  I love that they’re both tough yet a little vulnerable if you dig deep enough, and I’m especially enjoying Matthias right now as I’m reading Crooked Kingdom and watching Nina flirt relentlessly with him.  Every time he blushes, I crush on him a little more, haha.

 

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3.  AZRIEL from the A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES series

 

I almost put Rhys on my list because I have crushed on him a bit throughout this series, but I bumped him for Azriel at the last moment because there’s just something about Azriel that appeals to me on a more subtle level.  I like his quiet, protective demeanor and that there’s an air of mystery surrounding him at times.

 

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4.  ALUCARD EMERY from the SHADES OF MAGIC series

 

Honestly, I have crushes on most of the characters in this series to some degree, but Alucard Emery is just so fabulous, I had to put him on this list.  I’m a big fan of both his witty banter and most especially of his absolute devotion to Rhys.

 

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5. CARSWELL THORNE from THE LUNAR CHRONICLES

 

This guy is just such a larger than life personality that you can’t help but fall in love with him.  I love a funny guy and Carswell Thorne is just hilarious, even if the hilarity is often unintentional.

 

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6.  RON WEASLEY from the HARRY POTTER series

 

Seriously, how can you not love Ron Weasley?  I love Ron because he’s funny, sarcastic, loyal as hell to his friends, and because he’s often an underdog compared to all of the other witches and wizards at Hogwart’s.  There’s just something about an underdog that appeals to me…

 

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7.   MR. DARCY from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

 

Mr. Darcy was my first ever book boyfriend and he still makes the list all these years later.  Darcy initially comes across as arrogant and condescending, but I loved that, if you took the time to get to know him, as Lizzie did, there was much more to him than meets the eye and that he was actually quite kind-hearted and unassuming.

 

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8. JON SNOW from A SONG OF FIRE AND ICE series

 

It’s totally the underdog thing here again with Jon Snow.  The fact that he’s played by the sexy Kit Harrington in the HBO series doesn’t hurt either! 😉

 

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9.   LEVI STEWART from FANGIRL

 

How adorable is this guy?  I think I started crushing on Levi the moment he was compared to a golden retriever in the book, lol.

 

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10.   AUGUSTUS from THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

 

This guy has got to be the sweetest boyfriend ever.  The way he felt about Hazel, everything he did for her…. just such a sweet, thoughtful guy. Loved him.

 

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Question:  Who are some of your favorite YA badass female characters?

Top 10 YA Reads That Feature Badass Female Characters

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 That Feature Characters ____________: Examples: Ten books that feature black main characters, characters who hold interesting jobs, characters who have a mental illness, characters that are adopted, characters that play sports, etc, etc. Can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

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Okay, so I kind of cheated on this week’s topic.  Every other topic I could think of, I could only come up with 3 or 4 characters that fit the description.  I’m pretty sure I’ve done a post on strong female characters before so this time I decided to focus specifically on YA books.  The one cool thing is that since I’m constantly reading, I’m always coming across new badass female characters so my list of favorites is always changing.  My list this time contains a couple of long-time favorites but then also a lot of new favorites in the 2017 releases I’ve read.

 

Top 10 YA Reads That Feature Badass Female Characters

 

1. HERMIONE GRANGER from the HARRY POTTER series

 

Hermione is one of my long-time favorite badass female characters.  She’s smart, feisty, fierce, loyal, kicks butt when it comes to using her magic, and she loves books so of course I adore her.

 

 

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2. DELILAH BARD from the SHADES OF MAGIC series

 

She’s a knife-wielding thief who dreams of commanding her own pirate ship.  What could be more badass than that?  I’m really hoping Lila makes an appearance in Schwab’s new series.  I just finished Shades of Magic a few months ago and I’m already desperate for more Bard.

 

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3 and 4.  FEYRE & MOR from the A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES series

 

Some of the fighting scenes that features these ladies were my favorite moments from this series.  Both Feyre and Mor are forces to be reckoned with, each in their own way.  Feyre, in particular, achieved badass status not just because of the powers that she learned to wield throughout the series, but also because of the difficult sacrifices that she was willing to make for the greater good.

 

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5 and 6. INEJ and NINA from the SIX OF CROWS series

 

So far I’ve only read the first book of this series, so I’m hoping the second book holds true in that Inej and Nina are two of the most fabulously badass ladies I’ve come across in my reading this year.  Loved them both!

 

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7. EMIKA from WARCROSS

 

I fell in love with Emika from the very first scenes of Warcross. Not only is she a badass bounty hunter, but she is also a gifted hacker.  Her character is like an action hero in a video game setting. So exciting to watch her in action!

 

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8. XIFENG from FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS

 

Xifeng is a recent favorite of mine and she’s a bit different from the other female characters on my list because she’s technically a villain.  What elevates Xifeng to badass status for me is her willingness to do whatever it takes to remove all obstacles from her path to the throne.  She knows what she wants and goes for it, no matter what.  She can be a little scary at times, but I couldn’t help but cheer her on because of her fierce determination.

 

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9. VASYA from THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE

 

This book is one of my favorite 2017 releases so far and it’s primarily because I adored Vasya, the main character of the book, so much. Brave, fiercely protective of her family, and often quite wild and even defiant at times, Vasya has all of the qualities I look for in a heroine and I think everyone who reads the book will fall in love with her.

 

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10. KADY from ILLUMINAE


I loved Kady in this book because she’s what I would call a reluctant badass.  She is forced to become a badass in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds when the ship she is on is overrun by plague-infested zombies.  It’s truly thrilling to watch Kady in action in this book.

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Question:  Who are some of your favorite YA badass female characters?

Discussion Post: The Struggles of Blog Commenting and Why We Should Do It Anyway

 

Two of my biggest struggles since I started blogging have been coming up with topics for discussion posts and commenting on blog posts.  This week I decided to kill two birds with one stone and write a discussion post to share my thoughts on commenting on blog posts.  Smart thinking, right? LOL!

An incident this past weekend with my husband is what has inspired this post.  I was spending some time Saturday morning getting caught up on replying to everyone who had commented on my blog posts that week and then paying return visits to their blogs to see what they’ve posted since my last visit.  My husband, eager to get on with the rest of our weekend plans, was hovering and pacing and asking me why I was spending so much time doing what I was doing:  “Do you do this every week? For everyone who comments on your blog?  Why? That just seems like too much work.”

Why Commenting is so Important

Well yeah, he’s right (Shhh, don’t tell him I said that!).  Commenting is a lot of work and it does take a lot of time. But that said, unless you are just blogging for yourself and have no interest in becoming a part of the blogging community, I think it’s also one of the most important things that bloggers do.  It’s important, not just because it’s a way to show support to your fellow bloggers, but also because the more you comment and put yourself out there, the more your own blog is visible to others in the community.

I don’t mean to make that sound self-serving though; I just mean that there are a TON of blogs out there.  Unless you are extremely lucky, you can’t just start a blog and expect a Field of Dreams “If you build it, they will come” moment.  No, with so many blogs out there, you have to do something to let people know that you’re out there too because it’s just so easy to get overlooked.  Commenting is a great way to put yourself out there and start building a rapport with your fellow bloggers.  It helps to build a sense of community rather than competition and I think that sense of community is important to many of us.

Arguments Against Commenting (And Why They’re Wrong):

 

  1. I don’t have time to comment on blogs. I’m too busy.

Although I can completely relate to this one, sorry, nope.  Because of the reasons above, you have to make the time, no matter how busy you are.  I’ll freely admit that, depending on how crazy my week is, sometimes it does take me a few days to reply to comments and pay that return visit to a commenter’s blog.  But aren’t we all busy?  I’m happy whenever I get comments back from fellow bloggers, whether it’s days or even weeks later, and I don’t think there are any bloggers out there who hold it against me if I don’t immediately reply to their comments either.

To help facilitate my blog commenting, I’ve actually started blocking out time for it on my calendar.  I try to do 30 minutes a night at least twice during the week and then I’ll spend up to an hour on Saturday getting caught up the rest of the way.  I used to just haphazardly comment here and there whenever I had a few minutes, but I feel more efficient and organized if I just build it into my daily routine.

I also prioritize when I comment. If you’re a regular visitor/commenter on my blog, you’re the first one I’m going to reply to and pay that return visit.

This is probably petty of me, but I will also stop commenting on a blog if I pay several visits and that blogger doesn’t reply to my comments or ever pay that return visit to my blog.  It takes me a while to get to that point, usually weeks or even months since I know people are busy, but it does occasionally happen.  It’s like I said above, there are just too many blogs out there and bloggers who want the interaction for me to waste my time on someone who clearly has no interest in me.  I remember when I first started blogging, I was regularly visiting a very popular blog and no matter how many times I commented on her posts, she never once acknowledged me.  I was also following her on twitter and I remember replying to a couple of her tweets and watching her go down the list of replies and skip right over mine to reply to her friends.  That elitist/clique-like mentality was a real turnoff for me so I unfollowed her everywhere and haven’t visited her blog since.

 

  1. I never know what to say on other people’s blogs.

As a socially awkward person, I can totally relate to this one as well. But that said, is there really a wrong kind of comment to make on someone’s blog? (Okay, well obviously you wouldn’t want to blatantly insult someone and call them the worst blogger on the planet, haha), but other than that, it seems like the field is wide open for you to say anything that pops into your head.  Well thought out comments are always nice, of course, but it’s just about being supportive so, for me, even a simple comment makes me happy.

 

  1. I don’t want to be the first one to comment on someone’s post.

I don’t subscribe to this idea, but I remember reading somewhere that people don’t generally like to be the first person to comment.  Maybe it’s just the way my blog is set up, but my first thought was ‘How would I even know if I’m the first or not?’ Because of all of the ridiculous spam out there, my blog is set to ‘moderate’ comments so that I can screen for spam and approve the legit comments.  For that reason, you might think you’re the first commenter but it really just means I haven’t had time to go in and approve any comments yet.

What I’m trying to say here is whether you’re the first or the 51st comment if you want to comment.  And so what if you are the first?  What’s wrong with being the first one?  If it’s someone new to the community or just someone who doesn’t get a lot of comments, you’re probably going to make their day. And I personally love the thought of making someone’s day. 🙂

 

  1. I don’t want to comment just to comment.

I find this relatable as well in the sense that not all blog posts easily lend themselves to comment, but you can still pretty easily work around this. In cases like this, however, unless I’m really crunched for time, I simply look around the person’s blog until I find a post that works better for me.

 

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So there you have it, folks. My rambling, jumbled thoughts about commenting on blogs and why it’s such a crucial part of the blogging experience.  Now, since this is a post about commenting, how about you leave me a comment and share your thoughts on the subject. J

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

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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

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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 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?