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?

Top 10 Book Bloggers You Should Be Following (If You’re Not Already)

 

We’re still a couple of weeks away from the return of Top Ten Tuesday, which is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  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 basically a blogger spotlight, which I thought was a fantastic idea.  It was hard to pick just ten for this list because there are so many fabulous blogs out there. I could have easily done a top 50 and still felt like I was leaving people out.

That said, these 10 blogs are blogs that I try to visit as often as possible, no matter how busy I am.  I enjoy the people who run these blogs because they’re all always so kind and so supportive of their fellow bloggers and I enjoy visiting their blogs because they are always packed with interesting content that appeals to me.  I highly recommend each of them if you haven’t yet discovered their blogs.

 

Top 10 Book Bloggers You Should Be Following (If You Aren’t Already)

 

1. THE BOOK SATCHEL

I love visiting The Book Satchel for several reasons:  1) Resh always posts such thought-provoking reviews on the books she reads, 2) She reads many books from a variety of genres and she often reads books that I haven’t heard of before, so I’m always adding new books to my TBR after visiting, and 3) Resh also takes some of the most gorgeous book photos I’ve seen so it’s always a treat to see new photos.

 

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2. REBEL MOMMY BOOK BLOG

Rebel Mommy Book Blog is another favorite of mine.  Grace reads and reviews a lot of contemporary novels, and since contemporary is a fairly new interest of mine, I love seeing what books she recommends.  She also participates in blog tours, does some fun bookish memes, and even occasionally posts about her TV interests, so it’s always very entertaining to visit because of the variety of posts.

 

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3.  MUSINGS OF A LITERARY WANDERER

I enjoy visiting Angela’s blog, not just because of her insightful book reviews, but also because she often posts about interesting trips she has taken.  I like that added personal touch because it helps to get to know the person behind the blog.  I also think Angela’s blog is especially great because she has really come on strong this year with lots of interesting discussion posts as well as a fun new feature of her own called Quotables.

 

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4. GREG’S BOOK HAVEN

Greg’s Book Haven is such a great blog.  It’s filled with book reviews from a variety of genres and so much more.  If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you have to stop by and check out his fantastic GoT discussion posts and episode reviews.  Greg also posts creative writing on his blog and it’s incredible.  I highly recommend checking out his current writing project, ‘On the Run.’  I get so excited every time I visit and there’s a new installment up.

 

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5. POP.EDIT.LIT

Verushka’s blog is so much fun to visit.  I love the thought-provoking questions that she always poses to her readers in each post and her reviews are always so entertaining and enthusiastic.  Verushka also reviews quite a lot of fiction from Australian authors.  I’m not familiar with many Australian authors or their works so I love learning about them and of course adding tons of new books to my TBR.

 

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6. BIRDIE BOOKWORM

Birdie Bookworm is another of my favorite blogs.  I love the variety of books Wendy reads and I also love all of the features she has on her blog.  A couple of my favorites are 1) Baby Chick Picks where she features books that her daughter has read and reviewed.  I just think is wonderful on so many levels, and 2) Flights of Fancy, which are excellent discussion posts on a variety of unique topics such as comparing herself to YA parents.

 

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7. BOOK REVIEWS BY DI

I love visiting Di’s blog for a number of reasons:  1) She writes such honest yet persuasive book reviews that she can talk me into reading books that I never would have considered reading.  Since I had already read Six of Crows, I had planned to bypass The Grisha Trilogy until I read Di’s reviews.  Now I can’t get to that series fast enough!  2) I’m also a big fan of the Blog Squad – Blogger Collaboration series of discussion posts that she does with two other excellent book bloggers, Amy at A Magical World of Words and Uma at Books. Bags. Burgers.  I look forward to these collaborations because the topics are always interesting and very easy to relate to, and I love reading each blogger’s point of view on their topic of choice.

 

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8. BIONIC BOOKWORM

Bionic Bookworm is another fun blog to visit.  You can count on Bionic Bookworm for honest and insightful reviews that are also spoiler free, and Shanah also takes part in several fun bookish memes and shares her wonderful book hauls.  She also has a fun Top 5 Tuesday feature on her blog as well as a Blogger Spotlight, where she features some of her favorite blogs.  Since she shares her love for other blogs on a regular basis, I like being able to shine the spotlight on her blog this time.

 

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9. SHOOTING STARS MAGAZINE

I enjoy visiting Lauren’s blog because of the fantastic variety of posts that she has. Of course there are always plenty of great book reviews, mostly YA and middle grade, but also some adult.  I like to read a variety of books myself so it’s always fun to look to Lauren’s blog for book recs.  In addition to the book reviews though, there are also movie reviews, guest posts, product reviews, giveaways, and even some personal posts.  There’s always such a wonderful variety so I look forward to stopping by and seeing what’s new.

 

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10. LINDSEY READS

Even though Lindsey is on a semi-hiatus right now as she settles in to her new job, I still wanted to spotlight her blog since it’s another favorite of mine because Lindsey shares not just her love of books, but also her love of music.  As much as I love reading her reviews and tag posts, I also really enjoy it every time she shares some of her passion for music with her readers.  I look forward to her return to her blog.

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Question: Who are some bloggers you think everyone should be following?

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?

Top 10 Authors I’d Automatically Buy Anything They Wrote

 

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

 

Top 10 Authors I’d Automatically Buy Anything They Wrote

 

1. V. E. SCHWAB

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

 

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2. EMMA DONOGHUE

 

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

 

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3.  TONI MORRISON

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

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4. DAN BROWN

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

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5. MARISSA MEYER

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

 

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6. YAA GYASI

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

 

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7. LEIGH BARDUGO

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

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8. ALICE HOFFMAN

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

 

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9. BECKY ALBERTALLI

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

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10. JOHN GREEN

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

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

Discussion Post: My Complicated Relationship with Book Series

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

via GIPHY

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

 

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

via quickmeme.net

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

 

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

via memegenerator.net

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

 

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

via movieboozer.com

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

via fyireblue.com

 

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

 

Books I’m Pretty Sure Everyone on the Planet Has Read Except for Me

 

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 I decided to take the opportunity to go back through their archives to see if any of the topics they had covered prior to my joining were of interest.  I saw this topic and found it incredibly relatable because I almost always feel like I’m the last person on the planet to read some popular books.

Basically I’m thinking of this as a wall of shame because I really have no excuse for why I haven’t read these books yet.  I see people talking about them everywhere, have read countless reviews that make them sound fantastic, and yet there they all still sit.

Scrolling back through my old blog posts and anticipated reading lists, I see so many of these titles on them.  If I wanted to read them so badly,  why months — in some cases even years — later, are they still sitting on my TBR unread?  I’m looking at you, Caraval and Heartless.  Heck, I was so excited about Heartless coming out that I even did a giveaway for it to that my fellow readers could win a copy.  And yet I still haven’t touched it.  What is wrong with me? LOL!

I’ve loved every other book I’ve read by Rainbow Rowell so what’s the hold up on Carry On?  Fear that it won’t be anywhere near as good as Fangirl or Eleanor and Park?  I honestly don’t know.

And clearly I have some kind of anti-butterfly issue that’s keeping me from touching Replica and The Diabolic.

I see my fellow bloggers and even non-bloggers talking about the books all the time and they sound so amazing.  I swear I’m going to get to them some day, but when that day will be…your guess is as good as mine.  I’m going to blame some of this on a weird quirk of mine — if I own a book, I don’t feel the same pressure to read it as I do if it’s a borrowed book or an ARC that has a specific deadline.  It sounds crazy to say but if I had borrowed these same books from the library or from a friend, I probably would have read them months ago.

I think the only two books on this list that I kind of have legit reasons for being a holdout when it come to reading them are the J.K.  Rowling book and the Neil Gaiman.  The Casual Vacancy is all about the hype?  Can it live up to it?  I’d almost rather not find out.  And Gaiman,  I’m just so hit or miss with his books.  I didn’t care for American Gods at all but I adored The Ocean at the End of the Lane.  People keep telling me The Graveyard Book is incredible, so I know I’m going to give it a try eventually but always manage to find a reason to shove it off the top of my TBR.

Thankfully I am doing a TBR clean-out challenge this summer that should take care of a few of these titles, but I still have a long way to go and I have a feeling, based on my history, that as fast as I knock a few titles off this list, I’ll be adding just as many more. It’s madness, lol!

Question: Are you in the same boat as me?  Are we the last two people on the planet not to have read some of these?  What books do you feel like you’re the only one who hasn’t read them?

 

Books I’m Pretty Sure Everyone on the Planet Has Read Except for Me

 

1. CARRY ON by Rainbow Rowell

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2. WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart

 

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3.  CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber

 

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4. HEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer

 

 

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5. REPLICA by Lauren Oliver

 

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6. THE DIABOLIC by S. J. Kincaid

 

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7. DARK MATTER by Blake Crouch

 

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8. THE CASUAL VACANCY by J.K. Rowling

 

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9. THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman

 

 

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10. NEVERNIGHT by Jay Kristoff

 

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Why the Library is an Invaluable Resource for a Book Blogger

I’ve been wanting to do another discussion post for a while now but couldn’t decide what to write about.  This post is inspired by a recent trip to my local library.  I went there last Sunday afternoon, actually arrived a few minutes before it was scheduled to open thinking I could easily slip in, grab a couple of books, and slip back out.  I was shocked when I got there to actually see a long line of people waiting to get in.  As the doors opened, I waited to see if there was a special event going on that had drawn the big crowd. But no, as the doors opened, people quickly filed in and the crowd dispersed, each person going their own way.  It hit me then just how important libraries still are in our communities, which of course got me thinking about just how much I use it in my day-to-day life and especially that I blog about books so much.

Even before I became a book blogger, I was always a fan of my local library.  I mean, hello, free books at your fingertips? How could a book lover not be all over that, right?  Once I got into blogging though was when I really began to appreciate all that the library has to offer and how useful it could really be for me.  Here are just a few of the features my local library offers that have been lifesavers when it comes to my blog.

  1. The Convenience. My favorite library feature is the online card catalog database.  I can sit at home on my own computer or device, log into my account, access the library’s database and see what books are available. Not only that, but using the same online system, I can also place holds on the books that I want and they’ll reserve them for me or order them from other branches of the regional library if they don’t have them in hand.  When my books are ready, I receive an email notification telling me that they’re waiting for me at the local branch. It couldn’t be much easier.

 

  1. The Selection. ARCS are, of course, ideal for reviewing on my blog since I can get those  early and they’re free. But let’s face it…odds are I’m not going to get every ARC I request and even if I did, would I realistically be able to read them all before the publication dates anyway?  The answer for me is a resounding no.  I get approved for just enough ARCs to keep me busy meeting their deadlines but still have tons of new releases on my wishlist that I’d love to get my hands on to review. Just thinking about how much it would cost to pre-order them all makes me cringe and if I’m probably not going to get to them before the publication date anyway, why not check out the library and see if I can get them that way?  At first I scoffed at the idea of using the library for books I want to review on my blog.  I figured I’d have to wait forever to get a new book or that the selection just wouldn’t be that great for the newest releases.  I was so completely wrong on this.  Not only is the selection way better than I ever could have imagined, but in many cases, I can place holds on books that haven’t even come out yet.  I remember placing a hold on The Hate U Give weeks before it came out and I think I had the book in hand within a couple of weeks after the publication date. If I had had to wait months and months to get my hands on the new release, it wouldn’t have been a practical choice, but I think a couple of weeks is perfectly acceptable.

 

  1. The Flexibility. Another favorite feature of my library is that I can access my hold list and make adjustments to it as needed.  If it looks like a bunch of books are about to be coming my way but I’m not ready for them because I have ARCs to read or whatever, there is a ‘Pause’ feature that I can use to basically push myself a little further down the reserve list on the books in question.  That way someone else can go ahead and read what I’m not ready for, but I don’t completely lose my place in line.  This is an invaluable feature for me as a blogger. Just because I’m not ready this week doesn’t mean I won’t be ready soon so I don’t want to have to move all the way to the bottom of the list.

 

  1. The Savings. The fact that I can do all of this without spending any money aside from the occasional library fine, which is pennies compared to how much money I could potentially spend on books, is perfect for me.  I can’t really say that I have a book buying budget or anything like that, but there are definitely a lot of books out there that I want to read and review for my blog but don’t necessarily want a copy of it for my collection.  This way I can get all of the books that I want/need for the blog, but am not forking out $10-15 a pop every time a book I want comes out.  Also, if I do end up wanting it for my personal collection, I’ve already reviewed it for the blog so I can wait and purchase it for myself once the price has dropped a bit.

 

  1. The Ability to Experiment. Don’t know if you like audiobooks or e-books but would love to find out? You can try them out for free at the library.  My local library has an ever-growing collection of both formats too so again, the selection is pretty great.  My library has audiobooks, both in the old CD format and in formats that you can download straight to your electronic devices.  And just like with the physical copies of books, you can place holds on the e-books and audiobooks through the online database and receive notifications when the titles can be downloaded.

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The library has really been an invaluable resource for me since I started blogging. I can’t even begin to fathom how much money and time it has saved me over the past year.  If you haven’t checked out your local library recently, I’d definitely say it’s worth a trip!

Do you use your local library as a resource for your book blog?  If so, do you find it useful?

 

 

A Reader’s Paradise: Designing My Dream Reading Space

I was encouraged by those at arhaus.com to describe and design my dream reading space.  I thought this sounded like a lot of fun so I said I’d be happy to take part.  For me, the ideal reading space would be located in a quiet, secluded area of my house so that there isn’t a lot of distracting foot traffic.  The furnishings would be simple and I would go for a light and airy look – not quite beachy, but definitely headed in that direction with ocean blues, sandy colors, and a lot of white.  I’d want an oversized cozy reading chair, preferably one that allows me to put my feet up, and lots of pillows and a throw blanket (again for the cozy factor).  Since I’d be reading all the time in my dream space, I’d also want ample lighting as well as sheer curtains to let in lots of natural light.  Endless bookshelves would be a must as well, not just for my books themselves, but also to hold bookish knick knacks, fun bookends, etc.  Aside from the books themselves, decorations would be at a minimum, maybe a few literary art prints like the cool Pride and Prejudice one in my mood board below or something similar.  Last but not least, I’d finish off the decor with a few of those bookish themed candles that are so popular.

Dream Reading Space by thebookishlibra

 

Products used in the mood board:

1.  Grand Chaise Oversized Chair from shabbychic.com

2.  White Billy Bookcase from ikea.com

3.  Blue Printed Pillows from etsy.com

4.  Clarence Floor Lamp from arhaus.com

5.  Sheer Curtains from potterybarn.com

6.  Home is Where the Books Are Art Print from etsy.com

7.  Pride and Prejudice Art Print from etsy.com

8.  I Read Past My Bedtime Bookends from etsy.com

9.  Enchanted Library Jam Jar Candle from etsy.com

 

So, if you could design your own ideal reading space, what would you include?

Discussion Post: Why I’m So Slow to Write Book Reviews

Hey, look at me! I finally got up the nerve to write another discussion post.  I don’t know why I find these so intimidating, but since I made it a blogging goal to write more of them, here I go trying to achieve my goal.  Since I’m way behind in the reviews I need to write at the moment, I figured a relevant discussion topic for me right now would be why the heck it takes me so long to write a book review, haha!

Sometimes I think I must be the slowest reviewer on the planet.  No matter how much I love or hate a book, I just cannot sit down right after I finish reading and churn out a review.  Those who know me well would probably say it’s because I’m a master procrastinator and, yes, I confess that’s probably part of it, but there’s more to it than that. There is a method to my madness!

I don’t know about other book bloggers, but often, my first impression after finishing a book doesn’t hold up if I take a few days to reflect on it.  Sometimes my opinion sinks a bit and I feel myself starting to nitpick details that maybe didn’t initially bother me but the more I thought about them, they more they did.  Other times, I actually think more highly of a book after thinking more about the story, its characters, structure, etc. and realizing how truly well crafted a book is.  Maybe I just like to over-think books, I don’t know, but doing it this way does work for me in that I feel like my reviews end up more accurately reflecting my true feelings about what I’ve read than if I had immediately written them.  But  man does it wreak havoc on my schedule!  I seem to always be juggling 2 or 3 books that I’ve finished reading but don’t feel ready to write about yet, along with whatever books  I’m currently reading.  In that sense, I’m very envious of those who are able to immediately sit down and make that review happen.

To keep the juggling act manageable so that I don’t get stressed out, I always take notes while I’m reading and I do jot down my initial reactions as soon as I finish.  This helps me to not forget any of the book’s pertinent details (like all of the characters’ names, which I’m very prone to forget if I don’t take those notes!) and it also gives me a good starting point for my review once I’m finally ready to write the review.  Sometimes I only need to reflect on a book for a day or two before I’m ready to finalize my thoughts, while others I can easily sit on for a week or more.  Labyrinth Lost, for example, is one that I’ve been sitting one for over a week now. I really loved the read, but I’m still trying to decide what I really want to say about, what made it so meaningful for me.  I think I’m  finally ready to write that one, but since I was stuck on it, I pushed it aside and wrote  several other reviews in the meantime where my thoughts were more solidified.  As I’m gathering my thoughts for the reviews, in many ways, I feel like I’m composing the review in my head so once I’m finally ready to sit down and write, thankfully the review comes together pretty quickly.  With that being said, here are some books I’ve recently finished reading and have been reflecting on that I’ll (hopefully!) be posting reviews for soon:

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

When We Collided by Emery Lord

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova 

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So, what kind of book reviewer are you?  Are you able to write yours immediately after finishing a book or do you need to sit on them for a few days like I do to fully wrap your mind around what you’ve read?

Discussion Post: How I Write Negative Reviews

 

I had set as one of my blogging goals for this year to write more discussion posts, so here’s my first attempt for 2017…

Writing negative reviews is my least favorite part about being a book blogger.  Seriously, is there anything worse than settling in to read what you hope will be a fantastic book, only to find yourself disappointed?  But I do pride myself on writing honest reviews, so if I have to write a negative review, I have a few rules that I try to follow. I won’t even go so far as to call these tips or suggestions.  I’m a Libra and I’m all about being fair and balanced, and these are simply the steps I take to try to achieve the balance I’m looking for while writing those dreaded negative reviews.

 

  1. Be Honest but Still Respectful.  Maybe it’s the Libra in me, but no matter how much I dislike a book, I’m just not one who is going to write a scathing negative review.  I try to always remember who my potential audience might be – fellow readers, authors, publishers, etc. – and write in a tone that I feel will be honest yet still professional as I point out why a book just didn’t work for me.
  1. Be Constructive with Criticism. Don’t just rage about how much I hate it. I always try to keep in mind when I’m reviewing that just because a book wasn’t for me, that doesn’t mean others won’t love it.  There are many times when I don’t connect with a book for whatever reason, yet I can see that it has thousands and thousands of 4 and 5 star reviews on Goodreads.  Clearly there are plenty of readers out there who don’t share my quirks and personal preferences when it comes to certain books.  That said, if I think one of my criticisms is stemming from one of my own personal quirks, say maybe my hatred of love triangles, I’m quick to point that out in my reviews (i.e. “It might just be me who has a problem with this…”).  Sometimes I’ll even go a bit further and suggest a way that it could have been presented so that I might have enjoyed it more.
  1. Offset the negatives with a few positives, if possible. Even if I really disliked a book, I try to come up with a few positive things to say about it.  I think this is a carryover from my teaching days. My students were always more open to what I had to say about their writing if I was able to point out strengths as well as weaknesses.  Plus, again, just because a book isn’t for me doesn’t me another reader won’t love it.  I also usually start my reviews with what I did like about a book before I launch into the negatives. I prefer the tone that sets rather than starting with the negatives and then saying “But wait…not everything about this book sucked. I did like a couple of things.”
  1. Be Careful with Tagging. I don’t typically tag authors when I post my reviews on social media anyway, but I definitely will not tag them if I didn’t like their book.  For me, tagging them would be like saying “Hey, I really hated your book and I want to make sure you know that!”  If authors come across my negative review on their own, fine, but I just don’t go out of my way to shove it in front of their faces.

There you have it, folks. Do you follow any of these steps or have any tips you’d like to share on handling those dreaded negative reviews?