Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books on My Spring TBR

Here we are, another Tuesday, another top ten list. The Top Ten Tuesday meme was started over at The Broke and the Bookish blog. If you haven’t participated before or aren’t familiar with the meme, it’s a weekly themed top list related to, you guessed it, all things books. It’s a fun way to really go through your shelves and TBR piles. This week, it’s all about the Spring TBR list. As I mentioned in a recent post, I’m not always a fan of TBR lists, but when it comes to listing the books I’d like to read in a season, it feels less daunting. Here’s what I’d like to get through as the snow starts to melt.

Top 10 March 16

10. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

In my post on reading inspirations, I mentioned that I was inspired to reread this classic novel in the wake of Harper Lee’s death. While it isn’t a book I immediately fell in love with as a high school student (eons ago!), I’m excited to read this as an adult and see how Lee’s ideas resonate with me today. I haven’t read a Pulitzer Prize winning novel in a  good while so this will be a nice reintroduction to that level of literary accomplishment.

9. Go Set the Watchman by Harper Lee

This book got so much attention when it was released in July 2015. The long awaited followup to To Kill a Mockingbird, I can’t tell you how many people I knew who were practically foaming at the mouth to devour this book. While I know there’ s a fair bit of controversy about how good of a book this is (what highly hyped book doesn’t have controversy?), for the most part I’ve heard good things. Either way, I’ll be interested to see where Lee takes things in this follow up novel.

8. Cress by Marissa Meyer

I’m ashamed that this is even on a TBR list as I’ve had this book (and TBR’d it) so many times. I loved Cinder and Scarlet and in many ways was dying to continue the series, but I just keep picking up other books. I own everything up through Winter, and I want to get caught up. I think part of my problem with these books is they’re so fun I just don’t want them to end. If you’re unfamiliar with the Lunar Chronicles, these are fairy tale retellings that are done with a gloriously kick ass flare. Cress (book 3) continues the story of Cinder and Scarlett, but also introduces Cress, a Rapunzel like character. Part fairy tale, part Sci Fi awesomeness, Meyers is one of those authors that can get most anybody to ignore everything else and devour a book. I know this one will go quickly.

7. Fairest by Marissa Meyer

This in-between novel in the Lunar Chronicles (published between Cress and Winter gives us a look at the series villain Queen Levana. Being a much shorter book than the prior installments, I’m interested to learn about the Queen, what her motives are and what keeps her moving forward. Some of my favorite novels in a series expose the characters you think you know and give you something much different to consider about their actions (like The Vampire Lestat). If this one really flies, I might start up Winter (book 5) to get myself closer to being completely caught up with this series.

6. The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner

This book has been on my radar for a while. Set in a quiet, idealistic town in Washington state, Sarah has to come to terms with her husband’s unexpected death. As she beings to solve the puzzle of his death, she learns there is much more to her quiet little town than she anticipated. I’ve noticed that people always seem to compliment Banner for giving this story a fresh voice. While popular suspense novels are often inventive and shocking, I don’t often find people saying that the author’s voice is so distinct. I’m hoping this read doesn’t disappoint.

5. Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

After reading Reconstructing Amelia earlier this year, I have been aching to read more of McCreight’s works. Where They Found Her was actually the first book of McCreight’s that discovered, but I decided to pick up a copy of Reconstructing Amelia and read that first. Another suspense novel, Where They Found Her challenges the ideas of family and the impact of your past on your present state. As a parent and an avid fan of psychological thrillers, I am anticipating this to be a heart pounding read.

4. The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

This fresh release (February 2016) is like a dream. Full of sailing, fantasy, adventure, and what seems like a diverse cast of characters, The Girl from Everywhere looks to be a promising read. The summaries and descriptions I’ve read of this novel give me the impression that it’s whimsical and fun, but will leave a long lasting impression on it’s readers. As her debut novel, I’m interested to see what Heilig’s writing is like.

3. Hold Still by Lynn Steger Strong

I almost didn’t put this book on my list, because in some ways it reminded me a little too much of Reconstructing Amelia in the mother/daughter dynamic. Still, the storyline interest me enough to give this one a try. I won’t lie, the Amazon Best of the Month award and positive Goodreads reviews swayed me to keep this book on my list. Stories about family, relationships, and personal growth can be  a valuable addition to our lives, or they can come up short and leave us wanting more. I’m hoping the latter will not be true for Hold Still. 

2. Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Of all the horror stories available today, Bird Box is the book that I’ve heard the most praise for in terms of being utterly terrifying. Horror is the genre that kept me reading as a young child so anything in the genre that promises to deliver in a big way excites me. This novel promises to combine McCarthy’s storytelling style with King’s masterful horror roots. As a huge fan of both authors, I’m curious to see how Malerman weaves his story in a way that pays homage to these literary giants while keeping things unique to his own voice.

1. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

As the first novel in the Chaos Walking trilogy, The Knife of Never Letting Go introduces us to a kid named Todd. Thanks to an infection, Todd can hear the thoughts of those around him and vice versa. As Todd is approaching his birthday, and therefore closer to becoming a man like the rest of the town, he learns something that will forever change how he views the world. While I’ve been a bit reluctant to start a new series (because I have a few I need to finish), I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve read from Ness in the past. I’m hoping this story lives up to everything I’ve heard about it over the years.

That’s all for my Spring TBR list. What are you reading this spring? What new releases are you looking forward to the most?

 

Top Ten Tuesday Image via The Broke and The Bookish

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2015 Rewind and 2016 Goals

I would love to start this post by saying I read over 40 books in 2015, but that isn’t going to happen. Initially, I was a bit disappointed that I only managed to read 13 books this year (including graphic novels), but I’m not counting it as a loss. This year, my work life got pretty busy, which is great, but it also meant I put a lot of my passion projects on the back burner.

Of everything I read this year, a few titles really stood out for me. Here are my top three and why I loved them:

Twisted Dark Vol. 1-4 (5) by Neil Gibson

These graphic novels were amazing and jarring in ways few books are these days. What a testament to the genre and what it can accomplish. My review for Volume 5 will be out soon on Word of the Nerd.

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) by Ericka Johansen

While this book isn’t without it’s flaws, The Queen of the Tearling demanded my attention. I felt like I could not accomplish anything else unit I finished the book. It’s whimsical, dark, full of fantasy and is a great introduction to the genre. Amanda Hocking fans would love this book. I’m pumped to read book 2 (and 3!).

Fortune 69 by David Heath

Ever since I discovered transgressive fiction in college, I’ve been hooked on it. While I do love Chuck Palahniuk and other popular transgressive authors, I thrive on finding the lesser known transgressive works and seeing how they shine. Fortune 69 provides everything I want in a transgressive fiction novel — gritty and uncomfortable characters and scenarios with just enough realism to make everything seem realistic. Heath pulls you in from page one and when you’re done, it’s like getting off a roller coaster, you’re still able to feel the experience long after it’s ended. While my faith in reading never truly wavered, this book got me out of an awful reading funk.

While I didn’t finish as many books this year as I would have liked to, I learned an important lesson: it’s okay to be choosy about what I read. Life isn’t going to slow down, and I’m not going to stop reading books, so I need to be willing to say no to a book sometimes when I am just not feeling it. I often feel like I have to finish a book if I start it or have invested a lot of time into it, but these days, if something isn’t holding my attention, I’ll put it down for a while (or forever).

2016 Goals

Looking ahead, I’m really excited for 2016. I am hoping to at least double what I read in 2015, but I also want to play around with having strict months with set TBR piles and others where I play a little bookshelf roulette. A friend turned me onto this 12 book challenge from Modern Mrs. Darcy that I defiantly want to incorporate into my reading goals for the new year (plus, what could be a cuter book blog title than Modern Mrs. Darcy?).

In addition to reading more books and expanding what I read, I also really need to work on chopping down my kindle TBR pile. I’ve had a kindle since 2009 and have acquired countless books thanks to sales, freebies and those late night “must buy now” impulses, and I’m ready to start reading them. There’s a healthy mix of YA, Horror/Suspense, Literary Fiction and SciFi in my Kindle library, so things should stay interesting. I also NEED to catch up on the Lunar Chronicles. I have all the currently released books, and want to catch up before Stars Above comes out in early February.

I’d love to hear about how your reading challenge went this year. Did you reach your goal? Quit? Something in the middle? What was your favorite (and least favorite) book you read this year? Tell me all the things!

 

Scarlet Review

ScarletCover

Author: Marissa Meyer

Published: 2013

Length 452 pages

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends

Rating:

fivestarclear

If you haven’t read Cinder (Lunar Chronicles 1), click here to read my full review.

In the second installment to Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles, we meet Scarlet, a teenage girl living on her grandmother’s farm in rural France. When Scarlet discovers that her grandmother has disappeared from their home without warning, Scarlet knows her grandmother is in danger. The local police force seem uninterested in putting much effort into the search for her grandmother, assuming that she simply chose to leave on her own.

As Scarlet attempts to keep up the farm while investigating her grandmother’s disappearance, she meets an unlikely character named Wolf. As a hardened street fighter, Wolf stands out easily against the rest of the people in town. While Scarlet is reluctant to trust Wolf, as he seems to be hiding more than he discloses about his life, she finds herself accepting Wolf’s offer to help track down her Grandmother’s whereabouts.

Meanwhile, Cinder is attempting to escape her imprisonment for crimes of treason against the Commonwealth. If she cannot escape, Prince Kai will be forced to hand Cinder over to the Lunar Queen Levana (who sees Cinder as a threat that needs to be extinguished). As Cinder works toward freeing herself  and trying to navigate how to stop Queen Levana from taking control of the Commonwealth, Prince Kai is torn between protecting his country and tempering his feelings he still holds for Cinder, which he must keep secret to protect his reputation.

As Scarlet and Cinder each work toward finding the truth, they learn that not only are their paths crossed, but that their circumstances play a large role  in the world’s relationship with Luna and the Queen.

Scarlet’s story adds a fun twist to the tale of Little Red Riding Hood while expanding upon the world that is established in Cinder. Like Cinder, Scarlet, is a headstrong, determined and loyal girl who isn’t willing to give up on what she believes just because things become difficult to understand.

The latest installment to the Lunar Chronicles continues with Cress, which was released in earlier this year. The fourth and final book, Winter is set to be released in 2015.

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Cinder Review

MarissaMeyer.com/books

Author: Marissa Meyer

Published: 2012

Length: 390 pages

Publisher: Square Fish

Rating:

fivestarclear

In Cinder (Lunar Chronicles 1), by Marissa Meyer, we are introduced to Cinder, a sixteen year old cyborg living in New Beijing, a hundred and twenty six years after the fourth world war. In this world, androids, cyborgs, moon people (Lunars) and a rampant pandemic are a part of everyday life. Cinder lives with her adoptive family, made up of her step-mother, Adri and two sisters, Pearl and Peony. Her adoptive father, who, against his wife’s wishes, insisted on taking Cinder in when she was orphaned, passed away in a tragic accident that Adri will forever blame on Cinder. Adri spares no opportunity to remind Cinder that her worth is lessened by her missing human anatomy. While a rampant pandemic spreads throughout the world and threatens her nation’s own Emperor, Cinder is living the typical life of a cyborg – she has her job as a mechanic (the best in all of New Beijing) and is forever in service to her guardian family. Cinder’s world begins to change when the Emperor’s own son, Prince Kai finds her in the marketplace insisting she help to fix his outdated and seemingly useless tutor android that mysteriously stopped working. Meanwhile, the insatiable moon dwelling (Lunar) ruler, Queen Levana is determined to get a foothold in the earth’s politics and laws through through the guise of a peace-keeping marriage agreement with none other than Prince Kai. The Queen’s pressure to solidify the marriage agreement becomes more persuasive as the Emperor’s health continues to fail. As she learns more about Prince Kai’s android, and those closest to her become threatened by the pandemic, Cinder finds herself becoming a central part of keeping her nation, and the world’s future safe.

Cinder gives us a refreshing look at how despite your background, appearance or perceived worth, you can make a difference in the world if you are persistent and refuse to give up on what you believe in.

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