Top Ten Tuesday- Back list books I want to read

Okay, this is terrifying.  I have WAY too many books on my TBR list because even though I have lots of books, more come to my attention that I need.  It’s an addiction.  So when I saw this, I was like… I have to do this.  Then it started getting real.  Narrowing the hundreds down to 10?  What have I gotten myself into?

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That said, here we go!  A few weeks ago I had mentioned that I had James J. Cudney’s thrillers.  I had heard about each one on different blogs and had every intention of reading them quickly.  The premises sound so good and heaven knows I adore Jay!  These are going to have to be the first two on my list.

1-2.father figure       watching glass shatter

3.  Strange the dreamer  Another book I heard about from the blogs!  There were so many people just loving this book, the premise was amazing and the cover…. gorgeous.  Why haven’t I read this?  I own it!  I will read it (seriously!).

4.  2 am at the cat's pajamas  I went for this one directly after falling in love with The Elegance of the Hedge Hog.  It sounded smart and interesting…. I really love the idea of it… and I will read it (even though I am pretty sure this was on my last TBR list too).

5.  death and the penguin I found this one at my favorite used book stores for a dollar.  It sounds fantastic- all dead-pan and black comedy.  Let’s be real, though, why did I really buy it?  For this:

‘A Militia major is driving along when he sees a militiaman standing with a penguin.

Take him to the Zoo,” he orders.

Some time later the same major is driving along when he sees the militiaman still with the penguin.

“What have you been doing?”  he asks.  “I said to take him to the zoo.”

“We’ve been to the zoo, Comrade Major,” says the militiaman, “and the circus.  And now we’re going to the pictures.”‘  Yes, that was the front page.  I had to buy it!  

 

6-7.  welcome to the world  standing in the rainbowAfter reading Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe I came upon this one and book two of the series at my book store.  I was still pining for her uniquely quirky characters and descriptions.  I have to read these.  I will read these!

8.  murder in the paperback parlor  I love a cozy mystery and Ellery Adams is a favorite of mine.  I love the characters, the premise, the intelligent humor.  That said, the first book in the Book Retreat series was over the top, even for me (and I have read all the Stephanie Plum books as well as Evanovich’s other, even crazier series’).  Still, there was a certain something about the town, the boys and the crew that I found myself missing.  I have this one And the third book in the series on stand-by.

And for my last two… some that I JUST placed there.  That’s right, October releases that I couldn’t resist!

9.    a map of days  I read this series at the recommendation of one of my bookish coworkers.  I loved it and wasn’t ready to let go with the last book (which I thought was meant to be the LAST book).  I was so excited to see this one coming out, and even more so that it sounds like it may be a bit open ended- like maybe there could be even more?!?  I pre-ordered the eBook AND bought the signed hardback copy… and I still haven’t read it!  I have to.  I am reading an ARC right now, but that is definitely going to be the next free-pick read.

10.  bridge of clay  I loved The Book Thief.  They way Zusak told the story, the character development, the descriptions…. it was gorgeous.  Bridge of Clay, from the summary, sounds like it could be another one like that.  I am super excited to get into it.

So here it is…. a tiny sample of my TBR shame.  The best part?  I have already pre-odered books for November!  Be on the look out for these reviews as soon as i can get my grubby mitts on them:

Patterson_Target_HC Mech_NOT FINAL.indd    FB the crimes of...    whispered word

In my defense, I have been waiting all year for each of these books- ever since I read the last line in the books before them!

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Top Ten Tuesday! Books I have given up on/ don’t plan to finish.

Ah, the DNF pile- one of my great shames (that and the overflowing TBR list).  I try desperately to give each book- especially ones I request as ARC’s a fair shake.  Once upon a time I had an 50% rule- I had to get through at least 50% before I could let go, to be sure that it wasn’t just a slow burn book that got better in progression, I was sure I would miss out if I gave up too soon.  Then my husband found a site that sold bundles of ebooks and thought he’d find some cheap gems.  Under “romance” I found same sex voyeuristic bondage play.  It was too much for me and broke that rule forever.  You won’t be finding that title on the list because I don’t remember it, nor the author.  I just… couldn’t do it.

Anyway, onward and upward.  My DNF list:

the original dream 1. The Original Dream, Nukila Amal.  (Summary from Goodreads) For Maya, history is like a dream, and her dreams are like a history of her life and how it relates to others. Effortlessly defying and calling into question time and space, Maya inhabits fantastical realities filled with shamans, romantic longing, a daughter’s struggles, and a flying dragon.

Lyrically flowing between Maya’s multiple realities, The Original Dream is the story of a young independent Indonesian woman trying to break free from cultural and social conventions while also searching for her place among family and friends. With guidance from her parents, coworkers, and sister, along with a newborn filled with the wisdom of elders, Maya navigates her perceptions, looking for answers to unknown questions. Whether soaring through the nighttime sky, caring for her nephew, or tending to guests at the hotel where she works, she tries to delineate the difference between dreams and reality and if such a difference even matters.

Truth?  I thought I loved magical realism in books, but this was just way too much for me.  I don’t even remember it much because it was so very long ago, but I remember the writing being a bit choppy and the dragon being too far fetched.  It was all very much like a drug induced dream and I couldn’t do it.
George rr martin2. A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin.  My entire family is obsessed with GOT, and to be honest I never saw the appeal.  I thought maybe if I read it first I would understand the attraction.  I don’t remember there being anything wrong with it when I got the first four books from the library….. I just couldn’t get into it.

 
the invention of exile3. The Invention of Exile, Vanessa Manko.  A Russian immigrant is falsely accused of being an anarchist and gets deported back to Russia along with his wife and three children.  Later, finding themselves in Mexico the family, sans father, is able to move back to America but the wife must fight for the right to have her husband come home.

On paper this sounded amazing.  For me, though, it was just poorly executed and I quickly realized I didn’t care about the characters at all.  It was not worth moving forward.

 

impossible views of the world4. Impossible Views of the World, Lucy Ives.  (Summary from Goodreads) Stella Krakus, a curator at Manhattan’s renowned Central Museum of Art, is having the roughest week in approximately ever. Her soon-to-be ex-husband (the perfectly awful Whit Ghiscolmbe) is stalking her, a workplace romance with “a fascinating, hyper-rational narcissist” is in freefall, and a beloved colleague, Paul, has gone missing. Strange things are afoot: CeMArt’s current exhibit is sponsored by a Belgian multinational that wants to take over the world’s water supply, she unwittingly stars in a viral video that’s making the rounds, and her mother–the imperious, impossibly glamorous Caro–wants to have lunch. It’s almost more than she can overanalyze.

This seemed like a super busy, jumpy book where nothing ever really happened and the writing style just wasn’t for me.

pond5. Pond, Claire-Louise Bennett.  (Summary from Goodreads) Feverish and forthright, Pond is an absorbing chronicle of the pitfalls and pleasures of a solitudinous life told by an unnamed woman living on the cusp of a coastal town.

So, this one again sounded amazing and I was just thrilled to be able to get my paws on it.  Sadly, it just did not live up to the blurb for me.  Glacially slow, the writing style was perhaps too descriptive (to the point of being absurd) and I found myself horribly bored.

I know it isn’t ten books but that really is my list.  There are a few books I read in order to see the movie that I feel like I should have DNF’ed though:

I have to say that these were the few instances where the book was not, in fact, better.  I got through them, but I hated all of them in part.  The Princess Bride was good and nearly didn’t make that list, except that Goldman kept veering from topic and adding in snippets I just didn’t care about.

Lastly, and I know that this one is going to make a lot of people mad….. Lord of the Rings- the whole series.  I remember trying to get through Return of the King and finding like three paragraphs about the sweat off of a horses flanks.  Now I like description and world building as much as the next person but that was absolute overkill.

What about you?  What’s on your list?

Happy Reading,

Amber

Top Ten Tuesday! Books that have been on my TBR list the longest!

TTT-Big2This meme was created by The Broke and the Bookish and has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week’s prompt is going to be about the books that have been on our TBR list.

 

We will start with my eBook portion as they have been with me longest.  From Nook:

2 am at the cat's pajamas A nine year old jazz singer, a divorcee looking for love, and a jazz lounge in trouble.  How can I resist?  I seriously want to read this!

Strange the dreamer  I read so many amazing reviews about this one, and had to have it.  Why haven’t I read it?  For one, I am at odds with Barnes and Nobles now and rarely go into that app at all.  Silly, I know, I was buying my books from them nearly exclusively for years so this is the majority of my library.  I just hate that they require me to have a debit card on file in order to open a book I paid for years ago.

the first fifteen lives of Harry AugustNo matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes.

Until now.

As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. ‘I nearly missed you, Doctor August,’ she says. ‘I need to send a message.’

This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.

Lord, that blurb!  How could I not want to read this?

everything I never told youLydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.

I was so excited about this one!  I still have to read it.  I also have her newer book on my TBR.

this is where it endsA school shooting told in four voices.  It sounds crazy good.  I really want to read it.

 

 

 

 

fly away homeI saw a review for this one forever ago, and it sounded great.  I love books like this and am still super excited to read it.

 

 

 

imaginary thingsWatching children play and invent whimsical games of fantasy is one of life’s great joys. But what if you could actually see your child’s imagination as it unfolded? And what would you do if your child’s imagination suddenly became dark and threatening?

Holy crap this sounds great!  Why haven’t I read this?

 

Now for my paper TBR:

teach me to forgetA girl ready to die is pushed to live.  This one sounds like it will wreck me, but it sounds so good.  I bought a paper copy immediately after reading a review for it.

 

 

 

welcome to the worldI had just read Fried Green Tomatoes and loved it.  Then I found this at my favorite used book shop for $2!  It’s been on my shelf ever since, but I swear I am going to read it!

 

 

 

 

literacy and longing in L.A.Some women shop. Some eat. Dora cures the blues by bingeing on books—reading one after another, from Flaubert to bodice rippers, for hours and days on end. In this wickedly funny and sexy literary debut, we meet the beguiling, beautiful Dora, whose unique voice combines a wry wit and vulnerability as she navigates the road between reality and fiction.

So this one just stole my bibliophile heart.  It was at the used book store too.

 

So that’s my list.  What’s on yours?

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Top Ten Tuesday! January 30th, 2018

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This is a meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week it’s all about 10 books I can’t believe I read.  For this, I will only be dealing with books I finished and not my DNF pile.  Let’s start with the books I read so that I could see the movie without feeling bad. winter's tale1.Here’s a couple weeks worth of my life that I will never get back.  I wanted to see the movie- it looked so good and the premise of the story was one that I was really, really interested in.  The author was jumpy and erratic, could not stay on topic, and went on forever about things that simply didn’t matter.  The movie took like 2/3 of the book away, and it was better for it.  700 pages, and I wanted to throw my tablet by the 200th page.  Just watch the movie.

 

 

2.the martian  Okay, I am pretty rough on this one.  My husband wanted to see this movie so badly.  I had to read the book first.  The premise is good, the writing style was fluid and the characters were engaging.  This is something Warren calls hard science fiction, though, and apparently that is not for me.  TMI.  Weir would go on tangents about the workings of things- or the math behind it.  I don’t care!  It took me out of the story and bored the heck out of me.

 

 

the princess bride3.  I loved this movie- I loved it so much and I still love it.  I made my husband watch it the week we moved in together.  Great characters, high adventure, hilarity, true love and huge ass rodents.  What’s not to love?  The book.  I hate Goldman.  Harsh, I know, but he couldn’t stay on topic.  We’re getting along in the story, the plot’s great… and then we are at a hotel pool where’s he’s ogling some hottie?  Nope.  Not interested.  Just watch the movie.

 

 

 

hidden figures4.  This could have been so good, but it read like a text book.  There was no spark and I found it terribly dull.  The movie was everything I had hoped the book would be.

 

 

 

 

 

catcher in the rye5.  This book was required reading at every high school I went to (3) for different grades (which was strange let me tell you).  I hated it the first time.  It wasn’t any better the second time.  I gave up the third time and threw in my towel.  Holden’s a little shit.  He’s unrealistic and unlikeable.  There were other required reading that I didn’t love, but none I hated like this.

 

 

 

fifty shades of gray6. And…. I am about to be unpopular.  I wanted more plot.  There was a lot of sex and kink, some was way too detailed.  I don’t need all that.  What makes a book sexy to me is the play between characters- the chemistry.  I wanted… more.  Of everything but the sex.  Thankfully I waited in line for the library’s ebook instead of buying it or I would be truly pissed.

 

 

 

gone girl7.  The premise was interested and there was so much hype it was unreal.  I feel like the execution failed.  I couldn’t get a good feel for the characters- both unlikeable and irredeemable.  The writing was choppy and it just didn’t hold my interest.  I wouldn’t say it was awful…. but it certainly didn’t make me go buy her other books.

 

 

 

I actually think that’s it for my list.  There is my DNF pile…. but that’s another story.  What’s on your list?

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Top Ten Tuesday- Ten Most Unique Books I Have Read.

This meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  I am a bit sporadic in my participation, only doing one when particularly moved, but I could not pass this one up.  There are so many beautiful, unique books out there!  Here are some of my favorites in no particular order:

  1. The Eagle Tree, by Ned Hayes.  I loved this one mostly because of the first person POV- Hayes chose to write this from the perspective of an autistic boy.  It clearly shows how his mind works, his feelings, fears and frustrations.  And it shows that with strength and a good support team, anything is possible.  I adored this book.
  2. Howl’s Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones.  I am a huge fan of Studio Ghibli, and love this movie.  I hadn’t known it was a book the first time I saw it, but went out to hunt it down.  There are a lot of differences between the two forms!  What I loved here was the unique world building and characters.
  3. The Borrowers, Mary Norton.  A beloved children’s chapter book (still short at 50 pages each there about) about a family of little people living under the floorboards of a home.  The world building here was beautifully done and the premise was fantastic.
  4. I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced, Nujood Ali.  A hard hitting one, but so unique and important.  This child was forced into wedlock well before the age for it to be normal even in her country.  It rocked me, sent my emotions careening… but it is such a uniquely powerful book that it belongs on the list.
  5. Invisible Ellen, Shari Shattuck.  This book intrigued me because of the characters.  Ellen is obese, and doesn’t want anyone to see her.  She works hard to make herself “invisible”, unnoticed by others.  When she decides to go past her comfort zone and stop a mugging she meets her first real friend.  Temerity only sees Ellen as she is inside, and helps Ellen to see herself that way too.  Helping with nutrition and understanding her own worth, Ellen begins to make real progress.  I love that- so often you read about the “chubby” girl that falls for the guy and gets gorgeous for him… this was a unique perspective though.  Everything here she did for herself because her friends helped her to see that she deserved it.  #squad goals.
  6. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, Katarina Bivald.  A bibliophile comes from far away to meet her pen pal only to find her gone and a town that doesn’t know what to do with her in their place.  Taking her friend’s old books, left to her, she opens a bookshop and makes a place for herself in town.  I loved this one for the unique and colorful characters found within.
  7. Kids of Appetite, David Arnold.  Another great book with a quirky, unique cast of characters I can’t forget.  The premise, too, is one I have rarely seen- a bunch of kids banding together to make a family, to take care of one another.
  8. Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs.  The premise and world building here was something I had never seen before, and I loved it.  The characters were well developed and so very special.
  9. Beast, Bri Spangler.  A unique retelling of Beauty and the Beast, dealing both with how we see ourselves and introducing a transgender individual in a strong, healthy light.
  10. Maximum Ride, James Patterson.  Genetically morphed young children- “angels” breaking out on their own, learning to care for each other and their world.  Definitely a unique premise and view point.
  11. Sundays at Tiffany’s, James Patterson.  I know I have too many, but this HAS to be here.  This has long been one of my favorite romances.  A lonely little girl has one friend, Michael, who being imaginary can’t stay forever and must leave her.  Later in life, Jane finds a new love interest that seems…. shockingly familiar.  I loved the twist to this one, the sweetness.  It was just really… unique.

Well, that’s my list!  Have you read any?  What’s on your list?  I’d love to know!

Oh, I found some more goodies looking through my pics- please excuse me if I just post them here.  As you can see there are far too many unique books to name.

Amber

Top Ten Tuesday! Books that came out last year that I meant to read-and still will!

toptentuesday2This meme is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.  I have to admit, I don’t do these as often as I would like; but this one called to me.  I am the queen of TBR lists, and it’s far too easy to go overboard when you can have eBooks, cheap and instant.  These are the books I bought last year that I meant to read-and still will!

I have heard so much about Heartless, and I am desperate to read it, but time got away from me.  Once upon a dream where, if I understand correctly, mostly takes place in Aurora’s dreams and she has to save herself with help?  Hell yes.  And, of course, As Old as Time… what if the one to curse the beast was Belle’s mother?  I will get to these.

While the December bookshots look amazing, I ran out of time last month.  They are all bought and ready to go.

I have been drooling over Everyday Cook for months and finally got it in December thanks to Dirty Santa (yup, stole it from my brother-in-law… sorry, not sorry).  I have gone through it a bit, but need to go more in depth- review to follow this year.

As far as the Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, it just sounds so good, and it was getting some good chatter.

Now for the book I wanted to read, but have yet to buy…. This series is on my radar, but I have heard mixed reviews.    I would have to start at the beginning which means three books instead of one.

burning-pagesLibrarian spies and stolen books.  Do I have that right?  How am I not reading this?  But again, mixed reviews.  Who’s read this?  Worth buying all three?  Or should I wait for the library?  I do love the Goodreads blurb though:

“Think Dr. Who with librarian spies.”

 

 

Have you read any of these?  What’s on your list?

Amber

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday!

toptentuesday2Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog.  I haven’t done one of these in what feels like forever, but I just had to jump on this one.  There have been so many good finds!

So, I give you this week’s prompt: top ten authors that are “new to you” from 2016.

  1. Scott Stambach.  He wrote The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko, and I loved it.   I devoured that book, loving the sarcastic little ass that was our main character.  Born with severe birth defects giving him one arm and a stump (no legs), Ivan has spent his whole life in a hospital in Belarus.  What grabbed me was his intelligence, his wit, his way with an insult, and his personal growth through the story.  I loved this book.
  2. Alexandra Bracken.  She wrote Passenger this year and I loved it (I have already preordered the second book in the series).  A girl finds out that her family are time travelers and there is a whole world of things her mother didn’t tell her- but only after being abducted by her cousin.  I was so enthralled with the character development and the writing style that I immediately went out to find anything else that I could by her.  The Darkest Minds series is also amazing.
  3. Ransom Riggs.  While I have known about this author for some time, I never read the books because I was afraid I would be let down due to all the hype.  I don’t know if I should include him, but I am going to.  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the first book at least, was nothing like what I expected.  It was really unique and well written.  I was pulled into their world immediately.
  4. Ned Hays.  I loved The Eagle Tree with it’s very unique narrative.  Your MC is a young teen with autism.  Hays worked really hard to make him relatable, while never downplaying the character’s affection.
  5. John Corey Whaley.  Highly Illogical Behavior revolves mostly around two characters.  Solomon is agoraphobic- he hasn’t left his house in years- not since the incident in middle school.  Lisa is an overachiever.  She wants into the university with the best phycology department.  To do so she needs a really good paper… what better way than to help the boy she remembers from middle school?  If she can study, and help, Solomon… that would make a great paper.  I loved this book- I laughed and cried with the characters.  I just really loved the writing style here.
  6. Patrick Ness.  I loved A Monster Calls!  It was well written and intriguing with fantastic characters and so much heart.  Creepy in parts and suspenseful, it still allowed for a wide array of emotions.  I really cannot say enough good things about this book!
  7. Lauren Layne.  She wrote The Wedding Belles series.  I just adored these books!  They were funny, sassy, and fast paced with just a dash of sexy.  These were some of my favorite contemporary adult romances of the year.
  8. Paul Brinkley-Rogers.  Please Enjoy Your Happiness is a fantastic memoir that reads like amazing fiction.  19 year old navy man Paul meets an older Japanese woman while serving.  It talks about their friendship, his love for her, and their affair as well as her life and their parting.  I loved this book.  It haunts me still.
  9. Keri Maniscalco.  Stalking Jack the Ripper is a definite favorite of mine for the year.  A young woman helps her uncle in secret with his studies of corpses.  When Leather Apron comes on the scene, Aurey Rose wants to help.  Is she strong enough, though?  It was really intriguing and actually ended in such a way as we could be seeing more of Audrey.
  10. Matthew J. Kirby.  A Taste for Monsters was an amazing book.  I loved the portrayal of Joseph Merrick, The Elephant Man and Evelyn his disfigured nurse.  I hadn’t thought it would be so touching, as the premise is that the spirits of Jack the Ripper’s victims come to them.  I thought it would be suspenseful and a bit creepy… and it was in parts.  Mostly, though, it was sweet and touching.  I loved it.

    Please understand, this is only a fraction of the authors I have found and loved.  To list them all would take far too long.  It has been a wonderful literary year, though.  I started my blog and discovered Netgalley… a whole new world of books came open for me.  I cannot wait to see what 2017 looks like!  (Though I have already preordered three books for January).

    What did you guys find this year?

Amber