Category: top ten tuesday

January 9, 2018

4 Debuts I Meant to Read in 2017

Publisher: Blink

Top Ten Tuesday

2017 was the craziest year. I got married, started a new job, began remodels on our house…and somewhere, in all that noise, reading fell by the wayside. It feels like there is never enough hours in the day, let alone in the year, for me to read all the books I want to finish before that famed ball drops. Even though I missed these seven debuts in 2017, there’s no way I’m letting another year go by before I get my hands on them!

4 Debuts I Meant to Read in 2017Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Shortly after 17-year-old Maren Hamilton is orphaned and sent to live with grandparents she’s never met in Scotland, she receives an encrypted journal from her dead mother that makes her and everyone around her a target. It confirms that her parents were employed by a secret, international organization that’s now intent on recruiting her. As Maren works to unravel the clues left behind by her mother, a murderous madness sweeps through the local population, terrorizing her small town. Maren must decide if she’ll continue her parents’ fight or stay behind to save her friends.

With the help of Gavin, an otherworldly mercenary she’s not supposed to fall in love with, and Graham, a charming aristocrat who is entranced with her, Maren races against the clock and around the country from palatial estates with twisted labyrinths to famous cathedrals with booby-trapped subterranean crypts to stay ahead of the enemy and find a cure. Along the way, she discovers the great truth of love: that laying down your life for another isn’t as hard as watching them sacrifice everything for you.

4 Debuts I Meant to Read in 2017The Truth Beneath the Lies by Amanda Searcy
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Fight or Flight.

All Kayla Asher wants to do is run. Run from the government housing complex she calls home. Run from her unstable mother. Run from a desperate job at No Limit Foods. Run to a better, cleaner, safer life. Every day is one day closer to leaving.

All Betsy Hopewell wants to do is survive. Survive the burner phone hidden under her bed. Survive her new rules. Survive a new school with new classmates. Survive being watched. Every minute grants her another moment of life.

But when fate brings Kayla and Betsy together, only one girl will live.

4 Debuts I Meant to Read in 2017Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

To save her sister’s life, Faris must smuggle magic into a plague-ridden neighboring kingdom in this exciting and dangerous start to a brand-new fantasy duology.

Faris grew up fighting to survive in the slums of Brindaigel while caring for her sister, Cadence. But when Cadence is caught trying to flee the kingdom and is sold into slavery, Faris reluctantly agrees to a lucrative scheme to buy her back, inadvertently binding herself to the power-hungry Princess Bryn, who wants to steal her father’s throne.

Now Faris must smuggle stolen magic into neighboring Avinea to incite its prince to alliance—magic that addicts in the war-torn country can sense in her blood and can steal with a touch. She and Bryn turn to a handsome traveling magician, North, who offers protection from Avinea’s many dangers, but he cannot save Faris from Bryn’s cruelty as she leverages Cadence’s freedom to force Faris to do anything—or kill anyone—she asks. Yet Faris is as fierce as Bryn, and even as she finds herself falling for North, she develops schemes of her own.

With the fate of kingdoms at stake, Faris, Bryn, and North maneuver through a dangerous game of magical and political machinations, where lives can be destroyed—or saved—with only a touch.

4 Debuts I Meant to Read in 2017A Better Man (Sunshine Creek Vineyard, #1) by Candis Terry
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Meet the Kincade brothers: they’ll do what it takes to protect their legacy—but what happens when love gets in the way?

Hockey star Jordan Kincade wasted no time ditching Sunshine Valley and everyone who mattered for a career in the NHL—a truth Jordan confronts when his parents’ deaths bring him home. Now he’s back to make amends, which begins with keeping his younger sister from flunking out of school. It’s just his luck that the one person who can help is the girl whose heart he broke years ago.

Lucy Diamond has racked up a number of monumental mistakes in her life, the first involving a certain blue-eyed charmer. She has no intention of falling for Jordan Kincade again, but when he shows up asking her to help one of her students, Lucy just can’t say no. Worse, the longer he’s back, the more she sees how much he’s changed. And so when a blistering kiss turns to more, she can’t help but wonder if her heart will be crushed again . . . or if she’ll discover true love with a better man.

What books did you miss in 2017?

Posted January 9, 2018 by Ellen in top ten tuesday / 0 Comments
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January 2, 2018

6 New-to-Me Authors I Loved in 2017

Top Ten Tuesday

2017 was a great year, but to say I hit a reading slump is putting it kindly. Despite my laziness, I found some amazing new-to-me authors in 2017 that should be on your TBR!

Jennifer L. Armentrout

Jennifer L. ArmentroutMeet the author:
# 1 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout Lives in West Virginia. All the rumors you heard about her state aren’t true. Well, mostly. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write.

Book I loved: Till Death

 

 

 

 

Lee Child

Lee Child

Meet the author: Lee Child was born October 29th, 1954 in Coventry, England, but spent his formative years in the nearby city of Birmingham. By coincidence he won a scholarship to the same high school that JRR Tolkien had attended. He went to law school in Sheffield, England, and after part-time work in the theater he joined Granada Television in Manchester for what turned out to be an eighteen-year career as a presentation director during British TV’s “golden age.” During his tenure his company made Brideshead Revisited, The Jewel in the Crown, Prime Suspect, and Cracker. But he was fired in 1995 at the age of 40 as a result of corporate restructuring. Always a voracious reader, he decided to see an opportunity where others might have seen a crisis and bought six dollars’ worth of paper and pencils and sat down to write a book, Killing Floor, the first in the Jack Reacher series.

Lee spends his spare time reading, listening to music, and watching the Yankees, Aston Villa, or Marseilles soccer. He is married with a grown-up daughter. He is tall and slim, despite an appalling diet and a refusal to exercise.

Book I loved: Personal

 

Therese Ann Fowler

Meet the author: Therese Anne FowlerTherese Anne Fowler is a contemporary American author. She is best known for Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, published in 2013.

Book I loved: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

Interview about Z with NPR: https://www.npr.org/2013/03/23/174736463/z-tells-the-fitzgeralds-story-from-zeldas-point-of-view

 

 

Tana French

Tana FrenchMeet the author:

Tana French grew up in Ireland, Italy, the US and Malawi, and has lived in Dublin since 1990. She trained as a professional actress at Trinity College, Dublin, and has worked in theater, film and voice-over.

Books I loved: Broken HarbourFaithful PlaceThe Tresspassor

 

 

 

 

Stephanie Garber

Stephanie Garber

Meet the author:

Stephanie Garber grew up in northern California, where she was often compared to Anne Shirley, Jo March, and other fictional characters with wild imaginations and stubborn streaks. When she’s not writing, Stephanie teaches creative writing, and dreams of her next adventure.

Book I loved: Caraval

 

 

 

 

Tricia Levenseller

Tricia Levenseller

Meet the author: Tricia Levenseller writes historical fantasies for young adult readers. Her debut, DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING, released earlier this year from Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers.

Initially from a small town in Oregon, Tricia now lives next to the Rocky Mountains with her bossy dog, Rosy. She received her degree in English Language and editing and is thrilled that she never has to read a textbook again. When she’s not writing or reading, Tricia enjoys putting together jigsaw puzzles, playing volleyball, and watching shows while eating extra-buttered popcorn.

Book I loved: Daughter of the Pirate King

 

 

Posted January 2, 2018 by Ellen in top ten tuesday / 0 Comments
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November 28, 2017

Top 10 Books on My Winter TBR

Top Ten Tuesday

Spring and summer are nice, but fall and winter are prime reading seasons for me. A cup of tea (or glass of wine, depending on what kind of day it’s been), a blanket, and a good book equal heaven to me. Here are the top ten books I’m planning to curl up with this winter:

Top 10 Books on My Winter TBRObsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3) by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they'll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady's cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza's ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha's past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heros will fall, and hearts will be broken.

Add to your TBR!

Top 10 Books on My Winter TBRTower of Dawn (Throne of Glass, #6) by Sarah J. Maas

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent's mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.
But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.

Add to your TBR!

Top 10 Books on My Winter TBRCome Sundown by Nora Roberts

The Bodine ranch and resort in western Montana is a family business, an idyllic spot for vacationers. A little over thirty thousand acres and home to four generations, it’s kept running by Bodine Longbow with the help of a large staff, including new hire Callen Skinner. There was another member of the family once: Bodine’s aunt, Alice, who ran off before Bodine was born. She never returned, and the Longbows don’t talk about her much. The younger ones, who never met her, quietly presume she’s dead. But she isn’t. She is not far away, part of a new family, one she never chose—and her mind has been shattered…

When a bartender leaves the resort late one night, and Bo and Cal discover her battered body in the snow, it’s the first sign that danger lurks in the mountains that surround them. The police suspect Cal, but Bo finds herself trusting him—and turning to him as another woman is murdered and the Longbows are stunned by Alice’s sudden reappearance. The twisted story she has to tell about the past—and the threat that follows in her wake—will test the bonds of this strong family, and thrust Bodine into a darkness she could never have imagined.

Add to your TBR!

Top 10 Books on My Winter TBRWintersong (Wintersong, #1) by S. Jae-Jones

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

Add to your TBR!

Top 10 Books on My Winter TBRShimmer and Burn (Shimmer and Burn, #1) by Mary Taranta

Faris grew up fighting to survive in the slums of Brindaigel while caring for her sister, Cadence. But when Cadence is caught trying to flee the kingdom and is sold into slavery, Faris reluctantly agrees to a lucrative scheme to buy her back, inadvertently binding herself to the power-hungry Princess Bryn, who wants to steal her father’s throne.

Now Faris must smuggle stolen magic into neighboring Avinea to incite its prince to alliance—magic that addicts in the war-torn country can sense in her blood and can steal with a touch. She and Bryn turn to a handsome traveling magician, North, who offers protection from Avinea’s many dangers, but he cannot save Faris from Bryn’s cruelty as she leverages Cadence’s freedom to force Faris to do anything—or kill anyone—she asks. Yet Faris is as fierce as Bryn, and even as she finds herself falling for North, she develops schemes of her own.

With the fate of kingdoms at stake, Faris, Bryn, and North maneuver through a dangerous game of magical and political machinations, where lives can be destroyed—or saved—with only a touch.

Add to your TBR!

Top 10 Books on My Winter TBRThe Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now...

Add to your TBR!

Top 10 Books on My Winter TBRBatman: Nightwalker (DC Icons, #2) by Marie Lu

Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.

One by one, the city's elites are being executed as their mansions' security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family's fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he's forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city's most brutal criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce's only hope.

In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.

Add to your TBR!

Top 10 Books on My Winter TBRUnearthed (Unearthed, #1) by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying's advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.

For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study... as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don't loot everything first. Mia and Jules' different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance.

In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race's secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race...

Add to your TBR!

Top 10 Books on My Winter TBRThe Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?
It's 1969 in New York City's Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

Their prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in '80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

Add to your TBR!

Top 10 Books on My Winter TBRHardcore Twenty-Four by Janet Evanovich
Series: Stephanie Plum,

Trouble comes in bunches for Stephanie Plum. First, professional grave robber and semi-professional loon, Simon Diggery, won’t let her take him in until she agrees to care for his boa constrictor, Ethel. Stephanie’s main qualification for babysitting an extremely large snake is that she owns a stun gun—whether that’s for use on the wandering serpent or the petrified neighbors remains to be seen.

Events take a dark turn when headless bodies start appearing across town. At first, it’s just corpses from a funeral home and the morgue that have had the heads removed. But when a homeless man is murdered and dumped behind a church Stephanie knows that she’s the only one with a prayer of catching this killer.
If all that’s not enough, Diesel’s back in town. The 6-foot-tall, blonde-haired hunk is a man who accepts no limits—that includes locked doors, closed windows and underwear. Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli isn’t pleased at this unexpected arrival nor is Ranger, the high-powered security consultant who has his own plans for Stephanie.

As usual Jersey’s favorite bounty hunter is stuck in the middle with more questions than answers. What’s the deal with Grandma Mazur’s latest online paramour? Who is behind the startling epidemic of mutilated corpses? And is the enigmatic Diesel’s sudden appearance a coincidence or the cause of recent deadly events?

Add to your TBR!

What’s on your winter TBR?

Posted November 28, 2017 by Ellen in top ten tuesday / 0 Comments
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November 21, 2017

Top 10 Books I’m Grateful For

Top Ten Tuesday

It’s that time of year again. No, I don’t mean the time when Starbucks pulls out their new cups or we all tug scarves out of hiding to bundle up against the cooling temperatures. It’s the time of year when you have to tell everyone what you’re grateful for before digging into the Thanksgiving feast.

I remember doing this one year, up at a family member’s house. I didn’t realize we would have to share so when put on the spot, I looked down at my half-filled plate, then gleefully met the host’s eye and told her I was grateful for green beans.

You get what you ask for, I suppose. I got a lot of green beans that night.

We haven’t played that game since (thank goodness), but if we were, I think one of the books below would make it onto my list. Each one has shaped my life in some way, and I couldn’t be more thankful for them.

The Harry Potter series

Why I’m thankful: The ultimate underdog story helped me find courage when I went through a hard time as a child. The rise of the smarty-pants Hermione made me more comfortable in my own skin (and hair – we have the same wild brown mane).

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Why I’m thankful: While this wasn’t the first American lit classic I read, it was the first one I fell in love with. Gatsby opened the doors to so many amazing writers I would never have read otherwise.

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Why I’m thankful: My mom bought me this book, one she had loved, in junior high. At first, I thought it was a homework assignment (this novel is enormous), but as I read it, I started to fall in love with the legend of Arthur and Avalon. It sparked my love of mythology, something we share.

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Why I’m thankful: This novel alone sparked my fascination with Tudor history, which quickly expanded to British history, then world. Without it, I wouldn’t know half of the random Tudor facts I have in my brain (great at parties…?) or be inspired to read more. I’ve read this book so often that pages are falling out.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Why I’m thankful: To say I understood this book my sophomore year of high school would be an outright lie. I followed the story, the surface level narrative of Scout, and grasped the more intricate nature of the book once my (outstanding) English teacher pointed them out. But it wasn’t until years later that I started to grasp the complexity of this straightforward narrative and the story it told. Each time I find something new. So I’m grateful for this book for two reasons: for teaching me simplicity is best and for telling a tale that so desperately needed to be told.

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

Why I’m thankful: Without Much Ado, I’d still think of Shakespeare merely in terms of Hamlet and Othello. The beautiful intricate simplicity (yes, that was intentional) of his comedy and the shameless abandon with which he treats his lovelorn characters caught me instantly, and I’ve never looked back. Years later, this is still my favorite play.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Why I’m thankful: My mom comes up again and again here because she had a significant influence on my early reading. When she bought me Jane Eyre as a young teenager, I thought she was crazy. No way was I going to read this. But I did. And I loved it. While it may be a darker entrance into the British societal novels of the 1800s, it’s complicated romance, dark mysteries, and engaging narrative fascinated me right away.

The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs

Why I’m thankful: I don’t think of Jacobs’ work as nonfiction. Or even memoirs, although I suppose that’s what it is. Instead, it feels like talking with a friend, listening as they recount their latest adventure. The Year of Living Biblically is funny, engaging, and made me think of nonfiction in an entirely new light.

11/22/63

Why I’m thankful: I am a scaredy cat (or as M endearingly calls it, a “wimp”). I hate scary movies, stories, the whole shebang. I checked in street drains for that damn clown for weeks after the It trailer was released. Yes, that was enough to terrify me. But I wanted desperately to read some of King’s work (and still be able to sleep that night), so 11/22/63 seemed perfect. And it was – in more ways than one. King’s narrative is simple but effective. Each word is chosen with such careful clarity that I couldn’t help but admire as I was sucked into the story. Besides the fact he reinvigorated my interest in JFK, King’s 11/22/63 showed me simple is best.

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

Why I’m thankful: I first read The Princess Diaries heading into high school. Mia Thermopolis, with her crazy hair and ability to trip over nothing, felt like a soul sister. Opening Mia’s story was an escape, a little time where even princesses struggled to get through high school.

 

What books are you grateful for this year?

Posted November 21, 2017 by Ellen in top ten tuesday / 1 Comment
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November 14, 2017

10 Books I’d Love to Share with My Future Kids

Top Ten Tuesday

While kids are still a bit off for M and I, I already know exactly what books I want to share with my future kids. From family traditions to new favorites, here are the top ten books I can’t wait to share.

Come to the Doctor, Harry

A longtime family favorite, Come to the Doctor, Harry is a book from my childhood and inspired the name of my parents’ big grey tabby.

Amelia Bedelia

This story of a wacky, disorganized mail was another childhood favorite. This story and its corresponding series I loved throughout grade school. When a girlfriend had a book-themed baby shower earlier this year, we were asked to bring our favorite childhood story. Amelia immediately came to mind.

“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy

One of M’s fondest childhood memories is reading this series aloud with his mom. She even did all the voices! It’s a tradition I would love to carry on.

The “Harry Potter” series

A strong female heroine, powerful underdog story, and a school of magic? You can bet this is on my list.

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret

Judy Blume got me through a lot of pre-teen crises, especially Are You There, God?, so I know it’s a must-read for any child of mine.

The Diary of A Young Girl

While this isn’t an easy read by any means, I feel it’s an extraordinarily important one. I read this in sixth grade and it sparked my interest in history and nonfiction. Either way, this is a book that is necessary for our next generation to read.

Tuck Everlasting

Admittedly, I didn’t love this book at the time, but the older I get, the more I appreciate the lessons hidden in its pages.

The Giver

Another book that I might not have loved as a kid, but appreciate more now.

Jane Eyre

I know, I know – this isn’t exactly a kid’s book. At twelve years old, I read it and fell in love with not only Jane’s story, but the more gothic style writing, romances, and just who was in the attic…

What books are on your list?

Posted November 14, 2017 by Ellen in top ten tuesday / 0 Comments
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October 10, 2017

Top 10 Favorite Fall Book Covers

Top Ten Tuesday

Fall means changing colors, longer nights, and afternoons cuddled up with a book. So it makes perfect sense that my favorite book covers come fall integrate strong jewel tones, heavy contrasts and amazing typography.

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)

One Tiny Lie (Ten Tiny Breaths, #2)

Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places

Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes (Rose Gardner Mystery #1)

Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, #1)

Roses (The Tales Trilogy, #1)

The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, #1)

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2)

The Great Hunt (Eurona Duology, #1)

Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America's Soul

What are your favorite fall book covers?

Posted October 10, 2017 by Ellen in top ten tuesday / 0 Comments
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October 3, 2017

Be Still My Heart | Top 9 Book Boyfriends

Top Ten Tuesday

Finding a good romance, even in a book outside the romance genre, is like finding the long-lost hidden treasure. It makes a bad day good, and a good day better. If the novel has a great love story, I’ll return to it again and again. Here are the top nine romances that make me always come back for more!

the classic

Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice

For me, the ultimate. I could never resist the brooding Darcy, a man who wears his poker face like a badge of honor. His confession of love to Eliza was the standard for me throughout my Jane Austen years (sorry, high school boyfriends).

the swashbuckling scot

Jamie Fraser of Outlander

Who could resist a kind heart, stubborn nature and chivalrous streak? Add in a Scottish burr? Not this girl. Outlander is still my go-to travel book to this day.

the king of the business world

Roarke of the “In Death” series

Charming, confident and willing to go to the ends of the earth for Eve, this list would have been incomplete without Robb’s futuristic business master/expert criminal consultant

the bad boy

Nick of Illuminae

Let’s be honest: if your heart didn’t do a little pitter patter when teenage mobster Nick brought the corsage on board for formerly selfish station commander’s daughter Hannah, there’s something wrong with it.

the mystical

Rowan Whitethorne of “Throne of Glass” series

Really? Do I have to say more? (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you need to read this book).

the mystical pt 2

Rhysand of “A Court of War and Roses” trilogy

See above (and this book).

the detective

Cormoran Strike of The Cuckoo’s Calling

Alright, bear with me. He might not be the ideal romantic hero, but the underdog nature of this down-on-his-luck detective makes you want to cheer for him…and possibly tidy up that office of his.

the futuristic

Prince Kai of Cinder

While all of the romantic heroes of Meyer’s futuristic fairy tale retellings have a special place in my heart, Kai’s yearning to do good in the world conflicts with his role in life, which is just irresistible.

the contemporary

Heath Champion of Match Me If You Can

The epitome of the male contemporary romance hero, Heath Champion is devoted to his work, his clients and…well, that’s it. It’s when he starts to realize there’s more to life than work that this formidable sports agent becomes one of my favorite book boyfriends.

Posted October 3, 2017 by Ellen in top ten tuesday / 1 Comment
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March 21, 2017

Unputdownable! Top 10 Books I Read in One Sitting

Top Ten Tuesday

In the bookish world, there are good books, and then there are GOOD books. The difference? The GOOD books suck you in, dig their claws in, and force you to hang on for the ride.

While that’s not the most pleasant image in the world, most will agree it’s fairly accurate. Here are the top ten books that grabbed me from page one and just wouldn’t let go.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

I read this book in seven hours. From the moment it was dropped on the doorstep to when I turned the final page on Rowling’s work, I didn’t move. This is the only book I know the read time for and one I’ve read again and again.

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner

Space opera meets Romeo and Juliet? Yes, please. Kaufman and Spooner’s unique take on a standard love story blew me away.

Kiss of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning

Perfect for those longing for an Outlander fix, Moning’s first Highlander book is a fabulous mix of sexual tension, beautiful atmospheres, and time-traveling Scottish warriors.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

YA romcoms, meet your match in Rowell’s simply stunning tale of two teenagers, both from uniquely different worlds, who find a genuine meaning of love and friendship in each other. Just thinking about it makes me *sigh.*

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

Need a little silly? Janet Evanovich’s introduction to the goofy, trouble-attracting bounty hunter Stephanie Plum hits the spot. Bonus: It’s short enough to read on your next flight.

Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

If you haven’t already met Phillips, her Kiss An Angel is an excellent introduction to the queen of relatable romantic comedy, chockful of funny characters, detailed plots, and lots of laughs. This circus-based romance is no different.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Think of Hal fondly, but long for an updated version of the story? Add in some YA romance, unique storytelling, and a thrilling plot, and you’ve got what might be my new favorite author pair. Also included: Gemina

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

An uncertain young girl caught between the forces of time and the family who rules it, Passenger is a must read for any time travel, Outlander, or YA fantasy lover.

The Obsession by Nora Roberts

True crime lovers, unite! Okay, so this book isn’t a true crime, but the investigative look at how the crime affects the criminal’s family is purely fascinating. The atmospheric small town setting and the spunky heroine are just a bonus.

Tailored for Trouble by Mimi Jean Palmfiloff

What happens when a hardworking girl whose business is falling apart has to rely on the one man she swore she’d never depend on? Trouble.

Posted March 21, 2017 by Ellen in top ten tuesday / 2 Comments
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January 3, 2017

Top 9 2017 Debuts

Top 9 2017 Debuts

Can you believe 2017 is already here? It’s hard to believe that only a month ago, we were completing our 2016 book surveys and buying Christmas gifts!

If you’re behind (like me), don’t worry. Add these top 2017 book debuts to your TBR today to make sure you’re on top of the great new books coming out this year!

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Caraval (Caraval, #1)Welcome to Caraval, where nothing is quite what it seems.

Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.

Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.

When the sisters’ long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show’s mastermind organiser, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Pitched as the never-before-told origin story of the sea witch from Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” told in the vein of Wicked – from the villainess’s point of view

Black Rose by Bree Barton

Bree Barton’s BLACK ROSE trilogy, pitched as Graceling meets Pride and Prejudice, about a girl who, on the eve of her marriage to a prince, discovers she has dark, forbidden magic, magic that her powerful family’s sole purpose was to destroy.

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

WintersongBeware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

Song of the CurrentCaroline Oresteia has always been destined for the river. Her father is a wherryman, as was her grandmother. All Caro needs is for the river god to whisper her name, and her fate is sealed. But at seventeen, Caro may be too late.

So when pirates burn ships and her father is arrested, Caro volunteers to transport a dangerous cargo in exchange for his release. Secretly, Caro hopes that by piloting her own wherry, the river god will finally speak her name.

But when the cargo becomes more than Caro expected, she finds herself caught in a web of politics and lies. With much more than her father’s life at stake, Caro must choose between the future she knows, and the one she never could have imagined.

This immersive fantasy debut set along the waterways of a magical world will entrance fans of Sabaa Tahir and Victoria Aveyard. Sarah Tolcser weaves an epic story of danger and destiny with enchanting world-building and captivating characters.

Heartstone by Elle Katherine White

HeartstoneThey say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and Merybourne Manor has plenty of monsters.

Passionate, headstrong Aliza Bentaine knows this all too well; she’s already lost one sister to the invading gryphons. So when Lord Merybourne hires a band of Riders to hunt down the horde, Aliza is relieved her home will soon be safe again.

Her relief is short-lived. With the arrival of the haughty and handsome dragonrider, Alastair Daired, Aliza expects a battle; what she doesn’t expect is a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipate the mystery that follows them from Merybourne Manor, its roots running deep as the foundations of the kingdom itself, where something old and dreadful slumbers . . . something far more sinister than gryphons.

It’s a war Aliza is ill-prepared to wage, on a battlefield she’s never known before: one spanning kingdoms, class lines, and the curious nature of her own heart.

Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta

Shimmer and BurnTo save her sister’s life, Faris must smuggle magic into a plague-ridden neighboring kingdom in this exciting and dangerous start to a brand-new fantasy duology.

Faris grew up fighting to survive in the slums of Brindaigel while caring for her sister, Cadence. But when Cadence is caught trying to flee the kingdom and is sold into slavery, Faris reluctantly agrees to a lucrative scheme to buy her back, inadvertently binding herself to the power-hungry Princess Bryn, who wants to steal her father’s throne.

Now Faris must smuggle stolen magic into neighboring Avinea to incite its prince to alliance—magic that addicts in the war-torn country can sense in her blood and can steal with a touch. She and Bryn turn to a handsome traveling magician, North, who offers protection from Avinea’s many dangers, but he cannot save Faris from Bryn’s cruelty as she leverages Cadence’s freedom to force Faris to do anything—or kill anyone—she asks. Yet Faris is as fierce as Bryn, and even as she finds herself falling for North, she develops schemes of her own.

With the fate of kingdoms at stake, Faris, Bryn, and North maneuver through a dangerous game of magical and political machinations, where lives can be destroyed—or saved—with only a touch.

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Daughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King, #1)Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is a reimagining of the evil queen from Snow White based on Asian folklore and mythology. In order to become Empress of Feng Lu, Xifeng must unleash a jealous god on the world and set free the viciousness of her own soul.

What debuts are on your must read list for this year? Share in the comments below!

Posted January 3, 2017 by Ellen in top ten tuesday / 0 Comments
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November 8, 2016

This Just In! 9 New Books on my TBR

Top Ten Tuesday

I love fall. Sure, the caramel lattes are fabulous, the scenery stunning, and the ability to wear leggings 24/7 are major winners in my book. But the best thing about fall? The great new book releases!

Here are the latest nine books I’ve added to my TBR. Some are old stories, some are new books. What are you adding to your queue? Let me know below!
Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons (Rose Gardner Mystery, #2)Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons by Denise Grover Swank

After falling head over heels for Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes, I can’t wait to get my hands on the next Rose Gardner mystery (and learn the truth about Joe’s identity)!

 

 

 

 

Beauty and the Billionaire (Billionaire Boys Club, #2)

 

Beauty and the Billionaire by Jessica Clare

A twist on Beauty and the Beast as a part of Clare’s Billionaire Boys Club series? Yes please!

 

 

 

Satisfaction (Lawless, #2)

 

Satisfaction by Lexi Blake

Contemporary romance at its best. I fell in love with Blake’s Ruthless (review coming soon!) and I can’t wait to get my hands on her next installment!

 

 

 

The Swans of Fifth Avenue

The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin

Loved Benjamin’s past work, so when I found The Swans on the GoodReads Best Book of the Year nominations? I’m in!

 

 

 

The North Water

 

The North Water by Ian McGuire

I admit it – a novel aboard a whaling ship is way out of my league. But the mystery just looks so intriguing…

 

 

 

The Moon in the Palace (Empress of Bright Moon, #1)

 

The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel

Another GoodReads find, this book also is outside of my comfort zone. Which is exactly why I want to read it.

 

 

A Gentleman in Moscow

 

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Found on theSkimm one Friday, and after reading the blurb, I can’t wait to dive into Towles’ 1922 Moscow.

 

 

The Thirteenth Tale

 

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

This book has just moved back to my TBR after an unsuccessful read attempt. It has such good reviews, I feel like I need to try it again…

 

 

The Friend Zone (Game On, #2)

 

The Friend Zone by Kristin Callihan

My new favorite contemporary sports author? Yes, please.

 

 

 

 

Posted November 8, 2016 by Ellen in top ten tuesday / 0 Comments
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