T5W – Summer Reads

Hi all! This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is “Books That Remind You of Summer”. Now, I don’t really have a lot of books that remind me particularly of summer itself, but I can think of a few that would be great to read in the summer!

This book actually does take place in the summertime, so let’s start with it. 

Where Things Come Back (John Corey Whaley)

12162432The summer before Cullen’s senior year turns into a season of loss and rediscovery. Just as the town is celebrating the reemergence of a bird thought to be extinct, Cullen’s little brother Gabriel goes missing. — I don’t want to give to much away, so I’ll leave it at that, but this was an interesting book. The secondary story, about a missionary in Africa, gets woven into the tale in such a way that you aren’t sure what’s going to happen until the end. I wasn’t a huge fan of the jumping POVs, but it worked ok within the narrative. I’d recommend this one for people who like a little mystery in their ‘coming of age’ tales.

I seem to be reading a lot of “life journey” type books lately, which meshes well with the idea of summer to me. I’m not sure why, it just feels like summer is a good time to find yourself (or others). 

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper (Phaedra Patrick)

34532251After Arthur’s wife passes away, he finds a charm bracelet in her closet that he didn’t know she owned. Curious about what the charms mean, he goes on a journey of discovery to find out more about his wife’s life before they met. — I really enjoyed this book. The idea was an interesting one: how well do we REALLY know the people we think we know the best? Finding out about Miriam’s life alongside Arthur was fascinating and watching Arthur coming back to life after his wife’s passing was touching.

The Last Voyage of Sigismund Skrik (Karstin Flohr, John Brownjohn translator)

24965065Sigismund Skrik is the “master hairdresser of the seven seas”. Plying his trade on a transatlantic ship called The Liberty, he meets and chats with quite a wide variety of people, from a circus strong woman to a concert pianist…even some monkeys! — This was a quirky little book. The tale of how Sigismund came to be a hairdresser on a ship is interspersed with the backstories for all the characters he meets. I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun, lighthearted read with a nice ending.

Gone Tomorrow (P.F. Kluge)

3409917Upon the death of campus legend George Canaris, fellow professor Mark May becomes his executor. Expectations abound on whether or not he will find the infamous, never-published novel that Canaris has supposedly been working on for decades. Finding a kind of memoir instead, we get to follow along on May’s discovery of Canaris’ life. — This book was really interesting. It follows the life of an author who was expected to be the next coming, but instead spent his life as a college professor. Not a great description, I know, but if you enjoy life-story novels, especially about fellow book people, this one would be a good one to pick up.

And now, for something completely different. This was the first book I stayed up all night to finish, so it always reminds me of summer, not because of its content but because of when I read it first. 😉

The Death & Life of Superman (Roger Stern)

110918This book is the novelization of one of the greatest story arcs in the Superman comics. It runs from the death of Supes at the hand of Doomsday (not a spoiler, it’s right there in the title 😉 ) through the aftermath and the rise of the pseudo-Supermen. — I will admit, I’ve never been a big Superman fan (too much of a boy scout for me; I’m a Batman gal all the way), but the story line and the writing of this novel kept my attention well enough for it to become my first ever binge read! I highly recommend it to fans of comics and especially Superman fans.


What books or types of books shout “summer” to you?

T5W – Judging a Book by its Cover

Crud puppies! I completely forgot to do my T5W yesterday! That’s what happens when you stay home sick on a Monday; it throws your whole week off. 😉

Today’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is Favorite SFF Cover Art! Tough category, but here are a few that really drew me in.

Meddling Kids (Edgar Cantero)

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This book is a kind of horror satire of the 1970’s Scooby Doo and the cover does a great job of capturing the essence of those old cartoons.

Shutter (Courtney Alameda)

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This cover is just creepy. It was what first drew me to the book when I was scrolling around Goodreads and it matches the storyline perfectly.

Leven Thumps and the Eyes of Want (Obert Skye)

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Really the entire series has wonderful covers, but this one is my favorite. It’s just gorgeous!

End Games (T. Michael Martin)

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Another horror, I know, but you have to admit the cover is neat. It has a wonderfully creepy feel and I love how they turned the trees into zombies.

The A.I Gang series (Bruce Coville)

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Ok, yeah, I need to explain this one. No, the artwork isn’t the best. But, you have to admit, 90’s era kid’s book artists really knew how to draw in the reader. All three covers show the main characters right in the midst of action, battling mortal danger. Exactly what you’re looking for when you want an adventure.
Let’s compare that to the 2014 version…
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Seriously? Come on now. Which would YOU have picked up as a kid?


Show me yours! What are some of your favorite covers?!?

T5W – Give Me More!

Hi all! Today’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is: Authors You Want to Read More From.

Here’s my list of authors who I desperately need to read more of, regardless of whether I’ve only read one book or several.

Laini Taylor – Well, if you’ve been reading my blog the last couple of weeks, then you know I have a new obsession, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. This book was just completely wonderful; the characters were all very complex, the plot was extremely interesting, the world building was superb, and the writing in general was just beautiful. I definitely need to give her other books a try!

Neil Gaiman – Always a winner, Neil Gaiman has an amazing talent for world & character building. He manages to make even the most unbelievable stories seem completely believable. I’ve only read a handful of his novels so far; thankfully, though, he’s fairly prolific in the book department, so I can continue reading his work for a long time.

Francis Hardinge – Last year I read my first novel by this author, Cuckoo Song, and it completely amazed me. I decided then and there that I had to get my hands on more of her novels. Thankfully, my tiny library has several of her books, so I was able to snag The Lie Tree as well. I can’t wait to try out more!

Fredrik Backman – I have currently only read one book by this author, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry. It was just fantastic! Apparently a lot of his books contain at least vague references to characters from his other novels, and I loved the characters in this book so much that I’m ecstatic about not having to let them go. I think I’ll read Britt-Marie Was Here next!

Fannie FlaggFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is one of my all-time favorite novels (and movies). I can’t believe I’ve never read any of her other work! I recently found A Redbird Christmas at a rummage sale and received the audio version of The Whole Town’s Talking from a Goodreads’ giveaway, so hopefully I can get more read soon.

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How about you? What authors would you recommend I try?

 

T5W – Gaming Books

Hi all! This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is: Books that would make good video games! I’m going to cheat a bit here and do 5 gaming categories rather than just 5 books…I couldn’t narrow it down, there’s so many good ones!

Fighting Games

10137823The Rithmatist (Brandon Sanderson)
In this game, you fight with your drawing power! The book focuses on warriors who fight each other by drawing intricate chalk figures, which sounds kind of lame on the surface, but when you get into the tactics & strategies needed to bring down your opponent, it could be a really cool game.

Weird West Tales series (Mike Resnick)
What could be more fun than a game set in the Old West, where8253037 you can pick to be real ‘heroes’ but with crazy powers. Fight as Doc Holliday with a lightning gun, make alliances with other gunslingers like Wyatt Earp, protect notable figures like Teddy Roosevelt, and fight magic-wielding Shamans like Geronimo.

Zombie Games

15096164.jpgWayward Pines series (Blake Crouch)
One day, you get into a car accident and wake up in a perfect little town. The only problem…nothing is what it seems. This series would make an awesome mystery/zombie game. You have to find out exactly what happened to you, where you are, what’s up with this weird town, and what are those creatures outside the fence? Keep yourself and as many innocent townspeople alive as you can, while fighting off creatures and crazy doctors alike!

The End Games (T. Michael Martin)
Set in rural West Virginia (USA), you would have to travel difficult13228537 terrain and protect yourself (and your little brother) from the wilds of nature…and zombies…and other survivors. Finding your family won’t be easy, especially when the ‘safe havens’ turn out not to be so safe. On the plus side, if you survive long enough, you might be able to steal a hot air balloon. 😉

Survival Games

18007564The Martian (Andy Weir)
Trying to survive on Mars? Hella difficult. In this game you need to find water, grow food, and keep yourself from going crazy all while trapped inside a temporary shelter ON MARS. All the odds are against your survival. Can you keep yourself alive long enough for rescue?

Bedlam Stories series (Christine King)
As an investigative reporter, Bedlam seems an ideal story on which to25864970 make your name. Unfortunately, this asylum is filled with evil doctors, hidden secrets, and two enraged little girls who can bring to life the creatures from their hallucinations. Can you survive the crazed staff and the warped versions of creatures from the Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland long enough to figure out the mystery?

Quest Games

21416690The Invisible Library (Genevieve Cogman)
You work for the largest library in all the worlds. Your job is to go into alternate universes and save their greatest literary treasures for posterity. Not all worlds are benign. Magic and evil await you on your journey. Go undercover, find the books, and get back to the library alive. (I REALLY want this video game!!!)

NPCs (Drew Hayes)
In a role-playing game turned on it’s head, you play as the NPCs. 22088245Four heroes suddenly die in the local pub. In order to save their town, four locals have to take their place and journey into the depths of a ferocious world. Play on your own or with your friends! Stop the evil king, save the world, and become the hero.

Kids Games

953260The Kingdom Keepers series (Ridley Pearson)
Kids would love fighting alongside their favorite Disney heroes in order to protect the world from their favorite Disney villains! Find the clues and solve the riddles in order to stop Maleficent and her crew from taking over the Magic Kingdom!

The Land of Stories series (Chris Colfer)
You magically find yourself falling into your Grandmother’s 11607446favorite book of fairytales. In order to get home, you need to find the most well-known items from your favorite stories: Cinderella’s glass slipper, a lock of Rapunzel’s fair, Snow White’s apple, and more.

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What books would you love to see turned into video games? 🙂

T5W – SFF To-Reads

I admit it, I am late again. This time, I honestly just forgot to post! Oops! But here it is, the next installment of Top 5 Wednesday!

This week’s topic: SFF books that you can’t wait to read!

While perusing my “TBR” list on Goodreads, I noticed a peculiar trend. Though I was well known in my younger years for being a sci-fi geek, there is an alarmingly small number of sci-fi books in my TBR pile! So this list will mostly be fantasy related…though I definitely intend to head over to the sci-fi genre list on GR to pick out some new tales! 😉

Abarat (Clive Barker)

768878Goodreads DescriptionCandy lives in Chickentown USA: the most boring place in the world, her heart bursting for some clue as to what her future may hold. She is soon to find out: swept out of our world by a giant wave, she finds herself in another place entirely…The Abarat: a vast archipelago where every island is a different hour of the day, from the sunlit wonders of Three in the Afternoon, where dragons roam, to the dark terrors of the island of Midnight, ruled by Christopher Carrion. Candy has a place in this extraordinary world: she has been brought here to help save the Abarat from the dark forces that are stirring at its heart. Forces older than time itself, and more evil than anything Candy has ever encountered.

Why I want to read it: This book was based on a series of paintings (as shown on the cover) that Clive Barker made himself. I really like the idea of a place where each island represents a different hour…though I will admit it sounds a tiny bit like a rip off of Rudolph’s Shiny New Year. 😉 I really like stories that can incorporate multiple worlds. It’s like peeking into the brain of the writer and seeing all of their different ideas at once.

Steelheart (Brandon Sanderson)

20342545Goodreads DescriptionDavid wants Steelheart — one of the Epics said to be invincible, who killed David’s father. For ten years, David has studied and planned for revenge. He wants to join the Reckoners. These rebels assassinate the Epics, super-powered tyrants. He has seen Steelheart bleed.

Why I want to read it: Brandon Sanderson is an amazing writer. I read The Rithmatist a couple years ago, fell in love with his style of writing, and immediately grabbed a copy of this book…and then I put it on a shelf and forgot about it. (Oops.) But I’ve added it into my reading challenge this year! And who doesn’t love a good revenge story, eh?

The Spaceship Next Door (Gene Doucette)

27809678Goodreads DescriptionWhen a spaceship landed in an open field in the quiet mill town of Sorrow Falls, Massachusetts, everyone realized humankind was not alone in the universe. The residents of Sorrow Falls took the news pretty well. This could have been due to a certain local quality of unflappability, or it could have been that in three years, the ship did exactly nothing other than sit quietly in that field, and nobody understood the full extent of this nothing the ship was doing better than the people who lived right next door.

Sixteen-year old Annie Collins is one of the ship’s closest neighbors. Once upon a time she took every last theory about the ship seriously, whether it was advanced by an adult ,or by a peer. Surely one of the theories would be proven true eventually—if not several of them—the very minute the ship decided to do something. Annie is starting to think this will never happen.

One late August morning, a little over three years since the ship landed, Edgar Somerville arrived in town. Ed’s a government operative posing as a journalist, which is obvious to Annie—and pretty much everyone else he meets—almost immediately. He has a lot of questions that need answers, because he thinks everyone is wrong: the ship is doing something, and he needs Annie’s help to figure out what that is. As a matter of fact, Annie Collins might be the most important person on the planet. She just doesn’t know it.

Why I want to read it: Well, that’s a long description. I actually DID condense it a bit, but that’s about as smooshed as I could get it without dropping plotline. 😉 Anyway…doesn’t this one sound good?!? The idea that something so strange and life altering can become so passé that no one even thinks twice about it anymore is an interesting one. Of course, it looks like that will end up NOT being the case, but it’s what first drew me to the book. Now I just want to know what happens. 😉

Anansi Boys (Neil Gaiman)

2744Goodreads DescriptionFat Charlie Nancy’s normal life ended the moment his father dropped dead on a Florida karaoke stage. Charlie didn’t know his dad was a god. And he never knew he had a brother. Now brother Spider’s on his doorstep — about to make Fat Charlie’s life more interesting… and a lot more dangerous.

Why I want to read it: I LOVED American Gods. As a mythology nut, it is one of my most favorite books. It managed to squeeze all the gods I know about (and a few I didn’t know…and a few the author invented…) into a single, action packed book. Neil Gaiman is a superb writer; he managed to human-ize (is that the right term when talking about Gods?) every character and made you actually concerned for their fates. When I found out there was a sequel, I HAD to pick it up. I hope I love it just as much as the original!

Death Watch (Ari Berk)

10637834Goodreads DescriptionOne night, Silas Umber’s father Amos doesn’t come home from work. Devastated, Silas learns that his father was no mere mortician but an Undertaker, charged with bringing The Peace to the dead trapped in the Shadowlands, the states of limbo binding spirits to earth. With Amos gone, Silas and his mother have no choice but to return to Lichport, the crumbling seaside town where Silas was born, and move in with Amos’s brother, Charles.

Even as Silas eagerly explores his father’s town and its many abandoned streets and overgrown cemeteries, he grows increasingly wary of his uncle. There is something not quite right going on in Charles Umber’s ornate, museum-like house—something, Silas is sure, that is connected to his father’s disappearance. When Silas’s search leads him to his father’s old office, he comes across a powerful artifact: the Death Watch, a four hundred year old Hadean clock that allows the owner to see the dead.

Death Watch in hand, Silas begins to unearth Lichport’s secret history—and discovers that he has taken on his father’s mantle as Lichport’s Undertaker. Now, Silas must embark on a dangerous path into the Shadowlands to embrace his destiny and discover the truth about his father—no matter the cost.

Why I want to read it: Sometimes book descriptions intrigue me for no apparent reason. This is one of those descriptions. I know, I know, it sounds identical to a ton of books out there: “Kid loses his parent, gains a weird power, finds out he has to save the world and avenge his father at the same time”; this isn’t even the first book in THIS LIST that has those elements. But there’s just something about this one that makes me want to read it. I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it’s the Death Watch. I want to know what that is!!!

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Well, I hope I gave you a few SFF books you hadn’t heard of that peak your interest!

So how about you? What SFF books are on your plate?

 

T5W – Classics of Tomorrow

Hi all! This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is: Future Classics. I’ll admit, this one was a bit tricky for me, since I generally read books that no one seems to have heard of. 😉 But I’ll take a whack at it!

Since I tend to believe that anything written over 30 years ago will already be considered a ‘classic in the making’ if not a straight up ‘classic’, I’m going to be sticking to books that were written during my lifetime. 🙂

American Gods (Neil Gaiman)

983100This book was AMAZING. I have always been a fan of mythology and this book managed to incorporate pretty much all of it! It even introduced me to a lot of gods & legends that I’d never heard of; pretty impressive considering how long I’ve been reading about them. And I liked the invention of the ‘new’ gods; it’s an interesting look at how societies have changed (and not changed). This one will definitely be a long-lasting book, especially amongst the history & mythology set.

All The Light We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr)

I am only about a third of the way through this book, since I am listening18143977 to it on audio, but I can already tell that it will definitely be one that gets assigned in Literature classes (and maybe even History classes) in the future. The descriptions of WWII from the eyes of both a civilian child and a soldier really give you an inside look at what it must have been like to live during that horrific war. I have a feeling this one is going to change me as a person, as all the best books do.

The Martian (Andy Weir)

18007564This one is definitely going to be a future sci-fi classic. It’s a great introduction to the genre for a non-science person. There is a ton of technical discussion, but even the really tricky bits are written in such a way that a layperson can understand what’s happening. The main character is very humorous and personable, which makes you really eager to find out what happens to him. And the descriptions of Mars are wonderful, especially the bits where the main character runs into real-world things, like the Pathfinder. Great for space geeks and adventure hounds, this one is definitely going to be sticking around.

Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn)

I will be the first to admit, I actually really disliked this book, BUT that19288043 was mainly due to not liking the characters and not because the book itself was bad. The writing in this novel is amazing and the idea behind the plot is intriguing. It kept me interested all the way to the end, even though I couldn’t stand ANY of the people I was reading about. Quite impressive! I can definitely see this as being a future classic in that it seems to have brought about a change in how thrillers are written. Any book that upends its genre deserves to stick around for a while, and considering people are still describing books as “the new Gone Girl”, I have a feeling this one will.

Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling)

Well, this one is kind of a no brainer, but it wouldn’t be a complete list without it. This book series completely changed my childhood, as it did to so many of us. It brought the joy of reading to so many people, children and adults alike; it made it cool to read again. This one isn’t just a future ‘fantasy’ classic, it’s a classic period. The world wouldn’t be quite the same without Harry Potter.

rxPisua

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So what do you guys think? Got any books you would choose as a Future Classic?

T5W – Angsty Romances

Hey all! So this week’s Top 5 Wednesday is coming to you a little late. I admit, this is totally NOT my genre of books, so I had some trouble picking out good ones. There was a LOT of “uh…well?…I wonder if THIS counts?” 😉 So my picks will probably not be the norm for ‘angsty romance’ suggestions, but here goes…

Carry On (Rainbow Rowell)

23734628This book honestly feels like a Harry/Draco AU slash fanfic, which I’m pretty sure is exactly what the author intended. This is a side piece to her novel Fangirl and is supposed to be the final fanfic in a full series that her character in that book (Cath) wrote alongside the publication of HER favorite series, Simon Snow. Being a lover of fanfic & Harry Potter, I REALLY enjoyed this book (and Fangirl). Simon & Baz are an interesting duo and seeing how they come together, past their own inner demons, was quite compelling.

The Grave Artist (Paula Lynn Johnson)

The angst in this is less because of the romance and more because13576640 of supernatural influences, but there IS romance, so I’m going with it. 😉 In this one, the main character Clare starts compulsively drawing winged skulls and then progresses to full blown visions, all of which leads Clare and her new beau to try to solve a 200 year old murder mystery. This was a quick, suspenseful read, that also contains two love stories. Very good little book!

The Princess Diarist (Carrie Fisher)

26025989More diary than romance novel, this one still has a ton of angst. The lovely, iconic Ms Fisher stumbled across some of the notebooks she wrote while filming the first Star Wars movie and decided to share them with the world. In them, preserved for posterity, were all her inner-most, teenagery-angst ridden thoughts of what it was like to start out in show biz and ultimately fall in love/lust with your hunky, much older co-star. I didn’t really know much about Ms. Fisher before listening to this book, so I was pleasantly surprised by her humor and honesty. I would definitely recommend this to her fans.

Wink Poppy Midnight (April Genevieve Tucholke)

This was quite an angsty little book and there was even a love triangle!23203106 (See? I can find romances. 😉 ) This one is hard to describe, so here’s what Goodreads has to say: “Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them.” There’s intrigue and possible murder…and a lot of “why did you do that?” in this one. Good read, but be prepared to get mad at EVERYONE.

The Little Paris Bookshop (Nina George)

23278537Most of this book is more broody over lost love than angsty-anger with current love. The main character in this book goes on a long journey to bring closure to a past love…and ends up rediscovering himself (and finding some new friends) in the process. The pace is slow and introspective, but not boring. I found myself getting quite attached to Monsieur Perdu and his motley crew. This is a sweet book that will leave you with a sense of cozy-happiness.

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Well, I guess that wasn’t too bad. 😉 I hope I found some books that you will enjoy, even if they aren’t QUITE in the ‘angsty romance’ category!