While I’m busy adding words to my NaNoWriMo project, enjoy this Top Ten Tuesday post featuring a list of the ten books I’ve added to my TBR most recently…
- Thick as Thieves (The Queen’s Thief, #5) by Megan Whalen Turner — YAY! We’re getting another book in this fantastic series! But, we’re not getting it until May of next year… in the meantime, I went out and bought the existing books on Kindle so that I can re-read them. It’s been a while, but this is one of my favorite series.
- A Change of Heart by Sonali Dev — I still haven’t read her second book yet (Bollywood Bride), but I loved the first one so much, and the premise for this one sounds like there might be some magical realism involved. I’m intrigued.
- Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman — Neil Gaiman plus any type of mythology is pretty much my catnip. Neil Gaiman plus Norse mythology has me basically just standing here with a fist full of money trying to decide between Kindle and hardcover. At least I have a little time to decide because it doesn’t come out until February…
- Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple — I loved her first book (Where’d You Go Bernadette). So, of course this one immediately went on my TBR list. It sounds like it will be very similar, but that’s okay by me.
- Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children #2) by Seanan McGuire — I have to wait until June for this one… it’s a follow-up to one of my favorite novellas I’ve read this year (Every Heart a Doorway). I am so excited for this book!
- Revenger by Alastair Reynolds — One of my favorite sci-fi authors wrote a sorta, kinda (according to some people) YA sci-fi novel! If that’s supposed to turn me off on this book, it did not work. I think Alastair Reynolds writing YA is a great idea, and I can’t wait to read this one!
- Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, #1) by Kendare Blake — I keep hearing great things about this book, and the premise (three sisters who have to fight to the death to become queen) has me super curious. This one is high on my list for my post-NaNo reading binge.
- A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2) by Becky Chambers — This one is a follow up to A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, but this time we get a deep dive on the AI stuff… this was one area where I felt like the first book fell a bit flat for me. So, I’m interested to see where they go with this… but, I’m thinking I’ll get it from my library instead of buying it.
- Kraken by China Miéville — I can’t even remember anymore where I heard about this book. I think it was on one of the podcasts I listen to… Anyway, myth plus magic plus London plus a giant squid sounded so freaking amazing that I just had to add it to my TBR. I’ve never read anything by him, but I’ve been meaning to for some time now. I’m hoping this is a good place to start.
- The Queen of Blood: Book One of The Queens of Renthia by Sarah Beth Durst — This is another one that I can’t remember how I found out about. I think maybe it was the comparisons to Uprooted and Name of the Wind that got my attention, but the premise sounds just different enough than all the other fantasy I keep seeing over and over again out there, that I added it to my TBR. Something about this book makes me think I might enjoy it more in paperback, but we’ll see.
If you’ve read any of these, or have any thoughts you’d like to share, leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!
When I first saw The Broke and The Bookish‘s prompt for today, I thought there was no way that I would come up with ten books that I enjoyed that didn’t have more than 2,000 reviews on Goodreads. But, guess what! I was wrong.
I sorted my “read” shelf by number of reviews and, of the ones with less than 2k reviews, these are ten of my favorites:
How is it that these books don’t have more Goodreads reviews? Do people just not know about their awesomeness? Well, let me tell you a little about why I liked them and maybe you’ll check out some of these hidden gems for yourself (links take you to my reviews on Goodreads).
- Serpentine by Cindy Pon — To everyone who says that they want more YA fantasy that set in non-Western worlds: you should be reading this book. If you liked the female friendship in Uprooted: you need to read this book. And, if you read it now, you’ll be all set to read the sequel when it comes out in September.
- The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman — This one is YA historical fiction that takes place in San Francisco (and a little bit in China) during the 1920s. It features a girl who pretends to be a boy so she can escape from Angel Island where all the Asian immigrants are being held, waiting to enter the United States. She has to figure out how to survive on her own in the city, once she gets there. She learns to fight and becomes a body guard for some Chinese mafia-types. And she does a bunch of other really cool stuff. I seriously do not understand why more people haven’t read this book.
- Sword by Amy Bai — I’ve talked about this book on my blog before. It’s epic fantasy with really cool world-building and it throws a bunch of tropes on their head. It’s not as flashy as a lot of other YA fantasy I’ve been reading. It’s a little quieter, but there are still battles. It’s more thoughtful and leaves a little more unsaid. But there is still a ton of emotion, a strong female friendship, and a little bit of a romantic sub-plot that’s more about character development than plot development.
- Swim: Why we Love the Water by Lynn Sherr — If you love to swim, even if you don’t compete or like to swim laps, but just love being in and around the water, you must read this book. There’s a bit of interesting history about the pastime and the sport, a bit of personal narrative and stories, and a ton of cool photographs and prints (enough that I recommend getting a paper copy).
- 28 Barbary Lane by Armstead Maupin — You may know this better by the title Tales of the City. This edition is a collection of the first three books in that series. If you’ve never heard of this series, the novels take place in San Francisco in the 1970s and they are excellent. They follow the story of a young woman who moves to San Francisco from the Midwest and the fabulous ensemble of characters she meets and befriends in the old Victorian building she moves into. I highly recommend this.
- The Romantics by Galt Niederhoffer — They made this book into a movie featuring Katie Holmes, but I think the book is better (surprise, surprise). If you’re doing the “Read Harder” challenge, may I suggest that you do this one for the “read a book / watch the movie” task? Definitely check this out if you enjoy unlikeable characters and stories of complicated friendships. Especially check this out if you liked the book Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld.
- The Tricksters by Margaret Mahy — I originally read this because Kirstin Cashore (author of the Graceling series) mentioned that this book was one of the books that inspired her. It’s tense, creepy, the writing is excellent, it takes place in New Zealand, and there is a fabulous supernatural element to the story that will keep you turning pages, wanting to see what happens next. It’s such a good book. If you loved A Wrinkle in Time, or other “old-school” YA, then you should definitely check this one out.
- The Sea Runners by Ivan Doig — This is historical fiction, set along the Pacific Northwest coast (from Alaska to Oregon), in the mid-1800s. The book starts out in an Alaskan work-camp, and quickly becomes an epic canoe trip (based on a real event!). The descriptions are fantastic. The writing is so good. It probably doesn’t have many reviews because it was first published in the 1980s, but if you are looking for a literary fiction page-turner that strongly evokes a place, you should check this out.
- Momentum is Your Friend: The Metal Cowboy and His Pint-Sized Posse Take on America by Joe Kurmaskie — This book is a little like Wild, but if she had kids and took them on a back-roads bike trip across the country instead of the Pacific Crest Trail. It features an adventure loving father hitting mid-life and taking his sons across country on a bicycle tour, proving that kids can survive outside of “hermetically sealed SUVs” and that there can still be adventure and passion after 40.
- Nice to Come Home To by Rebecca Flowers — If what you’re really looking for is a contemporary romance featuring a woman in her mid-thirties and reads like a modern-day Jane Austen rom-com, then you should check out this book. Seriously, if you love realistic, feel-good stories, you need to read this book.
Trying something new this week… I thought I’d give the Top Ten Tuesday writing prompts a go. This week’s topic is: “Ten Reasons I Love X.” Since I just finished watching the season finale of The 100, that was immediately what came to mind when I saw this prompt. So, I give you…
Ten Reasons I Love CW’s The 100 (tv show):
- The writers are consistently and equally cruel to all the characters. — No one likes to see bad things happen to their favorite characters, but good writers know you have to make your characters suffer in order for the really good moments to be emotionally satisfying. What’s great about The 100 is that no character is exempt from this rule. I can’t name one that hasn’t lost someone that they deeply cared about (usually in some horrific way, and sometimes at their own hand due to some awful choice they had to make that had no good solution).
- No character is 100% “good” (or 100% “bad”). — Similar to reason #1, I love it when books, movies, and tv shows can pull off sympathetic characters that are morally all shades of grey. This is one of the reasons why I love Game of Thrones, and I think The 100 does this equally well.
- The languages are fantastic. — I love that the same guy (David Peterson) who did all the languages for Game of Thrones also did all the languages for this show. Every once in a while you catch an almost-English word in the Grounder language and it sounds like something that really could have developed over generations in a post-apocalyptic future which makes it feel really authentic. I heard this guy speak about how he comes up with these languages and he is amazing. Seriously. Check out this video if this is at all interesting to you.
- It’s hard to predict what will happen next. — I love trying to guess plot twists. It’s one of my favorite things to do. But the writers of The 100 do such a great job keeping me guessing, or doing the complete opposite of what I expect will happen, that I’ve pretty much given up trying to figure out where they’re going and I’m just enjoying the ride.
- I wasn’t expecting (and really enjoy) the AI backstory / plot development. — This is a good example of reason #4, above, and it’s probably a spoiler if you haven’t watched past the first two seasons. I had no idea this would be a thing, but it makes so much sense. When they finally did the flashback shows this season and it all came together, I just loved it.
- The adults have a lot to learn from the “kids.” — At nearly every turn the adults seem to find a way to mess things up. The original 100, or at least what’s left of them, worked so hard to put a life together on the ground. Then the adults came down and screwed everything up because they thought they knew better. It’s infuriating, and perfect.
- The Grounders are badass. — Sure, they’re brutal, but that’s how they survived. And did you see Lexa fighting in the season finale? I mean… badass.
- Lexa. — Speaking of my favorite Commander… Lexa is awesome. RIP.
- Clarke. — While part of me wishes I could be as badass and coldhearted as Lexa, deep in my heart I know, in terms of leadership, I’m basically Clarke. I know this just like I know that, because of my tendency to put a premium on loyalty, integrity, and “doing what’s right,” I’d definitely be “House Stark” (and probably ended up like Ned and/or Robb). I can totally relate to Clarke and 9/10 times I’d probably make the same (flawed) decisions that she’s made.
- The diversity! — I know it’s not perfect, but have you seen the diversity on this show? And it’s not a “thing,” it just exists, just like humans exist, in all their colorful and varied forms, abilities, and sexual orientations. Characters aren’t stereotypes. They’re human and multi-dimensional. I don’t really know of another show, or movie for that matter, that’s doing this as well as The 100 does. If you do, let me know. And again I’ll state, they aren’t perfect, but they’re doing a lot of things right and I appreciate that.
I will freely admit that the first season was a little hit or miss, and I don’t really know what exactly kept me watching. I know plenty of people who’ve bailed out and stopped watching it. Probably nothing I say will change their minds. But I’m so glad I stuck with it. This is definitely one of my favorite of all the currently airing tv shows.