Top Ten Tuesday: What I’m Thankful For

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Thanksgiving is very much an American (and Canadian!) holiday, but the entire concept of being thankful, and spending the day with family, friends, and good food, is something we can all relate to.

I’m thankful for a lot this year. Mostly, I’m thankful that I’ll be moving home, after years overseas, next month.

But keeping with the blog theme, here are a few bookish things that I’m thankful for this November (in no particular order):

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books on the Screen in 2016 (and beyond)

top-ten-tuesday-textThis weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

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Love ’em or hate ’em, but Hollywood is really loving book adaptations right now. And it’s not just the silver screen that’s getting the literary treatment; Game of Thrones is one of the most-watched shows in the world, and The Magicians and Shadowhunters are coming to cable very soon.

Here are ten book adaptations that I can’t wait to see (in no particular order):

The Magicians (TV: SyFy), based on the books by Lev Grossman

The college version of Harry Potter, only Grossman pulls no punches. This is a world of sexuality, violence, and the horrible realization that childhood dreams aren’t all that they’re cracked up to be. The show has aged the characters from undergrad to graduate school (for logistic reasons, as the books cover several years after graduating), but the characters look stunning!

The Scorpio Races (Movie), based on the book by Maggie Stiefvater

I am an unapologetic Stievater nut. So the upcoming adaptation of her YA fantasy novel is pretty high on my list of MUST SEES! There’s no official release date yet, but I’ll definitely be at the midnight showing.

Suicide Squad (Movie), based on the DC comics

I’m not a huge DC fan, but this movie looks amaaaaaazing, and I’ve heard great things about the comics that its based off of.

Deadpool (Movie), based on the Marvel comics

But I am a huge Marvel fan, so let me ramble for a second about Deadpool. It’s going to be violent. It’s going to be filthy. It’s going to make you want to touch yourself. Probably. And they’re sticking to the comics in a big way… the director just emphasized in an interview that Deadpool will be played as pansexual!

American Gods (TV: Starz), based on the book by Neil Gaiman

There’s not a lot of information available yet about this series, but we know that it’s being directed by Bryan Fuller of Hannibal and Pushing Daisies fame, and Gaiman is writing the script. They’ve spoken about being true to character descriptions, too, so I have very high hopes for this show!

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Movie), based on the book by Ransom Riggs

We still have 13 months until this movie hits the big screen, but with an all-star cast (Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Green, and more), and an amazing text to pull from, I’m really excited for what I hope will be an eerie, gorgeous movie. AND IT’S TIM BURTON DIRECTING OMG!

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Movie), based on the book by J.K. Rowling

I know, you’re wondering why this wasn’t the VERY FIRST THING on my list. Two reasons: one, thinking about it too hard makes me want to cry because I WANT IT NOOOOOOOW, and two, I’m still freaking out about seeing the Cursed Child stage play in London next July.

But OH MY GOD, IT’S BEAUTIFUL. 1920s, magical creatures, and Eddie Redmayne? Oh gods yes.

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The B.F.G. (Movie), based on the book by Roald Dahl

I literally just heard about this the other day, and quietly freaked out. There’s next to no information available for it, other than a summer 2016 release date and the fact that Jemaine Clement (from Flight of the Conchords!!!) will be in it.

I’m just going to hold my breath here until next summer. (PLEASE DON’T RUIN IT. PLEASE DON’T RUIN IT!)

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair (Movie), based on the book by C.S. Lewis

IS THIS A RUMOR? I have no idea. I can’t find ANYTHING about it, other than an IMDB page, but I’m including it because I really love the first three Narnia movies. I have them all on DVD, and watch them when I need a comfort film. In fact, my collection of the books is one of my most prized possessions (a hard-to-find edition given to me in bits and pieces by family members as they found books from the set in used bookstores over several years).

Shadowhunters (TV), based on the books by Cassandra Claire

While I personally am not anticipating this series, I know that a lot of people are. It starts up soon, and I’ve seen a lot of promo for it:


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What TV and movie adaptations are you looking forward to?

Top Ten Tuesday: Waiting on Book Number Two

top-ten-tuesday-textThis weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday features authors who write an amazing first book… and now we’re just waiting for Book #2 to come along!

And please drop me a comment with a link to your Debut Authors list, and let me know what authors you’re looking forward to seeing something new from!

1 through 3

Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

This is without a doubt one of my favorite novels of all time. No sign of a second novel just yet, but I keep hoping!

Renée Ahdieh, The Wrath and the Dawn

A stunning debut novel, thankfully we don’t have to wait too long for Ahdieh’s second novel! The Rose and the Dagger is due out on May 3, 2016!

Roan Parrish, In the Middle of Somewhere (My Review: ★★★½)

A new author in the M/M genre, her first novel definitely caught my attention, and she wrote a short story in the Lead Me Into Darkness anthology that just came out!

4 through 6

Noelle Stevenson, Nimona

Noelle has been writing for a few TV shows, as well as the immensely fabulous Lumberjanes comic, but I think she’s at her best when she writes and illustrates. Hopefully we’ll see another series from her solo soon!

Alex Gino, George (My Review: ★★★★★)

Alex really caught my attention with their debut novel, about a transgender middle school child. I hope they’ll write more books about LGBT+ for children soon, because it’s a niche that desperately needs to be filled!

Becky Albertalli, Simon and the Homo Sapiens Agenda (My Review: ★★★★★)

I haven’t seen any news about a second book from Becky, but Fox 2000 just acquired the rights to the movie! AHHHHHH!!!!!!

7 through 10

Andy Weir, The Martian

Okay, it’s been made into a hilarious and brilliant movie with Matt Damon, so…. where’s the next book from the incredibly talented Mr. Weir? Rumor has it that Zhek will be published sometime in 2016…

Lori A. Witt,The Tide of War (My Review: ★★★★

Okay, this is definitely cheating if you know the M/M genre at all… because Witt-Gallagher writes a ton of amazing books under four separate pen names. Lori A. Witt is the science fiction arm of the mastermind, but I absolutely adored her debut scifi novel, and can’t wait for more under this pen name!

Nicola Yoon, Everything, Everything (My Review: ★★★★★)

This book shows what it means to truly live, as opposed to just being alive, and I loved her unique voice and quirky characters. I hope Nicola’s next novel has the same great combination of text and art!

Caitlyn McFarland, Dragonsworn (My Reviews: ★★★★★★★★)

Yes, definitely cheating now… because Caitlyn’s second novel came out in September, and the third book in her Dragonsworn trilogy releases in December. But with three book published in six months, I think she still counts as “debut”, right?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Read in the Dead of Night! (Creepy Halloween Edition)

top-ten-halloween-bannerAs always, this weekly meme is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!
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I’m a HUGE WUSS, I’ll be the first to admit it. Reading a horror novel leaves me curled up in bed with the lights on, unable to sleep. But I love a good, creepy novel that sends chills down your spine!

Here are ten books to read to get you in the Halloween spirit!

1. House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski

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Probably one of the most terrifying books I’ve ever read. It’s a story within a story within a story (confused yet?) set in a house that’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. But this isn’t a TARDIS; there’s something more sinister and mysterious at work. And it uses typography to convey both motion and emotion (like in the image above).

Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story — of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.

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2. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs

More eerie than outright scary, this book comes complete with photos that vary between weird and nightmarish. The way the story is told means the mystery unfolds piece by piece, which I really love. I haven’t read the sequel yet, though!

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And it’s being turned into a movie by the King of Creepy himself, Tim Burton!

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3. Josh of the Damned series by Andrea Speed

Josh knew the night shift at the Quik-Mart would be full of freaks and geeks—and that was before the hell portal opened in the parking lot.

Definitely not creepy, but still really gloriously brilliant and absolutely hilarious! This is my kind of horror, where zombies shuffle into the gas station store to buy frozen burritos and werewolves are like mangy rats in the parking lot. You can read my five-star review of the series here!

speed(Buy from Riptide Publishing)

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4. Salem’s Lot, by Stephen King

I thought about putting It on this list instead, because evil clowns are definitely horrifying, but I’ve never actually read it (because, seriously, evil clowns! Enough said). So this is the scariest Stephen King novel I’ve ever read, and I don’t think you can have a list of scary novels without having the King of Horror on your list. Plus, it has creeptastic vampires!

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5. Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice

Speaking of vampires, this book gave me ALL OF THE NIGHTMARES when I first read it at age 13. The novel itself isn’t horrifying, but the entire plot with Claudia freaked me out. The idea of a doll-like little girl who basically goes insane? Yeah… *shivers*

Anne Rice wrote vampires before they sparkled, and Lestat will always be one of my favorites!

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6. The Whyborne & Griffin series, by Jordan L. Hawk

I’m recommending the entire series because I can’t pick out just one scene, or one book, that qualifies as “creepy”… instead, it’s the general vibe of the entire story! Whyborne and Griffin battle monsters, gods from the deep, and evil warlocks while trying to defend their town. Here’s our heroes’ first encounter with a monster, from Widdershins (Book One):

The beam of my lantern revealed a thing for which I had no words.

My mind flailed, trying and failing to make sense of what filled the doorway in front of me. It had four limbs, more or less, a shape which overall suggested some perversion of humanity. But its naked body was horribly misshapen, the limbs of uneven length, the joints distorted. Thick, coarse skin covered it for the most part, but certain protuberances sprouted scales, and something horribly like human teeth jutted out of an elbow.

Its head was worse, however. Thanks to Christine, I’d spent many an hour bent over the art of ancient Egypt and its animal-headed gods. Those gods had a strange nobility and completeness to them. This thing seemed a mockery of the ancient deities. Its misshapen skull retained traces of humanity, but was hideously flattened and distended into an unmistakably crocodilian form.

Beady eyes fixed on me: blue irises punctured by reptilian pupils. Its jaws opened, the gape huge and lined with savage teeth, and it let loose a howl like something from the lowest pit of Tartarus.

I couldn’t move, couldn’t scream, couldn’t do anything but stare. Had I been alone, it would surely have ripped me to shreds.

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7. Coraline, by Neil Gaiman

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Neil Gaiman is a master of creepy. What makes this even more horrifying is that it’s a childrens’ book. I was actually just talking about this with Vane at Books With Chemistry (go check out her review!), and about how this book is way creepier to read as an adult than it was when I was a teenager.

The incredibly talented Dave McKean did the illustrations for the book (I have SO MUCH of his art, he’s ridiculously good!), but the movie did a pretty amazing job!

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8. The PsyCop series, by Jordan Castillo Price

Once upon a time if you told doctors you heard voices, they’d diagnose you as schizophrenic, put you on heavy drugs, and lock you away in a cozy state institution to keep you from hurting yourself or others.

Nowadays they test you first to see if you’re psychic.

Victor Bayne is a psychic cop (hence PsyCop!) who sees dead people. And not just ghosts, either, but full-on, technicolor, graphically dead walking spirits. He teams up (both in the field and in bed) with a non-psychic named Jacob to solve murders by interviewing the dead spirits… when they’re willing to cooperate, that is.

You know there’s some Grade A level creepiness when even the psychic who sees dead people on a daily basis gets freaked out!

“Victor, back there in that basement, when the zombies were… were… moving around on those tables…. Twitching? And dead? You didn’t even blink.”

“This is nothing like those zombies.”

“No shit. Because this time, you’re scared—beyond scared. You’re terrified. And whatever’s got you scared? I don’t want any part of it.”

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9. The Gashlycrumb Tinies, by Edward Gorey

The most horrifying alphabet book ever written. This isn’t for teaching your toddlers their A, B, C’s…

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Gorey’s art is eerie and, yes, gory. But look, it even rhymes! Adorable, right?!

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10. The Tell-Tale Heart, by Edgar Allan Poe

Everything he writes is brilliant and creepy, and he’s inspired dozens of mystery and horror novels. This is one of the opening paragraphs from The Tell-Tale Heart, one of my favorites:

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture –a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees — very gradually –I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.

Poe was one creepy, creepy guy. Stories about burying people alive, about insanity, and about guilt… definitely the stuff of nightmares! Even his death is a creepy mystery!

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What are you reading this Halloween?

Top Ten Tuesday: Wishes from the Book Genie

genie-top-ten-headerAs always, this weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

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I’m walking down the road, and a lamp falls out of the sky. No, seriously, an honest-to-god lamp. Like, tarnished, gold, looks pretty old. No idea where it came from, but I’m just glad it didn’t hit me on the head.

And hey, beneath that tarnish it’s not all that ugly. Maybe if I just give it a good scrub with my sleeve, I can get a few bucks for it at the pawn shop. Let’s see now…

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What the heck is this? A genie? Wait a second, I know this story. I mean, I read a ton of books, surely you don’t think I’ve read some with genies in them? So alright then, Mr. Genie, I get a few wishes, right?

Wait, ten wishes? I get ten wishes? Oh man. *rubs hands together* Alright, Genie, let’s get to wishin’!

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1. I wish for… more good book-to-screen adaptations! I love seeing my favorite stories come to life, and there are some very promising upcoming adaptations, like Lev Grossman’s The Magicians (SyFy, early 2016) and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (2016).

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2. Dear Genie, please bring me… The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater. NOW! Please?

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3. And while you’re at #2, Genie… can I have the sequel to Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo? Pretty please?

4. Genie, I wish… for more ace and trans romance novels. There are so few of them out there, and I would love some new ones! I just saw that L.A. Witt is writing an asexual romance, though!

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5. I wish, I wish, to… win a shopping spree in a bookstore. Seriously, gimme a blank check and a few hours in a bookstore, and I will be the happiest person in the world. Or, hey, maybe a lotto win? SO I CAN BUY MORE BOOKS, OF COURSE!

6. Wishing upon a magic lantern for… a few of my Dream Author Teams to collaborate on books?

7. I wish that… American book covers weren’t so ugly compared to overseas book covers. Yeah, this comes out of left field, but it’s SO TRUE! I mean, just look at the US vs UK cover for Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (published in the US as Midnight Riot for some ungodly reason):

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8. I wish, oh great Genie, for… eBooks that aren’t ridiculously over-priced. Why would I pay $15 for an eBook when the hardcover is only $17? (Yes, Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith, I’m looking at you!)

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9. I wish that… authors were treated with the same level of awe and fame as football players. I mean, one of these professions transports you to another world, and the other involves a bunch of sweaty dudes in spandex throwing balls around. (Also, let’s throw teachers in with the authors on this wish, if you don’t mind!)

10. For my last wish, Genie… I wish you were free! Oh, wait, you already are? Well, okay then, I wish for the simple pleasure of a good book, warm blankets, tasty snacks, and the sound of rain on my window.

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Top Ten Tuesday: My Dream Author Teams!

top-ten-tuesday-textAs always, this weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Batman has his Robin, and the Avengers work better together than apart. Since authors are basically superheroes in my mind, it makes sense for them to team up for a book (or two), right? I mean, you have Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett combining literary forces to write Good Omens, and John Green and David Levithan co-wrote Will Grayson, Will Grayson. In fact, a quick glance at my bookshelf shows a handful of co-written novels, including Illuminae (which I just reviewed yesterday).

Since co-writing novels seems to be “the thing” to do these days, here are five teams of authors that I’d love to see team up!

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1. Maggie Stiefvater and John Green

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Obviously they have a healthy rivalry on the race track, but Stiefvater and Green also have the young adult world wrapped around their little fingers. Apart, the authors of The Raven Cycle quartet and The Fault in Our Stars (respectively) are wildly popular. Together? Well, I’m pretty sure there would be a shortage of tissues world-wide, to say the very least!

I want a book with Stiefvater’s magical realism and Green’s crushing realism. I want a book with emotions that will feel like a punch in the chest, characters that are witty and sarcastic, and a thread of fantasy twisting down the center. If their powers combined, the YA genre wouldn’t know what hit it!

2. Anne Rice and Stephen King

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Yes, it’s obvious. But they’re two of the biggest names in horror. And I’m not talking the new horror, that’s sole purpose is to freak you out with sudden revelations and gruesome images. Rice and King are masters at the slow-build horror, the creeping chill that runs its icy fingers up your spine late at night.

King has plenty of experience dabbling in the paranormal horror genre, so I’d love to see a book from the two of them with mythical creatures. Like, Supernatural if it were actually scary!

3. Garrett Leigh and Heidi Cullinan

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In the M/M romance genre, there are no authors that I trust more than Leigh and Cullinan when it comes to writing beautiful, realistic characters. Leigh’s Misfits is at the top of my recommendations list, and Cullinan’s Love Lessons series is RITA nominated and achingly perfect.

If these authors paired up to write a novel, I hope it would be as poignant and heart-breaking as everything else they’ve written, with characters who leap off the pages and romances that are as close to perfect as any I’ve ever read.

4. Anna Zabo and A.J. Rose

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Two of the most amazing BDSM authors in the M/M genre, Zabo and Rose are both on my to-re-read list. Zabo wrote Takeover and Just Business (one of my favorite books of the year so far!), about the power dynamics in the boardroom and the bedroom. Rose wrote the Power Exchange trilogy, about a cop investigating a series of BDSM-related murders who finds himself attracted to the lifestyle.

If these two authors paired up, I would be camping out to buy their books. They both write excellent, realistic BDSM romances. The power exchanges are gorgeous, the characters are interesting, and the books themselves are a blast to read over and over!

5. Neil Gaiman and Anyone

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Is this cheating? Meh, I don’t care! Neil Gaiman is a phenomenal and incredibly versatile author. He writes short stories that make you laugh, children’s books that inspire, and novels that have you gasping for breath. While most of his previous collaborations are with artists (particularly Dave McKean, who is brilliant!), he’s teamed up with a few authors in the past.

Gaiman has a really unique voice, and I think that could be combined with several authors with amazing results. Imagine him writing a historical magic novel with Susanna Clarke or Zen Cho, or an urban fantasy with Maggie Stiefvater? I’d even love to see a collaboration between him and his wife, Amanda Palmer. YES PLEASE!


Who are your dream team authors?

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Top Ten Tuesday: “I wish I knew how to quit you…” — or, Ten Bad Book Habits

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This weekly meme is hosted by Broke and Bookish.

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We all have them. Bad book habits. Maybe you lick your finger before turning a page (ew, germs!), or fold a corner down to mark your spot. Or perhaps you have the unfortunate habit of starting books and never finishing them. Today’s Top Ten topic is all about the bookish things that you want to quit. So without further ado…

Here are the ten book habits that I wish I could quit.

1. Joining book clubs

It sounds like a great idea: You get to meet up with other book nerds once a month, you sit around and talk about books for a few hours, coffee is consumed, and horizons are broadened. But I have the consistently bad luck of joining awful book clubs. Either the books they choose are boring (let’s read Anna Karenina because Oprah said to!) or there are hour-long debates because no one can decide what to read next. And, let’s be honest, there’s always that one guy (or girl!) who likes to hear the sound of their own voice a bit too much. Yawn!

2. Starting series halfway through

I’m impatient. When I see a new book that I desperately want to read, I don’t want to go back and read the first two books in the series… I just want to dive right in! Sometimes this works out, especially in series that are set up specifically for this purpose (serial mysteries, for example). But most of the time I end up missing out on important key events from previous books, so I don’t enjoy the book as much as I could.

3. Not finishing a series

I’m a serial book dater. I pick up a book, start reading it, and then move on to the next one without looking back. Remember the part about how I’m impatient? Waiting for the next book in a series is like torture. There are so many other great books to read! Why would I wait around a year or more?

4. Following the “cool kids”

You know that one popular blogger who pops up over and over again? The one with the ~amazing posts that get a billion likes? They just posted about the newest release, and I’m immediately drawn to it. “If this very popular blogger loves it, I probably will too!” I think. NOPE. I keep falling into this trap, but I feel like I rarely love books that are wildly popular, or that are recommended by big name bloggers.

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5. Reading books before seeing the movie

I have this rule, where I try not to see book-to-movie adaptations unless I’ve read the book first. It’s why I won’t see The Martian yet. But the movie rarely lives up to the book, and actually tends to ruins the book for me. I form mental images in my head of what characters and settings look like, and those images don’t match up to Hollywood’s concepts. (I can’t re-read The Hobbit anymore without picturing movie-version-Thorin… which does not at all match the book description!)

I just need to choose. Book or movie. Not both.

6. Buying books without reading the sample chapter

Especially when I find a new author on Amazon with an interesting book summary. I actually had to return a book that I’d purchased last month, because the writing was so terrible that I couldn’t make it past Page 20… but the blurb seemed so promising! Dear self: read the stinkin’ sample chapter!

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7. Hesitating on hitting the “buy” button

Most indie ebooks cost between $2 and $6 (and most big-publisher ones cost less than $10). I spend more than that on a Starbucks drink that lasts me twenty minutes. Why, then, do I hesitate to buy a book that will give me hours or days of entertainment?

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8. Starting a new book right after finishing an amazing one

Maybe it’s ‘hair of the dog’ for book nerds, but when you have a really amazing book hangover and immediately dive into another book, it’s not fair to the next read. I’m still emotionally compromised by whatever I’ve just finished, and I know nothing will compare, so I’m pretty much doomed to not enjoy the next book I pick up. I need to give myself more time to process after finishing a really fantastic novel.

9. Judging books by their covers

I am THE WORST at this. I literally put off reading a book for over a year one, because the cover was so stupid. When I was finally bored enough to give in and try it, I ended up loving it so much that I couldn’t put it down. I’m still infinitely more likely to pick up a book with a pretty cover over one with a boring/plain/poorly-done cover.

10. Picking books over people

I’m an introvert. Socializing is exhausting, people are overwhelming, and I would rather curl up with a book in bed than go to the bar. This is something that I’m getting better at, though! Even if I’m in the middle of an amazing book, I still make myself go out and be around people, even if it’s just for an hour over dinner in the mess hall. But my favorite “socializing” is always going to be sitting on my friend’s couch, book in hand, while she reads on the other couch across from me.

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What bad book habits do you have?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Like Crime/Thriller novels? Check out these books!

top-ten-tuesday-text This weekly meme is hosted by Broke and Bookish.

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Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is an “if you like x, then you might enjoy y” theme. I couldn’t think of one single author that I love in the crime/thriller genre, because it’s such a diverse area of fiction, but I wanted to recommend some great mysteries, crime dramas, and thrillers that you may not have heard of.

(And of course, a LOT of these are also romances. Yes, it’s cheesy, I know… there’s nothing more stereotypical than a detective putting in long hours on the job, and the lover who helps keep them human. But I absolutely love this theme!)

If you like James Patterson, Tess Gerritsen, or Stieg Larsson, then you probably love books that keep you on the edge of your seat, witty characters trying to solve mysteries, and criminals that are almost as brilliant as their pursuers. So check out these ten crime/thriller books:


1. Dirty Kiss (The Cole McGinnis Series #1), by Rhys Ford (Buy)

ford-dirty-kissCole Kenjiro McGinnis, ex-cop and PI, is trying to get over the shooting death of his lover when a supposedly routine investigation lands in his lap. Investigating the apparent suicide of a prominent Korean businessman’s son proves to be anything but ordinary, especially when it introduces Cole to the dead man’s handsome cousin, Kim Jae-Min.

Jae-Min’s cousin had a dirty little secret, the kind that Cole has been familiar with all his life and that Jae-Min is still hiding from his family. The investigation leads Cole from tasteful mansions to seedy lover s trysts to Dirty Kiss, the place where the rich and discreet go to indulge in desires their traditional-minded families would rather know nothing about.

It also leads Cole McGinnis into Jae-Min’s arms, and that could be a problem. The death of Jae-Min’s cousin is looking less and less like a suicide, and Jae-Min is looking more and more like a target. Cole has already lost one lover to violence he’s not about to lose Jae-Min too.


2. Criminal Gold (Cantor Gold Crimes #1), by Ann Aptaker (Buy)

aptaker-criminal-goldMidnight, New York Harbor, 1949. Cantor Gold, dapper dyke-about-town, smuggler of fine art, waits in her boat under the Brooklyn Bridge for racketeer Gregory Ortine. In the shadow of the bridge, he’ll toss Cantor a satchel of cash, and she’ll toss him a pouch containing a priceless jewel.

But the plan, and the jewel, sink when a woman in a red sequined dress drops from the bridge and slams onto Cantor’s boat. She is Opal Shaw, Society Page darling and fiancée of murder-for-hire kingpin Sig Loreale.

Through a night of danger, desire, and double-cross, Cantor must satisfy Loreale’s vengeance, stay ahead of an angry Ortine, and untangle the knots of murder tightening around Opal’s best friend and keeper of her dirty secrets, Celeste Copley, a seductress who excites Cantor’s passion but snares her in a labyrinth of lies. The lies explode in a collision of love, loyalty, lust… and death.


3. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce, #1), by Alan Bradley (Buy)

bradley-sweetness-bottom-pieIt is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath.

For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”


4. The Cuckoos Calling (Cormoran Strike #1), by Robert Galbraith (Buy)

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After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.


5. The Morning Star (Shadow of the Templar #1), by M. Chandler (FREE!)

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Simon Drake is an up-and-coming young FBI hotshot, an agent with a personal track record so outstanding that it borders on unbelievable. Not yet thirty, he’s already the leader of his own special ops team; a ragtag bunch of talented but nigh-uncontrollable lunatics, it’s true, but under Simon’s inspired leadership they’re a force to be reckoned with, a team with an unparalleled success rate, a team with an almost unblemished record–until now.

Jeremy Archer is the brilliant and unpredictable scion of a long line of international art thieves, simultaneously a phenomenally wealthy English socialite and one of the most infamous criminals in the world. At twenty-seven years old he’s already wanted on nearly every continent for thefts totalling more than ninety-one million dollars, and yet no one has ever come close to catching him–until now.

Now?

May the best man win.


6. Iron and Velvet (Kate Kane #1), by Alexis Hall (Buy)

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My name’s Kate Kane, and when an eight-hundred-year-old vampire prince came to me with a case, I should have told her no. But I’ve always been a sucker for a femme fatale.

It always goes the same way. You move too fast, you get in too deep, and before you know it, someone winds up dead. Last time it was my partner. This time it could be me. Yesterday a werewolf was murdered outside the Velvet, the night-time playground of one of the most powerful vampires in England. Now half the monsters in London are at each other’s throats, and the other half are trying to get in my pants. The Witch Queen will protect her own, the wolves are out for vengeance, and the vampires are out for, y’know, blood.

I’ve got a killer on the loose, a war on the horizon, and a scotch on the rocks. It’s going to be an interesting day.


7. The Third Twin, by C.J. Omololu (Buy)

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Identical twins. Identical DNA. Identical suspects. It’s Pretty Little Liarsmeets Revenge in this edge-of-your-seat thriller with a shocking twist.

When they were little, Lexi and her identical twin, Ava, made up a third sister, Alicia. If something broke? Alicia did it. Cookies got eaten? Alicia’s guilty. Alicia was always to blame for everything. The game is all grown up now that the girls are seniors. They use Alicia as their cover to go out with boys who are hot but not exactly dating material. Boys they’d never, ever be with in real life.

Now one of the guys Alicia went out with has turned up dead, and Lexi wants to stop the game for good. As coincidences start piling up, Ava insists that if they follow the rules for being Alicia, everything will be fine. But when another boy is killed, the DNA evidence and surveillance photos point to only one suspect: Alicia. The girl who doesn’t exist. As she runs from the cops, Lexi has to find the truth before another boy is murdered. Because either Ava is a killer…or Alicia is real.


8. Cut & Run (Cut & Run #1), by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban (Buy)

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A series of murders in New York City has stymied the police and FBI alike, and they suspect the culprit is a single killer sending an indecipherable message. But when the two federal agents assigned to the investigation are taken out, the FBI takes a more personal interest in the case.

Special Agent Ty Grady is pulled out of undercover work after his case blows up in his face. He’s cocky, abrasive, and indisputably the best at what he does. But when he’s paired with Special Agent Zane Garrett, it’s hate at first sight. Garrett is the perfect image of an agent: serious, sober, and focused, which makes their partnership a classic cliche: total opposites, good cop-bad cop, the odd couple.

They both know immediately that their partnership will pose more of an obstacle than the lack of evidence left by the murderer. Practically before their special assignment starts, the murderer strikes again – this time at them. Now on the run, trying to track down a man who has focused on killing his pursuers, Grady and Garrett will have to figure out how to work together before they become two more notches in the murderer’s knife.


9. Scarlett Undercover, by Jennifer Latham (Buy)

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Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic, kick-butt, Muslim American heroine, ready to take on crime in her hometown of Las Almas. When a new case finds the private eye caught up in a centuries-old battle of evil genies and ancient curses, Scarlett discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks — and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father’s murder.


10. Rivers of London (Midnight Riot) (Peter Grant #1), by Ben Aaronovitch (Buy)

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Published as Midnight Riot in the United States.

Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost.

Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.


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Top Ten Tuesday: My Fall TBR List!

top-ten-tuesday-text This weekly meme is hosted by Broke and Bookish.

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Summer might be the season of reading on the beach, but for me fall is all about curling up with a hot drink, a good book, and watching the leaves turn colors.This week’s Top Ten list is to talk about your Fall To-Be-Read List, and my TBR is a grab-back of LBGT romance, YA, crime thriller, and more!

So here are the books that I’m most looking forward to this autumn! Are any of these on your list?


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Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: September 29, Pre-Order from Author’s Website

Are you sick of me talking about this book yet? Yes? Too bad! Because I’m going to be waxing poetic about this novel for at least the next year (ie, until the second book comes out). It’s a fantasy, it’s a YA story, it’s an action, it’s a heist novel… it’s absolutely phenomenal.

You don’t have to read her Grisha Trilogy to understand this at all, but I’d definitely recommend checking out that series while you wait for Six of Crows to come out. You won’t regret it, I promise!

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

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The Anatomy of Curiosity, by Brenna Yovanoff, Tessa Gratton, and Maggie Stiefvater
Release Date: October 1, Pre-Order on Amazon.com

I still have half a year to wait until Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven King is released, but at least there’s this fantastic collection of stories to tide me over, from some of the most creative voices in YA literature!

In an unassuming corner of Brooklyn, a young woman learns to be ladylike, to love context, and to speak her mind from a very curious sort of tutor.

In a faraway land convulsed by war, a young soldier hears the desert’s curious hum as he disarms bombs with the person he doesn’t know how to love.

In a place so shriveled by drought that any drowning is a curiosity, a young writer tries again and again to tread water beneath the surface of a vast and unusual sea.

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Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell
Release Date: October 6, Pre-Order from Author’s Website

I’ve never read a book by Rainbow Rowell. I know, gasp, right? But I have to admit, I’m pretty excited about this book. Is it fanfiction? Is it canon? Is it canon of a fanfiction of a canon? WHO KNOWS?! But it sounds delightful!

Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story — but far, far more monsters

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How to Be a Normal Person, by TJ Klune
Release Date: October 16, Pre-Order from Dreamspinner Press

I fell in love with TJ’s writing with the Bear, Otter, and the Kid trilogy. His characters are funny, quirky, and utterly real, and his newest book is about what normal really means. Plus, an asexual romance? Sign me up!

Gustavo Tiberius is not normal. He knows this. Everyone in his small town of Abby, Oregon, knows this. He reads encyclopedias every night before bed. He has a pet ferret called Harry S. Truman. He owns a video rental store that no one goes to. His closest friends are a lady named Lottie with drag queen hair and a trio of elderly Vespa riders known as the We Three Queens.

Gus is not normal. And he’s fine with that. All he wants is to be left alone.

Until Casey, an asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at Lottie’s Lattes, enters his life. For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever. And maybe Gus is starting to think the same thing about Casey, even if Casey is obsessive about Instagramming his food.

But Gus isn’t normal and Casey deserves someone who can be. Suddenly wanting to be that someone, Gus steps out of his comfort zone and plans to become the most normal person ever.

After all, what could possibly go wrong?

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Career of Evil, by Robert Galbraith
Release Date: October 20, Pre-Order on Amazon

If you’ve been living under a rock lately, you may not know that Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for JK Rowling. Yes, that JK Rowling. And while she may not be writing wizards and spells anymore, there’s definitely magic in these delightful crime/thriller novels. They’re BRILLIANTLY written, with tons of on-the-edge-of-your-seat tension.

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.

Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible–and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…

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The World as He Sees It, by A.M. Arthur
Release Date: October 20, Pre-Order from Samhain Publishing

I will read everything that A.M. Arthur puts out. Her romances are so organic and beautiful that I can’t help but fall in love with every character she writes. I’m so excited for this book too, because Tristan (who first appeared as a secondary character in The Truth as He Knows It is fascinating.

Gabe lives a double life. As Gabriel Henson, he works multiple jobs to support his remorseless, alcoholic mother. As Tony Ryder, he does internet porn for extra cash and regular safe sex without complications.

Yet when he encounters a scared young man freaking out in a night club, he’s compelled to reach out. Ever since then, the memory of that young man has haunted him.

Tristan Lavelle lives his life thirty minutes at a time. After a traumatic brain injury three years ago, he gets through his day recording his life in spiral notebooks and sticky note reminders.

A month after Tristan’s embarrassingly public meltdown, another chance meeting with Gabe sparks a warm, emotionally fulfilling email relationship. Both men crave more, but fear of the next step stands between them.

Until Tristan gets the opportunity to take part in a clinical trial that could improve his memory—if the side effects don’t kill him. But for Tristan, the possibility of a real life with Gabe is worth any risk…

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Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Release Date: October 20, Pre-Order from Random House

(I love this cover so much, wow! Click for full size!!)

This may very well be one of the biggest books of the year, if the early buzz is anything to go by. Told in a mixed-media style of pictures, censored documents, and transcripts, it looks to be a story that’s both entertaining and visually stunning.

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

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What We Left Behind, by Robin Talley
Release Date: October 27, Pre-Order on Harlequin.com

This year looks to be an amazing one for LGBTQIA+ novels, especially ones aimed towards young adults. When I first read the summary for this book, I knew I needed it in my life. It’s a coming of age story about identity, finding yourself, and understanding the limits of love.

Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They’ve been together forever. They never fight. They’re deeply, hopelessly in love. When they separate for their first year at college—Toni to Harvard and Gretchen to NYU—they’re sure they’ll be fine. Where other long-distance relationships have fallen apart, theirs is bound to stay rock-solid.

The reality of being apart, though, is very different than they expected. Toni, who identifies as genderqueer, meets a group of transgender upperclassmen and immediately finds a sense of belonging that has always been missing, but Gretchen struggles to remember who she is outside their relationship.

While Toni worries that Gretchen won’t understand Toni’s new world, Gretchen begins to wonder where she fits in this puzzle. As distance and Toni’s shifting gender identity begin to wear on their relationship, the couple must decide—have they grown apart for good, or is love enough to keep them together?

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A Seditious Affair, by K.J. Charles
Release Date: December 15, Pre-Order on Amazon.com

KJ Charles knows how to write history, and she knows how to write m/m romance. Her Magpie series was unbelievably perfect in every way, and the first book in her Society of Gentlemen series blew me away. I’m eagerly waiting the second book in the series, about two men in very different social and economic classes, who find a common thread to bind them together.

Silas Mason has no illusions about himself. He’s not lovable, or even likable. He’s an overbearing idealist, a Radical bookseller and pamphleteer who lives for revolution . . . and for Wednesday nights. Every week he meets anonymously with the same man, in whom Silas has discovered the ideal meld of intellectual companionship and absolute obedience to his sexual commands. But unbeknownst to Silas, his closest friend is also his greatest enemy, with the power to see him hanged—or spare his life.

A loyal, well-born gentleman official, Dominic Frey is torn apart by his affair with Silas. By the light of day, he cannot fathom the intoxicating lust that drives him to meet with the Radical week after week. In the bedroom, everything else falls away. Their needs match, and they are united by sympathy for each other’s deepest vulnerabilities. But when Silas’s politics earn him a death sentence, desire clashes with duty, and Dominic finds himself doing everything he can to save the man who stole his heart.

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Please note this book was chosen prior to the revelation of author’s identity and actions. Please read this statement from Riptide Publishing for more information. [Dreamspinner Press no longer sells any titles by this author.]

Sunset Park, by Santino Hassell
Release Date: December ?, no pre-order yet

This is the second book in Hassell’s Five Boroughs series. This is another author that I will read EVERYTHING they publish, because Hassell co-wrote one of the most heart-wrenching and emotionally-compromising series I’ve ever read (In the Company of Shadows), and the first book in this series, Sutphin Boulevard, was stunning.

Raymond Rodriguez’s days of shoving responsibility to the wayside are over. His older brother wants to live with his boyfriend so Raymond has to get his act together and find a place of his own. But when out-and-proud David Butler offers to be his roommate, Raymond agrees for reasons other than needing a place to crash.

David is Raymond’s opposite in almost every way—he’s Connecticut prim and proper while Raymond is a sarcastic longshoreman from Queens—but their friendship is solid. Their closeness surprises everyone as does their not-so-playful flirtation since Raymond has always kept his bicurious side a secret.

Once they’re under the same roof, flirting turns physical, and soon their easy camaraderie is in danger of being lost to frustrating sexual tension and the stark cultural differences that set them apart. Now Raymond not only has to commit to his new independence—he has to commit to his feelings for David or risk losing him for good.

Bonus Pick: Part & Parcel (Sidewinder #3), by Abigail Roux. I think it’s due out in November, but there’s no information on it yet. I love the entire Cut & Run universe, so I’m really looking forward to this book!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books About the Ocean

This weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

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This week’s theme is a freebie, so in honor of the end of summer I wanted to list my Top Ten Books that feature the ocean! I’ve also scattered in a few photos of the ocean that I took over the last couple of weeks, since I’m lucky enough to live in a place where it’s (usually) pretty gorgeous and warm.

So here’s my list, and I’d love to know what your favorite books about the ocean might be!

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This is a gorgeous novel by an author that I really love, about two women who revolutionized the scientific community in the 1800s by discovering a series of fossils on the English seaside. I had never heard of Mary Anning before reading this, but this is a fictional account of actual historical facts!

On the windswept, fossil-strewn beaches of the English coast, poor and uneducated Mary Anning learns that she has a unique gift: “the eye” to spot fossils no one else can see. When she uncovers an unusual fossilized skeleton in the cliffs near her home, she sets the religious community on edge, the townspeople to gossip, and the scientific world alight. After enduring bitter cold, thunderstorms, and landslips, her challenges only grow when she falls in love with an impossible man.

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Jordan L. Hawk’s Whyborne and Griffin series is one of my favorite in the m/m romance genre. It’s a paranormal historical set in a fictional sea town, where dark magic cults and monsters lurk beneath the surface of an otherwise normal city. I won’t spoil too much, but Whyborne has a great connection to the sea, in a plot twist that I absolutely love!

Between his bullying father and dissolute brother, Percival Endicott Whyborne has quite enough problematic family members to deal with. So when his sister returns to Widdershins asking for help solving the mystery of a derelict ship, Whyborne is reluctant to get involved. Until, that is, a brutal murderer strikes, leaving Whyborne and his lover Griffin no choice but to take the case.

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klune-art-of-breathingTJ Klune’s Bear, Otter, and the Kid trilogy is about two brothers who build their own family after their mother abandons them. The ocean plays a huge role in all three books, as both brothers go to the beach to find their calm when things start to get overwhelming. I picked the cover for the third book for this meme only because it’s more fitting.

Three years ago, Bear McKenna’s mother took off for parts unknown with her new boyfriend, leaving Bear to raise his six-year-old brother Tyson, aka the Kid. Somehow they’ve muddled through, but since he’s totally devoted to the Kid, Bear isn’t actually doing much living—with a few exceptions, he’s retreated from the world, and he’s mostly okay with that. Until Otter comes home.

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I think The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is one of the weaker books in the Narnia series, but I really loved it, and I actually really enjoyed the movie as well. Okay, I really enjoyed Ben Barnes, but whatever. In typical Narnia fashion, children from our world are called into the fantasy world to help save the day, this time by sailing to the furthest reaches of the world.

“Why should your Majesty expect it? My own plans are made. While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws. And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan’s country, or shot over the edge of the world in some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise and Peepiceek will be head of the talking mice in Narnia.” – Reepicheep

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This book won a whole slew of awards when it first came out, and was later turned into a movie (which I never saw). It’s a little bit magical and a little bit philosophical, but somehow Yann Martel manages to tell a story about a boy and a tiger trapped in a small boat together in a way that is not just interesting, but fully captivating for hundreds of pages!

When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes. The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days while lost at sea.

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I actually reviewed this book over the summer. It’s the third in a trilogy that blends Greek mythology with modern day. About a Girl is a gorgeous story that loosely follows the story of Jason and the Argonauts, as a young woman named Tally travels to the Pacific coast in search of answers about her past.

Eighteen-year-old Tally is absolutely sure of everything: her genius, the love of her adoptive family, the loyalty of her best friend, Shane, and her future career as a Nobel prize-winning astronomer. There’s no room in her tidy world for heartbreak or uncertainty–or the charismatic, troubled mother who abandoned her soon after she was born. But when a sudden discovery upends her fiercely ordered world, Tally sets out on an unexpected quest to seek out the reclusive musician who may hold the key to her past–and instead finds Maddy, an enigmatic and beautiful girl who will unlock the door to her future.

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I don’t even care that the Percy Jackson books are written for younger kids… I love them! Here’s another series that combines mythology and modern day, this time in the form of a boy named Percy, who discovers that he is the half-human son of the god Poseidon.

After getting expelled from yet another school for yet another clash with mythological monsters only he can see, twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is taken to Camp Half-Blood, where he finally learns the truth about his unique abilities: He is a demigod, half human, half immortal. Even more stunning: His father is the Greek god Poseidon, ruler of the sea, making Percy one of the most powerful demigods alive. There’s little time to process this news. All too soon, a cryptic prophecy from the Oracle sends Percy on his first quest, a mission to the Underworld to prevent a war among the gods of Olympus.

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If you’ve ever poked your head into the m/m romance genre, you’ve almost certainly heard of the Cut & Run series by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux. The series follows two FBI agents who are partnered together against their will, only to find themselves falling in love.

Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are back on the job, settled into a personal and professional relationship built on fierce protectiveness and blistering passion. Now they’re assigned to impersonate two members of an international smuggling ring—an out-and-proud married couple—on a Christmas cruise in the Caribbean. As their boss says, surely they’d rather kiss each other than be shot at, and he has no idea how right he is.

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Eth’s Skin is a gorgeous work-in-progress web comic set in a fantasy version of British Columbia, where mermaids and magic coexist alongside the fisherman and townsfolk. The art is beautiful, and the story is lovely so far! You can read the webcomic here!

Under a sickle moon on an empty stone beach Eth mistakes a selkie skin for their own, and ends up having to make a journey to a distant cove in order to put things right.  It’s a queer (and genderqueer) fantasy full of monsters and low tides, cool non-binary individuals, queer relationships, and a pet pygmy harbour seal named Goblin.

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I love love LOVE everything that Anna Zabo has written, including this urban fantasy. It’s another m/m romance set on a cruise ship, but this time featuring fae, vampires, and one very confused artist. It’s super hot, has some great mythology, and the characters are fantastic!

On a transatlantic cruise to New York, sculptor Rhys Matherton struggles to piece his life back together after losing his mother, inheriting a fortune, and finding out his father isn’t his father after all. He spills a tray of drinks on a handsome stranger, then he finds himself up against a wall getting the best hand-job he’s ever had. And for the first time in his life, he feels whole.

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And a bonus book:

Cullinan-CarryTheOceanCarry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan is probably one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year. It’s not about a literal ocean, but instead a metaphorical one. The story follows two boys, one who is autistic and the other who has serious depression and anxiety attacks.

my emotions feel loud and big. its hard for me to keep hold of them. they weigh me down. make me heavy and tired and overwhelmed. sometimes I feel like everyone else is carrying a bucket of water but I’m trying to carry an ocean. its very hard. sometimes I would rather not carry my ocean, even if it meant I couldn’t be alive… (ePub page 87)

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