Top 5 Wednesday: Freebie – Favourite Sci-Fi and Fantasy Cover Art on my TBR

As much as I struggle sometimes with the Top 5 Wednesday topics, I’m actually glad to have assigned prompts coming back next week. It may have been easier if I’d had more time to plan ahead, but I found it really difficult to figure out which previous topic I wanted to re-visit each week this month. There were many prompts that I liked, but in most cases, I had a hard enough time finding 5 books to fit, let alone 5 more! I decided to focus on a prompt that was TBR-based since that seemed to give the most options for a wider range of books to discuss. I’m not usually a fan of cover art topics since the artwork, while a nice addition, is not necessarily something I pay much attention to when choosing books. In this case, I remember finding the prompt surprisingly fun and although it was somehow very difficult to find any fantasy or sci-fi on my TBR when I started to look!

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and the official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

30320053This book has been on my TBR for a year, although I don’t really remember adding it. It is about a woman named Feyra who was 23rd in line to the throne and prefers her laboratory to court life. She suddenly finds herself on the throne when the King and his heirs are massacred at a banquet. Feyra is determined to find out who was responsible for the deaths, while struggling to manage court politics with nobility who don’t respect her and advisers trying to control her. Looking at the synopsis again, it actually does sound pretty interesting although reviews have been fairly mixed. I can’t remember at all how I heard about this book, but the cover art is amazing! I love the dark colour scheme, and the palace in a flask also seems to capture Feyra as a character and just looks really cool.

2) The Last Girl on Earth by Alexandra Blogier

35553569I’ve had this book on my TBR since last July, although it only came out at the end of January 2018. This book sounds really interesting, but the early reviews for it have been terrible! It currently has an average rating of 2.91 on Goodreads, which is definitely on the lower end of averages on my TBR. It is about a girl named Li who is the only human left on Earth, and everyone around her is an alien. When the aliens took over the planet 16 years ago and destroyed everyone, Li was taken in by a human-sympathizer who raised her to pass as one of their own since these kinds of aliens look human but have abilities that humans don’t. When Li meets Ryn and the two of them develop a relationship, it becomes more difficult to keep her secret. The premise of this book sounds amazing and the cover art is just stunning. If I remember correctly, it was the cover alone that first caught my attention while I was looking at lists of upcoming releases. The bad reviews have put me off a bit, but not enough to fully remove it from my TBR.

3) A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

27284765I’ve been hearing about this book on and off for a while now, and was never sure how much I wanted to try it. It received some pretty bad reviews from a couple of the Goodreads reviewers I follow, although the key issue seems to be that it is not very unique compared to others in the genre. I can live with that, as long as the story is done well. This book is about a girl named Henrietta who is forced to reveal her unusual abilities to save a friend, and becomes the first female sorcerer in centuries to join the royal court. Once there, she is declared the prophesied one who is destined to defeat the Ancients, a species of demons, and meets other sorcerers-in-training. Based on the synopsis, it definitely seems heavy on some of the most common tropes, and especially some of the most widely hated tropes (love triangles, chosen ones, etc.). I’m sure the cover art was a factor in my decision to finally add it to my TBR earlier this month, although it’s not the highest on my priority list.

4) Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

30269126This book came out only last year, and I was immediately drawn in by the cover art although the book itself is a little outside my comfort zone. It is about a princess Rhiannon who has spent her life training to get revenge on the people who killed her family. Her path collides with Alyosha, who has risen from a war refugee to a celebrity, and in the course of that event, Rhiannon is presumed dead and Alyosha is blamed for her murder — although in reality, the two of of them have gone into hiding together. This book has received extremely mixed reviews from all of the reviewers I follow, and I’ve been putting off reading it because I actually knew very little about it. Part of the problem with the fantasy books on my list is that they all seem to be the start of a series, and I have so many series on the go already that I don’t know if I can commit to any more. Looking at the synopsis again, this one does seem pretty interesting and I’d love to give it a chance eventually.

5) The Forgotten Book by Mechthild Glaser

34499244I have The Book Jumper by the same author on my list for sometime this year, and added this one to my TBR last year as soon as I saw it on Goodreads. It is about a girl named Emma who finds a book in an abandoned library, and soon discovers that everything she writes in it comes true. Emma starts to realize that she is not the only one who knows about this book, and someone is determined to get it away from her. For some reason, Goodreads mentions this book as a Jane Austen-inspired story, and one of the main characters is a new boy in school whose name is Darcy. I honestly can’t see how this is a Pride and Prejudice story (at least judging by the name Darcy) from the synopsis, but it looks like a great book anyway. I don’t often like cover art that has people on it, but this one seems to fit so well. I actually assumed this book was a sequel to The Book Jumper at first since the cover art was similar, but it seems to be a standalone.

 

 

 

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Top 10 Tuesdays: Bookish Worlds You Would or Would Not Want to Live In

I actually have never put too much thought into what it would be like to live in. The obvious answer would naturally be to pick dystopian worlds, but I am generally a huge rule-follower, so I actually think I would be fine in some of these kinds of worlds. For example, I don’t necessarily agree with the faction system in Divergent, but if I was forced to live in that world I would probably be okay because I’d want to follow the rules of it. Part of the reason I have trouble imagining living in most bookish worlds is because I tend to associate them with the problems they face in the stories. I would absolutely love to go to Hogwarts but I would not want to be there during the years when Harry Potter was there. Between having the Chamber of Secrets open to having Dementors stationed around the school to just dealing with Umbridge as a teacher, it would not be a great time to be there. Similiarly, I’d love to live in the wizarding world, but only after Voldemort had been defeated. It’s tricky for me sometimes to separate myself from the story and think of the world as its own entity.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

1) A Time Loop (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), because I think it would be very frustrating to be stuck re-living the same day over and over. Miss Peregrine and the ymbrines do their best to keep everyone safe, but I would hate to never be able to leave.

2) Panem (The Hunger Games), because I have virtually no survival skills and would never stand a chance if I was chosen to compete in the Games. And with my luck, I would definitely be chosen. I guess your life might be pretty good if you were able to live in the Capitol, but it would come at a very steep cost of supporting the games.

3) Wonderland (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass), because the characters are all so frustrating to talk to! Most of them talk in riddles or spout pure nonsense so it would be annoying to try and have any kind of conversation.

4) Verity (This Savage Song), because it is a city that is overrun by monsters and the only way to gain protection is to pay for it. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved this duology, but I would definitely not want to live there!

5) New Beijing (The Lunar Chronicles), because although it might be cool to have a society of people who are living on the moon, the world is also suffering from a plague. Plus, I would not want to live under Queen Levana’s reign.

6) The post-Rising world (Feed), for the obvious reason — it is set in a world where the cures for diseases such as cancer and the common cold have inadvertently created a new virus that has turned people into zombies. As far as zombie stories go, the people in this one have actually seemed to learn to live with so it isn’t the worst it could be, but I would still hate to live in a world overrun by zombies

7) Airstrip One (1984), because although it is a very interesting world to read about, it is not somewhere I’d ever want to live. I don’t like the idea of “Big Brother” constantly watching everything or how they try to control not only people’s speech and actions, but even their own thoughts

8) Cloral (The Lost City of Faar in the Pendragon series). Actually, I think this territory sounds amazing, but I would personally hate to live there because it is entirely underwater and I’m not a strong swimmer. I’m extremely uncomfortable around deep water so this territory really wouldn’t work for me.

9) Prufrock Preparatory School (The Austere Academy in A Series of Unfortunate Events). I wouldn’t have it quite as bad as the Baudelaire’s did since I am not an orphan and wouldn’t have to stay in the shack, but the rules at this school are ridiculous and I definitely would not want to listen to Vice Principal Nero play his violin every day!

10)  The unnamed setting of Fahrenheit 451. If I’m completely honest, I have no memory at all of this book, which I read just under 2 years ago. I just know I wouldn’t want to live in a world where books are burned, and where there is a Mechanical Hound that chases people down if they don’t cooperate

Stacking the Shelves (#7)

Another month, another 70 or so books added to my TBR! Just when I think I’ve pretty much maxed out on books to add, I somehow end up finding a whole bunch more. This month, there were quite a few books I added by author name alone. I saw a new Erin Morgenstern (author of The Night Circus) book, a new series by Sarah J. Maas, and an upcoming fantasy book by Adam Silvera just to name a few. None of these have any cover artwork yet or even much in the way of a synopsis, but I added them to my list anyway! I think this may be part of the reason my TBR keeps expanding so quickly. Since my last Stacking the Shelves, I also ended up browsing some many recommendations lists. I seem to have a (bad?) habit of browsing Goodreads recommendations whenever I get bored, which is probably why my TBR keeps expanding at an alarming rate!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week. It is hosted by TyngaReviewsand ReadingReality

1) Read Bottom Up by Neel Shah and Skye Chatham

18635077This was the most recent addition to my list, added just yesterday. It is about a relationship that develops between Madeline and Elliott through their online communication, after they meet at a restaurant opening. What’s unique about this book is that the authors apparently co-wrote it in real time, with each e-mailing the other from the perspectives of two characters, Madeline and Elliott themselves as well as their best friends David and Emily. Neel Shah wrote Elliot’s messages to Madeline and to his friend David, and Skye Chatham wrote Madeline’s messages to Elliot and to her friend Emily. That means the authors never saw the correspondence each character had with their best friend until the book was finished.  I love stories that involve social media and online correspondence, so this sounds like something I would love.

2) The Ones We Choose by Julie Clark

36374033This book recently came up as a recommendation because I finished Lisa Genova’s Every Note Played not too long ago. This book is Julie Clark’s debut, about a geneticist named Paige who has an 8-year-old son, Miles, that she conceived with an anonymous sperm donor. After a classroom discussion about the children’s family background, Miles starts to feel left out because he doesn’t know his father and starts to question his mother about who his father was. When Miles’ biological father unexpectedly comes back into their lives, Paige’s life begins to unravel. This book sounds like it is along the lines of Lisa Genova or Jodi Picoult, both of whom are among my favourite authors. This is a new release that just came out on May 8, and although it does not seem to be very well-known yet, the early Goodreads reviews have been excellent.

3) Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake

35604722I actually thought I’d added this book to my TBR already, so I was surprised to see that I hadn’t when it came up again as a recommendation. This is a middle grade book, which is a little outside my comfort zone, but it sounds really good. The book is about a 12-year-old girl named Ivy whose home is destroyed by a tornado. She is especially devastated by the loss of her notebook, which contained secret drawings of girls holding hands. When her drawings mysteriously start showing up in her locker with notes encouraging her to be open about who she is, she starts to hope that the person doing this might be the girl she has a crush on. I was first drawn to this book because of the very interesting cover art, but was put off initially since I rarely read middle grade books. I haven’t read anything yet by this author but I have several of her books on my TBR, and Girl Made of Stars in my current stack from the library. Most of her books have very high average ratings on Goodreads, so I’m interested to give it a chance.

4) The Mothers by Brit Bennett

28815371Although this book has been out since late 2016, I feel like I’ve been hearing a lot about it lately. It is set in a black community in Southern California, focusing on a 17-year-old high school student named Nadia who becomes pregnant after she starts seeing the pastor’s son, Luke. The book follows Nadia, her best friend Aubrey, and Luke over the span of about 10 years as they live with the consequences of the choices they made that year. The book also has a “Greek chorus” style of narration, with the mothers of the church that Nadia attends offering their observations about what is happening. Not too many of the reviewers I follow on Goodreads have read this one yet, but those who have all gave it at least 4 stars. The story itself only mildly interested me, but I liked the idea of having the chorus style of narration to give commentary on the events since that seemed like an unusual approach.

5) Just Like Family by Kate Hilton

32051611I added this one to my TBR because it kept coming up as a recommendation, and I was intrigued by the cover. This book is about a woman named Avery who is trying to balance her job as chief- of staff to Mayor Peter Haines, her live-in boyfriend of 14 years, and an ex-husband. When her boyfriend Matt proposes, Avery worries about making that commitment again after her first marriage was such a disaster, and wonders if Matt is really who she loves after the mayor has become her “work husband.” I’m not entirely sure why this book specifically came up as a recommendation for me, but it definitely seems like an interesting one. I love books that are character-driven, and this one really seems to focus on the character dynamics. Although it has been out for a year now, I hadn’t heard of it at all until recently.

6) Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

33590214I have heard nothing but good things about this book since it came out last year, although I was hesitant to add it to my list because of the politics angle. This book is about Aviva Grossman, an intern in Florida who has an affair with the married Congressman who is also her boss. When the affair becomes public knowledge, Aviva is left with all the blame and decides to move away and leave it all behind, until she is persuaded to run for public office herself. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about this kind of political scandal, but this one has received such rave reviews that I just had to add it to my list. This book has been hyped for being a feminist version of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and although feminism is not necessarily something I look for in my books, the plot of this one seems very interesting.

7) The Friend by Dorothy Koomson

31348251I have only read one of Dorothy Koomson’s books so far, but I have many of them on my TBR. Unfortunately, for some reason they are pretty difficult to find here. This book is her 2017 release, which focuses on a woman named Cece who has enrolled her children in a school in her new neighbourhood where just weeks before, a popular parent was almost murdered. Cece meets other mothers from the school who welcome her and starts to feel more comfortable, until she learns that the police believe one of her new friends may be responsible for the attempted murder. I had no idea that Dorothy Koomson had a new book out until it came up as a recommendation a couple of weeks ago. The plot for this one reminded me a bit of Big Little Lies, which is one of my favourites. It sounds like a great story, and I look forward to giving it a chance.

8) Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist

36449403I added this one to my list primarily because it is by Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project which quickly became a favourite as soon as I picked it up. In all honesty, I’m not sure the plot of this one on its own would have been enough to interest me otherwise. It is about a widow named Zoe and a divorced man named Martin who decide to walk a centuries-old pilgrim route in Spain. They meet in the same French town, and begin to grow closer as they take on this long walk. I wasn’t sure about this one at first because it essentially seemed like a walking version of a road trip story, and those often don’t interest me much. However, I loved The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect so much that I wanted to give another of Graeme Simsion’s books a chance. I also have The Best of Adam Sharp on my TBR but have been hesitant to try it because the reviews in general have been pretty terrible. I’m curious to give these books a chance and see if they have the same impact on me as the Rosie books did.

9) The Babysitter by Sheryl Browne

37520291This book came up on a list of recent thrillers, and it was released in March of this year. It is about a couple who are very happy to meet a new babysitter, Jade, who is great with their children. After her own house burns down, Jade moves in with the family, who start to become more reliant on her as Mark and Melissa both work long hours, and Melissa falls into depression. Mark soon notices that things at home don’t seem right, and begins to investigate Jade and uncover what she really wants. I love psychological thrillers in general and I’ve been very interested in trying to read more of them. This one sounds especially intriguing, and I love the whole concept of the story. There have been so many thrillers released in the past year or so that I’m not really surprised this one has been mostly overlooked.

10) Hero-Type by Barry Lyga

3264222I added this one (as well as Boy Toy by the same author) to my list after I read and loved Bang earlier this month. Hero-Type is about a boy named Kevin who was in the right place at the right time to save a girl from being killed and is hailed as a hero, until he is seen removing “Support the Troops” bumper stickers from cars. Suddenly, Kevin is forced to become more aware of what patriotism really means, and his unpopular opinions put him at odds with his classmates. My main reason for adding this book to my TBR is because I loved Barry Lyga’s writing and handling of a very complex topic in Bang, and I thought his concept for this story was unique and definitely not something I had ever read before. I would love to give more of his books a chance.

11) The Not So Perfect Mother by Kerry Fisher

39307352I this book to my TBR after finding it on a list of recent contemporary releases. It is about a woman named Maia who works as a cleaner for wealthy families. When an unexpected inheritance pushes Maia and her children into the world of the women she has always worked for, she finds herself drawn to one of the teachers at the exclusive private school and starts to wonder why he is so interested in helping her fit in. This book was apparently first published in 2012 as The School Gate Survival Guide (and I actually like the cover art for that one much better), so I’m not sure why it is being re-released under a new title in June. The reviews for the 2012 version have been very good so far, with an average on Goodreads of 4.22 stars based on almost 1300 ratings. It doesn’t seem like the most well-known book, but it looks like a lot of fun to read.

12) No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert

39985775I added this book to my TBR because it came up on a list of recent contemporaries, but I’ve been a little on the fence about it ever since noticing it was also tagged as Christian fiction. That is not a genre that typically interests me at all, but based on the synopsis, I’m not sure how heavily Christian themes are involved in this one. This book is about three women whose lives are affected when an wealthy community is forced to open its doors to students from an impoverished district that can no longer support its school. The synopsis is fairly vague and several of the reviews available so far have commented that it is hard to give any more detail without giving away spoilers, so it was hard for me to decide whether I wanted to keep this one on my TBR despite it being a genre I tend not to like. However, it has also been compared to Jodi Picoult and that alone is enough to interest me.

13) Hey Ladies!: The Story of 8 Best Friends, 1 Year, and Way, Way Too Many Emails by Michelle Markowitz, Caroline Moss and Carolyn Bahar

35882844I discovered this book in the Books section of my local newspaper, where there was an article talking about it as a new release. This book is based on the concept of those annoying e-mail chains that start up when planning events like a wedding or a baby shower, where mass e-mails are sent to a group usually with the greeting “Hey ladies!” In the article I read, it seemed that the book was going to be in the format of e-mails, texts, etc. as the group of friends tries to plan events and share their lives. According to Goodreads, this book is fiction although I was under the impression it was real e-mail exchanges between the authors and others. I would assume they fictionalized it somewhat for the sake of anonymity. This book sounds really funny and is based on a column from The Toast (which can be found here), which seems to give a pretty good impression of what the book might be like.

14) Our House by Louise Candlish

35924499I found this one while browsing for thriller,s and I was immediately intrigued by the premise. This book is about a woman named Fiona who co-parents her children with her estranged ex, Bram. The former couple has an unusual arrangement where their children always live in the same house, and the two parents take turns living there with them. When Bram and the children disappear, Fiona is left to discover how little she really knew about her ex-husband. What first caught my attention about this one was the unusual parenting arrangement. I’d heard about it once or twice before on TV but it is still a very unusual choice, although it does make some sense in terms of offering the children the stability of one house and one set of belongings. It also makes such a great setting for a thriller since it leaves open so many possibilities for things to happen while one parent is away. This book is due out in August, and I would love to give it a chance!

15) Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey

36504901This was another one that I found while looking at upcoming thrillers, and it was the cover art that first caught my attention. This book is about a five-year-old girl named Emma who was taken from the airport by a woman named Sarah, who wants to rescue the child from her cruel mother. Sarah and Emma bond while avoiding the hunt to find the child, but meanwhile Emma’s real mother is at home waiting for her, but as the search keeps dragging out longer, she begins to question if she really wants her daughter back. This seems like such an interesting character-driven story, although I’m a little hesitant about how the author will handle the characters. The synopsis almost seems to imply that it might be okay for Sarah to take Emma because her mother doesn’t necessarily want her anyway, whcih is a dangerous idea. It seems like a very intriguing concept and I’m excited to give this one a try.

16) The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon

36989216I’ve had one of Amy Harmon’s books on my TBR for several years but haven’t read it yet. I loved the cover art of this one, and although I don’t often read romances, this one seemed very interesting. This book is about a woman named Mercedes who decides to lie to spare the feelings of her best friend Cora when Cora asks if she loves their friend Noah. Knowing that Cora loved him too, Mercedes lies and ends up standing by to watch as Cora and Noah get together, and is there through all the good and bad times of their relationship. It’s pretty unusual to have a love triangle story which follows the person who didn’t get chosen, and I’m intrigued by having the story told from this angle. This book came out in February of this year, and has some pretty great reviews so far. It’s a little outside my comfort zone, but I’ve been branching out a lot more over the past few years and I think this one could be really good.

17) Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman

35698114I definitely seem to have a trend going on here with books about woman and schoolyard/neighbourhood politics. This one is about a woman named Frances who carpools with other families in her area, giving her occasional windows into those family’s private lives. After witnessing another woman having an affair, Frances decides to mind her own business, but that becomes more difficult when the woman’s husband throws her out and the repercussions of the affair affect everyone in the carpool. I have no idea why these are the kinds of books that have been appealing to me lately, but there definitely seems to be a theme going on. To be fair, I tend to love authors like Liane Moriarty who write about these kinds of domestic dramas, so it’s actually not such a surprise.

18) The Restaurant Critic’s Wife by Elizabeth LaBan

25828495This was one of several books that came up on a Book Riot recommendations list for books about food. I like browsing through Book Riot’s lists, but I find some of them completely overwhelming because they are just massive lists of titles to fit a theme. This one came for a slightly more specific list at least. It is about a woman named Lila who is married to Sam, a restaurant critic who is determined to keep himself anonymous to protect his credibility. As Sam becomes more obsessed with keeping his identity a secret, Lila starts to crave something different in her life and questions if she’s made the right decisions. I’m not entirely sure what made Book Riot recommend this one since the food element seems like it will take a backseat to the larger story of Lila trying to figure out her life, but it sounds interesting to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Wednesdays: Freebie — 2018 Debuts I’m Excited For

I am very surprised that this topic did not come up this year! My first ever Top 5 Wednesday post in January 2017 was about the 2017 debuts that I was excited for, and I naturally assumed that it would come up again this year as well. As I browsed through past topics to pick one for this week’s freebie, I was very surprised to realize that it didn’t come up at all! Most January topics both for Top 5 Wednesday and even Top 10 Tuesday were focused on books that we meant to read last year but didn’t, or our goals for the year. Even though we are quickly approaching the halfway point of the year, it seems like a perfect opportunity to look ahead to some of the new releases coming up, or those that came out already this year that I haven’t got to yet, and especially those that are the author’s debut book.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and the official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) Sheets by Brenna Thummler

38958846I guess technically this might not be considered Brenna Thummler’s debut since she previously illustrated a graphic novel version of Anne of Green Gables, but I’m counting it as one since it is the first book that she has done alone. I added this book to my TBR very recently, and it was the adorable cover art that first caught my attention. This book is due out at the end of August, and it is about a 13-year-old girl named Marjorie who feels like a ghost, and a boy named Wendell who really is one. When Wendell decides to turn the family laundromat into his new playground, Marjorie is forced to deal with the effects and try to maintain the life that she has worked so hard to keep together after her mother’s death. I was interested in this one because it reminds me a bit of Anya’s Ghost, and also because the synopsis mentioned that Wendell’s days consist of “death therapy” which just sounds strange! I’m definitely looking forward to reading this one.

2) Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

36464087This book deals with ghosts of a different kind. It is a about a woman named Sarah who meets and falls in love with Eddie over the course of juts one week. Eddie promises to call Sarah before he leaves on vacation, but when he fails to follow through, she becomes convinced that something must have happened to him. The early reviews for this book, due out toward the end of July, have been excellent so far. I was intrigued by it because I tend to love books that are social media focused, and although I’m not 100% sure social media plays much role in the story, it still sounds like a concept that I’ve never seen before. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where the love interest just vanishes for no apparent reason and with no contact, and I’m curious to see how that plays out. I also find it interesting that this book has been compared to both Big Little Lies and Me Before You, which are two of my favourite books…although I’m not sure I can see how they would work together.

3) The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

35887193This is another case where “debut” might be a bit of a stretch, since this author has written and co-written a few non-fiction books, although I had no idea until I looked her up on Goodreads. This book has widely been advertised as Aimee Molloy’s debut and it is certainly her debut thriller, so I’d say it still counts. This book is abouth a group of women whose children were all born in the same month, and who meet twice a week at the park to share their experiences and anxieties about having children. When they decide to meet up at a bar one night, Winnie’s son Midas goes missing and her life becomes a media circus. As some of the other mothers get more involved in the search, their lives and parenting also come under police and media scrutiny. I tend to enjoy this kind of “domestic thriller” and I’ve been hearing about this one absolutely everywhere. It sounds exactly like the kind of book I would love. This book just came out on May 1, and I may need to find a prompt to squeeze it into this year!

4) By the Book by Julia Sonneborn

35297218This book came out in February 2018, but seems to have been mostly overlooked. The Goodreads synopsis mentions that it is a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion (which I haven’t read yet), but it doesn’t seem like much familiarity with the original is needed. This book is about an English professor named Anne Corey who discovers that her ex-fiance has just become president of her college, and therefore also her boss. I’m not always a huge fan of romances, but something about this one really appeals to me. I think part of the appeal is the fact that the main character is a college professor, and although I am not one myself, I used to have a lot of fun reading blogs by professors about what the job is really like since it is not at all what I would have expected. The reviews for this one so far have been really all over the map, and it’s the kind of book that I would need to be in the right mood for, but it sounds like it could be a lot of fun to try.

5) Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now by Dana L. Davis

35750311I feel like I was hearing about this book a lot up until it was released (on May 1), and since then I haven’t heard much about it. This book is about a 16-year-old girl named Tiffany Sly who is sent to live with the biological father she has never met after her mother passes away from cancer. Tiffany has trouble fitting in with her father and the stepmom and sisters she never expected. Just before Tiffany leaves to her new home, another man comes forward and claims that he is her real father instead. It’s a premise that I have never seen before in a YA book, and honestly one that I wasn’t sure would interest me very much, especially when I saw that for reasons I can’t figure out, Tiffany has only 7 days with her family until the other potential father will demand a DNA test. I have no idea where this time limit came from or why, but this book is definitely different from other YA books that I’ve read and I’m a little surprised that the hype has died down so much.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Best Character Names

To be completely honest, character names are not something I pay much attention to. I’m actually more likely to notice when a character’s name is glaringly bad or annoying than when I like them. A prime example that comes to mind is America Singer from The Selection series, because I’m not a huge fan of America as a name in general and I don’t like the fact that her name is Singer and she is also a talented singer. The other major example are the characters in Hate List by Jennifer Brown, including a therapist named Dr. Heiler (pronounced “healer”), a school shooter named Nick Levil (as in evil), and the main character named Valerie Leftman because she was “left behind.” The author did acknowledge that she named her characters this way intentionally, as a kind of push back against all those times we are forced to read into characters names and their meanings, but it honestly reminded me of the kinds of names a child would pick when writing stories in elementary school.

Coming up with a list of my favourite names was much more difficult, which may be because the majority of the books I’ve read just don’t have particularly memorable names. I read a lot of contemporary, and those characters tend to have fairly generic names aside from the irritating cases where the author takes a normal name and tries to make it “different” by giving it a ridiculous spelling. I mean no offense to people who are really named with unusual spellings of otherwise common names, but I find that in books it tends to come across the wrong way. While compiling my list, I noticed that I tend to like names that were a little more unusual, but still within the realm of possibility (ie. Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games is probably not a name you’d find in real life, but you easily could). I guess it’s no surprise really that my entire list of names come from some of my favourite books of all time, since the characters were so memorable and there names stick in my head better.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

1) Just about all of the character names in Harry Potter, because they are unique and have so much meaning behind them.

2) Katniss Everdeen, and really all of the names in The Hunger Games, because they are unique and memorable without being ridiculous

3) Ronan Lynch, from The Raven Boys, because I just love the way it sounds

4) Rhysand, from A Court of Thorns and Roses, because it is a memorable name for a memorable character (although I struggled in the beginning with whether it was Ree-sand, or Ry-sand)

5) Griffin, from History Is All You Left Me, because it is one of the few character names from a YA book that I really remember, and especially because of the adorable “Griffin on the Left”

6) Agnieszka, from Uprooted, because it was an unusual and interesting name that fit the world of this book so well

7) Ballister Blackheart, from Nimona, because I couldn’t imagine a better name for a villain!

8) Celia Bowen, from The Night Circus, because it seemed so old-fashioned and such a great fit for this atmospheric story

9) Vida Winter, from The Thirteenth Tale, because it is another one of those unsual names that fit so perfectly with the story

10) Elphaba, from Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, because it finally put a real name to a famous character (and because in the musical, it can be shortened to the absolutely adorable-sounding Elphie)

Reader Struggles: Meme Mini-Series (#11)

I’m not really the type of person who brings a book with me absolutely everywhere I go, although sometimes I wish I was! If I know I’m going somewhere that doesn’t offer much time to read, such as when I go to work, I usually don’t bring a book at all. However, that all goes out the window when I go on vacation.

Every year, I generally go on vacation for about a week and it is a struggle every time to figure out how many books I want to bring with me. Many of my trips involve a lengthy train ride, and somehow this is the one form of public transportation where I can read without feeling sick. I end up in the constant struggle between trying to minimize how much I need to carry with me, and making sure I have “enough” books to last me the trip. Never mind the fact that anywhere I go, there is a bookstore and I can always but something new if needed.

For most week-long trips, I tend to bring 3-4 books even though I rarely end up finishing more than 2 at the most. I seem to assume that I will finish the majority of one book on the train ride, even though I know I almost inevitably fall asleep at some point during the ride. I also tend to assume that I will read a lot in the evenings, completely forgetting about the fact that I’m often very tired from the day of sightseeing or whatever I’m doing, and that I usually end up mostly just watching TV.

I think another factor is the kind of books I tend to bring with me. Partly, I base my decision on the format of the book, so I avoid too many hardcovers since they are too heavy and too big to fit multiple in my bags. I don’t like to bring YA books with me since I tend to get through them too quickly. One of the struggles for me is when it comes to books I have in mind for my challenges that I feel like I need a little push to actually pick up. On the one hand, if it’s one of the only books I have available at the time, I’ll have no choice but to give it a chance. On the other hand, I want to enjoy what I’m reading and I don’t want to to feel stuck with a book I’m not liking. I usually end up reading only half of what I bring with me on any trip, but I know that if I didn’t bring more, I would feel almost unprepared.

Top 5 Wednesdays: Freebie – Top 5 Sci-Fi or Fantasy Books On Your TBR

It’s been surprisingly difficult to pick topics each week, when left to choose our own! I spent a very long time browsing through all the past Top 5 Wednesday topics, including those I’ve done before, and I really had a hard time narrowing things down to pick something. In general, I find I tend to enjoy looking forward to books I have on my TBR, sometimes more than discussing the books I’ve already read. Recently, most of the additions to my TBR tend to be either contemporary or thrillers, but I also really enjoy fantasy and I’ve started to branch out a bit more often with sci-fi. For this week’s topic, I decided to repeat one that I last did in April 2017, and find some of the fantasy or sci-fi books that I’ve added to my TBR.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and the official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

31423196The main reason I added this to my TBR is because I found an ARC copy of the sequel, Defy the Worlds, at my library book sale and mistakenly thought it was the first in the series. I took it home and even added Defy the Stars to my TBR, and only realized this minute that it was the wrong book! I haven’t read any books by Claudia Gray although I’ve heard her Firebird trilogy is pretty good. I’ve always been on the fence about adding that series to my TBR because I wasn’t sure how much I would like it. Defy the Stars is about a soldier named Noemi who is forced to work with her enemy, Abel, an advanced robot, to stop a long-running war. Honestly, I’ve never been a huge fan of space journey books, but this one sounds pretty interesting. I tend to find robots pretty interesting characters, and although space isn’t my favourite setting, I’m willing to give this one a chance.

2) Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

25733990I added this book to my TBR after seeing it in a recommendations video by Emily Fox, and especially after seeing it compared to Illuminae! This book is about a physicist named Rose who is hired to find the metal remains of a Giant who may have been created by aliens, and whose parts are scattered around the world. Like Illuminae, it is told in the form of journals, interviews, and other kinds of documents. I’m pretty much a sucker for books told in this kind of unusual format, so that alone was enough to spark my interest. This book has been out since 2016, and although I had heard about it a couple of times before, it never really caught my attention until very recently. I think it probably helped that I loved Illuminae (and currently have the next two books waiting for me in my library pile!), so that really opened my mind to more sci-fi in general.

3) The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

23592175I actually intended to read this book last year for one of my reading challenges, but ended up losing interest and replacing it with something else before even giving it a chance. It is about a girl named Faith who seems to be a “proper young lady” but also knows that her family had to move because her father, a scientist, had to run away from a scandal. She also knows that when her father was soon found dead, he was actually murdered. While going through his things, Faith discovers a tree that only grows fruit when she tells it a lie, and eating the fruit delivers the truth. Faith decides to use the tree to help uncover what really happened to her father. In all honesty, I don’t think I had any idea what the book was about when I put it on my list for a previous challenge, which is why I was quick to abandon it. The plot actually sounds very interesting and I’m curious to find out more about how that tree works.

4) The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

35297394This book is a new release that just came out in early March. it is about a cursed town called Sparrow, where three sisters were sentenced to death by drowning for being witches, and they return each summer to steal the bodies of three girls as revenge by luring and drowning boys. The book focuses on a 17-year-old girl named Penny who has accepted the town’s fate, and a new boy named Bo Carter who arrives to Sparrow not knowing about the dangers he may be facing. This sounds like such an interesting storyline, and I tend to love stories involving witches (although I haven’t actually read too many of them!). This book seems like it will probably be pretty romance-heavy, but I don’t mind that as long as it is done well. So far, the reviews have generally been quite good so I’m excited to eventually give this one a chance.

5) Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

35707056I’d seen this book mentioned for a couple of months already, although it just came out last week. I overlooked it for a long time because I assumed it was about zombies, and this is not something I generally read. I finally decided to look into it after seeing some rave reviews for it on Youtube, and by several of the Goodreads reviewers that I follow. This book is about a girl named Mila, whose best friend and two other mean girls die under suspicious circumstances which is passed off as a suicide pact. Refusing to believe that her friend would do that, Mila casts a spell to bring the three girls back to life, but they have only seven days to uncover what happened before they return to their graves. I guess technically this one really is about zombie-type characters, but it sounds a lot more interesting than I expected! It sounds like such an original concept for a story, and I’m very interested to see how it plays out.