Check out yesterday’s post here for part 1!
ATY Top Picks & Leftovers Challenge (Part 2)
3) Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
Prompt: A book with an ensemble cast
What Is It About?: Tyler Jones, the star student graduating from Aurora Academy is expecting to put together a dream team, and instead left with a band of misfits. He has also just rescued Aurora, a girl who has been trapped in cryo-sleep for 200 years, who may be the trigger for a war that has been in the making for many years, and Tyler’s team may be the last hope to prevent it.
Why I Chose It: I absolutely loved The Illuminae Files series, so I was looking forward to reading another series by this author pair even though sci-fi is not a genre that I reach for very often. The synopsis for this one just sounded so interesting that I knew I had to give it a try!
Why 5 Stars?: This book has so many of the tropes that I tend to love! I love ensemble casts in general, and especially when that group is a band of misfits who might become a “found family.” I also love the whole idea of a character who wakes up in a time different from their own and has to try to adapt.
4) The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica
Prompt: A book whose title contains an honorific (Mr., Mrs., Doctor, Lord, Lady, etc.)
What Is It About?: A couple, Sadie and Will, move into a new home in a small town, inherited from Will’s late sister, only to find that their neighbour has been murdered in her own home. Sadie is worried about the idea of a killer so nearby, and disturbed by their creepy new home and the dark presence of Will’s teenage niece Imogen. As suspicion is cast on the family as the new people in town, Sadie begins to dig deeper into their neighbour’s death.
Why I Chose It: Mary Kubica is one of my top priority authors to try this year because I’ve had several of her books on my TBR for years now, without ever reading any of them. This book is her upcoming 2020 release and it was one book that I kept coming back to while looking through my TBR.
Why 5 Stars?: I’m taking a bit of a chance with predicting this one since I don’t even know if I like the author yet, but this sounds like exactly the kind of thriller that I tend to love. It has many elements (ie. the creepy house, a disturbed family member) that I tend to like so I’m expecting that I’ll enjoy this one too.
Mommy Mannegren 2020 Challenge
1) Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
Prompt: A book that leaves you thinking
What Is It About?: The Yoo family, who are immigrants from Korea, conduct hyperbaric oxygen therapy sessions that are supposed to be beneficial for a variety of conditions, including autism, cerebral palsy, infertility, etc. When a fire breaks out near the tanks during a session, two patients are left dead and other injured. The family must defends themselves in court, and testify against one of their clients, a mother of young son with autism, who is accused of orchestrating the fires to kill him.
Why I Chose It: Autism is one of my buzzwords that draws me to a book in the first place, but this one sounds like such an intriguing story. I love a good courtroom drama. It was a difficult prompt in general since it’s hard to predict what would leave me thinking, but this one has so many different elements to it (ie. immigration, oxygen treatment, disability) that it just sounded so interesting.
Why 5 Stars?: I’ve seen a lot of excellent reviews for this one, which has definitely helped to spark my interest, but this also reminds me quite a bit of books by my favourite author, Jodi Picoult, and I rarely rate her books less than 5 stars. I love this kind of courtroom drama and books that tackle these kinds of complex topics.
2) Yes, No, Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed
Prompt: A book published in 2020
What Is It About?: A Muslim teenage girl, Maya, who is going through a rough time at home is pushed to volunteer for her local state senate candidate. She is paired with Jamie, an awkward Jewish boy who hates talking to strangers to go canvassing door-to-door. As they work together, they soon begin to bond.
Why I Chose It: Becky Albertalli is one of my favourite YA authors, and I always add her latest books to my TBR. This one sounded just adorable, and although I haven’t read anything by Aisha Saeed yet, she is another author that I’ve been meaning to try anyway.
Why 5 Stars?: I have yet to be truly disappointed by a Becky Albertalli book, although Leah on the Offbeat was my least favourite. I connect so well with her writing and her characters, and I’m expecting that it will be the same with this one. I also like that this one has a bit of a unique angle with the focus on canvassing for a politician, so it’s a little different from the typical YA romance.
3) The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson
Prompt: A book with a W in the title
What Is It About?: A man meets a mysterious woman on a flight, and after revealing some problems in his marriage, he jokes that he wants to kill his wife. Surprisingly, the woman he just met offers to help him do it.
Why I Chose It: I’ve had this book on my TBR since my first year on Goodreads, and finally decided it was about time that I pick it up! Peter Swanson is one my top priority authors to try this year, and given that this is one of his best-known books, it seemed like a great place to start.
Why 5 Stars?: My mom read a couple of Peter Swanson’s books within the past year or so, and while she enjoyed them all, this was the one she most highly recommended. I’ve also seen many comparisons of this one to Gone Girl, which is one of my favourite thrillers.
4) The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Prompt: An award-winning novel
What Is It About?: Aiden, a guest at a party where Evelyn Hardcastle is killed, must relive the day over and over until he is able to identify the killer. Each time he restarts, he finds himself in the body of a different guest, and someone is determined to prevent him finding out who the real killer is.
Why I Chose It: I feel like I’ve been hearing about this book absolutely everywhere for the past year or so, and generally with rave reviews. I actively avoided it for a while because it felt so overhyped, but once I looked properly at the synopsis, I realized that it actually sounded so good!
Why 5 Stars?: Mostly by it’s reputation, since I’ve seen a ton of very strong reviews for this one. I’m always a bit hesitant about books that involve repeating a day since they risk becoming extremely repetitive, but if it is done as well as I hope, this book could be so interesting and it is such a unique premise for a murder mystery.
Flourish & Blotts Wizarding World Tour Challenge
1) Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
Prompt: A book related to a serpent
What Is It About?: A witch named Louise le Blanc, who fled her coven and has been hiding her powers for the past two years, is forced into marriage with Reid Diggory, a witch hunter who does not know that his new wife is a witch herself.
Why I Chose It: This is another book that I’ve been hearing about absolutely everywhere, and the more that I heard about it, the more I knew I had to read it. I love books that involve witches in general, and this one sounded like such a great story. I loved that it came from a bit of a different angle than I’ve read in other books involving witches.
Why 5 Stars?: The whole concept of a witch married to a witch hunter sounds incredible, and this book also has quite a few of the tropes that I tend to love. It sounds like it will be a lot of fun to read with such an interesting dynamic between the two main characters.
2) Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
Prompt: A book with a dark cover
What Is It About?: A Snow White retelling, about a young woman named Mina who is the daughter of a cruel magician, who wins the heart of the king with her beauty, and becomes stepmother to the princess Lynet, who is expected to grow up to become a copy of her late mother, whom she has never known. Lynet would rather be more like Mina, but when her father makes Lynet the queen of the southern territories instead, Mina’s feelings for her shift toward hatred, forcing Lynet to decide what to do next about the only mother she has ever known.
Why I Chose It: This book came very highly recommended by many of the vlog channels that I watch and reviewers that I follow on Goodreads, and although it took me a couple of years to get around to it, I was finally motivated enough to pick it up.
Why 5 Stars?: Of all the books here, this is the one I’m most on the fence about since it is one of the ones that I knew least about before deciding to read it. I’m a big fan of fairy tale retellings in general and books that are character-driven, and this one seems to be both of those things.
3) Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Prompt: A book where a character follows a dream
What Is It About?: A teenage girl named Harley runs away from home to join a rival circus after her parents, who own a famous circus in Las Vegas, insist that she goes to school instead of performing with them. Harley wants to follow her dream of being a trapeze artist, but soon realizes the sacrifices she is making to get there.
Why I Chose It: Akemi Dawn Bowman is a new favourite YA author and someone whose books are automatically added to my TBR. I was interested in reading this one long before I even knew what it was going to be about, and it was one of the first books that I knew I wanted to add in somewhere to my reading challenges.
Why 5 Stars?: If her previous books are any indication, this book will be beautifully written and very character-driven. I also love how Akemi Dawn Bowman strays chooses such unique and interesting concepts for her stories!
4) A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Prompt: A book set in a palace
What Is It About?: A Beauty and the Beast retelling, about a prince named Rhen who is cursed to repeat his 18th year over and over until a girl falls in love with him, but he is also forced to turn into a beast every autumn, intent on destruction. A teenage girl named Harper, who has cerebral palsy and who is dealing with multiple difficulties at home is suddenly pulled into Rhen’s world after trying to save a stranger on the streets of Washington DC, and finds herself stuck with Rhen in his castle while she looks for a way to get back home.
Why I Chose It: I didn’t love Letters to the Lost as much as I’d expected when I read it, so I’ve been a bit hesitant to try more of Brigid Kemmerer’s books, but Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite stories and I’m always up for a good retelling of it.
Why 5 Stars?: I really enjoyed Brigid Kemmerer’s writing last time, even if I didn’t love the story, and I think her style would be such a great fit for a fantasy story like this. I’ve also heard such great things about the characters and the cerebral palsy representation, which are both big reasons I’m expecting to enjoy this as well.
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