Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Top Ten Books I Liked More/Less Than I Thought I Would

Hey all! Jamie here with Top Ten Tuesday today. Hope you enjoy my list! 

Admin things: I had hoped I would have a new schedule up (if you've been following along for the past 6.5 years with TTT you know I'm never this bad about keeping the  schedule up to date) but life has gotten in the way. SO...Top Ten Tuesday is going to be taking a hiatus until March 7. My first trimester of pregnancy was TERRIBLE and I've felt so behind since November and like I'm drowning so I need a pause. I hope that you understand how needed that is after doing Top Ten Tuesday every week for this many years. I want to get myself organized and as a group we have some behind the scenes stuff to figure out.  I'm willing to put up linkies for the next two weeks if y'all want to do 2 weeks of freebies. Let me know in the comments! I will have the schedule up by NEXT Tuesday so check back then. 


Books I Liked More Than I Thought I Would

1.  My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante: This is a case where I truly was only judging it based on the cover and thought "eh this isn't going to be great bc the cover is terrible" but I actually REALLY loved this book. If I would have read the summary before I ever looked at the cover I think I would have never had this feeling because it sounds like a me book.

2. How To Keep A Boy From Kissing You by Tara Eglington: I was in need of some serious fluff and someone recommended this and it was super delightful and definitely exceeded my expectations for it.

3. Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore: I was reading this with some friends who created a loose book club and I was NOT looking foward to this and I had a little bit of a rough start with it but then I REALLY found myself enjoying it. It was one of the weirdest books I've ever read and way outside of my comfort zone but I DEFINITELY enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

4. Little Black Dresses, Little White Lies by Laura Stampler: This one came for review and I picked it up on a whim because I was in need of a ~chick-lit~ type of book and I thought this would be okay but I ended up LOVING IT. So fun!!

5. The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes : I pretty much go into any YA spy sort of novel with lower expectations because they never blow me away but this was seriously AWESOME and definitely my favorite in that kind of spy/thrillery genre.

Books I Liked Less Than I Thought I Would 

 1. Wild  by Cheryl Strayed: I LIKED this but I expected to be BLOWN AWAY. I think it was a hype thing...I had heard how life changing it was and, while I got a lot out of it, I just really had expected to love it more. 

2. Carpe Diem by Autumn Cornwall: I LIKED this book but normally travel-y YA contemporaries work very well for me and I had heard godo things about this one for YEARS and when I finally pulled it off my shelf last year (after years of it sitting there unread)....it just wasn't as good as I hoped. 

3. The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry: OH MAN...one of my most anticipated reads when it came out and it just didn't click for me. There were things I liked about it but much more that didn't do it for me. 

4. With Every Breath by Lia Riley: I AM picky about what romances I like but everything about this book screamed like it would be a ME book but I didn't like this one AT ALLL. I really had high hopes. 

5. The Devil You Know by Trish Doller: I LOVE Trish's other books SO MUCH. Like fave book status. So, even though it wasn't a genre that I rate books very high in, I still wanted to try it because I love her books. It was OKAY. I liked it enough. I read it quickly. But when it's an author whose books YOU LOVE SO MUCH and then it doesn't hit you like the other ones...it's sad. I had really hoped to love it but my feelings were more middle of the road. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday -- All About Romance Freebie

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

This week, in honor of today being Valentine's Day, we are doing an All About Romance freebie & we can't wait to see what you all will come up with!

We are going to sit this one out this week --- busy busy busy for all of us right now and we couldn't get it together to put together a post! I (Jamie) planned to come home and do one but my Galentine's Day  date with my lady friends went wayyyy later than I thought and my pregnant butt is tired.  Another admin note -- I will be updating the upcoming topics within the next day or two!


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Julia's Top Ten Books that should have More Cowbell

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

Top Ten Books I Wish Had (More/Less) X In Them (the original idea came from Andi who suggested top ten books I wish had more kissing which I thought could be fun but also realize it might not be everyone's thing! Could also be top ten books I wish had more diversity in them or top ten books I wish had less violence in them or less romance focus in them or top ten books I wish had more dragons in them. IDK! Have some fun with this one!) 

Julia's Top Ten Books that Should Have More Cowbell

So I had a really, really rough emotion filled, heavy, crazy week last week. Definitely the most emotionally exhausting in recent memory. So when I started to think about this list, I really just wanted to make it about the lolz. So my list is top ten books that I think could be improved by more cowbell. Also for those unfamiliar, here is a link to the SNL sketch

1. Twilight - I know that there is a sizable amount of people who liked Twilight. I didn't dislike the first one all that much, but the subsequent ones were not my cup of tea. What would have made them so? If just in the middle of a random serious scene, cowbell broke out and people started dancing with their sparkle bellies dancing in the moonlight. 

2. Old Skool Romance Novels - For those not up on the lingo, Old skool romance novels are the ones that were sort of light on the woman equality thing and a little more heavy on the ... alphole hero (alpha ahole). So I think if the ladies had been able to just dancing their funky dance to the sound of the cowbell beat, it would have just been amazing. 

3. Lord of the Flies - I think cowbell would have been the only thing that made me remotely enjoy that book. 

4. Dan Brown Books - I would love it if during Robert Langdon's adventures where he is trying to save someone from dying a horrible death by using cryptography and history, there was just a sidekick with a cowbell. 

5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Boring woods scenes? NO LONGER A PROBLEM. Just cast a spell on the cowbell so only you can hear it and dance the night away. 

6. The Princess Bride - The cowbell guy could have been one more villain the Man in Black had to beat before Buttercup could be his. How would he best him? Dance contest. 

7. Any philosophy book I read in college - Kant? Descartes? COWBELL!

8. Any book that is about cowbells - I am sure there is some book about the history of the cowbell. I really want the digital copies to just come with the SNL skit now in all seriousness. 

9. Children's books about cows - A legitimate use! Education!!

10. The memoir of my life - I think I would like it if the book about me just had a whole chapter where it was just a side tangent on cowbell. Fun and 100% true fact. When I was little, my aunt lived with my grandmother. When my grandma wanted to get her daughter's attention, instead of yelling up the stairs she had a cowbell she would ring. It was amazing and I can still hear it today... ah memories. 

Thanks for joining me on non-nonsensical list lane. Link up your lists below and have a wonderful, cowbell themed week. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Top Ten Favorite Visual Books - Picture Books, Comics or Graphic Novels

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

All about the visuals: Top Ten Favorite Graphic Novels/Comics or Ten Comics on My TBR or Top Ten Favorite Picture Books


Julia's Picks:

These are the manga that I was really into in high school or early college
1. Hana-Kimi by Hisaya Nakajo translated by David Ury - I seriously loved Hanakimi. I watched the Taiwaneese drama too. It was about a girl who fell for a high jumper guy on TV so she disguises herself as a boy to go to his school to get to know him. It's ridiculous and awesome. 

2. Love Hina by Ken Akamatsu - A manga I actually finished! I liked this one a lot. If i recall it was about a guy in college studying and living with a bunch of women. I just remember it being hilarious. 

3. Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya translated by Alethea Nibley - I never actually finished this series, but I was really enjoying it. It's about these twelve guys who are all tied to a member of the zodiac, and there is a cat who got left out. And somehow the main girl fits in... it's been a while. But I actually one day want to go back and finish this.

Here are some of my favorite picture dominated kid's books to get for my cousin's kids 
4. Press Here by Hervé Tullet translated by Christopher Franceschelli - I love this book. It is so simple in its concept. There is a circle, then you press it, turn the page and now there is two circles. My 3 - 6 year old cousins adore it. I get it for everyone I know who has kids. (Jamie co-signs this one!!)

5. Maps by Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinksi - I got this book for my 7 year old cousin on his birthday. He wasnt as excited as normal about a book he could not read, but in talking my cousin later, he apparently loves going back to it and being like "look how many countries are in Africa". There was an older cousin at his birthday that I think would be the perfect age for a book like this, she was about 10 - 12. But it a really cool book with great visuals from around the world. 

Jana's Pick:

6. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson - I love the snark and the feisty heroine. The story is also super entertaining, being both funny and even tender in places. Plus the illustrations are so well done and show so much emotion!

Jamie's Picks:

7. Saga by Brian K Vaughn: I cannot get enough of this comic series!!!!! Sci-fi goodness!!

8.  Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughn: Yes I am a bit of a Brian K. Vaughn fangirl apparently.  Sci-fi, set in the 80's, kickass ladies. 

Kimberly's Picks:

9. Red River Chie Shinohara  -- I wasn't wild about the art style at first but soon fell in love with the characters and the story. The character development is absolutely incredible. MA warning.

10. Naussicaa of the Valley of the Wind  -- Love the movie and love the manga even more! Such incredible story telling.

Tell us your fave graphic novels/comics!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday freebie!

Hey y'all! Jamie here this week!

Ever have one of those days where your brain is just NOT working? Yeah? That's been me for the past 4 months basically? In case you missed it on Twitter or my personal blog, I'm pregnant! Not going to lie, it's been ROUGH. The first 3 months had the most terrible morning sickness (my poor husband is a saint tbh and I don't know how we made it through to the other side but we did!) and I've barely blogged or been able to read. I'm feeling MUCH better now that I'm in the second trimester but the thing that has especially been plaguing me is that I feel like my brain has ZERO attention span or power to do anything -- such as reading OR coming up with a clever post for today's freebie.

So for today's freebie I'm just going to share with you the last 10 books that have come into my possession because I literally don't have to think to make that list, which is agreeable to my brain right now, AND I'm hoping maybe you will find some books to add to your TBR.

So let's get to it: the last 10 books that have made their way on my shelves

1. The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord: Emery Lord is one of my ALL TIME favorite authors of YA contemporary (and just in general) and I'm always stoked for a new book from her. It's really fun, having been in this community blogging for 6.5 years, to read an author's debut when it's bran spankin new and then just see them really succeed book after book. I have honestly LOVED every book she's written and it's been a delight to follow her career. I have soooooooo much excitement and hope for this latest!

2. Nemesis by Brendan Reichs: "Orphan Black meets Lord of the Flies in this riveting new thriller from the co-author of the Virals series." I can't help it but I am an absolute sucker for any blurb that says Orphan Black even though I've been burned LOTS (most) of the time to comparisons of things I love.

3. Given To The Sea by Mindy McGinnis: I've read all of Mindy McGinnis's books and they are all SO SO different and wonderful. I believe she can write anything in any genre and I will read it which is why I'm definitely excited for her foray into fantasy!!

4. Confessions of A High School Disaster by Emma Chastain: I'm a sucker for YA books written as diaries a la Jessica Darling.

5. The Shadows We Know By Heart by Jennifer Park: I had never heard of this one before it showed up here but the cover was pretty so I looked it up and I started reading and it starts out sounding good (a girl whose family has been devastated by the grief from losing her brother) but then it mentions that Sasquatch is real and this girl has watched a trio of them behind her house? And there is a human boy who lives with them? I was ready to put it in my "no thank you" pile but then read a review on it that changed my mind to at least check it out.

6. The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr: I'm soooo hit or miss with amnesia/memory loss stories but I always seem to be intrigued by them and this one is no different!

7. Heartstone by Elle Katharine White: "A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice in an imaginative world of wyverns, dragons, and the warriors who fight alongside them against the monsters that threaten the kingdom: gryphons, direwolves, lamias, banshees, and lindworms." UM YES. 

8.  Hearts & Other Body Parts by Ira Bloom: I only know this is a monster book and I'm pretty excited about that as I haven't read MANY monster books.

9. At The Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson: The main character's boyfriend disappears and nobody seems to remember him except Ozzie. It's like he ceases to exist. Color me intrigued!

10.  We Are Okay by Nina LaCour: I love Nina LaCour's books! She is writing some of the best contemporary YA and I'm just so excited for a new one!

Can't wait to see what topics you all come up with! If you think you have a great topic that could be a good one for our future topics for everyone to do (we would credit you and link to your post), leave it in the comments!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Lauren's Most Recent Book Haul

I honestly can't remember the last time I threw together a book haul post, so that must mean it's been too long! Here's a few books I bought over the last couple of weeks. Some were on sale and a couple just caught my eye!

What's in your latest book haul?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Top Ten Underrated/Hidden Gem Books We've Read In The Past Year Or So

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

This Week's Topic
Top Ten Underrated/Hidden Gem Books We've Read In The Past Year Or So

Lauren's Picks

To narrow my list down, I chose books that had less than 500 reviews on Goodreads.

This was one of those crazy ass novels that will make you WANT to lose your mind. I loved it. You'd love it. Read it.

The characters' emotions in this book left me reeling, exhausted, and honestly kind of powerful. No matter what your culture may ask of you, you are your own person and can decide what you want your life to be. 

A novelist who dives deep to catch his next big book break to take care of his family, a cult leader behind bars just giving this father enough to stay interested in his story, and a bored daughter who begins to find this infamous cult leader a tad interesting. Yes, yes, yes... to all the above.

Aren't you already interested just from the title? Yeah, I was too. But this was post-apocalyptic sci-fi at its best. The main characters will break your heart in the best possible way.

Jamie's Picks

5. Iron Cast by Destiny Soria: Out of all the 2016 releases I read I really think this is one that went under the radar! It's a wonderful historical fantasy with two best friends you will absolutely fall in love with! 

6. Walking On Trampolines by Frances Whiting: This is definitely one of the most underrated adult fiction books I read recently. It's such a gem of a novel and if you like rich characters (albeit not always likeable) and lots of complicated friendship and family goodness...pick this one up!

7. Summers At Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn: I read this book in March of 2016 and I just can't stop thinking about it. I want to reread it soon because it really just was the most delightful little fantasy gem. I had picked it up at the library on a whim because I had heard of people talk about Sharon Shinn but I had never heard of this particular novel as one that people talked about. DEFINITELY a hidden gem as it is an older YA fantasy!

8. Little Black Dresses, Little White Lies by Laura Stampler: This is another 2016 release that I think went under the radar and was such a fun underrated romp for me! If you are looking for a light ~chick-lit~ type read in the vein of classic Sophie Kinsella or Meg Cabot...you have to check this one out! 

Kimberly's Picks

9. The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearn: Another audio book gem. Who doesn't love a guy that quotes Shakespeare? The show gets stolen by Oberon every single time. He is hands down my favorite from literature. Not even just a favorite animal, but one of my favorite characters! 

10. Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen : Loose Beauty and the Beast retelling. Trolls. Magic. Mystery. Amazing world building. Banter. Smart, capable lead characters. Enticing romance.  Read it! It's a trilogy and all of the books are out now.

What hidden gems or underrated books have you guys read lately?

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