Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Back To School Freebie

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

This week's topic: Back To School Freebie -- anything "back to school" related like 10 favorite books I read in school, books I think should be required reading, Required Reading For All Fantasy Fans, required reading for every college freshman, Books to Pair With Classics or Books To Complement A History Lesson, books that would be on my classroom shelf if I were a teacher

Required Reading For All Science Fiction Fans

Our resident sci-fi lover, Lauren, picked "Required Reading For All Science Fiction Fans" as our spin on this topic...we'd love to see what science fiction books you'd add to this "curriculum"!

Lauren's Picks

In a perfect world, I'd teach a class solely about the evolution of the science fiction genre over the years, so it is only fitting that I make a list of Required Reading for all Science Fiction Fans. :)

1 -- Pure by Julianna Baggott: This was one of my first YA sci-fi favorites and marked the beginning of my lifelong love of all things dystopian.

2 -- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: This may not be a YA novel, but it is easy on the eyes. I believe it calls not only to the men (video games, of course), but to us gamer girls out there, as well as those of us who just enjoy reading what the future may very well hold for us.

3 -- The Fold by Peter Clines: The genre is not called sci-fi for nothing! This book was full of all the science... the kind that would make most of our brains implode, but it was written to understand, but also so that we would be on the edge of our seats... waiting for what would happen next.

4 -- Dark Matter by Blake Crouch: Another non-YA sci-fi book, Lauren? Why yes. Any book lover has always found a way to read banned books throughout history, so why stop because a book isn't stocked in your high school library? And every sci-fi lover knows there's got to be at least one Blake Crouch novel in this section.

5 -- Beacon 23 by Hugh Howey: If you've been here at TB&TB before, then you know of my love of Hugh Howey, so any book by him on my list will not be of any surprise. BUT... he did it again with this one. All alone in space, manning a beacon to keep others safe, a main character struggles with reality as well as with himself. This novel trumps some of the best and I know I'd end my school year with this book.

Jamie's Picks 

6. Saga by Brian K. Vaughn: I would definitely add Saga to this curriculum to explore sci-fi in the comics world because Saga is literally the only comic I have managed to be up-to-date with. It's such a great sci-fi space opera series...I cannot recommend it enough!

7. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: I feel like a classic sci-fi book needs to be on the list and this would be my choice because it's excellent and honestly really funny!

8.  A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L'Engle: Oh man, one of my favorite books as a kid! I feel like any science fiction required reading list would be remiss if it didn't include this children's classic in the science fiction realm. 

9. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer:  If we were going to explore some modern YA science fiction I would certainly add this series! 

10. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey: I'd add in another YA science fiction in modern pop culture with The 5th Wave! 

Tell us what science fiction reads would be on YOUR list!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Ten Books That Have Been On Your Shelf (Or TBR) From Before You Started Blogging

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This week's topic:  Ten Books That Have Been On Your Shelf (Or TBR) From Before You Started Blogging That You STILL Haven't Read Yet

We started this blog back in 2010 (though a few of our writers jumped in later!) so most of these books are books we've owned/are on our TBR since before 2010.

Jamie's List of Shame 

1.  East of Eden by John Steinbeck: Literally have meant to read this one when I bought it in 2008 at a used book sale. I've read other books from Steinbeck but this one is just so huuuuge I haven't gotten to it STILL.

2. A Great And Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray: I didn't read YA back when I bought this (nor did I really know that YA was a thing) at a used book sale but it looked interesting and still it's sat on my shelf unread.

3. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls: I had heard amazing things about this one and was thrilled when I had found it at a used book sale (running theme here huh?) and it has remained shamefully unread on my shelves.

Books Currently Shaking Their Heads at Jana

My tastes have changed a lot over the last two years, plus I've been blogging for like a million years now so I've lost interest in most of the titles I wanted to read before I was a blogger. That makes this tricky for me!

4. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullogh: My mom loves this book and I've seen the mini-series, and thought it was very well done. I bought the book eons ago, and it sits on my shelf unread year after year!

5. Stolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher: I keep thinking and thinking about this book. After eyeing it for years, I finally got it from a Scholastic book order back when I was still teaching. I almost got it on Audible last night because I thought maybe I'd be more tempted to read it. I don't know what my problem is! It sounds amazing, and I love kidnapping stories. I need to read it soon.

6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Basically, this is a right of passage for me. I love the BBC mini-series, but I worry about reading the book because of the language. I've heard it's a little hard to get into. But I am GOING to do this! I need to read more classics!

SHAME, so much shame (with the bell), Daisy's list:

7. The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel: I've been meaning to read this FOREVER and I have almost the entire series sitting on my shelf and it's just not happening. One of the reasons that I want to read this is that my grandmother loved this series, but this also makes it extra hard to start it because what if I don't?

8. The Season by Sarah MacLean: I read Sarah MacLean's historical romance and then discovered she also had a YA novel and then... I just never read it. But I love her writing, so I should get on this!

9. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: This series sounds like it would be a very me kinda series, but the sheer size of this is SO daunting! But it's gonna happen. One day.

10. Beautiful Creatures by Kamia Garcia & Margaret Stohl: I added this back in the day when a lot of YA in this genre was coming out and then I just never read it for some reason. I hear so many mixed things about it, but I own the full series, so I should just really get on starting it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Ten Books With Settings We'd Love To Visit

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This week's topic is: Top Ten Books With X Setting (top ten books set near the beach, top ten book set in boarding school, top ten books set in England, etc)

We decided we'd love to talk about books that are set in places we'd love to visit!

Jamie's Picks

1. Crystal Cove, CA // Moonglass by Jessi Kirby: One of the many things I love about this YA
contemporary is the beach setting of Crystal Cove which is real and if you follow Jessi Kirby on Instagram you know why she nails the beach town setting in this book -- she lives this amazing beach life! It seems like a lovely place to go and relax and I SO want to actually travel there one day.

2. Naples, Italy // My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante: I've been to Rome and Florence but there is sooooo much of Italy I want to explore and reading My Brilliant Friend this year definitely made me want to visit Naples soooo badly.

3. Jackson Hole, Wyoming // Unearthly series by Cynthia Hand: I had a friend from college who grew up in Jackson Hole and I became obsessed with it and added it to my travel bucket list. While I was reading this fantastic paranormal YA trilogy, I felt this even more strongly. You really feel transported reading this one!

Julia's Picks
4. Paris, France // Perfume: The Story of a Murder by Patrick Suskind: I read this a while back but loved the book. It's set in like 19th century Paris if I recall correctly. It's actually one of the few books that I have read set in France. But I am so excited to go there soon, I just had to include something. Plus I really liked this book.

5. New York City // The Bridge by Rebecca Rogers Maher: This book isn't one that you would normally see on this list, considering it's a story about two people who meet on the Brooklyn Bridge while both are trying to commit suicide. The story is each person trying to convince the other that life is worth living over the course of 24hrs. I really enjoyed this story and setting it in NYC made me want to go back and do a real trip there (not just a work trip) so badly.

6. Guilin, China // The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham: So I lived in China when I was
studying abroad, but I lived in the west (near all the pandas), but one place I wanted to see that I didn't get to was South Eastern China, specifically Guilin with the mountains the look like big hills with the rivers that run through them. I love the pictures of that area so much. That is pretty much where most of The Painted Veil took place. A great book and a great movie!

7. St. Petersburg, Russia // The Jewel of St. Petersburg by Kate Furnivall: Russia has been on my bucketlist for as long as I can remember. This book was the one that pushed it into "Why can't I be there now?!" territory. I love books set in turn of the century Russia. This one was one I read and just adored.

8. Atlanta, Georgia // Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: I haven't been to much of the South. I mean, I have hit up a lot of the beach cities along the cost, but if you look at my filled in map of America, the South is definitely what I am missing the most of. I remember reading Gone with the Wind and really wanted to experience some of that old world. I want to go to Atlanta for a lot of reasons, but one of them is because of the history that's tied to it.

Lauren's Picks

9.  Puerto Rico // A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry: I've never been to an island, but if I ever get a chance, I'd love to visit Puerto Rico. The rich heritage and colorful characteristics in this book gives a new life to the lifestyle. Heck, I'll just move there.

10. Oxford, England // A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: I don't want, I HAVE to
visit Oxford Bodleian Library. Can anyone just waltz in there? If not, I'll start working out and 007 myself in.

What settings have you read that YOU want to travel to?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Julia Reviews A Duke to Remember by Kelly Bowen

Title/Author: A Duke to Remember by Kelly Bowen
Publisher/Year Published: July 2016 by Forever
How I got this book: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: I enjoyed the first book so I wanted to see if I would still enjoy the second
Rating: 4 stars

Elise deVries is not what she seems. By night, the actress captivates London theatergoers with her chameleon-like ability to slip inside her characters. By day, she uses her mastery of disguise to work undercover for Chegarre & Associates, an elite agency known for its discreet handling of indelicate scandals. But when Elise is tasked with locating the missing Duke of Ashland, she finds herself center stage in a real-life drama.
Noah Ellery left the glamour of the London aristocracy to pursue a simpler life in the country. He's managed to avoid any complications or entanglements—that is, until he lays eyes on Elise and realizes there's more to this beautiful woman than meets the eye. But when Elise reveals her real identity—and her true feelings for him—the runaway duke must confront the past he left behind . . . to keep the woman he loves forever.

I’ve read quite a few historical romances at this point, so it always surprises me when I find a new and interested take on the stories. Elise is for all intents and purposes a spy for hire, trying to find a man who has been missing for years and presumed dead. And she needs to find him before he becomes actually dead.  The story isn’t all the search though, which is what I was expecting, but getting him to come back and then dealing with the actual problem, the cousin trying to overtake the dukedom.

The characters are really lively and jump off the page. I wasn’t a huge fan of the insta love sort of scenario, but I enjoyed them trying to work through their feelings and figuring out how to make their happily ever after a reality.

Elise was probably my favorite though. She is not the normal historical miss, but someone with a unique skillset that you actually get to see at work.

I am hoping this series continues as I am really interested in a few of the side characters. I definitely think this is a book worth the read, even if you didn’t read book one (check out my review here!).

Thanks to Forever for the early release copy. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday REWIND

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

Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday! This week we are breaking out the Top Ten Tuesday Rewind topic for you to revisit a topic you did years ago or one you never got to do back then! Jamie has started compiling a spreadsheet of every topic over the past 6 years that might be helpful. It's incomplete as of right now but hope to get it up to date.

Here at TTT headquarters we are going to use this week's Rewind as a much needed mini vacation from TTT but we will back next week with a list curated by the group! Can't wait to see what topics you guys revisit this week!!

Friday, August 5, 2016

What Lori Has Been Reading This Week

With school being out of session this summer, my reading has been on fire.  I've read a ton of great books in the past few months and I'm disappointed that the break is coming to an end.  But I'm hopeful that my reading will continue.

This week I started The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan.  I'm really enjoying it so far.  My favorite characters are Delphine, the French woman whose relationship is in a shambles, and Kate, the one who refuses to marry her longtime partner.  Those two characters are, thus far, the most interesting and complex.  This one has been on my radar since before it came out in 2013, so I'm very glad to finally be getting to it.

Since it's almost time for back to school, I've been thinking about clothes a lot.  I've been consulting a couple of my favorite clothing books so I can make sure I've got what I truly need.  A while back, I decided to pare down my wardrobe and also primarily focus on wearing black, white, and gray.  I can get dressed so much more quickly because I don't have to think when I get dressed.  I recently decided to add navy blue to the mix as neutrals.  In my opinion, How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are, by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, and Sophie Mas, and Lessons from Madame Chic, by Jennifer L. Scott, are two of the best (though they both cover WAY more than just what to buy).  They both cause me to focus on what I want and need to round out my closet, which makes shopping infinitely easier.  I still look at all the wares because something else might catch my eye, but I'm not in a frenzied state, buying a ton of items I really can't afford.

I've also been in an organizing mood lately.  I haven't actually done a whole lot of organizing, but I've been thinking about it.  This means that I'll probably be pulling out one of my favorite lifestyle guides, Maria Menounos's The EveryGirl's Guide to Life.  This one covers a lot of areas to be organized, like your home and your office.  I usually wind up consulting it before the start of every school year, when I'm still hopeful that my life won't be a hot mess.  I keep meaning to read The Art of Getting Things Done, but I just freeze every time I start.  Maybe I need to find a digest version.

I have a few things incoming that I'm looking forward to--Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Siracusa by Delia Ephron.  Homegoing is one that I've been hearing a lot about recently.  I've heard that the novel brings you from Africa through the antebellum South and into the Harlem Renaissance, which I think is really interesting.  I love lengthy sagas.  Americanah is one that I've bought before, but I can't remember whether I donated it or if it's still at my parents' house.  So I went ahead and ordered a new copy.  If my old copy shows up, I'll pass it along to a friend.  And Siracusa is the Book of the Month that I selected.  I know nothing about it other than what is written on the Book of the Month Club website.  I loved Nora Ephron, but have never read anything by her sister, Delia, so I want to give it a try.  I've heard that it has some mixed reviews, so we'll see.  I'm hoping to finish The Engagements by the time it arrives.

What have you been reading lately?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

July Faves & August TBR

HOW IS IT AUGUST ALREADY? I AM IN COMPLETE DISBELIEF. Anybody else feeling like "where has the summer gone??" Anywho, time for a few of us to talk about the best books we read in July and what we plan to read in August. 

July Faves

Jamie's  Pick

The Memory Book by Lara Avery --- soooo sad but really good!

Julia's  Pick

A Duke to Remember by Stacey Bowen - I really enjoyed this one. The series is surprisingly compelling and unique. This story's characters were compelling, had some great attraction, and kept me interested even after my short flights landed. 

Lori's Pick

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion--OK, technically I finished this one on August 1, but this post is going up on the 3rd and this one was just so amazing.  Didion talks about the year after her husband passed and how she did and didn't cope.  Very revealing look at a great marriage.

Jana's  Pick

The Woman in Cabin 10

The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware was super suspenseful and takes place in a pretty awesome location: a luxury boutique cruise ship in the North Sea. I flew through this one, and really enjoyed it!
August TBR

Jamie's Pick

Results May Vary by Bethany Chase: It sounds like something I'd really like so I'm really looking forward to it!

Julia's Pick

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith - Actually just started reading it! I'm excited to finally get around to reading it!

Lori's Pick

The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan--I started this one last night.  I've been wanting to read it for a few years.  I don't remember a lot of what I've heard about it, but I remember that it's really good and has great characters and clearly described relationships.

Jana's Pick

A Week of Mondays

I'm reading A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody, and it's cute a light and fun for summer!

Tell us your fave book you read in July and the #1 on your list for August!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Ten Books We'd Buy Right This Second If Someone Handed You A Fully Loaded Gift Card

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Daisy's Picks

Basically, I'd just buy all the books, but I'm particularly wanting these:

SO much love for this book!! I'd love to own a pretty hardcover, but it's kinda expensive at the moment, but I'd buy it in a second with a gift card :)

Cinda Williams Chima is AMAZING and I LOVE that she wrote another book set in this world even though part of it broke my heart in tiny tiny pieces, but I NEED THIS PRETTY COVER IN MY LIFE! 

Of course I already own a pretty hardcover of this book, but the illustrated edition is perfection and is sadly not sitting on my shelf yet.

Jamie's Picks 

And I Darken by Kiersten White
This came out this summer and I really want to check out this YA fantasy! I've heard great things.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara 
I was number like 1 billion on the library holds for this one and it FINALLY came in and then I didn't have time the week I had it for to actually get to it so I'd buy it so I wouldn't have to wait for the hold to come in again. 

Julia's Picks

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
I completely forgot this was a thing that was happening. And now I want to read it. Like yesterday.

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
I loved this book when I was little and I have always wanted to own it to read at my leisure as an adult, and hopefully one day share with my family.

All of the London Steampunk Books by Bec McMaster
I've loved this series, but most of the books I took out from the library. I'd love to have these at least as ebooks to reread at will!

The last few Maiden Lane series books by Elizabeth Hoyt
Apparently I am more behind in that series than I thought... oh well! Binge reading a series is just as good as binge watching a Netflix show.

A really nice annotated version of Paradise Lost by John Milton
I don't know which version really, but I know I want to read this, and I know I want to be able to understand the allusions and literary mythological references that he weaves into the story, hence needing a good foot-note laden copy.

What books would be on your top priority list of books to buy?

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