Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Top Ten Books On Julia's Fall TBR List

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Julia's Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR List

I have been in a reading funk. I have been so busy with other things that my books have taken a sideline to other things. This top ten list I am going to use to get me excited about new to me books this year. Let's see what I can find.

1. Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer: I enjoyed Everything is Illuminated so I would be interested in taking a look at this.

2. Heartless by Marissa Meyer: I loved the Lunar Chronicles so a book about Wonderland and a retelling of the Queen of Hearts. I love her writing so I am checking this out.

3. Summerlong by Peter Beagle: I love Persephone-esque stories. I feel like trying some fantasy may help snap out of my slump.

4. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles: I found this quote about it "about an early-20th-century Russian count sentenced by a Bolshevik tribunal to spend the rest of his life in Moscow's Metropol Hotel" (EW).

5. Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare: I love Tessa Dare. I always devour her so quickly. This one takes us back to her last series so this should be fun. Also I can't help singing this to the tune of "Do you want to build a Snowman" from Frozen...

6. Orphans of the Carnival by Carol Birch: Julia (I already like it... books with my name) is a freak, like the carnival kind, looking for love and takes a love potion. Sounds good enough of a premise right there for me to read it!

7. Love her Madly by M. Elizabeth Lee: This one about two friends going on a trip and one of them disappearing only to turn up years later or something like that is drawing me since I am about to go on a trip with my friend... I just hope neither of us disappears.

8.The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee: Future NYC and a cash of interesting characters it seems. I'll try it.

9. The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman: An abandoned Parisian apartment tells a story to a point I guess of a grandmother and daughter each having to find their own way in different times. My summary sucks. I enjoyed the GR one though haha.

10. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan: What a better ending then a book about books to get me back in the game?

What books are on your Fall TBR? Tell us below!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Lori Talks Reading Resources

I'm always looking for ways to expand my reading horizons, so I thought I'd share a few of the things I'm excited about, even though you've probably already heard of them...

1.  Litsy--This is quickly becoming a favorite app.  It's kind of like Instagram and Facebook, but it's only about books.  You can post a blurb, review, or quote from a book you're reading or seeing in real life, with an accompanying picture.  It tags the book, so you can see who else is reading or has read the book.  You create a stack of books to read.  You can comment and like other people's posts.  It's a lot of fun and a great way to interact with other readers.  Right now the app is only available for iPhones, but I think they are testing it for Android users, which means it will be out for them relatively soon.  You can follow me on Litsy at LLindsey.

2.  Book of the Month--I joined this in the spring.  I love it!  Each month five judges each pick a book.  One is a guest judge.  They all write up a little blurb about what they like about the book, and there is a synopsis.  Then you pick which one you want.  You can add other books too for $9.99 each.  Shipping is free.  You can buy different plans (1 month, 3 months, 12 months) with varying discounts.  You'll get a brand new hardcover book for less than retail.  This club has gotten me to pick books I never would have thought about getting or reading before.  If you don't like any of the selections, you can skip a month.  They also frequently send a cool goody with it--last month I got a wine glass koozie!

3.  Serial Reader app--I had been hearing about this one for a while before i decided to dive in.  Each day you'll get sent a short part of a classic of your choice.  It's free.  However, if you pay $2.99, you can skip ahead in the books, which is good if you've started a massive classic and just can't bring yourself to lug around the tome because you can skip on ahead to halfway through pretty easily.  I thought it would be a great way to read Moby-Dick...but I think the problem might be with the book because I just...ugh.  However, I will definitely use this app to read other classics in short, digestible bits.

Do you have any cool reading apps or websites?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday -- All About Audio Freebie

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Today's topic:  All About Audio freebie --  aka top ten audiobooks you should listen to, 10 books I want to listen to on audio,10 bands you should check out, 10 podcasts you should be listening to, 10 of my all time favorite albums, 10 songs I love, really whatever you can come up with.

Lauren and Daisy are going to be talking about some of the audiobooks they've really enjoyed!

Lauren's Picks

1 -- The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey: I think I would have loved this book even if I didn't listen to the audio version, but the narrator was perfect. Every character's personality shown through like a beam of light in a forest full of ancient trees. 

2 -- The Passage by Justin Cronin: I'll admit, I listened to the audio version of this book because I didn't want to haul around a Harry Potter-sized book in my purse everywhere I went. Turns out... it was definitely a good call! The book started just a little slow, but quickly picked up the pace and the narrator kept the ball rolling. I loved this one so much that I listened to the sequel, The Twelve, on audiobook as well.

3 -- Wool by Hugh Howey: Oh c'mom now... you all knew a Hugh Howey book would be on my list! :) I read the book first, then loved it so much I tried the audio version maybe a year later so I could relive the amazing-ness that is Wool. I was not disappointed. 

4 -- California by Edan Lepucki: I could feel ALL THE EMOTIONS of the characters in this novel... all relayed from the narrator to me. I felt connected and as if I was literally walking in their shoes, well... if the characters had shoes at the time. :)

5-The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima narrated by CarolMonda- This was one of the first audiobooks I listened to. After a few quick searches for "best audibooks" I came across this title. It sounded intriguing and had great reviews. So I bought it! SO SO good! I've listened to the whole series three times.

6- The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling) narrated by Robert Glenister- I downloaded this somewhere between its release and the revelation that this was JK writing under a pen name. I don't think I'd started it before I found out. It's such a great book. I love mysteries, but far too often the characters become unimportant next to the story. They're flat and uninteresting. Not these characters! They are fully formed, vividly imagined and magnetic. I read for them as much as the "who done it".

7- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern- JIM DALE. Honestly, I didn't even care what the story was. I saw that Jim Dale was the narrator and hit "buy". I absolutely adore this man, I will listen to anything he reads. The story is intriguing, I kept getting pulled back in. I did get lost every once in a while with the time changes, but didn't get so confused that I wasn't enjoying the story.

8- Sabriel by Garth Nix- IT'S NARRATED BY TIM CURRY. Need I say more? Okay. So he's absolutely amazing. I could not turn it off! And I'd already read them once before! I love this series. The action! The characters! The worldbuilding!!

9- Hounded (The Iron Druid Chronicles) by Kevin Hearn narratedby Luke Daniels- This is a new discovery. (Thanks Carrie!) These books are HILARIOUS. As in a true "laugh out loud" brand of funny. (I've had to explain myself to my coworkers more than once.) The stories are fun, the characters are hilarious and endlessly loveable. One in particular takes the cake. OBERON. Seriously. Read it just for him. And his Purloined Poodles.

10- Illuminae: The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff narrated by Olivia Taylor Dudley, Lincoln Hoppe, and Jonathan McClain, with a FULL CAST- This book was meant to be an audiobook. It was a great story, but the cast is what MADE it. I was enthralled by this story. Completely captivated by the characters and their struggles and motivations. Even if you've already read this one, check out the audio. You won't regret it!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Daisy's Thoughts About Reading The Mortal Instruments After the Hype (and watching the TV show)

I have an amazing book club and the last weekend of August we had a sleepover (which was AWESOME obviously) and one of the things we did was watch a lot of bad tv. Which is always better with friends who give snarky commentary for obvious reasons. So we watched the first 5 episodes of Shadowhunters and because I was like what the heck is going on??? (because there was a significant lack of explaining things in a manner that wasn't making my head hurt) I decided it was time to finally read the first book in the series.

And I ended up liking it, but I remember when this series had just come out and the obsession was of somewhat Harry Potter proportions. But I'm kinda liking reading this when not everyone and their great aunt it talking about it, because now I can just make my way through it (probably slowly with spaces of time in between) without all of the opinions hitting me in the face and influencing the experience. Don't get me wrong, I sometimes LOVE all the excitement that surround the release of books, especially if it's for a series that I'm loving and am also not behind on. But it creates all these expectations and then when the book actually DOESN'T live up to all the buzz, it's a disappointment that I feel more than when I hadn't been hearing all of those things before starting it.

It's fun though to think back to what was all over the blogosphere back then and all the swooning over Jace and other boys and how everyone was basically pining for the next book. Starting a series when it's already finished is also a whole different feeling than when you know you're going to have to wait a year in between reading them, even when they end on a cliffhanger. ESPECIALLY if they end on a cliffhanger.


So, am I the only one who hasn't read this yet or just the first book? What's holding you back or what is making you excited to finally start it? Are there any other books that you've read way after the initial release that had a LOT of hype?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Our Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Mysteries

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

This week we are talking about our ALL TIME favorite books from the mystery genre!

Jamie's Picks

1 -- Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas: If you like your mystery to be a twisty psychological thriller type that feels like it is ripped right from the headlines, you have to check out Dangerous Girls! This one really pulled me in til the very last word!! Little bit of Amanda Knox mixed with the Natalie Holloway spring break story. This spring break trip gone wrong seriously had me on the edge of my seat.

2 -- My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier: I have loved both My Cousin Rachel and Rebecca from this author (still need to read more of hers) but if you are into Gothic mysteries...this author is one of the best in my opinion!

3 -- A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis: Looking for a historical mystery/thriller? This one is also perfect for fall because the setting is just so transporting into this dark and cold asylum. Plus the writing was really great!

4 -- Far From You by Tess Sharpe: If you really enjoy contemporary YA and want to dip your toes into the mystery genre, this is one I highly recommend for that! You'll find yourself so emotionally involved in this quest to find out if Mina's murder really was random like they are saying it is.

5 -- The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: The pitch for this book was Veronica Mars meets Scandal and I totally thought this was a pretty decent comparison!! I devoured this book like no other -- DC political scene + twisty thrills.

Julia's Pick

6 -- And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie: I don't read a lot of mysteries anymore, but I adored this book when I read it in high school. I always recommend people give it a read. It's super quick and entertaining.

Kimberly's Pick

7 -- Cormoran Strike Series by Robert Gailbraith (aka J.K. Rowling): I found this series BEFORE J.K. was outed as being the author. I've always loved mysteries. These books take your typical mystery novels to the next level. Intriguing stories, complex characters, rich dialogue, J.K.'s wonderful storytelling... Oh! Also, the audio books are fantastic!

Lauren's Picks

8 -- The Fold by Peter Clines: Granted, this is more of a sci-fi novel, but it is definitely a mystery as well as a thriller! You just never know what is going to happen next.

9 -- Dark Matter by Blake Crouch: This might have been my first Blake Crouch book, but the twist & turns had me on the edge of my seat the entire time I read this book. Not once did I know what would be waiting around the corner.

10 -- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: This novel was a complete mystery. The narrator's entire mind was a mystery. While I'm not looking forward to the movie because well... it's another movie based off of a book, I will keep this roller coaster of a novel close and ready pick up up again someday.

What are some of your favorite mysteries?? 
Also, tell us what genre you chose in the comments!
Look for new thrillers and mysteries? This is a great list of upcoming and new thrillers.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Lauren Reviews A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry

A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry
Published: April 2016 by Algonquin Young Readers
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 3 Stars

Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl -- Isabel, the one the señoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family’s Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill.

Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives on the mainland most of the year but spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico. He’s grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers -- and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But time is running out for the girl filled with poison, and the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.

The Caribbean island setting of this book was the first thing to catch my eye... then add a mysterious local folklore involving a cursed girl and I just snatched this one up. A girl with green skin and green hair that sustains herself by eating poisonous plants in Puerto Rico is the local legend that keeps everyone away from the house she supposedly lived in. A house surrounded by walls, full of plants. Who was she? Or better yet... who is she? 

Lucas has always been drawn to the story of the cursed girl. After he starts getting notes from her, he can't resist and climbs the wall to her house. This is the start of a whirlwind journey to very unexpected places, and to meet the cursed girl.

I enjoyed the atmosphere and culture this book offered. The descriptions of the island, the weather, the buildings... it all really drew me into the book. The plot was a little off for me unfortunately. It was predictable, but the author still kept me reading. I honestly think it was the ending that got me. I feel like it could have went so many ways, but instead it felt hurried and was tied neatly with a bow. However, I do think if you're looking for something fresh and full of rich culture that is short and sweet... you will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Daisy's Top Ten Shows From Her Childhood

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This week's topic: In honor of Fall Tv, do a tv-themed topic!

I'm feeling nostalgic and am doing Top Ten TV Shows of my childhood (AKA anything aired in the 90s) (keep in mind that I was between 3 and 13 years old during this time).

1. Full House: This series is one of my favourites and I'm actually in the middle of doing a re-watch of it (yay for Netflix) and I just love it! The dynamic between Danny, Jesse and Joey and the girls is so much fun and as a kid I totally identified with Michelle cause she was about the same age I was but also thinking DJ was SO cool. I'm also watching Fuller House btw.

2. The Secret World of Alex Mack: I remember totally loving this series, but aside from her her turning invisible/liquid and being chased because of her new powers, I don't really remember much of it other than that it was just a lot of fun.

3. Sweet Valley High: the 'good' twin and the 'bad' twin and all the shenanigans they got up to! I only discovered a couple of years ago that it's a book series, I really need to find myself a copy some day!

4. Saved by the Bell: SO MUCH FUN!! I mean, there were ships and boys to crush on! (you cannot tell me I was the only one with a crush on Zack) I'm not much of a fan of the follow up series with a new cast, cause it just wasn't the same.

5. Xena Warrior Princess: What can I say, I already loved mythology from a young age and was more into Xena than the Hercules show because girls kicking ass is awesome any day.

6. Ovide: Animals gettings up to all kinds of things on a deserted island. The intro music alone is awesome and stuck in my head now for days.

7. The Nanny: Just all of it: Fran, the kids, Mr. Sheffield, NILES. Loved it.

8. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Because OBVIOUSLY!! I mean, hello one of my favourite series ever! I should continu my rewatch of this.

9. Charmed: Witches are my jam. And these sisters are awesome, though I still prefer Prue to Paige. I loved this so much I even wrote a Harry Potter/Charmed crossover fanfic in the very early 2000s.

10. Popular: The bitchiness, the shenanigans, the ships (HARRISON) and then the SAD SAD SAD that it ended after only 2 seasons on the world's biggest cliffhanger. *sad sigh*

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Lori Talks Reading Habits

Reading is a very personal experience--we all know that.  Reading is so internalized that two people can read the same book in completely divergent ways.  Every reader has their own quirks and habits as well.  And they are so much fun to read about.  Some are fairly standard, like bringing a book everywhere, just in case.  Others are a bit more controversial, like dog-earing pages.  Here are a couple of mine.

After I finish reading a book, I always sign my name and date it.  This is a habit I started a few years ago after reading about it in some article I read.  I thought it was a really interesting way of marking finality.  Almost as though the book doesn't really belong to you until you finish it and have internalized the story.  Needless to say, there are a bunch of books that I've read multiple times, but haven't re-read since I've begun signing my books, so they remain unsigned.  I also love how the date kind of helps keep track of what I've read and when.  The writer of the article mentioned the first book she read on her honeymoon, when she was able to write her new last name on the inside cover.  It's fun to note the milestones!

Lately, I've been shoving books at people--my dad, my very good friend, and a woman who goes to the Elks Lodge who asked me about what I was reading at the pool one day this summer.  They all get books that are signed and dated and I've wondered whether any of them have considered signing their name as well.  I wouldn't be mad if they did.  I'd think it was really interesting, kind of a record of whose hands the book has passed through when I may ultimately decide to get rid of it.  And then the next person who owns it might sign their name and so on...

Another habit of mine is that I've been putting the books I've finished in this big box in the bottom of the coat closet.  I don't know why really.  At some point since moving, I ran out of shelf space, so I needed somewhere to put the books I'd finished.  But I've gotten another shelf, so I would have room for these books again.  I kind of like putting them away after I finish them though.  I think it will be fun to eventually fill the box and then look back on what I've read, and how long it's taken me to fill it.

I've recently decided that I don't really like reviewing books.  Plus I have a hard time talking with substance about a book--the parts I liked, the parts I didn't, even the technical, craft of it--without spoilers.  And I don't read enough books quickly to be able to have a post of a couple of sentences on each book.  That's why I like Litsy.  I can post about the book while I'm reading it.  I can write a few sentences and I feel like I have contributed something.  No, I really very much prefer writing about bookish topics instead (and I'm so glad I get to do that here!).

Lastly, I sometimes feel like I've found a lucky bookmark.  If it's been a while since I've finished a book, but then I totally fly through a book, I'll decide that the bookmark has good juju, so I'll use it on the next book or two that I read.  Then, eventually, I'll pass into a period of not finishing many books in a while, so I'll stop using that bookmark.  (OK--one more--I'll use just about anything for a bookmark, even a gum wrapper)

What about you?  What are some of your reading habits?

Friday, September 2, 2016

3 Recently Released Historical Fiction Books On Jamie's TBR

Historical fiction has always been one of my favorite genres and I've been really excited about some of the recently released and upcoming offerings in the genre!  I haven't been reading that much over the summer so I'm excited to dive into a few I've been meaning to get to. Here are three that released this summer that are on my TBR list just waiting for me to get to.

1. Girls In the Afternoon by Serena Burdick: Paris + Belle Epoque era + wealthy family with secrets + art + scandal + reuniting with someone you loved but who had disappeared = YES PLEASE. I will devour this.

"Born into a wealthy Parisian family at the center of Belle Epoque society, 18-year-old Aimée Savaray dreams of becoming a respected painter in the male-dominated art world; and secretly, she also dreams of being loved by Henri, the boy her parents took in as a child and raised alongside her.

But when Henri inexplicably disappears, in the midst of the Franco-Prussian war, the Savarays’ privileged lives begin to unravel. Heartbroken, Aimée tries to find him, but Henri doesn’t want to be found—and only one member of the family knows why.

As Aimée seeks refuge in the art world, mentored by the Impressionist Édouard Manet, she unwittingly finds her way back to Henri. With so many years gone by and secrets buried, their eventual reunion unmasks the lies that once held the family together, but now threaten to tear them apart."


2. Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford: I love reading about badass women who pioneer the way for other women and this book is about a (fictional) character who finds a job as a secretary at the newly formed British Broadcasting Company in 1926 and ends up working closely with Hilda Matheson, who was a very real person and director/#ladyboss of the time at the BBC, who together unearth a shocking conspiracy that they know MUST be heard and could have dire consequences.

"The Great War is over, and change is in the air, in this novel that brings to life the exciting days of early British radio…and one woman who finds her voice while working alongside the brilliant women and men of the BBC.

London, 1926. American-raised Maisie Musgrave is thrilled to land a job as a secretary at the upstart British Broadcasting Corporation, whose use of radio—still new, strange, and electrifying—is captivating the nation. But the hectic pace, smart young staff, and intimidating bosses only add to Maisie’s insecurity.

Soon, she is seduced by the work—gaining confidence as she arranges broadcasts by the most famous writers, scientists, and politicians in Britain. She is also caught up in a growing conflict between her two bosses, John Reith, the formidable Director-General of the BBC, and Hilda Matheson, the extraordinary director of the hugely popular Talks programming, who each have very different visions of what radio should be. Under Hilda’s tutelage, Maisie discovers her talent, passion, and ambition. But when she unearths a shocking conspiracy, she and Hilda join forces to make their voices heard both on and off the air…and then face the dangerous consequences of telling the truth for a living."

3. The Tumbling Turner Sisters by Juliette Fay: When their father is unable to work after a work injury, four sisters embark on the adventure of a life time to work and provide for their family on the vaudeville stage as acrobatic performers. Love a good sister book plus any book that takes place in a circus or performing type setting is a go in my book!

"In 1919, the Turner sisters and their parents are barely scraping by. Their father is a low-paid boot-stitcher in Johnson City, New York, and the family is always one paycheck away from eviction. When their father’s hand is crushed and he can no longer work, their irrepressible mother decides that the vaudeville stage is their best—and only—chance for survival.

Traveling by train from town to town, teenagers Gert, Winnie, and Kit, and recent widow Nell soon find a new kind of freedom in the company of performers who are as diverse as their acts. There is a seamier side to the business, however, and the young women face dangers and turns of fate they never could have anticipated. Heartwarming and surprising, The Tumbling Turner Sisters is ultimately a story of awakening—to unexpected possibilities, to love and heartbreak, and to the dawn of a new American era."

Are there any recent historical releases you plan to read or that you have read that should be on my radar? 


Thursday, September 1, 2016

August Faves & September TBR

It's that time! HOW IS AUGUST OVER? As a lover of summer I always get a little sad once back to school time/September rolls around. HOWEVER, I'm very happy to talk about the best books we read in August and what we are planning to read in September.

Best of August


Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand -- I don't normally read MG fiction but OH MAN. This was so fantastic and I'm glad I finally got around to reading it. It was just magical and perfect. You can check out more of my thoughts about it here.


The Martian by Andy Weir -- I didn't actually read this in August. I think I read it in the Spring, but I know I hadn't included it on one of these lists yet, and since I am still trudging through my one book I read this August, I decided to link it. I really liked this book. It was better than the movie, and the movie was amazing. Such a great read if you like SciFi, but not so unapproachable if you don't normally read it.


Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier -- I'm so, so late to this party, but OMG IT WAS AMAZING!! I need the second book like now.


The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood -- Holy shit. Atwood did it again! I have a quote from another novel of hers tattooed on my arm and all I'm going to say is it looks like I'm going to have to make another appointment at the tattoo parlor!

September TBR


Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas is 100% my number 1 on my TBR for September but I wanted to add another one!

Kids of Appetite by David Arnold -- I loooooved David Arnold's debut novel, Mosquitoland, and am SUPER pumped to read this!


Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: I am sort of obsessed with my upcoming trip to Rome/Paris. And all I want to do is read books about them, fiction and non. So I feel like back when we started this blog, everyone enjoyed this book. I'd like to read it too.


I second Jamie's Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas but also:

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo: This is one of my most anticipated reads for all of 2016, Six of Crows was AMAZING and I cannot wait for this sequel because MORE OF KAZ AND EVERYONE and I have 3 ships that I need to see happen.


Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton -- I have been itching to read this one. And now it's all mine! 

What are the best books you read in August? What's on your TBR for September?
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