Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books On My Spring TBR

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR.

1. Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis: I read the first few chapters via Penguin’s First to Read program and am dying to find out what happens in the rest of the book. Thankfully there’s less than a month until its release!

2. The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron: I finally bought a copy of this purportedly hysterical tale about a smooth-talking wizard/thief, which has been on my TBR for a while.

3. The Witch of Painted Sorrow by M.J. Rose: One of my best friends read this book and loved it, so I picked up a copy from the local library. I don’t reach much adult fiction, but I’ve heard great things about this author and am excited to give her a shot.

Book cover for Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnisBook cover for The Spirit Thief by Rachel AaronBook cover for The Witch of Painted Sorrow by M.J. Rose

4.  Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor: I don’t know much about this book’s plot or characters, but I loved Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and am excited to try her latest novel.

5. The Valiant by Lesley Livingston: Female. Gladiators. Need I say more?

6. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro: I have no recollection of buying this modern-day Watson/Holmes story, but I recently found it amongst the other e-books in my Kindle Library, which was a weird but pleasant surprise.

Book cover for Strange the Dreamer by Laini TaylorBook cover for The Valiant by Lesley LivingstonBook cover for A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

7. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare: So far I’m not loving The Dark Artifices series quite as much as the others Clare’s written, but I’m still looking forward to seeing how everything plays out in Lord of Shadows.

8. Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson: My mom’s convinced me to join her book club (she doesn’t actually read the books, she’s just in it for the wine and board games, no lie), and this is the book they’ve chosen for the next meeting.

9. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Cassandra Clare: My coworker lent this to me over a year ago, which means I should probably get around to reading it so I can finally get it back to her. Oops.

Book cover for Lord of Shadows by Cassandra ClareBook cover for Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James PattersonBook cover for The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig

10. The Nethergrim by Matthew Jobin: I received a review copy of this middle-grade fantasy from Puffin Books and have high hopes for it, as the novel’s been touted as an “epic” read for The Chronicles of Narnia fans.

Book cover for The Nethergrim by Matthew Jobin

What books do you plan to read this spring? Let me know in the comments below!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books That Will Make You Laugh

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books That Will Make You Laugh.

1. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray – What do you get when a plane full of teenage beauty pageant contestants crash lands on a deserted island? Hilarity, my friends. Hilarity.

2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – This fantastically absurd book starts with the destruction of Earth to build an intergalactic superhighway…and gets crazier from there.

3. The Trouble With Flirting by Claire LaZebnik – This retelling of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park is full of little quips, observations, and tongue-in-cheek comments that kept me laughing almost constantly. (see my review here).

“I’m fairly hopeful you’ll survive this injury, Franny.”
“Unless gangrene sets in.”
“Gangrene always sets in,” he says darkly.
“What are you talking about?” asks Julia as they all gather around us again. “No one gets gangrene anymore.”
“They do in old books. If Franny were a Hemingway heroine or something, gangrene would set in and she’d lose her leg. Or her life.”
“But I’d be very attractive on my deathbed,” I add.

Book cover for Beauty Queens by Libba BrayBook cover for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsBook cover for The Trouble with Flirting by Claire LaZebnik

4.  Abandon by Meg Cabot – All of Meg Cabot’s books are hilarious, but I was especially tickled by her plucky heroine in this Hades-and-Persephone-inspired novel.

5. The Lynburn Legacy trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan  This series is one of the funniest I’ve read in a very long time. Barely a page went by that didn’t have me cracking up. And I’m not just talking a few giggles – I mean full-on snort laughing.

“What are you doing?” Angela complained. “Are you trying to make me jog? You know I think people who jog should be shot at midday.”
“Why at midday?” Kami asked absently.
“There’s no need to ever get up at dawn,” Angela told her. “Not even to shoot joggers.”

6. Carter’s Unfocused, One-Track Mind by Brent Crawford – The antics of 15-year-old Carter and his friends provide a constant stream of amusement, to the point where I laughed so hard I was wiping tears from my eyes and struggling to catch my breath.

Book cover for Abandon by Meg CabotBook cover for Unspoken by Sarah Rees BrennanBook cover for Carter's Unfocused, One-Track Mind by Brent Crawford

7. How I Paid For College: A Novel Of Sex, Theft, Friendship and Musical Theater by Marc Acito – Ed’s methods for scrounging up college tuition may not be legal, but they’re certainly creative, raunchy, and hilarious.

8. The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare – Will Herondale is one of my most beloved book boyfriends for a variety of reasons, his wit being one of them. He’s always got a clever remark, whether those around him want to hear it or not.

“They’re not hideous,” said Tessa.
Will blinked at her. “What?”
“Gideon and Gabriel,” said Tessa. “They’re really quite good-looking, not hideous at all.”
“I spoke,” said Will, in sepulchral tones, “of the pitch-black inner depths of their souls.”
Tessa snorted. “And what color do you suppose the inner depths of your soul are, Will Herondale?”
“Mauve,” said Will.

9. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare – After I finished reading The Infernal Devices books, I moved on to The Mortal Instruments series and discovered they were just as funny, if not more so. Jace Wayland, with his sarcasm and cockiness, gives Will a run for his money.

Book cover for How I Paid For College by Marc AcitoBook cover for Clockwork Angel by Cassandra ClareBook cover for The City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

10. Hot Stuff by Janet Evanovich and Leanne Banks – I don’t read a lot of adult fiction, but this quick, light mystery is a ton of fun and kept me chortling from beginning to end.

Book cover for Hot Stuff by Janet Evanovich and Leanne Banks

I’m always looking for recommendations for funny books. Leave me a comment and share your favorites!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books I’d Give Theme Songs To

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is: Top Ten Books I’d Give Theme Songs To.

I’ve been looking forward to this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic for ages! I’m a big music buff for the same reason I love to read – like books, music entertains, enlightens, transports, and inspires. One of my biggest regrets is that I don’t have a musical bone in my body (my parents rejoiced the day I quit the saxophone, and I was one of only two people from my group of friends not accepted into the high school chorus). Since I can’t sing or play an instrument, I settle for compiling book-inspired playlists (check them out here). So, as you can imagine, I had plenty of material for today’s TTT list.

Book cover for Red Rising by Pierce Brown1) The Book: Red Rising by Pierce Brown (Review)
The Song: “Glory and Gore” by Lorde
This song gets me pumped up every time I hear it! I can just imagine Darrow, the hero of Red Rising, gearing up to go into battle, ready to avenge his enslaved race and make a name for himself through conquest and victory: “Now we’re in the ring and we’re coming for blood.”

Book cover for Afterparty by Ann Redisch Stampler2) The Book: Afterparty by Ann Redisch Stampler
The Song: “This Is What Makes Us Girls” by Lana Del Rey
When I first heard “This Is What Makes Us Girls,” I knew there had to be a book that encapsulated the spirit of the song. When I read Afterparty, I knew I’d found it. Both song and story tell of a friendship that grows increasingly unhealthy and out of control,  spiraling toward a disastrous end.

Book cover for Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater3) The Book: Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater
The Song: “So Hard To Breathe” by B.O.B.
“So Hard To Breathe,” which talks about fame and how it can crush you, is a fitting anthem for Cole, one of the narrators in Sinner. Cole is drowning, swept under by the current of his own success. He’s got everything he could ever want – fortune, fame, girls, drugs – but can’t keep his head above water: “Someone called my cell and left a voicemail / That said congratulations on the million record sales / As I’m flipping over furniture knocking shit off the shelf / I told myself I’ll never get too deep not to take a breath / But I’m sinking.”

Book cover for Shine by Lauren Myracle4) The Book: Shine by Lauren Myracle
The Song: “Merry Go ‘Round” by Kacey Musgraves
When you’re stuck in a small town, life can feel like being caught on a never-ending merry go ’round that you just can’t escape from. You’re trapped, doomed to walk the same paths and repeat the same mistakes as your parents and their parents before them: “Just like dust we settle in this town / On this broken merry go ’round.”

Book cover for Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma5) The Book: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
The Song: “Clarity” by Zedd and Foxes
Maya and Lochan realize their feelings for one another go beyond that of a normal sibling relationship. They realize the world will see their love for one another as sick and perverse. But how can it be wrong for them to be together when they’re each other’s only comfort? “If our love is tragedy, why are you my remedy? / If our love’s insanity, why are you my clarity?”

Book cover for Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler6) The Book: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
The Song: “Wish You Were Here” by Incubus
A year after the death of her high school sweetheart, Anna travels to the beach with her best friend in an attempt to find happiness and learn how to move on with her life. I can’t think of a more fitting song for this book than “Wish You Were Here,” which talks about sitting on the beach in a rare moment of peace, making the most of that moment yet still yearning for a person who’s missing.

Book cover for Stolen by Lucy Christopher7) The Book: Stolen by Lucy Christopher
The Song: “Stranger” by Secondhand Serenade
Stolen is written as a letter from a teenage girl to her abductor, a well-meaning but very misguided man who doesn’t comprehend that he is victimizing the object of his obsession rather than “saving” her. “Stranger” is the perfect theme song for this abductor: “You call me a stranger / You say I’m a danger / But all these thoughts are leaving you tonight / I’m broke and abandoned / You are an angel / Making all my dreams come true tonight.”

Book cover for FML by Shaun Hutchinson8) The Book: FML by Shaun Hutchinson (Review)
The Song: “Night Of Your Life” by David Guetta and Jennifer Hudson
The pulsing beat of David Guetta’s song makes the perfect soundtrack for a wild party like the one in FML. The song is all about giving someone a night they’ll never forget, which is exactly what Simon, the book’s narrator, is looking for.

Book cover for Just One Day by Gayle Forman9) The Book: Just One Day by Gayle Forman
The Song: “Almost Lover” by A Fine Frenzy
While traveling through Europe, Alison meets Willem, a young actor who sweeps her up in a spontaneous, whirlwind romance that begins, peaks, and ends all in the course of 24 hours. “Almost Lover,” painful and poignant, captures the longing and heartbreak of a love that has slipped through your fingers.

Book cover for Winterspell by Claire Legrand10) The Book: Winterspell by Claire Legrand
The Song: “Castle” by Halsey
Clara, the protagonist of Winterspell, spends part of the book held captive in the palace of a wicked fairy queen. The fairy court is corrupt and terrible, yet strangely alluring. “Castle” evokes this same feeling with its twisted, dark, seductive sound.

Have you read any of the books listed above? If so, do you think the songs are fitting? Are there any other songs you feel would be a great match? Let me know in the comments section below!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Random Facts I’ve Learned from Reading

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

When I read that this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic was a freebie, I knew immediately what I was going to post. It is a little-known fact that I am a trivia fanatic. Every time I sit down at a bar with a margarita and a trivia sheet, I transform from mild-mannered, laid-back Angela to ultra-competitive trivia ninja. My head is full of useless tidbits just waiting to be put to the test. I may not always be able to remember practical information, like where I left my mailbox key or how many kilometers are in a mile, but if you ever need to know how many months of the year contain two or more U.S. federal holidays (two), or what a group of giraffes is called (a tower), I’m your girl.

I owe much of my precious trivia knowledge to books. I pick up a lot of weird but interesting nuggets of information when I read, and today I’m sharing a sampling of this information with you in today’s Top Ten Tuesday post: Top Ten Random Facts I’ve Learned From Reading.

Marigold1) In the Victorian era, flowers were used to express meaning and convey certain messages. For example, moss denoted maternal love, thistle represented misanthropy, and marigolds signified grief. (Source: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. Read my review here.)

2) Tomatoes are a member of the nightshade family and are poisonous to dogs. (Source: Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater)

3) Venetian women in the 16th century used to wear tall, precarious overshoes called chopines to protect their feet from filth in the streets. (Source: Venom by Fiona Paul)

Gravestones4) The difference between a graveyard and a cemetery is that a graveyard is attached to a church, while a cemetery can be anywhere. (Source: Grunge Gods and Graveyards by Kimberly Giarratano. Read my review here.)

5) When making moonshine, it’s important to caulk the joints of the still to ensure that no flammable vapors can escape and catch fire. (Source: My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp. Read my review here.)

Pig6) In the 1960s, members of the Youth International Party, or “Yippies,” spread their political messages through theatrical means, such as nominating a pig (“Pigasus”) for U.S. president and pretending to levitate the Pentagon by chanting exorcism rites. (Source: Little Brother by Cory Doctorow)

7) Stockholm Syndrome is a condition in which a victim develops a bond, sympathy, or even affection for their captor or abuser. (Source: Stolen by Lucy Christopher)

Mirror8) Fear of mirrors is known as catoptrophobia. (Source: Insanity by Cameron Jace. Read my review here.)

9) The policemen in London in the mid 1800s were known as “bobbies” and “peelers” for their loyalty to Sir Robert Peel, who reformed the police force. (Source: Dodger by Terri Pratchett. Read my review here.)

10) A former project of the U.S. Navy involved teaching bats to carry explosives. (Source: Project CAIN by Geoffrey Girard. Read my review here.)

What’s the weirdest / most interesting fact you’ve discovered while reading? Let me know in the comments section below!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2016

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2016.

1. Morning Star by Pierce Brown – Darrow is one of my all-time favorite characters, a true epic hero. I’m both anxious and excited to see what awaits him in the conclusion to the Red Rising trilogy.

2. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater – The release date for this one kept getting pushed back, but in April we will FINALLY get the book, the fateful Blue/Gansey kiss, and hopefully some Pynch action, too.

3. Scardust by Suzanne van Rooyen – I will read anything this woman writes, especially when the synopsis includes sentences like this one: “Raleigh becomes inexplicably entangled with a guy who is everything he needs—everything good that Raleigh is not—but might not even be human.”

Book cover for Morning Star by Pierce BrownBook cover for The Raven King by Maggie StiefvaterBook cover for Scardust by Suzanne van Rooyen

4.  The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye – The clever cover was enough to get me excited for this book, but as soon as I read the words “perfect for fans of…Megan Whalen Turner” I knew for sure this book was for me.

5. Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff  Brenna, you had me at “A high-achieving girl falls for the most imperfect boy in school through a series of mysterious dreams.”

6. The Imposter Queen by Sarah Fine – A book with an LGBT love triangle? And magic? Written by Sarah Fine? Sign me up!

Book cover for The Crown's Game by Evelyn SkyeBook cover for Places No One Knows by Brenna YovanoffBook cover for The Imposter Queen by Sarah Fine

7. The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski – After the cliffhanger of The Winner’s Crime, I’m dying to find out how this trilogy ends.

8. Titans by Victoria Scott – This book gives me a kind of Scorpio Races vibe, but with mechanical horses instead of deadly ones from the sea.

9. Beyond the Red by Ava Jae – Alien queen + half-human bodyguard + forbidden love = Happy Angela

Book cover for The Winner's Kiss by Marie RutkoskiBook cover for Titans by Victoria ScottBook cover for Beyond the Red by Ava Jae

10. Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman – Pirates!!!! And not just any pirates, but a young Edward “Teach” Drummond, who became the infamous Blackbeard! Must. Have. Now.

Book cover for Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

What new releases are you looking forward to in the first half of 2016? Let me know in the comments section below!