Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Favorite Books of 2017

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is “Top 10 Favorite Books of 2017.” 

1) Glitter by Aprilynne Pike: I don’t usually use the word “decadent” to describe novels, but in this case the adjective fits. Pike combines futuristic technology, French Baroque glamour, and courtly intrigue into a wickedly fun novel driven by an unforgettable antiheroine and a delectably dangerous antagonist. I need the sequel NOW!

2) The Midnight Watch by David Dyer: The Midnight Watch, which centers on the sinking of the Titanic and its aftermath, is one of the best works of historical fiction I’ve ever read. Dyer’s ability to bring history to life with his beautiful writing and poignant attention to detail, coupled with his talent for heightening dramatic irony, make this book a must-read for anyone who’s interested in the Titanic disaster. (Read my review here.)

3) All for the Game Trilogy by Nora Sakavic: To say I’m obsessed with this series would be an understatement. I’ve read the entire trilogy THREE times over the past nine months, and each time I finish I go through the inevitable book hangover, spending my days listening to Sakavic’s character playlists and desperately trawling the Internet for fanart. (Yes, I know I have a problem. But there are worse things to be addicted to, right?)

Book cover for Glitter by Aprilynne PikeBook cover for The Midnight Watch by David DyerBook cover for The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic

4) The Uncrossing by Melissa Eastlake: I started reading The Uncrossing for the romance, but ultimately it was the complex family relationships and imaginative world building that really wowed me. There’s also a super creative curse and some intriguing family secrets at play. (Read my review here.)

5) A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro: Sherlock Holmes-inspired stories can be hit or miss for me, but A Study in Charlotte is by far the best I’ve read in this category. I love the idea of modern-day descendants of Holmes and Watson bickering, falling in love, and solving crimes at a New England boarding school, especially when Jamie Watson is a borderline-hipster rugby player with a sarcastic sense of humor and slight anger management issues. #Delightful

6) Breakaway by Avon Gale: I’ve found myself getting super into male-male hockey romances this year. Breakaway is one such novel, and I love how it’s sexy, tender, and hilarious by turns. Another great book of this sort is Winging It by Ashlyn Kane and Morgan James.

Book cover for The Uncrossing by Melissa EastlakeBook cover for A Study in Charlotte by Brittany CavallaroBook cover for Breakaway by Avon Gale

7) The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick: I still haven’t fully recovered from the feels this book gave me. This companion to My Life Next Door is far superior to its predecessor; I loved the focus being on Tim, a wise-cracking, recovering addict who’s trying so hard to put his sordid past behind him, in spite of the fact that lingering consequences from his former misdeeds keep cropping up.

8) Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman: My copy of Illuminae sat on my bookshelf for two years before I finally got around to reading it, partially because I was skeptical of the format and partially because I feared it couldn’t possibly live up to the hype. Fortunately, I was wrong on both counts. I ended up enjoying the unconventional storytelling method and realizing that the plot and characters deserved every bit of hype they got.

9) Never, Never by Brianna R. Shrum: It took me several tries to get into this Peter Pan retelling, but once the book hit its stride I absolutely loved it. It’s told from Captain Hook’s point of view and is a darkly imaginative, haunting villain origin story. (Read my review here.)

Book cover for The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley FitzpatrickBook cover for Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie KaufmanBook cover for Never Never by Brianna R. Shrum

10) The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, narrated by Christine Lakin: I first read Black’s alluringly chilling vampire novel in 2013, but I didn’t listen to the audiobook until this October. It’s even better than the print version, which I didn’t imagine was possible, and Christine Lakin has joined the ranks of my top five audiobook narrators. Audiobook cover for The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

 What are your favorite books of 2017? How about least favorite? Let me know in the comment section below!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Retellings I’ve Recently Added To My TBR List

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is “Books in X Genre I’ve Recently Added To My TBR Pile.” Because I’m a retelling fanatic, I’ve chosen to focus on books that put a new spin on well-known stories.

1) Marian by Ella Lyons: Robin Hood retellings will always be my favorite retellings, which is why I was so excited to find this LGBT take on my favorite hero(ine).

2) My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen by David Clawson: In this contemporary reimagining of the Cinderella fairy tale, poor, downtrodden Chris falls for his wicked stepsister’s charming boyfriend.

3) Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George: Although I’m not very familiar with the plot of Much Ado About Nothing, this retelling of the Shakespearean play intrigues me because it’s set in New York City in the Roaring Twenties.

Book cover for Marian by Ella LyonsBook cover for My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen by David ClawsonBook cover for Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George

4) Bull by David Elliot: Written in verse, this retelling of the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, from Greek mythology, is supposedly hilarious and twisted.

5) Sway by Kat Spears: My only knowledge of the play Cyrano de Bergerac comes from watching the children’s TV show Wishbone, but that’s all it takes for me to want to read this modern spin on the classic about a guy who falls in love with a girl who he’s charming on another guy’s behalf.

6) Ensnared by Rita Stradling: This sci-fi retelling of Beauty and the Beast comes with a warning that the book contains “adult situations.” Color me intrigued.

Book cover for Bull by David ElliottBook cover for Sway by Kat SpearsBook cover for Ensnared by Rita Stradling

7) The Humming Room by Ellen Potter: This is the first book I’ve found that’s claimed to be inspired by The Secret Garden, which was a childhood favorite of mine.

8) Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh: I’m not sure if it’s intended to be an actual retelling, but Ivory and Bone‘s synopsis touts it as “a prehistoric fantasy – with allusions to Pride and Prejudice,” which catches my attention.

9) Black Paper Mask by Lauren Gattos: I confess to being kind of confused by this novel’s synopsis, and I’m not certain if it’s meant to be a retelling or a sequel, but I’ll give any book a try that’s related to The Phantom of the Opera. Especially since this particular book’s synopsis calls it a “feminist revision” and a “gothic romance.”

Book cover for The Humming Room by Ellen PotterBook cover for Ivory and Bone by Julie EshbaughBook cover for Black Paper Mask by Lauren Gattos

10) The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson: I’m somewhat wary of Dickerson’s fairy tales – the ones I’ve read so far have been too light and innocent for my taste – but this Swan Lake/Robin Hood mash-up has piqued my curiosity.Book cover for The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson

 Are you a fan of retellings? If so, what are your favorites? Let me know in the comment section below!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books to Get You in the Mood for Summer

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is a Summer Freebie, so I’m featuring books that will get you in the mood for summer.

Books Set at the Beach

1) Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler: This book’s cover and synopsis hint at a breezy beach read, but don’t be fooled – Twenty Boy Summer packs a punch. This moving story about friendship, loss, and healing is told from the point of view of a girl mourning her first love as she spends a summer with her best friend’s family on the shores of California.

2) Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen: Reading Along for the Ride always makes me yearn for a trip to the beach, as it follows a girl named Auden who spends the summer after her senior year with her dad and new stepmom in their seaside town. It’s a fun, relatively light read with boardwalk boutiques, new friendships, and a budding romance.

3) The Prince of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson: This book has a sweet, delightful protagonist, who also happens to be a homeless teenager living on the streets and beaches of California.

Book cover for Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah OcklerBook cover for Along For The Ride by Sarah DessenBook cover for The Prince of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson

Stories of Magic and Wonder

4) Summerland by Michael Chabon: When I was a kid, summer felt like a time of infinite possibilities, as though anything could happen. Summerland, whose pages are full of faeries, baseball games, heroes, and a battle between good and evil, embodies that feeling perfectly.

5) Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon: This is the first magical realism book I ever read, and the wonder and joy of it have lingered with me for years. It follows the adventures of a young boy in his marvel-filled hometown of Zephyr, Alabama, and something about it just feels like summertime to me.

6) The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater: This second book in the Raven Cycle Quartet will always be my favorite of the series, with its powerful dreamers, whispering forest, fantastical quest, and steamy Virginia-summer setting.

Book cover for Boy's Life by Robert McCammonBook cover for Summerland by Michael ChabonBook cover for The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Tales of Hijinks and Last Hurrahs

7) My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp: Most 18-year-olds spend the summer after high school graduation hanging out with friends or lounging by the pool. Not Lulu Mendez from My Best Everything; she uses her time to raise money for college by engaging in an illegal moonshining operation. (Read my review here.)

8) Kill All Happies by Rachel Cohn: This hilarious story about a graduation bash that runs wildly out of control takes place in an abandoned theme park and is absurdly fun.

9) FML by Shaun David Hutchinson: FML is another an end-of-school-year-party book, one that will have you wanting to throw a crazy blowout of your own. (Read my review here.)

10) Why We Took The Car by Wolfgang Herrndorf (translated by Tim Mohr): This road trip book follows two teenage boys who steal a car and take off on a crazy jaunt through Germany.

Book cover for My Best Everything by Sarah TompBook cover for Kill All Happies by Rachel CohnBook cover for FML by Shaun Hutchinson Book cover for Why We Took the Car by Wolfgang Herrndorf

Let’s chat! I’d love to hear what books put you in a summery mood – drop me a comment below!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book

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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 Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book.

1. Robin Hood: 

I am Robin Hood OBSESSED and will read any book I can find about him. I blame my obsession on Disney’s 1973 Robin Hood movie; its hero was my first crush, in spite of him being a cartoon fox. #sorrynotsorry

Book cover for Scarlet by A.C. GaughenBook cover for The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinleyBook cover for Greenwode by J. Tullos Hennig

2. Fairy tale retellings: 

I fell in love with reimagined fairy stories as a kid and am still entranced by them after all these years. In fact, I dedicated a whole month of blog posts to fairy tale retellings back in 2015.

Book cover for Ash by Malinda LoBook cover for Nameless by Lili St. CrowBook cover for Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

3. Artificial intelligence:

If a book deals with androids or robots, I’m immediately sold on it. I love novels that explore the possibilities of artificial intelligence and raise questions about what it means to be human, have a soul, etc. If a robot is learning to love or is exhibiting a somewhat-troubling capacity for independent thought, I want to read about it.

Book cover for I Heart Robot by Suzanne van RooyenBook cover for Defy the Stars by Claudia GreyBook cover for The Body Electric by Beth Revis

4. Phantom of the Opera retellings:

POTR is one of favorite musicals (though I confess I wasn’t a big fan of the original novel), and I’m always on the lookout for a new take on the story. I haven’t found many that work for me so far, but I remain optimistic!

Book cover for Phantom's Dance by Lesa HowardBook cover for Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah FineBook cover for Roseblood by A. G. Howard

5. Thieves

I adore clever schemers and rogues, as evidenced by this April Fool’s Day post. I’m especially tickled when those schemers happen to be thieves. More brilliant heists and sleights of hand, please!

Book cover for The Thief by Megan Whalen TurnerBook cover for The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott LynchBook cover for Dodger by Terry Pratchett

6. Ancient Greece/Rome: 

I’ve been gaga over books with this setting ever since my Social Studies and Language Arts teachers taught a unit on Greek culture and mythology in seventh grade. Give me books about gladiators, gods and goddesses, and the Trojan War any day! Bonus points if Achilles figures into the storyline!

Book cover for The Song of Achilles by Madeline MillerBook cover for The Valiant by Lesley LivingstonBook cover for Curses and Smoke by Vicky Alvear Shecter

7. Arthurian legend:

When not otherwise dreaming of being a mermaid or a pirate or a ballerina, Young Angela wanted to grow up to be a knight one day. Now that I’m older and wiser, I realize there’s not much call for knights errant anymore. Guess I’ll just have to become a wizard like Merlin instead.

Book cover for The Squire's Tale by Gerald MorrisBook cover for Henge by Realm LovejoyBook cover for Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell

8. Scotland: 

My dad’s family originally comes from Scotland, and I’m endlessly fascinated by the culture, the history, the landscape…everything. For those of you who are also interested in all things Scottish, I did a post about books set in Scotland as part of my team’s contribution to the Book Blogger Creativity Project last year.

Book cover for Outlander by Diana GabaldonBook cover for Girl in a Cage by Jane Yolen and Robert J. HarrisBook cover for An Earthly Knight by Janet McNaughton

9. Oceans/seas: 

In real life I’m a little leery of large bodies of water, yet I love stories in which the ocean or sea is an important part of the plot or setting. There’s something about the wildness of the sea, the call of the ocean, that really appeals to me in fiction.

Book cover for Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnisBook cover for When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat HellisenBook cover for The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

10. Princes: 

If a book’s synopsis mentions even a passing reference to a prince, I’m likely going to read said book. Princes in disguise, princes who need to be protected, bastard princes, exiled princes who are trying to reclaim their thrones…doesn’t matter. I want them all.

Book cover for Captive Prince by C.S. PacatBook cover for Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. JensenBook cover for Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

What topics/key words/themes make you immediately want to read a book? Let me know in the comments below!