Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books I Read in the Second Half of 2015

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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 Read in the Second Half of 2015. To see a list of the top ten books I read in the first half of 2015, click here.

Book cover for Uprooted by Naomi NovikBook cover for The Other Me by Suzanne van RooyenBook cover for What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

1. Uprooted by Naomi Novik – Uprooted is one of those marvelous books that’s every bit as good as it’s hyped to be – and then some. Novik’s cantankerous wizard and novel portrayal of magic are a ton of fun to read.

2. The Other Me by Suzanne van Rooyen – The Other Me is the story of a damaged boy, the confused girl who falls in love with him – and wants to BE him – and the realization that love doesn’t always show up in the shape that you expect it to.

3. What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi- This book SLEW me. I could practically feel the grief and guilt radiating off of the protagonist, a teenage father raising his daughter alone while mourning the death of his girlfriend.

Book cover for The Fall by Bethany GriffinBook cover for Unspoken by Sarah Rees BrennanBook cover for On The Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

4. The Fall by Bethany Griffin – The Fall combines two things I absolutely love: a retold classic and a seriously creepy haunted house. Griffin’s reimagining of Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” is deliciously spooky, atmospheric, and well worth a read. (Read my guest review of The Fall at the Book Addicts Guide!)

5. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan  I’ve heard Brennan’s name bandied about for ages, and now I finally know why – her Lynburn Legacy books are outrageously funny and well written. Plus, they’ve got a cast of great characters, a tortured-soul bad boy, and sorcery. What more can you ask for?

6. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta – I love how the seemingly disparate threads of this story are woven together into a bigger picture by the end of the book.

Book cover for Stay With Me by Paul GriffinBook cover for Feed by Mira GrantBook cover for Play Me Backwards by Adam Selzer

7. Stay With Me by Paul Griffin – I’ve got so many words for Stay With Me; powerful, painful, hopeful, real, tragic, and special are just a few that come to mind. The romance is quirky, awkward, and unconventional. I loved it, even though it made me cry.

8. Feed by Mira Grant – Feed is definitely my favorite zombie novel to date. It’s got political intrigue, a dynamic duo of sibling journalists, and a well thought-out portrayal of what the world might look like 20 years after a zombie uprising, after humanity’s had a chance to adapt.

9. Play Me Backwards by Adam Selzer – Every damn paragraph of this book is hilarious. It’s also unexpectedly moving, clever, and meaningful. A must-read.

Audiobook cover for A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

10. Audiobook of A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray – I read a print version of this book years ago, but I recently listened to the audiobook and was so impressed that I had to include it on this list. The narrator, Josephine Bailey, has an astonishing talent for pitch, tone, and a variety accents, male and female.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Quotes I Loved From Books I Read In The Past Year

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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 Quotes I Loved From Books I Read In The Past Year. Here are my top ten, in no particular order:

Book cover for The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski1) “There was dishonor, she decided, in accepting someone else’s idea of honor without question.” – Marie Rutkoski, The Winner’s Crime

2) “Our bodies aren’t strangers,’ he said, his voice ragged. ‘Our spirits aren’t strangers’. He held her face in his hands. ‘Tell me what part of me is stranger to you and I’ll destroy that part of me.'” – Melina Marchetta, Quintana of Charyn

Book cover for Tear You Apart by Sarah Cross3) “They were like a firecracker that had burned up. The pretty picture, the sparkling moment was gone; they were just smoke and ashes now.” – Sarah Cross, Tear You Apart

4) “‘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.’” – Sarah Rees Brennan, Untold

Book cover for An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir5) “There are two kinds of guilt,” I say softly. “The kind that’s a burden and the kind that gives you purpose. Let your guilt be your fuel. Let it remind you of who you want to be.” – Sabaa Tahir, An Ember in the Ashes

6) “There’s a million reasons I love her, but they all come down to one: She was good, and she let me be around her, and when I was with her, I was good too.” – Paul Griffin, Stay With Me

Book cover for The Other Me by Suzanne van Rooyen7) “So he’s not perfect. What is perfection, anyway? I never meant he was perfect in some grand ideal kind of way, just that he was perfect to me.” – Suzanne van Rooyen, The Other Me

8) “You could rush into your death unknowing, inviting, enjoying the ecstasy of it, burned up in bright light like a moth.” – Annette Curtis Klause, The Silver Kiss

Book cover for Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan9) ‘”I am in love with you, and I cannot imagine being in love with anyone else. It would be like becoming someone else. Your name was the first word for love I ever knew.’” – Sarah Rees Brennan, Unmade

10) “Why had he assumed time was some sort of infinite resource? Now the hourglass had busted open, and what he’d always assumed was just a bunch of sand turned out to be a million tiny diamonds.” – Tommy Wallach, We All Looked Up

I love reading great quotes – share your favorites in the comments section!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Halloween Book/Song Pairings

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is a Halloween-themed freebie, so I chose to do a list of Halloween book and song pairings.

Book cover for The Coldest Girl in Coldtown1.) The Book: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
The Song: “The Pit” by Silversun Pickups
Like Coldtown, where vampires and infected humans are quarantined from the public, the pit in Silversun Pickups’ song sounds terrifying, corrupt…and strangely alluring.

Book cover for Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock2.) The Book: Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock (Review)
The Song: “Howl” by Florence and the Machine
As soon as I heard the dark, wild strains of “Howl” I knew it would be a good fit for Hemlock, a book about a bloodthirsty werewolf terrorizing a town: “If you could only see the beast you’ve made of me / I held it in but now it seems you’ve set it running free / The saints can’t help me now, the ropes have been unbound I hunt for you with bloody feet across the hallowed ground.”

Book cover for This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel3.) The Book: This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel (Review)
The Song: “Dark on Me” by Starset
Oppel’s Frankenstein prequel illuminates the origin of Viktor Frankenstein’s quest for immortality. When Viktor’s twin brother falls deathly ill, he determines to do everything in his power to bring his brother back from the brink of death – no matter the cost.

Book cover for Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan4.) The Book: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
The Song: “Heaven or Hell” by Digital Daggers
“Heaven and Hell” speaks of a bond between two people that’s both a blessing and a curse, leaving them exposed and vulnerable. It’s spot-on for Unspoken, a story of sorcerers, sacrifices, and a mysterious connection between strangers: “I am exposed, I am undone / You tear the walls down one by one / We tried to run, we tried to hide in fear of losing ourselves / We tried to keep it all inside so we don’t hurt someone else / When all the demons come alive I’ll still be under your spell / This could be heaven or hell.”

Book cover for Feed by Mira Grant5.) The Book: Feed by Mira Grant
The Song: “Raise Hell” by Dorothy
Whenever I imagine Feed as a movie, this song is the soundtrack that plays in my head as Georgia and Shaun fight off hordes of zombies. It’s ballsy and brave just like the brother/sister duo, and the two certainly “raise hell” and “drop bombs” with their investigative journalism.

Book cover for The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy6.) The Book: The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy (Review)
The Song: “Bones” by MS MR
This song has the same dark, eerie vibe as Sirowy’s novel, which tells the story of two little girls who vanish one day. One returns with no memory of what has happened; the other is never seen again: “Dig up her bones but leave the soul alone / Let her find a way to a better place / Broken dreams and silent screams / Empty churches with soulless curses / We found a way to escape the day.”

Book cover for The Fall by Bethany Griffin7.) The Book: The Fall by Bethany Griffin
The Song: “Going Under” by Evanescence
In this retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher,” young Madeline battles madness and the sentient house that holds her prisoner. Can she escape before she loses her mind entirely? “Blurring and stirring the truth and the lies / So I don’t know what’s real and what’s not / Always confusing the thoughts in my head / So I can’t trust myself anymore.”

Book cover for Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake8.) The Book: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (Review)
The Song: “Seven Devils” by Florence and the Machine
Hear how eerie and powerful and haunting “Seven Devils” sounds? That’s exactly what Anna Dressed in Blood feels like. This song conveys the hurricane force of ghostly Anna as well as the clash of wills between her and Cas, a ghost hunter.

Book cover for Project CAIN by Geoffrey Girard9.) The Book: Project CAIN by Geoffrey Girard (Review)
The Song: “Crawling” by Linkin Park
When Jeff Jacobson finds out he’s the clone of mass murderer Jeffrey Dahmer, he’s consumed by feelings of guilt and self-loathing, living in fear that some dark instinct or urge will one day rise up within him and he’ll go on a killing spree of his own: “There’s something inside me that pulls beneath the surface / Consuming, confusing / This lack of self-control I fear is never ending.”

Book cover for The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender10.) The Book: The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender (Review)
The Song: “Ghost” by James Vincent McMorrow
I’d hate to be a ghost, but I’d especially hate to be a ghost trapped in an abandoned insane asylum, unable to move on and find peace. It’s a fate as haunting and sad as McMorrow’s song: “The moon holds the light / And the moon’s this spinning globe / Shedding light upon the road / The bird won’t fly / And a bird without its wings is a low and tragic thing.”

Are there any other songs you feel would be a great match for the books I listed above? If so, please share in the comments section – I’d love to hear from you!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Finished Series I Have Yet to Finish

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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 Finished Series I Have Yet to Finish.

Book cover for Bloody Jack by L. A. MeyerBook cover for Under the Never Sky by Veronica RossiBook cover for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

1. Bloody Jack series by L. A. Meyer – I own all 12 books in this series but can’t bring myself to read the last four. Jacky Faber and her motley band of reprobates hold a special spot in my heart, and I know that once I close the cover of the final book the series will truly be over, a fact I’m not sure I can bear.

2. Under the Never Sky trilogy by Veronica Rossi  It took me forever to finally give this series a shot, but once I did I fell in love with it. Now I just need someone to return Into The Still Blue to the library so I can see how everything wraps up!

3. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams – This wonderfully absurd “trilogy in five parts” is one of the funniest series I’ve ever read. As ridiculous and hilarious as these books are, though, the ridiculousness gets a little wearisome when you read the stories back to back. Hence, I had to take a break after the first three books.

Book cover for My Love Lies Bleeding by Alyxandra HarveyBook cover for Scarlet by A.C. GaughenBook cover for The Squire's Tale by Gerald Morris

4. Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey – Every time I visit the library, I check the “H” shelves just in case they’ve finally acquired Blood Prophesy, the last book in this series. I’ve been doing this for three years; I think it’s time to give in and just buy it already.

5. Scarlet trilogy by A.C. Gaughen  I’m actually a little wary of finishing this trilogy. As much as I adored Scarlet, I wasn’t nuts about Lady Thief, and I’ve heard that Lionheart is a less than satisfying conclusion.

6. The Squire’s Tales by Gerald Morris – This was one of my favorite series as a kid, full of fairies, Arthurian knights, and heroic quests. The books are as witty as they are exciting, and I’d love to reread the first few books before continuing on with the series.

Book cover for Eragon by Christopher PaoliniBook cover for The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott LynchBook cover for Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

7. The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini – During the three-year gap between the publication of Eldest and Brisingr, I made the mistake of watching the movie adaptation of Eragon. It was so terrible that it sullied my fond memories of the novel, and I never read the second half of this series.

8. Gentlemen Bastards series by Scott Lynch – I’m kind of cheating here, as I just found out today that a fourth book will be published next year. I’m going to keep the series on the list anyway, though, since I thought it was over until just a few minutes ago. It took me several tries to get through The Lies of Locke Lamora, but by the time I finally made it to the end I was quite impressed by Locke and his deviously brilliant heists. The second book, Red Seas Under Red Skies, is taking forever to get into, but I imagine that, like its predecessor, it will ultimately be worth the struggle.

9. The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo – This trilogy started out strong, but my enthusiasm faded after reading Siege and Storm. I’ll eventually check out Ruin and Rising but probably won’t get to it anytime soon.

Book cover for Nameless by Lili St. Crow

10. Tales of Beauty and Madness by Lili St. Crow – I don’t know if I’m excited or nervous to read the second and third books of this trilogy. I absolutely adored Nameless – you can read my review herebut the subsequent books focus on different characters, and I’m not certain I’ll enjoy them as much without Cami or my precious Nico.

Have you read any of these series? Can you tell me if they’re worth finishing? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments section!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books I’ve Read So Far in 2015

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top 10 Books I’ve Read So Far in 2015.

Book cover for Greenwode by J. Tullos HennigBook cover for Shirewode by J. Tullos HennigBook cover for I Heart Robot by Suzanne van Rooyen

1. Greenwode and Shirewode by J. Tullos Hennig – These books are my new favorite Robin Hood retellings, and I’m counting them as one item on my list because they really should be read together for maximum impact. They tell of Robin and his relationship with the man who eventually becomes Guy of Gisbourne, Robin’s sworn enemy. LGBT Robin Hood + Tragic Love Story + Clash Between Christian and Druid Beliefs = The Best Thing Ever.

2. I Heart Robot by Suzanne van Rooyen – There was nothing I didn’t like about this book. Robots demanding rights and autonomy? Amazing! An adorable sweetheart of a robot protagonist whose dearest wish is to be human? Love it! Non-cliche characters and thought-provoking questions about artificial intelligence? Spectacular! (Read my review of I Heart Robot here.)

Book cover for Golden Son by Pierce BrownBook cover for Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah FineBook cover for The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

3. Golden Son by Pierce Brown – Red Rising was one of my favorite books of 2014, so it’s no surprise that the sequel, Golden Son, is on this year’s top 10 list as well. This book’s got it all: an epic plot, a plethora of “Oh snap!” moments, a stellar hero, and a supporting cast that’s almost as marvelous as the leading man.

4. Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine – Fine’s book has a strong Phantom of the Opera vibe but is set in a factory in a fictitious country with a distinctly Asian feel. If you’re even mildly intrigued by this idea, you should read this novel ASAP.

5. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow  I’m kind of surprised my brain didn’t blow up after navigating all the twists and turns of Bow’s story. It kept me guessing the ENTIRE time and features one of the most magnetic, unusual characters I’ve seen in ages.

Book cover for The Trouble with Flirting by Claire LaZebnikBook cover for For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana PeterfreundBook cover for Tear You Apart by Sarah Cross

6. The Trouble with Flirting by Claire LaZebnik – This retelling of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park is hands-down the funniest book I’ve read all year. It’s also clever, unexpected, sweet, and – best of all – set at a summer theater program. (Read my review of The Trouble with Flirting here.)

7. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund – Another story inspired by a Jane Austen novel! I feel like I finally get what Austen was trying to do in Persuasion; all it took for me was an imaginative, futuristic/sci-fi retelling by Peterfreund!

8. Tear You Apart by Sarah Cross – If you like fairy tale mash-ups, Tear You Apart is a must-read. The main story is a combination of Snow White and The 12 Dancing Princesses, but there are a multitude of other tales represented in this book as well, all in twisted and fascinating ways.

                                 Book cover for The Winner's Crime by Marie RutkoskiBook cover for The Cage by Megan Shepherd

9. The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski – As much as I enjoyed The Winner’s Curse, I liked its sequel even more. The stakes are higher, the intrigue is cranked up several notches, and there’s a lot of great angst and tension between Kestrel and Arin. Bring on book three!!

10. The Cage by Megan Shepherd – The Cage is one of the best souvenirs I brought home from BEA this year. In this book, five teenagers wake up one day to discover that they’ve been kidnapped and are being held captive in an alien zoo. Need I say more?

What about you? What’s the best book you’ve read this year, and why?