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!

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!