joe hill

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten TuesdayI know I missed last week’s so instead you get two this week, here is the first:

January 27: Ten Books I’d Love to Read With My Book Club/If I Had A Book Club (or you could pick a specific kind of book club — like if you had a YA book club or an adult book club or a science fiction book club etc.)

This is such an interesting topic and I often wish I could join a book club so I would have people to share my joy and tears over a book with. So here are the ones I would like to read with others, as always in no particular order.

snow like ashesWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart – This book left me with such mixed feelings that I need to discuss them with someone. I enjoyed the layout and the story but the twisted ending left me heartbroken and I have no one to understand that.

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch – I know, I know, this is is on EVERY list that I’ve done lately but it is just that good. I love the world that Raasch creates and I would love to share that with as many people as possible.

Legend/The Young Elites by Marie Lu – I put both of these books because I feel they are so vastly different that they would provide a great conversational topic for the variety of writing styles that Lu possesses. Plus they are both pretty badass stories.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Kate Rorick/Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen – Obviously we would start with Austen and then read the more modern version, perhaps also watching some of Rorick’s YouTube videos. One of my favorite classics paired with a great new interpretation. Love, love, love. horns

Horns by Joe Hill – Dark and intense but definitely worth the read. And anyone who attended Catholic school or knows about Catholicism will definitely appreciate a lot of the symbolism and text. It’s a murder wrapped in myth and shoved into a scary reality. Amazing.

The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop – I did manage to convince my bestie to start these and they were recommended to me by my cousin and have since become an all-time favorite. The world, the people, the story, all of it is blended into a seamlessly beautiful set of books that I always tell people to read.

Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima – Chima is an amazing author, colorful dialogue and witty characters. She builds a realm and makes you live in it. She blends character perspective into a narrative that is as fantastical as it is fantastic. Definitely one that people would enjoy talking about.

The Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon – Sarcasm, demons, and high school, what could be better? Truthfully, this series should come after the Dark Hunter series but this version of blood of olympusNick Gautier is too irresistible for me to not talk about.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – An all time favorite collection from beginning to end, loads of people have read it, but few have actually done so as an adult and are willing to discuss it. I’d like to change that. Reliving a childhood classic can be beneficial in more than one way!

Percy Jackson and the Olympians/Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan – And of course, Riordan’s writing is pure gold, comedic and otherwise. The blend of myth and reality, the different interpretations of both, the characters and their relationships, friendly and otherwise, all of it would make great conversation. Especially the growth over the two series.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten TuesdayI have one more final to finish before I’m officially done for the semester but I couldn’t resist taking a few minutes to publish this week’s Top Ten Tuesday considering how awesome it is! I’m a bit of a series addict so I will list those after the titles if it isn’t the first book.

December 16: Top Ten Books I Read In 2014 (Overall, By A Particular Genre, 2014 Releases). This will be a hard one but I’m going to try….might end up with more than ten books. I can live with that if you can 😉 After all, my goal is to read 100 books this year and I’ve already read 97, there are a lot to choose from! So in no particular order:

1) The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Kate Rorick – I stumbled across a series of YouTube videos that led me to this fantastic book. It’s basically a modern day Bennet family, except with only three daughters. The videos portray typical Bennet family life, which is quickly interrupted by crazy Mrs. Bennet and the arrival of yes, Mr. Bingley.

snow ashes2) Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch – I cannot stress this book anymore than I already have. It is amazing. You need to read it. It has action and adventure, heartbreak and loss, secrets and lies, all wrapped up into another world that will make you want to move there immediately…you know if there wasn’t a war happening.

3) Horns by Joe Hill – Yes, it was a book before it was a movie with Daniel Radcliffe. And while it might seem a bit slow at the beginning, the story and the monologues are incredible. Once Iggy embraces his fate, you cannot look away. Hard to put down and will have you smirking right along with him.

4) The Eye of Minds and The Rule of Thoughts (The Mortality Doctrine series) by James Dashner – Even if you’d read The Maze Runner and are totally sick of it, let Dashner take you to a whole new, brave, world. In the future, there are so many places to visit and you never even have to leave your own home. Virtual reality is the hot commodity, that is until that very way of life is threatened.

5) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Another futuristic book that pulled me in and kept me entertained was this amazing feat of fiction. It is thrilling and terrifying as you’re sure that any moment death will come. There is a puzzle and a prize and Wade thinks he is the one who can finally obtain it. And maybe, just maybe, with the help of his friends, he can.

6) Good to Great by Jim Collins – This was a book I was required to read for school but that doesn’t make it any less valuable or interesting. It’s about business, and creating a successful organization, but it can be applicable in dozens of other situations as well. How to build a successful team and maintain a well-functioning way of life. Absolutely fantastic. I read it twice. cinder

7) Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress (The Lunar Chronicles series) by Marissa Meyer – Because who doesn’t want to read about what the future of our planet might be…and not just from the United States perspective. So many books focus on this part of this world but this series has a global initiative, combined with plague and cyborgs, that will make turning pages seem like nothing. It is heart-pounding and emotional, filled with trauma and love and fear. Fairy tales with a twist is how The Lunar Chronicles is advertized but it’s really so much more than that.

8) Ripper by Stefan Petrucha – Old world history comes to life by interweaving it with a personal story that is often so intense that I had to look away. Petrucha imagines the what-ifs and brings them to life on the page with a heart-stopping twist. Jack the Ripper is lose and a kid might be the only one who can find out where he is.

9) Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris – If you need a laugh or a pick-me-up, then anything by Sedaris will do. He is witty and poignant with a style that paints hysterical and cringe-worthy images in your mind. This is a collection of short holiday time stories that had me in stitches every time I picked it up.

10) The Young Elites by Marie Lu – Dark and dangerous, this series takes Lu’s writing to an entirely new level. It explores what it means to be bad in a whole new way. Is evil made or is it born? It’s a question I often ask and one that is becoming more and more popular. If you read Legend and appreciated the character of Day, then come meet Adelina and see how she makes you feel, makes blood of olympusyou think, makes you wonder.

11) The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus series) by Rick Riordan – I know I just did a review of this book but it definitely merits being mentioned again. Riordan is one of my favorite authors, hands down. His stories are art that I could (and have) devour for hours on end. This is the final installment in a series that has so many complex characters and complicated friendships, all while fighting the end of the world, that it was hard to put down. Even to study.

12) Etiquette & Espionage and Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School series) by Gail Carriger – What can I say about a character I have come to love this much? Sophronia is witty and clever and an obvious trouble-making due to her overabundance of curiosity. Which actually all come in handy when she is shipped off to a finishing school that makes young girls into ladies…ones that can be spies and assassins. All while maintain proper dress and decorum.

13) Doomed by Tracy Deebs – A modern day Pandora, literally, opens a gift that unleashes hell on earth. Or at least on all the computer systems of earth, leaving everything in chaos and life as she knows it in ruins. It’s hard to predict what will happen next as the young heroine attempts to undo her mistake, all while in the company of two delicious sounding young men.

14) Illusion (The Chronicles of Nick series) by Sherrilyn Kenyon – Nick Gautier is a smartass who doesn’t have a cluecrown of midnight when he should keep his mouth shut. Often causing him to get into more trouble than is strictly necessary. And in this fifth book, Nick has become mired in a whole new set of consequences that no one else acknowledges. How can you change what is happening if no one else can see it coming? Absolutely brilliant.

15) Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass series) by Sarah J. Maas – I enjoyed the first book in this series and the third as well but I think this one, the second, was the most powerful. Every page created new intensity and the hits jut kept on coming. The reveals never stopped and so much information is conveyed, it is well worth the read, even if the worst is yet to come.

Death in Books

Do you ever find yourself stuck in a particular genre with no idea how you ended up there?

Lately that genre for me, in the broadest of terms, is death.

It started out innocently enough. A murder mystery caught my eye at the library and when I discovered it was the 5th book in the series, I decided to give the first book a try. (Well if I’m being perfectly honest, it started with “Dark Places” by Gillian Flynn but that scared the crap out of me and gave me nightmares so I needed something infinitely lighter to take its place in my imagination.)

After journeying into the world of the Blackbird sisters (“How to Murder a Millionaire” by Nancy Martin), I quickly discovered that I loved the intrigue of it. This comes from a girl who doesn’t much care for serial cop dramas like CSI or NCIS. I continued to flick through the second novel in rapid pace and soon I decided to dive into something deeper.

I am a relative fan of Koontz, though he is usually too dark for me. I loved his Odd Thomas series and the random books I have read by him over the years. So I gave “The Darkest Evening of the Year” a go. And proceeded to creep myself out. I went back to the Blackbird Sisters for comfort, humor, and drama without as much gore or terror.

Then things got a little steamy (and weird) as I read the first Chrissy McMullen murder mystery book “Unzipped”. A little bit more intense than Martin’s series but nothing I couldn’t handle so I decided to go out on a limb and try another book, this time historical fiction.

The library really does offer a great selection if you know what to look for, and I found Stefan Petrucha’s “Ripper”. As you might guess, the novel focuses on Jack the Ripper, however in this version he has actually escaped London and come to America in disguise. How intriguing! A little bloody, a heart-pounding plot and several disturbing deaths were found in these pages.

After enjoying this book, I stepped into “Horns” by Joe Hill and disturbing took on a whole new meaning, and so did the devil. A brilliantly written work that captured my attention and didn’t let go. Ig was a unique character and his journey was both human and divine. Although the pathway gave me the chills on more than one occasion. At the same time, I also decided it would be a good idea to read “The End Games” by T. Michael Martin and that turned out to be a very poor decision. Not because I disliked the book but because the story of two brothers on the run from the zombie apocalypse made me cringe in several ways, especially when I was reading it home alone at night.

And now I’m onto a whole new realm of death and dismemberment in the form of two different books: “Machine of Death” and “Reviver”. The first is a collection of stories revolving around a machine that can tell you how you will die and the various reactions and interactions that people have to that. It’s humorous in some ways but also quite dark if you really think about it. Not a depressing sort of dark but a make-you-think-about-life kind of dark. I’ve actually been enjoying it but I had to put it down yesterday because it was making me wonder a little too much about my own mortality.

“Reviver” is a work by a new author, Seth Patrick, about two men whose lives revolve around and are mired in death. One is a Reviver who can bring the recently deceased back to life for a brief period to help solve the mystery of their murder or death. And the other is a depressed journalist who discovered the original Reviver who is murdered. So far, it is a little gut-churning for my personal taste but very well written.

What is my recent borderline obsession with death and murder? It makes very little sense to me as I have a very active imagination and can’t even watch scary movies without making myself want to cry (or pee my pants). Don’t get me wrong, I have also enjoyed other works recently but so far it has been a parade of either fantasy or death and I can’t quite figure out why.