Top Ten Tuesday – September 19: Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR List

For some reason this did not post on Tuesday, as it should have. I scheduled it to do so.  Better late than never.

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

I still have some books I picked up from NYCC 2016 that I would like to read this fall:

1) The Abyss Beyond Dreams by Peter F. Hamilton

2) A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan

3) The Tournament by Matthew Reilly

4) Lightless by C.A. Higgins

And there are books from this year’s Book Con:

5) Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

6) The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst

7) Caraval by Stephanie Garber

8) Satellite by Nick Lake

9) Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

10) Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

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Top Ten Tuesday: September 12: Throwback Freebie: Ten Books I Loved During The First Year I Started My Blog

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

September 12: Throwback Freebie: Ten Books I Loved During The First Year I Started My Blog, Favorite Books Published 5 or 10 or 15 Years Ago, Ten Older Books I Forgot How Much I Loved, etc. etc. Tweak however you want!

I started in 2007 (10 years ago!) on Live Journal, and I wasn’t too consistent in the beginning. So not all of these are from the first year exactly.

1) Phantom by Susan Kay – 5 out of 5 masks

2) We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver – 5 out 5.

3) Darth Bane: Path to Destruction by Drew Karpyshyn – 4 out of 5

4) The Approaching Storm by Alan Dean Foster – 4 out of 5

5) Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno – 4 out of 5

6) The Han Solo Trilogy by A.C. Crispin – 4.5 out of 5

7) I Am Legend by Richard Matheson – 4 out 5 Garlic Cloves

8) Star Wars X-Wing series Books 1-9 by Michael A. Stackpole and Aaron Allston

9) Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy – 5 out of 5 blighted stars

10) Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen – 4 out of 5 peanuts

Top Ten Tuesday – September 5: Ten Books That Were A Chore To Get Through

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

September 5: Ten Books I Struggled to Get Into But Ended Up Loving or Ten Books That Were A Chore To Get Through or Ten Books I’ve Most Recently Put Down (the theme is…books you had a hard time with…tweak it how ever you need)

1. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

This was required reading in high school. It was a chore to get through because it’s written in the vernacular of the time period. If it were not for the Cliff’s Notes and discussion in class I would have failed the quizzes and tests.

2. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Basically I lost patience with the pacing. Should have been a stand-alone YA novel.

3. Enchantress: A Novel of Rav Hisda’s Daughter by Maggie Anton

Where was the magic? Where was the villain?

4. Beheld by Alex Flinn

Not at all how it is described on the book jacket. The main character is barely present. During some chapters I was skimming.

5. The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi

I was expecting something more eerie and supernatural and I ended up bored. Also, I would get so annoyed at some of the characters’ behaviors.

6. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

It took me a while to get used to the style of writing. She gets very wordy. It was close to the last quarter of the book that I didn’t have to reread sentences to understand the scene. It takes a lot of brain power to read and I was tired after 2 chapters.
The book is told through the perspective of the tenant, Mr. Lockwood, and the story itself is from the perspective of the housekeeper, Ellen Dean (Nelly). And the story she tells happened in the past. So because it is told this way we get a lot of telling and not much showing.

7. Hustling Hitler: The Jewish Vaudevillian Who Fooled the Führer by Walter Shapiro

The title is false advertising. I get that the author was trying to set up a background of Freeman’s life and how he became the man he was but I just wanted it to be about him hustling Hitler. I was not interested in the little details of his many cons and vaudeville days. Just concentrate on that one detail of his life, conning Hitler.

8. The Drafter by Kim Harrison

Everything moves so slow and not much of the plot develops. It is very repetitive and the action is not very enticing. I didn’t even finish.

9. Dodgers by Bill Beverly

I was so bored by the story. I expected an action packed road trip adventure. What I got was a story as mundane as watching the trees and flat plains outside your backseat window.

Just when something exciting would happen, it was short lived. Then it was back to the boring road trip. Blah, blah, blah. I was not much of a fan of they style of writing either.

10. Sybil: The Classic True Story of a Woman Possessed by Sixteen Personalities
by Flora Rheta Schreiber

I read this as a young teenager, so long before I had a computer. I got about a quarter through and gave up. Too long, too boring, too disturbing. And I read somewhere that it was all fabricated.

Top Ten Tuesday – August 22: Books To Complement A History Lesson

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

August 22: Back To School Freebie: anything “back to school” related like 10 favorite books I read in school, books I think should be required reading, Required Reading For All Fantasy Fans, required reading for every college freshman, Books to Pair With Classics or Books To Complement A History Lesson, books that would be on my classroom shelf if I were a teacher, etc.

Most of these are from the World War II era, because I read a lot of those. Each WWII book I picked presents a different POV of Europe during the war. I snuck a few others in there as well. I guess I’ll start in chronological order.

Jacobite rebellion 1700s:
1. The Winter Sea, by Susanna Kearsley
In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.

Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write.

But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who knows the truth—the ultimate betrayal—that happened all those years ago, and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her.

The Roaring 1920s:
2. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
THE GREAT GATSBY, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.

I actually did a project for this when I was in high school. We were reading it in English class and at the same time we were broken up into groups. Each group had to research a particular topic (food, music, fashion, news events, etc.) of what was popular at the time, then present that topic in front of the class as a skit. I was in the fashion group.

World War II 1940s:
3.Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys.
In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina is preparing for art school, first dates, and all that summer has to offer. But one night, the Soviet secret police barge violently into her home, deporting her along with her mother and younger brother. They are being sent to Siberia. Lina’s father has been separated from the family and sentenced to death in a prison camp. All is lost.

Lina fights for her life, fearless, vowing that if she survives she will honor her family, and the thousands like hers, by documenting their experience in her art and writing. She risks everything to use her art as messages, hoping they will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive.

It is a long and harrowing journey, and it is only their incredible strength, love, and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?
Between Shades of Gray is a riveting novel that steals your breath, captures your heart, and reveals the miraculous nature of the human spirit.

Born and raised in Michigan, Ruta Sepetys is the daughter of a Lithuanian refugee. The nations of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia disappeared from maps in 1941 and did not reappear until 1990. As this is a story seldom told, Ruta wanted to give a voice to the hundreds of thousands of people who lost their lives during Stalin’s cleansing of the Baltic region.

4. Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys

Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.

5. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

6. Anna and the Swallow Man, by Gavriel Savit
Kraków, 1939. A million marching soldiers and a thousand barking dogs. This is no place to grow up. Anna Łania is just seven years old when the Germans take her father, a linguistics professor, during their purge of intellectuals in Poland. She’s alone.

And then Anna meets the Swallow Man. He is a mystery, strange and tall, a skilled deceiver with more than a little magic up his sleeve. And when the soldiers in the streets look at him, they see what he wants them to see.

The Swallow Man is not Anna’s father—she knows that very well—but she also knows that, like her father, he’s in danger of being taken, and like her father, he has a gift for languages: Polish, Russian, German, Yiddish, even Bird. When he summons a bright, beautiful swallow down to his hand to stop her from crying, Anna is entranced. She follows him into the wilderness.

Over the course of their travels together, Anna and the Swallow Man will dodge bombs, tame soldiers, and even, despite their better judgment, make a friend. But in a world gone mad, everything can prove dangerous. Even the Swallow Man.

7. The One Man, by Andrew Gross

1944. Physics professor Alfred Mendl is separated from his family and sent to the men’s camp, where all of his belongings are tossed on a roaring fire. His books, his papers, his life’s work. The Nazis have no idea what they have just destroyed. And without that physical record, Alfred is one of only two people in the world with his particular knowledge. Knowledge that could start a war, or end it.
Nathan Blum works behind a desk at an intelligence office in Washington, DC, but he longs to contribute to the war effort in a more meaningful way, and he has a particular skill set the U.S. suddenly needs. Nathan is fluent in German and Polish, he is Semitic looking, and he proved his scrappiness at a young age when he escaped from the Polish ghetto. Now, the government wants him to take on the most dangerous assignment of his life: Nathan must sneak into Auschwitz, on a mission to find and escape with one man.

The One Man, a historical thriller from New York Times bestseller Andrew Gross, is a deeply affecting, unputdownable series of twists and turns through a landscape at times horrifyingly familiar but still completely compelling.

Top Ten Tuesday August 15: Five book recommendations for Hufflepuffs

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

August 15: Ten book recommendations for ______________: (Skies the limit here…examples: for Hufflepuffs, for fans of Game of Thrones, for people who don’t normally read YA, for animal lovers, for video game lovers, etc.

I chose book recommendations for Hufflepuffs! These books are great stories about family, friendship and loyalty.

1) Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown

You will not find two friends more loyal than Sevro and Victra. They stand by Darrow no matter what. Of course there’s more than just their unconditional love in the trilogy, but I singled them out because I love them both so much.

2) The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson

I have not read this in years. But I remember laughing and crying. I have kept it because I do intend to read it again one day and it’s a book about sisters.

3) The One Man by Andrew Gross
Leo and Professor Mendl are not even family but they are loyal to each other. There was also the loyalty and courage of Nathan. Not many people would take on the mission he did and carry it out to completion.

4) Star Wars Legends: The X-Wing series, by Michael A. Stackpole and Aaron Allston.
We Hufflepuffs are often teased and underestimated. But we can still kick ass (just look at the Battle of Hogwarts.) These books shows the other side of Star Wars that doesn’t deal with the Jedi or the Sith. Even those who can’t use the Force can make a difference and kick ass too. It’s a good series for those who feel like the underdogs.

5) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Because hello! Cedric. Yes, he dies but he represented our House wonderfully. Damn you, Voldemort.

Top Ten Tuesday – July 25: All about the visuals: Favorite Graphic Novels/Comic Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

This was originally a TTT on January 31, but I never got to do it.  I’ll do it now in honor of SDCC this past weekend, and since The Broke and the Bookish prompts are on hiatus.

Been years since I read all these Clone Wars volumes. I’m just mentioning the parts that stuck out in my mind.

1) Star Wars: Clone Wars, Volume 7: When They Were Brothers
Script by W. Haden Blackman, Art by Brian Ching

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Many on both sides of the Clone Wars have been wounded or killed. But the war has taken its toll on the survivors, too.

Consumed by the belief that the Dark Jedi Asajj Ventress still lives, Obi-Wan Kenobi has temporarily forsaken his duties and recruited Anakin Skywalker in his desperate hunt for Ventress.

But Anakin believes that Obi-Wan is chasing a ghost-because he himself killed Ventress. And Anakin’s doubts about his former Master’s quest are not assuaged when, following the trail of the rumors of Ventress’ existence, they walk into a trap set by their old enemies, the bounty hunter Durge and Count Dooku!

A tale that tests the strengths of the bonds of brotherhood!
• Collects Obsession Issues 1-5 and the 2005 Free Comic Book Day comic.

I don’t love the art, but I like it. It’s a bit scratchy at times, but the story is my favorite. First of all there is Anakin and Padmé on Naboo. Five months before the events of RotS. MMM-hmmm. *waggles eyebrows* *whispers: Luke and Leia*
Second, Obi-Wan interrupts them to ask for Anakin’s help hunting Ventress.
Third, Ventress!!! She lives.

2)Star Wars: Clone Wars, Volume 9: Endgame
Script by John Ostrander, Pencils by Jan Duursema, Inks by Dan Parsons, Colors by Brad Anderson.

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In the jungles of the Wookiee homeworld Kashyyyk, Quinlan Vos wages a battle of impossible odds against his own troops to protect his loved ones. On the icy Outer Rim world of Toola, Jedi Master Kai Huddora takes a terrified Padawan into his charge after her own master falls to Order 66. Amidst the forests of New Plymto, Dass Jennir finds himself in league with a band of rebels he’d led attacks against only days before. Not all Jedi are scattered across the galaxy however, and soon, a brave few will plot to topple Sith rule-by setting a trap for the newly unveiled Darth Vader!

• Collects Star Wars: Republic 79-83 and the one shot Star Wars: Purge

I love the conclusion of Quinlan Vos’ story and that he survived Order 66 (this is now Legends). The artwork for the pages when he reunites with Khaleen and meets his son Korto are so beautiful. Clean and realistic. I like comic books where the art looks so realistic you feel it can be a photo.

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Top Ten Tuesday – June 27: Best Books You’ve Read In 2017 So Far

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

I have only read 10 books so far this year. Here are the ones I rated a 4 or higher.

1) The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, February 4, 312 pages, 4 out 5 Witchy Women

2) Gilded Cage by Vic James, March 12, 2017, 310 pages, 4 out 5 Years of Servitude.

3&4) Red Rising: Sons of Ares Issue 1, Issue 2, by Pierce Brown, Rik Hoskin, art by Eli Powell, May 10, 2017, 4 out of 5 Sons

5) The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, May 15, 2017, 344 pages, 5 out of 5 Suns That Are Also Stars.

6) Thrawn by Timothy Zahn, Marc Thompson (Narrator), June 19, 2017; 17 hours, 4 out of 5 Glowing Red Eyes