Top Ten Tuesday – Turnoffs


Thanks as always to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting TTT!  Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is about things that will make you NOT pick up a book.

1. Angels/Fallen Angels as Romantic Leads


I’m not sure why this setup bores me so much, but it does, so there you go.  Maybe it’s because they always have to choose between Heaven and love.  Anyway, so bored.

2. Implied Instalove


Again, boring.  Key phrases not to include on jacket copy of books you want me to read: “inexplicably drawn to [X]”, “instantly attracted to [X]”, “strangely intrigued by [X]”, “different than anyone she’s ever met”, etc.  All of these usually turn out to be code for instalove.

3. Contemporary Realistic


Not to say that I’ve never enjoyed a Contemporary Realistic book, but in general, they just don’t float my boat.  I like the magic and the spaceships and the history.  A Contemporary Realistic has to come really highly recommended for me to want to read it, and even then sometimes I say, “no thanks.”

4. Strong Indicators that it’s an “ISSUE BOOK”


I know these can be very helpful to those dealing with that particular issue, but I just don’t want to read a book that’s all about one issue.  I like complicated.  Also, sometimes these books are very simplistic about the solutions to tough problems.

5. Novels in Verse



Ugh.  I’m not a huge poetry fan, anyway, and I just can’t stand this trend.  It usually seems like the description should be “a mixture of run-on sentences and short, choppy sentences


Random line

Breaks, so

I can call it poetry.”

6. Be a Later Volume in a Series I Haven’t Started


I’m sure that this won’t sound weird to my book nerds, but I DO NOT read series out of order.

7. Heroine Sounds Useless


‘Nuff said.

Probably there are other things, but this is what I could think of.


Top Ten Tuesday — Intimidation


Top Ten Tuesday, as always, is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s theme is Books that Intimidate You.


I’ve actually just started reading this one!  There’s not really an intrinsic reason why this intimidated me…it’s more expectations–everyone thinks I must have already read it, lots of high recommendations (“life-changing” says my friend Lindsey), the fact that I did read the Sally Lockhart series and was not super impressed.  So far, though, I like it!


This has got to be on lots of people’s lists.  I did start this once, put it down for “a little while”, and didn’t return till after I’d forgotten who everyone was and what had happened to them.  I have read Anna Karenina, though, so I think I get points for that.


I was intimidated by this.  I mean, it’s huge and looks kind of imposing, with the black cover (most commonly, anyway). Then I read it, fell in love, and try to get everyone else to read it.  It’s so wonderful.  I mean, it has fictional citations of fictional scholarly works!  How do you, as a book nerd, not revel in that?

[EDIT: After reading another person’s list, I just realized that I really should have Moby Dick on here.]

….Honestly, that’s all I can think of, barring specialized nonfiction that I wouldn’t understand anyway.  I might not choose a lot of other books as the first thing to read, but I feel like a pretty fearless reader in general.

Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far in 2013


Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

There have been a lot of books this year that I’ve enjoyed, but these are the ones that stood out the most.  I cheated a bit by putting a few series in there, but only if I’ve actually read all of the books of the series this year.


The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

There is nothing more that I can say about this book which I did not already say in my review.  I’m pretty sure this is in my top ten of the whole year, maybe of the whole 5 years.


The Curse Workers Series by Holly Black

I think that the fact it’s trilogy that tells three separate stories is a lot to celebrate right off the bat!  Then add the fact that it’s a beautiful, creepy, sad dark fantasy with a forbidden romance, and it’s written in a great immediate, engrossing style?  It’s so worth your time.


The October Daye Series by Seanan McGuire

I haven’t done a full review of these yet.  Seanan McGuire is one of my two go-to gal authors for great urban fantasy…I can’t believe I only discovered her recently!  She writes adventure, fantasy, emotion, humor, and romance well.  The best part is, there’s more to come!  I’ve read all the novels that are out, but she’s working on more!


The Diviners by Libba Bray

I love Libba Bray.  She’s funny, talented, and writes in a variety of styles and settings.  This is set in 1920s New York, and it’s spooky, mysterious, and entertaining.  Can’t wait for the next one!


Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

There are two main reasons why I love this series.  One is that it’s high fantasy for teens, which doesn’t happen a lot now.  There’s lots of middle grade, and tons of teen paranormal romance, but not so much teen high fantasy.  The other reason is the unusual, relatable heroine, who truly grows and changes a lot over the course of the series.  Also, Hector.


The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K Jemisin

I had heard wonderful things about Jemisin, and I was not disappointed.  Her writing is beautiful, the story is court intrigue/romance/mythology, and she just nails it.  Held my breath during several passages.  No wonder we hardly get her books in my (used) bookstore–people are holding on to their copies!


Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

I haven’t officially reviewed this one yet, either.  Yovanoff has a delicate, dreamy narrative style that I simply love.  I’ve loved all three of her published novels so far, and expect to love more!  This one is a mystery/thriller/ghost story, taking on the intense topic of serial young girl murders.  The ending is very satisfying, which, when you’re talking about serial murders, is saying something.


Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Carriger is my other favorite urban fantasy author.  I like her for the same reasons as I like McGuire–adventure, emotion, humor, romance, all handled in just the right balance.  And she has excellent fashion sense.


The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Excitement, Mystery, Danger, Secret Societies, the Voynich Manuscript!  What’s not to love?

That’s it.  I know that’s nine on the list, but with the series, I’m going to call it good enough.

Top Ten Tuesday – Travel

Top Ten Tuesday – Travel


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This is my first time contributing!  Today’s topic is Books that Feature Travel.  In no particular order, here are my Top Ten Travel-Related Books:

american gods

1) American Gods:

Shadow’s journey across the U.S. is also a spiritual journey, and Neil Gaiman is a genius, and I really have to reread this book so I can remember exactly why I loved it so much.  I remember the outline, and the engrossing feeling of “yes, this is right, this is how things really are, even when they look so different!”, but I should reread for specifics.


2) The Book of Blood and Shadow:

I just finished this one recently, so I remember exactly what I loved about this: history, several mysteries that keep you guessing, ambivalent/well-developed characters, and Prague!  Prague is a beautiful city, and I wish I could stay there.

beauty queens

3) Beauty Queens:

This book about beauty queen contestants who crash-land on a desert island is one of the funniest things I have ever read.  Libba Bray is one of the most talented authors working in YA today, and you should read all her books.


4) The Chronicles of Narnia:

Traveling to a fantasy world counts, right?  There is probably no set of books more important to my childhood than my read-to-tatters Narnia set (with the possible exception of Anne, but she doesn’t fit on this list).  Voyage of the Dawn Treader  was my favorite, too–and it’s the most travel-ish of them all.


5) The Arrival:

The parameters never stated that they had to be books with words, right?  This book…somehow, with two-tone drawings, Tan manages to clearly and completely articulate the emigrant/immigrant/expatriate experience.  The complete and utter foreignness of everything, the adjustment period, the joy of seeing family/friends from home, the moment when things just start making sense again…it’s all here.  The ending can bring a tear to my eye every time, and I’m not an easy cry.

girl who

6) The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making:

There is nothing about this book that is not delightful.  I was a supporter of this book almost from the very start, when it was an online project (before the days of Kickstarter).  The charm and danger of Fairyland, the innocence and bravery of September, the hard-won ending…I just love it (and I really need to read book 2, now that I own it, and before book 3 comes out)!


7) The Kushiel Books (Phaedre’s Trilogy):

I don’t mention the later books, because I haven’t read them yet, but Carey’s biggest strength with these books is worldbuilding.  She took a point in human history (the crucifixion of Christ) and changed part of it, then imagined what else would change as a result: 500 years later…   Possibly in order to show off this meticulous planning, she has her heroine travel from France (her birthplace) to Scandinavia, England, Italy, the Balkans, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Africa.  Possibly some others I’m forgetting.  In each of those places, Phaedra learns something about the locals, makes friends, learns some language and culture.  It’s like a world tour in a slightly parallel universe.


8) Red China Blues:

What? A nonfiction book?  Yes, this memoir has made it on, because of the humor and heart that Wong puts into her story of the journey from bright-eyed Canadian-Chinese Communist college student to disillusioned laborer in the Cultural Revolution.  I really can’t recommend it enough for anyone who is interested in what life was really like for the average citizen during that crazy decade.


9) The Fire and Thorns Trilogy:

Elisa is such a wonderful, relatable heroine, and everything she does is motivated by her desire to help her people.  So when she travels, it’s with a purpose, on a quest.  And they are exciting, classic high-fantasy style quests.  I can’t wait for the third volume of this series!



10) The Thursday Next Series:

Because who hasn’t wanted to travel inside their favorite book?