TTT: New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2021

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Hello beautiful people! How are we doing this fine Tuesday? Me, I’m fine. I seem to finally be over being sick, which is wonderful. The way things were going I thought I would be sick forever. Seriously. I’m still having some lingering COVID fog, but it is nowhere near as bad as it was when I was sick. Thank goodness. I can read again!

Speaking of reading, this weeks Top Ten Tuesday is all about authors you discovered in 2021. I read quite a few books by new to me authors, so I figured I could give this a shot!

Brendan P Bellacourt

This isn’t the author’s debut novel, as it’s a nom de plume and he normally writes under the name Bradley Beaulieu. I absolutely loved this book. And the more I think about it, the more I think this is one of my favorite books of last year. I loved the writing and the way he left me guessing all the way until the very end.

Hannah Whitten

This is a debut novel for this author, so I discovered her along with everyone else. She wrote a rich and wonderful world that was full of compelling characters. Yes, I have preordered the second book.

Gail Carriger

This new to me author was such a fun read. I enjoyed watching this world unfold. I haven’t finished the series yet, I got distracted by other books, it happens with me. But I have purchased this full series.

TJ Klune

I read two TJ Klune books this year and fell in love with his writing style. It made me curious to see if his other books are just as well done. I’m hoping to read more by him in the future.

Matt Haig

This book was a great read for me. The concept and the writing style felt really fresh. I really loved the character growth. It just spoke to me. Another book that makes me want to read more by the author.

Erin Sterling

This is author Rachel Hawkins’s pen name. I’ve never read anything else by her, but some of her books do sound interesting. Not sure if I will pick them up, but I did really enjoy the writing and the story of The Ex Hex.

Garth Nix

This colorful romp around London was exactly the book I needed at the time. It entranced me with its world-building and colorful characters.

Jenny Colgan

The Christmas Bookshop was a surprise hit for me last year. I had never heard of this author before, and I now hope to read more by her. Her characters were unexpectedly nuanced and complex. I loved the setting. And apparently, I’m a sucker for a Christmas book.

Lana Harper

Another pen name, this time for YA author Lana Popovic. I really enjoy the world and characters the author created. The plot was also pretty fantastic too. I might have pre-ordered the sequel already. Maybe.

Maggie Knox

Maggie Knox is the name of the writing duo Karma Brown and Marissa Stapley. This also happens to be their debut novel, and I enjoyed the heck out of it. It was a perfect holiday read and I can’t wait to see what they do next!

Turns out I read a lot of books by authors I already knew in 2021. I’m going to make an effort to read more new to me authors in 2022. I have quite a few of them that I want to pick up!

Did you pick up any of these authors for the first time this year?

TTT-2021 New Releases I Was Excited to Read But Didn’t

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and originally created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Well hello, beautiful peoples! I’m back from my quarantine! I have not fully recovered from my bout of illness, but we followed all of the doctor’s instructions and the Hubs never got sick! Huzzah!

Alas, I did have the COVID fog, so I wasn’t able to do much reading like I had hoped. That’s life, I guess.

But that does lead me to today’s Top Ten Tuesday! This is not only a list of books from last year, it’s also a list of books I’m hoping to get to this year.

The Mask Of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick- January 19, 2021

FORTUNE FAVORS THE BOLD. MAGIC FAVORS THE LIARS.

Ren is a liar and a thief, a pattern-reader and a daughter of no clan. Raised in the slums of Nadežra, she fled that world to save her sister. Now, she has returned with one goal: to trick her way into a noble house, securing her fortune and her sister’s future.

But in the city of dreams, her masquerade is just one of many. Enigmatic crime lord Derossi Vargo, stony captain of the guard Grey Serrado, dashing heir Leato Traementis, and the legendary vigilante known as the Rook all have secrets that could unravel her own.

And as corrupt nightmare magic begins to weave its way through the city of dreams, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled—with Ren at their heart.

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell- February 2, 2021

Prince Kiem, a famously disappointing minor royal and the Emperor’s least favorite grandchild, has been called upon to be useful for once. He’s commanded to fulfill an obligation of marriage to the representative of the Empire’s newest and most rebellious vassal planet. His future husband, Count Jainan, is a widower and murder suspect.

Neither wants to be wed, but with a conspiracy unfolding around them and the fate of the empire at stake they will have to navigate the thorns and barbs of court intrigue, the machinations of war, and the long shadows of Jainan’s past, and they’ll have to do it together.

So begins a legendary love story amid the stars.

The Guilded Ones by Namia Forna-February 9, 2021

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.

The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox-February 9, 2021

Taryn Cornick believes that the past–her sister’s violent death, and her own ill-conceived revenge–is behind her, and she can get on with her life. She has written a successful book about the things that threaten libraries: insects, damp, light, fire, carelessness and uncaring . . . but not all of the attention it brings her is good.

A policeman, Jacob Berger, questions her about a cold case. Then there are questions about a fire in the library at her grandparents’ house and an ancient scroll box known as the Firestarter, as well as threatening phone calls and a mysterious illness. Finally a shadowy young man named Shift appears, forcing Taryn and Jacob toward a reckoning felt in more than one world.

Malice by Heather Walter-April 13, 2021

Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who, in an act of vengeance, cursed a line of princesses to die. A curse that could only be broken by true love’s kiss.

You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily ever after.

Utter nonsense.

Let me tell you, no one in Briar actually cares about what happens to its princesses. Not the way they care about their jewels and elaborate parties and charm-granting elixirs. I thought I didn’t care, either.

Until I met her.

Princess Aurora. The last heir to Briar’s throne. Kind. Gracious. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am Alyce, the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Humiliated and shamed by the same nobles who pay me to bottle hexes and then brand me a monster. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she . . . cares for me. Even though a power like mine was responsible for her curse.

But with less than a year until that curse will kill her, any future I might see with Aurora is swiftly disintegrating—and she can’t stand to kiss yet another insipid prince. I want to help her. If my power began her curse, perhaps it’s what can lift it. Perhaps together we could forge a new world.

Nonsense again. Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I—

I am the villain.

Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa-May 11 2021

IN THIS WORLD, THERE IS NO DESTINY BUT THE ONE YOU MAKE. 

In the ancient city of Bassa, Danso is a clever scholar on the cusp of achieving greatness—except he doesn’t want it. Instead, he prefers to chase forbidden stories about what lies outside the city walls. The Bassai elite claim there is nothing of interest. The city’s immigrants are sworn to secrecy.

But when Danso stumbles across a warrior wielding magic that shouldn’t exist, he’s put on a collision course with Bassa’s darkest secrets. Drawn into the city’s hidden history, he sets out on a journey beyond its borders. And the chaos left in the wake of his discovery threatens to destroy the empire.

Beyond by Mercedes Lackey-June 15, 2021

Within the Eastern Empire, Duke Kordas Valdemar rules a tiny, bucolic Duchy that focuses mostly on horse breeding. Anticipating the day when the Empire’s exploitative and militant leaders would not be content to leave them alone, Korda’s father set out to gather magicians in the hopes of one day finding a way to escape and protect the people of the Duchy from tyranny.
 
Kordas has lived his life looking over his shoulder. The signs in the Empire are increasingly dire. Under the direction of the Emperor, mages have begun to harness the power of dark magics, including blood magic, the powers of the Abyssal Planes, and the binding and “milking” of Elemental creatures
 
But then one of the Duchy’s mages has a breakthrough. There is a way to place a Gate at a distance so far from the Empire that it is unlikely the Emperor can find or follow them as they evacuate everyone that is willing to leave.
 
But time is running out, and Kordas has been summoned to the Emperor’s Court.
 
Can his reputation as a country bumpkin and his acting skills buy him and his people the time they need to flee?  Or will the Emperor lose patience, invade to strip Valdemar of everything of worth, and send its conscripted people into the front lines of the Imperial wars?

Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian-July 6, 2021

Everyone knows the legend. Of Arthur, destined to be a king. Of the beautiful Guinevere, who will betray him with his most loyal knight, Lancelot. Of the bitter sorceress, Morgana, who will turn against them all. But Elaine alone carries the burden of knowing what is to come–for Elaine of Shalott is cursed to see the future.

On the mystical isle of Avalon, Elaine runs free and learns of the ancient prophecies surrounding her and her friends–countless possibilities, almost all of them tragic.

When their future comes to claim them, Elaine, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Morgana accompany Arthur to take his throne in stifling Camelot, where magic is outlawed, the rules of society chain them, and enemies are everywhere. Yet the most dangerous threats may come from within their own circle.

As visions are fulfilled and an inevitable fate closes in, Elaine must decide how far she will go to change destiny–and what she is willing to sacrifice along the way.

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao- September 21, 2021

The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.
 
When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.​
 
To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia​. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.

Fanfiction by Brent Spiner-October 5, 2021

Set in 1991, just as Star Trek: The Next Generation has rocketed the cast to global fame, the young and impressionable actor Brent Spiner receives a mysterious package and a series of disturbing letters, that take him on a terrifying and bizarre journey that enlists Paramount Security, the LAPD, and even the FBI in putting a stop to the danger that has his life and career hanging in the balance.

Featuring a cast of characters from Patrick Stewart to Levar Burton to Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, to some completely imagined, this is the fictional autobiography that takes readers into the life of Brent Spiner, and tells an amazing tale about the trappings of celebrity and the fear he has carried with him his entire life.

I actually got each of these books with the full intention of reading them last year, but that didn’t happen. I’m hoping with my focus being put on my TBR backlog this year that I’ll be able to get to most, if not all of them. I do have a year, so I should be good. But I’m me, and TBR’s never go quite as planned.

TTT-Most Anticipated Books Releasing In the First Half of 2022

Well hello, beautiful people! And how is everything going for you this fine Tuesday? I spent all day yesterday working on blog things. You know, getting ready for future posts and the like. And then I remembered that I had to write this one.

When I tell you that this took up all my free time, I mean it. I started obsessing over every title that publishers were planning to put out.

I made spreadsheets!

Then I had to remind myself that I had already pre-ordered a few books that are coming out in the first half of the year, so maybe I should start there. You know, instead of stressing about the whole thing.

Please note all release dates are subject to change, and several of them have already changed on me! Well, they did it last year, anyway.

Also, the first five books on this list are sequels, so most of them are missing their synopsis to spare you the spoilers if you haven’t gotten around to the first book yet.

Abandoned in Death by J.D. Robb-Feb 8th

The woman’s body was found in the early morning, on a bench in a New York City playground. She was clean, her hair neatly arranged, her makeup carefully applied. But other things were very wrong—like the tattoo and piercings, clearly new. The clothes, decades out of date. The fatal wound hidden beneath a ribbon around her neck. And the note: Bad Mommy, written in crayon as if by a child.

Eve Dallas turns to the department’s top profiler, who confirms what seems obvious to Eve: They’re dealing with a killer whose childhood involved some sort of trauma—a situation Eve is all too familiar with herself. Yet the clues suggest a perpetrator who’d be roughly sixty years old, and there are no records of old crimes with a similar MO. What was the trigger that apparently reopened such an old wound and sent someone over the edge?

When Eve discovers that other young women—who physically resemble the first victim—have vanished, the clock starts ticking louder. But to solve this case she will need to find her way into a hidden place of dim light and concrete, into the distant past, and into the cold depths of a shattered mind.

Genre: Mystery/Romance Pages: 368

It’s no secret that I love the In Death series, and I’m really looking forward to this, the 54th entry in the series (the 55th comes out later this year). The series has been showing its age a little bit, but it’s still fun to read. That being said, there are major trigger warnings for these books that I love so much, so please look those up before you give these a read. Maybe I need to re-read these. That could be a fun challenge. Read one a week for the coming year?

Into the West (The Founding of Valdemar Book 2) by Mercedes Lackey-June 21st

Genre: Fantasy Pages: 368

So there is no description as this is a sequel, and given that I haven’t even read the first book yet, I didn’t want to spoil it for myself! I still can’t believe I haven’t read Beyond yet. I’m sure this will be another great entry into the Valdemar series!

A Mirror Mended (Fractured Fables 2) by Alix E. Harrow-June 14th

Genre: LBGTQIA+ Fairytale Pages: 144

Another sequel where the synopsis gives away some of the previous book! Sigh. I enjoyed (4 stars!) A Spindle Splintered and as soon as I learned about this one, I pre-ordered it. I’m hoping I enjoy this one just as much!

For the Throne (Wilderwood Book 2) by Hannah Whitten-June 7th

Genre: Dark Fantasy Pages: 448

I gave the first entry into the series 5 stars. I really had a lot of fun reading about Red’s adventures in the Wilderwood. It was an exciting ride. Also, let’s hear it for that cover! It’s stunning!

Soul Taken (A Mercy Thompson Novel) by Patricia Briggs- June 21st

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance Pages: 352

A Mercy Thompson book? On my most anticipated books of 2022? Never. Okay, so it’s kind of obvious. I really do love this series. It’s a fun way to spend a few hours.

Battle of the Linguist Mages by Scotto Moore-Jan 11th

Isobel is the Queen of the medieval rave-themed VR game Sparkle Dungeon. Her prowess in the game makes her an ideal candidate to learn the secrets of “power morphemes”—unnaturally dense units of meaning that warp perception when skilfully pronounced.

But Isobel’s reputation makes her the target of a strange resistance movement led by spellcasting anarchists, who may be the only thing stopping the cabal from toppling California over the edge of a terrible transformation, with forty million lives at stake.

Time is short for Isobel to level up and choose a side—because the cabal has attracted much bigger and weirder enemies than the anarchist resistance, emerging from dark and vicious dimensions of reality and heading straight for planet Earth!

Genre: Humorous Sci-Fi Pages: 437

It’s a video game come to life and I want to read it! I can imagine the Hubs might like this as well.

Mickey 7 by Edward Ashton-February 15th

Dying isn’t any fun…but at least it’s a living.

Mickey7 is an Expendable: a disposable employee on a human expedition sent to colonize the ice world Niflheim. Whenever there’s a mission that’s too dangerous—even suicidal—the crew turns to Mickey. After one iteration dies, a new body is regenerated with most of his memories intact. After six deaths, Mickey7 understands the terms of his deal…and why it was the only colonial position unfilled when he took it.

On a fairly routine scouting mission, Mickey7 goes missing and is presumed dead. By the time he returns to the colony base, surprisingly helped back by native life, Mickey7’s fate has been sealed. There’s a new clone, Mickey8, reporting for Expendable duties. The idea of duplicate Expendables is universally loathed, and if caught, they will likely be thrown into the recycler for protein.

Mickey7 must keep his double a secret from the rest of the colony. Meanwhile, life on Niflheim is getting worse. The atmosphere is unsuitable for humans, food is in short supply, and terraforming is going poorly. The native species are growing curious about their new neighbors, and that curiosity has Commander Marshall very afraid. Ultimately, the survival of both lifeforms will come down to Mickey7.

That is, if he can just keep from dying for good.

Genre: Humorous Sci-Fi Pages: 304

This is giving my Andy Wier vibes but in the best possible way. I’m looking forward to this one.

The Impossible Us by Sarah Lotz-Mar 22nd

Bee thinks she has everything: a successful business repurposing wedding dresses, and friends who love and support her. She’s given up on finding love, but that’s fine. There’s always Tinder. Nick thinks he has nothing: his writing career has stalled after early promise and his marriage is on the rocks, but that’s fine. There’s always gin. So when one of Nick’s emails, a viciously funny screed intended for a non-paying client, accidentally pings into Bee’s inbox, they decide to keep the conversation going. After all, they never have to meet.  

But the more they get to know each other, the more Bee and Nick realize they want to. They both notice strange pop culture or political references that crop up in their correspondence, but nothing odd enough to stop Bee and Nick for falling hard for each other. But when their efforts to meet in real life fail spectacularly, Bee and Nick discover that they’re actually living in near-identical but parallel worlds. With a universe between them, Bee and Nick will discover how far they’ll go to beat impossible odds.

Genre: Magical Realism Pages: 496

A parallel worlds love story? I’ll take it! No, but seriously, I preordered it.

Memphis by Tara M Stringfellow-April 5th

Summer 1995: Ten-year-old Joan, her mother, and her younger sister flee her father’s explosive temper and seek refuge at her mother’s ancestral home in Memphis. This is not the first time violence has altered the course of the family’s trajectory. Half a century earlier, Joan’s grandfather built this majestic house in the historic Black neighborhood of Douglass—only to be lynched days after becoming the first Black detective in the city. Joan tries to settle into her new life, but family secrets cast a longer shadow than any of them expected.

As she grows up, Joan finds relief in her artwork, painting portraits of the community in Memphis. One of her subjects is their enigmatic neighbor Miss Dawn, who claims to know something about curses, and whose stories about the past help Joan see how her passion, imagination, and relentless hope are, in fact, the continuation of a long matrilineal tradition. Joan begins to understand that her mother, her mother’s mother, and the mothers before them persevered, made impossible choices, and put their dreams on hold so that her life would not have to be defined by loss and anger—that the sole instrument she needs for healing is her paintbrush.

Unfolding over seventy years through a chorus of unforgettable voices that move back and forth in time, Memphis paints an indelible portrait of inheritance, celebrating the full complexity of what we pass down, in a family and as a country: brutality and justice, faith and forgiveness, sacrifice and love.

Genre: African American Literary Fiction Pages: 272

This book features a neighborhood in my hometown! I’m so excited to support the author and give it a read!

The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah-May 17th

Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp that has the power to revive the barren land—at the cost of sacrificing all jinn.

With no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie journeys with the sultan’s oldest son to find the artifact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of his own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outwit a vengeful jinn queen, and confront a malicious killer from Loulie’s past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything—her enemy, her magic, even her own past—is not what it seems, and she must decide who she will become in this new reality.

Genre: Epic Fantasy Pages: 432

This sounds fun! It has Thousand and One Nights vibes and I am here for it.

So there you have it! The books I am most looking forward to in the first half of 2022. I gotta say, there are actually a whole lot more that I want, I just can’t have them. And June! Why is June so full of books I pre-ordered!

What books are you looking forward to?

TTT-Best Books I Read In 2021

Well Hello! It’s funny, I was going to do this post anyway. So, when I saw the Top Ten Tuesday topic for the day, I was all “Hey, this is fortuitous”. Cause it is. Two birds, one stone. But not really. I’d say save the birds, but all the birds were replaced by robots in the 80s.

Thanks for that TikTok. And no, I don’t actually believe that. It is funny though.

But anyway, it’s Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and originally created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week it’s all about the top ten books of the year! Huzzah!

So here are my Top Ten Books of the Year, in no particular order.

A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers

It’s been centuries since the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and laid down their tools; centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again; centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend.

One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of “what do people need?” is answered.

But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how.

They’re going to need to ask it a lot.

This short novella asks some big questions, which I have noticed that Becky Chambers is very good at. But this book is gentle in asking and doesn’t expect you to have the answers right away. Its whole purpose is to make you question what it means to be human, and it does it very well. And, bonus, there is a sequel coming out next year. I may have already pre-ordered it.

Soulless by Gail Carriger

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire — and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

I couldn’t put this book down and read through the first three books in a few days. I still need to finish this series. That would be a good idea. But still, I can recommend the first three books. Also, they are a little spicy. So be prepared for that. If you want to see my more in-depth thoughts, click here.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

This book tells the story of Nora, and there is a trigger warning here, she tries to take her own life. What follows is a crazy look into all the what might have beens of her life. And it was great. I really enjoyed the different lives Nora gets to live. I wrote a review on it, and you can read that here.

Broken (in the best possible way) By Jenny Lawson

As Jenny Lawson’s hundreds of thousands of fans know, she suffers from depression. In Broken, Jenny brings readers along on her mental and physical health journey, offering heartbreaking and hilarious anecdotes along the way.

With people experiencing anxiety and depression now more than ever, Jenny humanizes what we all face in an all-too-real way, reassuring us that we’re not alone and making us laugh while doing it. From the business ideas that she wants to pitch to Shark Tank to the reason why Jenny can never go back to the post office, Broken leaves nothing to the imagination in the most satisfying way. And of course, Jenny’s long-suffering husband Victor—the Ricky to Jenny’s Lucille Ball—is present throughout.

I will never stop raving about the wonderousness that is Jenny Lawson. This book made me laugh so very hard. If you want to read my full review, you can click the link!

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, Ryland realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it’s up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery—and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away, he’s got to do it all alone.

Or does he?

Um. Yes. This whole book. It made me laugh. It made me angry. It made me cringe. It made me write a review on it. I swear this whole post is just ending up with me plugging my reviews.

Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

Welcome to Charon’s Crossing.
The tea is hot, the scones are fresh, and the dead are just passing through.

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace from his own funeral, Wallace begins to suspect he might be dead.

And when Hugo, the owner of a peculiar tea shop, promises to help him cross over, Wallace decides he’s definitely dead.

But even in death he’s not ready to abandon the life he barely lived, so when Wallace is given one week to cross over, he sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

So this book made me cry, but in the best possible way. It was my favorite book this year, and I read House in the Cerulean Sea by the same author. I might have had a problem choosing between the two. But yeah. This was better. And yes, I also wrote a review on this one!

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

A young royal from the far north, is sent south for a political marriage in an empire reminiscent of imperial China. Her brothers are dead, her armies and their war mammoths long defeated and caged behind their borders. Alone and sometimes reviled, she must choose her allies carefully.

Rabbit, a handmaiden, sold by her parents to the palace for the lack of five baskets of dye, befriends the emperor’s lonely new wife and gets more than she bargained for.

At once feminist high fantasy and an indictment of monarchy, this evocative debut follows the rise of the empress In-yo, who has few resources and fewer friends. She’s a northern daughter in a mage-made summer exile, but she will bend history to her will and bring down her enemies, piece by piece.

This short novella had an excellent story to tell, and it told it well. The characters were engaging and the plot was captivating. I recently picked up the sequel and I know I’m going to enjoy that one too. No expectations, at all. Also, this book is available on Kindle unlimited at the moment, so go check it out.

This Place: 150 Years Retold forward by Alicia Elliott

Explore the past 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators in this groundbreaking graphic novel anthology. Beautifully illustrated, these stories are an emotional and enlightening journey through Indigenous wonderworks, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact.

This graphic novel made me cry ugly tears! These stories are all about the Canadian Indigenous experience, but a lot of the same things happened to Indigenous persons here in the States. There were heartbreaking stories and hopefully stories. And in between each was facts about the Indigenous laws and experience, including things that still happen to this day. Read this!

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont.

So I rated this entire series 5 stars. And it was a re-read for me. I love the story, the writing, the pacing, the world, and the characters. And yes, I wrote a review. But warning, the review is for the whole series…because reasons.

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Mercy Thompson is a shapeshifter, and while she was raised by werewolves, she can never be one of them, especially after the pack ran her off for having a forbidden love affair. So she’s turned her talent for fixing cars into a business and now runs a one-woman mechanic shop in the Tri-Cities area of Washington State.

But Mercy’s two worlds are colliding. A half-starved teenage boy arrives at her shop looking for work, only to reveal that he’s a newly changed werewolf—on the run and desperately trying to control his animal instincts. Mercy asks her neighbor Adam Hauptman, the Alpha of the local werewolf pack, for assistance. 

But Mercy’s act of kindness has unexpected consequences that leave her no choice but to seek help from those she once considered family—the werewolves who abandoned her…

If you’ve been hanging around here recently, you’d know I was doing a re-read of this series. I particularly love this first book in the series. It makes me happy. Which is pretty much why it gets five stars from me. Is it a book that is going to change the world? No. But is it hella entertaining? Absolutely.

TTT- Books I Hope Santa Brings/Bookish Wishes

It’s almost Christmas!!!

I don’t have a problem. I swear. Anyway… it’s Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and originally created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s post is all about the books we want for Christmas! And I’m not gonna lie. I already have that list prepared because all I asked for Christmas was books.

I’m not predictable at all.

Far From The Light Of Heaven by Tade Thompson

The colony ship Ragtime docks in the Lagos system, having traveled light-years to bring one thousand sleeping souls to a new home among the stars. But when first mate Michelle Campion rouses, she discovers some of the sleepers will never wake.

Answering Campion’s distress call, investigator Rasheed Fin is tasked with finding out who is responsible for these deaths. Soon a sinister mystery unfolds aboard the gigantic vessel, one that will have repercussions for the entire system—from the scheming politicians of Lagos station, to the colony planet Bloodroot, to other far-flung systems, and indeed to Earth itself.

Inhibitor Phase by Alistair Reynolds

For thirty years a tiny band of humans has been sheltering in the caverns of an airless, crater-pocked world called Michaelmas. Beyond their solar system lie the ruins of human interstellar civilization, stalked by a ruthless, infinitely patient cybernetic entity determined to root out the last few bands of survivors. One man has guided the people of Michaelmas through the hardest of times, and given them hope against the wolves: Miguel de Ruyter.

When a lone human ship blunders into their system, and threatens to lead the wolves to Michaelmas, de Ruyter embarks on a desperate, near-suicide mission to prevent catastrophe. But an encounter with a refugee from the ship—the enigmatic woman who calls herself only Glass—leads to de Ruyter’s world being turned upside down.

The Body Scout by Lincoln Michel

In the future, you can have any body you want—as long as you can afford it.

But in a New York ravaged by climate change and repeat pandemics, Kobo is barely scraping by. He
scouts the latest in gene-edited talent for Big Pharma-owned baseball teams, but his own cybernetics are a decade out of date and twin sister loan sharks are banging down his door. Things couldn’t get much worse.

Then his brother—Monsanto Mets slugger J.J. Zunz—is murdered at home plate.

Determined to find the killer, Kobo plunges into a world of genetically modified CEOs, philosophical Neanderthals, and back-alley body modification, only to quickly find he’s in a game far bigger and more corrupt than he imagined. To keep himself together while the world is falling apart, he’ll have to navigate a time where both body and soul are sold to the highest bidder. 

A Marvelous Light by Freya Marske

Robin Blyth has more than enough bother in his life. He’s struggling to be a good older brother, a responsible employer, and the harried baronet of a seat gutted by his late parents’ excesses. When an administrative mistake sees him named the civil service liaison to a hidden magical society, he discovers what’s been operating beneath the unextraordinary reality he’s always known.

Now Robin must contend with the beauty and danger of magic, an excruciating deadly curse, and the alarming visions of the future that come with it—not to mention Edwin Courcey, his cold and prickly counterpart in the magical bureaucracy, who clearly wishes Robin were anyone and anywhere else.

Robin’s predecessor has disappeared, and the mystery of what happened to him reveals unsettling truths about the very oldest stories they’ve been told about the land they live on and what binds it. Thrown together and facing unexpected dangers, Robin and Edwin discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles—and a secret that more than one person has already died to keep.

Absynthe by Brenden P. Bellacourt

Liam Mulcahey, a reclusive, shell-shocked veteran, remembers little of the Great War. Ten years later, when he is caught in a brutal attack on a Chicago speakeasy, Liam is saved by Grace, an alluring heiress who’s able to cast illusions. Though the attack appears to have been committed by the hated Uprising, Grace believes it was orchestrated by Leland De Pere–Liam’s former commander and the current President of the United States.
 
Meeting Grace unearths long-buried memories. Liam’s former squad, the Devil’s Henchmen, was given a serum to allow telepathic communication, transforming them into a unified killing machine. With Grace’s help, Liam begins to regain his abilities, but when De Pere learns of it, he orders his militia to eliminate Liam at any cost.
 
But Liam’s abilities are expanding quickly. When Liam turns the tables and digs deeper into De Pere’s plans, he discovers a terrible secret. The same experiment that granted Liam’s abilities was bent toward darker purposes. Liam must navigate both his enemies and supposed allies to stop the President’s nefarious plans before they’re unleashed on the world. And Grace is hiding secrets of her own, secrets that could prove every bit as dangerous as the President’s.

Hench by Natalie Zina Walchots

Anna does boring things for terrible people because even criminals need office help and she needs a job. Working for a monster lurking beneath the surface of the world isn’t glamorous. But is it really worse than working for an oil conglomerate or an insurance company? In this economy?

As a temp, she’s just a cog in the machine. But when she finally gets a promising assignment, everything goes very wrong, and an encounter with the so-called “hero” leaves her badly injured.  And, to her horror, compared to the other bodies strewn about, she’s the lucky one.

So, of course, then she gets laid off.

With no money and no mobility, with only her anger and internet research acumen, she discovers her suffering at the hands of a hero is far from unique. When people start listening to the story that her data tells, she realizes she might not be as powerless as she thinks.

Because the key to everything is data: knowing how to collate it, how to manipulate it, and how to weaponize it. By tallying up the human cost these caped forces of nature wreak upon the world, she discovers that the line between good and evil is mostly marketing.  And with social media and viral videos, she can control that appearance.

It’s not too long before she’s employed once more, this time by one of the worst villains on earth. As she becomes an increasingly valuable lieutenant, she might just save the world.

Once More Upon A Time by Roshana Chokshi

Once upon a dream, there was a prince named Ambrose
and a princess named Imelda who loved each other…
But alas, no more.
“What a witch takes, a witch does not give back!”
their friends and family warn.
They resign themselves to this loveless fate…
A year and a day pass.
And then their story truly begins…

Embark on a perilous journey with Imelda and Ambrose as they brave magical landscapes and enchanted creatures on their quest to reclaim their heart’s desire…But first, they must remember what that is…

No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull

One October morning, Laina gets the news that her brother has been shot and killed by Boston cops. But what looks like a case of police brutality soon reveals something much stranger. Monsters are real. And they want everyone to know it.

As creatures from myth and legend come out of the shadows, seeking safety through visibility, their emergence sets off a chain of seemingly unrelated events. Members of a local werewolf pack are threatened into silence. A professor follows a missing friend’s trail of bread crumbs to a mysterious secret society. And a young boy with unique abilities seeks refuge in a pro-monster organization with secrets of its own. Meanwhile, more people start disappearing, suicides and hate crimes increase, and protests erupt globally, both for and against the monsters.

At the center is a mystery no one thinks to ask: Why now? What has frightened the monsters out of the dark?

The world will soon find out.

The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl

Holly Liddell has been stuck with crimped hair since 1987 when she agreed to let her boyfriend, Elton, turn her into a vampire. But when he ditches her at a gas station a few decades into their eternity together, she realizes that being young forever actually means working graveyard shifts at Taco Bell, sleeping in seedy motels, and being supernaturally compelled to follow your ex from town to town—at least until Holly meets Elton’s other exes.

It seems that Holly isn’t the only girl Elton seduced into this wretched existence. He turned Ida in 1921, then Rose in 1954, and he abandoned them both before Holly was even born. Now Rose and Ida want to kill him before he can trick another girl into eternal adolescence, and they’ll need Holly’s help to do it. And once Holly starts falling for Elton’s vulnerable new conquest, Parker, she’ll do anything to save her.

To kill Elton for good, Holly and her friends will have to dig up their pasts, rob a bank, and reconcile with the people they’ve hurt in their search for eternal love. And to win the girl, Holly will have to convince Parker that she’s more than just Elton’s crazy ex—even though she is trying to kill him.

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized.

Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn’t include Domingo, but little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. As the trail of corpses stretches behind her, local cops and crime bosses both start closing in.

Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?

I also had The Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao on this list, but the hubs gave that to me early as a birthday gift! It’s like he knows me!

But yes, I did ask for all of these books for Christmas. No, I’m not expecting to get them all. Santa loves me but I don’t expect him to have to carry that many books down the chimney.

TTT-Books On My Winter 2021 To-Read List

Well hello, happy people! At least, I hope you’re happy. Are you happy? If you’re not that’s okay. You don’t have to be. All feelings are valid. Except for the ones that lead to pre-meditated murder. Those are not good and you should seek help immediately.

I think I may have gotten a bit off-topic. Because it’s Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and originally created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week we celebrate the winter TBR, a list of ten books that I think I will get to over the next few months!

The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox

When chef Charlie Goodwin gets hit on the head on the L.A. set of her reality baking show, she loses a lot more than consciousness; she also loses her ability to taste and smell—both critical to her success as a show judge. Meanwhile, Charlie’s identical twin, Cass, is frantically trying to hold her own life together back in their quaint mountain hometown while running the family’s bustling bakery and dealing with her ex, who won’t get the memo that they’re over.

With only days until Christmas, a desperate Charlie asks Cass to do something they haven’t done since they were kids: switch places. Looking for her own escape from reality, Cass agrees. But temporarily trading lives proves more complicated than they imagined, especially when rugged firefighter Jake Greenman and gorgeous physician assistant Miguel Rodriguez are thrown into the mix. Will the twins’ identity swap be a recipe for disaster, or does it have all the right ingredients for getting their lives back on track?

This one is on my TBR for this month. So I’m hoping to get to it presently.

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Prince Kiem, a famously disappointing minor royal and the Emperor’s least favorite grandchild, has been called upon to be useful for once. He’s commanded to fulfill an obligation of marriage to the representative of the Empire’s newest and most rebellious vassal planet. His future husband, Count Jainan, is a widower and murder suspect.

Neither wants to be wed, but with a conspiracy unfolding around them and the fate of the empire at stake they will have to navigate the thorns and barbs of court intrigue, the machinations of war, and the long shadows of Jainan’s past, and they’ll have to do it together.

So begins a legendary love story amid the stars.

I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book. I mean, it did get nominated for a Goodreads choice award. So yeah.

Fan Fiction by Brent Spiner

Set in 1991, just as Star Trek: The Next Generation has rocketed the cast to global fame, the young and impressionable actor Brent Spiner receives a mysterious package and a series of disturbing letters, that takes him on a terrifying and bizarre journey that enlists Paramount Security, the LAPD, and even the FBI in putting a stop to the danger that has his life and career hanging in the balance.

Featuring a cast of characters from Patrick Stewart to Levar Burton to Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, to some completely imagined, this is the fictional autobiography that takes readers into the life of Brent Spiner, and tells an amazing tale about the trappings of celebrity and the fear he has carried with him his entire life.

A book that was written by Data himself? How could I pass this up?

The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

The Anthropocene is the current geologic age, in which humans have profoundly reshaped the planet and its biodiversity. In this remarkable symphony of essays adapted and expanded from his groundbreaking podcast, bestselling author John Green reviews different facets of the human-centered planet on a five-star scale—from the QWERTY keyboard and sunsets to Canada geese and Penguins of Madagascar.

Funny, complex, and rich with detail, the reviews chart the contradictions of contemporary humanity. As a species, we are both far too powerful and not nearly powerful enough, a paradox that came into sharp focus as we faced a global pandemic that both separated us and bound us together.

I’m going to try to read more non-fiction next year. A goal I set for myself for this year. I thought I would start the year off with this one.

The World Gives Way by Marissa Levin

In fifty years, Myrra will be free.

Until then, she’s a contract worker. Ever since she was five, her life and labor have belonged to the highest bidder on her contract—butchers, laundries, and now the powerful, secretive Carlyles.

But when one night finds the Carlyles dead, Myrra is suddenly free a lot sooner than she anticipated—and at a cost she never could have imagined. Burdened with the Carlyles’ orphaned daughter and the terrible secret they died to escape, she runs. With time running out, Myrra must come face to face with the truth about her world—and embrace what’s left before it’s too late.

I just want to read this because the cover is so pretty. That’s how it’s done, right?

Night Broken by Patricia Briggs

When her mate’s ex-wife storms back into their lives, Mercy knows something isn’t right. Christy has the furthest thing from good intentions—she wants Adam back, and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get him, including turning the pack against Mercy.

Mercy isn’t about to step down without a fight, but there’s a more dangerous threat circling. As the bodies start piling up, she must put her personal troubles aside to face a creature with the power to tear her whole world apart.

I know, I know. It’s the only Mercy Thompson book on the list! I promise. Does it mean it’s the only one I’m going to read? Nope. It’s just the only one I put here.

Monstress Vol 1: Awakening written by Marjorie Liu and art by Sana Takeda

Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steampunk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.

I keep meaning to get to this one and just forgetting I own it! I am hoping by listing it here that I will get to it.

Outlander by Diana Galbadon

Scottish Highlands, 1945. Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding clans in the year of Our Lord . . . 1743.

Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of a world that threatens her life, and may shatter her heart. Marooned amid danger, passion, and violence, Claire learns her only chance of safety lies in Jamie Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior. What begins in compulsion becomes an urgent need, and Claire finds herself torn between two very different men, in two irreconcilable lives.

I have a friend who has been on me to read this book! And since I have a physical copy, a Kindle copy, and have it on audiobook, so I have no excuse!

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountian by Nghi Vo

The cleric Chih finds themself and their companions at the mercy of a band of fierce tigers who ache with hunger. To stay alive until the mammoths can save them, Chih must unwind the intricate, layered story of the tiger and her scholar lover—a woman of courage, intelligence, and beauty—and discover how truth can survive becoming history.

I gave the first novella 5 stars, so I have high expectations for this one!

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

I figured with Valentine’s Day coming up in February I should try and read something romantic. So why not this?

Now, will I actually get to all these books? Probably not. But am I going to try my hardest? Also probably not. I mood read too much. It interferes with my TBR attempts.

But what will you be reading this winter? Inquiring minds want to know.

TTT-Books I Could Re-Read Forever

Well hello, friends! It’s a chilly day here in Texas. And by chilly, I mean it’s in the 50s (almost 60s) and that’s on December! Always exciting when the weather dips. Means it’s cool enough for comfy sweaters! And who doesn’t love comfy sweaters?!?!?!

It’s also Tuesday! This means it’s Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and originally created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week it’s a freebie, so I decided to go and do a past topic, which is Books I Could Re-Read Forever. But you probably guessed that from the title, didn’t you?

Warning, you will have seen most of these books before, but a couple of them you won’t have seen. Ooh…surprises!

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

This feel-good book just sits on my shelf begging to be read. It’s perfect for days when your mental health has taken a hit. Or maybe you just want to curl up with a cozy read under a blanket sipping on a cup of hot tea. It’s probably not going to be a yearly re-read, but I will pick it up quite often.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

The first of Jenny Lawson’s memoirs. I remember listening to the audiobook on a long drive and just laughing, constantly. The author also reads her own audiobooks, so her personality really shines through in the narration. It’s a regular road trip companion for me.

In Death series by J.D. Robb

The In Death series seems to be a set of stories I just can’t stay away from. I buy every new book that comes out. Re-reading takes forever, but it’s fun and worth doing. I get warm fuzzies, mild spice, and suspenseful moments from these books. I love them!

Dragon Prince Series by Melanie Rawn

I think I’ve talked about this book or this series enough that none of you should be surprised to find it on this list. I’ve loved Rohan and Sioned and their journey since I was a teenager. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

The Cat Who series by Lillian Jackson Braun

The Cat Who series was started in the 1960s and the whole series is a very dated, but fun read. The author was writing right up until her death, but the thirtieth book remains unpublished. This cozy mystery series follows Quill and his two Siamese cats KoKo and YumYum as they work to solve the newest case. And yes, my love for this series is why I wanted a Siamese cat, got one, and then named her KoKo. Yes, the female in the books is called YumYum, but it just didn’t fit my girl. Anyways, yes, I love these books, dated though they are.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

What can I say about this book that I haven’t already mentioned before? I love it. I love everything about it. The story is about a girl who makes a deal with an old god to escape a marriage she doesn’t want, but as a result, she is instantly forgotten about by everyone she encounters. It’s so good! I just read this last year and am itching to read it again.

The Heralds of Valdemar by Mercedes Lackey

I know, I know, get a book series already. But Valdemar is such a fun read. Am I able to read each one in one sitting? Absolutely. I love that for me. Here’s hoping she is able to continue writing for years to come!

The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

This dense, well-written, forbidden love story between a vampire and a witch had me captivated from word one. My favorite one is A Shadow of Night. I love every moment of my reading experience with this book series. And the 3rd season of the TV show comes out on Sundance Now on January 8th, in case you were wondering.

The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn

Another one I’ve mentioned a lot. I’ve only read it once, but I can see myself reading it over and over again. It’s a great book about the “real” story of Santa Claus and is absolutely adorable. It’s a great story to read over the holiday season.

Lord Of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

You may not know this, but I am a nerd. I love LOTR. Why yes, I have read the Silmarillion. Do I recall any of it? No, that book is way too dense to retain all of it. Also, did I just use all my audible credits to pick up the LOTR trilogy as read by Andy Serkis? Absolutely.

I love all these books and now all I want to do is read them all again. Thanks, Top Ten Tuesday.

TTT- Bookish Memories

Well hello, beautiful people! I returned from a family trip late last night. We went to see the Hubs’ parents for Thanksgiving. Because the Hubs parents get along with my mom so well, they invited her for Thanksgiving dinner! Also, I learned how to make part of a quilt! Twas a fun time had by all!

It’s Giving Tuesday here in America. It’s a day to make a charitable donation to your favorite non-profits. I prefer The Hefier Project and No Kid Hungry. If you’re interested in finding out more, click the links. Both charities do amazing work and help a lot of people.

But since it’s Tuesday it’s Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and originally created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is bookish memories. I’m excited about this one because I’ve been reading, or have been read to, since I was an itty bitty human.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

This book came out in 1990 when I was 10. When I was 12 my mom saw no harm in letting me read this very grown up book. I got the movie tie-in cover, which, as far as tie-in covers go, is not bad. A few months later, while I was still 12, I was allowed to accompany my family to see Jurrasic Park the movie. It was my first PG-13 film. I think I was a little too young for this book at the time, but I still love this book to this day and recently had to buy another copy, as my original was falling apart.

The Stack of Books

So I had bookcases in my bedroom growing up. I also had a queen-size bed. Guess where most of the books lived? That’s right, on one side of the bed. Up until the day he passed, my dad loved telling people about the time he went into my room to ask me a question and saw the pile. It was his “my daughter reads more than your kids” story. I wish I had a picture of it, but it was kind of embarrassing at the time.

The Scholastic Book Fair

So here’s the thing. The book fair was always a special day for me. My parents sacrificed a lot for my brother and me to go to a good school. That meant we didn’t often have money for the coolest clothes or newest video game station. But there was always extra money for books when the book fair came to town. Could I get a lot? No. But what I could get was treasured. It’s probably why, to this day, I try and treat my books so well.

Having a Bookish Bestie

We’ve known each other for over half our lives and she’s super special to me. And one of the things we share is a love for books. We don’t always read the same books, but we both have libraries to share with each other. It was fun growing up with someone and you had a love of the written word in common. 10 out of 10, would recommend.

Nancy Drew Books by Caorlyn Keene

My mom doesn’t read very much, if she reads at all. But when she was younger, one of the things she did read was the original Nancy Drew books by Carolyn Keene. When I was younger, she passed her collection of various editions on to me and we read them together. I treasure those memories and I love that I have something bookish to share with my mom.

Going to The Library As a Child

A great deal of my formative years were spent in the library. My mom would drop me and my brother off (back when it was safe to do so) and would come back an hour later and I would have a stack of 15 books. She would always try and get me to put some back, and I never would. The borrowing time lasted for two weeks. That was a book a day! I could read more than that. Especially kid’s books! I loved those hours at the library and look back at them fondly.

Reading Rainbow

Levar Burton made up a lot of my childhood. I loved him as Geordi LaForge in Star Trek: The Next Generation. But I really loved him in Reading Rainbow. I loved the way he read the stories to us as children and the way the show’s animators made the book’s illustrations come alive. Plus the bookish adventures he would have! PBS was, and still is, awesome.

The School Library

My middle school had a very small library. But for several years, they had a time where each class would go to the library each week. Yeah, that didn’t make me happy at all. The library had everything you would need to research your classwork, but it also had The Nancy Drew Files, which is what I was really there for. The Nancy Drew Files were an updated for the ’80s and ’90s Nancy Drew and my school library had a plethora of them. I was in heaven.

Starting My Own Personal Library

This was a big deal for me. The day we were able to bring home those bookcases to fill with books was amazing. Everyone should have a library. No matter how big or small. Whether e-reader or physical. Books are meant to be enjoyed by everyone.

Cuddling With My Cat And Reading

Cuddling with KoKo has gone on for as long as I have had her. She especially love to jump on my lap when I have a book in my hand. It means, for her anyway, that she is more likely to get londger streches of cuddles. And it’s nice to me too. It keeps my legs warm while I read. It’s a happy memory that I will always treasure of my crazy feline.

TTT-Characters I’d Love An Update On

Well hello everyone! And how are we doing today? Did your bank account survive Cyber Monday? I hope so. I will say I put a sizeable dent in mine buying things I “need” for the holiday season. Like Christmas t-shirts. I need so many of those.

I’m kind of addicted to Christmas t-shirts.

It’s a problem.

Speaking of problems…today is Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and originally created by The Broke and the Bookish. It’s a fun meme of Top Ten lists that are put out every week. I love doing it. This week’s theme is Characters I’d Love An Update On. Last week I had a hard time coming up with ten things to the point where I only came up with six…things. Let’s see where this week takes us, shall we?

Pol From the Dragon Star Series by Melanie Rawn

This trilogy is the sequel to my beloved Dragon Prince series. I love this series just as much, but strangely never talk about it. I should fix that. This series follows Pol, Rohan and Sioned’s son, and a terrible war that rages across the land. I want to see what happens to the characters once the book is over. Pol in particular is really well written and has a lot of internal conflicts, not just the ones caused by the war.

Addie LaRue from The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

The ending of this book was terribly wonderful and I want to know what happens to Addie next. I won’t give anything away, but it was such a good book, and that ending was amazing. To catch a glimpse into Addie’s life after what happened would be divine. Everything I’ve seen points to this being a standalone book, so we probably won’t get any more in her world. But…ugh. I would love more.

Merlin From The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

This book is set in 1980’s London, but a fantasy London, with magic. And I loved the characters in this book Merlin in particular was my favorite. They were clearly influenced by the androgyny of David Bowie in the ’70s and of all the fashionable stars, and starlets, of the times. He’s fabulous and I want to know more about him. The author has said he has more material for another book but has been vague about whether or not he will write more.

That One Character From Project Hail Mary by Andy Wier

I’m being vague on purpose, because if you haven’t read the book then you don’t know. But if you had, I want to know more! I know, there is an epilogue in the back of the book but that’s not enough! I need more! And yes, you must read this book to know who I’m talking about. It’s worth it, I promise.

Gallowglass from the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

He featured pretty heavily in Shadow of Night and was in The Book of Life as well, but he needs a more fleshed-out back story and a life of his own. He’s such a fascinating character and I would absolutely love to see how he’s doing in future books. And Deborah Harkness has said she is writing more in the All Souls universe.

Ariadne From To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

This book had a very interesting ending that I loved, but it left me wanting to know more about every single character in this book, not just Ariadne. But it just, yeah. I need to know. If you have read this book you know this ending and this character just…tell me more!

Yadriel From Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Yadriel was such a great character to read. He was wonderfully complex and not just a one-dimensional stereotype. I want to see more of him coming into his own after the end of the book. And as far as I can tell, this is a standalone story. Which makes me sad.

Barry From Recursion by Blake Crouch

Barry was intensely complex. Let’s be honest, this whole book was intensely complex. But Barry, he broke my heart a few times with his poor family and the constant reset of time. I would love to know more about how things went for him after the end of this book.

Harry From the First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

While this wasn’t my favorite book (I only gave it three stars) I found the characters fascinating. Harry relives his life over and over again, I love a good time loop, but this takes it to the next level, where the people can affect the world around them. And Harry did that. Now, how will he do it going forward once the book has ended. I must know!

Buttercup and Westley in The Princess Bride by William Goldman

So William Goldman teases a sequel, that doesn’t exist, in this book. And I want it! I want to know what happens to Westley and Buttercup after they flee Prince Humperdink. No, I don’t just want it, I need it. I need it like I need more Christmas t-shirts!

Hey, look at that! I had ten! I know that I didn’t go too in-depth into the actual characters here, but I was afraid I would give too much away if I did that. I do try to keep things here as spoiler-free as possible.

Anything on this list that you agree with? Or would you have picked different characters from these books?

Update: wow, I really paid attention to when this went up, as it posted before Cyber Monday. I’m gonna see myself out now.

TTT-Books to Read If You Love/Loved X

Well hello, beautiful humans! I am currently sitting here with my cup of tea listening to YouTube videos trying to figure out how to write this topic. Why? Because I’m terrible at book recs. Friends ask for recs and I give the same five recommendations every time.

It’s probably five.

I’m so gonna fail at the “Ten” part of “Top Ten Tuesday” this week.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and originally created by The Broke and the Bookish.

If You Love Sherlock Holmes You May Like The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall

This one is kind of cheating, but I feel that not enough people talk about this glorious tome. This book is directly inspired by Sherlock Holmes. In fact, the main character is Sherlock Holmes if Sherlock Holmes was a woman…and a sorceress. It was so good. And it has queer rep in it! It really is a fabulous book.

If You Love Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson You May Like X-Men: The Age of Apocalypse Omnibus

And if you like Mistborn you may like AOA. Both deal with what happens when the world is ruled by an all-powerful seemingly immortal tyrant and the rag-tag group of rebels that try and overthrow him. Age of Apocalypse came out 26 years ago, and I picked up every single issue of that series. I absolutely loved it. Keep in mind, AOA is a comic book epic that sprawled at least 5 different titles, so it does take a while to read, but it’s worth it. Mistborn is a wonderful fantasy epic that has three books…that I haven’t finished yet. But I will for sure finish reading it…eventually.

If You Love The Pendragon Cycle by Stephen Lawhead You May Like The Perilous Order of Camelot by A.A. Attanasio

Both of these Arthurian retellings are amazing. If you have read one and not the other, I highly suggest you pick up the one you haven’t read. The Perilous Order of Camelot is a little darker than The Pendragon Cycle, but it is so good. I mean, it starts with the creation of the universe! What a crazy and amazing way to start a story about King Arthur!

If You Love The Gilmore Girls You May Like Payback’s A Witch by Lana Harper

So I had to think real hard about this one because it was a toss-up between Payback’s a Witch and The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling, and Payback won out. The reason it won is that I could just see Emmy being like Rory and being pulled into all the town events, even against her will. Which, let’s be honest, does kind of happen to both of them. But both have that “small-town girl with big city dreams” vibes. The biggest difference is that Payback’s a Witch has positive queer rep, which we love to see. Oh, and witches.

If You Love A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin You May Like Crown of Stars by Kate Elliot

These two book series started coming out right around the same time, but only one of them is finished. That’s a not-so-subtle dig there. The Crown of Stars series is a sprawling epic where, just like in A Song of Ice and Fire, no one is safe.

If You Love Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris You May Like Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs

Okay, so hear me out. I know both of these heroines are very different. Sookie likes to think of herself as a southern lady and Mercy, well, isn’t. But both involve some pretty decent (and multiple) love interests, supernatural creatures, unknown family history, and both have resolved (eventually) those love interests. Also, both of them have quite a few books in their respective series, so you’ll have plenty to read.

And here is where I lost, well, me. My brain short-circuited at about this point and I never could get the recommending mojo back. I was worried that would happen.

So did I fail this week’s Top Ten Tuesday. Yes, absolutely. But was I going to miss the chance to talk about some of my favorite books? Absolutely not.