TTT | Hidden Gems

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Top Ten Tuesday Blog

Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads
The Geography of Lost Things by Jessica Brody – 522 ratings

I really enjoyed the “trading up” aspect of this book.

My Review | eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

You Were Here by Cori McCarthy – 1,000 ratings

Almost every chapter was a different format (regular text, graphic novel, graffiti) and I really liked that about it.

My Review | eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

Trusting You and Other Lies by Nicole Williams – 1,007 ratings

So many summer camp feels!

My Review | eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson – 1,287 ratings

This is such a satisfying travel/wanderlust type book.

My Review | eBook | Paperback

We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun & Susan Mullen – 1,320 ratings

I don’t read a ton of epistolary novels and I didn’t know this was one when I picked it up, but I really liked that format!

My Review | eBook | Hardcover

Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan – 1,322 ratings

This was an interesting fantasy book–I still need to pick up the rest of the series.

My Review | eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

The Comeback Season by Jennifer E Smith – 1,520 ratings

This is probably my favorite Jennifer E Smith book! It’s a cute romance and it features baseball, the Cubs, and Wrigley Field!

My Review | eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

The Last Forever by Deb Caletti – 1,578 ratings

Deb Caletti is an underrated author imo. I love the retirement home group.

eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – 1,608 ratings

Sneaky debutantes and secret contracts!

eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria – 1,836 ratings

Such a great female friendship story!

My Review | eBook | Hardcover

Bonus: Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard – 650 ratings

Okay, this is kind of cheating because there are only so few ratings because it just came out. But it still has less than 2,000 ratings!

eBook | Hardcover

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TTT Underrated Books

 

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16 Best Book Deals for 2/16/19 : The Traitor’s Game, The Selection, The Royal We, and more

As of this posting, all of these deals are active, but I don’t know for how long!
Less than $2

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

The Traitor’s Game by Jennifer A Nielsen

Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Sounder by William H Armstrong

Love & Other Train Wrecks by Leah Konen

How to Love by Katie Cotugno

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

Less than $3

The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P Nguyen

Duels & Deception by Cindy Anstey

Vampire Academy (VA book 1) by Richelle Mead

Frostbite (VA book 2) by Richelle Mead

Shadow Kiss (VA book 3) by Richelle Mead

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan


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Book Deals 2-16

A book in which I anticipate a love triangle forming pretty much the whole time | Windwitch by Susan Dennard

Note: This is the second book in the Witchlands series and may contain spoilers for the first book. Click here for my Truthwitch review.

WindwitchSafi and Iseult are now separated. Safi has given herself up to the Empress of Marstok and Iseult is left waiting for word from Mathew and Habim. When word doesn’t come, she finds herself making a tentative truce with Aeduan, the Bloodwitch. If he can help her find Safi, she will tell him where his silver talers ended up. Can the bond between Safi and Iseult withstand the miles and trials between them?

eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

TL;DR – A solid follow-up to the first book. Characters are diverse in a natural way and the author does a great job making all of our narrators sympathetic.

This book started off a little bit slow for my taste, but it picks up momentum rather quickly. I think it would have been fine for readers who are reading the series one book at a time, but not so much for those of us who are bingeing the first three books in the series. These books feel really thoughtfully written to me. I really liked how Dennard is able to use things like a storm or an earthquake to help the reader to know when things are happening. Since virtually all of our characters are separated, it helps to know that these two events are happening at the same time and so on. In addition, without giving any kind of spoilers, I knew that Chiseled Cheater was going to play a more prominent role. I waited for him to show up the entire first book and I was thrilled at his appearance.

The dynamic between Merik and Vivia is really interesting throughout. I really enjoyed getting Vivia’s perspective on things because, in the first book, Merik portrays her as this evil, power-hungry person. She’s actually extremely likable, in my opinion, and it’s crazy to me how neither of them can see how manipulative Serafin is. I think Merik said at one point that Serafin wouldn’t waste his time or energy pitting his children against each other, but he very clearly has wasted a LOT of time and energy doing just that. Speaking of Merik… I know this kind of gets explained later in the book, but he’s always talking about how weak his witchery is, but he’s never seemed particularly weak to me. I mean, he can still use his powers to fly so…just how weak can he be?

Another thing that I’ve enjoyed in this book and series is that Dennard has done a great job including diversity without hitting the reader over the head with it. I feel like when diversity is so “present”, it kind of defeats the purpose. I think what we diverse readers are looking for is for diversity to be included in an authentic and organic way. Undue attention does not need to be drawn to it. I feel like Vivia’s sexuality is handled really well, in that regard. She obviously thinks about her relationship with Stix from time to time, but it’s not something that gets brought up in every single paragraph. I also appreciated the vitiligo rep with Cam. I don’t think I’ve EVER read a book that included a character with vitiligo.

The plot got a little more confusing in this book. It clearly feels like this book is being used to set up events in future books. That’s not necessarily bad, but there are some things that just feel like they don’t quite make sense yet.

While I really enjoyed this book overall, there were a few things that I didn’t quite care for. Fairly early on in the book, Iseult calls the Puppeteer by name, Esme. I didn’t remember her learning Esme’s name in the first book, so I did a quick Kindle search. The name “Esme” doesn’t appear ANYWHERE in the first book. So…yeah. All of the sudden Iseult knows her name and just casually drops it in there? The second thing is that I feel like Aeduan’s bloodwitchery should work on blood stains. I mean, he can seize blood, right? Stop it circulating in someone’s body? So why can’t he seize dried blood and lift it out of clothes?

The last thing, to address the title of this post, is that pretty much the whole book I anticipate feelings developing between Safi and one of the characters that she’s with. It kind of seemed like things were heading that way. Nothing comes of it in this book (luckily) but we’ll see what happens in future books. All I’m saying is that if Safi is part of a love triangle, that will completely cheapen the ENTIRE series.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Moderate
Violence: Heavy
Smoking/Drinking: Mild
Sexual Content: None

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Windwitch review

5 Horror(ish) Books to Get Through Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day has never been my favorite holiday. I mean, I like chocolate as much as the next person, but it’s this holiday that comes with a lot of pressure if you’re in a relationship and can make people feel a little self-conscious if they’re not. I’m sure there will be many lovey-dovey posts today, but I wanted to do something a little different by posting a few horror(ish) recs.

Capture

None of the following books are super scary. I’m a bit of a scaredy cat so I don’t usually read books that are too scary.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

In the Shadow of Blackbirds

Another plug for a great author, Cat Winters. This book is set during World War I, which is scary in and of itself, but it’s also during the Spanish Flu. People are dying left and right and that creates this really creepy atmosphere. Add to that some spirit photography and maybe some ghosts? I love the main character in this book because she’s tough and smart in a time when it girls were consistently underestimated.

eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld

Spill ZoneThis is a two book series of graphic novels by Scott Westerfeld. I don’t know if I’ve read anything else by him besides the Pretties series, but I really enjoyed these graphic novels. They’re so eerie and the artwork only amplifies that feeling. Especially when the main character goes into the spill zone, the colors are absolutely electric. It’s got a post-apocalyptic feel, a mute little girl, and a creepy doll.

eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

The Madman's DaughterI’ve definitely talked about this book on here before. This entire series is amazingly gothic and unsettling. The first book is based off of The Island of Dr. Moreau, the second is based off of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the third is based off of Frankenstein. Each of those would also be a good candidate for this list if you’re interested in a classic horror read. (The eBook for The Madman’s Daughter is only $2.99 right now!)

eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

The Diviners by Libba Bray

The DivinersI’ve read this book most recently of the ones on this list. It’s a long book, so be ready for that, but I really loved the setting. It’s set in the 20’s in New York which proves to be the perfect setting for this ghost story. The main characters are fun and Evie is especially full of life. The last warning I have for this book is that it’s obviously setting up for a series. There are some story lines that don’t quite resolve and characters that don’t seem super important by the end of this book. If that’s your jam, though, I highly recommend.

eBook | Paperback 

Blue is for Nightmares by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Blue is for NightmaresI read this series when I was in high school and it was my first real foray into horror. It’s about a girl who is away at a boarding school (I’ve always been a fan of boarding school books) and she’s having these vivid dreams. At the end of each dream, she wakes up having wet the bed. She’s not sure why this is happening, but she’s had these types of dreams before. Last time, she didn’t listen to them and someone ended up dead. I like that these books have a slight supernatural element to it, but it’s not too heavy.

eBook | Paperback

What do you plan on reading this Valentine’s Day?

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10 Most Anticipated 2019 Books on My TBR

I know we’re already a couple of months into 2019, but I decided the other day to take a look at my TBR to see what books were coming out this year that I was especially excited for and there are so many! This list doesn’t include books that are already out like Bloodwitch or King of Scars. Books are in order of their Goodreads release date.

2019 TBR Books

I heard on a podcast the other day that preordering books actually really helps them out, which I didn’t know before. So if you’d like to preorder any of these books, I’m including Amazon affiliate links to their preorder pages.

Rayne & Delilah's Midnite MatineeRayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zetner (2/26)

Every Friday night, best friends Delia and Josie become Rayne Ravenscroft and Delilah Darkwood, hosts of the campy creature feature show Midnite Matinee on the local cable station TV Six.

But with the end of senior year quickly approaching, the girls face tough decisions about their futures. Josie has been dreading graduation, as she tries to decide whether to leave for a big university and chase her dream career in mainstream TV. And Lawson, one of the show’s guest performers, a talented MMA fighter with weaknesses for pancakes, fantasy novels, and Josie, is making her tough decision even harder.

Scary movies are the last connection Delia has to her dad, who abandoned the family years ago. If Midnite Matinee becomes a hit, maybe he’ll see it and want to be a part of her life again. And maybe Josie will stay with the show instead of leaving her behind, too.

As the tug-of-war between growing up and growing apart tests the bonds of their friendship, Josie and Delia start to realize that an uncertain future can be both monstrous…and momentous.

This book seems like it’s going to be a great tale of best friend-ship and I am HERE for it.

Preorder: eBook | Hardcover

Field Notes on LoveField Notes on Love by Jennifer E Smith (3/5)

Having just been dumped by his girlfriend, British-born Hugo is still determined to take his last-hurrah-before-college train trip across the United States. One snag: the companion ticket is already booked under the name of his ex, Margaret Campbell. Nontransferable, no exceptions.

Enter the new Margaret C. (Mae for short), an aspiring filmmaker with big dreams. After finding Hugo’s spare ticket offer online, she’s convinced it’s the perfect opportunity to expand her horizons.

When the two meet, the attraction is undeniable, and both find more than they bargained for. As Mae pushes Hugo to explore his dreams for his future, he’ll encourage her to channel a new, vulnerable side of her art. But when life off the train threatens the bubble they’ve created for themselves, will they manage to keep their love on track?

I love everything Jennifer E Smith and I’m excited for another of her cute contemporary romances!

Preorder: eBook | Hardcover

The Raven's TaleThe Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters (4/16)

Seventeen-year-old Edgar Poe counts down the days until he can escape his foster family—the wealthy Allans of Richmond, Virginia. He hungers for his upcoming life as a student at the prestigious new university, almost as much as he longs to marry his beloved Elmira Royster. However, on the brink of his departure, all his plans go awry when a macabre Muse named Lenore appears to him. Muses are frightful creatures that lead Artists down a path of ruin and disgrace, and no respectable person could possibly understand or accept them. But Lenore steps out of the shadows with one request: “Let them see me!”

Cat Winters is one of the most underrated YA authors imo. Her books are slightly creepy, but not overly scary and her characters are always fierce, independent, and likable. This books seems like it’s going to be just as good as her others! (And I have an ARC, so I’m pretty satisfied).

Preorder: eBook | Hardcover

Hot Dog GirlHot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan (4/30)

Elouise (Lou) Parker is determined to have the absolute best, most impossibly epic summer of her life. There are just a few things standing in her way:

* She’s landed a job at Magic Castle Playland . . . as a giant dancing hot dog.
* Her crush, the dreamy Diving Pirate Nick, already has a girlfriend, who is literally the Princess of the park. But Lou’s never liked anyone, guy or otherwise, this much before, and now she wants a chance at her own happily ever after.
* Her best friend, Seeley, the carousel operator, who’s always been up for anything, suddenly isn’t when it comes to Lou’s quest to set her up with the perfect girl or Lou’s scheme to get close to Nick.
* And it turns out that this will be their last summer at Magic Castle Playland–ever–unless she can find a way to stop it from closing.

This book sounds funny and unique. It sounds like it’s got a really great cast of characters.

Preorder: eBook | Hardcover

Don't Date Rosa SantosDon’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Morena (5/14)

Rosa is cursed by the sea–at least that’s what they say.

Dating her is bad news, especially if you’re a boy with a boat.

But Rosa feels more caught than cursed. Caught between cultures and choices. Between her abuela, a beloved healer and pillar of their community, and her mother, an artist who crashes in and out of her life like a hurricane. Between Port Coral, the quirky South Florida town they call home, and Cuba, the island her abuela refuses to talk about.

As her college decision looms, Rosa collides—literally—with Alex Aquino, the mysterious boy with tattoos of the ocean whose family owns the marina. With her heart, her family, and her future on the line, can Rosa break a curse and find her place beyond the horizon?

THIS BOOK SOUNDS SO GOOD TO ME. It seems like it’s going to have this awesome setting and like the main character’s family is going to play a really prominent role.

Preorder: eBook | Hardcover

43667327The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen (6/4)

Emma Saylor doesn’t remember a lot about her mother, who died when she was ten. But she does remember the stories her mom told her about the big lake that went on forever, with cold, clear water and mossy trees at the edges.

Now it’s just Emma and her dad, and life is good, if a little predictable…until Emma is unexpectedly sent to spend the summer with her mother’s family—her grandmother and cousins she hasn’t seen since she was a little girl.

When Emma arrives at North Lake, she realizes there are actually two very different communities there. Her mother grew up in working class North Lake, while her dad spent summers in the wealthier Lake North resort. The more time Emma spends there, the more it starts to feel like she is divided into two people as well. To her father, she is Emma. But to her new family, she is Saylor, the name her mother always called her.

Then there’s Roo, the boy who was her very best friend when she was little. Roo holds the key to her family’s history, and slowly, he helps her put the pieces together about her past. It’s hard not to get caught up in the magic of North Lake—and Saylor finds herself falling under Roo’s spell as well.

For Saylor, it’s like a whole new world is opening up to her. But when it’s time to go back home, which side of her will win out?

Sarah Dessen. Enough said.

Preorder: eBook | Hardcover

Truly Madly RoyallyTruly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud (7/30)

Fiercely independent and smart, Zora Emerson wants to change the world. She’s excited to be attending a prestigious summer program, even if she feels out of place among her privileged, mostly white classmates. So she’s definitely not expecting to feel a connection to Owen, who’s an actual prince of an island off the coast of England. But Owen is funny, charming…and undeniably cute. Zora can’t ignore the chemistry between them. When Owen invites Zora to be his date at his big brother’s big royal wedding, Zora is suddenly thrust into the spotlight, along with her family and friends. Everyone is talking about her, in real life and online, and while Owen is used to the scrutiny, Zora’s not sure it’s something she can live with. Can she maintain her sense of self while moving between two very different worlds? And can her feelings for Owen survive and thrive in the midst of the crazy? Find out in this charming romantic comedy that’s like The Princess Diaries for a new generation.

I’m always here for a celebrity/royal romance. I do take issue with the whole “The Princess Diaries for a new generation” because like…aren’t we still in the same generation as the Princess Diaries????

Preorder: eBook | Hardcover

Five Dark FatesFive Dark Fates by Kendare Blake (9/3)

Blake Teen Fantasy Novel #4 has descriptive copy which is not yet available from the Publisher.

Awesome synopsis. Jokes aside, I’m excited to see where the plot goes. Book 3 ended a little unexpectedly so we’ll see. I don’t believe things are exactly as they appeared to be at the end and I’m also curious to see how the “island mystery” part of it resolves. I’m hoping this book comes with a little more history of the island itself–I definitely enjoyed that aspect of book 3.

Preorder: eBook | Hardcover

The Seven Sisters by Neil Gaiman (9/15)

The Seven Sisters has descriptive copy which is not yet available from the Publisher.

Another great synopsis (no cover for this one either). I’m not actually convinced that this book is going to get published in 2019, but Goodreads says it is, so here’s hoping! I LOVED Neverwhere and I would read anything else set in that world.

Preorder: eBook | Hardcover isn’t available so I don’t know what that means?

The Starless Sea precoverThe Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (11/5)

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a strange book hidden in the library stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues — a bee, a key, and a sword — that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to a subterranean library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.

What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians — it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction. Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose — in both the mysterious book and in his own life.

If you haven’t read The Night Circus by now, where have you been? Her first book was so fantastic and this synopsis is just about EVERYTHING that I could ever want in a book. I’m hoping this book does for me what Caraval did not.

Preorder: eBook | Hardcover

What 2019 books are you most excited to get your hands on?

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2019 TBR Books

TTT | I WILL go down with this ship

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Top Ten Tuesday Blog

Favorite Couples In Books

1) Iseult and Aeduan from the Witchlands series by Susan Dennard

I just finished Bloodwitch and I love these two together! They will find each other no matter what. I believe it.

2) Cress and Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

These two are so sweet together! I love every scene that involves them in the series.

3) Macy and Wes from The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Wes was probably my first big bookish crush. I love their dynamic at Wish Catering and their entire truth game.

4) Kaz and Inej from the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

These two are so low-key, but there’s also so much underlying tension–so good.

5) Lupin and Tonks from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

RIP

6) Karou and Akiva from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor

This is an ultimate Romeo and Juliet type relationship. They’re up against so much opposition, but their love is so pure.

7) Khalila and Dario from The Great Library series by Rachel Caine

Even though these two aren’t the “main” couple of the series, I still love their relationship. I love that Dario is so protective of Khalila and she lets him even though everyone knows, she doesn’t need protecting.

8) Amy and Roger from Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Cute couple on a road trip! Such a good slow burn romance.

9) Bailey and Porter from Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

I don’t really know why I loved this book so much, but I did. Bailey and Porter have a great hate-to-love type thing going, but actually they just like each other the whole time.

10) Kitty and John Ambrose McClaren from the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series by Jenny Han

Okay, so I know this couple doesn’t actually exist, but just listen. Lara Jean clearly does not deserve John Ambrose even though he is literally the most perfect boy ever. She would obviously be upset if Kitty started dating him, but Kitty wouldn’t care. She would appreciate John Ambrose’s perfectness and John Ambrose would appreciate Kitty’s spunk. Plz Jenny Han let this be a thing.

Who are some of your favorite bookish couples? Do you disagree with any of my picks?

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TTT Bookish Couples


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Why is it so hard to just pick a genre? | Sawkill Girls by Claire LeGrand

Sawkill GirlsGirls have been disappearing from Sawkill for decades, but no one seems to find this suspicious. Except for Zoey. Her best friend Thora disappeared last year and everyone seems to have forgotten. Zoey is positive that Val’s family has something to do with it, but nobody believes her. Marion is new to the island after her father had a tragically fatal accident. She and her sister have no idea that girls have been going missing–and that they might be next.

TL;DR – Ultimately disappointing. I felt like the book was trying to fit into too many genres at once. Overall, it felt like it was trying too hard and lost what it was trying to be.

This book started off delightfully mysterious and creepy with a hint of magical realism and I was so into it. Magical realism is a genre that I tend to really enjoy. I like the subtlety and wonder of it. Several things happen that are completely unsettling and I was ready to figure out what the heck was going on. But then the plot took this turn and there were secret organizations and it turned into this weird amalgamation of sci fi and fantasy and horror. It lost all subtlety and I felt like it cheapened the whole plot.

The characters were fine. I didn’t feel particularly connected to any of them. We have three narrators in Marion, Zoey, and Val, but I honestly wouldn’t have been super heartbroken if any of them hadn’t made it. Secondary characters were okay. Nobody was super developed. I thought Grayson was an exceptionally poor character, though. He literally served no purpose except to conveniently move the plot forward. We need someone to decipher a dead language? Conveniently, Grayson can do it! We need a boat? Grayson’s family has one!

I think a lot of readers will appreciate that all three of our main characters are queer. I appreciate the diversity too, but I’m not sure how it really plays into who the characters are and how they act. It felt like it was just kind of thrown in there so the author could claim diversity? I don’t know, maybe other people feel differently about that.

Overall, I was extremely disappointed by this book. I wanted it to be subtly creepy, but instead I feel like it tried to go too far and do too much and it lost me. I think the author should have stuck to a more subtle magical realism (like Bone Gap).

Overall Rating: 2
Language: Heavy
Violence: Heavy
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Heavy

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Sawkill Girls review