Top 5 Wednesday: Second Book is Best

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday (check out the Good Reads group) is: Second Book is BestWe’ve talked about series that went downhill, and series that are worth it, but which series were best in the middle?

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1. Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown. The first book was great, but this second book in the Red Rising series just blew me away. One of my all time favorite books.

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2. Scarlet & Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #2 & #3) by Marissa Meyer. (Since there are 4 books in this series I’m counting the middle two books as one.) I remember not being all that impressed with Cinder, but the books just kept getting better after that.

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3. Red Glove (Curse Workers #2) by Holly Black. With all the 5 star reviews I saw of the first book I ended up being a little disappointed. But then I read Red Glove and it was everything I expected the first book to be. I loved it.

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4. For Better or Worse (The Wedding Belles #2) by Lauren Layne. Even though I ended up reading this series in reverse order, it was still the second book I read and my favorite of the whole series.

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5. New Uses for Old Boyfriends (Black Dog Bay #2) by Beth Kendrick. This was actually the first book in the series I read, but I thought it (and the following books in the series) was a big improvement over the first book.

What are some of your picks for Second Book is Best?

A Long Time Ago, in a Land Far, Far Away Book Tag

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I was tagged by Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse (check out her blog, she’s awesome!). Feel free to tag yourself if you would like to participate.

ONCE UPON A TIME

At least in western fairy-tales, once upon a time is the most common and well-known opening for a traditional fairytale. What book opening makes you feel nostalgic?

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I don’t think I entirely understand this question. So, I’m going with a book opening that has “once upon a time” with a twist. The Rose Society by Marie Lu.

“Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.”

IN A LAND FAR, FAR AWAY

Another common opening which speaks of far off places. What is a book set in a country completely unlike your own?

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo is set in Ketterdam. Yes, it’s fictional. But it’s kind of Russian inspired, right?

FROM MOUTH TO MOUTH

Our oldest fairy tales were told time and time again with no written record, told only in the spoken form. Everyone had their own version of the fairy tales. What is your favorite retelling?

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All of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer are really well done, but I think Cress (Rapunzel re-telling) is my favorite book of the series.

THROUGH THE GENERATIONS

Fairy tales are told to us as children and so are passed on through the years. What is a book that someone beloved passed on to you?

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I am usually the one that forces people to read books. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins is one that I read and then bugged and bugged my sister to read. When she finally did she loved it,  so much she started working for one of the major HG fansites, and so then my parents and brother all decided to read it too.

A SPECIAL STORY

Fairy tales are a big part of our culture and say a lot about who we are as people. What is your favorite fairytale and what does it say about you?

My favorite Disney fairy tale movie is beauty and the beast because it's one of the rare times a prince gets saved:

Beauty and the Beast, like all good bookworms. Of course there is the relatable factor of Belle being a book lover. But I guess I also like the idea that physical attraction doesn’t play a role in them falling in love. And I never really realized it until I was searching for a picture to use and found the above one, but Belle is one of the most feminist characters which is cool.

AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER

Fairy tales tend to have happy endings. What is a book you’ll love forever?

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne is one of my new favorites.

Reviewing the Unreviewed: September 2015

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I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads

Pop Goes the Weasel: A Detective Helen Grace Thriller

Pop Goes the Weasel (Helen Grace #2) by M.J. Arlidge. Read August 29-September 1. 3.5 stars.

My review for this will actually come out in a couple weeks, closer to it’s release date. While I didn’t find it quite as good as the first book in the series, I still found it compulsively readable.

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Catch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson. Read September 21-23. 4 stars.

This book was pretty adorable. I liked the main character and her friends and her relationship with her parents. I liked that she was from a small town and liked it. I liked how her relationship with Adam developed. I even liked some of the star metaphors, though some of them seem a little contrived. It dealt with some heavier topics, but I felt it was balanced well the adorableness.

Sweet Temptation (The Sweet Trilogy, #4)

Sweet Temptation (Sweet Triology #4) by Wending Higgins. Read September 9-27. 3 stars.

Unless you’re a super fan of this series, I would highly suggest re-reading the trilogy before giving this book a go. The narrative relies on the reader already knowing what is going on and it skims over big explanations and a lot of details. Since it’s been awhile since I read the series – especially the first two books – I didn’t remember a lot of details. Because of this it took me a little while to get into the book, but I eventually did and really enjoyed getting Kaiden’s point of view. Some of it was a little repetitive at times, but his inner voice was pretty different than Anna’s and it added to the overall series experience. I would recommend this to fans of the series, especially to those Super Fans.

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RE-READS

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)  Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2)  Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)

Cinder, Scarlet, Cress – The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

I decided to do a re-read of the series before Winter comes out in a couple months. It pretty much reinforced all my original feelings on the series. Each book gets better. I love the characters and the romance and the action. Meyer does a phenomenal job of juggling multiple perspectives. This is probably one of the best done YA series out there and if you haven’t started it, I highly recommend it. (And I love those covers! Especially Cress!)

 

The Zombie Apocalypse Book Tag

I was looking for a fun book tag and thought I would give this Zombie Apocalypse Tag a try.

The Rules

  1. Pick 5 books (preferably ones you’ve read or know the characters).
  2. Write the name of the books on pieces of paper.
  3. Put the pieces of paper in a hat or container.
  4. Pull one piece of paper out to choose your first book.
  5. Open to a random page and use the first name you see to answer question 1 (under “Your Zombie Team”).
  6. Use the same book for question 2, but turn to a different page.
  7. Pull one piece of paper out to choose your second book.
  8. You will use your second book to answer questions 3 and 4.
  9. Your third book will answer questions 5 and 6.
  10. Forth book with answer questions 7 and 8.
  11. The fifth book will answer questions 9 and 10.

OR

The Lazy Version of the Rules (because you shouldn’t work so hard on a book tag)

  1. Pick 5 books and use a random number generator to pick the order.
  2. Pick the first two characters that come to mind and follow the above steps (5-11) to get your Zombie Apocalypse Team

Books I’m Using:

Obsidian (Lux, #1)  Illusions of Fate  The Best Man (Blue Heron, #1)  The Fill-In Boyfriend  Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)

1. Who is the first person to die? (Illusions of Fate)

Jessamin 😦

2. Who is the person you trip to get away from the zombies? (Illusions of Fate)

Finn! Oh no! I suck! But he’s resourceful, so I’m sure he’ll be ok. Plus, he’ll need to avenge Jessamin.

3. Who is the first person to turn into a zombie? (Obsidian)

Katie 😦

4. Who is the person that trips YOU to get away from the zombies? (Obsidian)

Daemon. He’s probably just acting out from Kat turning into a zombie. I can forgive him.

5. Who is the idiot of the team? (Cress)

Captain Thorne. But he’s really smarter than he acts.

6. Who is the “brains” of the team? (Cress)

Cinder. No surprise there

7. Who is the team’s medic? (The Best Man)

Levi. I feel good with that.

8. Who is the weapons expert? (The Best Man)

Faith.  Oh dear, I don’t see that going well.

9. Who is the brawler? (The Fill-In Boyfriend)

Bec. I can see that.

10. Who is the Team Captain? (The Fill-In Boyfriend)

Gia. Again, I can see that.

If you think you would enjoy The Zombie Apocalypse Book Tag, consider yourself tagged!

Top Ten Tuesday: ALL TIME Favorite Authors

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is: Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Authors.

Rainbow Rowell

1. Rainbow Rowell. Her writing is beautiful, her characters are amazing. Everything she writes is pure magic.
Favorite book: Attachments

Linwood Barclay

2. Linwood Barclay. My Go-To author for great mysteries.
Favorite book: No Time for Goodbye

Maggie Stiefvater

3. Maggie Stiefvater. She writes some of the most amazing characters I’ve ever read.
Favorite book: The Raven Boys

Jojo Moyes

4. Jojo Moyes. Another writer with beautiful writing and amazing characters.
Favorite book: One Plus One

Kasie West

5. Kasie West. She writes really adorable YA that’s always fun to read.
Favorite Book: On the Fence

Jennifer L. Armentrout

6. Jennifer Armentrout. She writes characters with funny, snarky dialogue that I love. Plus, Daemon Black.
Favorite Book: Obsidian

Marissa Meyer

7. Marissa Myer. Every book she writes just gets better!
Favorite Book: Cress

Gillian Flynn

8. Gillian Flynn. She writes really compulsive reads with amazingly psychopathic characters. Now can she please write a new book!?
Favorite Book: Gone Girl

Erin Morgenstern

9. Erin Morgenstern. She wrote one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. Can she write a new book already, too?!
Favorite Book: The Night Circus

Kristan Higgins

10. Kristan Higgins. My favorite of all romance writers. Her books are full of fun and family and love.
Favorite Book: The Best Man

What are some of your favorite authors? Have you read any of mine?

Stephanie's Book Reviews

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

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Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books I Read In 2014 (Overall, By A Particular Genre, 2014 Releases).

I decided to go with all of my highest rated reviewed books. It’s interesting to me that looking back, some of the ones that I rated so high aren’t necessarily my favorite books of the year. I still love them, obviously, but my usual rating system (a star rating averaged from Plot, Characters, Readability, and Enjoyability) skews more towards best written, rather than most enjoyed. I’m doing a top 12 since these are all the books I’ve read so far this year that got above a 4 Star rating. Still no books this year got 5 stars from me.

Landline

1. Landline by Rainbow Rowell. 4.5 Stars

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)

2. Cress by Marissa Meyer. 4.44 Stars

The Last Letter from Your Lover

3. The Last Letter from your Lover by Jojo Moyes. 4.375 Stars

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)

4. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan 4.375 Stars

Criminal (Will Trent, #6)

5. Criminal by Karin Slaughter. 4.375 Stars

Me Before You

6. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. 4.375 Stars

Perfect Lies (Mind Games, #2)

7. Perfect Lies by Kiersten White. 4.25 Stars

Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3)

8. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi 4.25 Stars

Illusions of Fate

9. Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White. 4.125 Stars

One Plus One

10. One Plus One by Jojo Moyes 4.125 Stars

Dangerous Girls

11. Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas. 4.125 Stars

The Dead Will Tell (Kate Burkholder, #6)

12. The Dead will Tell by Linda Castillo. 4.125 Stars

What are your top books of the year? Agree or Disagree with any of my choices?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Boookish is: Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year.

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)

1. Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #1) by Sarah Rees Breenan. This is easily my favorite book I’ve read so far this year. The premise. THE CHARACTERS. Kami Glass. The dialogue. I. Love. It.

Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3)

2. Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3) by Tahereh Mafi. This is how you end a series!

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)

3. Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer. This series just gets better and better with every book.

Perfect Lies (Mind Games, #2)

4. Perfect Lies (Mind Games #2) by Kiersten White. Another great end to a series. And Fia. Crazy, crazy Fia.

The Last Letter from Your Lover

5. The Last Letter from your Lover by Jojo Moyes. Oh the emotions!!

Criminal (Will Trent, #6)

6. Criminal (Will Trent #6) by Karin Slaughter. Finally the answers I’ve been looking for!

Fear the Worst

7. Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay. Another stellar effort from one of my favorite myster/thriller/suspense writers.

All the Truth That's in Me

8. All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry. This is such a unique, emotional book. It’s really great!

Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky, #3)

9. Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3) by Veronica Rossi. Another great end to a series.

Triptych (Will Trent, #1)

10. Triptych (Will Trent #1) by Karin Slaughter. The first book in one of my favorite series.

What books are your favorites from this year?