Top Ten Tuesday: Backlist Books I Want to Read

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl, is: Top Ten Backlist Books I Want to Read. I’m not sure how everyone else defines “backlist”, but I’m going to use it as any book currently published I haven’t read yet, even if they came out recently.

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Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor. I bought this book from the bargain shelves a couple years ago and still haven’t started it yet.

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The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater. I got Shiver as a free e-book a couple years ago and I started it once, but never finished it. I’d like to go back and give the series another try.

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Speaking of Stiefvater, I haven’t read All the Crooked Saints yet, either.

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I’ve only read the first two books in the Helen Grace series by M.J. Alridge. I did enjoy them, but somehow it just fell off my radar and I’d like to go back and pick up where I left off.

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The Conqueror’s Saga by Kiersten White. I remember being really excited for this series (mostly due to the beautiful cover, if I’m honest), but I started it once and couldn’t get into it. I’ve read so many great reviews of this series, though, and I want to try it again.

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My brother, who is not a big reader, is obsessed with the Mitch Rapp series and I’ve read the first couple books and enjoyed them, but need to get to the rest. One interesting thing about this series, it recently picked up with some new books written by a different author after the original author (Flynn) passed away.

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Wonder Woman by Leigh Bardugo. This was one of my most anticipated books last year, but I have yet to read it. I did actually start it once, but didn’t get past the first chapter or two.

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From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon. I love Amy Harmon books and this is one of the very few I haven’t read yet.

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All of the Rosato & Associates and Rosata & DiNunzio books by Lisa Scottoline. I’ve read the first book in each series (one is a spin-off of the other, but really I think is just a continuation?) and I need to get to the rest of them.

What backlist books do you want to read?

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Top Ten Tuesday: New-To-Me Favorite Authors

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten New-To-Me Favorite Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015.

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1) Emma Mills – First & Then

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2) Renee Ahdieh – The Wrath & The Dawn

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3) Julia Heaberlin – Black-Eyed Susans

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4) Allison Leotta – The Anna Curtis series

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5) Rebecca Sherm – Unbecoming

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6) Nicole Baart – The Beautiful Daughters

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7) M.J. Alridge – Eeny Meeny

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8) Taylor Jenkins Reid – Maybe in Another Life

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9) Barry Lyga – I Hunt Killers

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10) Ashlee Mallory – Her Backup Boyfriend

What new authors have you discovered this year?

Review: Pop Goes the Weasel (Helen Grace #2) by M.J. Alridge

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

A man’s body is found in an empty house.
His heart has been cut out and delivered to his wife and children.

He is the first victim, and Detective Inspector Helen Grace knows he will not be the last. But why would a happily married man be this far from home in the dead of night?

The media call it Jack the Ripper in reverse: a serial killer preying on family men who lead hidden double lives.

Helen can sense the fury behind the murders. But what she cannot possibly predict is how volatile this killer is—or what is waiting for her at the end of the chase…

Pop Goes the Weasel: A Detective Helen Grace Thriller

I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Pop Goes the Weasel will be released October 6, 2015

Helen Grace is back in Pop Goes the Weasel, the follow up to Eeny Meeny, and is on the hunt for a new serial killer. It starts when a seemingly upright citizen brutally murdered in an abandoned house most commonly used by prostitutes. Then more men, family men, keep winding up dead, all in locations prostitutes are known for. While Helen works on solving the case she must also deal with her new Detective Superintendent, Harwood, who is not a Helen fan,  the loss of her second in command and romantic interest, Mark, the general public knowing about her past, the bad memories being around Charlie brings up, and the evil Emilia, a reporter who will stop at nothing to get her story and has a personal bias against Helen.

Helen’s biggest asset seems to be her new second-in-command, Tony Bridges. I started out really liking Tony. He’s a smart and likable guy, good at his job. He appears pretty devoted to his wife, who is bedridden after having a stroke. Helen asks him to go undercover to try and find the prostitute serial killer and he agrees. You can probably guess what happens to make me stop liking him.

Employing the same short, fast paced chapters as Eeny Meeny, the story really moves along quickly and is compulsively readable. In addition to the main murder plotline, Helen spends a lot of time shadowing a young man named Robert who she is determined to help. It takes awhile before we find out what his connection to Helen is, but I found it fairly predictable. That said, I didn’t think that particular storyline had a satisfactory ending and I hope he’s in the next book. We also see some more of Jake, the Dominant Helen visits. While we don’t see as much of him in this book, their relationship evolves into something a little bit more than it was and I look forward to seeing more of that, as well.

One thing that didn’t really work for me was that I felt we got too many perspectives. There’s a lot of characters to keep track of and we get most of their POVs. I kept mixing up some of the minor characters.

Overall, I enjoyed Pop Goes the Weasel. It was fast paced and the story kept me interested throughout. I didn’t find it quite as unique or enjoyable as Eeny Meeny, though. However, I still would recommend it to those who’ve read the first book in the series, as well as to fans of mysteries/thrillers.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

3.5 stars

 

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!)

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015

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Well we are half way through the year and in accordance this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015. (In converse, I posted my most disappointing booksnof 2015 so far yesterday.) In no particular order, my favorite books I’ve read so far are:

Big Little Lies

1. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Ok, so this one is in particular order, as I gave this book 4.5 stars and it’s probably my favorite book of the year so far.

The Singles

2. The Singles by Meredith Goldstein. This has been on my TBR forever and I was so excited when I found it for $1 at a library sale.

Eeny Meeny (Helen Grace, #1)

3. Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge. A great thriller/mystery.

Missing You

4. Missing You by Harlan Coben. My first Harlan Coben and it won’t be my last!

The Fill-In Boyfriend

5. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West. Another adorable book that reminds me why Kasie West is my favorite YA Contemporary author.

First Frost (Waverley Family, #2)

6. First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen. Garden Spells was one of my favorite books last year and it’s sequel did not disappoint.

The Start of Me and You

7. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord. Another cute contemporary.

Unbecoming

8. Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm. A very well done character-driven novel.

The Beautiful Daughters

9. The Beautiful Daughters by Nicole Baart. Beautifully written, another character-driven piece.

Black-Eyed Susans

10. Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin. This one isn’t out yet, but is easily one of my favorites. A great suspense story.

Law of Attraction  Discretion  Speak of the Devil (Anna Curtis, #3)  A Good Killing (Anna Curtis, #4)

11. Ok, so I’m adding another one and making it a series because these books are amazing and is my favorite new series of the year – The Anna Curtis series by Allison Leotta – Law of Attraction, Discretion, Speak of the Devil, A Good Killing

What are your favorite books so far this year? Do you agree with any of my choices?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Love To See As Movies/TV Shows

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books I’d Love To See As Movies/TV Shows. I’ve already done this topic twice (here and here) so I’ll try to come up with new answers.

BOOKS AS MOVIES

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Dangerous Girls by Abigal Haas

A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, #1)

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Eeny Meeny (Helen Grace, #1)

Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge

The Great Zoo of China

The Great Zoo of China by MatthewReilly

Illusions of Fate

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

BOOKS AS TV SHOWS

Garden Spells (Waverley Family, #1)   First Frost (Waverley Family, #2)

Garden Spells and First Frost (Waverly Family series) by Sarah Addison Allen

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)  Untold (The Lynburn Legacy, #2)   Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy, #3)

Unspoken, Untold, Unmade (Lynburn Legacy) by Sarah Rees Brennan

WHAT BOOKS WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE MADE INTO A MOVIE OR TV SHOW? WHAT DO YOU THINK OF MY CHOICES?

Stephanie's Book Reviews

Review: Eeny Meeny (Helen Grace #1) by M.J. Arlidge

Eeny Meeny (Helen Grace, #1)

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Two people are abducted, imprisoned, and left with a gun. As hunger and thirst set in, only one walks away alive.

It’s a game more twisted than any Detective Inspector Helen Grace has ever seen. If she hadn’t spoken with the shattered survivors herself, she almost wouldn’t believe them.

Helen is familiar with the dark sides of human nature, including her own, but this case—with its seemingly random victims—has her baffled. But as more people go missing, nothing will be more terrifying than when it all starts making sense….

I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Eeny Meeny will be available June 2, 2015.

Eeny Meeny is an intense thriller that kept me glued to the pages for days.

Helen Grace is a detective investigating a disturbing murder. In a Saw-like scenario, two people are trapped with no escape and are left with a gun with one bullet. Once one of them is dead, the other will be freed. After the first “winner” of the game escapes, it is not long before another couple go missing. The cases get even more disturbing for Helen when she suspects the victims are somehow connected to her.

I really liked the writing style of this book. It’s told in 3rd person POV and we get the perspective of Helen and her fellow officers Charlie and Mark, each of the victims, the killer, and a BDSM dominant who may have feelings for his mysterious client (don’t worry, it’s not as Fifty Shades as it sounds). The shift in perspectives, as well as the short chapter lengths, really made the story clip along at a quick pace and kept me engaged.

Helen was not an easy character to like, but I was definitely rooting for her throughout the book. She’s a good cop, but struggles with all personal relationships. I liked Mark and was really hoping for his happy ending. I felt like the character development was done very well, especially when juggling so many characters and some of them are only seen for a few chapters.

One word of caution is that the book can get quite graphic at times. No detail is spared when describing the precarious conditions the victims are facing, especially after they’ve been trapped for a couple days.

Overall I enjoyed Eeny Meeny. It was an intense thriller with well-developed characters, smart writing, and a plot that will make you question your own humanity. I recommend it to fans of crime/mystery/thrillers, who don’t mind a little bit of the graphic and resolutions that aren’t necessarily Happily Ever After.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

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