Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Underrated Books

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday is: Favorite Underrated Books–Give some love to those books that aren’t as widely talked about. Those hidden gems. Those books that maybe used to be popular but people have forgotten about and they still deserve some love.     

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1. My newest obsession is the Lacey Flint series by S.J. Bolton (aka Sharon Bolton) and I never even heard of it until very recently. More people need to read this – especially if you’re a fan of the mystery/suspense genre.

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2. The Lynburn Legacy series by Sarah Rees Brennan. If you like YA, great banter, cute (yet sometimes frustrating) romance, and a little bit of magic – this book series is for you! Definitely one of my favorite series I wish more people would read.

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3. The Anna Curtis series by Allison Leotta. Another great mystery/suspense series that I don’t see enough people reading.

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4. The Curse Workers series by Holly Black. Another great magical YA series. If for no other reason, read this series for the treasure that is charming, sarcastic Cassel.

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5. The Passing Bells by Phillip Rock. It’s been so long since I read this (and it was before the blog and before I started writing any type of review on Good Reads) that I don’t remember a lot of details, but I remember being obsessed with this book. Great character development, some great (and not so great) romances, and the heartbreak of war.

What underrated books do you wish more people read? Have you read any of mine? And if you haven’t – You should!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Finished Series I Have YET to Finish

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Finished Series I Have YET to Finish.

Storm (Paper Gods, #3)

1. The Paper Gods trilogy by Amanda Sun.

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2. Penryn and the End of Days series by Susan Ee.

The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #3)

3. The Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin

Her Dark Curiosity (The Madman's Daughter, #2)

4. The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Guardian (Proxy, #2)

5. Proxy by Alex London

Ruins (Partials Sequence, #3)

6. Partials Sequence by Dan Wells

A Future Arrived (Passing Bells, #3)

7. Passing Bells by Phillip Rock

Enders (Starters, #2)

8. Starters by Lissa Price

My Soul to Keep (Soul Screamers, #3)

9. Soul Screamers by Rachel Vincent

So I know that’s only 9, but I can’t think of another completely published series that I’ve started and want to finish, though there probably are some.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Which Feature Characters Who Have Cool Jobs

This week’s Top Ten Top Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who _____ . I’m filling in the blank with: Characters Who Have Cool Jobs.

Pear Shaped

1. Sophie from Pear Shaped by Stella Newman. She works in dessert development at a grocery chain.

Landline

2. Georgie from Landline by Rainbow Rowell. She’s a sitcom writer and is developing her own show.

Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1)

3, 4, 5, 6. All the women from the Bride Quartet series by Nora Roberts. They run a wedding event business – One is a wedding planner, one is a photographer, one is a florist, and one is a baker.

The Perfect Match (Blue Heron #2)

7. Honor from The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins. She runs a vineyard.

Until There Was You

8. Posey from Until There was You by Kristan Higgins. She own an architectural salvaging company.

The Passing Bells (Passing Bells, #1)

9. Martin Rilke from The Passing Bells by Phillip Rock. He’s a journalist.

Attachments

10. Beth from Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. She writes movie reviews for the newspaper.

What books do you think features characters with cool jobs?

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*Giveaway – Win a copy of any book I have reviewed HERE (open until May 9, 2015)*

Top Ten Tuesday: ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOKS from the past 3 years

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books You Would Classify As ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOKS from the past 3 years. In no particular order, they are:

The Night Circus

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)

2. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Illusions of Fate

3. Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

One Plus One

4. One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

The Passing Bells (Passing Bells, #1)

5. The Passing Bells by Phillip Rock

Obsidian (Lux, #1)

6. Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout

I've Got Your Number

7. I’ve Got Your Number by Sophia Kinsella

Defending Jacob

8. Defending Jacob by William Landay

Gone Girl

9. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)

10. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Stephanie's Book Reviews

2013 Year in Review


So I started out 2013 with a goal to read 25 books. I kept adding 10 to my goal and finally stopped extending it when I got to 85. I ended up reading 169 books (though there’s still a few days left so this number could go up by one or two). I thought I’d call attention to some of my favorites – and my not so favorites.

FAVORITE NEW AUTHOR – MYSTERY/SUSPENSE: LINWOOD BARCLAY

Never Look Away  No Time for Goodbye  The Accident

Linwood Barclay is not a new author, but I just discovered him this year. So far I’ve only read the above 3 books, but they were all consistently good. It’s not just great mystery. He writes really great, relatable characters, too.

FAVORITE NEW AUTHOR – ROMANCE: KRISTAN HIGGINS

The Next Best Thing   The Best Man (Blue Heron #1)   All I Ever Wanted   Just One of the Guys

I read Just One of the Guys early in the year because it was a free nook book and I enjoyed it. I recently just went on a Kristan Higgins splurge and read every book that she has published. They all pretty closely follow the same outline, but I love them all. I love her character development – particularly her “flashback” style of writing -, her quirky secondary characters, and that it’s romance without being erotic.

FAVORITE RETURNING AUTHOR: RAINBOW ROWELL

Fangirl

Ok, I’m going to share a very unpopular opinion. I did not love Eleanor and Park. It was only just ok for me. But I still love you Rainbow Rowell! And she gave me another excellent book to read this year in Fangirl. Cath and Levi. Sigh.

FAVORITE COUPLE (ADULT): MARTIN RILKE & IVY THAXTON RILKE

The Passing Bells (Passing Bells, #1)

I don’t think I can ever say enough how much I love Martin Rilke.  He and Ivy were my favorite characters in The Passing Bells and I absolutely loved them together.

FAVORITE COUPLE (YA): DAEMON & KATY

Onyx (Lux, #2)

Of course this has to be Daemon and Katy from Lux. They’re sarcastic and adorable.

BEST CHARACTER GROWTH: JOHN TOMASETTI

Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder, #1)

Tomasetti of the Kate Burkholder series starts off as a barely functioning alcoholic and prescription drug addict that’s just hanging on to his job and recovering from the murder of his wife and daughters. Throughout the series he sobers up (more or less), returns to being the agent he once was, and becomes the stable one in his relationship with Kate.

FAVORITE CAST OF CHARACTERS: THE RAVEN BOYS

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)

Gansey, Adam, Ronan, Noah, and Blue. I love the interactions between this group. What really draws me into this series is the characters. I wish I would’ve come up with them.

BEST FREE BOOK: BACK ON MURDER

Back on Murder (A Roland March Mystery, #1)

I discovered The Roland March series by J. Mark Bertrand because the first in the series was a free nook book at Barnes and Noble (you can get it for FREE here). Bertrand is a solid writer and I gave all three books in this series 4 stars.

FAVORITE NEW SERIES (YA): LUX

Obsidian (Lux, #1)  Onyx (Lux, #2) Opal (Lux, #3)  Origin (Lux, #4)

I’ve probably mentioned Jennifer Armentrout and her Lux series in this blog more than any other author or series. I love the writing, the characters, the banter, the mysteries, and the action.

FAVORITE NEW SERIES (ADULT): THE KATE BURKHOLDER SERIES

Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder, #1)  Pray for Silence (Kate Burkholder, #2)  Breaking Silence (Kate Burkholder, #3)  Gone Missing (Kate Burkholder, #4)  Long Lost (Kate Burkholder #4.5)Her Last Breath (Kate Burkholder, #5)

I have to say that part of me loves this series because it’s based in Holmes County, Ohio – not far from where I grew up. But I also love the characters and the mystery.

LIVED UP TO THE HYPE: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

The Fault in Our Stars

I did not believe that The Fault in our Stars would make me cry. I was wrong. But it was also sarcastic and funny and wonderful.

DIDN’T LIVE UP TO THE HYPE: THE SILENT WIFE

The Silent Wife

I kept reading things about how this was this summer’s Gone Girl. It was not. It took me about a month to finally finish it.

MOST DISAPPOINTING SEQUEL: THE ELITE

The Elite (The Selection, #2)

This book actually made me angry. I really enjoyed the first book, but this one was just horrible. America becomes unbearably annoying. Aspen is a doormat. Maxon is a dick. And the rebel subplot… Here’s hoping the end of the series makes up for this book.

MOST DISAPPOINTING END OF A SERIES – RUNNER-UP: REQUIEM

Requiem (Delirium, #3)

Ugh. This story went so down hill for me in this book. The love triangle in Requiem‘s is the reason I hate them. And though Lena’s choice is obvious, she never actually “picks” him. And half the book was given to Hanna’s POV, who I could not care less about (seriously – I can’t even tell how much I DON’T care about Hanna). I felt like the end was left open for future books instead of concluding the story of Lena. It turned into an obvious and poorly done social commentary on how we need to love.

MOST DISAPPOINTING END OF A SERIES: ALLEGIANT

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)

I was soooo disappointed by this book. I didn’t think it was possible for an ending to disappoint me more than Requiem did, but this one really took the cake. While Allegiant wraps things up in a way Requiem does not, I was still more disappointed with it because I loved this series so much and was so, so expecting it to be amazing. It wasn’t just the fact that I didn’t agree with the ending. It was just poorly done.

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE YEAR – RUNNER UP: UNRAVEL ME

Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2)

I loved the first book in this series and this one got even better. And even though I hate to admit it, the love triangle in this book actually works. I don’t feel like there’s a clear choice for Juliette and I get that she has feelings for both of them because I have feelings for both of them. Just when I’ve decided I’m Team Warner, she runs into Adam and I suddenly feel conflicted. Because of course I’m Team Adam. But then there’s Warner…

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE YEAR: THE NIGHT CIRCUS

The Night Circus

This wasn’t at all what I was expecting it to be. It’s super descriptive which I don’t usually like, but it was done so beautifully in this book that I loved it. The emotional connection I felt to these characters were greater than any others I’ve read this year.

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Sequels Ever

This week’s Top Ten, sponsored by The Broke and the Bookish, is about the best sequels ever. My picks aren’t necessarily sequels that I liked better than the first, but ones that were just as enjoyable. (Click on the cover for synopsis.)

1. Circles of Time: A Novel
Circles of Time by Phillip Rock, the follow up to The Passing Bells. This book is a little more like what I thought the first book would be. And there is lots of Martin Rilke, one of my favorite literary characters ever.

2. Unravel Me (Shatter Me Series #2)
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi, the second book in the Shatter Me series.

3. Scarlet
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, the second book in The Lunar Chronicles. I actually enjoyed this book more than I did, Cinder.

4. Onyx (Lux Series #2)
Onyx by Jennifer Armentrout, the second book in the Lux series. As I’ve said many times, I love this series.

5. Insurgent (Divergent Series #2)
Insurgent by Vernoica Roth, follow up to Divergent. This book ramped up the action, the romance, and the “mythology”.

6. Catching Fire (Hunger Games Series #2)
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, follow up to The Hunger Games. The first book in the series will always be my favorite, but this series is one of my all time favorites and Catching Fire did not disappoint.

7. Pray for Silence (Kate Burkholder Series #2)
Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo, the second book in the Kate Burkholder series. I think this one might actually be my favorite storyline of the series.

Ok, so I only have a top 7 because I can’t really think of any more. I’m sure as soon as I post this or read through some other’s lists I’ll come up with some more. What sequels do you think are the best ever?

30 Day Book Challenge = 1 Survey

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So I’ve seen several people do the 30 Day Book  Challenge hosted by The Chronicles of Radiya. While I think it’s fun, I just don’t think I have the patience to do it everyday, so I turned it into a survey, all 30 questions in 1 post. Enjoy.

01 – A BOOK YOU WISH YOU COULD LIVE IN
This one is hard because I feel like the only type of fantasy worlds I read are dystopian, and as much as I love the books, you obviously don’t really want to live in them. I’m going to go with Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (and I apologize if this book comes up in a lot of answers). I want to work at a newspaper and e-mail Beth and Jennifer and be friends with Lincoln.

02 – A BOOK THAT YOU’VE READ AGAIN AND AGAIN
Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout has become one of my go-to books when I need a break from something else, or just to pass the time.

03 – YOUR FAVOURITE SERIES
            I have so many that I love, I don’t know if I can pick just one. But I think The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is really at the top of the list. So many books I love, but don’t know if I would recommend to everybody. I feel like The Hunger Games has such broad appeal and solid writing.

04 – WORST FILM ADAPTATION OF A BOOK
            Though the Twlight series seems like an obvious answer, I’m going to go with the American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Bad casting (I love me some Daniel Craig and he’s wonderful at everything, but he’s not at all how I pictured out-of-shape Mikael Blomkvist). They changed the ending. And I really don’t think anyone who hadn’t read the book would be able to follow the plot.

05 – A BOOK THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY
            I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella. This is a perfect light, fluffy, weekend read. As everything from Kinsella, it’s a little on the ridiculous side (ok, a lot on the ridiculous side), but it’s sweet and I enjoy it.

I've Got Your Number
06 – A BOOK THAT BROKE YOUR HEART
Mockingjay by Susan Collins. The last 2 books of the series are kind of depressing. When people start reading Mockingjay I tell them to prepare to never be happy again.

07 – MOST UNDERRATED BOOK
            Northange Abbey by Jane Austen. It’s one of my favorite Austen novels, but I never hear anyone else talk about it. It seems to everyone else if you mention Jane Austen they only think of Pride and Prejudice or Emma.

08 – MOST OVERRATED BOOK
            The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I’m not saying that it’s not a fantastically written, fast-paced, page-turning book. Just all the hype that surrounded it when it first came out. People treated it like it was gospel – and I always felt that’s what Brown wanted – despite the fact that it’s riddled with inaccuracies.

09 – A BOOK YOU THOUGHT YOU WOULDN’T LIKE BUT ENDED UP LOVING
            Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It’s one of my mom’s favorite books and she suggested it to me several times before I finally gave in. And it’s great.

Redeeming Love
10 – FAVOURITE CLASSIC BOOK
            Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I didn’t read this until I was out of college and couldn’t believe it took me that long.

11 – A BOOK YOU HATED
            The Innocents by Francesca Segal. I HATED this book. The writing was wonderful, but the characters were pretty horrible. Adam, the main character, finally proposed after dating his girlfriend for a decade (or close to it), but then gets distracted by her younger, more beautiful, more adventurous cousin. He kind of falls instantly in love with her, but I don’t ever feel like it’s any kind of real love. He’s in love with his idea of her, not actually her. But he still cheats on his wife with her and is ready to leave his wife, until she tells him she’s pregnant and knows that it will keep him from leaving. Things end with the cousin, but none of them really have a happy ending.

12 – A BOOK YOU USED TO LOVE BUT DON’T ANYMORE
            The Twilight series. I actually credit these books for getting me back into reading again. Despite all the haters, it’s still, overall, a sweet love story. But after I moved on to other books and series I tried to come back to these and re-read them, but could hardly get through them.

13 – YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR
            This seems like an impossible question. There’s so many that I love. I’m going to go with my newest favorite – Linwood Barclay. I’ve only read three books by him so far, but he’s so consistently good. He hasn’t let me down yet.

14 – FAVOURITE AUTHOR(S) FROM YOUR CHILDHOOD
            Anne M. Martin. I read soooo many Baby-Sitter’s Club books.

15 –  YOUR FIVE FAVOURITE CHARACTERS OF ALL TIME
            This is impossible. I reserve the right to change my mind on these.
            1. Lincoln O’Neil (Attachments by Rainbow Rowell).
2. Henry Tileny (Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen).
3. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games by Susan Collins).
4. Martin Rilke (The Passing Bells by Phillip Rock).
5. Four –AKA Tobias Eaton (Divergent by Veronica Roth)

16 –  YOUR FAVOURITE GENRE
            I read such a mix of genres that it’s hard to pick one. But overall, I probably read more YA Dystopian than anything else.

17 – FAVOURITE QUOTE FROM A BOOK
I don’t often remember a lot of quotes from books, so I’m going to use the same answer I did in the A to Z Survey. It comes from The Passing Bells from Fenton Wood-Lacey. Up to this point in the book, I wasn’t sure if I really liked Fenton or not. I wanted to, but I just kept thinking he was going to let me down. It came to a point where he was alone with his friend’s wife – who also used to be someone he thought himself in love with – and she’s coming on to him. He considers it but then says, “Everything is becoming so shabby these days. So lacking in worth. I just don’t like feel joining the trend.” And that made me fall in love with him. (For that book anyways. The Wood-Lacey’s broke my heart in the second book.)

The Passing Bells (Passing Bells, #1)
18 – A BOOK THAT MADE YOU LAUGH
            Attachments. The e-mails between Beth and Jennifer are great. It’s what made me want to be best friends with Rainbow Rowell.

19 – FAVOURITE BOOK TURNED INTO A MOVIE
            The Hunger Games. While it wasn’t perfect, I thought that overall it was a really great, faithful adaption. I can’t wait for Catching Fire!

20 – FAVOURITE ROMANCE BOOK
            The Apothecary’s Daughter by Julie Klassen. Where so many romance books these days focus more on lust and an increasingly alarming bent towards the erotic, this is a sweet, honest story of real love.

21 – FAVOURITE BOOK FROM YOUR CHILDHOOD

As I mentioned earlier, I read a ridiculous amount of Baby-Sitter’s Club books.

22 – FAVOURITE VILLAIN FROM A BOOK
            Amy Dunne in Gone Girl. She’s a psychopath, but incredibly entertaining to read.

23 – A BOOK YOU WANTED TO READ FOR A LONG TIME BUT STILL HAVEN’T
            Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I really don’t know why I haven’t read this yet, I just never have.

24 – A BOOK THAT YOU WISH MORE PEOPLE WOULD’VE READ
            Below the Root by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. The Green Sky trilogy are books I read as a kid and loved, and just recently came across them again.

25 – A CHARACTER WHO YOU CAN RELATE TO THE MOST
            Lincoln in Attachments. He’s in his late twenties, in a dead-end job, and just generally doesn’t know what to do with his life.

Attachments
26 – A BOOK THAT CHANGED YOUR OPINION ABOUT SOMETHING
            I’m going to go again with the Twilight series. It changed my opinion on reading for fun. It had been years since I really did it and that series got me back to it.

27 – THE MOST SURPRISING PLOT TWIST OR ENDING
            The end of Variant by Robison Wells. It was a great cliff-hanger type of ending, I just wish the sequel would have been a little better.

28 – FAVOURITE TITLE
            Sweet Tooth (Ian McEwan). It’s a very misleading title, but that’s what I read the book.

29 – A BOOK THAT IS MOST LIKE YOUR LIFE
            Then we Came to the End by Joshua Ferris – an office satire.

30 – YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK OF ALL TIME
            And the last impossible question. I don’t think I can pick just one, but I think I’ll go with the one I’ve mentioned several times throughout this survey – Attachments by Rainbow Rowell.