Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books Released In the Last Ten Years

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Favorite Books Released In the Last Ten Years, highlighting one favorite books per year. What a great excuse for a trip back through my shelves!

It’s really hard to come up with just one favorite per year, so some of these are chosen somewhat arbitrarily from among all my five-star reads. If I’ve reviewed the book here on my blog, the link is provided — check it out if interested!

  • 2018: The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah (review)
  • 2017: The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan (review)
  • 2016: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (review)
  • 2015: Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart (review)
  • 2014: Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
  • 2013: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald (review)
  • 2012: The Martian by Andy Weir (review)
  • 2011: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick (review)
  • 2010: Feed by Mira Grant
  • 2009: Under the Dome by Stephen King

What were your favorite books of the past 10 years? Do we have any in common? If you wrote a TTT post this week, please share your link!

The Monday Check-In ~ 4/29/2019

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

What did I read during the last week?

The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters: Gothic historical fiction about the younger days of Edgar Allan Poe and his muse. My review is here.

Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs: I finished my audiobook re-read, and loved it so much!

Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse: The excellent sequel to Trail of Lightning. My review is here.

Fresh Catch:

Two shiny new books this week:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire: Yeah, I guess you might say that I’m a little obsessed when it comes to this author. As in, give me all her books. NOW. I’m excited to be starting her newest (although I’ll admit that I felt a little daunted when I picked it up to start reading and realized it was over 500 pages.)

Now playing via audiobook:

The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King: It must be over 20 years since I first read this book. The audiobook is narrated by Bronson Pinchot, and is just so, so good! I’ve listened to about 60%, should finished up this coming week.

Ongoing reads:

Three ongoing reads at the moment:

  • Besieged by Diana Gabaldon, from the Seven Stones To Stand or Fall collection — a group read for my Outlander book group, two sections of the story per week.
  • The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens — my book group’s newest classic selection. We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week… and since this book is over 800 pages, we’ll be doing so for quite some time. Great fun so far!
  • Tortall: A Spy’s Guide –– a collection of writings and notes related to Tamora Pierce’s kingdom of Tortall. It’s pretty entertaining, but I prefer reading it in small pieces, since it’s not actually a novel to be read straight through.

So many books, so little time…

 

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The Monday Check-In ~ 4/22/2019

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

What did I read during the last week?

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones: A book group book. My review is here.

Kingdom of Needle & Bone by Mira Grant: Another awesomely chilling novella from one of my favorite authors. My review is here.

I read a total of ELEVEN short stories by Seanan McGuire about the amazing character Tybalt from the October Daye series — find out more here.

Aaaaaaand… I finally finished reading this gorgeous book about Hamilton! If you have Hamil-fans in your life, this would be a perfect gift, trust me.

Fresh Catch:

Two new books this week! I had to have a copy of the new release from Cat Winters (which I’m just starting). And even though I’ve already read the stories in American Hippo, once I saw this paperback edition, I just NEEDED it.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters: I’ve loved every book I’ve read by Cat Winters so far! High hopes for this one.

Now playing via audiobook:

Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs: A re-read via audio, because I love the worlds created by Patricia Briggs and want to immerse myself again before her new book comes out in May!

Ongoing reads:

My Outlander book group is continuing our Lord John read-along with two Lord John (or Lord John-adjacent) stories from the Seven Stones to Stand or Fall collection. We’re reading the story Besieged right now.

And — time to start a new classic! My book group’s new classic read is The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens, starting this week. We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week… and since this book is over 800 pages, we’ll be doing so for quite some time. Wish me luck!

I’m also indulging my love for Tamora Pierce’s fantasy world of Tortall by dipping in and out of Tortall: A Spy’s Guide, which isn’t a novel exactly — it’s a collection of writings and notes by Pierce’s characters explaining what it takes to become an expert spy, as well as personal correspondence between the characters. It’s all good fun, but I’m finding I appreciate it better in small chunks rather than trying to read straight through.

So many books, so little time…

 

boy1

Novella Review: Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant

 

We live in an age of wonders.

Modern medicine has conquered or contained many of the diseases that used to carry children away before their time, reducing mortality and improving health. Vaccination and treatment are widely available, not held in reserve for the chosen few. There are still monsters left to fight, but the old ones, the simple ones, trouble us no more.

Or so we thought. For with the reduction in danger comes the erosion of memory, as pandemics fade from memory into story into fairy tale. Those old diseases can’t have been so bad, people say, or we wouldn’t be here to talk about them. They don’t matter. They’re never coming back.

How wrong we could be.

It begins with a fever. By the time the spots appear, it’s too late: Morris’s disease is loose on the world, and the bodies of the dead begin to pile high in the streets. When its terrible side consequences for the survivors become clear, something must be done, or the dying will never stop. For Dr. Isabella Gauley, whose niece was the first confirmed victim, the route forward is neither clear nor strictly ethical, but it may be the only way to save a world already in crisis. It may be the only way to atone for her part in everything that’s happened.

She will never be forgiven, not by herself, and not by anyone else. But she can, perhaps, do the right thing.

We live in an age of monsters.

Mira Grant is indisputably a master of horrifying disease and science run amok. There’s the zombie apocalypse of the Newsflesh trilogy, brought about by an unfortunate mixing of two manufactured viruses. There’s the Parasitology trilogy, featuring tapeworms (ick) genetically engineered for medical use. There’s her short fiction, including Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box, about a viral outbreak that may or may not be part of a game, and Emergency Landing, a recent release via Seanan McGuire’s Patreon that’s creepy as hell, also about a viral outbreak linked to bioterrorism and basically the end of humankind.

Which brings us to Kingdom of Needle and Bone, which is terrifying in how real and ripped-from-the-headlines it feels. It starts with a measles outbreak, but it’s a deadlier version of the disease that spreads like wildfire and kills its victims within days or even hours of the appearance of symptoms. Not only that, those who survive the disease are left immuno-compromised and their previous vaccinations rendered ineffective. Millions die. And still, the anti-vaxxer movement holds on, strangely allying themselves with the pro-choice movement and claiming bodily autonomy as a legal construct negating mandatory vaccination.

The initial section of the novella deals with Lisa Morris, the 8-year-old who becomes the first fatality of the disease bearing her name. The story of how the disease infected visitors to a theme park is almost enough to make me swear off crowds forever. From there, the focus shifts to Lisa’s aunt Isabella Gauley, a pediatrician who fights to keep the public aware of the importance of vaccination and herd immunity — until she comes up with a different way of making sure at least some people survive the unstoppable epidemics sweeping the planet.

Any story about epidemics and killer viruses creeps me the hell out… but also really fascinates me. Kingdom of Needle and Bone has plenty of creep factor, scary medical scenarios, and slightly off-kilter people who may or may not be mad scientists and/or unhinged survivalists. So yeah… I loved it.

And shuddered extra hard when I picked up this morning’s newspaper and saw a headline about yet another measles outbreak.

Maybe I need to consider a hermetically sealed bug-out shelter… just in case?

_________________________________________

The details:

Title: Kingdom of Needle and Bone
Author: Mira Grant
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Publication date: December 31, 2018
Length: 128 pages
Genre: Horror
Source: Purchased

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The Monday Check-In ~ 4/15/2019

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

What did I read during the last week?

This seems to have been quite a week for graphic novels! But some other reading too…

The Beauty, volumes 1 – 5 by Jeremy Haun et al: See my write-up of this graphic novel series here.

The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert HIllman: Moving historical fiction. My review is here.

A Fire Story by Brian Fies: A graphic novel portraying the author’s experiences during the 2017 California wildfires. My review is here.

I also LOVED…

I swear, this book IS me. And I suspect it’s all of you too — the author absolutely nails the glories and obsessions that come with being a book lover.

Pop culture goodness:

As I write this on Sunday night, I’m counting down — just like everyone else — to the season premiere of Game of Thrones!

Fresh Catch:

A few treats:

Any Kate Bush fans out there? I bought a copy of this gorgeous new volume of Kate Bush song lyrics as a little gift from me to me. (It doesn’t really come through in the image, but the lettering is silvery and so pretty.)

Aaaaaand… I also splurged on two special edition hardcovers that I needed for my shelves:

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Kingdom of Needle & Bone by Mira Grant: Trust Mira Grant to completely freak me out! A novella about deadly disease outbreaks, with a decidely anti-anti-vaxxer agenda.

Now playing via audiobook:

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones: Just finished Sunday afternoon – review to follow. And since I finished, I started…

Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs: A re-read via audio, because I love the worlds created by Patricia Briggs and want to immerse myself again before her new book comes out in May!

Ongoing reads:

My Outlander book group is continuing our Lord John read-along with two Lord John (or Lord John-adjacent) stories from the Seven Stones to Stand or Fall collection. We’re reading the story Besieged right now.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

The Monday Check-In ~ 12/31/2018

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Happy New Year!

Wishing all a splendiferous 2019, filled with health, laughter, love, friendship, and of course, endless hours of delightful reading.

What did I read during the last week?

Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin: Wow! This book is huge and dense, but also incredibly fascinating. I’d say it’s a must for Game of Thrones fans. My review is here.

My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead: An interesting look at George Eliot’s Middlemarch, its themes and messages, and how those relate to modern life. Having just finished Middlemarch with my book group, this was a great way to wrap up the experience!

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden: I did a quick re-read of this book, since it’s almost release time for book #3!

Outlander, baby!

I’m writing reaction posts for each episode of season 4… but didn’t quite have time to finish up the most recent. Stay tuned for my reaction post for Episode 409, “The Birds & the Bees” (aired 12/30/2018) – it’ll be up later today!

Such a great episode!

Pop culture goodness:

I saw two terrific movies:

And continued my current TV binge, Gilmore Girls — I’m on season 2 now!

Fresh Catch:

A new Mira Grant novella is always reason to celebrate!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker: I’m just getting started…

Now playing via audiobook:

Terrier (Beka Cooper, #1) by Tamora Pierce: I’m about 2/3 done with this audiobook, and I’m really liking it! Tamora Pierce’s creativity here is just so amazing. Looking forward to continuing with the rest of the trilogy once I finish Terrier.

Ongoing reads:

None at the moment! All of my book group reads are wrapped up at this point. A new classic read and a new Lord John read will both be starting in January!

So many books, so little time…

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Top Ten Tuesday: The longest books I’ve ever read… and the longest books I’ve read 2017/2018

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is The Longest Books I’ve Ever Read. I actually did this topic back in 2015 as a TTT freebie, and that list hasn’t changed… so I thought I’d repeat those, but also mention the longest books I’ve read more recently (2017-2018).

First, my ten longest books ever (according to Goodreads, based on mass market paperback editions):

1. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (1,463 pages)

2. The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon (1, 443 pages)

3. A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon (1,439 pages)

4. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin (1,177 pages)

5. The Stand by Stephen King (1,167 pages)

6. Shogun by James Clavell (1,210 pages)

7. War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk (1,056 pages)

8. The Witching Hour by Anne Rice (1,038 pages)

9. Hawaii by James Michener (1,036 pages)

10. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (1,011 pages)

 

My more recent reading has been a bit less ambitious — here are my longest reads from 2017 – 2018:

1. Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon (1,117 pages)

2. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (826 pages)

3. The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray (819 pages)

4. Rise: A Newsflesh Collection by Mira Grant (816 pages)

5. Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King (702 pages)

6. Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (656 pages)

7. The Angry Tide by Winston Graham (624 pages)

8. Feed by Mira Grant (599 pages)

9. Caliban’s War by James S. A Corey (595 pages)

10. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott (592 pages)

What books are on your list this week? Please share your TTT link!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten authors I’d love to meet

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Authors I’d Love to Meet. I could probably go on and on with this topic, but here are the top 10 on my mind right now, starting with favorite authors whom I’ve never seen in person:

1. Seanan McGuire: I’ve loved her books for quite a while, but this year I totally binged on the October Daye and InCryptids series, as well as the Newsflesh books by her alter ego Mira Grant. Sadly, I ended up out of town for a weekend in September when she was doing a signing event at a local bookstore, but since she’s incredibly prolific (I suspect she doesn’t sleep), I’m hoping it won’t be a long wait until there’s another book launch event to attend.

2. John Scalzi: Love, love, love his writing, and definitely need to read more.

3. Katherine Arden: I adored The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, and can’t wait for the trilogy wrap-up in 2019.

4. Amy Stewart: The Kopp Sisters rule! Her historical fiction is so much fun, and so full of terrific female characters straight out of history.

5. Jim Butcher: I’m a big Dresden fan, and loved Codex Alera and The Aeronaut’s Windlass too.

6. Jojo Moyes: Her books always move and inspire me.

7. Lisa See: I was fascinated by The Teagirl of Hummingbird Lane, and have enjoyed many of her books over the years. I’d love to hear her speak and learn more about her writing and research process.

8. Lisa Genova: Her books tackles such fascinating medical conditions. She’s another author I’d like to hear talk about inspiration, medical research, and the conditions she clearly cares so much about.

9. Dana Stabenow: I love the Kate Shugak series, and really enjoy reading this author’s blog posts on writing, general topics, and life in Alaska!

I’ll wrap up with an author whom I had the pleasure to meet once already, back in 2014 when Written in My Own Heart’s Blood was released — but I’d love to see her again (and again and again):

10: Diana Gabaldon: Author extraordinaire of the Outlander series!

Yes, I met her! What an amazing day!

Have you met any of the authors on my list? Which authors would you most want to meet? Please share your TTT link!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books By My Favorite Authors (that I still haven’t read)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read. Usually, when I love an author, I read everything he or she has written… but there are always some books that fall off the bookpile or get otherwise overlooked. My selection of books by favorite authors that I still need to read :

1. Epitaph by Mary Doria Russell: This is the sequel to Doc, which I truly loved. Mary Doria Russell is a brilliant writer (The Sparrow will always be near and dear to my heart), and I bought Epitaph as soon as it came out. Why haven’t I read it yet? No idea… other than me just being lame.

2. The Sumage Solution by G. L. Carriger: Gail Carriger is an absolute favorite of mine, and I’ve read every bit of her published work… except The Sumage Solution. Maybe it’s because of the contemporary setting, since I love Carriger’s steampunk Parasol-verse so very much… but I haven’t quite brought myself around to starting Sumage. And there’s a sequel on the way, so I’d better get to it.

3. The Old Man’s War series by John Scalzi: I haven’t read a single book by John Scalzi that I haven’t enjoyed… but so far, I’ve only read his stand-alone books. I keep swearing that THIS will finally be the year when I read Old Man’s War… but it just hasn’t happened yet, and we’re getting frighteningly close to the end of 2018.

4. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik: I bought this the day it was released, and I’ve just gotten too overwhelmed by ARCs and library books to ever get around to starting. I loved Uprooted, so I’m really excited to start this one.

5. SO MANY  BOOKS by Stephen King: I always think of myself as a Stephen King fan, but it’s scary to think how many I’ve missed! Just looking at the unread King books on my shelves, I have Duma Key, Lisey’s Story, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, books 4 – 7 of The Dark Tower series, The Green Mile, a few short story collections… ugh, it never ends! I guess on the flip side, I’ll never run out of good options for when I want to be scared silly by a book.

6. Earlier works by Patricia Briggs: I adore the Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega series, and could read those books over and over again (and yes, I’ve gone back for re-reads already). I really should make a point of reading some of her other works too, although I think I’m resistant to leaving those familiar worlds and going more into straight-up fantasy rather than urban fantasy.

7. More Jojo Moyes! I’ve loved so many of her books, and I actually own copies of these… so why haven’t I read them?

8. The Silk and Song trilogy by Dana Stabenow. I adore the Kate Shugak books — the characters, the crime drama, and the amazing Alaska setting. I really admire Stabenow’s writing and I enjoy historical fiction, so this trilogy (about the granddaughter of Marco Polo) should be right up my alley, despite the lack of Alaska! Seriously, the story sounds great — maybe a reading priority for 2019?

9. The Parasitology trilogy by Mira Grant: I loved the Newsflesh books SO much, and love everything she writes under her other (real) name (Seanan McGuire). I did actually read the first book in this trilogy, and thought it was really, really icky but also amazing… so I just need to return to the world of tapeworms and medical experiments gone haywire!

10. Yesternight by Cat Winters: I’ve read everything else by this author, and I think she’s so incredibly talented! I own a copy of Yesternight (I bought it as soon as it came out), and have every intention of reading it… so this is yet another book that I have no good reason for not having read yet, other than the good old “so many books, so little time” excuse.

What books are on your list this week? Please share your TTT link!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Popular Books that Lived Up to the Hype

TTT summer

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Popular Books that Lived Up to the Hype.

I’ll start my list with the book I’m reading right now:

1) The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: This book got ALL the buzz, but I haven’t been reading as much YA lately and decided to pass. Then I saw the movie trailer a few weeks ago, and realized just how much I was missing out on. I picked up the book yesterday, and have read about 350 pages so far. I can’t put it down — it’s that good!

2) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: Yes, a ton of people have jumped on the bandwagon ever since the TV show premiered. But it so lives up to all the hype, and remains my favorite books and series.

3) Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (review): Such a sweet, adorable love story! And I thought the movie was terrific too.

4) Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (review): I actually hadn’t heard that much about this book before I read it… but once I did and fell in love with the characters, I started to see people gushing over the story everywhere.

5) Cinder by Marissa Meyer (review): Somehow, just based on the cover, I decided this book wasn’t for me, and I resisted reading it for a really long time. I don’t know what finally convinced me to read it, but I was immediately hooked once I did. And I guess it’s a good thing that I held off as long as I did, because I was able to read the first three books straight through once I started!

6) The Martian by Andy Weir (review): Here’s one that I just knew I had to read once I heard about it! A true word-of-mouth success story — and absolutely worth all the buzz.

7) Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (review): Everyone said that this one would bring on the tears. Everyone was right.

8) Newsflesh trilogy by Mira Grant (review): I wasted a lot of breath telling people that I just wasn’t interested in these books. Silly me. I LOVED the entire series, and just wish there were more books set in this world.

9) Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (review): Another one leading to buckets of tears. Just breathtaking. And I cry every time I read it.

10) A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (review): This book was everywhere… and was just delightful, exactly as promised!

 

What are the best hyped, buzzy books that you’ve read recently? Please share your TTT links!

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