Top 5 Sat: Retellings on my TBR

How is it May already?? April flew by in a blink. I’d like to say I accomplished a lot with isolation going on but that would be a lie. Instead, I got caught up in books and procrastinated my uni work. To add to this, my TBR seems to be growing this week with the Top 5 Sat theme of: Retellings. This meme was created by the lovely Mandy over at Devouring Books.

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales – SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA meets CLUELESS in this boy-meets-boy spin on Grease. I mean… just that description has me already saying YES, YES, YES. Who wouldn’t want to read a boy-meets-boy ‘summer loving’ Grease retelling??

Hunted by Meagan Spooner – Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them. When he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance. This book sounds amazing. I love strong female characters and this one seems sure to deliver!

A Heart so Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer – I wasn’t such a fan of the first book in this series but I ADORED Grey. His prominence in this book has it firmly placed on my TBR.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden – With Russian fairy tales and (apparently) beautifully descriptive writing, this story has been high on my TBR for years now. Having just finished an MG fantasy with Russian fairy-tale influence I’m keen to compare the tales to TBATN.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer – I’ve read so many good reviews for The Lunar Chronicles over the years and yet I still haven’t read it. Here’s to hoping I give this series a read sometime this year!

Top 5 Sat: Books Inspired by Myths

Hi all!

Welcome to another Sat and with it the Top 5 Saturday meme created by the wonderful and supportive Mandy over at Devouring Books. This week’s topic is: Books Inspired by Myth. I have to admit, mythology is usually Nen’s domain as opposed to mine but as a result of her recommendations there are a few I’m keen to give a try!

Here are they are:

Madeline Miller’s writing has been on my radar since Nen fell in love with Circe and raved over it. From the inclusion of myth to adding a unique spin on plot and characters, hearing about Miller’s writing had me adding these two books to my TBR in the hope that I’ll eventually get to them. Seriously… my TBR is a bit insane right now!

I’ve been a Lords of the Underworld fan for a LONG TIME now. I mean… this is the 15th book in the series and it’s still going strong! William of the Dark has been one of my fav characters all along and its ABOUT TIME Showalter got to bringing his book out. I’m apprehensive and incredibly excited about reading it as I already know from some minor spoilers that it’s going to be different than what I had been hoping for. Fingers crossed it’s worth all of the wait!

First off… I’m gonna be THAT PERSON and just admit that these books (mostly) made it on to my TBR because of their stunningly pretty covers and the authors’ cred. I mean… does it get much better in mythology than Fry and Gaiman? For those reasons alone I’ve added them! Plus, Nen owns the books so that’s always a convenient way to give them a try!

Jen

Top 5 Sat: Books About Spies

Hi all!

Welcome to another Sat and with it the Top 5 Saturday meme created by the wonderful and supportive Mandy over at Devouring Books. This week’s topic is: Books About Spies.

I have SUCH a weakness for watching espionage/spy tv shows and movies but it startled me to realise that I DON’T READ BOOKS ABOUT SPIES. Or more accurately: I can’t remember having read a (non-YA) book with this theme. This put me on a mission to fix that!

Here are five (very) recently added spy novels to my TBR:

Okay, so in my hunt for spy novels I cam across two that I ABSOLUTELY had to add to my list – purely for my love of their screen adaptations! I became obsessed with Jason Bourne films at one point of my teens and recently I’ve binge watched all of Amazon’s Jack Ryan. It’s fair to say I’m a wee bit eager to see if the books match up to how they’ve been adapted (which is so unusual for me because I’m firmly a READ THE BOOK FIRST kinda person).

I remember the hype surrounding The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and this is here purely for that reason. I’ve got to know what all of the fuss was about!

Did anyone else ADORE and OBSESS over Cherub as a teen? No? Yes? Maybe it was just me… either way this has been added on here for sentimental value. When it popped up on a GR list I was like “YES. I NEED to re-read this NOW” and so I have. I snagged my old copy off the shelf and have been gleefully re-immersing myself in the writing of Muchamore ❤

Woven in Moonlight also popped up on the list – which came as a surprise to me. When I actually bothered to read the premise (which I hadn’t fully done before because COME ON… that cover stole all the attention) I realised there was a spy/rebellion theme to the story and this has me doubly intrigued to give it a try!

Jen

Top 5 Sat: MG Mermaid Madness

Hey all,

It’s the weekend! I woke up bright and early this morning. I’m out on the water today and couldn’t be more excited! It seems fitting with today’s topic of Books About Mermaids. This meme was created by the lovely and supportive Mandy over at Devouring Books.

While I hate books about adult mermaids (yes I really, really dislike them), reading about them in MG fiction has me excited! It reminds me of the days I spent avidly watching H20 Just Add Water on Disney. There’s just something about the childlike wonder in concern to mermaids that these books remind me of.

Here they are:

1. Ingo by Helen Dunmore follows the story of young Sapphire and her call to the ocean. This is a classic human-to-mermaid theme that I’d love to read.

2. The Girl Who Thought her Mother was a Mermaid by Tania Unsworth is a story that seems the antithesis to the classic human-to-mermaid theme. Young Stella is terrified of the ocean but seeks it out in a hope to find her ‘lost’ mother.

3. Rise of the Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste is the second instalment in The Jumbies series and I adored the first. From the Caribbean, Corrine goes deep back in to the ocean in search of missing children, embracing her status as a half-Jumbie.

4. The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson because I’m interested in reading the original story behind the Disney take on The Little Mermaid. Little Sebastian was my fav sassy character as a kid!

5. The Mermaid, The Witch and The Sea by Maggie Tokuda – Hall THIS BOOK IS MY MOST ANTICIPATED. Filled with a rebellious daughter pretending to be a man to gain respect and a desperate orphan turned pirate, this story follows their connection amidst a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic!

Jen

Top 5 Sat: Books with Mental Illness Rep

Hello Lovelies,

Can I just start by saying that IT’S THE WEEKEND… I’ve been waiting for this the whole week!

As usual, Sat just wouldn’t feel like Sat without us doing the Top 5 Sat meme created by the incredibly kind Mandy over at Devouring Books. This week’s topic is: Books with Mental Illness I Want to Read. I have to admit I was a bit challenged by this topic as I can think of books I enjoyed that I’ve already read but it took some research through my TBR to find five I WANT to read.

Here they are:

All the Bright Places and Maybe You Should Talk to Someone have been on my TBR for more than a year now. The first because of its hype and the second because of my (small and not quite achieved) goal last year to read more non-fiction books. They’re still on my TBR this year and hopefully I’ll get around to them soon!

While I’ve read and LOVED Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe series, I hadn’t realised he had written a book with a deep insight in to mental illness in youth until earlier this month. A quote from Challenger Deep had me adding it to my TBR: “Dead kids are put on pedestals, but mentally ill kids get hidden under the rug.” With an average rating of 4.14 on GR, I’m interested in giving this one a try.

Finding Audrey and Eliza and Her Monsters were added to my TBR last year after reading some positive reviews of them. Eliza and Her Monsters mostly caught my attention with Eliza’s online life and the difference between that and her ‘real life’.

I’ve had Finding Audrey on my shelf for a while now and I have to admit I have a deep interest in stories that portray characters with agoraphobia and severe social anxiety. That said, accuracy and research is absolutely essential for portraying mental illness and it’s not often carried out effectively for my liking. I’m eager and bit apprehensive to read this book.

Jen

Top 5 Sat: Favourite Authors

Hi all!

Welcome to another Sat and with it the Top 5 Saturday meme created by the wonderful and supportive Mandy over at Devouring Books. This week’s topic is: Books by Favourite Authors that you HAVEN’T READ.

This topic sounds so easy right? I’m pretty sure we’d all be able to rattle off five fav authors. The complication came when the topic was reduced to books I hadn’t read. As a reader, I tend to consume all of the books from my fav authors and then re-read them over and over and over. Finding books I hadn’t read proved to be quite tricky!

Here are the few I could find…

MARIANA ZAPATA – The main reason I haven’t read this book is that I’M SO EXCITED FOR IT and I know as soon as I start it, I’ll fly right through the pages and it will be over so soon. It’s absolutely ridiculous that I’ve left it this long considering I BOUGHT IT THE DAY IT CAME OUT… but such is life haha. I’m saving it for a perfectly rainy day when only a fav author’s book will do!

K.A. TUCKER – This book. I was so so excited after reading The Simple Wild that I eagerly bought this… only to stutter after having finished the first chapter. The main character got on my nerves and my desire to continue with the book fizzed out. I’m planning on giving it a second try soon though!

J.R. WARD – HANDS DOWN FAV. This author can do no wrong, in my opinion. Saying that, I fell in love with her paranormal romance novels and am still a bit apprehensive to try her historical romance series The Bourbon Kings. Are you ever reluctant to read new books from your fav author if it’s in a new genre?

LARISSA IONE – The Demonica series will always have a special place in my heart. It was my first foray in to paranormal romance (AKA my fav genre… EVER) and so my love of the genre will forever be associated with her writing. She also just happens to write stories with kick-ass characters, sizzling romances and nail biting action. Azagoth, The Grim Reaper, is one of my all-time fav characters and his book has me jumping with joy in anticipation!

LIANE MORIARTY – As a fellow Aussie, Liane Moriarty had my support when I merely knew her as some random local author chatting to my uni group. Seriously, I kick myself every time I think back at how I met her and had the perfect chance to get books signed except for the fact that I HADN’T READ THEM YET, #ForShame. She’s one of my all-time, go-to authors now though. Big Little Lies was my first novel by her and I’m slowly working my way through the rest of her books. Nine Perfect Strangers is next on the list!

Jen

Top 5 Sat: Unreliable Narrators

Hi all!

Welcome to another Top 5 Sat (aka one of my fav memes of the week) created by the lovely Mandy over at Devouring Books. Mandy was one of our first supporters and her blog is always an inspiration for us. Honestly, if you haven’t checked it out yet: YOU SHOULD.

This week’s topic is: Unreliable Narrators. I have to admit, when I first read this topic I was a bit stumped. A quick Goodreads search made short work of the Top 5 Unreliably Narrated books I want to read.

Here they are:

The Wife Between Us – I put this book on my TBR after reading Kitty Marie’s Book Review. The domestic thriller exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage – and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love. My goal to read more thrillers this year has this book as a must read!

Into the Water – A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged. As an upcoming book club choice, Into the Water has me intrigued and excited to give Paula Hawkins’ writing a try.

Verity – I’ve had Colleen Hoover on my TBR list for YEARS and YEARS. Honestly, I have no excuse not to have already given her writing a try. Especially considering the latest reviews for Verity. The romantic thriller has been added to my short 2020 thriller TBR!

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – To be honest, I’ve had this book on my TBR purely for the hype. How can a book with an unlikeable character be so loved? I’m intrigued and eager to finally give this book a try soon!

Where’d You Go, Bernadette – Has been labelled an ingenious and unabashedly entertaining novel about a family coming to terms with who they are and the power of a daughter’s love for her mother. I’m always a fan of watching films and reading the books. In anticipation of watching Cate Blanchett’s depiction of Bernadette Fox, I’m keen to give the book a try!

Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts on them?

Jen

Top 5 Sat: Books that make me say ‘Ahoy!’

Hi all!

Welcome to another Top 5 Saturday Reads meme. It was created by the lovely Mandy over at Devouring Books as a way to share books that we would love to read. This week’s topic is: Books about Pirates.

The past month has been a stressful downhill of serious family health issues and as such, I haven’t been able to blog. I’ve missed reading people’s posts and hope to catch up on them all very soon.

I have to admit, my first reaction to this topic was one of confusion. I had a difficult time remembering any books about Pirates that I had read and enjoyed. Until I remembered how much I adored reading These Rebel Waves. After some Goodreads soul searching I finally found 5 that I’d love to give a try!

Here they are:

The Starless Sea – From the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Circus, a timeless love story set in a secret underground world–a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a starless sea. I mean… do we really need to know more to determine that this is one book we’d be silly to miss out on? I’ve been anticipating this book since before its release and hadn’t fully appreciated the inclusion of Pirates in its story line until now. Now that I’ve been dutifully informed… I’m even more excited!

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy – In the same vain as the previous book… how could we resist a sequel by the lovely Mackenzi Lee?? I completely adored A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and have been looking forward to continuing on with the author’s more current work for a while now.

At Death’s Door – I AM SO SO SO EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK. THORN ❤ BE STILL MY BEATING HEART… Welcome to the latest Deadmen’s Quest… Valynda Moore was born cursed. So when she dies as the result of a spell gone wrong and is trapped in the body of a voodoo doll, she expects nothing else from her messed up life. Until Thorn, leader of the Hellchasers, offers her a chance at redemption and a new life.

The Bone Ships – Two nations at war. A prize beyond compare. For generations, the Hundred Isles have built their ships from the bones of ancient dragons to fight an endless war. The dragons disappeared, but the battles for supremacy persisted. Now the first dragon in centuries has been spotted in far-off waters, and both sides see a chance to shift the balance of power in their favour. Because whoever catches it will win not only glory, but the war. Seriously… DRAGONS + PIRATES = SIGN ME UP.

The Other Miss Bridgerton – Fiercely independent and adventurous, Poppy Bridgerton will only wed a suitor whose keen intellect and interests match her own. Sadly, none of the fools from her London season qualify. While visiting a friend on the Dorset coast, Poppy is pleasantly surprised to discover a smugglers’ hideaway tucked inside a cave. But her delight turns to dismay when two pirates kidnap her and take her aboard a ship, leaving her bound and gagged on the captain’s bed…This is and always will be my fav Julia Quinn book. I’ve read it at least twice and will no doubt continue to re-read it every year to come!

// what pirate-related books do you adore? are any of them on the list above? //

Jen

Top 5 Sat: Fake Love Couples

Hi all!

Welcome to another Top 5 Saturday Reads meme. It was created by the lovely Mandy over at Devouring Books as a way to share books that we would love to read. This week’s topic isFake Love Couples.

I am such a fan of the fake-in-love trope. It’s always endlessly entertaining and hilarious. What’s not to love about that? Especially when tensions heat up and family gets involved. I had a hard time choosing my Top 5, because this week I’ve decided to share the ones I HAVE read as opposed to ones that I WANT to read. That’s because these books mark some of my all-time favourite re-reads and they’re ones I still WANT to read again and again and again.

Here they are:

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me – If you know me well, you’ll know that Mariana Zapata is a gal after my own heart. Not only is this story a tantalising slow-burn sports romance, it also features a fake-marriage trope that has my heart in pitter patters every time. Aidan and Van’s relationship was wrought with opposites attract and grumpy-man syndrome. I loved every single page of it!

Good Boy (WAGS) – I feel like Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy are such underrated authors. Their work always makes me so happy and this series is certainly one of them. Slow-burn, sports romance with the fake-relationship trope (are you sensing a pattern here?) this book has everything needed to get me excited and eagerly re-reading these delightfully quirky characters. (Another) Aiden features in this story and he’s the perfect gentle giant after my own heart. Seriously if you want a sweet and hilariously funny read then this is the book for you!

The Bride Test – I’ve posted my review of this book here, but for a quick summary: arranged fake-marriage turns all too real and oh, so sweet in the latest Helen Hoang book. I’ve made it clear in the past that I adore this story more than The Kiss Quotient (although that’s still delightfully sweet) and it’s mostly due to reading about Kai and Esme’s fake relationship. The mishaps and difficulties with communication made this one so interesting to read about!

Fix Her Up – I adored this year’s romance line up but Fix Her Up was definitely one that stood out from the crowd, in my opinion. It had the perfect set-up of tropes, including the fake-relationship, as well a great dose of sports romance, family charm and complicated dynamics. My review for the book can be found here, but if you’re keen on something funny, adorably sweet and inspiring then this is the book for you!

Nobody’s Baby But Mine – Susan Elizabeth Phillips was my first foray in to romance… MY FIRST. That means a lot guys. She taught me the exquisite joy of reading a HEA and pretty much set me up to ADORE trope-filled romance stories. This is my absolute favourite book of hers and in all honesty, probably my most re-read book EVER. It’s charming and sweet and awkward and funny… what’s not to like? Oh, and it’s a slow-burn, sports romance with a fake-marriage premise. I mean… that’s practically my calling card at this point. DING DING DING: WE HAVE A WINNER.

Jen

Top 5 Sat: Unread Authors on My Shelves

Hi all!

Welcome to another Top 5 Saturday Reads meme. It was created by the lovely Mandy over at Devouring Books as a way to share books that we would love to read. This week’s topic isBooks by Unread Authors You Want to Read.

Now, there is a lot I could have done with this topic but what really came to mind were the books that had been sitting on my shelves for years that had not been read. More specifically, the books that had been sitting there unread by authors I hadn’t tried yet. There were quite a few to choose from but these ones have been on there the longest (from my terrible memory).

Here they are:

The Goldfinch – It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art. I bought this book mainly for the hype but haven’t read it because it just looks soooo long. I haven’t quite built up the motivation yet!

One Day – 15th July 1988: Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows? I’ve been waiting to read this book before seeing the movie… and I still haven’t done either. I remember starting this once but wasn’t in the mood for romance reading and then left it. I haven’t been back since but definitely should considering the amount of positive reviews it’s got!

Little Fires, Everywhere – Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down. Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of long-held secrets and the ferocious pull of motherhood-and the danger of believing that planning and following the rules can avert disaster, or heartbreak. I’ve had this book on my shelf ever since it started gaining hype however, I just haven’t felt like reading it yet as I think this will be a deeper, meaningful story that will stay with me for a while…

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is a story about stories: those we inherit, those we select to define us, and those we decide to hide. It is a novel about the secrets we keep and how they haunt us, and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive. Spanning twenty years, set between the lush sugar cane fields by the sea, a native Australian flower farm, and a celestial crater in the central desert, Alice must go on a journey to discover that the most powerful story she will ever possess is her own. I bought this book because of the stunning cover and the fact that it’s set in Aussie. There aren’t many books that are set Down Under and I was keen to give this a try. Unfortunately, it’s still sitting unread on my shelf.

I Am Malala – I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons. I remember when this book was published. When this story came out. The intrigue and horror I felt was incentive enough to buy this book. It’s still gathering dust on my shelf but I’m interested in picking it up for Non-Fiction November!

// have you read any of these books? what were your thoughts on them? //

Jen