Friday, January 20, 2017

REVIEW | Starflight by Melissa Landers

Starflight by Melissa Landers
Publication Year: 2016
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
Series: Starflight #1
Awards: None
Format: Audio (from Library) - 9 hours, 44 minutes
Narrator: Amanda Dolan

WHY?:  Recommendations from awesome blogger friends, particularly Selah (from A Bibliophile's Style) who described it thus:  " YA sci-fi, Serenity-esque ship & crew, slow burn romance. "  No way I'm not reading that.

SYNOPSIS:  Solara Brooks is an orphan on Earth with brains and some important skills but with less than no prospects.  The solution?  Hitch a ride as an indentured servant, out to the outer rim of planets where her mechanical skills will be a hot commodity.  Doran Spaulding is practically the polar opposite of Solara - rich, arrogant, privileged and incredibly obnoxious.  He offers Solara the opportunity to be his servant in exchange for passage and Solara is desperate enough that she accepts.  Circumstances occur which land the two of them on a scrappy ship called the Banshee, running for their lives which are forever altered.


I don't like to closely read too many other reviews of books before writing my own but I happen to glance at a 2 (out of 5) star review on Goodreads that started with: "Welcome to yet another teen romance." (source)  The reviewer is not wrong, I mean just read the synopsis above.  Of COURSE one of the main characters is an orphan and the other is rich and pretty.   So, if you are really bothered by well-worn tropes, no matter how well they are done, this may not be the book for you.  Me, however?  I LOVE tropes... just call me a sheep.  As long as they are tropes I like and they are written well, you won't be able to tear me away.  And Starflight has everything that I love....
  • Hate to Love Romance
  • Scrappy lower class girl/guy attracts rich, popular guy/girl who turns out to be not so bad.
  • Slow Burn romance
  • Chosen Family
  • Eccentric crew of misfits doing crime but with hearts of gold
  • David vs. Goliath
  • Witty Banter
  • Ode to Firefly

None of it original or startling, all of it like catnip to my weary soul, ha-ha.  For example, I feel like good chunks of my life have been devoted to finding that "thing" (tv show, book, movie, manga, whatever) that delights and entertains me like Joss Whedon's Firefly did. I am almost always disappointed BUT NOT THIS TIME!!  To be fair, Landers practically rips off whole chunks of the Firefly 'verse.  Rich and privileged inner planets with a corrupt big brother type of government, outer rim of planets that are ignored and are basically like the wild west, super, terrifying Reaver-lite bounty hunters that can show up out of nowhere, crew of misfits on a rust bucket of a ship that have each other's back and who do crime but only very mildly. 

So, I loved it.  I finished it in two days and if I'd had the luxury, I would have probably sat down and devoured it all in one day.  One of my key caveats to loving something heavily laden with tropes, is that it must be written well and Landers hits a home run.  She should teach a class on how to properly and realistically evolve and develop a slow-burn, hate-to-love romance.  Solara and Doran's relationship was both lovely and fun.  The insults they hurl at each other for most of the book had me smiling in delight (what?  I enjoy a really clever witty insult) and sometimes laughing out loud.  The community she creates on board the Banshee feels warm and inviting.  

But what about the plot, you say?  It's a blast.  There are space pirates, inter-galactic conspiracies, dirty duels to the death(ish).  It has a nice overflowing arc, encompassing a couple of mysteries, but also an episodic feel that allows room for getting to know the characters and developing relationships. No real complaints and I'm excited that this was just the first installment.

I enjoyed the audio narration.  Amanda Dolan did a good job reading both males and females.  Most of the perspective was from Solara, with occasional sections from Doran, and her voice had a good quality for representing the feisty and sarcastic 18 year old. 

FINAL VERDICT:  An absolute delight.  Especially recommend for fans of Firefly as well as those that like their space operas with plenty of witty banter and romance. Perfect for a gray day when you want to curl up and lose yourself in an adventure. 4 out of 5 stars.
Other Opinions are Available: Metaphors and Moonlight | The Eater of Books

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

BRIEF THOUGHTS | The Enola Holmes Series by Nancy Springer

Several years ago (okay, so apparently it was 2014 which wasn't that long ago), I read the first in Nancy Springer's Enola Holmes series, The Case of the Missing Marquess.  This is (ostensibly) a middle-grade series featuring Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes' heretofore unknown 14 year old sister Enola Holmes.  Every bit as brilliant as her sleuth brother and not inclined to life as a proper young lady in Victorian England, when Ma Holmes disappears, Enola chooses to strike out on her own.  Along the way of course she solves some mysteries.  

Sounds fun, right?  Well it is and it isn't but more on that in a sec.  I am a bit of a Sherlock Holmes fan fiction junkie and will read anything that has that Holmesian flavor.  Picking up this series was a no brainer and with the set up I was ready to be delighted.  After recently reading the second and third books in the series, The Case of the Left-handed Lady and The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets, I instead found myself mildly depressed, stressed and a little confused. 

My memories of the first book were vague but I feel like Enola interacted with a few other children her age and I went into these two books expecting those characters to be recurring and to play a part in Enola's adventures.  Springer makes the bold and unusual choice of not going that direction and keeping Enola completely alone.  It is obviously what she intended for the character from the beginning judging by the fact that Enola's named spelled backwards is 'alone'.  It's an interesting choice and unfortunately it doesn't really work for me.  

First of all it stresses me out.  Enola is 14 and while in my head I know that girls of that time matured faster or at least more mature things were expected from them at that age and that Enola in particular is especially smart, my heart was not okay with this situation.  How dare Enola's mother purposefully abandon her child to the mercy of her chauvinist brothers and an even crueler world. In books two and three, Enola has accepted her mother's leaving her but spends most of the time in her head, where the reader resides, pining for her mother and feeling desperately lonely. It was distressing in the extreme to me.  As such, I also thought the books read older than middle-grade and are more properly young adult.

Enola being always alone poses a narrative problem as well.  Enola has no one to talk to or interact with  - the reader is stuck in her head as she talks to herself and follows logic trains.  I found it rather tedious and boring.  Even the notoriously odd and anti-social Sherlock has a companion, because hanging around in his head might be an interesting story but not perhaps a very gripping one.  Relationships and their evolution are interesting to me so to give Enola none, even with her brothers, is kind of a bummer.  I respect that Springer avoided the ubiquitous romance found in female character led YA and middle-grade lit but a friend or two would have really made these books work so much better for me.

There are positives of course.  The mysteries are interesting and involve a lot of secret codes.  The secret language of flowers is used frequently particularly in Bizarre Bouquets.  The series is also unapologetically feminist and Enola is an independent girl rebelling against society's sexist expectations.  I just wish the the books weren't so darn grim and melancholy. I listened to the audio of Bizarre Bouquets and it is read by one of my favorite narrators, Katherine Kellgren but unfortunately the rather sober tone of the book is much suited to Kellgren's enthusiastic and vocally acrobatic style.

Okay, so maybe my thoughts weren't all that brief. Anyway, I'm left feeling a little unsure about whether I will continue with the series. I suspect that much of my negative reaction to the books is really just disappointment of my expectations of zany and charming Holmes stories. Has anyone else read this series? What are your thoughts about it?  Am I being overly sensitive and critical?

Monday, January 16, 2017

TOP TEN TUESDAY | Underrated Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme for bloggers who like books and lists. It's awesome and is graciously hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  

I love this topic but we did just do a version of it in July of this past year (that topic was actually "Best books under 2000 ratings on Goodreads").  I used the Goodreads technique (looking at number of ratings) and produced a handful from the last year that weren't on the July list and then did a more subjective evaluation of "underrated" to fill out the list.  The official topic for this week is:
Ten Underrated/Hidden Gem Books I've Read In The Past Year Or So (up to you if you want it to be those published in the past year or so or just ANY underrated book you've read recently)
These are all books I read (though they weren't necessarily published) in 2016.


1) Sawbones by Melissa Lenhardt

I've only mentioned this book about 789 times on the blog.  If you like historical fiction, with a strong female protagonist, particularly set on the American frontier, you must read this.  It is not however for the faint of heart.

2) Appleseed Creek Series by Amanda Flower
# GOODREADS RATINGS: 2,408 total for the whole 4 book series | AVERAGE RATING: 4.15

This is not a series that will change your life but it's an interesting cozy mystery series featuring a young computer scientist who gets a job in Amish country.  These were such addictive comfort reads for me with a dash of romance and good characters.  The first book is very overtly religious/Christian but this is toned down in the final 3 books.  For cozy mystery/romance fans. Christian fiction fans.

3) Avatar: The Last Airbender  - Smoke and Shadow by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru

Were you fan of the awesome Avatar: The Last Airbender show on Nickelodeon?  If so you will absolutely enjoy the follow-up graphic novel series which continues Aang and the gang's adventure.  This most recent installment has Aang and Zuko teaming up and brings Mai back into the picture.  They are written by the award winning Gene Luen Yang (along with the TV series creators) and the art is very familiar. I need people to buy and read these so they keep being written until Aang retires.

4) Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James

If you enjoy mildly creepy, atmospheric, post World War I British Gothic romance mysteries, Simone St. James can't be beaten, lol.  She's definitely got herself a niche. This book takes place in a big old country house by the sea which has been converted into a psychiatric hospital, primarily for soldiers suffering from PTSD after World War I.

5) Duplicate Death by Georgette Heyer

Georgette Heyer is best known for her absolutely brilliant Regency romances but she also wrote a number of mysteries during the Golden Age of mysteries.  While she doesn't threaten to outdo Agatha Christie or Dorothy L. Sayers, her mysteries are pretty dang delightful, set during the 1920s-1950s and filled with witty repartee and just a smidge of romance.

6) The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes

This is such a fun fantasy heist novel with a diverse cast of characters and a really interesting world/setting.  Why isn't everyone reading it?!

7) A Corner of White (Colours of Madeleine) by Jaclyn Moriarty

Part of my affection for this book may be related to a good chunk of the action taking place in Cambridge, England, a town I have spent a good bit of time in but most of my love is for its originality and the very interesting characters.  I don't know why it isn't a bigger YA hit.

8) Rapunzel's Revenge and Calamity Jack by Shannon and Nathan Hale and Dean Hale (Illustrator)

So this series has a decent number of ratings, and maybe I am just out of touch with the middle-grade set (probably) but I had never heard of this two book graphic novel series before randomly stumbling upon it at the library. These books are intertwined and respectively re-tell the story of Rapunzel and Jack and the beanstalk but with a American wild west/steampunky twist.  Shannon Hale is no slouch in the fairy tale re-telling department and I thoroughly enjoyed both of them!

9) Enchanted, Inc. Series by Shanna Swendsen
# of GOODREADS RATINGS (collectively for 8 books): 31,366 | AVERAGE RATING: 3.9

This is Urban Fantasy at its lightest and most fluffy and it's delightful.  Kati Chandler is just your average down to Earth small town Texas girl trying to make a living in the Big Apple when she discovers she's a Magical Immune and gets recruited to work for a company which produces magical products and whose C.E.O. used to answer to the name of Merlin.  Definitely has a chick-lit flavor but Kati is a thoroughly likeable characters, her romantic lead is a thoroughly beta hero and the adventures they have are delightful.

10) The Lewis Trilogy by Peter May 
# GOODREADS RATINGS (collectively 3 books): 31,292 | AVERAGE RATING: 4.09

SO maybe it's a bit of a stretch to say this stellar mystery series is underrated but I don't feel like I hear much about it or the author.  It's a brilliant and beautifully written series of mysteries set in the Outer Hebrides.


That does it for me!  What book did you read this year that you wish more people were screaming joyfully about?  

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Top Ten Albums From My Youth | OH the 1980s

A high school friend of mine posted a list of her favorite albums from her childhood on Facebook and it sent me into a frenzy of nostalgia!  I decided to attempt to make a list of my own.  It was hard but fun!

This list will certainly emphasize my age but I know there are some other folks out their that will jam to this music.  Most of these I still recognize as really really great albums and they are in no particular order.  Join me on this musical trip to the 1980s...

1) Duran Duran  - Rio (1982)

I was a HUGE Duranie as a kid (if you're wondering I was a Simon LeBon devotee) and a big fan of British musicians in general (you'll probably pick up on that in the list).  In fact, all these British musicians that made it huge in the U.S. were referred to as the Second British Invasion (the first being led by The Beatles).  My favorite song from this album was probably Save a Prayer and the video typifies their early videos which were famously set in gorgeous locales (Sri Lanka I believe in this one).

 2) Duran Duran - Seven and the Ragged Tiger (1983)

As I said. Duranie.  My favorite from this album was New Moon on Monday and it featured probably my favorite video of theirs as well (though Wild Boys was pretty out there and cool).  I mean, of COURSE freedom fighters would have such brilliantly coiffed hair, right?  At one point there are even light sabers.

Second only to Duran Duran was The Police and Sting so they get two spots as well.  Their music is great because it's so straight forward - bass, guitar, drum maybe a keyboard.  My favorite from this album is probably Wrapped Around Your Finger  - I love when, briefly, 2/3rds through the song, it briefly loses the dreamy quality and gets fierce and then fades back down. "I will turn your face to alabaster....when you find your servant is your master." This is a great one but I love so many songs from this album!  

4) Sting  - Nothing Like The Sun (1987)

Honestly, The Dream of the Blue Turtles should be on here as well but I'm trying to keep Sting and Duran Duran from completely taking over the list.  These were the first two of Sting's solo albums and while I've loved all of his newer stuff too, these are still my favorites. Fragile has to be my favorite song from this album.

And because I can't help it, I must include the video of Moon Over Bourbon Street from The Dream of the Blue Turtles.  I was a huge Anne Rice fan at the time and went GAGA over this song.  It is a song from the perspective of Louis from Interview with a Vampire.

5) Dexy's Midnight Runners - Too Rye Ay (1982)

Everybody knows the song Come On Eileen - It was Dexy's only big U.S. hit and boy was it a hit.  While, I do love that song and its probably my favorite from this album, I actually really LOVE the rest of the album too.  It's got so many great songs.  To feature one of the other excellent songs here's Plan B.  Kevin Rowlnad stirred up such complicated and passionate feelings in my pre-adolescent heart.

Oh Morrissey.  Such angst.  Such peppy beats.  I love, truly love every song on this album.  How could you not want to bop along to Girlfriend in a Coma or gleefully sing along to Unhappy Birthday. Most people think The Queen is Dead is the best Smiths album but I don't know if it's when it came out or what, this album just spoke to my angsty, snarky teenaged heart.  "I've come to wish you an unhappy birthday, 'cause you're evil and you lied. And if you should die...I may feel slightly sad but I won't cry."  Don't ever hold back M.

I'm finally leaving the U.K.!  I was such a huge fan of Madonna as a young 'un.  My love for this album has perhaps not persisted as much as the albums above but boy did I listen to it nonstop as a 12 year old. I think Dress You Up is probably my favorite song from the album.

Best pop album of all time?  I think it may be.  At least 6 of the 9 songs on the album were HUGEMONGOUS hits.  Of course the featured song and video has to be Thriller.  Michael does a pretty great acting job actually!

You don't still hear much from this Aussie group anymore but I loved them and this album is one of my favorites of all time, not just from my youth.  I love every track but I think Better Be Home Soon is my favorite. 

But I also have to feature Love This Life because its pretty perfect too.

10) INXS - Kick (1987)

My friends and I were so completely obsessed with this album and INXS.  The song I have to feature from it is Never Tear Us Apart which we sang, very melodramatically, at the top of our lungs every time it came on.  Good times.


Okay, that was super fun for me!  So fun I may do Albums 11-20 next week.  So how about you?  Do you love or loathe the 80s? What's a few of your favorite albums from your youth?  

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Saturday in the Garden | Rivers in Winter


The picture above doesn't do the day justice - it's beautiful outside!  I got snowed out yesterday so this morning my technician and I ran our Bald Eagle Midwinter Route.  Basically you drive as close as possible along a stretch of river and looks for eagles.  Not too many eagles but it was a nice day for a drive and we did see a gaggle of geese enjoying the river.

Inside, the narcissus has bloomed  It's beautiful and has a really strong scent! It's also fun to study its roots snaking through the rocks and water. It's crazy how little it takes for them to grow!

I'm hoping, on this long weekend, to spend some time garden planning! 😍


I had a such a fun surprise in the mailbox today!
Yes, I'm terrible at selfies!
My friend knitted it and sent it my way as a surprise - my very own Pussy Hat!  I plan on marching in the local Women's March next Saturday and will be honored to sport this!  I wish I had gotten my sh%& together to knit this myself but this is really better.  Thanks Jen!



Still watching Inuyasha - there are a LOT of episodes even though they are short.  I think what attracts me to anime is that it takes a surprisingly mature and thorough path to developing and growing its characters. And the characters are complex, at that. Anime may be cartoons but not in the sense that I as an American understand them.  It's fascinating and engaging for my adult brain while also giving my inner child the delight of a traditional and fun story.


Finished Since the Last Time I Posted

  • Some Tame Gazelle by Barbara Pym:  The last few years I've started the year with a Barbara Pym novel.  This one, about two spinster sisters in a small English village didn't let me down.
  • Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin (author) & Chi-Young Kim (Translator): I didn't really know too much about this book except that it got a lot of buzz when a translation was released and it was a bestseller in Korea.  It turned out to be a very interesting character study and was told from some very interesting perspectives.
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum:  I listened to the audio read by Anne Hathaway - it and she were great!
  • Starflight by Melissa Landers: This was a completely addictive listen thus far!  So stinking fun and finished it in two days. 

Currently Reading:

  • Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #) by Patricia Briggs:  Recommended to me highly many times because I love the Kate Daniels series.  I'm really enjoying it!
  • The Twelve (The Passage #2) by Justin Cronin: The second book in The Passage trilogy.

Added to the TBR:

This is a list of books that I have added to my Goodreads TBR list this week.  It helps to burn the books I want to read a little more firmly into my mind, maybe get them on some other folks TBRs and gives me a chance to recognize a lot of the awesome bloggers that add stuff to my TBR!
The following are all from Book Riot's Get Booked Podcast...
  • Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea:  I'm a little torn about this one. Described as a Saudi Arabian Gossip Girl, it is supposed to open a door onto the lives of teenage girls of wealthy families in Riyadh.  I'm attracted to the idea of learning more about this secretive culture but am not a big fan of books about privileged teenage girls so....
  • How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid: A satire of the Get Rich Quick culture in Asia.
  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah: This one is also a little iffy for me because I am aware of Noah's chauvinist and borderline anti-Semitic jokes of the past which leave a bad taste.  However, he has an interesting past being the son of a mixed race couple in Apartheid Africa.  This meant that his parents relationship and his birth were a crime.   
  • Angel's Blood (Guild Hunter #1) by Nalini Singh: This paranormal romance thriller sounds wackadoodle in the best possible way (Vampires and Angels - Angels who run cities).  I've been wanting to check Nalini Singh out for while as well.
  • The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle:  Lavalle sounds like he has a unique voice in the Urban Fantasy genre. 
  • Night Watch (Watch #1)by Sergei Lukyanenko: This is the first in a Russian Urban Fantasy series that sounds very intriguing!
  • Shrill by Lindy West:  This memoir has been on my radar screen for a while now but as I've learned more and more about West, I've finally tipped over into putting it on the TBR.



Thursday, January 12, 2017

REVIEW | Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
Publication Year: 1984
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: NA
Awards: None
Format: Audio (from Library)
Narrator: Grover Gardner

WHY?: For some reason this book is in my head as a classic.  In reality it was written in the 1980s and won no awards.  So I think it was just a bestseller when I was a kid and got stuck in my head.  

SYNOPSIS:  The book is set during the year 1906 in the small town of Cold Sassy, Georgia, U.S.A.  It is told from the perspective of the 14 year old Will Tweedy and relates the events surrounding his grandfather's too quick re-marriage to a younger woman after the death of his first wife which scandalizes the whole town.  


I really enjoy a good coming of age tale, especially if it takes place in an idyllic past or a small town peopled by quirky folks.  Cold Sassy Tree is all of these things and I definitely enjoyed those elements of the story but in the end, my feelings about the book were a little complicated. I liked the book with some reservations.

The book does a skillful job evoking a bygone age.  An age that actually was on the cusp of change - during the course of the book there are debates about the town's leadership wanting to change Cold Sassy's name to something more progressive sounding and during the book the town gets its first motorcars.  Indeed, the events at the heart of book make a stir because they buck established convention.  The figure at the eye of the maelstrom is E. Rucker Blakeslee, the 59 year old grandfather of the book's 14 year old narrator Will Tweedy.  In many ways, Grandpa Blakeslee rejects the "progress" coming to the town but in some other pretty significant ways he has no problem embracing change, especially if it benefits him.  

The book is a very readable portrait of the town and this larger than life man at this one moment of time spanning a few months.  Much of its charm can be credited to the narrator Will Tweedy.  The story, which at times is grim and the people, who are at times despicable, are made more bearable by being seen through the relatively innocent eyes of Will.  The book is also infused with a good dose of humor and the style of writing is folksy without being twee.  It manages to be one of those books with a tone that can make you laugh while also feeling a little sad and thoughtful.  I think if this had been a more serious novel, I would've reacted very negatively to Rucker but in the end I was just a little disgusted with him.  

One of the main themes of the book is a contemplation of death and mortality.  Two characters die and even Will faces a near death experience.  It questions the extent of God's hand in our fates, how death affects the living and what is properly due to the dead. As I mentioned, it could have gotten quite grim but manages to stay upbeat and light for the most part. This focus on mortality is of particular interest because the author actually began the book after she was diagnosed with Lymphoma, and she felt inspired to start adapting her family's history into this fictional novel.  It was obvious that she had a lot of questions and that mortality was on her mind.

I suppose I've got to tackle the character of Rucker. Rucker is a character with a capital C  - he's feisty, irreverent, strong-willed and full of life.  He's complex and interesting but not always likeable and I have to say while I appreciated that, I was also pretty disappointed about what a selfish old coot he ends up being.  This is definitely a man's world being portrayed  - a rich white man's world to be precise - which is a pretty accurate portrait of the time and place but the book doesn't do a lot to comment on this.  That's a fine creative choice but I found it frustrating and in the end it tempered my enthusiasm for the book.   The women aren't without agency or spunk but they nevertheless come off as being there, at and for the men's pleasure. 

Well known and renowned narrator Grover Gardner read the audiobook and he does a fantastic job.  There is a lot of southern dialect ( for example: “Livin' is like pourin' water out of a tumbler into a dang Coca-Cola bottle. If'n you skeered you can't do it, you cain't. If'n you say to yourself, "By dang, I can do it!" then, by dang, you won't slosh a drop.”) and he handles it all well and makes it sound natural.  In fact, reading the quote above convinces me that listening to the audiobook may be the way to go as I think I might have been distracted by the dialect in writing.

FINAL VERDICT:  An interesting and relatively entertaining portrait of life in a small Georgia town at the turn of the century.  

Rating Among Similar Books: 
Rating Among All Books: 
Character Rating

Other Opinions Are Available: The Blog of Litwits 

Monday, January 9, 2017

TOP TEN TUESDAY | 2016 Book Releases That I Can't Believe I Haven't (Yet) Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme for bloggers who like books and lists. It's awesome and is graciously hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  
This weeks list was a snap to put together because there are SO MANY books published last year that I didn't get to.  The ladies @ The Broke and the Bookish's official prompt is:
January 10: Top Ten 2016 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn't Get To (But TOTALLY plan to)
I am always several years behind in my reading so my TBR is full of books that I am absolutely gonna read soon.  Like at least in the next 5 years, lol.  


1) Stiletto (Checquey #2) by Daniel O'Malley

I've waited SO LONG for this sequel to the amazing stupendous The Rook and then I don't jump right on it and read it. *shrugs* I don't know either.

2) Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby #3) by William Ritter

I really love this series and still really want to read this one even though another blogger friend of like mind didn't love it. 

3) Heartless by Marissa Meyer

a) Loved the Lunar Chronicles, b) read an excerpt and thought it was fab.

4) A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V.E. Schwab

The follow up to one of my favorite new fantasy series.

5) Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

This one is a unique on the list because it's not in a series I love or by an Author I'm besotted with. It just sounded really really cool and interesting. 

6) Lady Cop Makes Trouble (Kopp Sisters #2) by Amy Stewart

I completely lost my mind with glee when I saw that Girl Waits With Gun was going to be a series.

7) Bloodline by Claudia Gray

Claudia Gray's first Star Wars tie-in Lost Stars made my best of the year list this year and I still didn't get around this second novel from her that is about freakin' Leia and sounds AMAZING! I'm feeling especially nostalgic about Leia now after the very sad passing of the indomitable Ms. Fisher *sniff*.

Mary Roach and Bill Bryson are probably my only two non-fiction auto-reads. They're my non-fictions BFFs. It does not matter what the topic is - they could write about navel lint and I'd be fascinated and amused. Now, if they wrote a book together .....HEAD ...EXPLODING....

9) City of Blades (The Divine Cities #2) by Robert Jackson Bennet

This was published way back in early January -WHY HAVEN'T I READ IT YET?? 

10) Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

I like Lyndsay Faye's books a lot and a re-telling of Jane Eyre if Jane were a serial killer? Color me very very intrigued!

Honorable Mentions

Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowa
Gentleman Jole and Red Queen (Vorkosigan #16) by Lois McMaster Bujold
Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh
Winterwood by Jacey Bedford
Starflight by Melissa Landers
The Immortals by Max Jordanna Brodsky


What are the 2016 books at the top of your to-read list?