Guess what day it is?!? Tuesday! And you know what that means? Top Ten Tuesday o’clock! This week is all about unrealistic dreams bookworms have. Or, more precisely, what you would do with a fully loaded gift card to B&N, Amazon, etc. You can choose any ten books, but for my post I set some guidelines. The first, to maximize bookaliciousness, is to only choose stories I wouldn’t necessarily be drawn to at the library. Whether they’re too long, too old, or any other superlative, these are books I need an extra push to read. Secondly, I have to be really excited about them. I ain’t wasting no gift card on crummy books, so I have to know I’ll actually read it. Other than that, I just had fun with this post! It really is the ultimate TBR, and if I had to choose a buddy read it would likely be off this list. There’s just so many cool books, that I can’t even. So without further ado, let’s get to the fine print!
Once Was a Time by Leila Sales
I read both of Leila Sales young adult contemporaries a few years back, and enjoyed each tremendously. Needless to say, her venture into middle grade is hot on my TBR! Once Was a Time is one of those books though that I know I would never pick up on a whim at the library. It’s just too soft spoken, too at ease to grab my attention off a shelf of hundreds yelling ‘Pick Me!’. No, I need it to sit on my bookshelf for months. Just eroding away at my desire to read any story but the one it contains. And admittedly, it holds a pretty cool one. Genre bending a WWII setting with elements of time travel, Once Was a Time totally takes a cue from such classics as A Wrinkle in Time. One of its central themes is the ‘unbreakable bond of friendship’, which I always enjoy seeing among so many YA romances. It has a mere 296 ratings, but an impressive 3.94 average to back it up, meaning I have to read it stat!
Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman
As anyone who’s been to the YA section of the bookstore knows, fairytale retellings are white hot; with Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and Arabian Nights being favorite fodder for authors. Would it be so farfetched as to tell an origin story (a prequel of sorts explaining the beginnings of a famous character/person), and especially one of such notoriety as Blackbeard? I think it’s an awesome idea, and I hope to see it catch on soon. However I haven’t contributed to telling publishers how much I would love to see this subject trend, as Blackhearts still sits on my TBR. I am also one of those readers though who sporadically flips through a book, looking for a scene that will peak my interest. So perhaps if I had Castroman debut at my disposal for any time, there would be extra initiative for a spur of the moment pick up. And how could it not catch my attention? Pirates, romance, aristocracy? Sounds like a recipe for the perfect Meg book.
The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone
Not to make any readers think I’m, like, totally shallow or anything with the obscene amount of emphasis I put on covers, but can we just take a minute to appreciate The Loose Ends List? Because, let me just say, the cover artist was on fleek with her trendspotting when it came to design. Yellow chevron? Anchors? Flower bouquets? Umm, yes please! It’s exactly the kind of cover that deserves a front row spot on my bookshelf, and the only way to make that happen? Buy it! Not to mention the actual story itself, which seems more than likely to pave the way as a great contemporary. Maddie comes from a wacky family, but resident nut job, matriarch, and Maddie’s best friend, Gram, takes the cake. Deciding to spend the final days of her life in excitement, she books a continental ocean cruise for the whole family. Along with the way Maddie comes to terms with the future passing of her grandmother, first love with ship captain Enzo, and the hijinks that come with membership in the O’Neill clan. With a definite Where’d You Go Bernadette feel to it, I’m a little excited for this one.
The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight
Despite the mixed things I’ve read thus far about Kimberly McCreight’s newest novel, her reputation and the storyline have me intrigued. From what I understand MC Wylie receives a text from her estranged BFF Cassie asking for help. As she does often, Wylie sets out into the great wide world to save Cassie from herself. This time is different though. For starters Cassie’s on again/off again boyfriend is tagging around (gee, I don’t think him and Wylie will ever develop feelings for each other…) and the two must sort out a series of cryptic clues to find her whereabouts. Then things go down. What things I’m not privy to, but I assume they must escalate quickly. Despite the gag worthy and oh-so-obvious romance taunt, I like that McCreight doesn’t give a whole lot away with this synopsis. There’s a lot of directions she can go in regards to what is actually hiding in the woods; from a government conspiracy, to supernatural beings, to just about anything she so desires. And assuming she really fleshes the scenario out, it will be hard for her to lose the audience. McCreight is excellent at incorporating red herrings in her stories, and if that continues in The Outliers I’ll need to own a copy as to sort out where I went wrong on the first read through. My edition better be highlighting and annotation ready
Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy
There’s really no one reason in particular why I HAVE to own a copy of Learning to Swear in America. It’s cut from the same cloth as nearly every pseudo sci-fi contemporary I’ve ever read, none of which I ever revisit (ain’t nobody got time for that). But when you just know the way I do that you’re going to love a story, it’s best to take the necessary precautions. Like buying a version you can ‘laugh, cringe, and cry’ with, then save for all eternity to show your grandchildren that yes, this was the very copy your hands touched for the first time… Or maybe I’m being just the teensiest bit dramatic. Probably. I’m super stoked for this book though! For those not in the know, it follows a young Russian space prodigy, sent to America to plot the scope of an asteroid pummeling towards Earth. In the meantime Yuri gets a glimpse of what about life beyond NASA is really worth saving, via zany neighbor Dovie. I think it’s destined to be one of those books that makes your heart melt a little, while incorporating a really great message. I’m in dire need for a great contemporary, so wish me well.
Ruined by Amy Tintera
Well if Epic Reads says this one will cure my reading slump “Fo Sho” then it must be worth checking out! In other news, Keira Cass says it’s “Packed with action, intrigue, and romance. I was holding on for dear life until the very last page.” While that is good news, I can only hope it’s a little more action packed and a lotta less romantic than Cass’s own series. I’m not worried though, as Amy Tintera’s Reboot duology consistently finds a place on my list of most under hyped books. Hopefully the Ruined trilogy can not only keep the magic going, but also earn a rightful place on 2016’s fantasy bandwagon. It’s definitely akin to the likes of Red Queen and Shadow and Bone, following Emelina Flores, princess of a dying kingdom. She’s just watched her parents murder, and her sister taken captive, leaving herself in the remnants to die. What’s a girl to do? Naturally she has to avenge her parents death by killing a fellow princess, taking her spot as prince Casimir’s betrothed (btw it was his army who captured her sister, committed the murders, etc, etc), and plotting to kill him. Oh yeah, and there’s a magic system to learn. Admittedly that is very similar to the idea behind a lot of high profile releases recently, but I thought the same thing when I first read Reboot. Tintera just has a real knack for adding a humorous spins to situations, crafting worthwhile twists, and knowing exactly the kind of romantic leads I’m in business for. This book is GINORMOUS, and I have a feeling I’ll need to savor every detail the plot throws at me. I can’t be held down by a two week return limit!
The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie Sue Hitchcock
Similar to my feelings about Learning to Swear in America, I don’t see anyway The Smell of Other People’s Houses doesn’t strike a chord with me. It’s historical fiction which, yes please, is my all time favorite genre, AND it has a crazy high rating to back up Hitchcock’s writing chops. The setting (Alaska in 1970) is one I’ve never seen done before, the characters seem unique and relatable, and the storytelling represents what truly makes history so enjoyable to me (I couldn’t contain myself and read the Google Books sample). It’s descriptive, and beautiful, and just totally transports you to a different era. Metaphor laden prose deserves to be revisited again and again, so naturally I have to own a copy. But also, as a would be historical fiction writer, I enjoy going over what exactly makes a scene successful. It’s true that reading makes you a better writer, but it helps to nail down a formula for the kind of book you wish to write. Hitchcock’s debut (hopefully) presents the perfect addition to my collection.
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
I would read Victoria Schwab’s grocery list if such things were publishable. They’re not of course, so I’ll just have to settle with devouring and owning all the books she ever writes. Her stories are always so rich and setting-centric, making it easy to lose yourself in worlds as vivid as our own. And when those times come I have to reel myself in… and say #YOLO. You know, totally forgetting that library fines exist. But of course they tragically do, so in those cases it would be nice to have a copy that was all mine in its glorious wordiness to hold for eternity. Also, while I love supporting libraries, Schwab just seems cool enough to make me want to buy her book and drive up royalties and make her publisher change their name to ‘The Schwab House of Books’. You know, where all the books are just written, edited, and supervised by her. Anyways I digress. The bottom line to all this is that I need, no NEED, to own this book.
These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker
I love it when the premise of a book offers up some really cool blog post ideas for me to formulate. This one, as a mashup of X- Men and Pride and Prejudice, is no exception. There’s a discussion in there somewhere, and all I have to do is read it and fall in love. Obviously buy it too, as I’ll have to dog ear some pages for reflection whilst writing 😉 I’m also incredibly eager to find a superhero novel that can exceed those offerings on TV (gasp, I know, but the screen has really stepped up its game). I can happily say this one appears to be a contender in the running. Though it does have hints at a love triangle involving two brooding bad boys, I think Evelyn has the potential to wield some serious street cred with knife throwing, and martial arts fighting inspired by Etiquette and Espionage. While two authors spinning a genre bending tale may not always be the easiest thing in the world to pull off in a debut, I’m confident in These Vicious Masks ability to tie it altogether.
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Published last February, The Girl from Everywhere hasn’t received nearly as much hype as I initially thought it would. This seems dually unfair, as from the reviews I’ve read the general consensus is that Heilig is a masterful storyteller. And good thing too, as she has a lot to live up too with a book blurb saying “She is myth. She is history. She is gone”. This just sets up for so much sheer awesomeness I would hate for it to be wasted on a subpar rendering. On another note, I think it’s smart that though they aren’t forced to forge their own path by riding the coattails of Passenger, there’s enough distance between the two’s ideas that it won’t be perceived as a copycat. However I hope there are at ;easy a few similarities between the two novels, as it would give me the perfect excuse to own a copy of Heilig’s debut. There’s just so many details that can be lost in the shuffle with sci fi/high fantasy combinations, and I’m desperate to lap up every last descriptor. I know the inner hipster inside of you is dying to read this book before it’s cool, so go right ahead and say Meg sent you.
What would you do with a stacked gift card? Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments!