Top Ten Older Favorites

Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Throwback Freebie: Ten Books I Loved During The First Year I Started My Blog, Favorite Books Published 5 or 10 or 15 Years Ago, Ten Older Books I Forgot How Much I Loved, etc. etc. I decided to go with my Top Ten Older Favorites.

In no particular order, these are some of my older favorites, not including the classics. I’ve read each of these books at least twice.  And totally coincidentally, 7 out of the 10 have movie or TV adaptations.

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  • Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy – This book is centered around a group of friends in Ireland as they grow up.  I’ve loved this book for so long and it was adapted pretty well into a movie featuring Minnie Driver and Chris O’Donnell.
  • Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris – The first book of the Sookie Stackhouse series that I fell in love with shortly before the TV adaptation, True Blood, aired on HBO.  I binge read as many books of the series that were published at the time.
  • The Bone Collector by Jeffrey Deaver – The first time I read this book, I was with my family at a cabin in northern MN. Let’s just say that it thoroughly creeped me out in the best way possible.  The movie adaptation with Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie was pretty good, but of course the book was much better.
  • Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley – This is a pretty unpopular opinion for fans of Gone With the Wind, but I really loved this sequel. Probably because I love Scarlett and Rhett so much that I couldn’t take them ending the way they did in GWTW. I needed more and that’s what Scarlett gave me.  The TV miniseries adaptation was awful though. Ugh. Timothy Dalton as Rhett….. NO.
  • One by One by Gilbert Morris – This is one my mom and I had checked out from the library a few times because we both enjoyed it so much. The book is out of print but I recently was able to track down a copy on Thrift Books and gave it to my mom for Christmas last year.  Really creepy mystery about people being kidnapped and held hostage in the bottom of a grain silo, as the kidnapper begins to kill them, one by one.

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  • The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans – I first read this during my horse obsession phase in early high school. I just really loved everything about this story but especially Pilgrim and Grace’s second chance. I also love the movie adaptation with Robert Redford, Kristen Scott Thomas, Sam O’Neill, and Scarlet Johansson.
  • The Princess by Lori Wick – This book is definitely a fairy tale type story about an average citizen being chosen to become the next princess because the widowed prince needed to re-marry by a certain age according to the law of this fictional country.  It is technically Christian lit but I ignore the religious aspects of it when I read it for the most part.
  • Empire Falls by Richard Russo – I read this book in a college English class called Stories of Place and ended up falling in love with it.  The book centers around the life of Miles Roby who lives in a small blue collar town in Maine but dreams of so much more.  The adaptation featuring Ed Harris, Helen Hunt, Paul Newman, and Robin Wright was pretty good but I definitely prefer the book.
  • Tell Me Your Dreams by Sidney Sheldon – I picked this up on a whim while staying at my grandma’s house one summer a long time ago. I read a lot of Mary Higgins Clark books back then and this seemed to be along a similar vein. Ended up being so much better. The main character turns out to have multiple personality disorder and finds herself on trial for doing something one of her alters did.
  • Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier – This is one of those books that makes me feel instantly cozy which might sound weird considering the subject matter. This story is about a wounded Civil War soldier on his long walk home to his sweetheart back home.  You may have seen the adaptation with Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, and Donald Sutherland.

What are some of your older favorites?

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Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor

34733250Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor, illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo

Expected publication: September 12th 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

256 Pages

Goodreads Summary: In this stand-alone companion to the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone series comes the story of Mik and Zuzana’s fantastical first date—as a gorgeously illustrated gift edition with bonus content included.

Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her “rabid fairy,” her “voodoo eyes” are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or “Violin Boy,” her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to make the first move, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. It’s a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter’s night before leading him to the treasure: herself! Violin Boy is not going to know what hit him.

New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor brings to life a night only hinted at in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy—the magical first date of fan-favorites Zuzana and Mik. Originally published as an ebook, this new print edition will include breathtaking black and white illustrations, plus bonus content in a gorgeous package perfect for new and current fans of the series.

Review: Earlier this year, Strange the Dreamer was my first experience with Laini Taylor’s words.  I instantly fell in love with her writing.  So I was really eager to get into her previous series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone.  When I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I really loved Zuzana’s character.   She was so spunky and had a great sense of humor.  Her friendship with Karou reminded me a lot of my own friendship with one of my best friends.  When I heard about Night of Cake and Puppets I was so excited to be able to read about how Zuzana and Mik come together because, let’s face it, they’re absolutely adorable.  I’m a big sucker for romance and big romantic gestures so this seemed like it was going to be a really great read. Plus there is just something special about having Laini and her husband, illustrator Jim Di Bartolo, teaming up to take this book to the next level.  I read this ARC in a few hours because I could not put it down!  The first section is from Zuzana’s POV and it totally took me back to those times when I had a huge thing for a guy and wasn’t sure how to approach that.  I also really loved the little flashback stories of when Zuzana and Karou first became friends. One of the things I really love about Laini Taylor’s writing is that it is so visually descriptive without overdoing it so it is really easy to visualize the scenes in your head.  I’ve dreamed of going to Prague for years and with her help, I feel almost as if I have been there.  When it got to the section from Mik’s POV, I couldn’t help but swoon.  This story was everything I hoped it would be and more.  The illustrations that were included in the ARC were absolutely incredible so I can’t wait to see how they look in the final copies!

5 Stars

I received a copy of this from The Novl in exchange for an honest review.

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding

33785202The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken

Expected publication: September 5th 2017 by Disney-Hyperion

362 Pages

Goodreads Summary: “I would say it’s a pleasure to meet thee, Prosperity Oceanus Redding, but truly, I only anticipate the delights of destroying thy happiness.”

Prosper is the only unexceptional Redding in his old and storied family history — that is, until he discovers the demon living inside him. Turns out Prosper’s great-great-great-great-great-something grandfather made — and then broke — a contract with a malefactor, a demon who exchanges fortune for eternal servitude. And, weirdly enough, four-thousand-year-old Alastor isn’t exactly the forgiving type.

The fiend has reawakened with one purpose — to destroy the family whose success he ensured and who then betrayed him. With only days to break the curse and banish Alastor back to the demon realm, Prosper is playing unwilling host to the fiend, who delights in tormenting him with nasty insults and constant attempts trick him into a contract. Yeah, Prosper will take his future without a side of eternal servitude, thanks.

Little does Prosper know, the malefactor’s control over his body grows stronger with each passing night, and there’s a lot Alastor isn’t telling his dim-witted (but admittedly strong-willed) human host.

From #1 New York Times best-selling author Alexandra Bracken comes a tale of betrayal and revenge, of old hurts passed down from generation to generation. Can you ever fully right a wrong, ever truly escape your history? Or will Prosper and Alastor be doomed to repeat it?

Review: I normally don’t read a lot of middle grade titles anymore but with Alexandra Bracken behind this one, I couldn’t resist and I’m really glad I took a chance on it. I absolutely loved the atmosphere of the first chapter.  It really reminded me of Stars Hollow around the time of the annual Fall Festival.  Prosper seemed like a misunderstood kid who was kind of the black sheep of the family… never quite good enough to meet his family’s insanely high standards.  Even his twin sister Prue who he stuck by through years of serious illness was rather cruel to him. This made me instantly feel for him.  So when he returned home for dinner and crazy things started happening, I didn’t blame him at all for the terror he must have felt.  With the introduction of Nell, I hoped that Prosper would be able to finally have a good friend who could show him that he is worth more than how he has been treated in the past.  At first she treated him with disdain because he was a Redding, but slowly she gradually realized that he was different than his family in a good way.  Alastor, the demon inside of Prosper, was a little over the top but eventually I got used to it.  That was probably the only thing that bugged me about this book.  There were two big twists in the book which I did not see coming! And that cliffhanger ending!!! I need book two ASAP! Overall I really enjoyed reading this book that reminded me of Hocus Pocus crossed with a little bit of Harry Potter.  A perfect read for fall!

4 stars

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Invictus by Ryan Graudin

33784362Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Expected publication: September 26th 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

464 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Time flies when you’re plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

In this heart-stopping adventure, Ryan Graudin has created a fast-paced world that defies time and space.

Review: This book was incredible! It was completely thrilling but also thought provoking and emotional.  Far being born outside of time and all of the effects from that event at first just seemed like small annoyances for him but as the story went on more devastating consequences are revealed. I was not expecting to fall in love with the Invictus crew, but I did whole heartedly. Far, Imogen, Priya, Gram, Eliot, and Saffron, the adorable red panda… such a unique cast of characters that fit so well together despite their differences. Their friendship was so strong and I loved seeing them bond over their experiences together but also embracing each others’ quirks.  They stick together through it all. There were so many exciting scenes but one of my favorites was when Far was on the Titanic. I don’t want to say too much more so I don’t spoil things because this book has so many twists and thrills that you need to experience first hand.  If you’re looking for a wild adventure through time with an awesome group of friends, check out Invictus!

5 Stars

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Also, if you preorder Invictus you can get a set of trading cards for the Invictus crew when you upload your proof of purchase here!

(Image from The Novl)

WWW Wednesday – August 30, 2017

WWW WednesdayWWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words.
Each week we answer the following three questions:
-What have you recently finished reading?
-What are you currently reading?
-What are you reading next?


Well it’s been about 2 months since my last WWW post! I hadn’t really been doing much reading with everything going on with our house stuff in the last couple of months.  But I started reading again last week and it’s been pretty great.

Recently Finished

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I did an audiobook re-read of Anne of Green Gables. It was a really delightful narration done by Rachel McAdams.  It’s been a long time since I last read Anne of Green Gables so it was really enjoyable to relive that story.  I also read Days of Blood and Starlight, which is book 2 of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor. I didn’t like it as much as book 1 but I still really liked it.  Then I picked up my ARC of Night of Cake and Puppets which will be published as an illustrated hardcover on September 12th! The illustrations that were available in the ARC were stunning so I can’t wait to see the rest when the final copy is released! Plus I love Zuzana and Mik so I loved getting to read this story of them.

Currently Reading

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Slowly but surely I am continuing on my reread of Outlander.  I read a little bit last night and if I hadn’t stayed up late the last two nights, I probably would have stayed up a little bit longer to keep reading.  This morning I continued on in the eARC of The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding.  It is a middle grade novel that will be published next Tuesday! I don’t normally read a lot of middle grade anymore but I took a chance on this because of AB and so far I am really enjoying it!

Up Next

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Up next I have a slew of ARCs that will be publishing in early October that I plan to read so I have plenty of time to get through them and post reviews.  Ringer publishes on October 3rd so I will probably start with that one next. The next three (The Rules of Magic, The Hollow Girl, and All the Crooked Saints) all publish on October 10th which is why I want to make sure I have plenty of time!


What have you been reading lately?