TTT: Summer Yellow Reads

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They call me mellow yellow! *hums*

Except not really, because when I think of summer, I’m more along the lines of Olaf and summer. I’ll probably melt occasionally, but I cannot wait. It may also have something to do with the fact that I’ll also be on vacation then, which is definitely much needed…

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, summer reading. And I don’t mean that in the “this is your assignment for the summer” kind of “summer reading,” and honestly, I’ve mostly given up on TBR lists because I never follow them anyway. So this time around, I decided I’d do a TTT based on the color yellow! Yellow book covers are shiny and bright and quite happy! For the most part. Erm. Yeah.

Top Ten Summery Yellow Books

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany – This is definitely an easy and pretty light read. I’m typically a slow reader, but I got through this in a couple of hours during a mad, impromptu read-a-thon with my friend.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer – My sister was a big Artemis Fowl fan, so we have the series sitting neatly at home. I practically grew up on Eoin Colfer, J.K. Rowling, and Tamora Pierce, so you can bet that if they had yellow book covers, I was putting them up here!

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – Chyeahboi. Summer break may be over for Simon Snow and Basilton Grimm-Pitch, but not for us! I’d totally take my two boyz with me to the beach if I wanted some beach-reading material to squee over.

Wish Memorial Illustrated Collection by CLAMP – I will admit that the Wish covers had some of the most aesthetically pretty illustrations I’ve seen of CLAMP’s stuff, and that’s saying something, because normally CLAMP knocks their artwork out of the ballpark. I loved this short series, though admittedly it’s not my favorite of CLAMP’s. That is normally reserved to Magic Knight Rayearth and Cardcaptor Sakura.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder – Cannot stop recommending this enough! I love this book, and Yelena, and Valek, and this cover is pretty much my favorite of the covers that have come out. Not sure why, but I did like the simplistic juxtaposition of the red and yellow colors. That could be just me, though.

Enchantment by Orson Scott Card – Orson Scott Card is largely known for his science fiction stories, especially in the Ender’s Game series–well, and also known for his outspoken, often-controversial political views–so it’s often a surprise to people when I say of the books he has written, Enchantment still remains my favorite. But I’m just biased, considering it is based on a fairy tale, and it is a fantasy entrenched within Slavic history and folklore.

The rest of these books are books I’ve yet to read but really, really want to.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – Another dual cover book! And it’s by Laini Taylor, who is a goddess of the written word. This is supposed to be a duology, so THANK GOODNESS FOR THAT.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor – Yeah. Laini makes it on this list twice, lol! I’ve started Days of Blood and Starlight so Dreams of Gods and Monsters will probably be something I’ll read either in June or July. Yep. Need my Karou-Akiva fix that’s for sure.

Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo – This cover is just gorgeous, and I really want to read this! Who knows when I’ll get to it, though… *twitch*

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang – Same for this book! I adore Gene Luen Yang’s spinoff stories in the Avatar: The Last Airbender world, and I would love to read something based off his own perspective and not that of Team Avatar (though I could do with more of the latter as well).

What are some fabulous yellow-covered books you’ve read?

TTT: Book Moms

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With Mother’s Day having just passed, I thought this was a cool topic to delve into. Not to mention the fact that I’d just finished talking about Briar Wilkes, a mother in a particular steampunk book (which also fits into my scheme of book moms…) I’ve reread recently.

Book moms are far and few, and often they’re likely dead of something or other. Gosh, why are most of my fave heroines lacking in a mother figure anyway? But that’s a completely different topic altogether (which, now that I think about it, I wonder if I can do a “Top Ten Heroes that Received the Batman Special”…damn, that’s depressing). In any case, I wanted to celebrate the cool book moms in books I’ve read that had book moms.

Top Ten Book Moms

Snow White – Fables: Vol. 19, Snow White by Bill Willingham – This is practically the latest volumes I’ve read of Fables, but hell, I’ve always admired Snow White. I thought she’d been sidelined for many volumes, but she shined once more in this volume. She’s a mother of seven wolf cubs and while her husband Bigby tends to be the muscle and grand protector of the family, there’s no denying how overly formidable she can get when her children are on the line.

She’s somethin’ FIERCE.

Emira Maresh – A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab – Um, OF COURSE Emira. She wasn’t as active as I’d hoped she’d be, but again, she’s a mother who has a ton of love for her two sons (and one of them’s adopted!). She’s also a waterbender. And I like waterbenders. Almost as much as I like firebenders. Um. And metalbenders. Wait. I’m in the wrong fandom…but whatever!

Molly Weasley – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling – What Harry Potter fan is going to forget this iconic lady and her “NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!” line? Frankly, it was one of the best goddamn things in the seventh book. After having a child die and seeing a few of her sons maimed eternally by dark magic, she was having NONE OF IT when it comes to her daughter. Ginny’s got one fiery-haired mum, that’s for sure.

I still get the shivers when I see this scene.

Briar Wilkes – Boneshaker by Cherie Priest – I mean, obviously I was putting Briar on this list. At some point in the book she mentions at how bad a mother she is. Then, quite literally the next day, she’s boarding a smuggler’s airship, aidropping onto a ravaged Seattle, and braving the perils of zombie gas, rotters, and mad scientists in order to get her boy. Yeah, she’s totally a badass book mom.

Catelyn Stark – A Storm of Swords by G.R.R. Martin – Oh yeah. She also gets thrown in here for being a staunch supporting mother of all her children. I was between Catelyn and Cersei, but honestly, Cersei annoyed by in the fourth book and my heart goes out to Lady Stoneheart and her taste for vengeance. Also…DEAAAAATH.

The “I cannot even” is strong in Catelyn Stark.

Mara of the Acoma – Mistress of the Empire by Raymond Feist and Janny Wurts – I will admit I haven’t read this book. I absolutely loved Daughter of the Empire, and I’d read Servant of the Empire but I couldn’t bring myself to reading the third book after I was a little bit disappointed with the second. Mara, however, is still one of my favorite characters, and she becomes a mother by the third book, which upped the stakes even more in this finale of the trilogy.

Mrs. Bennet – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – Mrs. Bennet isn’t really the ideal mother, but hear me out. Listen. She’s still the most comedic character in all of the Austen novels put together, because she practically tells it how it is. She wants her daughters married off, and she’s not afraid to tell you what she thinks of men who scorn her daughters for their lack of wealth and standing. The woman has a screw loose in her head and she definitely has to relabel her priorities, but come on, she totally meant well.

Eleni Cooper – Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce – She’s practically a secondary character, but a strong one in the Tortallan world. Now, honestly, I would have said Thayet hands down, but Eleni has a quiet strength to her, and she gets major kudos for having reared a felon without dying of a heart attack soon after. That said, George kind of came off fine in the end, and Eleni can rest easy that her son has a comfortable life.

Mrs. Frisby – The Secret of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien – I really liked this book as a kid, and I absolutely loved the animated movie that came out in the ’90s that was based on this story. Mrs. Frisby was the type of mother who went the extra mile in order to save her family from destruction. And boy oh boy, does she go places.

Queen Ashen – Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore – You don’t get much of her essence in Graceling, even though much of the story happens to have taken place when Leck is still alive. That said, much of Ashen’s past comes back during Bitterblue’s story. Ashen was a queen who, like almost everyone in the Monsean court, fell victim under Leck’s Grace. This brought about all sorts of horror upon Ashen; however, she still manages to pull through when it came to the thought that her daughter would get hurt. Ashen is solely responsible for Bitterblue’s initial survival, and it is thanks to her that her daughter is queen of a once-doomed kingdom.

How about you? Which book mothers made your list?

TTT: Unique Books

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I can’t say with utter certainty whether these books are unique, but they were certainly different from the books I usually read. I chose these particular ten because not only were they different from my usual faire, they were also things I enjoyed. There are probably a bunch of other, more unique books that I’ve read (like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime) but wasn’t a fan, so I’ve just left them off my list entirely.

Top Ten Of The Most Unique Books I’ve Read

Inferno by Dante Alighieri – Actually, much of epic poetry probably goes in this category of uniqueness. I don’t often read epic poems these days, but they certainly do lend well to storytelling in a sense. I did enjoy Inferno (which I read in both Italian and English…though goodness knows why because I have very little grasp of Italian to begin with), though I still haven’t read the full Divine Comedy.

Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti – Alright, I honestly put this here because the copy I have is lovely. Based on the original print, Goblin Market is a short story written in the form of a poem. The best part about this little book, however, is the fact that it’s fully illustrated by Arthur Rackham, who is renowned for his fairy tale art. So yeah, something unique, that’s for sure.

Animal Farm by George Orwell – Obviously the classics were bound to show up. I suppose it’s what makes them timeless, no? It’s probably not as strange as it seems, considering there’ve already been numerous books out there with animal main characters, but still. I’d bet not many of them tell the story of Communist pigs throwing out their human overlords.

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer – I will admit that I’ve never read the full collection of this book, but I always found it an interesting story. It is, essentially, a collection of stories told by the campfire. Well, not literally a campfire, but it comes close. Chaucer sets his narrative through a situation–in this case, a journey–where each character tells a story while on their way to Canterbury.

Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino – This book and perhaps The Periodic Table by Primo Levi were probably my favorite books I had to read in college. And mostly because they are a collection of short stories that revolve around scientific ideas (or terms). Cosmicomics was just odd because I don’t think I’ve ever had to read a book where I couldn’t pronounce the main character’s name. Try saying Qfwfq out loud, I dare ya.

World War Z by Max Brooks – I’m finding a pattern about what I consider “different”, and most of them involve short stories/vignettes, heh. Again, World War Z was interesting for me because it was broken up into different accounts. No character was truly main, and the bigger picture of the zombie apocalypse was fleshed out through the interviews and written missives of the people who’d experienced it. It’s not the first time this has been done, and it’s certainly not the last (Sleeping Giants runs a similar format), but it was one of my favorites of this kind of narrative.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman – And back to straight-up story narrative! Only, not really, because Gaiman doesn’t necessarily stay within the confines of Shadow’s perspective. Which means several POVs. But! What was unique for me in the case of American Gods was that it was practically the story of a classic American road trip that somehow managed to involve ancient gods and their war against the new gods. It’s a beautiful mixture of old and new, something Gaiman could do effortlessly.

The Epic of Gilgamesh – I thank the divine beings above that I did not have to read this strictly in cuneiform. There’s an English translation that helped me understand the basic gist of the story, thank you very much. Even back 4,000 years, humans are still entertained by stories, and Gilgamesh is arguably the first epic hero. I added this into the mix because it was the kind of book I appreciated being translated and available to the masses.

Lysistrata by Aristophanes – Yes! Because of all the plays I’ve read, none made me laugh as hard as Lysistrata. I mean, Shakespeare came close, and Oscar Wilde often makes me giggle, but Lysistrata just kills me every time. It’s bawdy, it’s rude, it’s women having enough with men and their dick-measuring competitions. It’s quite literally a group of women withholding sex in order to end a pointless war. And they are successful. YAAAAS. I mean, you’d think this was written in a distant future, not thousands of years ago. But there it is.

Sorcery & Cecelia by Caroline Stevermere and Patricia C. Wrede – One of my favorite epistolary novels, hands down. I don’t often read stories that were written in letter-form, mostly  because I find that it gets rather dull and/or confusing, but I enjoyed Sorcery and Cecelia a lot! Kate and Cecy were hilarious characters, and their romantic interests were quite lovely. The story is part of a trilogy, though admittedly the first book was the best because of the format. Its sequels, The Grand Tour and The Mislaid Magician also follow suite in the same format, but I admit the magic was at its finest in the first book.

How about you? What kinds of unique books have you added to your Top Ten list?

TTT: Meeting Authors

The perks to living near and working in New York City is that it’s not very difficult to make your way to an author signing. For the most part, Books of Wonder does a fabulous job hosting authors I’ve always wanted to meet, and often I do head on over there to grab a book I’m interested in and get them signed. Not to mention the fact that if singular book signings are missed, there’s also NYC Comic Con, which hosts several publishing houses that tend to encapsulate numerous authors in a given day. And then, wonder of wonders, BookCon and BookExpo are back this year in New York! So yeah, lots of authors to meet, little time to do so!

I’ve been lucky, and I’ve met many authors I had been dying to meet. That said, there are still many other authors on my bucket list of authors, and it’s difficult enough to narrow them down, since I love meeting and seeing authors in a panel. That said, here’s my current top ten of authors I’d love to meet:

Top Ten Authors I Would Love To Meet

Laini Taylor (BlackbringerDaughter of Smoke and BoneLips Touch: Three Times)

Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson series, Alpha and Omega series)

Neil Gaiman (Neverwhere, StardustSandman series, American Gods)

Kristin Cashore (GracelingFireBitterblue)

Juliet Marillier (Wildwood DancingCybele’s SecretDaughter of the Forest)

Tamora Pierce (Song of the Lioness quartetImmortals series, just about everything from Tortall)

Robin McKinley (Hero and the Crown, Deerskin, Beauty, The Blue Sword)

Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles series)

Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn trilogy, Stormlight ArchiveSteelheart)

Gail Carriger (Parasol Protectorate series)

How about you? Are there authors you’d LOVE to meet but haven’t yet?

TTT: Unexpected Loves and Loathes

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Alright, so I couldn’t really decide whether to write my list in accordance to books I expected would be great but weren’t and books I ended up loving more than I thought I would. So for this TTT, I went with a divided split, though I did find that I had a bit of trouble narrowing things down to a 5/5 split. Which meant that this post got longer in the process, and I ultimately decided on 10 books I ended up loving more and 10 books I ended up loving less after having finished them.

Let’s start with the good stuff first.

Ten Books I Loved More Than I Thought I Would

These books were surprisingly good, even when the expectation I had was that I would like them, but not as much as I thought I would.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch – I tend to watch more science fiction than read them, so occasionally I pick up books that I probably would have preferred to see on television to be able to visualize it better. In the case of Dark Matter, though, the audiobook sufficed, and I totally did love this book more than I thought I would.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – So this one grew on me after a while. Like Dark Matter, I eventually listened to the audiobook and found that I was loving this book. Of course, the television series helped tremendously, but there you have it.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – I hadn’t expected Rowell to be the best thing I’d ever read, considering she wasn’t really a fantasy author prior to Carry On. If it hadn’t been for the fact that the book jacket summary hinted at LGBT romance and the Harry Potter wizard trope, I probably would have just passed on this one. Thank goodness I didn’t!

Naked in Death by J.D. Robb – Yeah, normally I watch police procedurals. I don’t really read suspense stuff anymore, but I make occasional exception for Eve and Roarke, because well…they’re just a sexy couple, that’s all.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik – I have raved over this book so many times by now that you’d think this was the type of book I would have loved from the very beginning. To be honest, I was hesitant to pick it up at first because I was not a big fan of TemeraireUprooted is, by all means, fantastic.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks – Another unusual read for me, since this type of book is out of my element. World War Z is an epistolary novel, with interviews and first-hand accounts being the primary narration of the book, which is about–surprise, surprise–zombies. It was highly interesting and I actually loved how the writing style worked for the narration.

Valiant by Sarah McGuire – This was one of my first NetGalley ARCs, and honestly, I didn’t expect much from it, considering. However, after having read it once, then twice, then several scenes a third time, it’s safe to say that I ended up loving this book.

Briar’s Book by Tamora Pierce – As a Tamora Pierce fan, it’s weird to put up one of her books on this list, only because I love all of what I’ve read from the author. That said, because I’ve been so engrossed in Pierce’s Tortallan world, I never really took to her Circle books. I must have read only the first four books from the Circle series, and it was only in Briar’s Book where I finally decided “Well, shit. I need more of this series in my life!”

Hounded by Kevin Hearne – Reminiscent of Jim Butcher’s Dresden FilesHounded follows in a similar urban fantasy light, focusing on a man with too much magical know-how yet is struggling to make ends meet in the real world. Humor and stuff. That sort of thing. My first impression of Dresden wasn’t much, but I did love Atticus for some reason.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins – You’d think a repeat of another Hunger Games scenario would get old. NOPE. If anything, I think I loved that they upped the ante in the sequel of The Hunger Games, and the stakes risked were much bigger and grander, and focused on the bigger picture. This is probably why Catching Fire still stands as my favorite of the trilogy.

Ten Books I Loved Less Than I Thought I Would

To be fair, most–if not all–of the authors on this list have books that I absolutely love. But even so, there are the occasional blips where I thought “Eh, this book was a little disappointing.” And that’s probably due to my mood for the most part, though it’s probably also because I had put their previous works high up on the pedestal (a dangerous thing, but what can I say, I’m not infallible).

The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter – I really couldn’t take to this novel. When I read a Pratchett collaboration, I expect some of his sardonic, often hilarious humor to show through, and this was the case in Gaiman-Pratchett’s Good Omens book. In The Long Earth, I felt the essence of Pratchett to be lacking.

Rebel Genius by Michael Dante DiMartino – Rebel Genius wasn’t a bad read, let me just say that now. It was pretty good, and imaginative, and the pictures helped. However, I couldn’t help but see this as a shadow–maybe even an alternate reality world–of the Avatar universe, and the adventure in the book was drawn out a bit longer than I’d hoped.

Clariel by Garth Nix – I will admit that I had been waiting a while for a book on Chlorr of the Mask to be written. The result wasn’t as fabulous as I’d hoped, because at the end of the day, the story of Clariel doesn’t even explain why she became Chlorr in the first place. Clariel was a bit of a let-down compared to the first three of the Abhorsen books, and while I sometimes did relate to Clariel in a few things, I thought she made for a poor protagonist, even an anti-heroic one at that.

Magi by Shinobu Ohtaka – There are no words to how disappointed I was at this series, particularly because I was so eager to read manga that was inspired by the story of Scheherezade’s 1,001 Nights. And this was a major disappointment.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – I find myself less and less inclined to pick up the second book, because honestly, I stopped being interested in the characters and the world the more I thought about the book. Don’t get me wrong, at the time I was reading Red Queen, I’d been riveted to the action sequences, which were undoubtedly the best parts of the book. But eh, it’s an overhyped series.

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston – I will admit this was a beautifully written novel, and on the strength of the prose alone, I probably wouldn’t have added this to the list at all. That said, I did feel a disconnect with the characters, and so found myself a little disappointed at how the plot went down.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – Same as A Thousand Nights, really. The main characters and the main plot were not very interesting, and I found myself only enjoying this book when I started treating scenes as short stories. Nicely written, though.

Pegasus by Robin McKinley – Alright, Robin McKinley is an author I have long admired ever since I’d read The Hero and the Crown. Since then I’ve read a bunch of her books and loved them almost as equally (Deerskin was just…omgah amazing). Pegasus was a major exception, unfortunately. I will still read more McKinley, though, because one meh book doesn’t mean anything when I’ve loved most of her repertoire.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan – I put too much expectation off a short story, which I probably shouldn’t have. That all said, this book was pretty disappointing once I finally did get to it.

Servant of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts – Now. Let me tell you how much I loved Daughter of the Empire. I loved it so much that it constantly made my top ten lists for many different reasons. It was such a great novel, with a Japanese-inspired female as the protagonist, in a time period where this barely happened. But then it got followed up by Servant of the Empire, which drove me nuts, because then they threw in some basic Felicia (well, his name wasn’t actually Felicia…) who ends up wooing quite possibly the most calculatingly badass female of Tsuranuanni. And ugh, where was Arakasi the whole time. Yeah, I liked it, but I was loving the first book much better, really.

Anyway, enough about me. What was on your Top Ten Tuesday list this week?